By Erica C. Davis
Recently, Rapper Frank Ocean revealed online that his first love was a man. He developed the courage and came to terms with his own sexual orientation in spite of the criticism and hostility towards gays from the Hip Hop Industry. Ocean described this relationship as his “first love”. However, what’s more disturbing and disappointing is he also described having relations with women. I often sit and talk to my best-friends about such topics discussing the rise of African-American Gay Men.
In conversation, many feel disgusted with openly gay relationships, while others disagree responding with “respect me enough to tell me that you are a homosexual instead of keeping it hidden!” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African-Americans face the most severe burden of contracting HIV/AIDS of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Black men accounted for 70% of the estimated new HIV infections and Black women accounted for 30% acquired through heterosexual sex. Hip-Hop producer Russell Simmons called this “a big day for hip-hop” because of Ocean’s reveal. Fine! But this was 6 years ago that he slept with a male (or fell in love this male), but what about the women that he has had sexual encounters with thereafter? Did they know? Were they aware of the fact that his first love was a man?
It’s sickening enough that young African-American down low brothers (and bisexual men) are especially at risk of the HIV infection and for some to sleep with men and turn around and sleep with women just disgusts me. The homosexual epidemic is sweeping across our Black Community at a rapid rate causing women to be infected by this disease. Women, I am speaking to you, too. I, personally have no respect or tolerance for down low brothers. Out on the streets it is known that real homosexual guys despise down-low brothers with good cause. A down low brother will have sex with them, then pass them on the street when he’s with his woman and pretend he doesn’t see him. On the other hand, women despise a down low brother because he’s not only two-timing them, but one will never know what he’s going to bring back to the bedroom.
Recently, President Barack Obama supported gay marriage. He reversed his position on a controversial social issue just, six months before the November election and adopting a stance fraught with uncertain political implications and receiving such criticism. The issue is not with the supporters of same-sex marriages, the real issue lies with the individual who are not coming to terms with their own sexual orientation.
Furthermore, many homosexual/bisexual men with HIV do not know they have it. Especially men who have sex with men (MSM) of color. Of the men who engage in sexual activity with men who tested positive for HIV in 2008, 44% did not know they were infected. Among those infected, young MSM aged 18-29 (63%) and racial/ethnic minority MSM (54%) were more likely to be unaware they had HIV. Persons who don’t know they have HIV don’t get medical care and can unknowingly infect others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all men who have sex with men get tested for HIV at least once a year. Sexually active MSM might benefit from HIV testing every 3 to 6 months. In conclusion, once again the issue lies with individuals who are not coming to terms with their own sexual orientation. Please be a man and own up to your sexual orientation.