THE INESTIMABLE VALUE, CHALLENGE AND PROMISE OF INTERRACIAL GAY COUPLES…
I recently read an article written by a black gay writer that appeared to convey a shocking misunderstanding of the nature and significance of biracial gay couples. It appeared that the author was frustrated because he did not have a basic understanding not only of the nature of the media but of the culture of gay black and bisexual men in general and he clearly had not done his homework before writing his article for the Washington Blade. While this article points out a very clearly observable social media pattern regarding coverage of black gay celebrities coming out with white partners it only documents what is readily available, i.e. if there were black gay celebrities coming out with black partners who were not getting the same level of media coverage we would have a more, “Black And White” issue. However that is not the case! To the contrary, black gay celebrities are not publicly coming out with their black partners visibly by their side. Many black celebrities are in fact coming out but apparently what the black gay community wants to see is a coming out with them embracing their black lovers. These black celebrities do have a right to keep the identity of their loved ones private whether they are black, white or of another ethnicity. So what is the media to do; should it ignore their right to privacy and launch a campaign to out them in order to fulfill a need in the black gay community to see more coupled black gay celebrities in the limelight? Knowing how important it is for the fragile self-image of many black gays to see themselves mirrored in popular culture and to also see gay couples who look like themselves one has to feel the deep urgency for popular figures to respond to this obvious void in popular culture. Without a doubt there are many black gay celebrity couples out there many of whom have in fact come out to the public in ways that have not been widely publicized or that have been forgotten behind the ever changing wake of popular media. Let us ask the question, is it the responsibility of black gay celebrity couples to make their most intimate affairs known to the world and is it fair for them to be coerced into compliance by an unknown public living vicariously through them. This is a critical question that the non-celebrity gay black community must thoroughly examine asking itself if it really wants to live vicariously through celebrities or if it should adopt a more grass roots approach focusing on those couples accessible right in their communities, down the street, around the corner and next door?
In a country that is so racially biased I must warn against extending that racial nonsense to the gay community, let it die, let it go because it truly has no place in a community of men and women who are themselves fighting a hugely monumental civil rights battle to establish their rights as American citizens.
I know where that story originated. It came from the hidden recesses of the human psyche, from the homophobia and latent racial tensions of a people only recently liberated from enslavement. That story came from the inability to unilaterally appreciate human love wherever it is and celebrate it with the understanding that it is a truly rare and elusive thing. That story came from a yearning assumed to have been denied and a mind limited to that which it knows. That story did not come from the mind of an enlightened man and that is why I wrote this story in order to proclaim that which is true and most beneficial to humanity… there is no harm or evil to interracial relationships and they represent the ability to two human beings to set aside the prejudices of men in order to explore the fundamental meaning of love and life itself! The dynamic of black gay celebrities dating outside of their race is merely a smokescreen for the author of that article who completely missed the real problem smoldering at the heart of the black community itself! It is my opinion that he was in denial with his own racism as is the black community at large.
It is the business of the media to capture a story but if there is no story to capture we have to look deeper into the nature of the imagery that eludes our desire. This is where the pathos of the self-induced, American sexual naivety and buffoonery begins to kick in. America’s black celebrities comprise a relatively small community whose comings, goings and doings are certainly known by the black gay community who chooses not to acknowledge it largely because of its pathological obsession with a fundamental misunderstanding of DL culture. This “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” pathology is a misfit pattern eroding positive self-actualization that has enabled a culture of denial, fear and guilt among black gay, DL and bisexual men including interracially open black men and prevented them from gaining the respect and political empowerment they ultimately fear they will be denied on both ends of the racial see-saw.
Because a universally socially embraced out gay culture is the most egalitarian and inclusive end of human culture one has to wonder why so many men still choose to live in closets that no longer exist. By right they may choose to live under any self-imposed duress, in some ways this can be intuited as an expression of personal freedom. Frederick Douglass married a white woman after his first Black American wife died in the late 1800’s well after the Civil War had been fought and won. It is certain that he understood the social implications of his marriage but because of his convictions to the higher cause of human equality he unflinchingly set the ultimate example of racial tolerance and unity. In the light of Frederick Douglass’ valour as a freedom fighter on can only hope those who remain chained to their fears and doubts can someday be inspired to liberate themselves.
Men who choose to live sequestered in closets of their own artifice must answer to their own sense of social responsibility and should be exempt from the judgments of those who selflessly strive for freedoms of all. These romanticized self-condemned prisoners can only free themselves but it may be they find fulfillment in what others view as thralldom. I shall not delve into the alleged but unsubstantiated masochistic nature of the grossly misunderstood DL subculture nor the sadistic nature of equally misunderstood mainstream out gay and fully familiar straight culture regarding the bonfire of fear, guilt and hatred that follows the realm of homosexuality in general and the DL lifestyle in specific but I will say that it is a formidable labyrinth that continues to beguile twenty-first century humans in their quest to evolve human peace, social, racial and cultural homogeneity. For out and self-actualized gay black and for Many DL men however, It is almost as if they are courting a death wish by celebrating the caustic side of DL culture which is most certainly their own antithesis. The black gay and bisexual community has allowed the media to demonize DL culture, blowing it out of proportion and focusing only on the most aberrant aspects ignoring the many DL men who enjoy a rich and fulfilling life in and out of relationships with other DL men. The black gay community has always been aware of the DL celebrities’ hidden lifestyles, having slept with them but it remains selectively apathetic because of its sexual attraction to the caustic side of the DL community, to the taboo and unobtainable exclusivity of a potential sexual encounter with the objects of their most cryptic but fundamentally unrealistic fantasies.
