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Thread: Men on the DL

  1. #1
    Registered User sanfranjouvay's Avatar sanfranjouvay is offline
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    Men on the DL

    > Double Lives on the Down Low
    > >
    > > August 3, 2003
    > >
    > >
    > > In its upper stories, the Flex bathhouse in Cleveland feels
    > > like a squash club for backslapping businessmen. There's a
    > > large gym with free weights and exercise machines on the
    > > third floor. In the common area, on the main floor, men in
    > > towels lounge on couches and watch CNN on big-screen TV's.
    > >
    > > In the basement, the mood is different: the TV's are tuned
    > > to porn, and the dimly lighted hallways buzz with sexual
    > > energy. A naked black man reclines on a sling in a room
    > > called ''the dungeon play area.'' Along a hallway lined
    > > with lockers, black men eye each other as they walk by in
    > > towels. In small rooms nearby, some men are having sex.
    > > Others are napping.
    > >
    > > There are two bathhouses in Cleveland. On the city's
    > > predominantly white West Side, Club Cleveland -- which
    > > opened in 1965 and recently settled into a modern
    > > 15,000-square-foot space -- attracts many white and openly
    > > gay men. Flex is on the East Side, and it serves a mostly
    > > black and Hispanic clientele, many of whom don't consider
    > > themselves gay. (Flex recently shut its doors temporarily
    > > while it relocates.)
    > >
    > > I go to Flex one night to meet Ricardo Wallace, an
    > > African-American outreach worker for the AIDS Task Force of
    > > Cleveland who comes here twice a month to test men for
    > > H.I.V. I eventually find him sitting alone on a twin-size
    > > bed in a small room on the main floor. Next to him on the
    > > bed are a dozen unopened condoms and several oral
    > > H.I.V.-testing kits.
    > >
    > > Twenty years ago, Wallace came here for fun. He was 22
    > > then, and AIDS seemed to kill only gay white men in San
    > > Francisco and New York. Wallace and the other black men who
    > > frequented Flex in the early 80's worried just about being
    > > spotted walking in the front door.
    > >
    > > Today, while there are black men who are openly gay, it
    > > seems that the majority of those having sex with men still
    > > lead secret lives, products of a black culture that deems
    > > masculinity and fatherhood as a black man's primary
    > > responsibility -- and homosexuality as a white man's
    > > perversion. And while Flex now offers baskets of condoms
    > > and lubricant, Wallace says that many of the club's patrons
    > > still don't use them.
    > >
    > > Wallace ticks off the grim statistics: blacks make up only
    > > 12 percent of the population in America, but they account
    > > for half of all new reported H.I.V. infections. While
    > > intravenous drug use is a large part of the problem,
    > > experts say that the leading cause of H.I.V. in black men
    > > is homosexual sex (some of which takes place in prison,
    > > where blacks disproportionately outnumber whites).
    > > According to the Centers for Disease Control, one-third of
    > > young urban black men who have sex with men in this country
    > > are H.I.V.-positive, and 90 percent of those are unaware of
    > > their infection.
    > >
    > > We don't hear much about this aspect of the epidemic,
    > > mostly because the two communities most directly affected
    > > by it -- the black and gay communities -- have spent the
    > > better part of two decades eyeing each other through a haze
    > > of denial or studied disinterest. For African-Americans,
    > > facing and addressing the black AIDS crisis would require>
    > > talking honestly and compassionately about homosexuality --
    > > and that has proved remarkably difficult, whether it be in
    > > black churches, in black organizations or on inner-city
    > > playgrounds. The mainstream gay world, for its part, has
    > > spent 20 years largely fighting the epidemic among white,
    > > openly gay men, showing little sustained interest in
    > > reaching minorities who have sex with men and who refuse to
    > > call themselves gay.
