Is it Gay to?… On Black Men and Policing Masculinity by Victory Sampson

I’m tired of boys, men, and mascs policing each other’s masculinity. The question “Is it Gay to…?” implies an admission of desire. It implies there is an exploration wanting to be had by the speaker that they are asking for validation in pursuing. Therein lies the problem, the possibilities of one are put in the hands of others who are more than likely going to be discouraged because they, too, were discouraged. We do not live under a system of radical imagination. We live under a system of cis-heteronormative patriarchy. It is important to define one’s own possibilities because Black people are constantly being told that things they want to do are impossible. There aren’t enough resources. There isn’t enough funding. There’s not enough communal support. There are no’s so willing to be passed into black hands and milky palms. No matter how perceivably incredulous the rest of the question, why offer up a future to be destroyed?  

I’m tired of mascs not being able to just fucking exist. I’m tired of the restriction of fun and enjoyment because “in the world of boys and men”, there is such a thing as too much fun. After all, you have to be seen as “man enough, or [you’re] a girl”, right? I’m tired of this unfulfilling performance. Performances are supposed to be fun. The incomplete, purposefully bad twerks are enough. The stiffening of wrists in relaxation has gone on long enough. The schemas of walking, talking, running, loving, and playing should not be prisons. They should be experiments to see whether or not our bodies fit comfortably into their shapes, which they often don’t. Hypermasculinity wasn’t created for Black men. It could be interpreted as a trauma response due to colonization and slavery constantly breaking people with complexions of soil like bucks. It could be seen as something cast upon Black Men to act out in order to be villainized as dangerous to the masses. What it should not be seen as is ours. It is not. 

Everytime a little boy drops a toy that brings them joy because someone has told them “that’s for girls”, I cry a little on the inside. I cry for the Victory that played with Tinker Bell dresses because they were shiny and colorful. I cry for the version of myself that held fairy wands in the light and cast thousands of little flecks of light onto living room walls. I remember these things with pain, but I also remember the samurai swords that lit up with sound effects. I remember battling Beyblades with my cousins in the laundry corner, garage, and in that little plastic battle arena. I remember my Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers gadgets and Spider man suit. Why could all of these memories be filled with joy? Why can little Black boys not just explore the world around them and live? I mourn the joy and person I’ve lost to time’s void because of the words and sentences of others. I’m angry that I even have to disregard words and sentences to avoid emotional harm and discomfort when they are my milk and honey, my yam and fried egg. 

It is not a crime to be to queer. It is not deserving of punishment. It is not grounds for interrogation. It is not “weird”, because normal doesn’t fucking exist. Every single person on this planet is different, so trying to enforce one schema or idea  of what is normal will forever be a violent act. So, let’s try this again. “Is it Gay to—” Stop. Ask yourself: what is the answer I’m looking for? Why? For who? To do, or not to do, what? There is no one way to be straight, gay, bi, pan, or any other sexuality for that matter.. I’m tired of explaining middle school topics to fully grown men with developed frontal lobes. Quit it. 

One more time, and say it with me, It is not gay to do anything other than be gay. Play on my phone again and catch this swift block.

Victory Sampson is a Nigerian-American social commentator and digital storyteller best known under the alias VICTORY THE CREATOR across social media platforms. Sampson is a multidisciplinary digital storyteller who comments on matters surrounding race, gender, and class. His work has earned him 9,000+ subscribers and 100k+ views across YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

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