An Open Letter to Black Same Gender Loving Men by David Malebranche

My heart is heavy.  My soul longs for relief.  Yesterday my dear friend, mentee and little brother, Warner McGee, transitioned after being taken off life support by his mother due to a protracted illness.  The details of exactly which illness robbed him of his future at this point is irrelevant – the painful reality we face is that yet another talented, intelligent brother has left this earth way too soon, leaving many of us scratching our heads in disbelief.  What happened?  Why him?  What more could I have done to prevent this tragedy from transpiring?  These questions hauntingly reverberate in my head like a vise, slowly squeezing it until I feel like it will explode.

 

Warner was young, gifted and black.  He overcame many early life adversities to graduate from Morehouse College with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in public health.  He later went on to get his doctorate in public health from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.  He was brilliant, hardworking and passionate about promoting the general, mental and sexual health of Black men.  He was a good friend and a bright spirit.  He was a little brother to me. And his story, sadly, is not unfamiliar to us.  In recent times, the story of a talented Black same gender loving man being “suddenly” struck down in their prime has become somewhat of a yearly ritual.  Word travels through telephone, email and social media.  Everyone is shocked, saddened and surprised.  And over time, as the details around the death of our brother unravel, we discover that his passing was not so “sudden” after all.  There was an underlying medical, mental, spiritual and/or psychological issue at the root of his journey.  And for some reason, until it was too late, no one knew about it but him.

 

For many of us navigating through this world as Black same gender loving men, it is not easy.  We have to worry about the inherent racism in general society that pegs us as ubiquitous threats and outsiders, regardless of what we wear or what level of education we have attained.  Simultaneously, we are seen as the purveyors of moral depravity in the larger Black community despite our historic and present contributions to our collective advancement.  We are seen as the hedonistic pedophiles who do nothing but dream of imaginative ways to corrupt youth; the outcasts who have turned our backs on anything spiritual simply because we respect and acknowledge our natural romantic desires; and of course, we are pegged as the main reason why Black women get HIV at higher rates than women of other races and ethnicities.  With all this placed on top of our backs every day in addition to our routine daily struggles, we foolishly spend the majority of our time trying to prove ourselves to our non-Black and/or heterosexual contemporaries.  We want them to view us as trustworthy so passionately that we overcompensate with extraordinary creative and work achievements, acquire prestigious work titles and accumulate as many letters behind our names that a business card can possibly handle.

 

But in the process of responding to this intersectional oppression from being both Black and same gender loving in a society that does not care to feature either social identity, we lose something. We lose ourselves.  We stop caring about our needs and instead choose to prioritize the safety and health of others.  Over the past decade I have personally witnessed and heard of numerous Black same gender loving men who serve as healers and saviors in our community yet suffer in silence with their own health issues until succumbing to an untimely death.  It is unnecessary and I don’t think I can receive another phone call, email, or post on Facebook announcing the death of another Black same gender loving man.  I can’t go to another funeral and hear another eulogy that coats over the rich multifaceted nature of our lives to simply relegate them to “He was a good Christian and loved Jesus.”  I just can’t.

 

And I am not just referring to HIV, though I’m sure that is the health issue to cross most peoples’ minds when they think of Black same gender loving men.  Contrary to popular belief, we also have to deal with mental health issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and the myriad other maladies that afflict Black men.  For some reason, those of us who are the healers in our families, relationships and communities, when afflicted with an illness ourselves, choose to not follow the advice we give so many on a daily basis.  We deny the condition exists, fight tooth and nail to avoid medical care and refuse to embrace any homeopathic or medicinal remedies that can facilitate a healthy life.  Instead, put quite simply and bluntly, we choose death.

 

I am not saying that if we are dealing with a specific medical issue, we have to become the spokesperson for that topic.  This is not everyone’s calling.  In the midst of saving the world and trying to prove our worth to societies that may never fully embrace us, however, we must at least acknowledge our mortality.  We cannot always be the Supermen we think we are or so desperately want others to believe.  So if you find out you are HIV-positive, you certainly do not have to scream from the rooftops your revelation or become the poster child for HIV treatment or advocacy.  But tell some close friends and family that you trust, be conscientious about following up with medical providers, and take care of your body with whatever therapeutic options are available.  The same principle applies if we get diagnosed with high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, depression, or any other medical condition.  It is no different. When people know exactly what you are dealing with day to day, things that happen will not be such a “surprise,” but something that makes sense and may facilitate quicker action to remedy the situation.

