As a straight Black man in America this happens to be one of the subjects I am most critical of and it creates the social stigma that continues to haunt our existence as Black men. There are many that feel this lifestyle serves as a utopia to indulge in the promiscuity and pleasure of clandestine homosexual acts perpetrated by men who are obviously gay hiding behind a so-called straight identity. The problem that I have are with the advocates and practitioners that boldly declares that it is no one else’s business who they prefer to sleep with and this is where the obfuscation begins. I strongly feel that it is these type of callous and selfish acts are responsible for the disproportionate HIV rates among Black women and places straight men at a disadvantage of suspicion and concern.
The term itself is a microcosm of a deeper problem associated with trust issues within Black relationships and the evident lack of responsibility this precarious lifestyle encompasses. Several years ago a gay co-worker and friend of mine described the mind set of some gay men driven by their insatiable libidos with disregard for the ritualistic nuances of traditional dating and use of protection. He also expressed his discontent with men being afraid to commit to either sex as it is also frowned upon within the gay community that has spawned a new generation of men associated with the DL lifestyle.
Hip-Hop is also convenient and the culprit for exploiting a hypermasculine lifestyle as rappers glorify its presence in its music, videos, and fashion trends while participating away from prying eyes in its exclusive parties and abundant social functions. Am I against homosexuality? Absolutely not, however I am concerned about its long term effects it has on our communication with Black women and families that are the collateral damage of such prevarication. These practices should serve as a wake up call to assess the men that lie dormant for years behind county jails and state prison walls without the comfort of a woman and decide to indulge in sexual behavior with a man, that many prisoners deem exempt from their outside world and personal lives.
All our lives, Black men have been wrought with enigmatic suspicion and this paradox serves as continuum with no definitive resolution thus far. Regardless of how we live, we must be honest with ourselves and to the people of whom we claim to love. If we are to allow instant gratification to dictate our self worth, then who are we really? Are we defined by a pejorative nature or from a higher level of consciousness that will enable Black men to accept their true identity regardless of its repercussions? I strongly feel that the term “down-low ” is a negative connotation reflective of its esotericism in nature despite its behavior existing long before its current phenomenon.
Fear has become synonymous for those that continue to limit their potentiality of becoming emancipated from the constraints of societies prejudices and biases, and I would like to commend those gay men and women that are willing to die for what they believe in and renounce those that cower and are unaware that what is done in the dark will ultimately be brought into the light sooner or later.
The Straight Guy