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Thursday, February 26, 2015

NO MEANS NO, EVEN BETWEEN TWO BLACK GAY MEN

On a Sunday afternoon in Washington, D.C., I decided to go hang out with the crew at our usual gay club hangout. I was having a great time drinking and doing a little two step, when nature called. I decided to leave my friends and go  to the bathroom alone, as I have done since the tender age of 5.  While washing my hands outside the bathroom, I was approached by a man, who I would consider an associate.

As I gave the official “what’s up” head nod, he responded the same while also sticking his hand between my legs from behind and squeezing.  Although I was startled, I played it cool and moved his arm away and asked him not to do that.  I guess my rejection of his advances was the first time in history this ever happened because his response was “What? You don’t like that” as he did it again.

Now, I am pissed.

As my blood pressure started to rise, I slapped his hands away and yelled, “Chill on all of that”.

As I do this, he is now irate and going off. By the grace of God, a mutual friend happened to be standing there watching the entire confrontation. He grabbed his friend by the arm and continuously yelled, “Lets go!”

Finally, he calmed down and exits.

I was left standing there with my hands shaking and confused. For the first time in my adult life, I felt like I had no control over a situation dealing with my personal space. Thoughts were running through my head trying to rationalize what happened.

I asked myself a few questions:

Where my clothes too tight? No, clothes don’t dictate consent.  Did I give consent that I wasn’t aware of? No, I was simply washing my hands and said hello. Did I actually allow the normalcy of grabbing and touching that goes on in these settings devalue my body to the point that I lost ownership of it?  Umm. No? Yes? Maybe.

As a person who has been to many a gay clubs, the violation of sexual contact has become way too common. Most often, it occurs in passing or while standing at the bar. You feel the slight brush of your backside by people “claiming” they are trying to pass by.  Hands wrapping around your waist as people try to order a drink from behind you. This occurs so frequently, that I fully allowed it as an acceptable act. It has become so regular in our culture that people act without fear of repercussion and dismiss anyone who rejects the unwanted advances based on a culture of rape and perceived promiscuity in the gay community.

This stigma is further advanced with the portrayal of gay male characters on primetime television.  Although I appreciate the advancement being taken with gay male characters having roles on major networks in shows like “Scandal” and “How To Get Away With Murder”, I am saddened that these characters have been maligned as being sexually deviant and lacking any depth. Both shows depict gay males using their bodies rather than their intelligence to get what they want by using sex as a manipulative tool against one another. These scenes portray us as people that are willing to perform sexual favors in an office, courthouse bathroom, or with an escort further the agenda that we don’t take value in our bodies or sexual spaces.

Consent is the premise of my problem. My body, is mine inherently, and with that you must have permission to cross that space. Granted, there are gay men that enjoy the gratification of their sexual space visited often, but even with that there is consent. To the alternative men who are guarded and protective of their sexual should be respected if they choose not to engage in such actions as touching and grabbing. Many of the later are forced to simply deal with this because of the false belief that sexual promiscuity is the norm rather than the exception. Having multiple sex partners is viewed as a deviant behavior rather a person having ownership over their body and consenting to having relations with multiple people. Regardless of how casual one may have sex, it never constitutes the fact that  one should gain consent before making sexual contact. It should also not be used as a determinant of how we in the gay community value our bodies.

The same respect for consent must be applied to sexual contact. The assumption that a grab or grope is harmless is very dangerous to the sexual culture we as gay men have to live in. The same rules of consent that apply in a male-to-female exchange must also apply in male-to-male and female-to-female exchanges. Grabbing on me cannot be used as a form of “compliment.” I should not have to be subjected to unwanted touching as form of you showing your attraction toward me.


With that being said- no means no. The same rules that govern the heterosexual community when it comes to sexual assault and contact need to be reciprocated in the homosexual community. Violation of one’s personal space needs to be respected when it has been determined to be unwanted and unwarranted. I can only hope that going forward we, as a community, learn that societal views do not determine the value placed on one’s body. I would rather you say hello to my face before your hands say hello to my waist.

SOURCE: MUSED MAG

6 comments:

  1. This really made me think... 💭

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  2. I totally agree. No should mean no.

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    Replies
    1. yep, had a few guys in my past that need to read this piece

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  3. So very true. I never even thought of that and there have been many times when someone would put their hands around my waist as a gesture to get my attention. Even bartenders have done it. As for me I believe my personal comfort space is pretty close and never considered it a violation. But my space and the other guy's may be very different. And just because I do have a closer range of comfort does not give anyone the right to grab my junk . It does come down to R E S P E C T.

    Mark

    The Male Casting Couch

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. reading this made me realize how many times I've had to deal with this and it is NOT pretty

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