    > >
    > > Rejecting a gay culture they perceive as white and
    > > effeminate, many black men have settled on a new identity,
    > > with its own vocabulary and customs and its own name: Down
    > > Low. There have always been men -- black and white -- who
    > > have had secret sexual lives with men. But the creation of
    > > an organized, underground subculture largely made up of
    > > black men who otherwise live straight lives is a phenomenon
    > > of the last decade. Many of the men at Flex tonight -- and
    > > many of the black men I met these past months in Cleveland,
    > > Atlanta, Florida, New York and Boston -- are on the Down
    > > Low, or on the DL, as they more often call it. Most date or
    > > marry women and engage sexually with men they meet only in
    > > anonymous settings like bathhouses and parks or through the
    > > Internet. Many of these men are young and from the inner
    > > city, where they live in a hypermasculine ''thug'' culture.
    > > Other DL men form romantic relationships with men and may
    > > even be peripheral participants in mainstream gay culture,
    > > all unknown to their colleagues and families. Most DL men
    > > identify themselves not as gay or bisexual but first and
    > > foremost as black. To them, as to many blacks, that equates
    > > to being inherently masculine.
    > >
    > > DL culture has grown, in recent years, out of the shadows
    > > and developed its own contemporary institutions, for those
    > > who know where to look: Web sites, Internet chat rooms,
    > > private parties and special nights at clubs. Over the same
    > > period, Down Low culture has come to the attention of
    > > alarmed public health officials, some of whom regard men on
    > > the DL as an infectious bridge spreading H.I.V. to
    > > unsuspecting wives and girlfriends. In 2001, almost
    > > two-thirds of women in the United States who found out they
    > > had AIDS were black.
    > >
    > > With no wives or girlfriends around, Flex is a safe place
    > > for men on the DL to let down their guards. There aren't
    > > many white men here either (I'm one of them), and that's
    > > often the norm for DL parties and clubs. Some private DL
    > > events won't even let whites in the door. Others will let
    > > you in if you look ''black enough,'' which is code for
    > > looking masculine, tough and ''straight.'' That's not to
    > > say that DL guys are attracted only to men of color. ''Some
    > > of the black boys here love white boys,'' Wallace says.
    > >
    > > While Wallace tests one man for H.I.V. (not all DL men
    > > ignore the health threat), I walk back downstairs to change
    > > into a towel -- I've been warned twice by Flex employees
    > > that clothes aren't allowed in the club. By the lockers, I
    > > notice a tall black man in his late teens or early 20's
    > > staring at me from a dozen lockers down. Abruptly, he walks
    > > over and puts his right hand on my left shoulder.
    > >
    > > ''You wanna hook up?'' he asks, smiling broadly.
    > >
    > > His
    > > frankness takes me by surprise. Bathhouse courtship rituals
    > > usually involve a period of aggressive flirtation -- often
    > > heavy and deliberate staring. ''Are you gay?'' I ask him.
    > >
    > > ''Nah, man,'' he says. ''I got a girl. You look like you
    > > would have a girl, too.''
    > >
    > > I tell him that I don't have a girl. ''Doesn't matter,'' he
    > > says, stepping closer. I decline his advances, to which he
    > > seems genuinely perplexed. Before I go back upstairs, I ask
    > > him if he normally uses condoms here.
    > >
    > > As a recurring announcement comes over the club's>
    > > loudspeaker -- ''H.I.V. testing is available in Room 207. .
    > > . . H.I.V. testing in Room 207'' -- he shakes his head.
    > > ''Nah, man,'' he says. ''I like it raw.''
    > >
    > >
    > > If Cleveland is the kind of city many gay people flee,
    > > Atlanta is a city they escape to. For young black men,
    > > Atlanta is the hub of the South, a city with unlimited
    > > possibilities, including a place in its vibrant DL scene.
    > >
    > > I went to Atlanta to meet William, an attractive
    > > 35-year-old black man on the DL who asked to be identified
    > > by his middle name. I met him in the America Online chat
    > > room DLThugs, where he spends some time most days searching
    > > for what he calls ''real'' DL guys -- as opposed to the
    > > ''flaming queens who like to pretend they're thugs and on
    > > the DL.'' William says he likes his guys ''to look like
    > > real guys,'' and his Internet profile makes it clear what
    > > he isn't looking for: NO STUPID QUESTIONS, FATS, WHITES,
    > >
    > > I told him I was a writer, and he eventually agreed to take
    > > me around to a few clubs in Atlanta. With one condition:
    > > ''You better dress cool,'' he warned me. ''Don't dress, you
    > > know, white.''
