For some black gay men our existence correlates to the emphasis lyrics sung in the broadway musical turned movie “Annie”:
“It’s the hard-knock life for us/It’s the hard-knock life for us/’Steada treated, we get tricked/’Steada kisses, we get kicked”
We are thought to be only worth doing make-up, styling others and trending the latest fashions. We “all” say “SLAY“, “YAUS BITCH“, “SHADE” and “READ.” We “all” love not only doing make-up but wearing it too. It’s customary to greet our fellow cohorts with a finger snap and air kisses. We’re the reason HIV/AIDS is even a thing. We always wear something ostentatious and flamboyant. After all, we are faggots and it is our duty to let you know “WE’RE HERE! WE’RE QUEER! GET USE TO IT!” *eye roll*
The Break Down
At the core of a black gay man is a human. A human whom more than likely has traveled their life on fairly lonesome roads. Some have been abandoned by those who were thought to always give unconditional love. Birthed by parents with deep roots to tradition and do not believe nor accept homosexuality. Left alone to battle dark thoughts and consumed with the notion that nothing they do will ever be good enough. Their led to believe their existence is invalid and unworthy of mention. Some of us come up missing and hardly anyone gives it any thought. We get murdered and it (most of the time) gets swept under the rug. We kill ourselves because that seems to be the only result the dismay world we reside in has shown to be the best route.
These are (of course) all things on a spectrum within the community known as the black gay community but that does not negate that this has and is currently a reality for some. Conversely I’ll say not all individuals are homophobic. This is not for those who stand up for equality but those who continue to bestow dated gender norms on others and negativity dictate, unrightfully, the lives of others they don’t even understand nor wish to. Those who do not include (rather they verbally say it or not) black gay and transgender individuals as an aspect of Black Lives Matter. While the media may have some instances of accurate portrayls of members of the black gay community there are also those whom rarely grace the spotlight. Educators. Authors. Lawyers. Doctors. Politicians. Philanthropist. Moguls. BOSSES!
I find it quite perplexing that beyond the quite abundant and common disdain for gay men, particularly from other black individuals (in my experience and observation), heterosexual individuals CERTAINLY LOVE being in our business. Dictating how we should act, dress, and exist. If it’s not telling transgender individuals what bathroom to use, it’s telling us what we can’t wear (Man Rompers, Tank Tops, Make-up, Crop Tops… just to name a few). We often get accused of having some “agenda” that wishes to turn every straight man gay. Mind you, these are some of the same straight men that walk around (knowingly and willingly) with their underwear showing, showcasing their gluteus, that are saying this.
I myself have been instructed of what a “real man” should act like: no crying, no limp wrist, no being emotional, no pink anything, and pretty much being the stereotypical societal gender norm. I looked around in my community and noticed how many black men had several kids with different mothers, or rather sell drugs than work at McDonald’s. I looked around and seen how many black men rather spend two hundred dollars on Jordan’s or buying heavy gold chains and other jewelry versus putting two hundred dollars in their savings account or working towards becoming and embodying black excellence to further assist their fellow brothers and sisters to create a better community.
You see we all have our faults right? We’re all human right? We’ve all been judged before right? How can someone soundly justify being an oppressed oppressor? How can they have generations of oppression in their DNA yet feel so entitled to instruct others how they should live? Are black gay men truly the problem? Are “we” truly on a quest to emasculate our black straight brothers or is the lack of others knowledge regarding the ability to exist outside of the gender binary the problem? Is it that individuals merely should be concerned with their own home?
The Wrap Up
A man to me is a man regardless of the color of his skin. He’s not defined by society and doesn’t focus on the standard but focuses on changing and becoming the NEW standard. He decides to take a different path while many follow the same. He is not a product of his environment in a negative regard. He’s not manufactured. He’s born, cultivated, and formulates how he can be a better individual to those who he cares for. We all have different backgrounds and a different path, but that’s what I would assume everyone would find the beauty in: being different. Having that diversity in which we can potentially learn great things from. It is exasperating that we are even having this dialogue about WHY we, why I, deserve to exist to begin with. In 2017. If there is any agenda I’m inclined to believe it’s one of acceptance and diversity: to be respectfully acknowledged as equals. To not have to constantly defend our existence and why we are not a threat to straight black men or the black community. Just let us live. Everyone deserves that much out of life.
- Alex N. Wanderland