Scared Gay Black and Latino Men by Kyle Phoenix
I was recently pleasantly surprised when I opened up an email Inbox and saw so many emails about blog postings I had done. Then I read them closer and I was miffed and startled because I'd been remiss in explaining myself clearly. In previous bogs I'd talked about fear in men and my own disdain for that fear. What I meant by that personally was that so many MSM that I've dated have talked about, displayed, spoken of, exampled this free floating fear of what the world thinks of them and their sexuality. I don't want to display myself as some sort of paragon, I too have felt that fear but it didn't last long and now it's more of what I recognize as a niggling projection than an internal way of being.
Sometimes, in the past, I'll be on a date with a guy and he's attractive and we're having a good conversation and suddenly he'll say something like:
"I hate when men are or do...."
"Don't say that too loud someone might hear...."
"I make sure no one knows...."
And honestly I sort of freeze over, I check out, I realize that he's maybe still in the sexual possibility realm but that terror, that unnamed trepidation has killed some of my attraction to him. For years I would either deal with these men or be disappointed or avoid them and spend more time alone. Then I started taking a look at why I felt this way. My father Robert was in the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army, radicalized from the floor up. He's also 6'4, spent 7 years in prison working out everyday and dangerously intelligent from both his college and not-so-college education. My mother is much the same, they met in college and she's radicalized too and more socially political and entrepreneurial but both of them together are a strong force. To that end, their clashing was like Clash of the Titans when they first broke up then re-united and married then broke up again.
I've had several stepfathers around that---my mother fond of marrying I suppose---a karate/kung fu expert; a chef/drug dealer; a contractor and a police officer. All of them brown as the floor and if not radicalized politically then independent of mind. While not all of my father's were positive role models, some of their best lessons coming from their negative traits, they were all some level of men, suffused in their own manhood. Perhaps yes, with flaws but not weak men.
Years later, trying to date I realized that I had my father---some sort of Black Panther superhero/Captain America physiques commando running around in my head plus these stepfathers who had wiles and capabilities of their own---and from that I'd constructed manhood/Father. When I started constructing my own manhood and then dating I couldn't' help but to compare men to them. And the men I've dated couldn't help but to present themselves with all of their flaws and fears to that comparison. Not fair but true. My grandfather, dead several months before I was born, dark as obsidian and dangerous as an urban alleyway after midnight, had a badge and a temper that were feared inside and outside of his home. I am lucky I suppose that he only raised me in spirit.
Maybe I missed my calling by not going into the military, when I had the chance or to become a police officer I instead chose to pursue more intellectual fare. Maybe thee I would've met more "men" by my understanding of manhood---accountable, responsible, with integrity. maybe I wouldn't also be able to understand that so many men raised by just women creates pseudo-men and maybe by my professional work with LGBT organizations I wouldn't also be able to see that so much of MSM's manhood is undermined unless they hold steadfast to it.
I was recently out to lunch with a friend and he challenged that for one hour we should test our friendship, we should just for one hour say all the things on our mind that normally we would edit. it was quite the afternoon because some things were profane, were shocking, were tender, were dastardly, were sad as we moved around the city. Though we've known each other for years we discovered that we barely knew each other, that we had thoughts that were surprisingly new and fresh. We conversely discovered how much time we spent lying to each other, to other people, to everyone. Suddenly we were naked in front of one another and I discovered about myself how strong minded I am. How I'm capable of such hard decisions, how scary I can be to others. I often opt to think of myself as strong instead of tough, as introverted rather than outspoken; as pragmatic rather than pessimistic. And most of this is true. I'm pretty good on who I am but here's something new about myself that I'm discoverer---how I occlude so much of myself. How I control my personality. How I don't fear nor doubt as much as I'm wearied by effort.
Now on dates or in groups or even in classrooms I hear MSM share this trepidation, this fear, this neurotic screaming terror at everything from skinny jeans, to fat judgments, to AIDS, to public displays of affection. I'm no longer disgusted. I just turn slightly in my head and see 5 men,1 grandfather and 5 fathers standing behind me and my mother and I realize----oh, you didn't have that gang raising you.
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