    > >
    > > William smiles as I climb into his silver Jeep Grand
    > > Cherokee, which I take as a good sign. Two of William's
    > > best friends are in the car with him: Christopher, a thin,
    > > boyish 32-year-old with a shaved head, and Rakeem, an
    > > outgoing 31-year-old with dreadlocks who asked to be
    > > identified by his Muslim name. We drive toward the Palace,
    > > a downtown club popular with young guys on the DL.
    > >
    > > William doesn't date women anymore and likes guys younger
    > > than he is, although they've been known to get more
    > > attached than he would prefer. ''Yeah, he's always getting
    > > stalked,'' Rakeem says enthusiastically. ''The boys just
    > > won't leave him alone. He's got this weird power to make
    > > boys act really stupid.''
    > >
    > > It's easy to see why. William radiates confidence and
    > > control, which serve him well in his daytime role as an
    > > executive at a local corporation. He says his co-workers
    > > don't know he likes men (''It's none of their business,''
    > > he tells me several times), or that after work he changes
    > > personas completely, becoming a major player in the city's
    > > DL scene, organizing parties and events.
    > >

  2. #2
    Registered User sanfranjouvay's Avatar sanfranjouvay is offline
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    > > Christopher, who sits in the back seat with me, is the only
    > > one of the three who is openly gay and not on the DL
    > > (although he won't tell me his last name, for fear of
    > > embarrassing his parents). Christopher moved to Atlanta
    > > when he was 24 and was surprised when black men in the city
    > > couldn't get enough of him. ''They would hit on me at the
    > > grocery store, on the street, on the train, always in this
    > > sly, DL kind of way where you never actually talk about
    > > what you're really doing,'' he says. ''That's actually how
    > > I met my current boyfriend. He followed me off the train.''
    > >
    > >
    > > Rakeem, a roommate of William's, moved to Atlanta five
    > > years ago from Brooklyn. He says he's ''an urban black gay
    > > man on the DL,'' which he says reflects his comfort with
    > > his sexuality but his unwillingness to ''broadcast it.''
    > > People at work don't know he's gay. His family wouldn't
    > > know, either, if a vindictive friend hadn't told them.
    > > ''I'm a guy's guy, a totally masculine black gay man, and
    > > that's just beyond my family's comprehension,'' he says.
    > >
    > > While Rakeem and William proudly proclaim themselves on the
    > > Down Low, they wouldn't have been considered on the DL when
    > > men first started claiming the label in the mid-90's. Back
    > > then the culture was completely under the radar, and DL men
    > > lived ostensibly heterosexual lives (complete with wives
    > > and girlfriends) but also engaged in secret sexual
    > > relationships with men. Today, though, an increasing number>
    > > of black men who have sex only with men identify themselves
    > > as DL, further muddying an already complicated group
    > > identity. And as DL culture expands, it has become an open
    > > secret.
    > >
    > > For many men on the Down Low, including William and Rakeem,
    > > the DL label is both an announcement of masculinity and a
    > > separation from white gay culture. To them, it is the
    > > safest identity available -- they don't risk losing their
    > > ties to family, friends and black culture.
    > >

  3. #3
    Registered User sanfranjouvay's Avatar sanfranjouvay is offline
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    > > William parks the car in a secluded lot about a block from
    > > the Palace. As he breaks out some pot, I ask them if they
    > > heard about what happened recently at Morehouse College,
    > > where one black student beat another with a bat supposedly
    > > for looking at him the wrong way in a dormitory shower.
