In 1924 being black was already one strike that you had against you. Whites considered you to be the ignorant second class citizen unworthy of fair treatment, incapable of being educated. Your role in society was limited to menial jobs such as field hand, maid, chauffeur, or servant; In other words, you were there to serve and not be heard.
You had no voice.
You had no rights.
This is the year that writer James Baldwin was born and, even though his literary brilliance preceded the volatile, segregated era in which he lived, eventually his literary contributions would find prominence amongst the greatest literary works in the world. They would be honored, studied, and reveled decades after that first release. “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” got published in 1953, at a time when blacks started rebelling against the inequality and unfair treatment dispersed by their fellow whites Americans.
Baldwin’s novels scratched the scalps of various subject matters; one in particular was homosexuality. Imagine being a black homosexual back in 1924? I can’t imagine, but here we are in 2012 still beating around the bush about a natural occurrence that some see as immoral and unnatural.
So, you wake up one day and discover that you are considered a sexual deviant, a flaw in the eyes of society. Your survival instinct kicks in and whispers “hide,” and you do. You enter puberty carrying a shame that causes you to hate yourself, and that’s when the depressive episodes flow in and out like a restless tide.
Each sexual encounter you engage in adds a new guilt to a spirit that, by the time you are 18, becomes a heavy burden that you find yourself struggling to carry around.
In the forefront of waking thoughts are the restless elements of resentment and self-loathing. You resent heterosexuals for that lack of compassion, and you dispise yourself for not being one of them; those hyper-masculine personas glorified and in constant rotation interfere with peace and makes you want to reject your homosexuality even more. Your dick should only get hard for pussy. Getting erect and excited over dick is something you keep to yourself, and if you masturbate or engage in sexual activity with a dude it’s a taboo activity you don’t discuss.
Any spontaneous physical interlude is quarantined from emotion and must remain void of any feelings, because you have intentionally placed strict limitations on whom you will permit yourself to love. Regardless of any spiritual connection, you are bound to adhere and uphold the standards of being a man at any cost – even if it means lying to the woman, and being cold to any man you encounter.
As ridiculous as it sounds, this is the limited life for many. It is an unfulfilled existence taught and lived by followers and worshipers of documented moral standards, contained within the pages of a widely distributed periodical called The Bible. Is religion to blame? No. Interpretation is to blame.
The Bible is an ancient, sacred, direct literary piece, filled with profound passages and vague parables open to understanding, yet based on interpretation. Taken literally, homosexuality is a sin. We were created to procreate, and taught to abstain from fleshly activities.
Yes, in the eyes of many, the exploration of passion is like a hideous scar and a volatile attack on common decency. So, hiding and denying that part of you is the chosen over living openly as a gay man. You are a sound wave without sound, inaudible to public ears, but vocal to the select few that you allow into your bedroom.
Those willing male partners are always allowed a glimpse of what will never be and who they can never have. They are a temporary inclusion intended for a sexual release. After that they are dismissed. The simplistic beauty of lovemaking is diminished to a cold hedonistic physical act, a perverse display of dominance fueled by a profuse loathing of self. God have mercy on the unsuspecting soul seeking true love.
The irony in it all is how easy it becomes to flaunt this imitation of “normalcy.” Marrying a woman, fathering children, and presenting yourself to the world as heterosexual are top priorities beneath that denial, and the obsessive quest to keep the other sleeping arrangement private is protected and guarded like an impenetrable fortress. Or is it? In the public eye you are a “model citizen” and the epitome of masculinity; however, in the infrequent shadows of lust you are either the giver or receiver of fallacious rigidness, engaging in the “immoral”, desperate to fill an annoying emptiness in the deep background of your thoughts.
The term down-low is the term used to describe the sexual prowess of straight men that pursue and sleep with other men. They don’t consider themselves to be homosexuals, and their interest in men never extends beyond satisfying their lust. In most cases, cuddling and kissing are exclusively reserved for females, but is that one harsh reality that is changing?
One quiet evening while sitting alone, I stumbled upon edited versions of a controversial show on the CW called “The LA Complex.” I was elated to find them edited down to the storyline that chronicles that life of a miserable and mentally wrecked mainstream rapper named, “The King of California,” who goes by the name of Kaldrick King. It all came together for me during the violent scene when he did the unthinkable act to a love interest in order to protect his image. I won’t spoil things by giving any details, but I will say this; I understand, to some degree, just how hard coming out of the closet can be. “The Down low Chronicles” is another series that caused that “ah-ha” movement for me as well. Even if love finds a way into the heart of a man who is petrified of being found out, it is no match for the fear of being identified as gay.
When I created my “Ripped & Ready” series I tapped into this subject, but as a fairly new writer, I believe that new experiences will help me delve even deeper into the core of this subject. It is my hope that I can leave behind bread crumbs to help others immersed in the struggle for self-acceptance. Forty years ago seems like a lifetime ago and, I suppose, it really is, but I’m so glad that I lived to see “us” written into mainstream storylines. For the record, I loved Patrik-Ian Polk’s “Noah’s Arc” series for the simple reason of seeing “us” portrayed in a positive light.
In closing, I’d like to send out prayers to those of “us” who are no longer here with us, and send encouragement out to those in the struggle to accept and embrace who they are. There are many roads we travel in this life, so this one of sexual identity is no more or less important than others, but it is relevant.
Author G D Grace
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Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted. If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document. Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2012 October