 

So why choose a slow protracted death?  Can we blame White Supremacy and society’s relentless attack on black male bodies and psyches?  Do we point the finger at the pervasive sexual prejudice against anyone not engaging in a “heteronormative lifestyle”?  Is it our churches’ fault for trying to brainwash us from a young age that we are damaged goods, or should our biological families assume more responsibility for more easily accepting a heterosexual sibling’s chosen drug problem over our natural romantic inclinations?  Is the CDC at fault for ignoring us for years until they couldn’t sweep the statistics under the rug any longer?  Or is it our own fault for not taking the time to check on each other when we know that something is wrong?  The truth, undoubtedly, is that the intersection of all these factors may contribute to this choice.

 

Part of the reason why we allow this benign neglect to consume us to the grave, however, is that after years of hearing what we aren’t worth from various sources in our lives, we actually start believing that our lives are expendable – despite ample evidence to the contrary.  We are the ones who serve as the rocks of the family.  We are the loving dependable uncles to our precious nieces and nephews.  We are the sons who pay attention and devote the most time to our aging parents, while our heterosexual siblings complain about being too “busy” with their marriage and kids – as if our lives are devoid of any commitments, responsibilities or obligations outside of ourselves.  We are the educators, the lawyers, the public servants, the health care employees, the customer service personnel, the ministers and ministers of music who selflessly devote our lives to our communities every day, while all the while listening to the whispers of disapproval of our born sexuality penetrate the tender flesh of our backs like so many steely knives.  After a while, despite these facts, we still believe we are unworthy of love and life.

 

The solution to this dynamic is clear – we need to be there for each other and stop waiting for a church, the CDC, our local congressperson, or President Obama himself to save us.  It is often said that as Black same gender loving men, we get to choose our non-biological families, especially when we encounter challenges with our biological families.  If that is the case, we must realize that as with any family, things will not always be perfect.  We cherish the moments where we can travel together, go clubbing, or to house parties together, and provide unwavering support to each other through school, work, and relationship difficulties. And there may be times when we may betray each other, say mean spirited things we don’t really mean, and even get on each other’s nerves and have knockdown, drag out arguments for the ages.  But this is the case with every family, biologic and non-biologic.  So since we have chosen each other, we must honor ourselves and our chosen family through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, through sickness and health.  And yes, ‘til death do us part.

 

So wherever you are, whatever you are doing in the course of your busy day that may involve interacting with another Black same gender loving man, look into his eyes and gaze into his soul.  See yourself in him. Whether he is a friend, lover or family member – look through the perfectly faded hair, the letters behind his name, the designer clothes, the impeccable payment record of his rent or mortgage or whatever kind of car from which he emerges to greet you.  Look past any troubles he has paying bills, quirks in personality or annoying habits.  Look through him and simply take a moment to ask him if he is ok.  And if he gives you a dismissive answer like “I’m fine,” ask him again, and with the side-eye you usually reserve for giving shade, let him you know are serious.  Then stand back and be prepared for a more elaborate and real answer than you could have ever anticipated.  And when you are finished listening to him, wrap him in your arms and tell him that you love him.  It may be the last time you get the opportunity to do so, and it may be one of the few times he will hear those three words and know that it is coming from someone who truly understands him.  And maybe, just maybe, he will come to realize that he has another choice.

Top 15 Reasons That You’re Still a Single Masculine Gay/Bisexual Man

I saw this article on another site called Discreet City. about why lots of Gay/Bisexual men are single! I thought his analysis was pretty spot on.

You can read the full article along with comments by clicking here!

I would like to know your thoughts on it!
This is the main killer of all potential relationships and even basic platonic friendships of many Gay men. You only need to briefly scour the many profiles on Gay dating sites to discover the laundry list of requirements Gay men place on one another. The most disturbing part about this is that MOST times the men are demanding prerequisites in others that they themselves do not even meet. Guys seem to all want this perfect fantasy “Superman” that they’ve created in their minds to “save” them, that more likely than not doesn’t even exist. No one is perfect, not even yourself.
Many gay men will agree: Chatlines are for Hookups. Dating sites are for Hookups. Cell Phone Apps are for Hookups. Clubs are for Hookups. The large percentage of men you meet through the aforementioned methods will most likely just be looking for quick no-strings-attached sex. That’s not to say that hookup sex never leads to relationships, but the chances for it are low. Check out our 10 Level Guide to Meeting Masculine Men to find out alternative ways to meet men for more than just sex.

Look into the mirror and honestly ask yourself if you are worth the effort. You say Yes? Now look at your cell phone…is it ringing off the hook with potential dates? No? You have your REAL answer…All jokes aside, no one is attractive to ALL men. We all have different tastes and preferences and something as simple as a poorly chosen tattoo around a belly button can soften even the hardest penis of a masculine Gay/Bisexual man. Focus on depending on more than your appearance and you’ll find that more quality men will emerge.

