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7 comments | Thursday, February 12, 2009




This post was originally published on June 14, 2007.


June 14, 2007 will always be remembered as the day when prejudice, bigotry, and homophobia were put aside in Massachusetts and the landmark decision granting full marriage rights to same sex couples were upheld. After three years of marriage equality the world has not come to an end, divorce rates have not increased, and religious expression and freedom of speech have not been altered.


Since Massachusetts began performing gay unions thousands of people from all over the country have flocked their to have their unions legally recognized by the state. It seemed that every wedding photo or news story that came out of Massachusetts had the face of a white gay or lesbian couple. Initially I held out hope that I would see an African-American gay couple who were committing their lives to one another but that hope was quickly diminished. Instead over time I was left wondering if Black gays and lesbians were even interested in marriage equality or if it should be a non-issue with other pressing matters such as racism, lack of education, lack of health care, unemployment, and HIV/AIDS on our plate.


I've always been an advocate for marriage equality and I've never entertained the notion that I wouldn't be able to marry the love of my life simply because I'm gay...that simply just isn't an option for me.


The following e-mail from a gay male psychologist who just happens to be white turned up in my inbox one day and stirred up a number of different emotions in me from anger to...well more anger. This is what he had to say:


Is the right for two same gender- loving males to get married a black gay issue? No, it is not a black gay issue. I’ve noticed that black gay males for the most part do not desire to enter into monogamous relationships with any intent on a long term commitment. I believe as most black gay men believe that “they” are inherently unable to sustain or comprehend monogamous long- term relationships; therefore, they should not try to operate in a conduct that is not local to them. Black gay men have so much more to concern themselves with other than the right to get married. They can hardly get along long enough to even consider taking the momentous responsibility of marriage. All of the emotional issues that black men deal with in regards to personal relationships, friendships and family need to be resolved before marriage should even be thought of.


As in most areas, black gay men will eventually follow in the footsteps of white gay males. Although it may be years down the road, I do believe black gay men will find that the right to get married will be important to them. However, by that time it most likely will be a mute issue and as usual the in fighting and community turmoil will be the only obstacle.


Black gay men should resolve not to have to try and follow a white gay agenda. White gay men do not have, for the most part, the emotional and spiritual baggage that black gay men have. It would stand to reason that black gay men would have a much more difficult time addressing and embracing same sex rights issues with all of the internalized debate and doubt about their place and role in the general society. It appears very important to black gay men how they are perceived in the overall black community. With the inability to establish and maintain a cohesive and self sustaining black gay community I can see how important it is to them how they are perceived.


It is very apparent that the black gay community focuses on the sexuality of gayness first and the emotional secondary. I’m sure there will be an evolution of this hierarchy and in time it will change. I believe that once being gay means more than sex in the black community more strides will be made in the political arena. Black gay men do not feel reflected in any facet of America and that is mostly because they have no desire to be reflected. White gay men do desire to be reflected in the fabric of the country in which we profess loyalty to. Gay rights are only important to those who have embraced that they are gay. Black gay men have long denounced and rejected being termed/labeled gay. There is an identity crisis in the black gay community that most be addressed prior to taking a stand on any issue.


In conclusion gay marriage is NOT an issue for black gay males, not right now. It can not be an issue for them because they don’t want it to be. If black gay men thought committed monogamous relationships were important then the right to get married would be important. White gay men have a sense of completion and wholeness that encourage us to seek equality under the law that encourages us to fight for and establish what we believe in. If you do not believe you deserve a right then you will not seek such equality.


Initially I wanted to respond to each misguided and uninformed statement this person(who only went by the initials PTW in his e-mail) made in reference to Black gay men, but I simply don't have all day nor do I have the patience to educate a gay white man on the realities of living and loving while you're Black and gay in America. It frightens me that he's a psychologist.


I would like to bring five points that he attempted to make in his e-mail for you to ponder.


1.Black gay men do not want monogamous relationships.


