Kenny Asks: As a bi Asian man, I've noticed that there is a lot of sigtma to both. What are your thoughts on racism within the gay community?

As a Bi Asian man who is trying to get into the gay dating scene for the first time I have noticed that there is a lot negative stigma to being both. There have been people who would not give me a chance because I’m Asian or don’t believe that I’m truly Bi, saying I’m just secretly gay in the closet. So here’s my question for you what are your thoughts on the racism within the gay community? Also with gay men not believing or accepting that there are men out there that are really Bisexual?
— Kenny

Hi Kenny,

Oh man this is a tough one. As a white and fully gay male, it’s hard for me to truly understand what it’s like to be in your shoes. I can only empathize with the fact that I’ve experienced such rejection for being HIV positive. That’ll be the source from which I will impart my thoughts.

First, the bi thing. I think this comes from the fact that people are typically uncomfortable by what they don’t understand. It’s my theory that, when people don’t understand something, they feel a sense of a lack of control. And when we feel lack of control, we are uncomfortable.

Rather than take the time to try and understand something (which could help give us knowledge and ironically feel comfortable), people take a short cut and convince themselves they already have the answers. Of course, if they have to convince themselves, that means they must convince others too - hence them telling you what your being bi “really means.” I base this theory on the fact that I was, once upon a time, a total douchey-dick-hole that acted like he knew everything too.

As for the race aspect… yes, I absolutely believe there is racism in the gay community. But I don’t believe there is any more or less racism than society at large. Racism isn’t a gay flaw, it’s a human flaw (unfortunately). Though certainly racism in our community can mirror differently. Also, as gay men, I think it hits us harder. We’re supposed to live under this rainbow umbrella of diversity and acceptance. And when a fellow gay person expresses racist behavior, it is far more jarring for us than maybe those in the straight world.

So, how do you deal with these crappy human aspects when dating? First, say something gracious and/or informative to the offender and then move on. If you try to start a debate with a know-it-all or a racist, it will be an uphill battle that will just cause you more stress than it is worth. But this doesn’t mean you can’t create a quick learning opportunity before you leave the conversation.

You have to do this cautiously. If it comes off like you are schooling them, they won’t be receptive to it. That’s why I say to start off with empathy and grace. It helps keep their guards down and makes them more receptive to hearing something. Then give them a little non-judgmental nugget of wisdom as to how they could do differently.

For instance, when I got rejected for being HIV positive, I would say something like “That’s okay. I get it. I understand what it’s like to be scared of such things. But just a heads up, if avoid positive guys as a means of safety, you’re actually at a higher risk of contracting HIV.”

After that, I would just move on and not engage them anymore. Though, often, my little wisdom-nugget would bate these guys into learning more about actual HIV safety rather than their ignorant assumptions.

Okay, second part (and this will be shorter), if a guy rejects you for being Asian or being bi, then remind yourself that they have actually done you a favor. Although it seems like they were the ones that rejected you, in a way, it has inadvertently given you the info you need to reject them. Would you really want to be with a partner who has such a mentality? Again, I was once a know-it-all. I can tell you that they are miserable to date. And dating a racist? That certainly doesn’t sound fun either.

The moment they say their shitty thing, these people have proven that they are not worth your time. Remind yourself to take pity on them. Racists and know-it-alls are NOT happy people. If they were, they wouldn’t need to overcompensate by putting others down

Yes, it feels shitty when this happens (and as often as it happens). But it always pays off to be the bigger person. It’s a small way of having an impact on that individual. And it also means you have the good decency to treat others the same way you want to be treated. Beyond your sexual orientation or race, that is what makes you better than them.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger