Monthly Archives: August 2010
As I sat at my computer today something told me to ask black gay men to share in their own words good reasons for coming out the closet. I wasn’t expecting much participation, but I was blown away by the responses and the honesty.
Here they are in their own words expressing why they thought it was a good reason to live their lives authentically and open.
“Put simply, I went by the old saying “What’s done in the dark will come to light”!” – neverbeen101, Burlington,
“the only thing i can think of is the freedom it allows
with you being true to yourself. no more lying, no more
needing to lie and all the other stuff that comes with guarding
your true identity.” – -im2real4u-, Lakeland, Florida
“a good reason is simply
so that u can live openly with yourself
and not have to pretend to be someone
ur not jus for the sake of “fitting in”…
to not have to live a double life and be stressed
out behind that double life…” – ariez0208, Dallas, Texas
“So you can finally & truly be yourself & show the world that it is okay to be different & if you don’t like it, that’s you, I’m still going to do me @ least that was my reason for doing it” – istan4males, Bucyrus, United States
“Comfort within one’s self.” – primaBUNNY, Tallahassee, Florida
“ONE GOOD REASON HMMM! IS TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THE REAL YOU, TO QUIT LIVING A LIE AND HIDING BEHIND FACADES!” – dat_boi_slam, Merrillville, Indiana
“to experience the freedom of living your life honestly…without fear of who you really are being seen. The freedom of living your ONLY life to the fullest. I think the thread of continuity that flows through the benefits is “FREEDOM”….and to help excel the movement for the generations after…but I think people need to come to these terms in their own time….after all, it is “their life”….” – morissette, Saint Louis, Missouri
“1. To say “NO” to oppression and ignorance.
2. Allowing yourself to live comfortably.
3. To help others struggling with their sexuality.
4. Adding to the presence of open and proud GLBT people.
5. Making the world a more diverse and beautiful place.” – kishikcm, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
“Well for me it was a
sense of relief.
I was comfortable in
my own skin.” – doug_funny, Detroit Michigan
“I could finally be myself!!!” – ae_boy123, Baltimore, Maryland
“I think a good reason is to free yourself from the fear of someone finding out or outing you!” – pushnthru, Louisville, Kentucky
“you get to be yourself u dont have to hide who u really are.
when i came out it wasn’t this sad hard thing
i just brought a dude home told my mom
n that was that…lolz
she wasn’t cool with it at first but she got over it
eventually.” – demetricaliboi, Oakland, United States
“TO FINALLY LEARN WHO U ARE AND TO ENJOY THAT.” – ilovecujo, Miami Gardens, Florida
I hope these testimonies from black gay men allow you to finally believe in you. And I would like to close this post with a lyric from R&B singer Monica’s song “Believing in Me,”
“Now I can’t believe the way it feels to finally be free.”
I just finished reading Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. I first heard about it when I watched Sister Act 2 as a little boy, and I was always interested in the book that Whoopi Goldberg (Sis. Mary Clarence) gave to Lauryn Hill (Rita Watson). After putting off reading the book for a long time I finally decided to research it and eventually read it. I will cherish the words of Rainer Maria Rilke and use them to guide my path going forward.
Almost all of his writing resonated with me but this quote in particular struck me at my core,
“Most people have (with the help of society) turned their solutions toward what is easy and toward the easiest side of the easy; but it is clear that we must trust in what is difficult; everything alive trusts in it, everything in Nature grows and defends itself any way it can and is spontaneously itself, tries to be itself at all costs and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must trust in what is difficult is a certainty that will never abandon us. That something is difficult must be one more reason for us to do it.”
As a black gay man this quote really touched me. For a long time I struggled with living my life authentically and open as a gay man because I knew that it was difficult. I knew that I would have to deal with judgment and condemnation from an ignorant society. But one day, one life changing day, I made the decision to trust in what was difficult. I knew that I couldn’t keep the door closed just because I could get hurt, just because I was afraid.
I made the decision from that day forward to always trust in what was difficult because I knew that everything alive trusts in it.
Almost one in five Black men 20-years-old or older are without a job, according to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Here’s my advice to my black brothers:
To my heterosexual black brothers who are in a relationship, married, or a father:
Now is the perfect opportunity for you to take on the bulk of the domestic duties in the home. Here is your chance to be the best stay at home dad that you can be. Instead of sitting around lamenting the system take your kids to and from school, clean the house for your wife, take your kids to practice. This is a chance for you to really show up and show out in your child’s life and a chance for you to help the woman in your life if she is employed and still has to come home and do domestic work. Ease that burden for her!
To my black gay brothers:
I you have kids get real involved in their life now that you have this free time. If you don’t have kids of your own mentor one. Organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters and National CARES Mentoring is always looking for mentors for black youth, particular black. And you never know it might lead to a full time position.
Now ideally black men should already be doing these things employed or unemployed but given the circumstances let’s make the most of the economic downturn! Let’s turn it into a black men nurturing upturn!
The pay for making a difference in the lives of black women and children will be well worth the labor invested.
Slavery is never justified. Not even when the enslavers are your mother and father or other family members.
I’ve heard stories from many gay men and women who have been disowned by their parents because of their sexual orientation. And even though I know that rejection from family can be hard, I encourage you to realize that you deserve better than people who only accept you if you live their fantasy for your life.
One of the things I take very seriously is personal freedom. My personal autonomy as a human being who can live a life of my own choosing. Not the one my parents, society, or some other decides for me.
