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Historically, houses of worship in black communities allowed us to keep our sanity as a people. Christianity has been the bedrock of black American liberation for more than 400 years. Black slaves adopted Christianity for survival and mobilization. So why was there no crusade in the ’80s or ’90s for black gay men and trans women when it came to the HIV epidemic?

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Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of International Trade Diversification, led the “LGBTQ2 business mission” to Philadelphia in partnership with the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The mission connected 15 Canadian LGBTQ2 (the “2” represents Two-Spirit indigenous people) entrepreneurs with U.S. Fortune-500 companies and other NGLCC-certified business owners.

Karin Olofsdotter, the Swedish Ambassador to the United States, was part of the NGLCC conference’s “Beyond Borders: Succeeding in the Global Landscape” panel and discussed the Swedish government’s LGBTQ-equality efforts domestically and internationally.

An LGBTQ foster-parent recruitment session to encourage more LGBTQ people to open their homes to children in need attracted an “overwhelming” number of agencies and more than 50 prospective and inquiring couples, families and single people. 

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.

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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.

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