Representatives for Orange County teachers sounded alarm bells Monday after word spread from principals that Orange County Public Schools would impose strict restrictions on classroom behavior after Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education law, a.k.a the “Don’t Say Gay” law, took effect. According to representatives of the county’s teacher association, teachers and staff members will be disallowed from wearing rainbow articles of clothing, including lanyards distributed by the district last year. Elementary-level teachers reported being discouraged from putting pictures of their same-sex spouse on their desk or talking about them to students. “Safe Space” stickers aimed at LGBTQ students may have to be removed from doors, teachers will have to report to parents if a student “comes out” to them and they must use pronouns assigned at birth, regardless of what the parents allow, the CTA reported.
In April, Jeremy Baldwin has been teaching at Booker High School in Sarasota for the last five and a half years was forced to remove his rainbow “COEXIST” flag in his classroom, because it was “political” in nature.
This is heinous. And what’s even worse is that there is still no national or statewide law that prohibits discrimination against LGBT people in Florida. This means that, according to state law, it is legal to fire someone, evict them from housing, or deny them service at a restaurant just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender..
Still waiting on that 45 year old Equality Act to pass Congress. -smh-
We are yours, completely, to do all that you desire for only one night. One night only do we exist upon the same plane. We are your conscious come to life. A sexual yearning that needed scratching and the awakening of sexual arousal to satiate your physical appetite. The one wish you dare not speak aloud. But we will fulfill all that you require for just one night. And we will disappear in the first light of dawn, by your request, as usual. Our only purpose is to satisfy you for one night. Only one night.
We are selected from various social venues then inspected to ensure we meet the vision of your specifications. Your fantasies. We do not exist outside of the concepts of double rainbows and blue moons. Only between your sheets and between your thighs are we made salient. We are judged to make sure we can lift you and grab you, squeeze you tight in the rare moments when you seek our comfort. Your eyes calculate and measure to ensure that our mythical horn is what you’ve heard about behind closed doors. But if we appear too wild, surly, or untamed we are asked to leave because we may be too dangerous for your tastes. Then you relay this to us, politely, covertly, or bluntly.
Our mahogany, ebony, caramel skin absorbs the soft light of midnight, the only time in which you have the courage to summon us. While the rest of the world sleeps so they dare not discover this sinful encounter. Few words are exchanged both in text and in person. But we don’t need words because we will let our bodies speak for us. As the descendants of Mother Africa society sees us as the beast of humanity and throughout time has always been reduced to sex. To fuck. We have only one task to perform tonight. Just this night.
Our desires are made into yours. Our dreams of closeness and family and picket fences and soulmates and..love are extinct in this moment. We are not to be seen in daylight. We are the sexual beasts your fantasies yearn for. Our shaft your thighs our hands your sides. Smooth long strokes that shock and bounce you into place. You want us to massage and excite. We see the fear mixed with intrigue and desire in your eyes but we pretend to not notice. We are a mystery you dare not investigate beyond the faint breaths of passion to separate myth and lore from the real being inside of you. A man. You marvel at how much it aches to feel this good. This is your version of living on the wild side. For tonight only.
Our fingers electrify and excite you as you wonder what will happen next. Soft lip biting as our bodies groove into one. Our tongues explore and sensually sear the skin, igniting your body and mind. Then we stride inside, hard and slow, fast and rough. Each thrust and stroke to make your pulse race and raise your body temperature. The sweat only makes us work harder. It’s an elaborate dance we have done time and again. To you, sex is our only purpose only for tonight.
Standing up, sitting in a chair, tied to the floor or bed, pulling you up and down on us. You want us to stretch and collide inside your walls. Going as long and as hard and as deep as you wish. Then deeper. Your moans of delight as we await words or body movement to instruct us further. We whisper how good it feels and move our bodies with enough fervor to make your knees buckle. We will continue this mechanical dance until your toes curl and your back arches to the floor and await the moment you explode from inside and the orgasms lead us panting, gasping for air and some semblance of reality. We are your farm boy, your masseuse, chiropractor, doctor, chef, and lover all at once.For tonight only.
Our supple lips trace with excruciating precision all over your body. You have been convinced we are the experts and are to implement all activities while you can lay back and enjoy all of our efforts. To you we are the beasts of night and only when deemed tame enough are we permitted with going through your checklist of explicit challenges designed to stimulate. But only until the sun rises.
You will ask us to role play for you. To be the aggressive representation the media portrays us as. To playfully reverse centuries old roles and be the master while you are our slave. The beast. Soul is only required in rhythm. Because, in your mind, this is our only specialty. Because to you outside this sexual sanctuary we do not exist. We are just a fantasy.
We are artists, doctors, lawyers, mental health professionals, teachers, construction workers, students, businessmen, investment bankers, activists, and leaders but all that fades in the allure of moonlight. Because we can only serve one purpose, you, for only one night.
And you may call upon us again when you allow your mind to think of we satisfied your thirst, when you are ready to drink from us again and require your body to be caressed and satiated with sexual fantasies. We are not to call or text you, we are not to want to know more about you, we are not even allowed to address that we know each other in daylight for fear that it will expose our sinful transgressions.
