Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Talk

Recent conversations have made me question if we as black gay men are honest when it comes to sex. Per usual I posed a question in the various groups that I am a part of posing the question ‘Sex on the first date: Yes or No?’ As usual the answers varied widely and though I normally don’t venture into debates the responses from the particular question really stuck out to me. One person stated, “Hell No! U must be real easy to give yourself up on the first night. Nigga's will never turn down ass. But an upscale bitch that knows there "worth", will turn down many of dicks! #ThatsAll” 
 Now I’m all for freedom of speech and expression and despite the fact that I asked for opinions this particular comment just annoyed me. Maybe it was the fact that it came off a little condescending towards those who answered yes, or maybe it was the fact that this was a response that came from a man who incorporates Sex-Appeal Satisfaction Guaranteed into his screen name (talk about being easy). Anyway back to the subject at hand, from that one comment some of the other comments took a U-turn and I began to look at these responses and the men posting them and found myself wondering if we as Black Gay Men are completely honest when it comes to sex.
Let’s be honest, a lot of us LOVE sex. Not saying that we are all about sex but when it comes to the act we thoroughly enjoy it. There is nothing wrong with that. But when I posted my question a lot of people mistook the idea that I was trying to present. When I asked ‘Sex on the first date: Yes or No?’ I wasn’t asking if sex is a guarantee on the first date only asking if it was an option. Now that I have cleared my question up let me clarify the meaning of a date.
Yes to some a date may be inclusive of jumping online, and searching through nearby half clothed gentlemen to come over, but I was referring to the traditional aspect. A person whom you have conversed with for a period of time and that you are moderately interested in so you two decide to have an outing together. This is a person who you like talking to and spending time with and that you have grown to know as a person.
Though most people mistook the conversation it doesn’t change that I feel that some of us aren’t being completely honest when it comes to sex. Sex in the aspect of:  Who we have it, when we have it, how often we have it and how we go about attaining it. Such as the topic of having sex on the first date, too often black gay men participate in activities profusely but when the topic is brought out in the open they shy away from acknowledging their participation.
I feel that this itself is an everlasting effect of homophobia. Just as with the DL epidemic, some black gay men feel that they must hide their true nature feeling somewhat ashamed of themselves. Just as there aren’t many who will admit that they have (and will) have sex on the first date, there are those who won’t admit to attending a sex party, having sex with a random person or even something as simple as admitting to having a page of A4A or BGC.
I’m not saying black gay men should boast and tell everyone about the things he does but to just ponder why he doesn’t tell the things that he keeps to himself. Think about it, the things that you kept secret deep down inside why do you keep such things hidden? Is it for pure privacy and discretion or is it shame and fear of not being understood.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Cancun Experience

Let me first start off by saying that I have really, REALLY missed writing. There’s nothing like me sitting alone, in the dark, lost in my thoughts writing away. Traveling to and returning from Cancun has made me realize how vast the world is and how eager I am to see it all. But enough about future plans lets discuss Cancun.
Cancun was definitely a once in a lifetime experience for me. I do not believe if, when, I go again the experience will be as good as the first time. I will admit when we first arrived there was a little bit of culture shock for me as when you are an American you can’t imagine a society of where you are in fact the minority. Strangely in a sense being Black in Cancun was like being…well, Black in my own home. I guess what I’m trying to say is that for the first time in a long time my skin tone wasn’t a factor in my identity. Sure I was Black in Mexico but as much as I stood out I felt like I blended in naturally. Strange but that’s how comfortable I was. Anywho, on to other experiences my friends and I stayed at the Krystal hotel. I’m not a hotel hopper, but this was a pretty nice hotel. Beach view from my room and it was conveniently placed right next to all the hottest clubs: The City, Coco Bongo and Bulldogs just to name a few.
Speaking of clubs I’m going to officially make Cancun the party capital of the world. The locals there party there from sunrise to sunset and still get up in time to make it to work. We Americans think we party hard we have nothing on Mexicans. Not going to spend too much time on the partying aspect but I will say that I enjoyed myself EMENSELY! There was never a dull moment.
As my friends know I am very attracted to Hispanic men and boy oh boy was there a selection. Cubans, Dominicans, Columbians, and then some as far as the eye could see, all of them of unique shades and hues. But aside from admiring their beauty I made a few new friends that helped me to further immerse myself in the culture. My favorite part of my stay was when my friend Antonio took us downtown to go to the club.
We had to take the bus and leave behind all of the dazzling lights and hotels to enter the streets with broken lights and condemned buildings. To me, that was the real Cancun, as the reality of seeing a homeless man sleep on some steps and a homeless woman beg for money reminded me of the irony of our situation. Yes, we were on vacation and as luxurious as things were right around the corner were people not so lucky.
Reality set in on Sunday night as we were slowly reminded that the vacation had to come to an end. It was a bitter-sweet moment, I missed America, but I surely could have used just one more day of fun in the sun.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Power of Words

Continuing my stroll down memory lane I came across another original essay from my Junior year. I think that this had to be the course the gave me the confidence to put so much emotion into my writings. This essay describes the impact of words and how though they can be aimed to hurt us it's truly up to us to decide how powerful (and in many cases futile) they are. Enjoy the essay.

