He wrote, "As Black men, we need to value ourselves so much that no outside force, no prejudice — even one guised as preference — can make us feel second place." Clearly, this dialogue wasn’t only happening in my head.
A larger conversation about the racist, fat-phobic, and misogynist language of gay dating apps has also begun, which has allowed me to see that my dating prospects may also be a result of problematic societal messaging.
I replied, "Look around — I'm one of three Black guys here." There’s a clear lack of queer spaces in POC communities, and that definitely affects the ability of men of color to meet one another.
But while the absence of queer POC-centric establishments is definitely an issue, many of the other Black men I see at gay bars around Manhattan and Brooklyn are booed up with white men, too.
My childhood in the Black church led me to believe that Black people were inherently homophobic — a myth — and that the only Black men who were gay were on the down low or infected with HIV — also a myth.
As I continue on this road to self-discovery and acceptance, I often think about my gay uncles who died, and I wish they could have been a part of this journey.
There are also times when I feel like my white partners are trying to overcompensate for their whiteness. Does it give them a sense of moral superiority around other white people, as if they are more progressive?
They start social justice conversations, bringing up racism and homophobia almost as if they're trying to prove how down they are. Does it make them feel less guilty about gentrifying the neighborhood?
They were estranged from our family, partly because of their health and their sexual orientation.
I never had the chance to speak to either one while they were alive, but I often wonder what advice or mentorship they could have provided me as a young Black gay male coming of age in such a sheltered environment.