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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
    > > By BENOIT DENIZET-LEWIS
    > >
    > >
    > > 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,
    > > STALKERS OR QUEENS.
    > >
    > > 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.
    > >

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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.
    > >

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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.''
    > >

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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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    it' too long. Think it was a NY Times piece.

  7. #7
    He loves me! bagolicious's Avatar bagolicious is offline
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    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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    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
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    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
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    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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