WE ARE PART OF A LINEAGE – A HOMOSEXUAL BROTHERHOOD – REGARDLESS OF COLOR OR RACE OR ETHNICITY
“White guys only.”
“Latins and blacks only.”
Statements like this on gay internet dating sites bring up many feelings for me as a gay Japanese Latino man. Hurt, anger, shame, confusion. We see society struggling with racism, heterosexism and homophobia. Destructive ways of oppressing a “someone” who then becomes – the “other.” So it is not surprising then that this could also affect how we relate to each other as diverse gay men.
For a long time I was only into white guys. However, I now realize that this isn’t just about who I am attracted to. What is happening internally when I exclude a whole group of other men seemingly based on a preference or type? Growing up gay left me with horrific toxic shame about being gay, along with inferiority about my race and ethnicity. When I look more closely into my inner world, I see unconscious aspects in a preference for white guys only that aren’t quite as benign as I originally thought. It is also related to internalized racism and internalized homophobia.
How so? Seeing another gay man generally as a type or a race to accept or reject can take us out of seeing him as a person. He becomes an object. Gay men have been treated as “other” – objects to hate, ridicule, abuse. We internalize this. Unable to feel ourselves as persons, we became objects to ourselves filled with self-hatred, horrible shame, humiliation and defeat. I don’t like feeling this. So I, as we all do, have an amazing ability to defend against bad feelings through defenses. One defense is to project bad feelings onto others. Instead of feeling the pain of insidious internalized homophobia and/ or racism, I can be rejecting of others as I have been rejected. I have sadly done this with other gay men of color.
As a gay Japanese Latino man, I have learned how through colonization, heterosexism spread its homophobic violence around the world attempting to erase vast memories, histories, rituals, writings, religious and spiritual ceremonies led and initiated by same-sex loving men and women. A psychological holocaust was perpetrated onto LGBT people all around the world. The repercussions are with us today still.
I knew Greece had a history of gay love and mentoring. Alexander the Great and Hephaestion, Achilles and Patroclus. The Renaissance had Michelangelo. But I was shocked to finally learn that Japan had a thousand year history of beautiful literature celebrating same-sex love among the samurai and Buddhist monks. That ancient China had lusty stories of gay love among the imperial courts and its emperors. That Native American Two-Spirit individuals, holding the masculine and the feminine in one body, were often the healers and spiritual leaders. That throughout the Middle and Near East, same-sex love was glorified by authors such as Hafiz, a Persian Sufi mystic writing of the ecstatic love between men. And that many writers and artists of the Harlem Renaissance were powerful gay and bisexual African-American men and women.
In all cultures, homosexually oriented people were leaders with an ancient understanding of the psychic, spiritual and soulful meaning of same sex love. We gay men are part of a lineage – a homosexual brotherhood – where color or race or ethnicity isn’t a way to divide us but to support each of us doing our own psychological and spiritual work by looking within, confronting self-hatred, racism and internalized homophobia and other traumas of growing up gay.
Now when I see other gay men of color, when I see gay white men – instead of a preference checklist, I see individuals who look like me or don’t look like me but, who like myself can choose to more fully realize the erotic potential of gay personhood sourced in the gay mind and heart. Instead of objects, we can relate subject to subject – person to person – and have mirrored back to us the fiery vision of gay love.
Published on: The Fight Magazine
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© 2016 Thomas Mondragon