The Down-Lo and Prop 8

  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Dec 01, 2008 7:36 PM GMT
    We're all upset and protesting against the Mormons and rightly so
    for their bigotry and hypocrasy when it comes to them saying anything about the sanctity of marriage
    Right Brigham Young ?

    But this doesn't say anything about another segment of the population who voted for this measure
    The Black population and more specifically Black women

    Black women are more likely to go to Church so we can't argue the religious aspect
    Also the civil rights part of it is lost on them because many do not see our struggle as theirs
    BUT .... what we need to bring out is that BECAUSE of the stigma against homosexuality in the black culture many gay black men
    stay in the closet and also have sex with women
    because they are in the closet they are likely to have sex with gay male prostitutes and more likely to become HIV positive
    and have infected their female partners which is the case

    This needs to be brought out and discussed
    why it's in the interest of the black women in particular to have open and monogamous gay black men

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/opinion/29blow.html?ref=opinion
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    Dec 01, 2008 9:57 PM GMT
    I don't know one single African American woman who would openly and knowingly have a relationship with a gay male on a romantic level.

    If the aforementioned article was written by an African American woman than it might be credible but it is not.

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    Dec 01, 2008 10:13 PM GMT
    I doubt that the ability of gay men to marry will solve the problem of HIV infection rates in the Black community (drug related circumstances are just as big a problem as Black DownLow men - Black men often contract HIV in jail or prison, a much bigger problem ). Attacking the issue from that perspective will if anything isolate Black men even more from the mainstream Gay and Black community.
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    Dec 01, 2008 10:14 PM GMT
    I read that link with the claim "We now know that blacks probably didn’t tip the balance for Proposition 8. Myth busted. However, the fact remains that a strikingly high percentage of blacks said they voted to ban same-sex marriage in California." That doesn't compute.

    Black voters did tip the balance. A "strikingly high percentage" was enough to cause the slim 2% by which the measure passed.

    I love how history is constantly rewritten to serve the purposes of different groups. This Black author doesn't want Blacks to be blamed for the disgrace of the Prop 8 vote. Well sorry, the fault belongs at the feet of homophobic Black voters, and no amount of rationalization and spinning can change that.
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    Dec 01, 2008 10:16 PM GMT
    You probably know this so perhaps I shouldn't bother mentioning it, but that's the same article discussed in the thread at http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/350228/.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Dec 01, 2008 10:29 PM GMT
    Ducky44 saidI don't know one single African American woman who would openly and knowingly have a relationship with a gay male on a romantic level.

    If the aforementioned article was written by an African American woman than it might be credible but it is not.



    Who ever said that they would OR that they Should

    The problem is that they ARE ... because the men they are dating or sometimes even marrying are closeted homosexual men
    who are on the "Down-lo" and causing them to be at risk for obtaining HIV
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    Dec 01, 2008 10:42 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidI read that link with the claim "We now know that blacks probably didn’t tip the balance for Proposition 8. Myth busted. However, the fact remains that a strikingly high percentage of blacks said they voted to ban same-sex marriage in California." That doesn't compute.

    Black voters did tip the balance. A "strikingly high percentage" was enough to cause the slim 2% by which the measure passed.

    I love how history is constantly rewritten to serve the purposes of different groups. This Black author doesn't want Blacks to be blamed for the disgrace of the Prop 8 vote. Well sorry, the fault belongs at the feet of homophobic Black voters, and no amount of rationalization and spinning can change that.


    Actually NO:

    If you look at the numbers...
    Total Votes Cast: 12,978,572
    Totals Votes For Prop 8: 6,775,560
    Winning Margin: 286,274

    Assuming CNN's exit poll was accurate (controversial - some argue it's way too high given AA's are only ~7% of pop.):
    Total AA Turnout (10%): 1,297,857
    If AA's had voted 50/50 instead of 70/30 the difference would have been 259,572 votes (20% of AA vote), still less than the winning margin.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_8_(200icon_cool.gif



  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Dec 01, 2008 10:54 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa, we've been over the numbers repeatedly. Take a look here for one of many examples of it. The high turnout and very high support for Prop 8 among the Black community made it pass by a larger margin than it would have otherwise, but it still would have passed if the Black vote had been 50/50. That 70/30 breakdown was NOT enough to tip the balance.