    > >
    > > ''I'm surprised that kind of stuff doesn't happen more
    > > often,'' William says. ''The only reason it doesn't is
    > > because most black guys are sly enough about it that they
    > > aren't gonna get themselves beaten up. If you're masculine
    > > and a guy thinks you're checking him out, you can always
    > > say: 'Whoa, chill, I ain't checking you out. Look at me. Do
    > > I look gay to you?' ''
    > >
    > > Masculinity is a surprisingly effective defense, because
    > > until recently the only popular representations of black
    > > gay men were what William calls ''drag queens or sissies.''
    > > Rakeem takes a hit from the bowl. ''We know there are black
    > > gay rappers, black gay athletes, but they're all on the
    > > DL,'' Rakeem says. ''If you're white, you can come out as
    > > an openly gay skier or actor or whatever. It might hurt you
    > > some, but it's not like if you're black and gay, because
    > > then it's like you've let down the whole black community,
    > > black women, black history, black pride. You don't hear
    > > black people say, 'Oh yeah, he's gay, but he's still a real
    > > man, and he still takes care of all his responsibilities.'
    > > What you hear is, 'Look at that sissy faggot.' ''
    > >
    > > I ask them what the difference is between being on the DL
    > > and being in the closet. ''Being on the DL is about having
    > > fun,'' William tells me. ''Being who you are, but keeping
    > > your business to yourself. The closet isn't fun. In the
    > > closet, you're lonely.''
    > >
    > > ''I don't know,'' Christopher says. ''In some ways I think
    > > DL is just a new, sexier way to say you're in the closet.''
    > >
    > >
    > > Both have a point. As William says, DL culture does place a
    > > premium on pleasure. It is, DL guys insist, one big party.
    > > And there is a certain freedom in not playing by modern
    > > society's rules of self-identification, in not having to
    > > explain yourself, or your sexuality, to anyone. Like the
    > > black athletes and rappers they idolize, DL men convey a
    > > strong sense of masculine independence and power: I do what
    > > I want when I want with whom I want. Even the term Down Low
    > > -- which was popularized in the 1990's by the singers TLC
    > > and R. Kelly, meaning ''secret'' -- has a sexy ring to it,
    > > a hint that you're doing something wrong that feels right.
    > >
    > > But for all their supposed freedom, many men on the DL are
    > > as trapped -- or more trapped -- than their white
    > > counterparts in the closet. While DL guys regard the closet
    > > as something alien (a sad, stifling place where fearful
    > > people hide), the closet can be temporary (many closeted
    > > men plan to someday ''come out''). But black men on the DL
    > > typically say they're on the DL for life. Since they
    > > generally don't see themselves as gay, there is nothing to
    > > ''come out'' to, there is no next step.
    > >
    > > Sufficiently stoned, the guys decide to make an appearance
    > > at the Palace. More than anything, the place feels like a
    > > rundown loft where somebody stuck a bar and a dance floor
    > > and called it a club. Still, it's one of the most popular
    > > hangouts for young black men on the DL in Atlanta.>
    > >
    > > William surveys the crowd, which is made up mostly of DL
    > > ''homo thugs,'' black guys dressed like gangsters and
    > > rappers (baggy jeans, do-rags, and FUBU jackets). ''So many
    > > people in here try so hard to look like they're badasses,''
    > > he says. ''Everyone wants to look like they're on the DL.''
    > >
    > >
    > > As I look out onto the dance floor, I can't help doing the
    > > math. If the C.D.C. is right that nearly 1 in 3 young black
    > > men who have sex with men is H.I.V.-positive, then about 50
    > > of the young men on this dance floor are infected, and most
    > > of them don't know it.
    > >
    > > ''You have no idea how many of the boys here tonight would
    > > let me'' -- have sex with them -- ''without a condom,''
    > > William tells me. ''These young guys swear they know it
    > > all. They all want a black thug. They just want the black
    > > thug to do his thing.''
    > >
    > > While William and many other DL men insist that they're
    > > strictly ''tops'' -- meaning they play the active, more
    > > stereotypically ''masculine'' role during sexual
    > > intercourse -- other DL guys proudly advertise themselves
    > > as ''masculine bottom brothas'' on their Internet profiles.
