Black Gay Men and Interracial Love
The Black Gay Athlete – Drunk In “Interracial” Love?
Ever since Michael Sam made his sexuality public knowledge, (notice I didn’t say “Came Out of the Closet”), Gay men and Black women were clamoring to know who is he dating or is he in a relationship. Then the “selfie” came out and gay Black men let out a disappointed; “Aww damn. Not another one”. One question then lit up the internet “Why is it when these Black athletes come out of the closet they got to hook up with White men?” I feel like this is spillage from the notion that once a Black male celebrity achieves a certain level of success; the next thing to do is obtain the ultimate status symbol. Not a Rolls Royce but a White lover or partner. Wait a minute though, what “Black gay athletes”?
Gay dudes make it sound like a gay Black athlete comes out of the closet every third Wednesday. In recent months and years, there have been a total of four (4) professional non-White major league athletes to publicly open up about their homosexuality; Orlando Cruz, Jason Collins, Darren Young and Michael Sam.
Orlando Cruz is married to Jose Manual; both are of Latino descent. Jason Collins was in a relationship with a White woman for about 7+ years. Darren Young is in a long term relationship with Nick Villa who is of Latino descent but what about the White man in the selfie with Michael Sam? He is Sean Smith of Illinois but keep in mind it was rumored that he was his boyfriend or that they once dated. By all accounts there is no proof that they’re currently together. Michael stated himself that he once dated a swimmer at one point while attending the University of Missouri but has not made any statements on his current personal love interests.
So out of the four professional athletes of color, two are dating or married to men of Latino descent, one was engaged to a White woman and another may have dated a White dude. This is what got Black gays in a tizzy? Now admittedly Orlando Cruz’s husband does look Caucasian in appearance and let’s not pretend there is not prejudice and racism in Latin America. You will be hard pressed to find a brown or dark complexion person/s on Telemundo. Once it was rumored that Michael Sam was (based on an unexplained picture) dating a White guy and all of a sudden Black gay men turned into Black women at beauty salons on a Saturday afternoon with a similar narrative to match. “Aint no good gay Black men out here; If they are they like them White mens”. Are the speculations around these athletes really the issue?
The Bigger Issue
When discussing this topic, many Black gay men state the problem is that there is not more examples of positive Black love, heterosexual or homosexual in mass media. It’s been said that you rarely see functional Black gay couples on network television, cable television and absolutely not on the big screen. Usually when there is a homosexual man of color on television who is dating or in a relationship, their partner is always a person of non-color. Understandably Black gay men want to see more representations of functional Black gay love. At the time of this article, there are no Black male same sex couples on network television and it’s been that way for years. Knowing that mass media can have an impact on the psyche, the visual lack of “us” is what caused me to write the fictional viral post Tyler Perry’s New Black Gay Sitcom “Tony and Dave”. In it I stated there are;
“…no positive examples to showcase who we really are. No examples to show other Black gays of what a secure, functional, stable, happy relationship looks like. No examples for the Black gay male youth to strive towards when it comes to what a positive gay long term relationship resembles.”
Is it possible on some level that the desire to see Black gay couples on television is not based in reality? There is a good reason why the overwhelming majority of television shows may be geared towards a White audience and why the writers, producers, directors and actors in these shows are predominately White. I’m sure it’s because the population of the United States is over 70% White. Also 1 in 5 or about 20% of same sex couples are interracial or inter-ethnic according to the Williams Institute research of Census data. So is it safe to draw a conclusion that because the population break-down within the United States is over 70% White, you will see less people of color on television, less same race couples on television and even less same race-same sex couples on television? Think about these numbers (again from the Williams Institute) there are about 3.7% of Black adults in the United States who identify as LGBT and there are about 84,000 Black same-sex couples in the United States. About 23,000 of those are male same sex couples. By the way, the estimated population of the United States is about 317 million. Understandably we could get into a back and forth about are these numbers accurate and Blacks not being honest or even replying to the Census; regardless based on these numbers, can we really expect the mainstream media to bend to our whims and wishes on displaying positive and uplifting Black gay same-sex couples?
Soap Box Time
We do need more visible positive examples of Black Gay couples but what about the ones we already have? Yes there are few in number but they are there. The main public identifiable Black Gay couple that comes to mind is the newlywed Gossfields (Deondray Gossett and Quincy LeNear). There is also Jamal Sims and Octavius Terry. They may be less visible but they are still very public in their relationship. Both couples were married at the televised ceremony at the 2014 Grammy Awards. Another example could be Gee Smalls and Juan Session. Honestly speaking, as a Black homosexual man in a long term relationship, I personally don’t know any interracial couples. All the other gay couples that I associate with are Black. Viewing the Williams Institute stats again, about 20% of same sex couples are interracial; which means about 80% of them are not.
How about we recognized and appreciate what’s at hand instead waiting on the mainstream media to properly appreciate and portray us positively? Speaking of the mainstream media, why aren’t we demanding or taking BET, TV One, Telemundo and other networks for people of color to task for not having more positive images of Black Gay and Hispanic couples? Homosexual people of color make up a LARGE portion of the entertainment industry at ALL levels. More importantly why aren’t LGBT people of color holding LGBT content creators to HIGHER standards when it comes to portraying progressive, functional non-stereotypical homosexuals of color in Gay web series and films, instead of the cesspool, run of the mill, mediocrity that we currently have? Bottom line; how can we expect the White centric American television mainstream to portray and respect us when we can barely respect ourselves?
As a melanin challenged individual with patriarchal roots in America’s Deep South, I know my blood has been diluted with the blood of “massah”. Even though I’m not the direct off spring of interracial parents the President of the United States is a direct off spring of a White mother and African father. If I can be proud of this man, his position, his accomplishments and his beautiful family, then I have to be careful with my words concerning interracial coupling. Curious thought; since President Obama is biracial could his marriage be considered interracial?
As a Black man who is sexually attracted to men, I would love to see more couples in the mainstream media that look like my relationship. Why wouldn’t I? It would be relatable to my personal reality and experiences but the burden of making sure Black gay love is properly represented by the mainstream should not be the responsibility of a hand full of Black gay athletes and it damn sure should not be the responsibility of White America. It’s the responsibility of Black Homosexuals.