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.
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.
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.