Here on Cypher Avenue we often get into long discussions on being masculine and homosexual in a gay niche culture that celebrates femininity. Over the years we’ve been very good about removing hate speech directed towards effeminate men and scolding the offenders. That doesn’t mean we stray away from having the discussion.
We have never claimed that being a feminine homosexual makes anyone “less than a man” or unwanted in the gay culture. Our repeated desire has always been for more equal representation of both feminine and masculine gay men, especially those of color. Also, we wanted gay men of all types to know that it was okay to not fit in with mainstream gay culture. It was okay to like cars, sports and comic books over fashion, reality shows and Beyonce.
Some of us Homosexuals are just not into the ballroom scene, throwing shade, sipping tea, etc. Its cool that those things interest some, but what about the rest of us? Why are we (masculine gay men with more testosterone based interests) only depicted as lustful objects of sexual desire in gay books, gay films and gay web series? Not depicted as real human beings with real lives and struggles?
Then came Jason Collins, Michael Sam, Derrick Gordon (and even Frank Ocean…sorta) to show not only the gay community but also the world that black gay men can be more than just the fabulous flamboyant hairdresser stereotype they were accustomed to seeing on television.
Based on many comments posted on blogs, Facebook and Twitter, this was a threat. This seemed to prove that “The Black Man” was under attack by some unseen entity (The White Man? Ultron? The latest iTunes update?!) to strip away his masculinity.
*Insert Record Scratch Here*
No, that’s why this website exists…to demonstrate that being gay does not automatically mean “less masculine”, “less manly” or “emasculated.”
But to some (ie: bigoted black heterosexuals), anything less than being a straight black man makes you damaged goods, especially if you are both gay and effeminate.
Case in point, the new trailer for Oxygen’s The Prancing Elites Project just dropped recently.
These 50-seconds caused many Black Heterosexuals to go bat-shit-crazy in outrage and conspiracy theories.
This nikka got over 3,500 likes, 2,100 shares and 1,700 comments off that statement….edited statement at that, so who knows how much he cleaned it up from his original thoughts. The comments from others are very common though.
True there are a couple very supportive folks in there sharing opinions about the issue, but overwhelmingly throughout the thread there are very disturbing and ignorant comments posted. Many of them parents of young children themselves. [Editors Note: The thread is posted publicly on Facebook HERE for your own viewing.]
So, according to these nut jobs, The Prancing Elites Project is part of an elaborate secret mission created by some unseen entity (Liberal Media? Obamacare? Joffrey Baratheon?!) to eradicate the masculine black man? But for what purpose?
Reading comments like these and others across the web, I am reminded of a scene from director Yoruba Richen’s excellent documentary “The New Black” in which a room full of black men gather at a family dinner and the topic of homosexuality comes up.
“Being gay is not contagious,” says one of the men after an elder voices concern about gays negatively influencing children. “No one can make a child gay.”
Another man chimes in, “The Heterosexual influence, especially in this culture and society, is a million times stronger than the Homosexual influence.”
While these statements are oozing in common sense, many black heterosexuals turn a blind ear to logic when it comes to what they perceive as being “normal.” Even if that “normality” includes womanizing, domestic violence and being a deadbeat father to multiple unclaimed children. As long as they’re not emasculated by Homosexuality, they’re okay.
This is akin to law-abiding, tax paying Atheist being looked at by Christians as lesser than convicted murderers who get Born Again in prison…As long as they’re not non-believers and have accepted Christ, they’re okay.
This relates to my (slight) beef with writer Michael Arceneaux’s essay over at Complex.com where he states that, “Black People Are Not More Homophobic Than Everyone Else.” He goes on to quote stats and figures and make statements like this:
As opposed to other communities where tolerance for the LGBT community is remarkably higher? Blacks are not the X-Men of anti-gay bigotry. We don’t have some superior level of homophobia compared to other groups.
First of all, props to him for using a comic book reference in an attempt to make his point, I’ve done it once in this essay as well.
Secondly: Huh, Whut?!
Granted, I’ll agree that non-black communities still have tons of homophobia. However, what Michael Arceneaux failed to do was to consider real life anecdotal stories in his opinion, over merely quoting stats and facts. What a black person tells a pollster is different than what happens in the homes of many black families and churches.
There is a reason why Atlanta, a city called The Black Gay Mecca is not as “free” as a gay city like San Francisco. Homosexuality (and open displays of that homosexuality) still looked down upon in the city, especially by the black church going residents.
Also, let’s not forget about young Brandon White, an openly gay black man who was physically attacked in Atlanta (the supposed Gay Black Mecca) by multiple black men as they spurred homophobic slurs while another filmed the incident.
Based on what we’ve seen on social media, it would appear that homophobia, the teaching of homophobia to children and the defending of homophobic statements/people is contagious, not the Homosexuality itself.
Men come in all shapes, sizes and types. Some are masculine, some are effeminate, some are straight, some are bisexual and some are gay. But they are still MEN. That is…unless they identify as another gender altogether…which is a long conversation for another time.