Tag Archives: gay

Black Men and Relationship Building – BEDA Day 18 of 31

Black Men and Relationship Building

BEDA Day 18 of 31

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There is a struggle here. Something I’ve struggled to put into the words that even feel appropriate enough to share in a public space.

I’m sure this isn’t news to anyone except Black Men, but we struggle with relationship building. I think I get a double dose of it as a SGL (same-gender-loving) guy. I see and analyze interactions a bit differently than my straight and gay identified counterparts.

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I shared the story of my neighbor (in the video) because it just befuddles me how, after realizing that you stay in the same building with someone, you can see them on the street and look past them, regularly. Like imagine me walking on the street, walking past the guy who lives in my building. Looking him dead in his face/eyes, giving a head nod, and him carrying on with his business. This specific interaction with this guy has happened… enough to the point where now I just laugh when I see him. I walked past him on the street yesterday, and he just looked at me, and I just shook my head and laughed.

To be clear, Black men aren’t the only people who struggle with relationships. But as a Black man, I’m most impacted and struggle with talking about and dealing with my relationships with other Black men – the most. Sometimes I think I’m too open and friendly and invested in the idea that everyone is a great and valuable person.

But I also know that part of our own downfall is our inability to recognize the strengths and value we can place in each other. Like the super duper gutter petty part of me wants my neighbor to be locked out or just need something that only I can give him one day. I really want to challenge myself to reach to my inner depths of petty to just ignore the fuck out of him and rub salt in his face for his inability to get out of his own way and open the door for… at the very least a platonic acknowledgement of existence… Something other than us walking past each other every damn day day ignorant of what we may actually be able to add to each others’ lives. If that day ever comes I’m kind of mad that I know I’ll probably choose to be bigger and just, engage. Even though at this point, I don’t want to.

I just really worry about us sometimes. Beyond the present – like no one really gives a damn about me and my neighbor’s relationship. But as a cultural…thing – like why are we so good at pushing each other away? Why do we value each other so little? Some of y’all may not be able to relate to the specific situations, but I wanna challenge you to think about areas in your own life where this may be applicable. I know that while I’m focusing on my neighbor here, and more loosely my ex and other men I’ve just had to deal with in life. I too am responsible for overlooking Black men in my life. Constricting myself to a “certain group” of people that I feel are acceptable to bless with my presence, and my friendship. Communicating in a way that shows certain men they are valuable to me and others that they aren’t.

What do strong relationships look like for you and the Black Men in your life? How do we develop relationships where we trust each other and support each other just as human beings here on Earth? Is that too lofty to think about?

I know its not, but I just wonder sometimes how we can make this different. We have so much to offer each other. How do we each begin to do the work to cross the bridge to connect? I don’t believe in a powerful and fully capable world where Black Men don’t and can’t connect with each other. I don’t want to live in a world were that is the only reality that exists. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

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BEDA = Blog Every Day in August

Is homosexuality equivalent to femininity?

Is Homosexuality equivalent to femininity?

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*The following is a letter received from a SkoolHaze reader. Names were changed to protect privacy*

HI,
Well I know this is completely random.. I don’t know if I am intruding into your personal space. I am Tanvi, I am pursuing bachelors in computer science here in India.

Lately I have been concerned about the LGBT status in our country. I am currently working on a project towards bringing awareness that LGBT individuals are not “unnatural” as many conservative heads proclaim. As a part of this I have been trying to understand gay love, about which I know nothing at all.

I would like to interact with you, really looking forward to make a new friend… hoping to hear from you.

With lots of love,
Tanvi

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Hey Tanvi,

Sorry to hear about the injustices going on in your home country. I’ll do my best to help you with your project. What parts of gay love do you want to know about?

Skool

kanye smerk

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Hi Skool,
I am happy to hear from you. Well I want to know few things:

1. Is being gay in any way associated with being more feminine? I suppose it’s just the sexual orientation.

2. I would love to hear any gay love proposals and what kind of love he looks forward to. Like for example a girl dreams that her guy should be someone that is really caring, understanding and there is this iconic going on knees proposal and all that. What would the dream boy for a gay person be like and the dream proposal?

Having said that anything that you can share I would be happy to hear 🙂

Yours lovingly,
Tanvi

Cool here we go Tanvi,

  1. Is being gay in any way associated with being more feminine? I suppose its just the sexual orientation.

Sure. Some people associated gayness with femininity. Some people, as soon as they learn you’re gay, want to know if you’re self-described as masculine or feminine. I would characterize these people as simple to say the least. Immediately, I know what type of person I’m dealing with, in America, when I hear this question. Especially because this question mostly comes from other men that are also within the gay spectrum. When men on the spectrum ask this question they are almost always probing for sex. And they are almost always simple-minded. Not because they’re probing for sex, but because they equate sufficient sex down to a handful of descriptors, one of them being one’s self proclaimed masculinity/femininity, which we can agree has no play on a person’s ability to provide sexual gratification. 

