Below are some preliminary results from an interesting identity and self-concept study done involving Black homosexual and bisexual males between the ages of 18 and 50. Although I didn't find the results shocking, I do think that our lack of self-awareness and acceptance of one another has created the majority of issues we're facing today. Thus one of the purposes of FO' brothas.com and OPERATION: REBIRTH.
Young/Older SGL Black males say homosexuals treat them worst than heterosexuals
By Cleo Manago (cleomanago (at) aol.com) - April, 2006
I recently participated in two focus group cohorts that assessed attitudes, beliefs and perspectives among young adult homosexual and bisexual Black males - ages 18 to 35; and adult homosexual and bisexual Black males - ages 36 to 50. The purpose of the project was to review how males in both age ranges saw themselves, perceived how they are seen (in the Black community), and what kind of materials and messages in social marketing or health promotion campaigns would catch their attention. The campaigns focused on mental health, wellness, self-concept building and some on HIV/AIDS.
An additional set of questions asked how they identified in terms of their sexuality and why. A final question asked was who treated them worst, Black heterosexuals or other Black homosexual males.
We are still crunching the data, but some interesting observations surfaced immediately.
Each cohort had 25 participants:
|Ages 18 years of age to 35||Ages 36 years of age to 50|
- 20 participants perceived themselves as African American first, and homosexual second
- 3 saw themselves as “gay” first and Black second
- 2 perceived themselves as equally both
- 9 participants saw themselves as African American first, and homosexual second
- 4 perceived themselves as “gay” first and Black second
- 12 perceived themselves as equally both
|On Community Perception |
- 23 believe they are (or would be, if people knew) perceived as less of a man because of their homosexuality
- 2 believed that their sexuality made no difference regarding how they were perceived
- 22 believe they are (or would be) perceived as less of a man because of their homosexuality
- 3 believed that their sexuality made no difference regarding how they were perceived
|On Sexual Identity|
(No identity options were given to participants. They came up with their own)
- 3 identified as bisexual
- 2 identified as “just a freak” (these men tended also to identify as bisexual or “versatile”)
- 7 identified as gay (as a figure of speech, with no allegiance to the white gay community, but preferred the term “gay” over any other known options)
- 5 identified actively as same-gender-loving [SGL] (purposely in an effort to affirm their “Blackness,” or to disassociate from how they saw “gay” and the gay community. Reasons for identifying as SGL included, “I just like it,” “when I heard SGL I felt like finally that was a label I could embrace as a Black man”) - Their perceptions of gay included “empty, old school, white, faggoty and ‘not feeling it.”
- 5 preferred DL or no label (explanations included that they did not want to make a big deal out of “fucking a dude” and that “I just ain’t trying to put my business in the street.”)
- 3 identified as homothugs (explanations included, “I am just one of the boys” and “when I’m with my homies we just being boys. We ain’t trying to join no gay ass club.
- 2 identified as bisexual
- 0 identified as “just a freak”
- 15 identified as gay (SEVEN as a statement of “homophobic” defiance and pride – though none could comprehensively explain what was meant by pride; EIGHT as a figure of speech, with no allegiance to the white gay community, but preferred the term “gay” over any other known options)
- 5 identified actively as SGL to affirm their “Blackness“, and or to disassociate from how they saw “gay” and the gay community. Perceptions included “I was never comfortable with calling myself gay,” “I just like SGL better” and “SGL affirms my spirit.” Other reasons for identifying as SGL included, “I just like it.”
- 0 preferred DL or no label
- 0 identified as homothugs
- 3 stated that they were still thinking about it
|On the treatment from Black heterosexuals or other Black homosexual males|
- 18 participants stated that other homosexuals treated them worst than heterosexuals
- 7 stated that heterosexuals treated them worst than homosexuals
- 20 participants stated that other homosexuals treated them worst than heterosexuals
- 5 stated that heterosexuals treated them worst than homosexuals
MATERIALS REVIEW:Among materials reviewed by both cohorts were documents produced by a gay HIV/AIDS related project called '"The Institute." One piece, a book called "If We Take Tomorrow," another "The Scarlet Letters."
Though we are still reviewing cohort feedback, it was clear that these documents did not test well, especially with Cohort #1. Common themes were, "What are these for?" "Me or my boy would pay no attention to this." "I don't get it." "Dude on the cover is kinda cute, but that shit is wack." and "I tried to read it, but I just wasn't feeling it."
Themes from Cohort #2 were similar, but there was slightly more support. Comments included. "These are nice." "I don't see the point." "I have heard of Tim M." "I wonder how much money was wasted on this?"
PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS:There were clear attitude, beliefs and perspective differences between both cohorts, regarding identity and self concept. Cohort 2# had more members immersed in a defiantly (defensively) gay identity, and some saw their sexuality and ethnicity as parallel in importance. Cohort 1# overall was less static regarding their sexual identity, and saw their identity as more defined by and resonant with Black cultural concepts. Overall a static gay identity did not fit in their worldview. Across both cohorts perception of members as real men seemed to be at-risk based on homosexuality. They also strongly disapproved of gay culture focused materials targeting Black homosexual and bisexuals males. An almost general consensus was that other homosexuals treated other homosexuals worst than heterosexuals did. Disturbing and intriguing. It makes one wonder who Black anti-homosexual campaigns should really be targeting.
More will come, when more is available.