Two Black Gay Lives in Japan

Discussion in 'Group Discussions' started by Jaa, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. Jaa

    Jaa
    The 100 Daps Club

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2015
    Messages:
    395
    Daps Received:
    665
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    USA
    The article's title is a line from the article--'Being black can be more fun than being gay'--but the heart of the article is a look at a couple of black gay lives in Japan. A guy writing about the black experience was asked about its LGBT community and spoke with two Tokyo-based American black gay males about their experiences, a 23-year-old high school teacher (and Youtuber) and a 47-year-old entrepreneur and activist. The article touches on some universal themes like fetishization, racism, some (Japanese) men dressing in ways that aren't traditionally masculine, sexual health, the draw of living internationally, and seeking fellowship among black gay men. Here's an excerpt and there's a link to the full article below.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    ‘Being black can be more fun than being gay’
    BY BAYE MCNEIL

    Last year a friend of mine asked me, since I’ve been chronicling the black experience in Japan, when I would get around to writing about the experience of black people in the LGBT community here. “We’re a minority of a minority of a minority,” he’d said.

    I told him I was on it, but I wanted to do it right. What I meant by that was, I wanted to find the right voices from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community — people who were fully knowledgeable, representative and well-spoken as well as outspoken. And, fortunately, in my travels, I’ve come to know two such gentlemen. Though both are situated in Tokyo, they are from different generations and their tenures here in Japan are vastly different, so I was able to get some fairly disparate perspectives.

    The first, a man by the name of Darien Alexander Williams, I met for the first time quite recently. He attended a Kwanzaa event I held in Yokohama last month. He’s a 23-year-old high school teacher from North Florida and has been living in Tokyo since August 2014.

    “I came out when I was 14,” Williams says, “so virtually everyone in my life knows I’m gay. But things kinda changed a bit when I first came here. In America I was really confident and I didn’t give a damn if people found it uncomfortable, because America is my cultural space as well. But coming here, the cultural differences kinda put you in a space so as to not be sure if being gay is something that’s OK to share. Japan is a relatively safe place to be, so there’s no fear of anything bad happening to me. But I never know if I’m being an awkward person or not, so my sexuality has been tricky to navigate within Japanese culture.”

    Williams is a blogger and has a YouTube channel where he discusses many aspects of black gay life in Japan, such as the fetishism he routinely experiences here.

    “I’ve found fetishization to be one of the realities of dating while black and gay in Japan. Some people use it to their advantage and some people will protest against it,” Williams explains. “Many gay scenes in Tokyo are very focused on types. When you meet people for the first time, usually one of the first questions they will ask is ‘What’s your type? What sort of guy do you like?’

    “There’s actually a glossary of gay terminology in Japan. There are words to describe if you’re into guys who are skinny, or bigger, or feminine, or macho, or bodybuilders … and a lot of people define their type as ‘black.’ That’s it, just ‘black,’ which ignores the whole spectrum of black humanity and all the variety and personalities that we have.”
    ---------------------------------------
    Read the rest here
     
    Cyrus-Brooks, SB3 and Dr. Strange dapped this.
  2. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub Fair Use Nigga....Fair Use
    Site Founder The 10000 Daps Club

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    6,074
    Daps Received:
    14,006
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The 4th Dimension Is MINE!
    From the article...
    “I was raised black and taught white, so I thought I need to learn yellow,” the Harvard grad says when asked why he’s here. “The U.S. education system is Europeanized, and the history is whitewashed so you don’t learn much about African-Americans and other non-European cultures. You don’t even learn about the native Americans — just that we kicked their asses: manifest destiny, ‘This land is our land’ and that kind of thing. So that was my first impetus to learn something outside of the European, Judeo-Christian matrix. I felt strongly this need to understand another whole side of the planet that we learned nothing about in school.”
     
    LeMignon, Cyrus-Brooks and Jaa dapped this.
  3. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub Fair Use Nigga....Fair Use
    Site Founder The 10000 Daps Club

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    6,074
    Daps Received:
    14,006
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The 4th Dimension Is MINE!
    If you listen to him talk...its almost as if his use of "gay euphemisms and fem slang" is distracting in his speech. It seems so out of place...it's weird.
     
