If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years it’s that writing and talking about race makes people mad. Really mad. I can’t tell you how many times people have called me racist or treated me to violent emails for things I’ve written on this site about gay sex, race and racism. But gurl you know I can’t be bothered by these betches. One of my favorite lines — a real gem — came from a guy named Ben who sent me an email in response to something I said in an article about sexual racism a while back:
“You’re just mad because you’re black and ugly and nobody wants to fuck you.”
Sexual racism, or sex preferences and prejudices based solely on skin color and perceived ethnicity, is one of the most psychologically damaging and mentally exhausting forms of racism in the contemporary gay social world.
But try getting anybody to listen to you talk about it without seeing eyes roll or being called too sensitive.
“You like what you like,” you’re told. “How can a preference be racism?” you get sick of hearing time and again.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to be a brown body talking about racism without preaching to people who already know what time it is. It’s a highly emotional topic, and chances are you’re already surrounded by people from all backgrounds and ethnicities who get it. The hard part is getting other people to get it, too.
A recent issue of the UK-based FS: The Gay Health and Life Mag might help change things. The June/July 2015 issue of the magazine, titled “Racism and the Gay Scene: Is The Gay Community Racist?”spills so much truth tea about sexual racism as it is produced and experienced by gay men of all ethnicities.
The lead article “Racism and the Gay Scene” shares the story of over 850 Black, white, Asian, South Asian, Arab and mixed race gay men who tell you point blank about their own troubles with sexual racism in the gay scenes in the UK.
Peter, 28, from Coventry, hates being asked about his dick, he told the magazine. “‘How hung are you?’ I fucking hate that question. With a passion. As if there is nothing else to my being.”
In “Dear White Gay Men” over 400 white gay men responded to a survey about race and racism in the gay community. If these survey results don’t point to the prevalence of sexual racism and dangerous sexual stereotyping I don’t know what does.
You can download the whole PDF of the magazine for free here, and you should do so immediately, but in the meantime take a look at these few choice gems.
When asked which ethnic group was the most attractive, white guys listed white first, then hispanic/latino, then mixed race, then black, then Arab, then South Asian, then Asian.
When asked about ethnic stereotypes, 78% of the men in the survey believed all black men have large dicks. 75% felt that Asian men all had smaller dicks, and 56% of the respondents also believed that all Asian men were submissive bottoms.
Surprisingly, only 21% of respondents report rejecting someone sexually because of their race. Of the people who reported rejecting because of race, here’s what the respondents said:
I just don’t like having sex with Black guys.
I do not find Black men attractive.
I don’t find them aesthetically pleasing to look at. I can actually feel physically sick at the sight of too much black flesh.
And when asked about their overall thoughts about racism within the gay community, one respondent had this to say:
Racism is unfair anywhere and it should not be tolerated. However, you cannot stretch this into the world of sex and dating. Refusing somebody a job on the grounds of their skin colour is illegal, and so it should be, but if people are now suggesting that you can’t refuse somebody a date or sex on the grounds of their skin colour, we are getting into very ridiculous territory.
But actually, what’s the difference between denying someone a job because of their race and denying someone a date or sex because of their race?
This entire issue of the magazine should be required reading for every single responsible gay man. Talking about sexual racism is not about pointing fingers or making anyone feel guilty. It’s about learning how to empathise with people who have life situations that are different from your own as well as understanding the systems that produce difference and keep it in tact.
People think desire is just a harmless preference, but like all taste, preferences are learned.
It’ll take a lot of work to dismantle the harmful effects of sexual racism because the thing has a long, terrible history. In the meantime, create a safe space by surrounding yourself with people who like you because you are you, not because you’re an ethnic collectable or a one-off sexual fantasy. Chances are if someone can’t understand sexual racism and how it bothers you then they are probably not good for you anyway.