2. We are unable to sustain monogamous relationships.


3. We can hardly get along with each other.


4. We are unable to maintain a cohesive and self-sustaining gay community.


5. We focus on the sexuality of our gayness first and the emotional connection second.


All I can say is this is spoken by a person on the outside looking in who has no clue about how Black gay men live and what we contribute and expect from our relationships. When did having white gay privilege give anyone the right to speak for an entire group of people? I'm not going to go any further, but I do feel the need to re-visit this post .

7 Comments:

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Poor white gay men...feeling like he knows something about the black gay community and then had the audacity to put his white male counterparts over others. Talk about prejudice all over again.

Who knows how many others are following this twist pyschology. While there are many black gay youth who need alot of growing up to do, they dont account for those black gay men who seek marriage. But some of the issues he mention do exist though but he didnt say them to support the black gay man's cause.

February 12, 2009 11:23 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I don't know why some white gays have to make everything color related. People are people, regardless of their pigment. This inability to be monogamous, inability to get along, focus on sexuality rather than an emotional connection plague BOTH white and Black gay communities. How foolish for this PTW to think otherwise. He is a psychologist, yet he does not know how ignorant it is to stereotype and generalize? A PURE CACKLE!

I for one believe being gay to be more than some quick semen session and a Gucci horsebit boot, I believe in monogamy, I get along with other sensible gays, and I am BLACK. However, I AM NOT SURPRISED. MANY white gays feel this way. You would think since we are all gay, we would be able to find some common ground that transcends racial barriers. NO LUCK!

February 12, 2009 12:33 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Wow! I remember this posting. It's a shame that people do feel the he does. I will use an example: Last year when California repealed Proposition 8, I had just moved to D.C. On the Red line there were protesters... Like I do, I started a conversation with this guy about Prop 8 Because he had a sign. Well, I stated that I was a native of Los Angeles and although I'm in D.C. I would like to protest along with them. He and his group looked at me...rolled their eyes... and got off the train. I stood there with this look on my my face that must have read "Why did you spit on me?" Because I was stuck for a minute. I sat down in a nearby seat and thought about it...."Where are us (Black folk) at in this picture?" "Do they even want us to march beside them?" and the questions kept coming.

Well, afterwhile I started seeing magazine covers, newspaper articles, and online content, and saw none of our people (Same gender-loving black men/women) with them. I was saddened. Only because i knew we were represented but I guess the white men/women out numbered us. But I know one thing, that guy I met on the train and his group has been all over the place and I see his face everytime i read an article on prop 8 demonstrations here in D.C.

Next I heard.... They are comparing this issue to black civil rights issues. Thats a blog in itself. Unfortunately, we are not united as one. It's tragic that we are looked at as the darkness of the gay world (AIDS/HIV, DL, Uneducated, unable to carry a monogomous relationship, Ghetto,etc.) America still has race issues no matter which way we look at it. We've come a long way and still got much further to go.

February 12, 2009 2:23 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I'll try to take your points one by one. Hope it's not too long.

1.Black gay men do not want monogamous relationships.

I don't think that is true as much as:

2. We are unable to sustain monogamous relationships.

I believe this is true. Among the black gay men I know (ranging from early 20s to late 50s), only two are in long term relationships, and they are both over 40 years old. Nobody around my age (33) has been in a relationship for at least 5 years. We spend lots of time on Adam 4 Adam, but as far as dating, have not been successful.

3. We can hardly get along with each other.

Depends ... subgroups of the community will always dislike each other .. femmes vs homothugs, DL vs out, activist types vs party boys, etc. I don't know if there is anything that the lgbt community agrees on.

I read the story earlier this week about those black gay men in Mississippi and HIV, and came away with a complete lack of ideas as what to do with people like that. Who in 2009 thinks they can't be infected? We have a long way to go.

4. We are unable to maintain a cohesive and self-sustaining gay community.

From my perspective, I do not see many self-sustaining black gay institutions or media. I am grateful for blogs, because I don't think there are any print magazines catering to the black gay community. The black gay community couldn't even agree on Noah's Arc's importance!

5. We focus on the sexuality of our gayness first and the emotional connection second.

Again, I look at the tendency to focus more on tricks and the social scene as opposed to examining the esteem issues that drive many of our choices. But those aren't as fun as the balls and such.