Growing up as a young black- homosexual male in the south, I have been faced with many different taboos and prejudices. From an early age I had to develop a different mentality from my peers and those around me, and build a philosophy that words are just words. As a writer I believe that words can do many things; words can inspire the defeated, relate beings that are worlds apart and even take a reader on a heart racing journey. But of all the things words can do, I believe that words can not hurt.
For the larger portion of my childhood things such as others opinions was completely oblivious, but this began to change once I began middle school.
Suddenly faced with an entirely new environment and people I had never been in contact with before, I began to be called an assortment of derogatory names. Names such as “black” and “big eared” began to be whispered around me or pointed out for another’s amusement and truth be told, I never once felt pain, just indifferent from my peers.
At that point in a child’s life there are two paths that can be taken. I chose the path that would not let me feel stung by useless words and that in turn shaped me into the creative person that I am today. So what if I was darker or my ears were larger than the next person? I was still smarter than my critics and not one of them could call me ugly. It was then that I knew that words could not hurt.
Through the rest of Middle School and High School I remained at the top of my class and encountered many unique and different friends. Through all those years I faced discrimination, stereotypes, heinous rumors and racial profiling and none of them broke me because I knew who and what I was.
The true test of my belief however did not come until my freshman year in college. One night while I was on my way out to meet a friend, for the first time in my life I was “gay bashed.” The taunts came from a group of my peers sitting outside the dorm, some of whom I knew and others that I didn’t. Words such as “homo,” “fag,” and “nasty,” were thrown out at me angrily and suddenly I felt my heart racing and blood pumping, but not because my feelings were hurt but because I was angry. Angry at the idea that fellow African-American’s, after years of facing prejudice and hate, would only return the carnage and malice on another human being.
Once again I found myself at a crossroads and once again I made the right decision. I took a deep breath and continued walking, letting their words roll off my back. I held my head high and didn’t give them or their comments a second thought.
Now that I think about it, it is funny in the sense that the majority of my jeerers that night continued to talk to me in the following days and still do as if the night never occurred. This fact itself just reinforces my idea that words are just words.
I believe that insults, negative words and derogatory statements only help to make individuals stronger in mind and in spirit. For every negative word thrown at me I’ve only worked harder in life because of the inspiration they instill in me. I believe and live as an example that proves words can inspire but never hurt.

Being An Individual

Going through the hundreds on top of hundreds of documents spread across computer I found many of my writings that I had long ago misplaced and forgotten about. Among them was my American Identity Project that I wrote for my Junior year in my Harlem Renaissance course. This was one of my favorite courses during my undergrad years for various reasons. Among those being that I think that was the year that I truly came in tune with myself. Well I won't go into to much detail but instead will let my essay speak for itself. This first essay is entitled "Being an Individual" and was my introduction to my portfolio on Individuality. 

America is nicknamed “the land of opportunity” a handle that has different meanings for different people. When I think of America I think of a land of freedom and endless possibilities, but not so long ago some possibilities weren’t offered to certain people. For example, in his 1751 essay “America as a Land of Opportunity,” Benjamin Franklin modeled the land of opportunity to only include whites saying, “Why increase the Sons of Africa, by Planting them in America, where we have so fair an Opportunity, by excluding all Blacks and Tawneys, of increasing the lovely White and Red?”
At the time Franklin was promoting for more Europeans to migrate to America and work, as land was so plentiful and cheap that anyone could come over and start a new life. This essay could solely be linked to the American Dream notion; the idea that in America, if you do what you have to and work hard enough, all of ones dream could come true. That was 1751 and I for one am glad that Franklin’s notion didn’t last long because in time America has become very integrated.
One of the best things about America is the diversity that the country consists of. Surpassing Franklin’s “the land of opportunity,” idea, America has continuously become home to many unique and different people, people of different shapes, colors, ideas, and beliefs. Aside from the numerous economic opportunities, freedom of speech and the freedom of religion, I think that the best thing about America is the chance for any and everyone to express their individuality.
All across the country people express their individuality in many different ways such as the way they dress and the music that they listen to. In my portfolio I’m exploring my own individuality and how important it is for me to have. I came to this topic because I am one of the many homosexual males in America, leading a lifestyle that is somewhat frowned upon by society. In reference to the insert by Benjamin Franklin, I chose it because while on the surface he is advocating a land of only whites, deep down he is rejecting those that were different such as people of color and, if it came down to it, homosexuals. What he did not realize was that it would be the diversity of people, along with their beliefs, values and morals that would make America so great. 
Some people may not agree with the ways some people express their individuality, but what should be remembered is that it is our individuality that makes us all unique and having the freedom to express it is what makes America so great. I leave you with the thoughts of James Baldwin:
“Our passion for categorization, life neatly fitted into pegs, has led to unforeseen, paradoxical distress; confusion, a breakdown of meaning. Those categories which are meant to define and control the world for us have boomeranged into chaos; in which limbo we swirl, clutching the straws of our definitions. We find ourselves bound, first without, then within, by the nature of our categorization.”
Baldwin wrote this to describe the chaotic social environment of the United States during the Civil Rights Movement but I think that it appropriately fits here. Baldwin was expressing his belief of unnecessary labeling and categorizing of people of color and difference. As the Civil Rights Movement for equality was countered with violence, perhaps Baldwin was foreshadowing that similar events would continue to occur in the quest for tolerance reflected in today's tumultuous times.