I don’t wake up everyday obsessing over my race or my sexual orientation. As much pride as I have in being both Black and gay, my first thoughts of the day are usually “What songs shall I jig to?” and “How can I get myself out of Sallie Mae’s Burn Book?”
Alas, enough people obsess over my race and sexuality in this world for me. To the extent that I end up being forced to think about it at least some point on any given day.
As a result, I am usually exhausted by the predominate narrative about being a gay Black man. I often have to fight erasure from white gays and Black heterosexuals alike. Or, I have to wrestle with the reality that when trying to tell my story, it is preferred that I tell it through some sort of prism of pathology.
Yes, it is still very hard to be a gay Black man.
So often we are limited to the perceptions other people have about us. Our masculinity. Our expressions of sexuality. Robbed of our basic right to simply just be.
I like to think I try to find the good in even the most difficult situation, but funny enough, when faced with the question “Could you write about what you enjoy about being a gay Black man?” I was a bit stumped. All too often I am asked to write about this experience from the opposition perspective. The task felt like a pop quiz I was possibly going to fail.
A few moments later, I went with sarcasm: “Uh…ass and Beyoncé’s B’Day?“
The more I thought about it, I felt that was a good enough place to start. I also like not having to ever be lumped in with those ‘stay-at-home sons’ Twitter often drags (or celebrates)—those sexist, heterosexual Black men who are an enemy to Black gays and Black women alike.
As for other benefits, I cannot speak for other gay Black men, but for me, the best parts of being who I am is all that I am. This includes the things that challenge the stereotypes about what a gay Black man is and the other characteristics that fit right into the caricature.
The way my voice rises to Mariah Carey levels when I talk extremely fast. Or the way my hands fly like they are on a caffeine high during conversations. The way I praise Beyoncé as my personal deity. (She is, by the way. I bowed when I met her.)
I enjoy my life because I own who I am, what I love, and how I choose to express myself. I also own what I don’t completely love about myself. In spite of the noise surrounding me; the hatred for people like me that lingers; the failure for some – including those related to me – to accept me.
I am my own man and that makes me happy. I don’t know if this answers the question properly, but it’s good enough for me.