    It's sad and disappointing that the gay rights movement has made so few inroads into the Black community, but we can't blame them for our lack of success in this election. At least, we can't do so honestly if we look at the numbers and do the math.
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    Dec 01, 2008 11:44 PM GMT
    I for one am appalled at CNN for reporting such misinformation in regards
    to this issue. Yes...AA only make up 7-10% of the population here.
    A number that continues to shrink as major California cities become
    more and more expensive to live in. Let's also be specific in WHO the AA voters were. The majority of them were older AA and POC. Most of
    the youth vote across the board was AGAINST Prop 8.


    Side note....DL culture isn't exclusive to just the Black & communities
    of color. I won't even begin to go into how many profiles I've seen here
    and on several other gay sites where the majority of "headless body"
    pix are white people.

    How can we win if we hate ourselves ?
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    Dec 02, 2008 1:31 AM GMT


    It seems symbolism is at work here. For many years blacks have symbolically represented the epitome of oppressed. As such it feels like a betrayal (which it is NOT) that many voted yes on prop 8. Just think, if the US had an enormous population of recent Chinese immigrants prop 8 would have passed with an astonomical margin due to cultural influences.

    Until recently, the Chinese government denied there were any cases of AIDS at all, much less gay people.

    Religions and out-dated prudishness are the reasons for the passing of prop 8, only occurring because of a government that would stoop so low as to put a human right to a public vote.
    We still shake our heads at the incredible callousness and inhuman-ness of such a thing. Taliban US style.
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    Dec 02, 2008 2:04 AM GMT
    The Down Low Returns
    By Keith Boykin, in sexuality
    Friday, April 16 2004, 1:28AM

    Just when you thought it was safe to read the paper again, the decade's most overhyped story on black sexuality returns. No, the media are not breaking down stereotypes by showing black gay and lesbian couples who are in healthy relationships. No, they're not explaining the false choice that suggests all blacks are straight and all gays are white. No, they're not educating us about how to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Instead, they're talking about the secret, underground, clandestine, mysterious (take your pick) lifestyle of black men on the DL. The down low is back!

    The down low is a term used to describe black men who have sex with men but do not identify as gay. The term entered the media lexicon about three years ago as a sexy and sexual explanation for the spread of HIV among straight black women.

    The news stories first appeared in the winter of 2001 and peaked again in spring 2002. Then the story dropped off the front pages for more than a year. Last summer, the New York Times Magazine ran a controversial cover story about men on the down low. In the 21 years I've been reading the magazine, I don't ever remember a single cover story about black gay men and AIDS. But now the down low is back in fashion for the spring 2004 collection.

    Today Oprah delves into the down low with an entire show about the topic. Last week, New York Times reporter Linda Villarosa wrote about the down low in the Times. Comedian Mo'Nique is featured on the front page of a recent special edition of POZ magazine talking about the down low. Even the television show Law and Order aired an entire episode about the down low recently. The down low is definitely back.

    Why Now?

    What's driving this new frenzy of down low media scrutiny? Has the CDC released new data about the down low? No. Has anyone been able to prove that men on the down low are primarily responsible for the spread of HIV among black women? No. Then what's going here, and why now?

    Sadly, it's mostly about money. Next month, Doubleday is about to release a new book on the down low by author J.L. King, a former down low brother himself. King will also be one of the featured guests on Oprah today. With the help of the media, King has become the posterboy for the down low.

    While the rest of America is debating whether gays and lesbians should have the freedom to marry, black gay and bisexual men, thanks to the down low, are reduced to pathologies and predators. No one writes about our relationships, our heartbreaks, our love. That's not interesting.

    Sanctimonious black ministers beat us down every Sunday at church. Angry black women condemn us. And the black media portray us as lying, cocksucking, disease-spreading villains.

    And yet, our self-esteem is so low that we're proud just to be mentioned by the media. I can't tell you how many emails and phone calls I've received the past two weeks about Oprah's show on the down low. It's as if black gay men feel that we've finally made it to the big leagues.

    Yes, we've made it all right. We've made it to the point where we are public enemy number one to the black community. That's hardly a reason for celebration.

    It's fine if publishers want to use all their tools to sell their books, but do we have to misdirect resources in responding to a legitimate public health crisis in the process? Do we have to mislead the public to educate it?

    Many of our sisters seem to understand what's going on. Interviewed by POZ recently, Mo'Nique was wise enough to explain why down low men exist. "They're on the down low because nobody's talking to them," she said. "We can't deal with the honesty. We want to be lied to."

    Problems With The DL Story

    There are many problems with the down low story, but the major problem is that it's based on the principle of vilifying the very people we need to reach. Demonizing people who have already been stigmatized into silence will not end their silence. Instead, we will drive these men further and further into their closets of shame and denial.

