By: Kemar Anglin
At 20, I find myself thinking about where I am going to be when I am thirty years old. Will I have kids? Will I be married? Will I be loving what I am doing through and through? Will I be happy? Will I find love? I have always had finding love as one of my life goals. Finding a partner that I can share my life with long term. Someone who will always be there for me and me for them, who I will share my most intimate moments with, and grow with. I know I have so much time to focus on these things and should just revel in my youth while I can, but I argue that luxury is not easy for queer people. I have felt like it is something unattainable for some people in the queer community because of the stigmatization we face and the queerphobic thought patterns that also plague our communities, especially within underrepresented members. There is no blueprint for our futures, that is applicable to everyone despite our gender and sexual differences, but white, cisgender and heterosexual people have an idea of all the things their lives can become. They have more representation of the multitudes of identities, traits, and futures they can encompass, which are more positive than not.
I am a Queer, Black, First-Gen, Non-binary, man, there are multiple layers of my identity that I am uncovering and growing into everyday to be the person a younger version of me would be proud of, to foster my mental and physical wellness for me to be open to giving and receiving platonic/romantic love. The journey is new, I thought the hard part was me coming out and finally being vocal about an intrinsic part of me that I was groomed to feel ashamed of through socialization. That was only the first step. I came out in January of 2021 and a year later I feel like I am finally acknowledging the intricacies of my identity, through the acknowledgement of the social implications of it. The Queer community has gotten far in getting the representation and humanization that we deserve, in the western world. There is more representation of Queer life, majority of these are through the white or lesbian worldview, although it’s seen as a “win” to some, in actuality it exemplifies the repeating pattern of the lack of intersectionality in the first waves of social movements and the oversexualization of lesbianism palatable for our patriarchal culture. My cultural identity, Black American and Jamaican, has created a complex gender socialization that I am unweaving to love myself, as a man who does not see myself in the binary, radically in a culture that has taught me not to do so. I have unconsciously been affected by the oppression and degradation of the Black queer voice, thinking of myself in terms of heteronormative culture, when I exist outside of it.
After I came out I started to think more on my gender identity, my family has always let me know that I acted “less than a man” although I never felt out of place in my own body. Throughout my attendance from primary to then an all-boy catholic high school, boys have always called me out on my effeminate mannerisms. All these forces forced me to acknowledge that I am not the ideal of manhood and I began conceptualizing where I could fit at a very young age; it also fostered contempt because I was never enough showing up as myself. I did not “fit” in the eyes of our societal constructs and then when I was sexually assaulted at a young age, by someone much older than me, it only aided in the contempt of my identity and blurred my self-image further.
I began experimenting with my feminine expression shortly after coming out, but embodying the ideal of femininity also did not feel right. Heteronormative society has created a role of the effemeniate gay man, the bubbly, flamboyant and sassy person that is often depicted in media, the gay best friend. I made myself fit it, I felt that was one of the only spaces I could freely express myself in, in terms of heteronormativity. On the inside, the queer community has also created a space for the effemeniate man: the bottom, submissive, and woman of the relationship. I embodied the expectation of me and felt terribly lonely while doing it. I had friends, I had love interests, but they were not interested in me, in my humanity, only the gendered performance. I felt constricted, I wanted more. Although I had this feeling, my anxiety did not allow me to abandon this space and form a new one because of the fear of the unknown and being unlovable or unaccepted. My worldview was in a binary and if I wasn't feminized, I would be emasculated and I did not want to be emasculated. I’ve only seen Black men to be hypermasculine and I knew that was not me.
Although I was living and experiencing aspects of my newly out life, I was playing it safe and staying in the comfort zones that were built by others for me. This “playing it safe” era had toxic relationships, hookup culture, and unhappiness. It also had joy and experience. I was just doing the things that I have known, until I had a drug-facilitated assault in the summer of 2021 and I decided to confront my deeper rooted issues that I had with myself, which were mostly imported thought patterns. They came from the heteronormative partners that couldn’t see me as a “man” or put me into hypermasculine roles, that I have never felt comfortable in. They came from the homophobic boys in my school systems, the lessons on how homosexuality is a sin, the idea that assault is just a women's issue, the toxicity of homophobic family, the women that had boxed me in as their “GBF”, not allowing me growth, and being a Dark-Skinned Black queer Jamaican man.
These factors of my life have affected my worldview and self-worth. 2021 has been an eye-opening journey and in 2022, I am determined to claim my space; The space that everyone in the Queer Black community deserve to have. Despite the stigmas on Queer Culture, that we are unnatural, our hardship is a choice, and we are hypersexual; We still deserve the love that we want and need. Humans are social beings and the search for love is natural, no matter our background. I recently read Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference by Audre Lorde, where she talks about how our culture responds to difference in three different ways: ignore, copy, or destroy. Instead of these options she proposes that we should respond to differences with acknowledgement. Society does not acknowledge our truths.
Queer people of color often have to find love within ourselves first because the societal culture around us tries to destroy us. The journey of radical self-love was my next and most important step after coming out, reconceptualizing gendered realities of the world into a more wholesome truth, something I completely jumped over due to the lack of wellness habits and representation shaped for me in my youth and my misunderstanding of the importance of acknowledging the complexities of my identity. I am Queer, a assault survivior, Black and a child of immigrants. The freedom of the oppressed and underrepresented identities, grants freedom to all. The liberation of being heard and saying our truths of our health, assaults, sexualites, and to express ourselves without gendered limitations. A lot of my identity factors are taboo conversation topics, Survivors are often called liars and/or blamed for what has been done to us. I am unashamed to own and talk about my experiences and those of us who are ready, I empower you to claim your space and use your voice also. There are always people who will listen.
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