Homothugs - A Social Paradox

adrian's picture

A local website has a really intriguing article about homothugs.

“As a Latino man, I understand what the situation is for black men as well. With these cultures, there is a huge machismo thing that does not allow for people to deal with their sexuality,

suffragettecity's picture

It seems that in Anglo-Americ

It seems that in Anglo-America (the US and Canada), anyone from south of the US border is considered "Hispanic," which is not usually taken to mean "white," even if the person in question is of European descent.

metrored's picture

hrm...

I don't really know how to react to that article because DL men has seemed to be the theme of queer people of color issues for this semester. I feel like tat article leaves out some important information, namely that the DL culture only became a big deal after it was associated with the rising rates of HIV infection among black women. Black men have always been apart of the black community though not necessarily the same way as gay white men. With that said, it isn't just since the rise of hip-hop that black and hispanic men have been having sex with each other. Hip-hop isn't the reason men are on the Down Low.

There are many reasons that black and Hispanic men wouldn't identify themselves as gay or bisexual that the article did touch on but it misses an important connection that I notice between white supremacy in the queer community and homophobia in the black community. Most of the cultural norms and understandings of the visible queer community in the US either come from or are a reaction to the cultural norms of the mainstream white community in the US. as a black man I don't necessary subscribe to those norms, the culture that I was raised in is not necessarily represented which causes a big problem if you're from a homogeneously black community or a family that places important emphasis on racial identity.

Most of the black men who identify (as gay/bisexual) at a young age (middle school/high school), 1) do so in mixed race setting with and LGBT community and 2) have serous issues reconciling their racial and sexual identities often causing them to not be a major part of the black communities where they come from and re-socialize themselves within the white queer community. This problematic because I feel that as a black man identifying yourself as gay implies that you're going to stop identifying with black people.

I think this is where being DL come into play because it takes away the conflict between racial and sexual identity by allowing one to express his sexual identity while leaving his racial identity intact.

just so you know,. I write about this a lot in my blog.

Also, I didn't really like the use of the term "homothug" in the article as the primary term for referring to DL men when in in most of not all media referring to DL men has referred to DL men as DL men or men on the Down Low. I've only seen homothug used as at best a peripheral term that isn't necessary used my member so the community to define themselves.

greyboi's picture

My Thoughts exactly!

Also, part of it is the word "gay" in and of itself. Much of part of the culture in growing up as a black male requires that one demonstrate an artificial sense of masculinity to gather a certain level of respect. This often conflicts with the stereotypical effeminate image commonly associated with gay men.

My being gay makes me no less black, and my being black makes me no less gay. However, the media has been effective in characterizing black males as being homophobic, sexist, and wife-beaters. Rap and hip-hop video culture and its objectification of women also adds to this fire.

And personally, I don't like the use of the term "homothug", because I have never once thought of myself as a "thug", just a homo. :)

morbid intentions 666's picture

homogothics....interesting.....

i think they forgot bout asians well...homo chinese anyways....r goin against tradition so?.....wait im makin no sense......ok in other words wha bout asains & other minorities..that..i forgot...?
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suffragettecity's picture

Asian cultures

Historically, homosexual behavior was considered acceptable in most Asian cultures, and this is still true in some places such as Cambodia and certain parts of Indonesia. Before the mid-19th century, the Chinese language had no words for "homosexual," "heterosexual," or "bisexual" - all of which were coined and subsequently translated into Chinese during the Victorian era. This wasn't because the idea of two men or two women sleeping together was unheard of, but because human sexuality was not rigidly defined then as it is now, and it was actually common for most people to have partners of both sexes. I suppose it was like Ancient Greece or the Celts in that respect.

From my knowledge, most of the homophobia in non-Muslim Asian (esp. Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese) cultures was imported from the West, by both Christian missionaries from Europe and by adherents to what was considered "scientific" thinking in the 19th century. Around the turn of the last century, while the educated elite of China and Japan (Korea was still a part of Japanese territory at that time) were soaking up just about every piece of Western thinking they could get their hands on, one little "foreign devil" that managed to creep in was the belief popular in Europe and the Americas at the time that homosexuality was a "pathology." The rest is history. The only indigenous "homophobia" is the attitude that regardless of one's orientation, he or she is obligated to get married and have children. Then again, in the past, people would still maintain same-sex relationships after marriage.

So, in a way, you could say that it's really homophobes that are going "against tradition," not gay people.