    Then there's the problem of personal responsibility. Blaming the spread of HIV on men on the DL completely misses the point. Each of us is individually responsible for our own sexual behavior.

    We can't blame our man for lying to us if we're not using protection on our own. But the DL phenomenon discourages black women from exercising personal autonomy. To the extent that we can point our fingers at someone else, we implicitly exculpate ourselves from responsibility. Thus, straight black women are portrayed as innocent while closeted black gay and bisexual men are portrayed as guilty without anyone attempting to understanding how to lift their burdens.

    Here's another part of the story that doesn't get told. The down low is not new. Men have been having sex with other men since the beginning of time. The term "gay" is a 20th century construction, so no men identified as such before the 1900s. All men who engaged in homosexual behavior throughout history would be on the down low by today's standards.

    When Oprah asks King how he can tell who is on the down low, he tells her, "we do it by the eyes...I could make a connection in this room." I don't know why that's news, but where I come from they call it "gaydar," and it's so yesterday.

    Neither is the down low specific to blacks. White, Asian and Latino men also have sex with other men but don't identify as gay. And by the way, not all men on the down low are HIV positive. The assumption that men on the DL are spreading the HIV virus to black women is based on another assumption that all these DL men are infected with HIV.

    Moreover, men on the DL who are HIV positive are just as "victimized" by HIV as the black women who contract the disease from them. But there's still another problem in the discussion because there's no conclusive evidence that men on the DL are responsible for the rise in HIV infections among black women.

    Sheryl Johnson, a community outreach organizer who appears on the show today, told the Atlanta Daily World that she was concerned about the emphasis on the down low. "Oprah's a powerful woman a lot of people listen to. She could have done a lot to spread some important information and save some lives, but she chose to focus on what I think is a rather sensational book," Johnson said.

    Fortunately, Phill Wilson of the Black AIDS Institute will also appear on the show. But Oprah's decision to do the show at all gives credibility to a theory that's lacking in evidence.

    We do know this. Black gay and bisexual men have been living with HIV and dying of AIDS for almost a quarter of a century now. The HIV infection rates for this group are the highest in the country. But the media and the black community have never treated this crisis with the same energy now devoted to "the DL threat" to straight black women.

    If we seriously care about the spread of HIV, we can't isolate our concern and efforts on one segment of the community and ignore another. We have to create a climate of love instead of fear, where black men who have sex with men are not stigmatized by the church, the media, their families and their friends.

    In fact, the whole DL mythology at some level acknowledges the struggle of the black man on the down low. He doesn't identify with the white gay community, and he's not accepted by the black community, so he goes underground and creates a secret fraternity of sex partners.

    But if that's true, then our solutions are way off base. If we accept the premise that black homosexuality is that difficult, then why not break down those barriers? Why not use the media to portray the black gay and bisexual men who are out of the closet, living openly in their relationships, and who have reconciled their careers, their families and their faith with their sexuality.

    If it's really har
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    Dec 02, 2008 2:13 AM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidI read that link with the claim "We now know that blacks probably didn’t tip the balance for Proposition 8. Myth busted. However, the fact remains that a strikingly high percentage of blacks said they voted to ban same-sex marriage in California." That doesn't compute.

    Black voters did tip the balance. A "strikingly high percentage" was enough to cause the slim 2% by which the measure passed.

    I love how history is constantly rewritten to serve the purposes of different groups. This Black author doesn't want Blacks to be blamed for the disgrace of the Prop 8 vote. Well sorry, the fault belongs at the feet of homophobic Black voters, and no amount of rationalization and spinning can change that.


    Vespa, you ignorant, arrogant coward.

    Stop using lies and half truths to mask your prejudices. If you have a problem with black people just say it for fuck's sake and leave it at that. Can't you see you're rationalizing your hate? Can't you see you're spinning your botched reasoning?

    People have given you the truth over and over again and still you're holding on to lies and half truths to justify your beliefs. If you're racist, fine. I don't give a fuck. I really, seriously, honest, truly, any other synonym, don't care. But don't pretend you're anything but. THAT is what gets my goat.
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    Dec 02, 2008 2:32 AM GMT
    Once again it was not the Mormons who took away your rights, it was he voters, and it could never of been done without them!

    There are many more people in CA, than Mormons and Black Women. What about all the Hispanic catholics. Their religion condemns homosexuality on a world stage, yet it's priesthood, is in many ways a private gay club..........and look at the millions it's cost them, or is that billions now?

