Greetings charged-up readers!
Trouble in Black Paradise rumbles right along and stirs the nation.
I’m conversing with a young white thirty-something man. Sharing runs the gamut between frivolity and intellectual thought—the rollicking world is abuzz with true headline grabbers.
Patio conversation bubbles. In this Castro pub all decompress from a stressful day’s work. Interestingly over time this man’s impressed me, as he earnestly invests in social and political “cause.” Of course, many do not.
Our gay space holds some “majority” dynamics: it’s predominantly white male, substantially white female and largely young adult. Sprinkles of “everybody else” stream in constantly, an influx of “presence” keeping this arena’s potential monotone colorfully lit.
Me? I’m an Afro-American male “boomer” bringing much to a table where perspectives, notions and “feelings” are freely bantered around.
Hot topics bring us to the notion of “progress” made. Our Bay Area obviously is a hot bed where social movements impact the world—Black Lives Matter and gay Marriage Equality having central springboards here. The lad feels significant “progress” is at hand.
I’m about to throw an intellectual wrench into this talk’s “altruistic” machinery.
Looking up, I point to the many TV screens surrounding us.
Heterosexual music videos constantly bombard gay space. “Hoochie” women, gyrating practically naked (packaged by the straight male sex worship industry) overwhelmingly dominate these screens; they’re alternated with conventional “sitcoms” and game shows (one other gay men’s bar constantly streams hetero themed movies).
Erotic male images (oh-so rarely visible) are upstaged by female interests in scenes—which scream “straight!” Occasional so-called gay themes center on drag queens toying with male stud props.
The point is, even when gay life itself chances upon these screens the hetero female aspect is king.
Videos (or movies) showing candid man-to-man love practically don’t exist here—and of course some industry out there is loaded with them. The bar’s media choices might be great for lesbians, but in this majority gay male scene I’ve yet to see two men up there passionately kissing—the crux of this matter—and homosexual scene set-ups are static, or remain “innuendo.”
I point this out to the lad; stressing my shock that little to no media imagery here celebrates gay men. A blank stare is my reward, as if a jet stream just sailed this “issue” over his head. That “altruistic” progress machinery still grinds along—but just barely.
My next round of “nuts and bolts” hurls—jamming the machine. I simply state a shocker: “straight protocol is designed to murder homosexuality.”
Reflex shatters all blankness in a noble guffaw: “not all straight people want to murder gays!”
“I did not say all,” was my reply. “Protocol was the term used referring to straights.”
Looking at me squarely he never flinched with, “maybe that’s a generational thing, more relative to your time.”
“Are you kidding!?” the words tore from me. “Were young people born on the moon, arriving just in time to inherit a clean social slate?” I then had to ask, “Why is this disconnect idea so prevalent among white gay male youth?”
Uh-oh! A “deer-in-the-headlight” look showed the unexpected had struck him. The statement “this has nothing to do with white attitudes” seeks to navigate off of shaky ground.
My next bomb shatters that machinery.
“Black Lives Matter was founded by Black youth—one being openly lesbian. Protests are led by Black youth; they definitely believe white protocol was designed to murder minorities and that it continues to this day—as do the rainbow crowds (including whites) joining those marches…”
Boom! I hadn’t quite finished when he leaped from the table, declaring something urgent called (and obviously realizing where this quite unforeseen comparison headed). In a flash he was gone!
The shock was palpable, but fortunately he seemed more hit by dizzying “eureka” than by gagging offense. It was still shock nonetheless.
The lad returned to the “space,” but not to finish our talk at my table. I remained supportively distant, allowing him that delicate absorption. I’m confident we’ll talk again soon, but the phenomenon’s persistence—of gay male obliviousness to the depth of bigotry’s impact—is confirmed.
I’ve raised this concern—overblown straight female sexual worship—in passing to many of his generation. Response hits a narrow trend: “blank stare” surprise at the issue being raised; there’s even peculiar embarrassment at the notion that male-to-male burlesque and erotica (matching the female showcasing here) would be promoted and seen.
It shows what’s insidious: straight protocol’s campaign to murder male homosexuality is intense and America’s focus on “it” is the most extreme. The momentum from targeting is fierce, causing far reaching outcomes that slip past the awareness of white gay males—but not their psyches.
