Last week, a friend tagged me in a post on Facebook. Like many of my friends, the first thing I am sure they wanted to know was my opinion after reading the article. The article featured on The Guardian, “The black, gay community may be out-but its not proud” went into detail about many black men who opt to date white men because in some rare form or fashion, it makes dating a tad bit easier.
Well let’s just be honest, dating in the gay community never has been and neverwill be easy. However, when you take into account that now you are no longer in just a same-sex relationship but now one that is also interracial, one has to really examine what it truly means to love across borderlines.
Like many of my friends, I shared the article. But unlike said friend who tagged me in the post, I decided to post the article, not because I agreed, but because I felt like I needed to share a greater message.
In an age where both my race and sexuality seem to be the topic of everyone’s dinner conversation, my message is clear: I am more than a “black boyfriend”.
See, my partner and I have many similarities even though we are from a different race. While he understands his privilege, we are both from single parent homes and also the eldest of our siblings. Knowing this allowed us to connect on a deeper level. We both understood what it meant to struggle, to look for love and to know what it is like to feel different while seeking love in a same-sex relationship.
From understanding my “blackness” to dealing with what sexuality and what it means to be a queer man of color, my life as a black man has always been prefaced with just that- struggle. This struggle-which we know is ALWAYS real- has always been nestled between figuring out how to make a love life as a queer black man while standing firm in my truth.
The reality is that my truth as a queer man of color hasn’t always been accepted in either communities. So is it wrong if a white man who accepts my struggle and truth loves me unconditionally?
Now, I want to caution my statement so readers don’t think of me as me being the Don Lemon of queer relationships; however, I do believe that there is something to be said about the way black men love and the way white men love. Because I am not a white man, I can’t speak for them. I can only speak from my own personal experiences and share that from an early age my family, friends, media and religion taught me to hate myself because I was everything that I told I should not be which was black and effeminate. When I decided to love both of those identities exclusively and live a life that embraced the intersectionality of all my identities, I believe that it was then that my “white” boyfriend saw the potential in me to be his soul mate. Although both of us have to navigate stereotypes and misconceptions by asking a great deal of questions on the regular, every day is a learning journey as to how to love each other without limitations, race being included.
By dating him I became more than just a black man or queer person of color to him. From the time that he met me, I believed that he saw the potential in me to be loved without conditions which is something that I never felt from the black gay community.
So the greater conversation remains, when does love become more than the color of your skin and more about the experiences you want to make together? How can we continue to love each other as black men when the black gay community continues to remind us that we are unlovable because of our past experiences and the love we can’t find for one-another?
All that said, I will forever be more than a “black boyfriend”. The complexities of being black and queer are far deeper than many of us acknowledge; however, in my journey I’ve learned this – I am Black. I am Queer. I am loved. Although this love happens to come from a white man it does not make me less of a black man, but a stronger one.
-Originally posted on Mused.com. You can access the article here.