Because we are not suitable to meet your friends and loved ones because they either come from a different time or would be unable to appreciate our nights of passion. We cannot make them or you uncomfortable. And for the most part, we at one point in time, will silently accept these terms, out of necessity to satisfy our own desires. Or to somehow prove we are more than the shapely figures you passionately hold onto while driving you into ecstasy. Or when we aren’t strong enough to see differently believe that is our sole purpose. That we exist, to you, for only one night.
The above is a compilation of conversations and submitted writings I’ve collected over the past several months from some of the experiences that gay men of color have experienced. Often we are only seen as sexual beings only capable for having a hot passionate night of sex. We are fetishized and perceived be to voyeuristic and exhibitionists that sometimes borders on sadomasochism. Some of us are but not all just as any other race. But sometimes we are only seen as this stereotype.
Not even necessarily saying the stereotype or rather the hypersexualization of African American men and other men of color is necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, (with the exception of referring to us as sexual beasts cause that is offensive. And racially insensitive). Remember this is the stereotype that is supposed to work in our favor.
But a real problem arises when you only think of us as sexual beings that only want to have sex all the time. That we don’t have dreams and aspirations and goals outside of that. That we don’t want to build lives together with significant others, to someday have families and being a part of healthy, successful long-term relationships when most of us do want that. This is a perfect example of how some so called good stereotypes still work out negatively for that biased group of people.
When only these stereotypes are believed it can make venturing into interracial dating difficult. How are we going to be able to interact with those that believe that’s all we are capable of being? How are we to overcome being interested in someone or trying to invest time into knowing someone who is terrified of introducing us to their parents and friends?
What do we tell the gay people of color that are apprehensive of having interracial relationships when they’ve been told, “This would be so much easier/less complicated/better if you weren’t black”? Can’t tell us to just stick to our race because not only is that racist but also not always feasible, especially when you live in areas or cities where there are only a handful of out gay men of the same race. Is it our responsibility to challenge these misconceptions every single time we come across them?
These questions are why I reached out over the past few months to some of the gay African American and other gay men I knew to talk about some of the issues we’ve come across in our experiences. We discussed how sometimes we are referred to the mythical beast, a belief that transcends sexual orientation. Because sometimes we are sexualized and made to feel like we can only have one purpose, sex. Now don’t get us wrong, the men and myself included love sex. Love everything about sex. But it is jarring to only be seen as a sexual object. That us dating and interacting with interracial relationships it is something we come across from time to time.
While discussing this we were also aware that there are a few gay men of color that may use this stereotype to their advantage. They may play into the troupe to get what they want and it’s so easy to just go with the vibe of having a great night of sex with no anticipation of commitment. It could be that these men have completely bought into this stereotype and see no reason to investigate further that is reflective of a learned helplessness. But I have found that this is likely the exception to the rule.
And the men and I that have discussed this topic are not saying that this happens every single time we involved with interracial relationships but it does happen often. We brought this up for those that do only see us as sexual beings and remind them that no one with self-worth wants to be seen as a robot that only exists to fill some sexual request. We just wanted to shine a light on how marginalizing a group of people to having only one purpose still is negative, no matter how purportedly good the origins.
It is only our responsibility as gay men of color to be aware of this for our own well-being and not have to teach this each time we come across it. We’re saying everyone should actively investigate the perceptions they have about a group of people, even when that stereotype is perceived to be inherently good.
By sharing this unique collaboration of experiences that we encourage people to think about the perceptions they have a group of people and go beyond that. Learn and investigate on your own. To make note of when you only see people that way, you end up missing out on truly knowing us and finding out the things about us that have much more significance than a fun night of sex.
*Special Thanks to the seven extraordinary men that helped contribute their experiences into this article. And as always my journals for helping me recognize my worth early on when I first came out.*
Okay if you’ve read any of my opinion pieces you know how much I hate labels to generalize well, anything. I mean I get why we have labels and have examined, reexamined, and deconstructed just to examine them again. So you can imagine my expression when I stumbled upon the story of performing arts teacher Susan Johnson, of South Lyon Michigan, was suspended for allowing students to listen to a “gay” song.
A student asked Johnson if they could play the song “Same Love” by the performing artist Macklemore. Originally the song was created to garner more support for the referendum voted on by Washington voters that would allow same sex marriage. We all know the measure was in fact voted on and more than likely, Johnson felt the song was appropriate. Johnson even expressed that the song combated bullying and homophobia:
“This is one of the things in my school that we’re trying to practice, and we’re trying to instill in our students — is tolerance to diversity, and also [against] bullying.”
Yet a student wasn’t comfortable with the lyrics and reported Johnson to the school administration and was promptly suspended because the song does contain a homophobic slur. BUT the slur in the song is not directed to anyone but rather refers to the actions and language of those that are homophobic. See for yourself the lyric in question:
If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me/ Have you read the YouTube comments lately? / ‘Man, that’s gay,’ gets dropped on the daily / We become so numb to what we’re saying / A culture founded from oppression / Yeah we don’t have acceptance for him? / Call each other ‘faggot’ behind the keys of a message board.”
Johnson feels that she was wrongly suspended when all she was trying to do is fight against inequality and bullying:
“I’m very disappointed in the bias, the bigotry that I feel that they’re really hiding behind. I really love my kids and I never want to hurt them, but I also know that there’s a lot of bullying and there’s a lot of gay bashing and racial issues going on in our country, and I want the kids to feel comfortable in my class no matter who they are.”
Fellow readers, what do you think? Was it acceptable for Johnson to allow the song to be played including the homophobic slur included?