Black Queer, not here

metrored's picture

Over the last few years, I've been trying to assert my identity and I've run into some problems as a gay black male. I don't seem to exist. At least not in the sense of having a visible and accessible community to fall back on. During the entirety of my coming out and my identity development process I've understood this to en extend but still tried to explore the communities open to me. At the time that I was coming out this meant exploring gayness and getting a feeling for gay culture. I failed at joining some type of larger gay community in high school or finding a group with any strong gay identity (except for this one youth center) and I had no idea how to incorporate my gayness and blackness.

So what I did was, I read XY magazine (cause that was my first glimpse of a wider gay world) and neglected the part of me that was fundamentally a black man. In a sense I chose being gay over being black, but I didn't know that. I drank in mainstream queer culture, meaning mainstream gay white culture. It was in the TV shows and movies that I watched almost desperately and in the magazines i read and even the porn I jerked off to. I eventually came to the understanding that I couldn't possibly develop my identity within the sphere of mainstream homosexuality alone without letting part of myself die. When I say this I mean, I couldn't survive immersed in a culture that barely acknowledges my existence. I had to be black. More than anything I had to be black but I still needed to be gay.

With this need in mind, I (I've been talking in the first person a lot) arrived to college with the hope of solidifying this positive strong gay-identity and also reinsert myself in the black community (a community that I would suffocate without). I went to nearly every meeting of the queer organization on campus and also to the meetings for queer people of color, all the while immersing myself in the black community on campus. I've run in to a very straight but welcoming black community and a very mainstream (mostly white) somewhat closed queer community. To this date, I feel more like a member of the black community on this campus that the gay community. Over time, as shit goes down and learn and reflect and see the world around me I've been forced to reevaluate my relationships and my pace in the world. Unfortunately, I've been stuck wondering if I actually have one (at least at my liberal arts school) specifically in the gay community.

The black community on my campus is different from the other communities of color in that the it is strong and cohesive as well as political. I feel this mostly comes from the fact that its easy for black students to feel alienated everywhere else on campus. As of late I'm starting to feel that the gay community is no exception.

Recently I've been noticing that the queer meetings are having less and less to offer me and the demographic isn't one that seems to reflect my sensibilities in the matters of culture to the point that I don't connect with the subject matter and I find myself asking every week why I keep going. Should I keep going? The only friend I've made only talked to me through AIM. The other gay black male at these meetings (also a freshman) seems to have tried to forsake his blackness in exchange for queerness and the effects are on his face and in is demeanor. This makes it so much more difficult for me to think of myself as functioning within the queer mainstream at all and with it the understanding that I probably will not see ANY ass any time soon for the black community at my school, as wonderful as it is is filled with straights.


RoaG's picture

I wonder...

Have you thought of starting a group - Queers of Color? I was a little confused... It sounded like maybe you have one at school but it doesn't do anything. At any rate, you could revive an already existing group. Who knows, maybe this is a calling... Maybe you're what the school needs. Perhaps not as a freshman, but some time during your college career.

There's a black kid at school that my friend found on I didn't think anything of it before, but now after reading your blog, it's made me realize how... hard? awkward? not-fun? that must be... Our school has been "recruiting" black students in the past three years. That tells you how diverse we are. It's sad when you're sick of white people... and you yourself are white.

Anyway, thanks for the insight, if that means anything...

metrored's picture

Thanks for commenting. There

Thanks for commenting. There is a group at my school but it is increadibly small. I know there are more queer people of color on campus if only in my heart but they seem to deal with things differently.