It is no secret that gay Black men are used to emasculate the image of the Black man and portray Black females as leaders of the Black community by mainstream media (MSM). Yep, I'm going there already. This isn't about the ladies, as you can tell from the post title. This is about how homosexuality affects the perspective and social norms of the Black men, among Black men.
As a bisexual man, I've at times felt like I don't belong in straight or gay social circles. I feel like I'm too masculine for some gay settings, while simply being gay instantly excludes me from many religious and political environments. Can't serve two masters, indeed. And telling someone that I only date females sometimes leads to a conversation about whether I'm confused. I'm not, but I digress.
How do straight Black men react to the presence of an openly gay Black man? I'd imagine there are five questions that instantly come to mind in individual and group settings.
How Will My Social Circles Perceive Me?
If a Black man is around a gay male (including, or especially a transgendered woman), people are going to wonder if he is gay as well. In a time where more people are comfortable discussing homosexuality, many straights will be more comfortable talking about whether that Black man is gay on the down-low (DL). For some people, he'll be guilty until proven innocent, something which all Black men are familiar with.
Peer pressure coming from people you hold in high regard can be painful, but it is be a necessary evil. Straight men heavily involved in church may have their religious faith challenged by peers. A married man might be suspected of adultery, especially if there's any related history in that relationship. A brother with any type of influence within a community online or in-person may be questioned about pushing the gay agenda. Gay roommate in a dorm or barracks room? Might be gay. I could keep going.
How Feminine is He? (How Does He Carry Himself)?
You might be wondering about gay people who aren't doing all the gay things like pride parades, gay sports leagues, and posting online about gay stuff with rainbow emojis. Eventually, people will talk in private. And it will eventually get out in the open. So, it is smart to consider discrimination past first impressions.
Gay men have multiple spectrums of characteristics, contrary to what popular sitcoms suggest. There's the scale between femininity and masculinity. Then there's the bottom, versatile, or top sexual preference. They're not always directly correlated. Sexual preference can change at any time and with different partners. People in certain social environments "code switch" all the time. The "Noah's Arc" (2005-2006) TV show did a good job visualizing all of this.
What if a gay dude has upstanding character but talks like you'd expect from one of your home-girls? What if he regularly deploys the limp, gay wrist? What if he wears women's clothes? You need to think about how much you really care about this stuff and how you'll be perceived for being around someone with such traits.
Does He Hit on Straight Men?
This is an instant no-go for some dudes. It's one thing to have sexual tension between a male and female in a group. There might be a very uncomfortable energy when everyone knows a guy has the hots for a straight dude in the same group. Imagine being among bros in the locker room or elsewhere half-clothed, and the "gayman" remarks on your "endowment."
Much of what you've read down to this point can be easy to dismiss as petty issues beneath mature men, or the ill-defined "real man." Quick note: I wrote "Real Man" over 10 years ago and not to define what I thought it meant to be a "real man."
But we've established that black masculinity has been under attack for decades. That led to Black fathers being forced out of families, often reduced to financial providers, and less overall respect among Blacks. Black males have become more violent, vulgar, and loud. I had to find masculine role models and put in the work to develop emotional control and true self-respect, far better indicators of manhood.
All of that is to say that if a man is not mature and comfortable with his sexuality, experiencing a male hitting on him can easily be perceived as a threat to his manhood. That shouldn't be hard to believe when you realize that some dudes are ready to fight when they feel they've been tricked by a trans women.
How Much Does He Talk About Gay Stuff?
We learn more about someone as we spend more meaningful time around them. If something is a major part of your life, you're more likely to talk about it. Regardless of how feminine or forward towards straight men he might be, he may still be deep in the gay lifestyle, news, and drama. It is a minority community, after all.
I've personally tackled many LGBT topics in my blog that undoubtedly bother the homophobic folks:
- Gay Veterans get-togethers
- Homosexuality as a mental illness
- Trans dating
If the answers to any of these questions make a Black man uncomfortable, this can lead to him expressing blatant disrespect or varying degrees of gay hate crimes. The results might end up circulating across Worldstarhiphop.com, "Black YouTube," and even mainstream news.
Again, because I'm not heterosexual, I'm very interested in any feedback regarding this topic. It is one of many questions we should discuss more.
Thanks for reading.