Wednesday, February 06, 2013

February Swirling

Being a provocateur can be a daunting position to assume. Often you take on subjects or matters that can be empowering or possibly push folks beyond their comfort zones. In producing this platform for the last seven years, I've found myself all over the map including some racially charged replies forwarded to myself all the way to loosing some readers whom felt that I was airing community dirty laundry or dividing up the elusive LGBTQ community. Of course in 2013, COP 24/7 will still be playing "hardball" with the facts and realities that many of us face on a daily basis. I discovered another interesting platform entitled "Discreet City" (  that doesn't mind "going hard" on a variety of topics. No one likes going hard as COP 24/7 and I believed it was important to share a recent item featured on their site that also has piqued my own thoughts on the subject of imagery and masculinity.The subject can go in so many directions when considering the lack of positive Black images in "gay media." Often time Black men are portrayed as "hyper-sexual Mandingo's or emasculated into a caricature that I often find myself bemused by. Nevertheless, I've struggled with understanding how "Atlanta Housewives" out rank trail blazers such as Alvin Ailey or today's chart topping and most likely Grammy winning Frank Ocean. Its a thought provoking piece that warrants some conversation and will perhaps provoke some additional dialogue. We encourage and look forward to any feedback. COP 24/7 has always been about being interactive and has done its best to be a digital "town square." With that said, the question from the piece ask: "Are Young Black Boys & Men Becoming More Feminine??

Discreet City | By Octavius Williams

I recently watched a documentary by Tariq Elite Nasheed titled “Hidden Colors”. Towards the end, the documentary touched on the phenomenon of young boys and men being feminized. Basically what was explained was that due to the large number of incarcerated and absent fathers and men in the black community, more young boys are becoming feminine. These boys do not have a man around to mirror or learn male characteristics or behavior so they learn and mimic the mannerisms or behavior of females; primarily their mothers, grandmothers and aunts who are raising them.

Understand this does not mean these young boys are homosexual, it just means they are more feminine.

I had a conversation around this subject with a co-worker and he revealed to me that he noticed that his son was starting act feminine. He said he noticed that his son would “goose neck” and gesticulate or act with a kind of “sassy attitude” as a black women when talking with his older sister.

He said once he fully noticed it, he had to sit his son down and let him know he should not act that way because that is how women and young girls act, not young boys. See my co-worker has two jobs (a regular and a part time) so he doesn’t get to spend as much time as he would like with his son.

He doesn’t think his son is gay, but just picked up these mannerisms due to him spending countless hours around his mother and sister during the week and on weekends. I think it’s good that this young boy has a father around to inform and instruct him when it concerns conducts of masculinity.

But it made me think, what about the young boys who are homosexual but don’t have a father around?

Are these young homosexual or bi-curious boys feminine because they have no male figure around, are they naturally this way, are they only acting like the women around them or do they think gay men are supposed to be feminine based on all the examples they see and hear? Once these young boys become young homosexual men, do they become more feminine because their circles of friends or acquaintances are also feminine?


For reasons such as divorce and incarceration, about 66% of Black or African-American families are head by a single parent. With the majority of the single parents being women, it may not be surprising that our young boys are acting more feminine.

There are well over 900,000 black men in jails or prisons. African-Americans make up about 12% of the U.S. population and about 44% of America's prison inmates. About 65% of black inmates are between the ages of 20 to 39.

It seems for the most part our young black boys are suffering between two extremes…chauvinistic thuggism and over metro-sexualized feminism. Both to me are the results of the absence of fathers or male role models in or homes and communities.

I do feel media also shares in the blame. As we have discussed before in previous posts, there are no masculine homosexual / bi sexual men of color on TV. The media either makes us out to be aggressive over sexed criminal
monsters or weak feminine lip glossed queens…both examples to me are based off of stereotypes and fear.

So what are we to do? This is one reason why Discreet City was created…to attempt to bring a balance and be an alternative to the extremes that are out there.

But to be honest I am short on solutions. I attempted to be a mentor with a national mentor program and during the interview process; I was open about my sexuality. I even volunteered to be paired with young boys and men who have fathers in prison.

The interviewer was very direct and honest in advising me that there would be a very slim chance I would be placed with a child because of my sexuality. She advised that from her experience, black households do not want their young boys paired with
homosexual men. To date I have yet to receive a call about a possible match and it has been over a year and a half.

I do not have a problem with feminine men. Feminine men are human beings and should be respected as we all should. However I also believe that there is nothing wrong with masculinity. Unlike femininity, masculinity in the gay community is possibly fighting a losing battle.

What do you think? Please feel free to share your feedback or possible solutions.


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