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What does feminine mean? Its my understanding that feminine means a lot of things. In its essence it is a neutral term. Meaning something prescribed or most frequently connected to females/women. There in its essence is not positive or negative value ascribed to the previous sentence. Or at least there shouldn’t be. Here in America many of my peers very recently even have taken the time to talk about how strong women are in 2015. They are leading families, they are leading companies, they are leading their communities, they are doing it all. Think Serena Williams. There’s nothing inherently weak about her. However, for some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves to create a society across the globe that trembles and infuses shame whenever men are connected with anything culturally-prescribed as inherently feminine. At the same time, we do the opposite whenever a woman demonstrates a behavior culturally-prescribed as inherently masculine. Here, we infuse pride, success, and achievement into the women and scenarios attached. 

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I got a little off topic there. In short, yes, there are indeed some connections between gay men and culturally-prescribed female traits. However, keep in mind that these are only some of the many things that are connected or indicative of homosexual men as an active subset of humanity. I think it is imperative to note that these culturally-prescribed feminine traits do not serve to pump up or dismantle anything within the gay culture, or humanity, as femininity, itself, is not a singularly positive or negative trait(s) to express. At different levels of my maturity, I have struggled to continuously develop my understanding of “normal” behavior.

While we’re working to open up our communities to be more inclusive of our gay populations, and marginalized populations in general, we have to be sure not to continue to instill negatively-framed language or vocabulary against any of the members of our communities. 

  1. I would love to hear any gay love proposals and what kind of love he looks forward to. Like for example a girl dreams that his guy should be someone that is really caring, understanding and there is this iconic going on knees proposal and all that. What would the dream boy of a gay be like and the dream proposal.

I think love is love. We are entering an era now where men and women all over are taking advantage of this opportunity to marry and enter life-long commitments with the ones they love regardless of what they look like. That opportunity wasn’t available a generation ago. I’m interested to see how the gay community here in America works to develop marriage and love in its own image, shaping larger American culture.

With that being said, I can say that personally I’ve never really thought about an engagement story. To be honest, I would really just prefer to have someone to love me unconditionally. Someone that was fully interested in building and leaving marks on this world long after we ourselves stop moving about it. That’s the kind of dream guy I’m interested in… He doesn’t really need to do much else but love me and we’re good. Hopefully I’ll work on getting more creative here in future. I will say, that one of my gay associates, seems to be engaged to his lover. And its humbling, annoying, and inspiring to see all of his engagement-to-wedding pictures on Instagram. His image alone is helping me, frame what love in the future may be for me one day.

Hope this helped,
Skool

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What do you think? Share with someone you think will have an opinion on this idea. Come back and share your comments below.

Also, if you have a question, feel free to shoot it to me. I will do my best to answer.

Gay Life 101

Man…

I don’t even know what to say about this here. Most firstly… I would like to say… that I never ever talk about my gay life. Not because I’m shy or like closeted. Because I don’t consider myself to be. I mean people know… The reason I never talk about my gay life is because there’s not shit going on in it to talk about. My gay life is the complete anti-thesis to my professional/academic lives. Or the sides most frequently shown here.

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I wouldn’t even know where to start in breaking down how things have been for me in my years here in life. For me, at least currently it makes sense to start with simple questions and to develop the clearest picture for you, and really more for myself by speaking to you this way.

What is it like to be gay?

Hell I don’t even know really. Some times I feel like I’ve had a very unique experience. Other times I feel like my experience is indicative of culture in which I operate. While I don’t want to fall into the trap of generalizing and compartmentalizing the members of this culture. I will say that personally, I feel as though I participate in some variation of urban black gay culture. I have very few if any ties or connections to the larger mainstream gay culture shared across the country.

I don’t know how to break that descriptor down cleanly in a way that would make sense to you or I. However, I would have to say urban black gay culture is a multi-faceted collective of experiences that in some way shape or form bind me and my black/diaspora gay brothers across the globe.. It encompasses individuals from all regions of the black queer and lgbt community. As a member of the black-gay community, I find that still even to this day, I’m finding myself in new and different experiences that can sometimes make me uncomfortable, or really show my natural prejudice to my predefined norms and comfort zones.