    Brigham Young may well of had 40 something Wives, and All I want as a pure white homosexual. A True Blue Aussie, is two husbands.
    The Only Fag in the Village. Yet the gays in many placers, even my home Oz, have more rights than I do. I can't put any blame on a colour person for that. But while Vatican City feels it has the right to interfere in my protestant country's politics. I don't have a chance i hell to wed my two loving men, while this foreign religion, interfere in my country's politics.

    I have never heard our head of State: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, say we can not have equal rights, or condom homosexuality. OMG how would her placers run, if she got rid of all the queens that work for her, and her family the Firm?
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Dec 02, 2008 3:45 AM GMT
    Has anyone been able to prove that men on the down low are primarily responsible for the spread of HIV among black women?

    Primarily responsible? Do you think that closeted men who are denying that they are gay are NOT placing their "wives" or "girlfriends" at risk?

    Sanctimonious black ministers beat us down every Sunday at church. Angry black women condemn us. And the black media portray us as lying, cocksucking, disease-spreading villains.


    All the more reason to stop hiding from who you are and allowing yourself to BE portrayed in that way
    I understand that being in your ethnic group makes it all the more difficult but things will not change when a whole group of men deny themselves for who they are
    People only discriminate against when they do not know someone close to them who are gay
    Do you think a black woman or a Korean woman or any woman vote vote for that proposition if their brother of their best male friend or their next door neighbor said that they were gay and happy to be so?
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    Dec 02, 2008 3:56 AM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidI read that link with the claim "We now know that blacks probably didn’t tip the balance for Proposition 8. Myth busted. However, the fact remains that a strikingly high percentage of blacks said they voted to ban same-sex marriage in California." That doesn't compute.

    Black voters did tip the balance. A "strikingly high percentage" was enough to cause the slim 2% by which the measure passed.

    I love how history is constantly rewritten to serve the purposes of different groups. This Black author doesn't want Blacks to be blamed for the disgrace of the Prop 8 vote. Well sorry, the fault belongs at the feet of homophobic Black voters, and no amount of rationalization and spinning can change that.



    ....and the fact that neither the white gay community nor the HRC
    reached out to these communities...knowing full well that there would
    be a high turn out of Black voters...didn't effect the outcome of the vote ?

    Inform thyself !

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/11/prop-8-myths.html
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    Dec 02, 2008 4:06 AM GMT
    GQjock saidHas anyone been able to prove that men on the down low are primarily responsible for the spread of HIV among black women?

    Primarily responsible? Do you think that closeted men who are denying that they are gay are NOT placing their "wives" or "girlfriends" at risk?

    Sanctimonious black ministers beat us down every Sunday at church. Angry black women condemn us. And the black media portray us as lying, cocksucking, disease-spreading villains.


    All the more reason to stop hiding from who you are and allowing yourself to BE portrayed in that way
    I understand that being in your ethnic group makes it all the more difficult but things will not change when a whole group of men deny themselves for who they are
    People only discriminate against when they do not know someone close to them who are gay
    Do you think a black woman or a Korean woman or any woman vote vote for that proposition if their brother of their best male friend or their next door neighbor said that they were gay and happy to be so?


    Yes..I agree POC in the closet should come out. But perhaps they would feel more inclined to do so if they felt the support of the gay community.
    Traditionally the image that has been put forth from the gay community is mainly white and male. That's not diversity and to POC it can seem divisive and exclusive.
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    Dec 02, 2008 4:19 AM GMT
    The rest of the article:

    "If it's really hard to be black and gay and out, then those who are black and gay and out are the true heroes who deserve recognition. The New York Times Magazine should profile that group of people. Black media should tell their stories. And maybe, just maybe, Oprah will do a show on black gay men one day as well."

    http://www.keithboykin.com/arch/2004/04/16/the_down_low_re




    GQjockPrimarily responsible? Do you think that closeted men who are denying that they are gay are NOT placing their "wives" or "girlfriends" at risk?


    That isn't the point. When talking about the "down low", (A racialized term for "in-the closet" implying black/latino men are in some way more deviant than non black/latino men in the closet) are our talks based on facts, myths, half-truths, lies, exaggerations, etc?

    GQjockAll the more reason to stop hiding from who you are and allowing yourself to BE portrayed in that way


    The writer of this article and I as well as thousands of black gay men are openly gay. The combination of a less populous community, a slightly more closet community, and a community who's more likely to identify as black than gay yet be openly gay is contributing to a lot of assumptions.