    LeMignon and Jaa dapped this.
  4. Jaa

    Jaa
    The 100 Daps Club

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2015
    Messages:
    395
    Daps Received:
    665
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    USA
    The slang does sound a bit odd, at times. From what I've seen of him in the past, he strongly advocates being yourself, so maybe he just likes it or thinks it's fun or it's commonly used in his social circle. Aside from that, his general manner of speaking, mannerisms and vibe fall into that in-between space.
     
    OckyDub dapped this.
  5. ControlledXaos

    Squad Veteran Most Valuable Player The 1000 Daps Club

    Age:
    43
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2015
    Messages:
    2,487
    Daps Received:
    6,979
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Atlanna
    He couldn't even make it 30 seconds before using "gurl". I had to repeat because I thought he said something else.
     
  6. Dr. Strange

    Squad Leader The 100 Daps Club Supporter

    Age:
    31
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2015
    Messages:
    339
    Daps Received:
    563
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Orientation:
    Homosexual
    Dating:
    Single
    Here's two things I've watched before. One is about being gay in Japan:



    And this one isn't gay focused but this is a documentary of a some black peoples experiences in Japan:

     
    Cyrus-Brooks and Jaa dapped this.
  7. BlackguyExecutive

    BlackguyExecutive Charge D'Affaires
    Squad Leader Best Site Comments The 1000 Daps Club Supporter

    Age:
    33
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,021
    Daps Received:
    2,441
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    World Traveller
    Orientation:
    Gay
    Dating:
    Married
    This is interesting. As someone who has frequently lived abroad through my academic and professional life, I do believe that black gay American men have a completely different experience traveling the world especially in places like Europe and Southeast Asia. I do think there are a lot of instances of fetishism but I also think that a lot of men do have genuine interests is one's blackness, and Americaness. For example, as a 23 year old, I spent a year living in Geneva, Switzerland where I was an intern at the United States Mission to the United Nations there. In many ways, I was a star there, there was never a shortage of European men (black, white, whatever) that was interested in me. On my days off, I would frequently travel to Switzerland's border countries too, Germany, France, and Italy and in each of those places there were plenty of male suitors. The American accent works wonders in many ways.

    With respect to these guys, I think that commentary is poignant. The video that was posted is a bit weird because I think the commentary gets lost in his presentation of being "frank." I think the comments on not being sure how to respond to being gay in a foreign land is something that I work on each and every day. There are many places around the world that I would definitely use extreme caution. On the other hand, particularly in Europe that is not the case. I think there are drastic cultural differences between how European and Asian men interact with one another gay and straight than we get in the United States. I use to play the game, is he gay or just European all the time. I haven't lived in any Southeast Asian countries for any extended period of time to comment on gay culture with any real level of confidence but I think that what this guy and his partner are doing does have an effect of how Americans are perceived. I use to get upset when people I would meet couldn't fathom that I was black and American and a diplomat charged with protecting and promoting America's interests. I remember my first time crossing the border into Italy where I was awakened by 4 police officers with guns who thought that I was an illegal African refugee/immigrant. Thank god, I can speak Italian well enough to say, "don't shoot, I am American."

    There is a big world out there and the more representation we get to exchange with other cultures the more we become humanized especially as black and LGBT. I am preparing to depart to France for the next two years, which is a culture that has a long history with America and Americans but I also think that me and my husband will probably be able to shape perspectives as soon as the meet us because we don't look or talk like the average American diplomatic family and that is something that is worth a whole lot.

    View attachment 1395
     
    #7 BlackguyExecutive, Jan 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
    LeMignon, Discordant, OckyDub and 4 others dapped this.
  8. Jaa

    Jaa
    The 100 Daps Club

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2015
    Messages:
    395
    Daps Received:
    665
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    USA
    I saw a few of his videos years ago and don't recall much slang. Maybe it's a recent addition to his vocabulary.