Many black gay men are insatiably addicted to the “Outlaw” and the mythic lifestyle he lives. The outlaw is a male persona who has been glamorized in Black American culture since the days of slavery for many reasons including our oppression and disenfranchisement. The outlaw is a hero to many simply because he challenges the status quo set by the same white men who freely defy the very laws they have set for others to follow. These renegades include those black men who explore interracial relationships because mutual love between white men and women has been traditionally frowned upon but since it clearly has occurred media has downplayed it by treating it as purely sexual, erotic, an act of pure lust without any decency, beauty or quality of true love and human compassion. Black men who are renegades acting outside of polite social norms have been raised to the standard of gods by the Hip-Hop and Rap culture that glorifies ghetto and prison culture as a whole and is uniquely open to interracial relationships whether merely as an act of defiance or an expression of forbidden truth. Therefore, black gay men who live as homosexuals and bisexuals but refuse to come out whether in defiance or apathy are commonly viewed as part of this culture of social outlaws.
Unfortunately many black and white gay and men who desire profoundly sexually closeted black men are in complete denial about the realities of a lifestyle spent in hiding, sharing intimacies in sworn secrecy with passions and love that can only be consummated in the dark recesses of human existence. They seek out the extreme from the vast range of the DL culture targeting the most hardcore which they have affectionately called, “Trade” or “Block Boys”, etc. We of course must recognize their freedom to choose from within this population as well because if this conversation has taught us anything it about respect for individual freedom…
The alternative to the closeted black gay man is of course gay marriage or a very visible, public intimacy with another man. Gay marriage is personified into the form of pure poison by those who condemn it. To many, including some DL and openly gay men gay marriage is feared above all things because it would mean finally coming to terms with who they are and putting to the test whether their inherent sense of worth and manhood is stronger than their desire to be valued in the eyes of others. Likewise, a black man whether gay, bisexual or straight must also come out with is desire to date outside of his race. The challenge for the black community is to transform their biased image of gay and bisexual relationships in general from that of a foppish, freaky, racially regressive, unmanly circus replete with all the stereotypes into what it really is, a normal human relationship capable of the same love and sensitivity of a heterosexual relationship. This means black gay, bisexual and DL men will have to evolve themselves even more to comprehend the trouble with the idea that real men just do the damn thing and keep it movin… and find the solution to inform them what real men truly do in the face of sex, love and relationships with another man and with someone from another race…
The other problem is that nearly everyone misunderstands the nature of the DL gay and bisexual community. Many people automatically assume that because DL men choose not to identify with the gay out movement they do not cultivate meaningful, compassionate and functional, long-term relationships. Most people are unaware that men who secretly date interracially because they fear the repercussions of both white and black communities fall into a subcategory of DL culture. Virtually everyone is trying to force them into qualification by taking sides to live life as either openly gay or openly straight or bisexual or by dating exclusively with one race or another. Furthermore society easily clings to stereotypes of DL men gathered from biased programming and literature focused more on ratings and sales than on truly understanding the nature of an entirely diverse lifestyle. If identified, many DL men will attest to having established long-term relationships of many decades for many years before gay marriage was ever thought about; just what do you think gay men did 100 years ago when gay marriage was not an option but gay love was a reality? The number of interracial couples that existed prior to and after the abolition of slavery in America will probably never be known because they were kept on the DL. When the word DL is spoken American’s automatically shift into Jerry Springer mode recalling some emotional but probably unverified testimony of a woman scorned who accused her man of sexing and loving with disastrous outcomes such as HIV or divorce. Every DL man is not married to, living with or involved with a woman; many DL men are living life just as out gay men are except they keep it on the down low because they are private people. How did we come to miss this entirely enormous community of DL men? When one says DL people automatically think about a man cheating on a woman with another man in spite of the fact that a woman is not the qualifier for this lifestyle at all; it’s all about the other man! This of course does not mean that a gay or bisexual man does not have a responsibility to be open with a woman regarding his sexual preferences which he should do. Gay and bisexual black men who are intimately involved with women in some way comprise only a fraction of the DL community, they do not define it. We would all would do better to get on the bandwagon that accepts D.L. men for acting on their right to do whatever it is they desire to do with their lives as long as they act from a responsibility structure that has a strong ethical and moral foundation.
It is my intent to uncover the truth and as uncomfortable as may be for many to see it, to hold it up into the sane light of day. My responsibility as a writer is to mirror reality in the hope that it will positively change what others see when they look into it. Every straight, gay, DL and bisexual black man and woman understands the profound difficulty the black community has intelligently and objectively understanding anything dealing with the gay community or with interracial relationships in America. One should ask why anyone from the gay black community would be offended by an interracial, gay relationship. In my opinion any interracial, bisexual, gay or straight relationship demonstrates that the difficult task of racial harmony has been pushed forward a thousand paces. It is hard enough for two black gay men form a union so I can only imagine how difficult an interracial gay relationship would be… so I applaud each and every one, gay and straight because what it is that they truly represent is the ability of human beings to see beyond race, sex and the biases of traditional society in order to move human history forward in a positive direction…
Written by Bigdaddy Blues