I have yet to meet a person alive who asked their parents to be born. None of us asked our parents to lay down and birth us into this world, that is a choice that they made themselves. So for them to then turn around and not accept the child that they brought into this world is just a complete and utter failure to live up to one of the basic tenets of parenting, being a nurturer and a supporter.
There’s a difference between “loved ones” and the people who you just so happen to have unfortunate blood ties to. The former loves you unconditionally and accepts you for who you are, but the latter makes you jump through hoops and expects that you be a slave to their thoughts.
Do not accept someone’s hatred or lack of understanding for you simply because they birthed you into this world. If someone cannot love you for who you are then what good is their love anyway? Mother, father, sister, or brother. Be a slave for no human being.
Be a slave for no human being. Take your freedom very seriously. Do not negotiate your personal autonomy. Because the moment you do a person is going to take all they can get of you.
Remember these words by the poet Audre Lorde,
“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
I have no problem with people exploiting Financial Aid, Welfare, Wic, or other social programs, when we appoved 60 billion to fund a pointless war.
Let’s not pretend that the system is not being exploited. It is not just poor people getting over. That 60 billion is not paying for itself. That’s coming from tax payer dollars. Like mine and others who are anti-war. Who cares about our exploitation?
They say it’s wrong for people to live off the “system.” But the “system” been living off us for years.
I don’t want my earnings used to pay for wars. So don’t start crying cause Malika won’t get a job and chooses to sell her food stamps.
Do not be deceived into believing that only the poor live off of and exploit the system. Every does it.
“How could they ______. I know their parents are ashamed, upset, mad, angry, disappointed, embarrassed, furious.”
All over the world young adults make decisions and all over the world those young adults have to listen to people who somehow thinks that because you have parents you are supposed to give up your personal autonomy.
Never mind that said parents probably did things that their parents didn’t agree with, but somehow the reaction of your parents real or imagined is supposed to dictate your own life choices and decisions.
We get it parents are important, they mean a lot to us, most of us love them very dearly. But that does not translate to us becoming slaves to the expectations and whims of our parents. We all have the right to make our own choices and our own decisions. Parents or no parents.
My mother and father may not approve of me staying up until 4am in the morning. It may frustrate and embarrass them. That’s their business because if I want to stay up until 4am I am going to do so.
My mother and father may not approve of me having a BGC account. It may upset them to know that I have such an account. Again that’s their business because if I want to log onto BGC I am going to do so.
My mother and father may not approve of me doing porn, being an escort, or prostituting myself. It may disappoint them or infuriate them. Again that is their business because I have to live for me.
Yes family relations are important and yes parents are important however I cannot stress enough that those facts alone do not mean that I have to forfeit my rights to making the choices I want to make as an adult human being.
I like to joke that I am the one that has to go in the casket when I do and it’s true. No one but you will be in there. Not your parents. You.
We are all entitled to make the choices that we want to make and that should not depend on the reaction or response of our parents to our choices.
Parents are great but not great enough to prevent me from exerting personal autonomy.
People kill me when they say “I would never do drag.” Newsflash we all do it every day. Gender is a performance. Drag Queens just admit it.
When you wake up in the morning and choose those pants over a skirt. Thats you choosing to perform a certain gender. You’re doing drag!
When you go in a store and walk past the mens section for the girls or vice versa. Thats choosing to perform a certain gender. That’s Drag!
Performing drag isn’t just dancing on stage with makeup on. Its choosing which gender ideas you wanna project to the world. We all do this.
I don’t know why we fool ourselves into believing that “Drag Queens” are the only ones doing gender performance. We all are.
I spend a lot of my time trying to articulate why I feel the way I do about certain things. At some point in my college life after I became a proud openly gay man I made the decision to no longer attend “straight clubs.” Now in my mind I knew that there was an element about “straight clubs” that I didn’t enjoy or fancy but up until today I never really tried to fully articulate that dislike.
When I think of all the wonderful things that I enjoy about “gay clubs,” the drag shows, the fluidity of gender expression, the various styles of dance, the atmosphere of openness, those are all things that I find particularly enjoyable and are almost always things that I cannot experience at a “straight club.”
Straight clubs are cool (although I haven’t been to one in years) but I just don’t like having my gender policed. Thus I attend gay clubs. Not because gay clubs are better than straight clubs but because most straight clubs are based on a culture of gender rigidity and that is stifling to me and not worth my valuable money.
I just don’t like feeling like my gender is being policed. It’s something that turns me off a great deal. And it’s not even so much a sexual orientation thing as it is a fundamental issue I have with gender policing. This notion that men can only do certain things and women can only do certain things.
Now other gay men and women that I know have given the “straight club” thing a chance. Two of my friends (gay males) attended a straight club and waited until the last song of the night to dance together. A patron at the club threw a beer bottle at them. It’s this kind of gender rigidity and policing that I find unsavory of most “straight clubs.”
Now it may be a regional thing as I am sure there are many straight clubs around the country that don’t police gender, and it may be a racial thing, as people of color may be less open to the idea of gender fluidity than other groups.
I wouldn’t mind partying at the “straight club” from time to time and being able to have a good time in a club atmosphere with my non gay friends, but I don’t ever feel like my gender is being policed at a “gay club,” and I only wish I could say the same about “straight clubs.”
Michelle Obama did not destroy the economy and she didn’t cause this recession. If she wants to take a vacation, paid for with HER money she can do so. She was the primary breadwinner of her family for many years earning $300,000+ a year. She’s a wealthy woman. She can vacation wherever she wants, whenever she wants, and idiots and their misplaced frustration can shut the hell up.