Here’s why “tricky” consequences should be obvious:
Prime time America (run by colonial white men) showing male-to-male kissing is almost unheard of—to this day. It’s the ultimate taboo. Snail pace gay advances brought a smidgeon of male situations and characters to films, with some lead characters featured in sitcoms. But extensive make-out “sessions” involving these lead’s you will not see (if you see any love interest at all).
Female same sex “set-ups” find the absolute contrast here, steeped in paradox. Lesbian overt sex also misses prime time, but is absolutely a staple in straight male porn; there, women will even be paired with one man (everybody interacting) but I’ve never seen solo women with two men also “touching” each other.
Two women can dance arm-in-arm right at hetero socials—no one bats an eye. Two men merely touching on a “gay” dance floor got arrested by undercover law.
Groups thoroughly persecuted by society share a common response: creating their own spaces (or “systems”) to survive and hopefully thrive, pushing to achieve what otherwise has been successfully denied them. Those suffering the worse discrimination have the greatest challenges and the slowest progress with the most damaging effects.
Blacks are in the category of worse, ethnically and religiously speaking. Homosexuals—the last to have discrimination be legal and openly celebrated—trump that position and are wedged well down the line beneath Blacks. Both though, have critical things in common—far more than not.
Puritan America’s “sex-phobic” politics causes irony to layer through the roof here. Confusion does wreak havoc on hetero psyches, paradox yielding residual damage that is bad enough (glamorized ‘’mixed messages” worshiped, not addressed). For gays this confusion is paralyzing.
Here are crucial dynamics: historically Blacks are under attack to contain our communities (whites keeping the monopoly on Black resource); unauthorized sterilization also a stark reality there. Blacks got the “lesser than us” inferiority pounding (thru innumerable ways being excluded from progress—especially visually).
Homosexuals are under attack with the goal that our communities would never possibly exist. Gays got the “you aren’t real” pounding (called abominations not fit to live who must be eliminated).
But gay community was a latent entity aching to be born.
Hence the crux’s conception: a successful “male chauvinist” society considers other males to be the ultimate threat—not exploited females (who largely just go along). So male-to-male intimacy and sexual reality imagery became the ultimate elimination target—in the over-the-top extreme.
The best way to keep “viable” people disconnected—separated also from sympathy “camps”—is to have them discredit themselves. Mega propaganda campaigns flooding psyches for centuries definitely proved the trick. Visual repression is absolutely deemed utterly important for getting total results from oppression—long lasting effects that take on a life of their own.
Black pioneers recognized this, creating self-service sanctuaries featuring our music and “images” of our heroes—items denied a presence in broader society.
Black gays recognized this, scratching out havens that serviced us, introduced Black gay “heroes” and featured Black music—items denied a presence in broader white gay enclaves (though much work is at hand as losses of vision and “spaces” are huge).
White gay pioneers recognized this. To plow through paralyzing suicidal “confusion,” face family rejection, risk arrest from illegal gathering or entrapment (and with no legal recourse for brutal bashings) they dared craft a toehold to multiply refuges.
The answer is a thesis unto itself. I’ve touched on this in other blogs, but key causes can be summed up connecting the dots:
White pioneer gays like Blacks (as stated above) without a doubt forged the “bulk” of sanctuary creation—but dragged “racist/sexist” attitudes right along. Set-ups here found whites learning from advancement; hence gumption and fortitude (against homophobia) solidified—both the will to resist and ability to see through anti gay psychological rubbish grew.
“Race and gender” relations were pushed to improve by gay “others” being victimized there (who still push and “protest” to this day) not the white men being called to task.
Freed in the shared process was the gay initiative to rewrite those “straight” books and brash ideals thrived: stripping shame from nudity; creating sex “liberation-in-action” spaces; sheltering diverse “outcasts”; and plastering “visual images” around that reflected “us” and our liberation ways.
Projecting images of ourselves was a “natural response,” reinforcing our declaration of being. It defied a huge demon: the threat against homosexuals becoming visible thru media—a menace not to be taken lightly (even two men “kissing” in gay newspapers—mostly owned by white men—is an extremely recent appearance).
As diverse outcasts steadily slipped into the cracks sanctuaries expanded, hitting growing pains, thus “nonconforming” camps broke away, separating from those gays who staunchly “imitated” outer society.
