Although I don’t exactly scream it from the rooftops, I am openly bisexual. I have worked hard these past few years to become confident in my identity, despite growing up in a severely homophobic family. In the past, I tried my very best to fight against my true nature. At one point, I even adopted a prejudiced persona, using every possible moment to target members of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m not proud of my past, but I recognize that it was just another part of my journey to self-acceptance. My homophobic environment convinced me that it was the only way–that gay people were disgusting. 

Over time, my mind has opened to the various cultures and beliefs that are spread across the world. In fact, I yearn to learn more from people who grew up with different heritages. I love trying different foods, learning different languages, and adopting different ways of life. I believe that embracing only one way of life makes one weak. In my life, I strive to become stronger with each passing day. This LGBTQ+ community is advertised as providing spaces for people with different identities to unite and grow together. However, that has not been my experience at all.

Contrary to popular belief, the disease plaguing our community is not our alternative sexual orientations or gender identities. Our true problem is the blatant racism that runs rampant. For too long, I attempted to embrace LGBTQ+ spaces, only to feel isolated because of my racial background. For too long, I have approached men within the community, only to be rejected for being black. Many black LGBTQ+ men are both ghosted and insulted for nothing more than the color of my skin. To be clear, many of the perpetrators are not even anti-POC; they’re just anti-black. Many of them are open about their “racial preferences”, but many more would never openly admit it. The latter group put on a masquerade, pretending to be anti-racist. They embrace performative activism, but they remain mute when the topic of anti-black racism arises in their circles and only associate with fellow non-black men. These men dismiss us by saying we’re “just not their type,” without actually being able to put those expectations into words.  

I am no model, but I did not know I was that ugly. I mean, what is it exactly that makes me “not your type”? Is it my facial hair? Hmm I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure all of your exes had full beards. In that case, I must be too short. Oh, wait. No, I am taller than any other guy you’ve dated. You say that you value intelligence? Well, I have two degrees, graduated at the top of my class, am attending one of the top universities in the nation, made history within my academic spheres, and co-founded an activist organization. Is that not intelligent enough for you? Surely, you instantly blocked my dating profile because you hate dimples. I mean, I have never met a person who does, but there’s a first time for everything, right?

In truth, there’s only one thing that separates me from the masses: the color of my skin and texture of my hair. Many people see blackness, or even the word black, and they immediately shut down. So many people tell me that I’m “so smart for a black guy” that I could never even give you a numerical estimate.  They see me and they assume that I am dirty and ignorant. In their minds, black is synonymous to undesirable. This pattern makes it hard to trust European-American, LGBTQ+ men while dating and even harder to believe statements like “you’re just not my type”. Then, there’s the other side of the coin: the fetishizers. The non-black people who spend their daily lives specifically searching for black sexual partners make my flesh creep. Many of these individuals grant themselves the n-word pass, and post things like “seeking BBC” on their dating profiles. Some present their hunt as open-mindedness, others just seek the opportunity to “taste a little chocolate”. Unlike many people in our society, I do not take people treating me like a sex toy to be a compliment. I am human. I should be attractive and black, not attractive because I am black. 

There are few pains greater than being belittled while you only seek to uplift. Despite my negative experiences, I could never see myself rejecting another person solely based on their ethnicity, nor will I ever put down any entire ethnic group. Such an act would defeat the purpose of what I have been fighting for this entire time. I am physically attracted to people of all cultures because I understand that we all equal in sexual and intellectual capacity. My prevailing hopes lie in a world where people embody open-mindedness in all areas and confront their personal biases, rather than continuing to mask their “separate but equal” mindset.

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