Thursday, February 2, 2012

OP-ED: Being Black, Male, & Gay

This comes to us from CNN (written by Rob Smith):

I’m a typical gay male with a defining feature that is atypical in my community.

When I log onto my computer in the morning I check my favorite gay blogs. There, I will undoubtedly see images of people who don’t look like me attached to stories written by other people who don’t look like me. Above the page and to the right of the text are ads for various products being sold. They are modeled by people who don’t look like me. Maybe they are the underwear models made to be eye candy for the brand being promoted. Perhaps they’re the people used to represent the typical gay couple that would be welcome on that cruise, or in that hotel.

When I see people who do look like me written about and shown on my favorite gay blogs, they will most likely share my skin color but not my sexual orientation.

They probably have gotten themselves into trouble for saying or doing something homophobic. When I see the story I will roll my eyes at their stupidity and steel myself for the onslaught of hateful comments that will populate the comment section.  The comments always sting because they come from members of my community. I will know exactly what is coming but I read anyway. After years of reading such comments I wonder if this is what all the people in my community who don’t look like me are really thinking about those who do.

When I’m on the train, I read my favorite gay magazine. I can’t remember having ever seen someone who looks like me on the cover.  When I read it I see more ads - for underwear, cologne, cruises, hotels, and clothes - with people who don’t look like me.  None of the writers look like me, nor are there any stories about anyone who looks like me. When I finally see an advertisement with someone who shares my skin color, the advertisement is for HIV medication.

Being a gay man of color myself, especially in this part of the country, I can understand where the author is coming from. You can read the rest of the article HERE.

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