    GQjockPeople only discriminate against when they do not know someone close to them who are gay


    Yes and no. I've already repeatedly written my thoughts on this half-truth fallacy. I'll copy and paste my quotes. Sorry if they're full of grammer/spelling errors. I know quoting my past posts is super jerkoffy but I've gotten tons of praise so I must be saying something right. Instead of trying to find something to fight...as I've been guilty of doing initially in each of these threads (not so much now) try understanding and being more receptive.

    CitizenSolI'm extremely opposed to "racialization of the closet", which is what "On the Down Low" is. But I blame black and some latino people who've decided to accept the term instead of fight it. White men in the closet also have their own social networks with other married closeted white men or single closeted men. In the end, when dealing with black/latino lgbt issues, the DL term misleads and complicates rather than enlighten.


    CitizenSolI believe the only way non-black people can be of help is for them to understand black political and sexual issues instead of speaking and acting out on assumptions. Knowledge is necessary and essential.


    CitizenSolConservative religion has greater weight in the black community compared to the white community. Like most of white society, the black community will need to undergo a philosophical metamorphosis. Black intellectuals, politicians, and clergy holds the key to that change.


    CitizenSolThe white gay community can only do so much. And although I believe doubtlessly that black leaders, black lgbt people and gay friendly black heterosexuals need to do more to address the issue of homophobia and hiv/aids in the black community (and outreach by these groups exist), there are limits to their outreach efforts as well. Allow me to explain and please ask any questions if I confuse you or fail drive my points home.

    White society isn't more receptive toward homosexuality because of outreach efforts by white homosexuals alone, although it has helped. But I wager that white homosexuals have benefited from white societies overall philosophical shift from conservative religion to liberal secularism.

    (Note) Conservative religion still remains a powerful institution in white American society. If it weren't, Prop 8 wouldn't have passed.


    CitizenSol1. If 100% of every black American were homophobic, black conservativism/homophobia still wouldn't trump the gargantuan white conservative/homophobic machine. There isn't one black person in this country you could compare to James Dobson, Pat Robertson or the late Jerry Falwell. You couldn't point to a black con/homophobe movement so virulent and destructive as the lily white organizations Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, the Christian Coalition, the Moral Majority, or the Mormon Church, whom btw, poured gallons of green into black churches to get on the Yes on Prop 8 bandwagon.


    2. Despite being a community defined as homophobic (I'm not challenging that assertion) blacks oddly enough have an awesome track record electing progressive/gay friendly representatives compared to almost every group in this country. In that corner, Jews and Gays are their only rivals.

    ( Remember, most of the representatives who got up and challenged the Iraq War back then? Remember the overwhelming majority of that group were black? Do you remember that sad scene in American history? All those dignified, knowledgable, dissenting black people standing in front of the mostly white congress getting boed and laughed at as they railed against an unjust war? I do. )

    3. The black community DOES have a problem with homophobia, but the main recipients of homophobia are black LGBTQ people. I'm sure more of these people coming out would help but look at the white conservative community! The gay whites are at their prime and the white con/homophobe community continues to not only be a formidable foe but THE formidable foe. See, the black community could have voted 100% against prop 8 and it still would have passed. For non-black gays, black homophobia is an annoyance. For black gays, its daily life. For non-white gays, white homophobia is daily life.






  • PipHop

    Posts: 439

    Dec 02, 2008 5:43 AM GMT
    Obviously, gay whites want to blame all blacks for Prop 8. Screw it, let 'em. If you're ignorant and racist and LAZY enough to have to search for a villain (though the real ones are waving at you while giving you the finger) then no amount of hard data will ever dissuade you. I'm sure there are enough self hating black gays who will agree with all those erroneous statements (for obvious reasons), which only reinforces the incorrect ASSumptions made. Not facts, assumptions, guesses and LIES. Want to blame someone, blame the millions of white voters who against gay marriage. Blame the various groups that donated money to sway voters. Blame the Religious Right (and we all know what they look like at their rallies), that won't stop persecuting gays for existing. Blame the lawmakers who wrote it onto the ballot. Blame any and everyone you like, but the fact remains: Prop 8 passed. Now what are you going to do about it?

    oh, yeah - gay is not the new black. Light gray maybe.icon_lol.gif
  • waterman

    Posts: 70

    Dec 02, 2008 5:55 AM GMT
    Forgive me, but what about

    ...a lawsuit challenging the state's decision to interfere with the religious freedom of gay and lesbian people to marry who they want

    ...a counter proposition banning marriage between other sectors of the population

    ...annulling marriage between straight couples that do not procreate 9 months later, give or take lol (a few archbishops would loooove this one)

    ...celebrating Dick and George's right to openly sleep together