While reading comments on a post from The Imperfect Enjoyment blog (check out the link a little later on), I ran across some commentary that really struck a cord with me. I began responding to that little teeny tiny point in the commentary when I realized that what I was about to say was SO far off on some pretty much entirely unrelated tangent that if I were going to even somewhat address the actual post I would have to scratch my initial comment. But, after highlighting my text, I couldn’t quite force my finger to tap that ‘delete’ key. Instead, I copied my text before deleting it and pasted it in to notepad, just so I could remember the exact position I was coming from at a later time. Since it has been stewing in my brain for long enough, I felt it would be criminal if I didn’t address the issue while it is still fresh in my mind (as are the emotions). As I’m sure you can tell from the title, we’re about to delve into the shady world of the DL.
Well, not too deeply. I’m sure we’ve all heard enough about the actual phenomenon that is the DL, and if you haven’t here is some background. Now, in order for you to understand exactly what I am talking about it might be helpful for you to see the post and the comments here. But pretty much Sunshyne says “I’m busy trying to make sure I don’t run up on any DL brothas”, to which one guy, Mike, responds by saying “While I don’t question the sincerity or necessity of her feelings, it’s important to note that many “DL brothas” and sistas (yes, they too exist) are on the downlow because of fear” and that “We have to promote a culture that encourages acceptance… A culture where DL brothas and sisters no longer fear the Sunshynes of the world”.
Ummm…excuse me? Ok, so since you guys can probably already tell that I have a serious issue with what Mike said, even if only this one aspect of what he has said, let me share my initial response with you guys:
“I am with Sunshyne when it comes to the DL issue, because that is probably one of my biggest concerns when it comes to dating (well, overall cheating), But, I have lots of gay and bisexual friends, so the issue isn’t about hate on a man who wants to love other brothers. Quite frankly, being a psych major, I don’t think sexual orientation is a choice one can make, much as you can’t choose your skin colour your height. I would even date a bisexual man if he was upfront about it. What I find scary about those on the DL is that because they aren’t accepting of themselves or their sexuality, that they are more likely to engage in sexually risky behaviour, like unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, etc, and therefore are more likely to contract an STI or HIV. I wouldn’t mess with an undercover brother simply for that reason, much as I wouldn’t sleep with someone who was permiscuous or was a cheater: My health comes first”.
I still 100% agree with the statements that I made I just wanted add a couple of things: First, I do agree that those on the DL are there because they do fear society and how society will treat them if they “come out of the closet”. And I also agree that while there are some supportive groups and people and that we as a society have come leaps and bounds when it comes to acceptance, tolerance, and defense of the LGBT community that we do still have a long way to go, and that there is still quite a stigma attached to the label LGBT. And of course, hate crimes do happen, discrimination does happen. I do not take any of those things away from one of those on the DL, I really don’t. And if you want to STAY IN YOUR CLOSET for the rest of your life, then nobody can stop you. It takes a lot of balls to live your life counter culturally. I get that.
But if you’re going to get married, have children, etc. etc. with the opposite sex because you’re afraid of going against the “norm” and you want to be in the closet then STAY IN THE CLOSET…stop sneaking out from time to time to get down and dirty with a bunch of people. If you were STRAIGHT we’d call you a low down dirty whore but because you’re gay or a lesbian but struggling with fear we’re supposed to be like “awww, it’s OK, you can endanger my life being a whore, coming back and kissing me and making love to me after sticking it in to 5 other people tonight without protection but since i trust you and we have been MARRIED for 10 years so of course we don’t use protection, but it’s OK I don’t MIND dying from AIDS/HIV because you’re GAY and I totally understand why you’ve decided that your fear of being open about your sexuality means that I should get a death sentence”.
Clearly, NO. Now, in my opinion I don’t even think this whole DL issue would have blown up the way it did if it weren’t for the large amounts of married women who were contracting HIV and STI’s from their husbands who later “came out”. I think the problem is that since those on the DL are in denial to a certain extent you can’t implore them really to use protection or to practice safe sex because while their choices to engage in sexual acts with others are deliberate, to a certain extent they aren’t either.
OK, so that’s my two cents on why DL brothas scare me, and why they are a HUGE concern to me. All of this is my response to a man saying that people shouldn’t fear the “Sunshyne’s of the world” which I thought was unreasonable and fair. Hey, after all, the Sunshyne’s of the world aren’t hating on the gay/lesbian community, they are fearing being caught on the wrong side of a love affair with the self-haters. Which I think is completely reasonable. Hey, that being said none of this comes from personal experience, mostly media accounts and some psychological review. And like I said, I would totally date and even sleep with someone who was something other than straight if they were in touch with their sexuality and weren’t ashamed of it, and therefore were practicing safe sex. Just like I wouldn’t engage in sexual acts with someone who was straight but too immature to keep it in their pants, or to know how to wrap it up, I fear one whose “straight side” can be sexually safe no problem, but their “repressed gay side” has no sense of sexual responsibility. Does this make sense to anyone else? Has anyone ever dated someone on the DL, or known someone who is? Anyone out there on the DL or was who wants to share their experience? (don’t worry you can comment 100% anonymously). Do you guys agree with Mike or with Sunshyne? Please share if you guys have any input as this is a huge topic and I don’t even slightly pretend to know it all or even halfway.
Sorry if I offended anyone. Just my two cents.
Sorry, for some reason this post did not go out yesterday as scheduled. I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.