Its taken me many years of reflection and development to understand how my sexuality intersects with the other facets of my personhood that make up the whole of who I am. Until recently, I’ve felt like my sexuality was working in opposition to everything else going on in my life. While the opposition itself had been difficult to comprehend, I would say the more difficult chore has been getting to a place where I can recognize this incongruence, yet still find the love and esteem within myself to still work to create the world I want for myself.

My sexuality had become something that I operated around. It was an obstacle that I detoured around for years, not understanding why there seemed to be so many inherent differences and misappropriations between my black and male self, and my gay self. I was talking to an associate the other day, explaining this story for one of the first times. Early into my monologue he interrupted and said – “What do you mean you have a black self and a gay self? Shouldn’t they be one in the same?”

To which I responded – For me not really. I mean my gay self is full of… failure, most of the other pieces of myself are filled with success or confidence, or stability… Its take me a minute to accept this as a type of balance that I experience in my life.

He pushed back, “I learned to love myself a long time ago.”

I tried to hear him. I wasn’t quick enough to share it with him, but… its taken me a while to figure out how to really love myself. Sometimes I feel like people aren’t really trying to hear that. As though they’ve fully loved themselves from day one. Its been a journey for me. I still struggle with the idea that I have reached my adulthood and still failed to harmoniously integrate my gay identity as fully with my other parts of being.

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I’ve struggled honestly since SkoolHaze’s inception to think about how my sexuality would play in the contents of this record. I look forward to seeing how this extension will serve this space.

Share your thoughts below.

Skoolhaze

The Gay Boy That Grew Up to be an Overachiever

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  1. How do you have time to do all these things?
  2. Why are you doing all of this?
  3. Why is your mind wired to think only one way?
  4. Why are you so weird?

Recently I’ve thought about if and undeniably when I would include my sexuality into the skoolhaze blog. If I had my choice, I wouldn’t. I’ve always made it a point to keep my sexuality separate from my work, period. However, recently a group of my students asked me to start and lead an LGBT group at our high school, and although I have absolutely no desire to do it – I’ve been asked by my people, so I must.

Growing up I remember my mom constantly telling me that because I was a young black boy I would have to be better than everyone around me just to be considered equal. At the time I HATED when she would say things like this. I would always respond that I was the same as everyone else in the most irritated tone that I could find. Growing up in the chicago suburbs, in a high school that offered the midwest’s view of diversity, I benefited from being the son of a police officer and social worker. I am Theo, and my parents are pretty much Mr. and Mrs. Cosby. My home was a place where my sister an I were both one of few blacks in the honors and ap courses my high school offered at the time. She was the more natural academic than I. Luckily, my passion for running soon blossomed into a track scholarship at Indiana State University.

Fast forwarding through my years I think it’s fair to say I live in a world where I do everything I care about to the best of my abilties. This includes teaching high school, attending graduate school, creating Skool Haze, maintaining the gym, and pushing forward my other bourgeoning projects. It’s no secret to me that these things have become a perpetual cycle of self-induced one-up-ness. Growing up and being trained, for lack of a better word, through my fraternity, competitive track teams, Public Relations degree, and my early career experiences in sales I can’t imagine living in a life where I didn’t constantly outshine myself for myself. It’s been a blessing that I’ve been able to tie my own determination to trying to lift those up around me. My parents are heavy believers in service to others, and modesty and respect for everyone, in particular their feelings. So… those values are heavily linked to who I have become as an adult.

People ask me why I go so hard and I really don’t know how to explain it to them. I mean, I love what I do, and I’m suited for the trails I envision my work will take. It’s beginning to look like it’s no coincidence that I happen to aspire for something so idealistic and grand.

The article “Young, gay, and trying too hard” on Salon.com explains why I am who I am, and why I do what I do. It explains to people who support me, and those that don’t just why I do go oh so hard for the causes.

To be even clearer I don’t consider myself “in the closet”. However, it is something I’ve never really led a conversation with. If anything I think the article helps explain why I find it difficult to talk about myself. I have a bit of a modesty-complex, which means I’m down to talk about pretty much anything except myself.

I’m not sure what else to say, and to be honest I’m still processing the article and its significance to why I am the way I am. Nonetheless it’s a great look into a part of me that I don’t often share. The fact that I know what it’s like to feel safe with a trusted advisor/counselor as I did with the sports psychologist back in college is the reason why I have to step outside myself and help my high school students and perhaps anyone else I’m able to. The fact that I know what is like to grow up fortunate and lucky in an America that still doesn’t quite view everyone as equals is the reason why I feel so compelled to do my best with Skool Haze, YBMI, and Creative Dreamers.

Anyways, check out the article below and let me know what you think.

PDF File – Young Gay and Trying Too Hard

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/18/young_gay_and_trying_too_hard/

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