Racism and the Gay Scene

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By TJ Acena, PQ Monthly

FS, a gay health and life magazine in the U.K., called on gay men to share their thoughts and experiences with racism within the gay scene and released two articles based on their answers. Unfortunately this isn’t a scientific study, so all the hard numbers aren’t published, but FS reports that more than 850 gay men responded to their questions, and “over 400” of the respondents are white.

Obviously, these articles are about racism in the gay scene in the U.K., but a lot of these results will be familiar to non-white gay men here in the States.

The first article, “Racism and the Gay Scene,” collected the responses from non-white men. Unsurprisingly most of them reported that they’ve experienced racism in the U.K. gay scene:

  • 80 percent of Black guys,
  • 79 percent of Asian guys,
  • 75 percent of South Asian guys,
  • 64 percent of mixed race guys
  • and most of the Arab guys

Not sure what “most” is, but I’m going to assume it means more than 50 percent.

A lot of the article is anecdotal—respondents share stories of being ignored in bars, blocked on apps, being called racist slurs on apps, seeing racist headlines on apps (“No chocolate, rice or spice”… that’s a new one for me. Gross.), feeling that non-white gay men are invisible in the media, feeling fetishized, and being stereotyped (e.g., Black men are well endowed and aggressive, Asian men are not well endowed and submissive). Also, some respondents who said they experienced racism say they experienced it from other ethnic groups.

The second article, “Dear White Gay  Men…,” collected responses from white men about their thoughts on racism. Among the results it found that white men find white men the most attractive, they overwhelmingly believe certain stereotypes to be true (e.g., Black men are well endowed and aggressive, Asian men are not well endowed and submissive), and less than one-third (31 percent) have reported to have seen racism in the gay scene.

Considering how many non-white men report experiencing racism, 31 percent seems way too low.

And of course we see the common “you can’t apply racism to sexual preference” argument dragged out. Because some people are just so turned off by an entire race of people that they couldn’t even find one person in that group to find attractive so it’s okay to say things like “No chocolate, rice or spice” in public spaces. They’re just doing all of us non-white gays a favor by being upfront. Thanks.

Give both of these articles a read.