    > > They may play the stereotypically passive role during sex,
    > > they say, but they're just as much men, and just as
    > > aggressive, as DL tops. As one DL guy writes on his America
    > > Online profile, ''Just 'cause I am a bottom, don't take me
    > > for a ####################.''
    > >
    > > Still, William says that many DL guys are in a never-ending
    > > search for the roughest, most masculine, ''straightest
    > > looking'' DL top. Both William and Christopher, who lost
    > > friends to AIDS, say they always use condoms. But as
    > > William explains: ''Part of the attraction to thugs is that
    > > they're careless and carefree. Putting on a condom doesn't
    > > fit in with that. A lot of DL guys aren't going to put on a
    > > condom, because that ruins the fantasy.'' It also shatters
    > > the denial -- stopping to put on a condom forces guys on
    > > the DL to acknowledge, on some level, that they're having
    > > sex with men.
    > >
    > >
    > > In 1992, E. Lynn Harris -- then an unknown black writer --
    > > self-published ''Invisible Life,'' the fictional
    > > coming-of-age story of Raymond Tyler, a masculine young
    > > black man devoted to his girlfriend but consumed by his
    > > attraction to men. For Tyler, being black is hard enough;
    > > being black and gay seems a cruel and impossible
    > > proposition. Eventually picked up by a publisher,
    > > ''Invisible Life'' went on to sell nearly 500,000 copies,
    > > many purchased by black women shocked at the idea that
    > > black men who weren't effeminate could be having sex with
    > > men.
    > >
    > > ''I was surprised by the reaction to my book,'' Harris
    > > said. ''People were in such denial that black men could be
    > > doing this. Well, they were doing it then, and they're
    > > doing it now.''
    > >
    > > That behavior has public health implications. A few years
    > > ago, the epidemiological data started rolling in, showing
    > > increasing numbers of black women who weren't IV drug users
    > > becoming infected with H.I.V. While some were no doubt
    > > infected by men who were using drugs, experts say many were
    > > most likely infected by men on the Down Low. Suddenly, says
    > > Chris Bell, a 29-year-old H.I.V.-positive black man from
    > > Chicago who often speaks at colleges about sexuality and
    > > AIDS, DL guys were being demonized. They became the
    > > ''modern version of the highly sexually dangerous,
    > > irresponsible black man who doesn't care about anyone and
    > > just wants to get off.'' Bell and others say that while
    > > black men had been dying of AIDS for years, it wasn't until
    > > ''innocent'' black women became infected that the black
    > > community bothered to notice.
    > >

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    > > For white people, Bell said, ''DL life fit in perfectly
    > > with our society's simultaneous obsession and aversion to
    > > black male sexuality.'' But if the old stereotypes of black
    > > sexual aggression were resurrected, there was a significant
    > > shift: this time, white women were not cast as the innocent
    > > victims. Now it was black women and children. The resulting
    > > permutations confounded just about everyone, black and
    > > white, straight and gay. How should guys on the DL be
    > > regarded? Whose responsibility are they? Are they gay,
    > > straight or bisexual? If they are gay, why don't they just
    > > tough it up, come out and move to a big-city gay
    > > neighborhood like so many other gay men and lesbians? If
    > > they are straight, what are they doing having sex with guys
    > > in parks and bathhouses? If they are bisexual, why not just
    > > say that? Why, as the C.D.C. reported, are black men who
    > > have sex with men more than twice as likely to keep their
    > > sexual practices a secret than whites? Most important to
    > > many, why can't these black men at least get tested for
    > > H.I.V.?
    > >
    > > The easy answer to most of these questions is that the
    > > black community is simply too homophobic: from womanizing
    > > rappers to moralizing preachers, much of the black
    > > community views homosexuality as a curse against a race
    > > with too many strikes against it. The white community, the
    > > conventional wisdom goes, is more accepting of its sexual
    > > minorities, leading to fewer double lives, less shame and
    > > less unsafe sex. (AIDS researchers point to shame and
    > > stigma as two of the driving forces spreading AIDS in
    > > America.)
