Monthly Archives: February 2011
What would happen if the same people who decry the “down low” lifestyle of some gay and bisexual men, also decried the “down low” lifestyle of some straight people, and all all people? Deception and dishonesty is being promoted and celebrated at almost every turn in our society, and it isn’t unique to the gay or black community.
Homophobia has a unique way of clouding our vision, so no one sees the parents who are dishonest with their children, the husbands and wives who are dishonest with each other, and the government that is dishonest with its citizens. In a homophobic society deception and dishonesty is associated with, and only with, the despised group, that homophobic people are already looking for any excuse to further marginalize.
I remember sitting in my car, and listening to the song “If Your Girl Only Knew” by the late artist Aaliyah. As I listened to the lyrics “if your girl only knew that you was trying to get with me,” and “if your girl could only see ow you be calling me, getting fresh with me.” I began to think of the way heterosexual privilege and homophobia clouds our vision. If a gay or bisexual man sang those very same lyrics the song would likely be decried by society. How dare a gay or bisexual man sing about the possibility of an admirer leaving his girl for another man.
What if the Xscape hit “My Little Secret” had been sang by a gay or bisexual man? Try picturing a gay or bisexual man singing,
“I like being in the same room as you and your girlfriend.
The fact that she don’t know, That really turns me on.
She’ll never guess in a million years, That we’ve got this thing going on.“
Could you imagine the collective outrage? And who could forget the leader of the deception and dishonesty movement R. Kelly, whose 90′s hit “Down Low” became the hallmark of celebrated dishonesty. It appears that deception and dishonesty gets a pass when it is done in the context of heterosexuality. No one, to my knowledge has linked Aaliyah, Xscape, or R. Kelly to increased HIV infection, but many gay and bisexual men have been used as scapegoats to explain the increasing rates of HIV/AIDS in the black community.
I’m not interested in going back and forth on who has more blame for “down low” culture, nor am I interested in blaming a single group for the ongoing HIV epidemic. The purpose of this post is to highlight that any person or group can engage in deceptive and dishonest behavior, and that race and sexual orientation mean little in determining whether a person is more or less likely to be deceptive or dishonest.
I think we all know, that deep down inside, the “down Low” is for everybody, but it’s always easier to demonize gay and bisexual men. Deception does not become worse because it is gay and bisexual men who are doing the deceiving.
Yes, there are some gay and bisexual men who are deceiving straight women, but that must be viewed in the context of the homophobic culture that we live in which insists on making gay people feel uncomfortable in their own skin. As I always say, homophobia created the closet, and the subsequent “down low” culture that grew out of it.
Anyone can live on the “down low.” If we are truly interested in addressing dishonesty in all relationships then we must focus on the promotion of honesty and openness in all relationships. If we are only interested in demonizing gay and bisexual men, we reinforce the problem rather than work towards meaningful solutions.