Years after JL King went on Oprah to inform the world about this old but new phenomenon called "The DL", people are still talking about it, and my question is why?
Last night at Spelman College I had the opportunity to accompany my friend
Jonathan Perry to a town hall forum on which he was a panelist to discuss the effects of down low behavior on black women.
The event started with a powerful power point presentation that included alarming statistics for new HIV/AIDS infection rates among black women, research of a "gay gene", and believe it or not shots of Noah and Wade from Noah's Arc embracing each other. I wish you could have seen the reaction from the audience when these images flashed across the screen. My first clue that although Atlanta is progressive, it's still the south.
Once again black gay men were demonized as irresponsible men who were intentionally infecting their wives and girlfriends.
I'm personally sick of discussing The DL, it's just another cover up to a much bigger problem. Are there men who are living double lives ? Yes. But no one is asking why these men are not comfortable enough to talk about their same sex desires, or their HIV status? Have we created an enviroment where a brotha feels comfortable enough to come out and disclose his sexuality or his HIV status? I think not.
When are we going to stop allowing religion to influence every decision we make in the black community and "man" up and tackle these crucial issues head on?
The viewpoints of the panelists were all over the place. We had the woman who had been living with HIV for 20 years, the minister who was STILL living in the civil rights era, the brotha who became the unwanted comic relief for such an emotionally charged issue( I wanted to kick him for some of the stuff that came out of his mouth !), Jonathan, another woman who spoke very little but when she did she at least made sense, and an experienced psychologist.
I could go on and on about the misinformation or lack thereof my people have been fed for years about gay men and HIV/AIDS but there's simply not enough time in the day. Go to Jonathan's blog and read his thoughts.
However, I would like to share with you this hot mess that I came across on youtube the other day. It's a sad attempt at HIV prevention. What were they thinking?