You kind of wish there was some sort of "how to deal with all life's shit" manual that you are given at the time you learn how to read at a 6th grade level, just in time for puberty. The following is a list of things I didn't know, but had to learn. It may come off as odd, and that's fine. I understand the gravity of how I identify myself, as well as how I've allowed myself to be identified, but if someone could've just sat me down and told me the following things with such vigor and passion, I'd like to think that I wouldn't feel so broken now, but life doesn't work that way. And, if these things were explained to you early enough in your development, in concrete detail, then lucky you. I hope you're very well adjusted. As for me, I'm just waking up to what these things mean. So, here it is....
Nobody ever told me:
- That I was black, and what it meant to be an African American male in the South, yet alone what it meant to be African American.
- That everything I did or said would be under scrutiny no matter where I turned.
- That my locs and tats would deem me susceptible to prejudice and racist actions.
- That although I received my degree from an HBCU (Historically Black College & University), Cum Laude to be exact, my education was not as impressive as one who went to a college, where at one point in time nooses were hung from campus trees to ward off any POC who dared dream to one day set foot on its campus grounds.
- That I was "same-gender-loving" because the word "gay" is a dirty word to many because of mainstream opinions of what it means to be homosexual, or because it doesn't hold any roots to the African American homosexual community, so the term same-gender-loving is preferred.
- That because I don't engage in penetrative sex (which is supposedly the ultimate sex that can be had between SGL men), I am not thought to be homosexual, and pretty much am identified as virginal and non-experienced in terms of sexual intimacy between males.
- That the idea of love often time remains an idea, while promiscuity is highly favored over establishing any romantic feelings because it's just so much easier to fuck than love.
- That institutions that offer LGBT outreach to struggling youth, especially within the African American community, are still far and in between to find in 2013, and if they are there, these institutions don't get the marketing they deserve, but sites like Grindr, Growlr, A4A, BGC, Manhunt, Jack'd, etc. get the word out and about heavily.
- That in order to come together as a people, one most often selfishly go for self, then consider coming back to help others.
- That the older I'd get, I'd become more aware of the injustices that people face based on race, age, gender identification, physicality, and sexuality.
- That certain behaviors or practices are accepted as silent norms within our community albeit damaging to the participating parties' families, such as married men who go cruising around for sexual gratification, mostly bareback, and mostly white.
- That suicide is often favored as a means of escape because it just seems so hard to function in what can often be seen as a heartless society.
- That POC treat mental disorders like colds or demons; Theraflu and prayer will get rid of your depression it seems.
- That religion gets a bad rap because of horrible people who use it as a means of power instead of a means to uplift and celebrate human life, and sadly, those who do believe in a higher being are often thrown in the mix of scrutiny by those who rightfully question our existence. However, like most things, there's a sliding scale. I believe in God and respect others' beliefs and religions because I don't beat it over anyone else's head...however, don't think of me as some Bible toting religious nut who passes judgements on anyone's life because that person doesn't follow scriptures from an outdated text.
- That hypocrisy, inequity, and inferiority play major roles in our lives whether we participate in it or not.