Are you a queer man of color? In this blog post, I will share the common experience of gay boys of color growing up in society.
Any gay man can attest to the fact that growing up gay is not easy. No matter if you are gay black, gay white, or gay rich adult you battled with your sexuality at one point. Or maybe you still are. Growing up black and gay is even more difficult. In this blog post, I will talk about gay boys of color growing up in society.
Gay boys of color growing up
What is gay?
Are you a gay boy? When I was a child always asked myself this question. I didn’t dislike being around females. And I had a good amount of female friends. But at the same time I really never had any sexual attraction to females.
As defined by HealthyPlace gay means “same-sex sexual attraction and behavior”. In other words, if a man is only sexually into other men or if a woman is sexually attracted to another woman then those persons are considered gay.
A 2021 survey done by Statista shows that 5.6% of Americans are gay, bisexual, transgender. However, this number is not true. For one, not everybody answers these surveys. Also, many gay men are still in the closet. I know this for sure because I interact with a lot of these men.
When does a boy know he’s gay?
The trillion-dollar question are people born gay or not. One of my older straight cousins that I’ve been close with the thought that you can’t be born gay. Before I came out to him one of my other cousins was openly gay. My straight cousin that my gay cousin was gay because he went through some type of trauma. This is the type of ignorant thinking of a lot of people. I’ve never been raped, molested, or any other crazy childhood trauma. The most traumatic experience was actually being in the closet!
I try to always be credible when I write or talk so just as I do with other topics I’ve done my research. I found that there are some studies in the past that show being gay is learned. But I’ve found more recent studies prove that sexuality is based on biology. I read one article “Stop calling it a choice: Biological factors drive homosexuality” on the news website “The Conversation”. In the article it was mentioned by Andrea Ganna, a geneticist of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, that….”genes account for between 8% and 25% of same-sex behavior. This proves the point that gay men can be born gay.
My childhood gay experience
For me growing up black and gay was a challenging time. I was born in Brooklyn and lived there till I was about 10 years. During those first 10 years of my life, I started developing same-sex attractions to males. And as I said before I never got touched the wrong way or sexually harmed thank God. I never played with Barbie Dolls and never had an interest in them. I love my action figures and Legos and other toys boys commonly played with. So having same-sex attractions was never taught to me. It’s something that just happened.
During the time I lived in Brooklyn I remained in the closet and was in total denial. I really didn’t even know what being homosexual was and didn’t even want to really find out what a homosexual is. From what I saw on television they were just queer people who walked around in colorful, tacky outfits and loud. And so I didn’t want to come out of the closet because I didn’t want to fit the gay stereotypes. As I mentioned before I lived in Brownsville which is a dangerous neighborhood. Being in that type of environment and the people I was around I was taught the concept of manliness. Being manly was about being aggressive and standing up for yourself. And since the ghetto is dangerous you needed to be manly to survive. Your life literally depended on being manly If you weren’t manly you were considered weak. And being gay meant that you were not manly. Gay was considered very weak even by a lot of females! I’ve never witnessed any bullying against gays but I’ve heard the jokes against them
When I moved out of Brooklyn I remained physically attracted to the same sex. Around this time I was entering junior high school. I had female friends and acquaintances but was never sexually attracted to them. There were only a few females in my lifetime that I would’ve taken down (hood slang for have sex with). Because of my same-sex attractions, I was a lonely black gay boy. My junior high school was full of some ghetto as teenagers who were very homophobic. Fortunately, I never was bullied and no one really talked about my sexuality at least to my face. There was one girl in my 7th-grade class who actually had a lengthy conversation with my best friend who suspected I was gay.
High school experience
High school was an ok experience. There were more open-minded people from all different races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. I found a few even openly gay people, including my teachers and peers. However, I still remained in the closet for fear of shame from classmates, friends, and family. And so, I felt a lot of anxiety especially knowing that I was one of the few black gay boys at my high school. There was one guy I really had a crush on. Like huge crush. The guy and I took gym together. His locker was close to mine and just about every other day I would leave a letter in his locker expressing how I feel about him. It was pathetic but that was my way of expressing myself to him.
It wasn’t till I became an adult that I actually had an intimate encounter with another male.
My first adult gay experience
My first adult gay experience was through a man I met with on Adam4Adam, a gay dating app. Back then and even now the app was ratchet as hell. A lot of the dating profiles were of male escorts or guys simply looking to hook up. And the men that weren’t overly sexual and promiscuous presented angry as hell. And so, for me, it was like swimming in a sea full of piss and sharks. I did hook up with an older Latino guy. He sent me a message and came off very nice. I liked his vibe and agreed to meet with him. I came to his home during the night time so you already know what happened. That was the best sexual experience I ever had in my life and till today I can remember every moment.
Other gay adult experiences
As I grew as a black gay adult my experiences have been up and down. I’ve developed friendships and brothers with a lot of gay men by going to different places including gay bars and lounges.
What is my advice to young gay boys and men?
Life is not easy for anyone. Men and women go through hardships. Blacks and persons of color go through a lot of hardships. I’m not going to downplay any other groups’ experiences. But I can say for sure that being gay is one of the most difficult experiences, especially for young gay people. I’ve lived it and see it.
Given the experiences I’ve been to I do feel an obligation to help other young gay boys. I don’t even expect anything in return but just for those to feel empowered and worthy of living. My first piece of advice is to speak to a trusted source, preferably at your school. I would not suggest any young closeted boy come out to his family or persons he lives with if he fears their reaction. He could be at risk of getting kicked out which may put him in a worse place. He may then engage in risky and dangerous behaviors like hooking up with the wrong type of guy or doing drugs. So as I said before a young closeted boy should speak to his or her guidance counselor or any staff at school. School staff is socially and legally responsible to take care of a child no matter who he, she, or they are. There are tons of resources in schools for LGBT students now more than ever to ensure the child is protected as much as possible.
Growing up as a gay boy is not an easy path to walk. I lived it so I know. As I said before it took me more than 20 years to come out of the closet because of what I’ve seen and heard in my childhood.
If you’re a young gay boy or gay man struggling with his sexuality there are resources out there. Places in New York like The Center and Ryan Health Center can direct you to support groups, health clinics, and gay organizations.
I’m a gay coming out coach so you can also reach out to me by email and I can help you on your journey.