    I browsed a few of his other videos and heard some interesting reflections on cultural differences and similarities and the role of perception. Here he says Japanese men are often drawn to his masculinity, sometimes even telling him things like he's a "huge, hulking man". He attributes this partially to his thicker body, height, beard (which people want to touch) and shaved head but mostly to the allure of the black man. Around 12:20, he basically says he was sexually versatile in America but, since coming to Japan, he's generally been a top because people seem to expect that role from him. It's funny because I'm pretty sure Americans would peg him as an average-sized, kind of butch queen based on his mannerisms and slightly lilting voice.



    In this one, around 2:15 he brings up an encounter with a white guy he sometimes encounters and mentions that several white men have asked him, "Are you a rice queen? Are you one of us?" So, in his experience, the fetishization often performed by American white men seems to have been transferred to the Japanese majority of his current home, while some white English speakers are willing to find solidarity with other races in their fetishization of Asian men. There's even a comment saying, "i notice this on grindr, like "looking for asians, or latinos, NO WHITES" which sounds like an Asian parody of a maligned American app/Craigslist post. While he seems bothered by these white guys' perception of Asian men and their seekers, he seems to give the Asian guys a pass because their vision of the exotic black male is more based on their lack of interaction, their invisibility and a kind of benign ignorance.

    Around the 12:15 mark, he talks about how he sometimes lets loose and vogues when out dancing with gay friends but moves and presents himself in a more subdued manner when with straight friends, noting that he also tends to do the latter when looking to attract other men because he gets more attention.

    There's also a really long comment by a self-proclaimed femme guy named Ryan Dunn stating, "I have found, though, that in hook up life, and not just the dance floor, I can either be my Actual Self or I can be this Neutral Other Person in order to reach certain goals and it's something that makes me pretty sad. I guess this also has to do with the type of guys you are trying to attract and what you're into. I feel like maybe if I was SUPER into guys that present similarly or more femme than me, it wouldn't be a conversation. but unfortunately..."

    I think there were a few interesting ideas here about the ways that that perception, assumptions and first impressions have upon how people treat one another. Also interesting to see people discuss the ways that they knowingly change their presentation in order to meet certain ends, and the discomfort that that can bring. They also seem to discuss these ideas without attacking anyone's stance along the masc/fem spectrum, just pointing out the peculiarities and complexities of how people see one another.
     
    #8 Jaa, Jan 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
    OckyDub dapped this.
  9. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub Fair Use Nigga....Fair Use
    Site Founder The 10000 Daps Club

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    6,074
    Daps Received:
    14,006
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The 4th Dimension Is MINE!
    @BlackguyExecutive said "I do think there are a lot of instances of fetishism but I also think that a lot of men do have genuine interests is one's blackness, and Americaness."

    In addition to agreeing with this statement, I have to be honest and say I absolutely wouldn't mind being fetishized by Asians while in Asian countries.
    :yeshrug:
     
  10. acessential

    Squad Leader Best Thread Creator The 1000 Daps Club

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2015
    Messages:
    624
    Daps Received:
    1,711
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Roaming
    I didn't really focus too much on his manner of speech. He had really good points in this video though. I like how he basically said stop worrying that Billy Bob doesn't like you and start focusing on the fact that black people are dying in the streets. 100% I agree.
     
    Jaa dapped this.
  11. Champagne Papi

    Champagne Papi is a Featured MemberChampagne Papi side-n*gga paralegal
    Most Comedic Player The 1000 Daps Club Best Gifs

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2015
    Messages:
    1,155
    Daps Received:
    2,444
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    [​IMG]

    Fetishising mostly likely always leads to something more.
     
Loading...
Similar Threads - Black Lives Japan Forum Date
A Young Artist and Disrupter Plants His Flag for Black Lives Race, Religion, Science and Politics May 6, 2018
Pepsi Pulls Ad; Accused of Trivializing Black Lives Matter Race, Religion, Science and Politics Apr 5, 2017
How a 1917 Houston riot echoes the black lives matter movement Race, Religion, Science and Politics Aug 26, 2016
Black Lives Data? Race, Religion, Science and Politics Jul 19, 2016
Rapper Kevin Gates Speaks On The Hypocrisy Of The Black Lives Matter Movement Race, Religion, Science and Politics Jul 16, 2016

Share This Page

Loading...