February 12, 2009 3:11 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Although the psychologist have a slight racial overtone,on the whole, I'm going have to agree with the psychologist.

1.Black gay men do not want monogamous relationships.
As one, I do disagree with the psychologist assertion. Who doesn't want a monogamous relationship?

2. We are unable to sustain monogamous relationships.
I think that being able to sustain a monogamous relationship depends on a to many factor besides emotional stability. For example,
black folks on the whole, have less wealth when compared to whites; thus, relationship may end due to economics reasons. Also, when a relationship goes astray we (blacks) typically don't have access to resources that can make relationship work.(e.g. Consulting)
3. We can hardly get along with each other.
Again this may be truth. But this may be more of an American thing as well. This country is weird in a sense that promote this type of individualism but that the same time our national culture place an emphasis on "fitting in" with the mainstream. I think in black gay culture reflects this aspect of American culture. Thus, this isn't only seen in the black gay community. (I don't like typing "black gay community" because one do not really exist, but I guess this the best way to refer to ourselves)

4. We are unable to maintain a cohesive and self-sustaining gay community.
This may be due to economic reasons than the lack of will. With me being so young I may be wrong.

5. We focus on the sexuality of our gayness first and the emotional connection second.
From my limited social circles that I observed. I think that this the case. But, I don't think this particular to the black gay lifestyle. I think our American culture on the whole places emphasis on material stuff, good looks, financial status, type of car one partner drives, eye color, etc. before on connection with one's partner.

However, I don't like how that the psychologist implies that the white gay agenda is something to follow when some white gays don't even bother to examine facts black gays, but solely relay on their racist perceptions about the black gay community.

February 12, 2009 8:06 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I think the white gay psychologist's take on the 'state of black gay men', if you will, was mostly on point.

1.Black gay men do not want monogamous relationships.



2. We are unable to sustain monogamous relationships.


Me: I will deal with points 1 & 2 together. Whether black gay men 'do not want' to have monogamous relationships or 'are unable to sustain' monogamous relationships is open for debate. The fact is that most of us aren't in monogamous realtionships. Keep in mind that there are exceptions to everything.


3. We can hardly get along with each other.

Me: Most of the black gay men I know do not have long-term partners. The black gay men (that I know or see 'out and about') who do have long-term partners usually (not always, but almost always) have white partners. I live in southwestern Ohio.


4. We are unable to maintain a cohesive and self-sustaining gay community.


Me: I second Anthony in Nashville on this one.

Additional Note: My Webster dictionary defines 'community' as "people with common interests LIVING IN A PARTICULAR AREA". Where in America are black gay men with common interests living in the same neighborhood? In other words, is there a black gayborhood in America? I am not aware of such a place. If anyone knows of such a place, please let me know.


5. We focus on the sexuality of our gayness first and the emotional connection second.

Me: I agree with Anthony in Nashville on this one as well.

Additional Note: I believe that gay men in general tend to focus on the sexual. However, most white gay men I know have a long-term partner because they have made this a priority. Most of them want to be part of a couple so they do what they need to do to make that happen. This may include having an "open" relationship, if necessary, to add 'excitement' and 'spice' to the primary relationship. Perhaps most of us (black gay men) are too jealous to have an "open" relationship. Most black gay relationships I've seen over the years have ended in bitterness, accusations, jealousy, recriminations, unrealistic expectations, financial problems, unmet emotional needs based on past trauma (especially sexual abuse during childhood), domestic violence, guilt, religion, homophobia, etc.

Note: I have found that many black gay men have been sexually abused during childhood. This means that many of us will never completely trust another human being (except their mothers, and maybe not even her). My ex-boyfriend was a sexual abuse survivor. I didn't find this out until after we broke up. There are so many unmet, unacknowledged emotional needs among us.

February 14, 2009 6:42 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Obviously the things he said can be true of many white gays, and utnrue of many black gays, but overall I think he DOES seem to have an understanding of the complexities of black homosexuality.

His letter does reek of white supremacy, but some of the statements he made were relevant, I'm looking at #5. When an entire HALF of a population suffers from HIV three decades after the disease surfaced, there's clearly a disconnect somewhere.

March 09, 2010 8:19 AM

 

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