See the remaining 15 Reasons That You’re Still a Single Masculine Gay/Bisexual Man, In Just One Click.

No one likes fruit and vegetables that aren’t ripe yet. No one likes undercooked food. Many Gay men see anyone 25 and younger as disasters waiting to happen, with good reason. At that age they are like horny puppies humping the first legs they see. It eventually passes with time, but not before they’re potentially all used up. Alternatively, “Desirable Gay” seems to have an expiration date. After 27 years old, you’re like an old loaf of bread: your edges start to harden until you are 40 and you’re ready to just be thrown into the trash. This is how many Gays view older men. I say all this to say, there is an ageist attitude amongst Gay/Bisexual men that goes both ways (pun intended). This reason has no solution. It all comes down to what your intentions are for the potential relationship and how thick your skin is for potential rejection.
Gay men are obsessive about “sexiness” and the beauty of the male physique. This is a fact of life that has been around since the days of homosexuality amongst the Romans. It will not change. So it may be time to become more like the “Statue of David” and less like the “Statue of Buddha”. Don’t get me wrong. If weight is a constant struggle, don’t risk your health by utilizing crazy diets and unsafe juice-fasting techniques. Also, I know there are men out there that are really into “thick” guys. However, they are often few and far between. Ironically, even many chubby guys that don’t mind dating other men with a few extra pounds often get REJECTED because they are not “sexy” with six-pack abs and muscles. Once again, you have men desiring what they themselves are not even offering in return (see Reason #1).
Believe it or not, you can actually be TOO in-shape. Admittedly, I’m not into muscle guys. True, some of these men can be nice to look at and/or have a one night stand with…but that doesn’t mean I would want to date them. Many guys such as myself are not interested in being with these overly muscular guys who drink protein shakes at the club…Okay, that was an exaggeration but not by much. Also, I’ve talked to many guys that feel intimidated by men all ripped and cut up. They say it makes them feel insecure to take off their own clothes eventually when it comes to intimacy. Lastly, many muscular men that I’ve known tend to put their standard for fitness on the other men they meet, causing a lot of disappointment. There’s a reason that you can’t find another masculine Gay/Bisexual man who has also been going to the gym 6 days a week for the last 10 years. They’re rare.
Everyone knows that all the best Gay/Bisexual men to date are ALWAYS in the city that you are NOT currently living in…Keep moving until you find the man for you. Seriously though, even in heavily Gay populated cities like New York and Atlanta, weeding through and finding a decent match can be near impossible. Also, from what I’ve heard, long distance relationships where the two men START OFF in different cities/states never last. So what’s the solution? Employ the stopgap methods of porn, masturbation, hookups and the companionship of platonic friends until your Mr. Right “Promoves” into your city.

Gay men need to be wined and dined. Watching movies on your laptop at your apartment with your two or three roommates because you do not have money and/or a car is not what a Gay man considers a great date. Once again, I’m exaggerating but not by much…we’re speaking about a culture of men who place looks and material possessions over personality and intelligence. This is partly understandable as many men want to at least date someone that can pay their bills and be able to afford a trip out of town occasionally. The only advice here is to “get your financial weight up.” If not only to widen your dating options but to also better yourself and your situation in the process.

