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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I CHOOSE TO LOVE BLACK GAY MEN

Using the media as a litmus test, one would think romantic love among black gay men is in dire straits. Prominent black gay men like Michael Sam and Derrick Gordon both have white lovers, and recently, the key black gay character in Lee Daniels’ “Empire” has a Mexican boyfriend who ostensibly is white. Quite honestly, when the only highly visible models of successful black gay men seem tethered to white lovers, the implicit message becomes that love between black gay men is non-existent. And irritatingly, the broader conversation around love between black gay men becomes centered around whiteness, rather than love among ourselves.

And we need to talk about love between ourselves, because unfortunately, the implausibility of black gay love is an idea not just held by the media but among black gay men ourselves. One need look no further than the social media app Jack’d, which features a large contingent of black gay men with profiles full of self-hate. Profiles that sound more like treatises of self-defense rather than pitches for love. Phrases like “no fats no fems,” or “I only fuck with real masculine niggas.” These ubiquitous stamps upon dating and sex profiles make romantic love between black gay men feel unattainable.

However, while the media seems to suggest that black gay men—particularly wealthy and educated—run into the arms of white lovers for safety and comfort, I can scarcely think of any relationship—outside of a physically violent one—that would cause me more consternation and confusion. My relationship should not be the space where I worry about being someone’s fetish, or where I have to explain the nuances of my culture, or the generational traumas I was born of and embody on a daily basis. This is not to say that loving relationships between black and white men should be avoided. I am not anti-interracial, but rather I am pro-black love. As black gay men, we have to be diligent about choosing to love each other in society that devalues both how we love and who we choose to love.

Being a black gay man and choosing to love other black gay men is an act of self-love and political resistance. Sure, as Joseph Beam offers us, it is the revolutionary act – but while it is revolutionary, it is also difficult. Because to be a black gay man who chooses to love other black gay men means that we have to love through the psychological and emotional trauma that this world affords us.

In my life, the type of love that has always been the most nourishing for me has been black love. As a young boy in inner-city Detroit, the models of love that were most salient and recognizable to me were also black. The at-times harsh, but honest and magnanimous affection from black women, the problematic and boisterous showboating love of black men, and the sharp, vibrant, and energetic love from my peers. While there is no single notion of black love that is pure and wholly fulfilling, when I have experienced love at its most radical and nourishing, it has always been from blackness. A type of love that understands what it means to be born from slavery, subject to past and present trauma and societal disenfranchisement, but still all-encompassing enough to hold all of this pain and still persist in this life—with “some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

But I must also be honest, much of the most empowering black love I’ve experienced has come from black women.  When the black male elders in my life tried to show me love it always felt challenging, shaming, and aggressive. And even as an adult, the black gay community still often thrives on shade, patriarchal notions of manhood and insecurity. But  I’ve also experienced great love, both romantic and platonic, from black gay men. From men who have taken me to get my first HIV test, who have consoled me in times of familial strife, who have danced with me in clubs, and have shown me selfless adoration, even if those relationships did not last.

So rather than seeing the difficulties of loving black gay men as endemic to who we are, it is time we radically reorganize how we might think of love between black gay men. We can first do so by asking the right questions, such as what does it mean for two men to love each other in a society where men are not socialized to show love and care for each other? What does it mean to choose to love another black gay man when the bodies we love are subject to disproportionate levels of violence, poverty, and health disparities? What does it mean to choose to love another black gay man, when love between black people is already fraught with systemic strife? A love that has virtually been declared nonexistent, a love that has had no models–after all, we are told that it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.


Despite the self-hatred, despite the perhaps slim-pickings, I am choosing to love black gay men romantically or otherwise. I do so because I believe that love is political, and if we are to truly love ourselves, and change our community, we must first see our community for who we really are. Loving beings that persist in a country that still denies us our reflections. If I am ever to be in that mainstream, long-term monogamous relationship, I very unapologetically intend for it be with a black man. And this intention is not merely about love and affection, but a political choice. In a society that renders black gay love nonexistent, and has a very peculiar investment in making sure that black gay men are only seen with white lovers, I am choosing to love black.

SOURCE: MUSED MAG

6 comments:

  1. Have you received the letter from Blogger that the rest of has? What will you do about it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah I got it, tried NOT to think about it, but hmmmmmmmmmmm

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  2. Hey Gayte-Keeper! This is Dana.

    I so feel your essay on so many levels, being a Gay Black man myself. Whereas I've prided myself on being a "Baskin-Robbins" guy, I however feel that there is a particular need for Black-on-Black SGL loving to be healed and magnified. Given that today I just watched a few webisodes on Cypher Avenue and BGClive and Youtube dealing with a small segment of Black LGBT life, I find it impossible to 'fault' anyone for seeking to love beyond the social confines in which they find themselves. Not to say that they may find non-MOCHA lovers-spouses BETTER, but that they may find that in such they are not entangled in the drama that seems to poison the well of Black M2M relationships.

    I must apologies if this is a bit convoluted, but may be it is a symptom of me being to deep in the forest to see the trees....insofar as so much of "street" life seems to be entangled with black gay life in the states along with all the wider racial issues that inform us here.

    As for me, all I can say is this: I look forward to falling in love again...loving despite the pain I have been through...loving someone who WANTS me and whom I want too....He may be black, white, polka-dotted....so long as the feelings are mutual as well as the respect, attraction, and support. Everything else is window dressing.

    I don't know, man. I loved a Brothah, close to my age, with a ton of baggage. I loved a guy who was white, Canadian and older than me. In the end, I had to love MYSELF, have respect for myself and what I needed.

    All I know is that I want to love and be loved again....to have someone to come home to...and be home for me...and feel that I am the same for him. I have worked to hard and been to through too much to accept anything less than that, especially if I am willing to give that to him...whomsoever he will be.

    With all that said...color really should not be a barrier to love..if he makes you feel safe, happy, whole, stronger, and want to cry when he ain't around then FUCK what the world says...hold him fast!

    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANK you for this comment and I am sure you WILL LOVE again

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  3. I, personally, do not believe that a homosexual/heterosexual black women or man has any obligation to date within their own race. I feel, to shun interracial relationships would be hypocritical of me as a homosexual.

    What I DO have a problem with, is individuals who are dating outside their race for stereotypical reasons. The thought of thinking that they're getting something from that person of different racial background that they won't from their own. Or to think they are avoiding some conditioned stereotype by NOT dating someone of their own race.

    Regardless, we also have to consider those individuals apart of an interracial relationship actually and sincerely LOVE each other. And THAT should be the bottom line. We must, we should, throw away this idea that someone must not like or respect those of their race just because they are not dating within it.

    Being said that, from this article leaves me to question...are you with your BLACK boyfriend because you really LOVE him or to make a political point? You, purposely avoiding to date outside of your race for the purpose of avoiding the interracial stereotype is just a worst as the stereotype itself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GREAT questions, hope we can answer them HONESTLY!

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