Keepin' it Real

Butterscotch wrecked my head last weekend. We were having dinner at the mall, chewin' the fat, both figuratively and literally, when she jumped out the cake and asked me if I was on the DL. I gave her the "are you crazy" look and asked her if she was crazy, just to make sure she didn't misinterpret the look. I'm not gay, I don't commit homosexual acts, and I don't have tendencies. Still, there are probably a lot of sisters out there who wish they had asked their man about that. Given the amount of media attention that this phenomenon of brothers "on the down-low" is receiving, I guess I shouldn't be altogether surprised that she asked me. If it comes on Oprah, I'm liable to hear about it sooner or later. Two points at the outset to frame my thoughts. First, I'm not homophobic. I'm not scared of gay dudes, I don't think it makes me gay to associate with them, and I don't worry that they're gonna try to "convert" me. To quote Jigga, I'm "straight as Indian hair," so there ain't no guy whose rap is so strong that it could make me question myself. With that in mind, I learned a lot from my wrestling "old man," who greeted the gay dudes he knew with the same pound and bearhug that he greeted the rest of his friends with. When I asked him about it, he told me about some guys he knew in college who were always talking about gays and acting all disgusted and everything, but then one night he saw them in a car gettin' it on with other dudes. Kinda like the boyfriend's dad on "American Beauty." Interestingly, Coach doesn't think of gay dudes as men, but he is adamant about recognizing their personhood. That's what I think. No matter what else they've got going on, they're still just people and should be treated as such. I might even use the term "rump wranglers" or somethin' like that, but when it comes down to it, if I see the flamingest dude I know on the street, I'll shout him out just like I would do anybody else. Second, just because I accept the fact that some people I know are gay doesn't mean I think it's a legitimate lifestyle. Like I said before, I have yet to see enough quality evidence to convince me that homosexuality is genetic. I haven't seen enough quality evidence to convince me that it can't be genetic, either. The case for the "nature" origin is inconclusive and the "nurture" argument seems specious as well. I've seen authors who claim that most homosexuals have some type of abuse in their backgrounds, as well as incomplete formation of their male identities. I haven't looked at the data so I can't speak on the validity of those studies, but the findings seem awfully convenient given the worldview and political orientation of the authors who quote them. I said all that to say that there's just not enough pure evidence to support either claim. Basically, then, I think there may be a genetic component; a predisposition if you will, towards the gay lifestyle, but I think that a person actively chooses whether or not to engage in that behavior, the same as anybody else. Since I believe that homosexuality is by choice and is not entirely genetically predetermined, my beliefs on the legitimacy of that lifestyle are based on the Bible. And yeah, the Bible has been used as justification for the abuse and subjugation of many groups of people throughout history, but the fact that people have misused the Bible in the past doesn’t negate its authority. Now. This whole situation about brothers on the "DL" stinks, and not just because Butterscotch actually fixed her lips to ask me something crazy like that. First of all, it's a problem because you got jokers out there playing semantics—and losing. There's brothers out there having sex with dudes on a regular basis, yet they don't consider themselves to be gay. What? This ain't art. The fact that a person draws doesn't necessarily make him an artist, but engaging in homosexual activity does make you a homosexual. These aren't dudes getting raped, these are dudes who seek out gay encounters. If a man looks for a chance to lay down with another man, he's gay. Period. I'm a firm believer in recognizing subtleties and nuance, but sometimes it's just a question of "is you is or is you ain't." A man getting with a man, whether pitching or catching, is gay. No questions. In some of the commentary I have seen on this topic, I see a lot of talk about how difficult it is for a Black man to come "out" because the Black community does not accept gay men. This plays out in the man's inability to accept his own sexuality; he's obviously gay because he's sleeping with men but he refuses to identify himself as such because he doesn’t think he fits in with the stereotypes about what a gay man is or does. I guess that dude figures that if he wouldn’t fit in on "Will & Grace" or "Queer Eye" he's not really gay. Moreover, I think that for some of these guys, there's this idea that if they don’t want to have a relationship with the other man, they're not really gay. Like it's okay to engage in sexual acts with another man (the definition of homosexual) just as long as it's just to get some booty and not engage in some type of relationship. Not to mention that the question of manhood. The DL dude still thinks of himself as a man when he knows that there are lots of people who, like my head coach, would not regard him as such. My biggest problem with these characters is not that they're confused, it's that they're totally not confused, they're just being deceptive. Some of the gay dudes I know swear up and down they were born gay and that they're powerless to change it. As a result, they think that any biblical injunction against homosexuality is actually just some men being repressive and fearful of something they don't understand. That's confused. They think the truth is a lie. These other cats, however, they don't even think they're gay. They don't think they were born that way, they don't think the larger power structure is out to keep them down, they don't question the heterosexual "hegemony," none of that. They just want to mess around with guys and keep their status in the regular community, too. Really, I guess it's just a natural extension of good ole American hedonism. (Because after all, like one attempt at justifying homosexuality I read suggested, if you're gonna go anal, you couldn't tell the difference blindfolded, anyway. I don't know about all that, but that's what they say. I guess one'a them DL cats could really substantiate that claim.) With homosexuality becoming less taboo, I guess I shouldn't be totally surprised. Looking at the breakdown in Romans 1:19-29, it's right in there as a result of people's apathy towards God. And if you look past the "men with men working that which is unseemly" part (and I hafta admit that I'm still surprised when I see people try to argue that that it's not talking about homosexuality right there), there's a lot more guilt and blame to pass around. However, right now today, I'm talkin' about them down-low so-called brothers. I guess the way I see it is, if a dude's gonna be gay, he should just go 'head and be gay. There's no reason for him to bring his woman in on the experience unless she knowingly and willingly decides to participate. At that point, it's all on her. Now, you'll notice I haven't said anything about it being right. Like I said earlier, I don't think it's right under any set of circumstances, but everybody doesn't share that compunction. I think that even the most pro-gay person out there would recommend that the male in question be up front with his lady. Second, and even more important, are all these dudes allergic to latex or something? This is one thing I've never quite figured out: if you got your lady on one hand, and then somebody else on the other hand (don't really matter which gender) wouldn't you want to make sure you didn't bring anything home? It's bad enough that they're doing it at all, but they're passing on AIDS to their women on top of it. That's bad news. But then, it shouldn't be surprising. The same group that has the highest rate of AIDS infection is at or near the top on pregnancy, too. Just demonstrates that the same people don't use condoms, no matter what their situation. Abstinence is the best policy, but somebody better figure out that it's not an all-or-nothing proposition. If you're gonna go out of the house, might as well protect yourself as best you can. It's ridiculous. Of course, the real solution would be for the dude to go to the Lord and ask for His help with the situation. Sometimes I'm amused by the "The Bible is a work of oppression" bunch, who like to try to juxtapose their belief that they were born gay with what's in the Bible, like genes trump the Bible. That's like saying that because I may have a genetic predisposition toward women, the biblical prohibitions against regular fornication shouldn't apply to me. Whether I would like them to or not, they do apply, so the question then reverts to it's rubber-meets-the-road essence: Wha'chu gon' do now? The fact that some people don't spend as much time speaking against straight fornication as they do harping on gays means nothing. I always refer back to that passage in Romans and ask, "Are you on the list?" Everybody's on there, some genetically, some purely as a matter of will, and some as a combination. What that means is, really, we're all Eve-n-Steven…or Adam-n-Steven, whatever the case may be. Nobody gets off free.