    > >
    > > But some scholars have come to doubt the reading of black
    > > culture as intrinsically more homophobic than white
    > > culture. ''I think it's unfair to categorize it that way
    > > today, and it is absolutely not the case historically,''
    > > says George Chauncey, the noted professor of gay and
    > > lesbian history at the University of Chicago. ''Especially
    > > in the 1940's and 50's, when anti-gay attitudes were at
    > > their peak in white American society, black society was
    > > much more accepting. People usually expected their gay
    > > friends and relatives to remain discreet, but even so, it
    > > was better than in white society.''
    > >
    > > Glenn Ligon, a black visual artist who is openly gay,
    > > recalls that as a child coming of age in the 70's, he
    > > always felt there was a space in black culture for openly
    > > gay men. ''It was a limited space, but it was there,'' he
    > > says. ''After all, where else could we go? The white
    > > community wasn't that accepting of us. And the black
    > > community had to protect its own.''
    > >
    > > Ligon, whose artwork often deals with sexuality and race,
    > > thinks that the pressure to keep homosexuality on the DL
    > > does not come exclusively from other black people, but also
    > > from the social and economic realities particular to black
    > > men. ''The reason that so many young black men aren't so
    > > cavalier about announcing their sexual orientation is
    > > because we need our families,'' he says. ''We need our
    > > families because of economic reasons, because of racism,
    > > because of a million reasons. It's the idea that black
    > > people have to stick together, and if there's the slightest
    > > possibility that coming out could disrupt that, guys won't
    > > do it.'' (That may help explain why many of the black men
    > > who are openly gay tend to be more educated, have more
    > > money and generally have a greater sense of security.)
    > >
    > > But to many men on the DL, sociological and financial
    > > considerations are beside the point: they say they wouldn't
    > > come out even if they felt they could. They see black men
    > > who do come out either as having chosen their sexuality
    > > over their skin color or as being so effeminate that they
    > > wouldn't have fooled anyone anyway. In a black world that
    > > puts a premium on hypermasculinity, men who have sex with
    > > other men are particularly sensitive to not appearing soft>
    > > in any way. Maybe that's why many guys on the DL don't go
    > > to gay bars. ''Most of the guys I've messed around with,
    > > I've actually met at straight clubs,'' says D., a
    > > 21-year-old college student on the DL whom I met on the
    > > Internet, and then in person in New York City. ''Guys will
    > > come up to me and ask me some stupid thing like, 'Yo, you
    > > got a piece of gum?' I'll say, 'Nah, but what's up?' Some
    > > guys will look at me and say, 'What do you mean, what's
    > > up?' but the ones on the DL will keep talking to me.''
    > > Later he adds: ''It's easier for me to date guys on the DL.
    > > Gay guys get too clingy, and they can blow your cover. Real
    > > DL guys, they have something to lose, too. It's just safer
    > > to be with someone who has something to lose.''
    > >

  5. #5
    Registered User sanfranjouvay's Avatar sanfranjouvay is offline
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    > > D. says he prefers sex with women, but he sometimes has sex
    > > with men because he ''gets bored.'' But even the DL guys I
    > > spoke with who say they prefer sex with men are adamant
    > > that the nomenclature of white gay culture has no relevance
    > > for them. ''I'm masculine,'' as one 18-year-old college
    > > student from Providence, R.I., who is on the DL told me
    > > over the phone. ''There's no way I'm gay.'' I asked him
    > > what his definition of gay is. ''Gays are the faggots who
    > > dress, talk and act like girls. That's not me.''
    > >
    > > That kind of logic infuriates many mainstream gay people.
