11 Black Men Share Stories About Encountering Racism Within The Gay Community
"When we went out together, I could tell he didn't want to be seen with me."
BuzzFeed Brazil asked readers to share personal stories about being a black man encountering racism within the gay community. Here's some of the responses we got:
1. "An ex-boyfriend told me he only walked hand in hand with me to show other people that he was dating an attractive black guy."
I have noticed that, in my circle of friends, those with lighter or white skin are always picked out by guys at parties, and I stay alone. On the other hand, there's the 'big dick' stereotype and even cases like when an ex-boyfriend told me he only walked hand in hand with me to show other people that he was dating an attractive black guy, as if I were a trophy. In the first two relationships I had, I didn't understand those forms of racism and thought they were just bad jokes. —Rodrigo Oliveira, 26 years old.
2. "They've forced me into having anal sex several times and said that 'black people can handle the pain better.'"
Some white guys say that they don't like 'dark guys' (this term is awful) because of taste or because their dicks are too big for them. Some friends have hooked up with me thinking only about the chance to see a big dick or because they imagine that black guys are better in bed. They've played with my hair and 'complimented' me on my sexual performance because I'm black. They've also forced me into having anal sex several times and said that 'black people can handle the pain better.' —Rafael Porto, 25 years old.
3. "I've had various people flirt or joke with me because of the size of my penis."
On apps, I try to talk with people, and I'm just treated badly or blocked because they say they don't like black guys. I've also had various people flirt or joke with me because of the size of my penis, because people have this idea that black men are well endowed, which isn't always true. The gay community claims to fight for equal rights, but actually, people only think about themselves, treating the guys that aren't normative and white badly. —Rafael, 20 years old.
4. "During oral sex, they've expressed disgust because my anus is black."
They say they find me interesting or that I'm 'different.' But I've already been with three guys who, during oral sex, expressed disgust because my anus is black. They didn't even want to touch me. Because I have an athletic body, it seems like I have license to be the well-endowed active partner. Like, it's impossible for me to also be passive, because apparently gay black men are only supposed to have big dicks.
I've never managed to have a lasting relationship, even because of those reasons. I think the idea that most gay men have about relationships is very Instagram-like and Americanized, you know? Something I once heard is that I should trim my stomach hair because, according to the person, 'a ~blacker~ man isn't cool with body hair.' —Leonardo, 19 years old.
5. "When we went out together, I could tell that he didn't want to be seen with me."
I realized that a white guy I went out with looked at me and complimented me for being 'exotic' and would be surprised when we talked, because I'd actually had something to say. It was a strange hook-up, and after a while, I realized that he only stayed with me because it was a different experience being with a black guy. For example, when we went out together, I could tell he didn't want to be seen with me...Today I know it was racism." —Anonymous, 33 years old.
6. "Despite the fact that we studied at the same college, he insisted on fetishizing me as being poor and uneducated."
There was a white guy whom I hooked up with sometimes who always asked if he could call me 'big black guy' during sex. Despite the fact that we studied at the same college and belonged to the same social class, he insisted on fetishizing me as being poor and uneducated. He would also always get angry if I didn't want to be dominant, because for him, that was the black guy's job during sex."
—V., 21 years old.
7. "I started straightening my hair, when what I would've liked is someone who stood up for me and defended me."
"Again and again, they use the excuse that 'he's not my type' with me. I've heard that so many times that I've lost count. But being black is not a type, it's not something I chose or can change. Being communicative, funny, or athletic is a type. But being black is definitely not a type. And when some gay white guy is interested in getting together with me, the relationship is never made public; it's always hidden from friends, family, social networks. It's obviously not just because of homophobia, because some of them were already out of the closet.
Every time I'm approached, both in person and on social networks, either they reject you for being black, or they seek you out because of it. Gay guys always hit on me by complementing my physical traits or traits specific to black people, like my plump lips (I hate when they just compliment my mouth; I'm much more than that), my large body, my penis (which, for some reason, everybody thinks is gigantic). I feel that the objectification goes beyond the physical and is even behavioral. In other words, I MUST act like an alpha male, a strong, wild, sensual bad boy. If you try to resist the stereotype, you're passed over, ignored, and left behind.
An ex-boyfriend of mine would laugh when his friends made jokes about my hair. I thought it was fine and played along, but then I realized that it hurt. And, as a result, I started straightening my hair. What I would've liked is someone to have stood up for me and defended me." —Bruno Barroso, 24 years old.
8. "When you look in the mirror and see that your nose and your face aren't the norm, it gives the impression that you weren't made for that space."
Many times, I realize that because I'm black and gay, I'm seen as an exotic choice, but never attractive. And because of that, I found myself comparing myself to white men and asking myself why I wasn't like that, or how much easier everything would be if my skin was a bit lighter. It hurts a lot, because it's already difficult to be gay, and when you look in the mirror and see that your nose and your face aren't the norm, it gives the impression that you weren't made for that space, that that isn't your place.
I really like to dance. I was always extroverted, since I was small. Everywhere I go to dance, I always see the guys looking at me, but every time I join the group or want something more sensual with any of them, they always say 'you're not my type.' It's something I understand, but at the same time, it really hurts.' —Pedro Silva, 17 years old.
9. "One day before we met, I told him I was black, and then he said he wasn't attracted to me."
Once, when online chat services were popular, I fell for a guy. We sent many messages to each other and always spoke on the phone, but digital cameras didn't exist. One day before we met, I told him I was black, and then he said he wasn't attracted to me. We met, and he was extremely cold with me. It's strange just how much the white norm is the standard for many people in the gay community. If you're far from that standard for any reason, you're written off by many groups. It's stressful. —Anonymous, 34 years old.
10. "He told me, 'I don't like black guys; I can't stand black people.'"
I was once at a party with two couples, and a male friend of theirs who I didn't know were at a party. My friends started making hints at me and that other guy, because we were both single, so that we could start talking and getting to know each other. I was already starting to get interested because he was really attractive, but he closed up completely and didn't want to chat with me at all. So I asked him why and he said, 'I don't like black guys; I can't stand black people.' I was really sad and hurt, and I left the part as soon as I could. I cried a lot when I got home." —Yago, 23 years old.
11. "I went out with a white guy who would only go out with me in secret or after parties."
"Most guys only go out with me in secret. They never introduce me to their friends or take me to public places (the movies or a café, for example). I always get invited to meet in secret places, just with the intention to have sex. Whenever I have sex, I feel that the guy treats me like a fetish and then I'm discarded.
When I was 19, I went out with a white guy who would only go out with me in secret or after parties. I deluded myself and thought that the relationship with him could evolve, but he dumped me at an event to go out with a white guy. I was really angry and when I went to confront him, he said to my face that 'he would never date a black guy.' —Eziquiel, 28 years old.