Thursday, September 09, 2004

Does that mean they're gay?

I was watching Oprah last Tuesday night and the episode centered upon black men who find themselves sleeping with men while in a serious or stable heterosexual relationship. She was discussing the phenomenon of the "Down Low", and how there has been an alarming rise in the numbers of women, particularly black women, being affected by the HIV virus.

But although that can make for interesting writing later, first what I want to find out is whether these men are considered as gay.

What is the definition of "down low"? What exactly is it? According to the link above, it's this.

Men who discreetly have sex with other men while in sexual relationships with women are said to be on the "down low" (or "dl" for short). Often these men do not consider themselves gay or bisexual and their female partners are not aware that they have sex with other men, thus the term "down low" or "in hiding".

My current cause of confusion now is this: if men have sex with men, does that mean they're gay? I can well understand the meaning of being bi-sexual, but this is a whole new territory.

I've always thought that when a man is labeled as gay, he wholeheartedly embraces the gay lifestyle ala The Fab Five. I don't mean to say that gayness can only be comparable with The Fab Five, as there are probably gay men who live their lives simply and quietly. But where is the line drawn when a man in a heterosexual relationship has sex with another man?

The ancient Greeks have had their share of both homosexual and heterosexual relationships. And while there are many definitions of the word pederasty, I will play it safe and say that it involved an older Greek male and a younger male of the same aristocratic background, a relationship that had both physical and emotional elements. So unless you can't read between the lines, they engaged in sex as well. But did that make them gay?

Arguments are welcome.


Blogger vixen said...

I have best of both world when it comes to homosexuality. gays, lesbian and straight, they are my friends. One of the advantages of being friends with such is that they open my eyes and I begin to understand the dimension that they are living in. But this one always leave a square question that goes on and on into my brain regarding straight men's sexual preference once they slept with gays.

I asked my 2 gay friends about the dl thingie and explained it to me. I was shocked that straight men really do have this capacity to sleep with their same sex. only that, they are very discreet about it. and most of the time fantasize. but that all not necessarily mean that they are gay. It could be curiosity or what not. It's really hard to define but that's one of the fact and is already happening.

1:36 PM  

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