    > > To them, life on the DL is an elaborately rationalized
    > > repudiation of everything the gay rights movement fought
    > > for -- the right to live without shame and without fear of
    > > reprisal. It's a step back into the dark days before
    > > liberation, before gay-bashing was considered a crime,
    > > before gay television characters were considered family
    > > entertainment and way, way before the current Supreme Court
    > > ruled that gay people are ''entitled to respect for their
    > > private lives.'' Emil Wilbekin, the black and openly gay
    > > editor in chief of Vibe magazine, has little patience for
    > > men on the DL. ''To me, it's a dangerous cop-out,'' he
    > > says. ''I get that it's sexy. I get that it's hot to see
    > > some big burly hip-hop kid who looks straight but sleeps
    > > with guys, but the bottom line is that it's dishonest. I
    > > think you have to love who you are, you have to have
    > > respect for yourself and others, and to me most men on the
    > > DL have none of those qualities. There's nothing 'sexy'
    > > about getting H.I.V., or giving it to your male and female
    > > lovers. That's not what being a real black man is about.''
    > >
    > > Though the issues being debated have life-and-death
    > > implications, the tenor of the debate owes much to the
    > > overcharged identity politics of the last two decades. As
    > > Chauncey points out, the assumption that anyone has to name
    > > their sexual behavior at all is relatively recent. ''A lot
    > > of people look at these DL guys and say they must really be
    > > gay, no matter what they say about themselves, but who's to
    > > know?'' he says. ''In the early 1900's, many men in
    > > immigrant and African-American working-class communities
    > > engaged in sex with other men without being stigmatized as
    > > queer. But it's hard for people to accept that something
    > > that seems so intimate and inborn to them as being gay or
    > > straight isn't universal.''
    > >
    > > Whatever the case, most guys on the DL are well aware of
    > > the contempt with which their choices are viewed by many
    > > out gay men. And if there are some DL guys willing to take
    > > the risk -- to jeopardize their social and family standing
    > > by declaring their sexuality -- that contempt doesn't do
    > > much to convince them they'd ever really be welcome in
    > > Manhattan's Chelsea or on Fire Island. ''Mainstream gay
    > > culture has created an alternative to mainstream culture,''
    > > says John Peterson, a professor of psychology at Georgia
    > > State University who specializes in AIDS research among>
    > > black men, ''and many whites take advantage of that. They
    > > say, 'I will leave Podunk and I will go to the gay barrios
    > > of San Francisco and other cities, and I will go live
    > > there, be who I really am, and be part of the mainstream.'
    > > Many African-Americans say, 'I can't go and face the racism
    > > I will see there, and I can't create a functioning
    > > alternative society because I don't have the resources.'
    > > They're stuck.'' As Peterson, who says that the majority of
    > > black men who have sex with men are on the DL, boils it
    > > down, ''The choice becomes, do I want to be discriminated
    > > against at home for my sexuality, or do I want to move away
    > > and be discriminated against for my skin color?''
    > >
    > > So increasing numbers of black men -- and, lately, other
    > > men of color who claim the DL identity -- split the
    > > difference. They've created a community of their own, a
    > > cultural ''party'' where whites aren't invited. ''Labeling
    > > yourself as DL is a way to disassociate from everything
    > > white and upper class,'' says George Ayala, the director of
    > > education for AIDS Project Los Angeles. And that, he says,
    > > is a way for DL men to assert some power.
    > >

  6. #6
    Registered User sanfranjouvay's Avatar sanfranjouvay is offline
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    Jan 2000
    it' too long. Think it was a NY Times piece.

  7. #7
    He loves me! bagolicious's Avatar bagolicious is offline
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    walking with him!
    Originally posted by sanfranjouvay
    it' too long. Think it was a NY Times piece.
    damn right it long..meh eye tireddddd...

  8. #8
    loving my blessed life guesswho's Avatar guesswho is offline
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    Dec 2002
    Originally posted by bagolicious
    damn right it long..meh eye tireddddd...
    but what wrong with sanfran?

  9. #9
    He loves me! bagolicious's Avatar bagolicious is offline
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    walking with him!
    Originally posted by guesswho
    but what wrong with sanfran?
    ent like he arse madd...u see de length ah dat ting...

  10. #10
    We Not I UpTown's Avatar UpTown is offline
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Brooklyn US
    Originally posted by guesswho
    but what wrong with sanfran?
    Sanfran feel we doh read the news or what , ah feel people think we doh have ah life after the Imix ....

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