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To All My Gay Black Brothers

Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love

If you, like me are a gay black man in the United States, God help you. It seems that with every milestone achievement, as a group we are sinking. Our brothers are still over represented in cases of new HIV and other STD infections. Same-gender-loving (SGL) men of color are still on the outside when it comes to political, religious, and economic power. Too many African American gay men continue to struggle with their sexual identity, creating “underground” sex communities where risk-taking is common and condoms or prevention talk is not.

Gay Black Men Are Speaking—LISTEN!

Further, gay black men must still contend with the value society places on being, well…a black man. The mini-mental assaults that come with being targets of racism, and compounded by homophobia. The mental health of black men is increasingly at-risk as black communities and black families continue to struggle like no other racial group. Whether it’s high poverty rates, teenage parenthood, substance use, violence, or sexual risk-taking–black males collectively are simply not achieving at the same rate of black women or white women, let alone white men. 

“As gay black men we must look at our individual and collective behavior in order to change the negative trends that plague us. ”    Walker Tisdale, Chicago, IL

First, gay black men should take individual steps to support and befriend other black gay men to strengthen social networks.

Second, in order to disrupt disease transmission, black gay men (of all 83907851races) might want to consider adopting behaviors that lend themselves to delaying sexual activity with males they do not know well. Delayed gratification is a personal value and while I understand many guys will balk, there is great benefit to getting to know someone over time in a non-sexual manner. We’ve all heard the talk about gay men jumping into bed quickly, men of color have an increased incentive to think before they bed down.

83397735Third, and in line with my first suggestion,  more same-gender-loving men of color should consider entrepreneurship and acting politically with their hard earned dollars. In Chicago, like many other urban centers, the “gay community” typically centers near or inside the larger white gay community. There is no harm here. But in order to create “sustainable systems” for a black gay community, we MUST COLLECTIVELLY INVEST WHERE WE LIVE.  This is how we contribute to the larger black community, change norms, and lay the foundation for those coming behind our generation! 2009 is a great place to start.

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