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9 comments | Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Forget Monday Night Football as of last week the night officially belongs to the new gay basketball reality seriesShirts & Skins" on LOGO. After a somewhat lackluster premiere episode the boys are turning up the heat on and off the court in episode 2.

They pick up where the first episode left off with more of Swing Man and Beyonce impressionist Jamel's antics and self-loathing, but thankfully he doesn't dominate the entire episode with his idiotic views of homosexuality being a choice and his wavering position on his own sexual identity. I really want to like Jamel, but I'm finding it extremely difficult to watch him queen out constantly and in the next breath deny the obvious.

In preparation for the Gay Games and an upcoming challenge against ABA team The Rumble, The Rockdogs enlist the professional advice of former NBA athlete John Amaechi who is also openly gay. Amaechi who is now a licensed psychologist talked basketball but also served as a life coach in one of the most moving scenes of this episode involving the potential massive influence of The Rockdogs and the coming out process for 22 year old Mike.

In this scene Mike's vulnerability is evident as he addresses his fears of losing loved ones once they find out about his sexuality. A common fear that many gay men deal with and a major reason why many black gay men choose to remain closeted while simultaneously sacrificing their authenticity. The way John Amaechi handled this sensitive subject was wonderful and I think should be viewed by anyone struggling to come to terms with who they are. It also helped that Mike's teammates assured him that they would be there as a surrogate family in the event that others left him . Isn't that what we gays do? If we face rejection from one family we just create our own.

The second episode comes to a close as the guys whip some straight boys on the court in a pick up game in the neighborhood, team member Chris releases some sexual frustration with a late-night visitor caught on camera and the boys plan a fashion show to raise funds for their trip to the Gay Games. This last scene and the reaction from their manager "Papa Joe" left me feeling a little perplexed. Was I the only person who thought he was overreacting? Well I guess we'll have to tune in next week to see what happens next. I'm convinced this show is like fine wine and will get even better over time.

If you missed episodes 1& 2 you can watch them in full below.

Shirts & Skins Episode 1

Shirts & Skins Episode 2


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I think the show will get better. I enjoyed the second episode.

September 23, 2008 11:17 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I enjoyed the firsst episode. I liked Jamal's candid response to the choice issue. Unfortunately I know a few gay men who think the same.

I of course taped the second episode and will be watching it tonight.

September 23, 2008 2:39 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I would say that a full one-third of the gay men that I know believe that "being gay" is a choice. So, Darian, are all these guys idiots? I know they're not.
Personally, I am offended at the lack of tolerance you show toward these men. On one hand, you preach tolerance and acceptance and, on the other hand, you slam other men for their beliefs. Which is it? Freedom is about letting others be free. Ridicule is about putting others in bondage to our way of thinking.

September 23, 2008 3:33 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have to agree with Darian- the idea that being gay is a choice is silly. Do you really believe jamal can "choose" to be straight? No. Sexual BEHAVIOR is a choice. You can choose to sleep with women if you want, but that doesn't mean your sexual attraction for men will go away. It's simply called denial. As difficult as it is being a gay men in this society, believe me if it were truly a choice, I'd choose straight in a heartbeat.

September 23, 2008 3:47 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...


Thank you for your comment. Please forgive me for not being politically correct in my response but if the gay men you know admit to "choosing" their homosexuality then yes dear they are idiots. If you haven't noticed being gay in this country doesn't come with a grand prize of acceptance and tolerance. On the other hand it does come with hardship, religious bigotry, discrimination, and in some cases modern day lynchings in the form of hate crimes.

So if Jamel and the gay men you know have willingly taken it upon themselves to carry what some may view as the "burden of homosexuality" when in actuality they're really heterosexual (which I doubt) where is the logic behind their decision?

I've written about this topic many times on my site over the past couple of years. For more insight please feel free to read this post : http://loldarian.blogspot.com/2006/10/why-i-chose-to-be-black-gay-in-america.html


September 23, 2008 3:47 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I did enjoy the second episode a little more. I have to agree with Darian and others. I too have struggled with sexuality for years being from a Pentecostal church and all. I've just recently had this discussion with others as well. It's not a choice at all. I did all the crying and praying and fasting and dancing and shouting I could get rid myself of this " gay spirit" I couldn't because it is who I am. I can make the choice to not to have sex with a man but I will always be gay. I think as was discussed in the second episode, we may make the choice not to have sex but that doesn’t change the orientation. When I tried to live that way I was still attracted to men and not women. I tried to date women it wasn't me. I had no choice. I only hope people realize the difference between the "sex" they have and who they have it with and their orientation. Keep up the good work Darian. Keep up the Fight.

September 24, 2008 11:57 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

It's interesting that the guy (Jamel) who thinks that being gay is a choice and the guy (Mike) who is terrified of losing his family and friends who supposedly have no clue that he's gay are both black. It's like the gay movement has passed most black gay men by.

There is a gulf separating the few black gay men who have absorbed the message of the gay movement ('gay is good'/being gay is an orientation, not a choice) and the majority of black gay men who still think, in 2008, that being gay is something horribly bad that should be kept hidden at all costs.

As a black gay man who believes that 'gay is good' and that being gay is an orientation and not a choice, I don't find too many black gay men who are entirely comfortable with me. I only have one life. I want to live it with someone who is as comfortable in his own skin as I am in mine (most of the time). I don't know how most black gay men managed to be left behind by the gay movement.

September 25, 2008 5:52 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I hate that the acceptance of me into popular culture hinges on whether or not I have "chosen" to be gay. To be honest, I don't understand why the answer to this question changes the relevance of me being accepted as an equal in society. But I know that it does. And that is a sad thing. Whether or not someone chooses to be with a woman or a male as a consenting adult is as relevant to me as whether someone chooses to be with a red head over a blonde. It doesn't.

For me it seems that what we are saying is that the only way it is ok for others to accept us is if they see us as being victims with no other options. "We have no choice,therefore, it's not our fault." To me that is a bad way to gain acceptance, because it is based in pity. I should have the same rights as everyone else because I am a citizen of this country who pays his taxes and am supposedly the legal equal of my peers and fellow citizens. It's nobodies business WHO I sleep with nor should that figure into the conversation. But yet again, I know that it does.

I don't beleive that my sexuality is a choice. But I have met and known many people whose choice of who they sleep with is directly related to past events in their lives, be it molestation, mental abuse, rape, convenience, or the belief that there are some things the same sex does better. Their are many who have chosen to engage in same sex activities, who are not gay. YES, it exists and we all KNOW it. But for me the question in these situations wasn't, are they really gay or not, it was, are they ultimately happy with the person they've chosen?

What dissappointed me the most in watching everyone gang up on Jamal was them trying to convince him of something because of their fear of how such a statement would affect the fight for equality. For all we've been through as a community and learned about having our feelings respected why do we seem to have such a hard time extending that same respect to others. I understand their fear and concern. But seeing their reaction looks too much to me like the same type of thing that was done to me by the religious community when they found out I was gay and tried to convince me that it was a choice and that it could be changed. I don't want us to turn into those people, because I know how damaging that can be.

September 27, 2008 11:06 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

mtykwan: Personally, I believe that I was born gay. I have NEVER had sex with a woman nor have I ever wanted to have sex with a woman. I have never kissed a woman romantically.

I'm not disagreeing with anything you've said but until gay rights and same-sex marriage rights are won, let's stick to the "party line" (if that's how you want to look at it) about being born gay versus choosing to be gay.

Please look at the BIG picture. Our rights, as a group of people who number in the millions, are more important than poor Jamal's (and other gays who think as he does) feelings.

September 27, 2008 2:54 PM


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