Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Letter to a Gay Community of Color

They say perspective is everything and that experience breeds wisdom. For me those two things along with a few other factors have inspired me to compose this short article that will hopefully inspire and also spark some intellectual debate. I’m disappointed, ashamed, and somewhat disgusted at some of the things and people I have come into contact with that dwell inside of the gay black community. All of these things have baffled me leaving me with questions and concerns about a community that I obviously consider myself to be a part of.

For starters, why does it seem like many men in our community has some sort of wall or barrier up? A wall that I feel like is there to prevent the individual from becoming too vulnerable with anyone (whether the intention of the interaction is for a friendship or something more). I personally believe that barriers such as these are usually the offspring of a particular circumstance that individuals have been through past or present. People go through hurtful experiences and instead of accepting the hurt and dealing with it and in turn becoming a stronger individual because of it, they ignore it and it festers. They then construct a wall subconsciously that blocks out any type of emotional connection that may present itself in the future. As a result, this makes it hard for people in this community to develop genuine interactions. Every interaction in this community seems to almost always be linked to some sort of baggage. We shouldn’t let our solution of "never being hurt again" dissuade us from giving our hearts to someone else who may come along. We must realize that the hurt we experienced or our failed interactions could have just been the universe’s way of telling us the best is still yet to come. Does this mean we should foolishly allow something or someone that has hurt us once before do the same thing to us again? Absolutely not. However, we must be careful not to close ourselves off to future possibilities as well. Don’t seek love. Let love seek you. But love yourself enough to receive love when it finally does decide to pay you a visit. Collections of experiences are called wisdom. The solution in my opinion is quite simple: Don’t let past circumstances influence your present. Deal with what you need to deal with, move on, and funeralize the past.

Reading The Male Media Mind blog posts on relationship status responsibility and monogamy got me thinking about the next issue I feel exists within gay communities of color; the lack of substance when it comes to relationships. Now this particular topic has the potential to go in about a hundred different directions but I will do my best to try not to stray too far off of topic. It seems like no matter where you look in the community you always are meeting a gentlemen that ultimately, one day, wants a relationship. We all want love. Whether we choose to admit it or not, its fact. Nobody wants to end this life without having experienced some type of higher emotional connection with another human being, this seems like everyone’s endgame. However, nobody wants to put in the time, effort, or consistency to build something meaningful with another individual. People would much rather rush into situations where they end up finding out later on, after the relationship is unsuccessful, that they never really knew the person they entered the interaction with at all. I think this theory is a double edged-sword. I think we all should try making ourselves more suitable to date. I think that would make us all more open to investing time and energy into relationship building if the person we are trying to build something with isn’t broken or jaded. We have to make sure we evaluate ourselves before we expect someone who is relatively a stranger to deal with it. This harkens back to my first point, don’t let your past influence your present. On the other side of things, we all have to learn how to exercise more patience with one another. We have to recognize that growing up in an anti-gay society, for the majority of us, was somewhat a struggle. We are all products of the things and or situations that we were unwillingly put into as youths. We should compare our similarities as opposed to highlighting our differences. These are all things that should make us want to make someone else feel loved. 

A couple weeks ago I tweeted that I believe physical monogamy will become a figment of our imaginations in a decade or so. Many responses attempted to “educate” me on how this idea wasn’t anything new and that it has indeed been around for years, inside and outside of the community. However, I believe that my original statement was misunderstood. It isn’t a secret that everyone knows the ideals of “swinging” or that being involved in an “open relationship” have been around for ages. My original statement was that I believe that these types of interactions will shed their current names and just become the new representation of an everyday relationship thus becoming the new normal. This is because today, in my opinion, everyone wants options. Nobody is content with only being physically and emotionally connected to just one person anymore. People needing the emotional security from more than one individual is a security mechanism; a way a person can ensure that they are never hurt in the way they were once hurt before. Guys today would much rather categorize their relationships as dating just so they can get off on the technicality of not technically being with anyone if they ever get caught up with trying to play more than one individual emotionally. It’s how someone can do multiple individuals wrong and not be disturbed at night while they are sleeping by their conscious. Insecurity is the name of the game and I’ve learned personally it has no age limit. It’s important to remember that two wrongs don’t make a right and as much as getting even seems like the right path to take after someone hurts you it is not. Choosing that road only further destroys our already tainted community. You have to also learn the difference between a person who hurts you because they’re a bad person and a person who hurts you because they’re a broken person. You can help abolish the cycle of relational hurt by making sure you never hurt someone the same way as someone who has previously hurt you. Knowingly hurting someone in the way that you were hurt makes you no better than the person who hurt you. God will judge us all by the way we treat others. Help destroy the stigma of hurt people hurting people. Never stop praying for the people who have wronged you in your life. Kill them with kindness. Annoy them with love. There’s always a blessing in the storm.

As a community we individually can be a blessing in the storm for each other by uplifting each other as opposed to tearing each other down. I believe that we should take accountability if we find that we may still be single. I think the late great “King of Pop” said it best, teaching us to never be above looking at ourselves in the mirror and realizing that the root of all change is within us; becoming the best possible versions of ourselves will only make us more attractive on the inside and out. I think we need more positive role models in the black gay community, especially in the older generations. This would be the best possible help to ensure that younger black homosexual generations survive. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a good amount of gentlemen who have been huge influences on the community at large through outreach and other avenues. These individuals have shared with me about wanting to see more members of the older generations in the gay black community be open to mentoring some of the younger members of the community. Their purpose would be to provide guidance and shed more of a positive outlet for those possibly going through the same experiences and situations they have endured. They want the advancement of the gay black community to become a movement, and want us all to realize that any legitimate movement is larger than any one specific moment in time or a single person’s story.

In closing, I would like to thank the Male Media Mind for providing me with a positive platform to voice my concerns regarding our community and how we can try and fix them. I would also like to thank them furtherly for being a source of information and social outreach for the community at large. I would like to thank all the gentlemen who were open-minded and down to earth enough to tell me some of their personal experiences and opinions all of which went into the development of this piece. Now I’m almost positive many of you will read this and ask yourself how in the world a twenty-three year old young man can have any legitimate insight on any of the topics discussed in my post. And I’m sure you’re the same individuals who aren’t aware that Thomas Edison gave his first demonstration of the incandescent lightbulb at just the age of thirteen. Saying that to say before you judge a book by its cover you may want to just read it first. I look forward to hearing the insight and feedback I’m sure this post will spark by members of the community in regard to some of the things I discussed. I’ve already begun to receive feedback through Facebook and Twitter and encourage you all to repost, reblog, and retweet. Get the conversations going, these conversations just might be what saves our beloved community from extinction.

M3 Guest Correspondent