As a black gay man, sex has always been a particularly awesome experience for me. It’s the greatest fundamental part of being gay, of being a cisgender — to have sex without the consequences of getting someone pregnant. The fact that I could have a hookup without worrying about reproduction is something I know my hetero counterparts envy about me.
However, I’ve noticed how the hunting for mates on hookup apps can be exhausting. The engagement is slim to none, and the cycles of loneliness creep in. Then it starts all over again — the cycle continues like all addictions. Hookup apps have become an obsession.
The importance of being a “real masculine man” on hookup apps has always puzzled me. Why is femininity viewed as a weakness and undesirable? I know so many gay men who pride themselves on how masculine they are. There is a whole category dedicated to how masculine gay black men can be in the ballroom scene called “Realness!”
However, this high demand for masculinity puts men like me who may not fit the unyielding gender social constructs at an innate disadvantage on hookup apps.
I know when I am on dating apps, I have one of two choices to make: Be myself or give my best Boyz in the Hood impression. In my experience on apps, I can honestly say it takes a real man to be a fem-top.
The inherent sexism of gay men is troubling to see in online queer-dating spaces because, as LGBTQ people of color, we should know better. Being gay does not give you a pass to be openly sexist. Most queer blacks know the sting of social isolation, yet we isolate other LGBTQ people of color in online dating communities.
I have a vision one day to date in a world where femininity holds the same value as masculinity. So, when a guy meets me online and in person, nothing is lost in translation — I am the real man they want, not the man designed by societal standards and social constructs.
Antar Bush is a public-health advocate, professor at West Chester University and executive producer of OUTPour LGBTQ. He is committed to advocating for health equity in all communities. Follow him on Instagram @antarbushmswmph.