AIDS then hit causing instant mass disappearance, setting chaos to totally unfinished business.
A monstrous void was left: those gay repositories that vanished (baring knowledge, strength and fortitude) were sheared off from the next generations (often too terrified on many levels to even “come out”).
Passing the intact baton was all but eliminated. Salvaged “ruins” paved shell shocked foundations to begin from scratch.
Fast forward to today: the substance of those ruins kept enough momentum to maintain slow progress in the rebound. But things are tricky.
Still having to revolt to accept themselves (and find sanctuary) most gay youth training, or value instruction, comes from straight society—not gay mentors who vanished. Hence they are conflicted, still being tied to political “whiteness” which still seeks to eliminate their cultural “gayness”; and they are not invested in (or steered toward) richness from the broader Civil Rights Movement.
Novice gays consequently are more beholden to straight surface values—thinking that progress merely means straight acceptance, or “fitting in” (protection laws magically trickling along the way).
Now flooding gay spaces straight “pop culture” (more vainly artificial than of radical substance) is seen as naturally acceptable; straight “sex goddess” worship ruling pop culture is adored here—by men who have such limited practice being comfortable with their own sexuality images.
Here’s that crux again: in short modern gay men have bought into being rendered invisible—so use to it they’ve settled into the normalcy of visually “discrediting themselves.”
Hence, young gays do not enter the arena with a drive to push reclaiming lost boundaries; they do not hunger to know who they really are in the human scheme, or recover the depth of their own stolen legacy—most that I know don’t even read literature.
Here, I’ve got to ask: does that earlier reflex response (denying “straight protocol’s” intent is to murder homosexuals) unselfishly count the greater 50 states—where bleakness and dread pervade—or only extreme minority sanctuaries (that shelter “us”) like San Francisco?
Thankfully there’s the contrary. Waves of absolutely astute, enthusiastic youth are splashing in with the new surging tides—they must be acknowledged: spirit to engage with both luscious frivolity and substance (stepping beyond timid peers in schoolyard clusters) is simply thrilling; hunger for insight regarding gay “essence” in the human spectrum totally shines; “racism” is probed genuinely with dignity—unfettered by guilt.
Burgeoning as social warriors—the lad in dialogue with me above definitely one of them—they flood my heart with encouragement.
We pioneer gays were not fooled. We broke from anti-gay bases (where safety in race “likeness” bred cowardice with complacency) to embrace new families—redefining for our own.
We knew gain moves beyond mere survival, proving fully enacted self-celebration is necessary for the ultimate—to actually thrive.
I’ve written my book “Trouble In Black Paradise” as a means to access our fascinating untold legacy—a thrilling ride from prehistory thru today. Chronicles of my own landmark contributions offer a glimpse into that struggle’s crackling, high risk modern times.
Of gay enclaves setting broad welcoming spaces I do push for diverse subjects and themes to grace our screens. After all, I love me some SF Giants and Niners; plus our NBA Champion record shattering Golden State Warriors are taking us on one helluva ride!
“Gay based” media though, by far should dominate all items.
Progress in this vein means this: an absolute passionate “drive” by managers to gather untold volumes of gay media; cataloging for patron’s access (and knowledge of its broad extent); and pushing for gay media’s expansion and production.
In particular, activating platforms for neglected gay media artists—they’re outcasts from the very world (whose “non-inclusive” hetero material floods gay sacred zones).
Gay shame and indifference towards homosexuals “on screen”—of man-love in particular—is regress, dangerously window dressed in false-gain amusement.
I’ve not forgotten: colonial religious enemies say their God loves the “sinner,” but not the sin; meaning, it’s “kind of” ok (or “politically correct”) to be homosexual as a novelty, but not practice it.
Translation: serve the enemy by enabling gay self-hatred (to keep you intimately non functional) and disconnected from spiritual “depth” regarding homosexuality.
It’s yet another item verifying the absolute connection of gay struggle with Black liberation issues—both settling for self-absorption as piecemeal progress.
My next blog will bear out this connection, where Black failure to be “real,” or absolutely clear (about confronting sinister hindrance within government service agencies) yields stagnation and set-back in the fight against AIDS.