Monday, November 03, 2003

Whose keepin da DL on da down low?

I received anotha damn DL email that friends and associates wanted my opinion on. And it read:

"Something to share with our children.


This is not a very nice topic to discuss but I feel I need to share this information with my sisters in Christ. Last Saturday, Kisha & I went to a seminar where a man named J.L. King was speaking on the subject of "DL Brothers". The "DL" stands for Down Low or Double Lives.

Now, what makes this so interesting is that Mr. King is a DL brother. South Carolina is #8 in the nation for HIV/AIDS new cases. African American women are 80% of all new cases and they are contracting the virus from men who are having sex with other men but they are doing this on the "Down Low". These men say they are not gay... they are heterosexual but just sleep with men once in awhile. These are men who work in the church as officers, men who are leaders in the community, and men that say they hate those "faggots".

Mr. King shared his life story and said he knows a lot of "DL" brothers in the NBA/NFL and even in the entertainment world. To prove his point: On Thursday, the director of the Tri-County Collaboration for the prevention of HIV/AIDS, Valerie King (no relation) took J.L. to a Charleston Club and introduced him to 5 men she knew. These men were respected men at work and church. Valerie excused Herself for about 15-20 minutes. In that time J.L. had gotten 3 of the 5 men's phone numbers to hook up with later. By the end of the evening he also got 10 female numbers.

He said the reason he is talking about this is his fear that his grown daughter may run into a "DL" brother and never know. These men are masters in the art of lying and living that double life. His wife thought it was wonderful that he worked so hard in the church with different men on different projects right up to the time he had to tell her he was HIV positive. This, needless to say, destroyed his family and his marriage. He has 3 grown children who now have to live with the knowledge that their father gave their mother HIV and possibly AIDS. I know of one man in my own church that is a "DL" brother and has AIDS. (Because what you do on the "DL" will come out in the light) J.L. mentions that this is a widespread epidemic here in Charleston.

I went on the web site and looked up several references on HIV/AIDS in the South. The numbers are showing whites are going down but African Americans are going up & up... mostly heterosexual African American women. I have been asking myself all week... what is this world coming to? When is God going to say... this is enough (I think God has already said this is enough and now we are suffering the consequences for our disbelief and disobedience. There is a penalty for walking in our own way and doing things our own way contrary to God.)

This is truly the work of the enemy! Ladies, this is also praying time. I have shared this with my youngest daughter too! I'm going to pass this message to as many females I know and I pray you do the same. Below are some web sites that you may find interesting. Once we understand that HIV/AIDS is not something that is just happening in Africa, that it is preventable, and that we as women understand the importance of knowledge on the subject then maybe we can make a difference.

God Bless You all!"

Oh really!? My reply:

As an African American gay male who happens to work in HIV/AIDS prevention, I find the email bothersome and offensive. I do not refute HIV/AIDS incidence and prevalence. We all know the disparities that exist within our community. To reiterate a previous comment, the bottom line is that COMMUNICATION IS KEY and SAFER SEX should be practiced by ALL.

However, the email just serves as evidence that the black community still cannot accept sexuality, in general. (gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, etc.)

The "DL" phenomenon is nothing new. Black men have been having sex with other black men for a long time. Can we (black folk) accept that fact? The supposed "Down Low" or "Double Life" man would not exist if he had a community to identify with and feel supported and accepted by. And are these supposed DL men "masters in the art of lying and living that double life?" Or are they simply assimilating and surviving in black homophobia?

And why is it so surprising that "respected men who work in the church as officers, men who are leaders in the community, men in the NBA/NFL or in the entertainment industry" can be having sexual relationships with other men? Is this an argument based upon assumptions concerning male masculinity/femininity and sexual identity?

And what was the point of Mr. King's "experiment" at the Charleston club? Was it to display his hypersexuality? 13 phone numbers in 15-20 minutes...oh really!? Did he pass a sign in sheet around the club? If he received 3 out of 5
men's phone numbers at the club, then that is not really that surprising due to the ratio of homosexual/bisexual vs heterosexual men in the population. And if he received 10 female's numbers at the club then that is plausible due to "good black man shortage" if the females saw him as a potential mate. But I seriously, question Mr. King's mack!

And the Black church (our "foundation") has simply ignored the crisis of sexuality and responded with hellfire and brimstone conjure which only segregates and demonizes. If "we are suffering the consequences for our disbelief and disobedience in God" then it is due to not understanding that God is Love, not Judgement. And I agree that this is a "praying time," but I am praying for Unity and Understanding.

Here are I few websites/articles that I recommend:

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