This one boggles my mind. So many men who WANT relationships have told me that they‘re not looking. The old adage, “you’ll find a match once you stop looking for one” is holding you back. Nothing ever gets sold if you don’t advertise that it is for sale. You have to be proactive in your search much like you would in looking for employment. No one ever says, “you’ll find a job once you stop looking for one.” On the flip side to this, some men you meet will say “I’m not looking for a relationship right now” but what they really mean is, “I’m not looking for a relationship WITH YOU.” Accept this and move on to someone who actually has the same goal in mind as you.
As I explained in the 10 Level Guide to Meeting Masculine Men, everyone has their own Level of Gay Comfort. How “comfortable” a man is in doing certain things to meet other guys determines his level of comfort in being a Gay/Bisexual man of color. I’m at a level Eight on the list which means that while I’m still very discreet, I’m comfortable enough to go to a Gay club or a date another masculine discreet man. However there are many men out there who consider me TOO comfortable and would never want to be seen going to the movies or having dinner with a man in public. Some paranoid closeted men only want to “date” other paranoids like them. Alternatively, many men who are “Out” only want to date men more comfortable with their sexuality. Ironically, many “Out” men are turned on by “down low” men even though these guys would never want to be seen dead in their presence. Same in reverse, I once tried to date a dude who was VERY much a homosexual, but he was still in denial, even to himself. If even in private you can’t even feel comfortable being Gay, you’re just wasting both of our time.
This one is tricky. Gay men come in all sizes with many different tastes. There are masculine men who LOVE feminine guys. There are masculine guys who ONLY like other masculine men. There are even masculine men who like a mixture of the two, preferably when making noises in bed. As a naturally masculine man, I’ve been rejected countless times because I was too masculine. It can be intimidating to some men. You can’t control the tastes of other individuals so there is no solution to be offered here except to just keep searching for a proper match.
Let’s face it: Some guys just don’t want a relationship. From the many stories I’ve heard, Gay relationships can be messy, complicated and full of unnecessary drama and aggravation. I’ve spoken to many men that in lieu of a relationship are content with just looking online for an occasional “hookup” to get the need for sex out of their system. Also, I’ve met many men who were IN A RELATIONSHIP that ended up using me to cheat on their partner. Some men can’t do commitment even in the process of trying. It’s as if their brain is monogamous but their dick is the philanderer. To each his own. If you are the type of man who prefers to be single, remain that way.
I’ve met quite a few of these. These clingy relationship types often expect monogamy after your first date. They can be seen sending you “Good Morning” text messages DAILY the night after meeting you for the first time. They start planning for your future together before you even learn each others last names. Look, there’s nothing wrong with getting excited once you’ve FINALLY found a man that meets your laundry list of standards and requirements, but there’s no faster way to run him off than to let him know you’ve already started picking out the drapes for your new home together after only a few dates.
There’s nothing worse than being a Top and finally meeting the perfect guy only to find out that he’s ALSO a Top. Same applies to Total Bottoms meeting other Total Bottoms. Then there are Fully Versatile guys who find it boring to date Non-Versatile men. Then there are the Oral Only men and the Fetish men and the list goes on…Some will say that sexual position doesn’t matter. Speaking from experience, it does. A man in a relationship that is unsatisfied sexually often starts to stray after awhile. Again, you can’t control the sexual tastes of other individuals so there is not much of a solution to be offered here except to just keep searching for a proper match.
This is the main reason that has kept me single for as long as I can remember. I seem to have a knack for meeting great men at the wrong time. From meeting him while I’m dating another guy, meeting him when I’m single but he’s in a relationship, meeting him when he’s just getting out of a relationship and he still hasn’t severed his feelings for his Ex, meeting him just as he’s cutting off all dating to focus on work/school, to meeting the perfect guy RIGHT BEFORE he’s about to move to the other side of the country…My timing sucks. What I’ve learned to do is to just lower my expectations. I’ve tried to meet as many guys as possible (discreetly) and develop quality friendships at the least so that my network can be widened, thus creating more opportunities to meet quality guys in the future.

"I Am A Man"

This powerful film addresses the “genesis” of Black male sexual, social, religious and historical experience in America and on the Continent. The voices of noted African American men and women contribute to this narrative about a rarely told story.

President Obama certifies repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

President Obama has certified the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” completing another major step in abolishing the 17-year policy.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, along with President Obama, had to sign a certification stating that GLBT individuals could serve openly in the military without disruption to their units.

There will now be a 60-day waiting period before the repeal is fully implemented.

HRC President Joe Solmonese released the following statement:

“For far too long, the ban on openly gay service members has harmed our security and tarnished our values. The President’s certification of repeal is a monumental step, not just for those forced to lie in order to serve, but for all Americans who believe in fairness and equality.

“There are many people who brought this historic day to fruition starting with the President’s tremendous leadership and the steadfast allies in Congress who refused to give in to the lies and fear mongering. Additionally we thank all of the brave men and women who have continued to wear the uniform under a policy that forced them to hide who they are. The end of that shameful time is thankfully near.”

Movie of the Month – School Daze


This is one of the best from Spike Lee’s filmography. It was so underrated then as it is today! He tackles many issues in this movie that, unfortunately, the African American community, and probably the Latino community, still deal with (i.e. classism, colorism, etc.)

Here is a classic scene from the movie where the ladies meet at Madame Re Re’s Salon

In Memoriam – Rev. Peter Gomes

Rev. Peter Gomes, a Harvard Professor and Minister, who came out back in 1991 to combat gay bashing on Harvard’s campus and was a strong proponent of same sex marriage, passed away from a heart attack. He was 68. He wrote many books including his best seller – “The Good Book – Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind”.
You can read more about him here and here!
Check out his video on what Jesus would think of Same Sex Marriage!

Black History Month Spotlight – Bishop Desmond Tutu

Today I spotlight, Bishop Desmund Tutu. He has been a champion for many causes including HIV/AIDS awareness, Homophobia, Poverty, Racism and so much more. He was instrumental in shedding light to the world about apartheid in South Africa in the 1980’s.

You can read more about him here!