I’m jealous of lesbian relationships. There, I’ve said it. At least that is what my selfish, temperamental and immature heart screams. Even though I try to disregard this feeling, I have to admit it must be great to be a lesbian in love.
I’ve been haunted by these boorish thoughts ever since I was in high school. While growing up before I knew what it meant to be gay, I knew two girls were able to walk down the hall proudly holding hands, scribble hearts on each other’s notebooks and feed each other food during lunch. I knew that my girlfriends, who were the most popular, best dressed and had all of the girls and guys, were tomboys. They boldly loved women in public and there was nothing you, I or anyone else could do or say about it. Something about being a young lesbian – or experimenting – easily transitioned into mainstream and still does.
For me, I admired the high school jock that was a little too friendly when asking to cheat off my homework and chatted online with someone from another school I’ve seen out at a house party because I knew they were “family.” Unlike my homosexual counterparts, I wasn’t able to just love men without any inhibitions or fears of being ridiculed. Even though I was the head drum major of the marching band, graduated in the top 10 of my class and voted most witty, my love life was in shambles. People always wondered who was I talking to and why I didn’t have a girlfriend. I know I’m not the only young black gay man who experienced this. I’m actually certain of it. For most of my friends, we all shared the same experiences in high school. If I were to conduct a quick unscientific study of my circle of friends, I know my hypothesis: gay men tend to excel in academics, extra-curricular activities and careers while our love lives continue to be null and void.
As someone who admits to sleeping with dudes and exchanges recycled bathroom nude shots from time-to-time, being with a dude for me has not been a crystal stair. It has had surprised HIV/AIDS results, late night drunken booty calls and abrupt showers before getting in bed with my dude (or boy I have been texting consistently for two months) in it. Being in a relationship for anyone isn’t easy. Gay or straight, all relationships have challenges. There are good and bad times, but for some reason I continue to question why it is so hard for two men to be together and love unconditionally in a committed relationship without the sexual innuendos that come with being queer.
Marlon Riggs closed his “Tongues Untied” documentary exclaiming that “black men loving black men is a revolutionary act.” Riggs’ words not only resound outside of the black gay community when it comes to acceptance and tolerance in mainstream, but also how we as gay men should treat each other. The filmmaker, educator and activist was on to something: as black gay men, we have to learn how to love each other, and it is not going to be undemanding. Due to living in a homophobic society, gay men already begin internalizing negative condemnation for being themselves. As many of us grow up feeling different, broken and questioning if what we are doing is right in society, the reality is that many of us are still there now.
With avenues like Twitter, Facebook, Jack’d, Grindr, Black Gay Chat Live, Adam4Adam, hook up parties, clubs and libraries at our disposal, finding a man is easy…but keeping his attention is hard. We shouldn’t allow excuses to create more obstacles when it comes to men loving and dating each other. In our culture, we hate to look at ourselves through a lens. If anything is self-reflecting or causes us to think there is something different being seen, we get turned off and never want to discuss the issue. We must ask each other the real tough questions that count and matter.
I applaud lesbians for making it look so easy. I’m no fool because I know it’s not easy. However, with women being wired to be more emotional and open about their feelings, society has created a culture where they can thrive better in relationships. No matter what side of the sexuality spectrum you’re on, sexuality is human nature; it’s in all of our genes. While they are successful in this matrix, somehow we’ve come to accept and allow these stereotypes as a way of life. Even in writing this, I’ve begun to see myself falling in the same trap of using stereotypes as part of the truth. However, we’ve conditioned ourselves and must change our outlook on what it is to be a man or masculine. This type of socialization causes us to feel secure when we are seen as strong, independent and emotionless. Of course these characteristics don’t blend well when it comes to intimacy. While we can desire true intimacy with another man, we still remain chained to our fears growing up.
Maybe for the New Year, instead of me being green-eyed over lesbians getting it right, I’ll focus on what I can do to make a relationship work and happen for me. But damn, I’m not even going to lie, I’m still jealous.