If we want a real revolution, a real change, and real new start, we have got to stop being consumed by the fear of judgment and the fear of criticism. We have got to get real. We have to let go of not only external social constructs but also internal social constructs within different communities: gay, Black, white, Latino, Asian….all of it. Fear is useless. It limits you and can eventually eat you up from the inside out. Between 2001 and 2010, it felt as though the US was in an emotional dead zone; fear of terrorists, “illegals”, and “reverse racism” had corroded the passion this country once had. It all seemed, and still seems, extremist. The antiquated social norms that the powerful minority of this country had and continues to wrap itself around are based in fear. This fear limits people’s embrace of hedonism in a healthy way; an authentic way of being that does not seek to dominate others. In a paradigm where fear is the tool of preference, it is exercised to contain and control people; to prevent what is “morally wrong.” This fear has reached an extreme level and generates extreme reactions in outbursts and rebellions on both sides of the divide. It keeps people suppressing who they are and from fighting for their rights and freedoms. It keeps them from thriving; from being real.
But, what does “real” even mean? What does “realness” even mean anymore? What does it signify that one is “real”? It means that you are strong in who you are, what you believe in, and what you stand for; and will not apologize for it. It means that you will not bow down to some limiting social construct of how you “should” behave or conduct yourself. We need to burn “should” – I can’t tell you how often I hear this destructive and horrible word. What do you want? What do you need? What do you care about? Forget “should” and replace it anytime you catch yourself using it.
As a gay man of color, I feel it is even more important to be unafraid of showing your true colors to those around you and the LGBT community at large. It is crucial that we stand strong for what is equal, what is encompassing of all, and what is bold and challenging. Whatever your stance is about who you are, what you believe in, what you desire, how you view relationships or how you view sex – hiding behind a fake façade of what you think you need to portray will only cause you to slowly dig your own grave. Your inner light will diminish to where no one can see what you have to offer because you are so busy worrying about what others may say. Truly being yourself and loving every part of you and being unapologetic for how you see things and how you choose to live your life is more important than it ever has been. We cannot continue to allow our own fear of judgment melt down the strong inner structures we have built for ourselves.
Men of color have been oppressed (particularly black men), within that group; gay men of color have been oppressed (again, particularly black gay men/same gender loving men). With this in mind, it is pretty common to see that those who have been oppressed…oppress those in their own community. It is a cycle. You get beaten down enough that some begin to believe the beatings and employ them onto others. When it comes to expressing our sexuality as gay men of color; we have been thrashed by HIV and the shaming of how much sex we have by many heterosexual men, women and many HIV negative gay men have only increased the amount of HIV infections that occur amongst gay men of color. Why? Because shaming an oppressed community only makes folks hide who they are even more, it makes them hide what they truly desire even more. The more we hide, the easier it is for the virus to spread. If we are gonna talk about a revolution, this is the time to talk about it and by being forward with what you want for yourself and your own sexuality…we can fight back the shame that continues to oppress us. Being real means openly talking about who we are and our experiences all and not be ashamed of what we desire and comfortably find others who share our desires.
You want to be real? You want to state “realness”? Then be bold with what is real for you, be upfront and direct about it and whatever you do…don’t apologize for who you are, what you look like, or what you think.