When ‘Outside’ Is Even An Outsider: A Reflection On Gay Men And Racial Bias Within The Gay Community

Since 1978, the Rainbow Flag has been a prominent symbol of unity and inclusion among the gay community. It represented the collective acceptance of all gender and sexual expression. However it seems circa 2015 that the waving of this flag at pride parades reeks of scandal and hypocrisy because there exists a racial bias within the gay community that challenges the tenets of what the flag initially represented.

I have gone to many gay bars/clubs where I have literally felt like brother outsider. My brown skin became a liability that interfered with my ability to connect with white patrons. It’s like my melanin became a life form all its own and rendered me odd man out, a human alien. I became an invisible species briefly seen and quickly discarded with disappointed disdain.

Although it is very difficult to confirm my suspicions without conducting extensive research at the bar, it is my belief that white party goers began to see me as a “threatening presence”. Based on body language, hurried exchanges, no eye contact and avoidant postures, it became quite evident that I was not welcomed at these establishments. It’s like the “whites only” signs were extracted from various public institutions only to be placed in the establishments and collective consciousness of America.

You can charge this travesty to a couple of things namely, our nation’s color-coded zeitgeist, America’s preoccupation with race/perception of black people and/or just plain ole comfort with what we are familiar with in general. All I know is that there’s this unconscious belief about black people that has even found its way into the gay community, a community known to have extensive experience being hated and discriminated against constantly. Somehow this resume of oppression should warrant some level of compassion and unity. But sadly, it doesn’t.

Now in truth, I don’t know if I should sum up these encounters as a form of androphobia or negrophobia within the gay community but all I know is that I felt marginalized and excluded in a community that has historically been on the receiving end of the same treatment. I would think that a group of people who have experienced similar oppressions would be more understanding and inclusive considering they have been through similar experiences but I guess not. Somehow there seems to be an elitist mentality even within systems of oppression that causes the abused to abuse other cultures and creeds and in turn think nothing of it.

Some people within the gay community deny their racial biases and rationalize their colorized bigotry by saying “I’m not prejudice, it’s just a preference” which to me is simply an intelligent justification for the unclaimed internalized racism that lives in their still-beating hearts because “preference” implies a willingness to at least entertain the possibility of exploring other races. Though you may prefer hairless white bois, you would not rule out making a connection with a brown bear or a Latino cub. These “bois” at these clubs tend to avoid brown boys like they are the plague. Sure they sexualize dark boys from a distance and drool over their gifted appendages and enormous-sized dicks, but they would never take them serious enough to entertain the idea of being in a committed relationship with them. And once again this only applies to some men, not all.

Such exclusion really makes you reflect upon the symbolism and original intent of the rainbow flag to which gay men pledge their allegiance. The red symbolizing life, the indigo/blue symbolizing harmony. The orange symbolizing healing. What would happen if the flag began to represent the truth and these colors were removed? The rainbow would crumble and lose its glow not to mention Judy Garland would probably turn over in her grave! Somehow the diversity symbolized within the bright and beaming fluorescence of these colors evokes a forlorn feeling of nostalgia and longing as the unity and sense of community that once characterized the gay community is sorely missing nowadays. In fact, it may be safe to say it has been replaced with shade and sociopathic traits namely ill-concern for the rights and feelings of others within this community of men loving men.

So while gay men proclaim loud and proud during Pride, redecorating closets into voting booths, their actions really say maimed and ashamed because to exclude any race from the conversation especially within the context of our complex sexualities contradicts the meaning of our symbolic pride. We must keep this in mind and replace the discriminatory signs that hang in the museum of our minds with perceptions more unified that reflect our belief in what we claim to stand for –justice and pride. TC mark

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