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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ALL BLACK GAYS AREN'T CREATED EQUAL

Think about it for a second. Many black gays have identified with not affirming their sexuality for fear of being rejected by family and friends. We get this story; we’ve heard and seen it polarized in mainstream media over and over again. Not that sexuality should be broadcasted, but at the same time, it shouldn’t be something to be ashamed about. It only makes sense that we would expect acceptance from our community and heterosexual colleagues, especially since their existence in America has been difficult, too. Throughout high school, I remember going through a period of not knowing what I identified with. Outside of those assuming my sexuality before I did,  I knew I was not attracted to women – but the thought of penetration from another man freaked me out to the point I would only allow dudes to give me oral. 

As a mid-to-late 20-something, I constantly hear comments from my friends – gay and straight – exclaiming I am not gay enough. Some of my friends use my thriving trajectory in corporate America and education as a blueprint that defines many black gay men. Growing up, I was never bullied or picked on because I had a little more limp in my wrist. My height, weight and physique alone leads to inquiries on what sport I play or watch. Also, conversations at work bring about questions of my mythical wife or children – I have never dreamed of having with another woman. When I was younger, I do recall most of the negative commentary coming from my absent father. Even to this day, I refuse to sit on my leg because, according to him, that is not how a man sits. 

Unfortunately, the harsh realities are very different for many of my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. This is not a bad thing at all because sexuality is a personal experience. We all have different journeys that allow us to share stories and learn from each other.  Although my experiences growing up were diverse, I still find ways to relate to the gay experience. I still struggle with issues such as what is masculine enough, how to exist in a functioning relationship absent from heterosexual formalities and where do I seek literature and opinions to be a burgeoning progressive thinker in the black gay community. 

Defining what it means to be gay can be tricky.  Not just in today’s time, but even back in 1970 when The New York Times Magazine ran a poignant story on “What it Means to be a Homosexual,” written by Merle Miller. What’s fascinating about the story is that someone was trying to define what it meant to be a homosexual and revisit harmful stereotypes that cast gays away from their heterosexual peers. With the new foreword written by activist and writer Dan Savage, the addition updates the prominent essay to our present-day lives.  Although very optimistic at times, Savage alludes to a time where people are understanding that gays can function in society.

I am a black gay man functioning in society. Or at least I think I am. 

Not that defining myself as such makes me anything different; the politicizing on what it means to be gay is different for us all. We have to stop holding up our personal journey as the Bible and listen to the next. There is no one way to be gay, and trying to confine each journey limits the beauty of our fabric.  For many black gays, the overall experience never allows us the opportunity to just sip lemonade in the shade. There is always the feeling of feeling like the stereotypical step-child that can actually do more than read and write. 

Not all of us will personally experience having HIV/AIDS, being bullied as a child or even crave creeping around with the “down low” brother across the street. These ideas help perpetuate an understanding that to be a black gay man is to be less. These ideas manifest themselves into assumptions and ways of mistreating us – we are not all the same. 

SOURCE: MUSED MAG ONLINE


2 comments:

  1. Being okay about enjoying sex with men was/is 'Gay enough' for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. once you start there everything else will be okay

      Delete

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