Sunday, July 24, 2005

High Risk Behavior

A man who is a member of a reader/writer internet group to which I subscribe has taken the position that, thanks to revelations in JL King's book, ON THE DOWNLOW, African American women believe that black men in this country swing both ways. There may be a few who do believe this, because one of my acquaintances said to me (in the presence of two other women), "All of them do it; your husband, too." This shocked me, because she has never seen my husband, never spoken with him and doesn't even know his first name. Moreover, I have never told her anything about him. I chose to ignore the remark. However, that is not the issue here. I would like to know the views of as many women as possible as to what they believe is the prevalence of this two-timing habit that puts women's lives at serious risk of HIV/AIDS, whether they have had any experience with men who cheat in this way and how it affected them, if at all. Gwynne

14 Comments:

At 9:49 PM, Blogger Shelia said...

I hate when people make assumptions like that...but although there are men out there that are on the DL, fortunately I haven't had a personal experience with one. Oh but there was this one time I liked this guy I worked with but was disappointed to find out through the grapevine that him and I were looking for the same type of man.

 
At 10:13 PM, Blogger Yolanda's Lair said...

Assumption or no assumption, we would like to believe that it is not possible, but truth be told it is. I don't doubt that your husband is not that way, however, would you know it if he was. I too, after first refusing to read it, to hesitating to read it to finally reading JL's book. I thank him for reading it. Because I, like so many women, was very niave to this type of behavior. Yes it has put a damper on monogomous relationships and potential monogomous relationships, but hey, I want to know. I want to know everything that I NEED to know in order to protect myself. Now Shelia knows I love her because she is my big sister, but how do you REALLY know that you haven't dealt with anyone like that? or had the experience? In the book it says that these men would not pubicly admit that they are this way and are known for gay bashing and will put a hurting on anyone who accused him of being this way. As much as we'd like to think that we WOULD know, at some point you have to sit down and think to yourself "Do I REALLY know?" I bet the woman who now has HIV/AIDS thought she knew, but she didn't and now it's too late. Just my two cents.

 
At 7:10 AM, Blogger Linda said...

Its ridiculous to assume all men are now on the downlow because of a book.

 
At 9:22 AM, Blogger Yasmin said...

Linda, I agree with you. Additionally, down low men have been around since the beginning of time and have always been present in the African American community. While I encourage all women to be careful, at the same time I don't believe that we should buy into the hype that MOST men are gay because most of them are NOT.

 
At 10:04 AM, Blogger Gwynne Forster said...

Sharon, Linda and Yasmin, I couldn't agree with you more. It's like being afraid every time you get near a trash basket for fear someone has left a bomb in it. If women allow themselves to become suspicious of every man, that will be foolish and self-defeating. It is my opinion that only people who look for and expect the worse, and who are unwilling to do their own thinking, are willing to accept that all people in ANY group are the same or behave the same. I'ts what we as African Americans have fought in this country for centuries. Gwynne

 
At 10:04 AM, Blogger Gwynne Forster said...

Sharon, Linda and Yasmin, I couldn't agree with you more. It's like being afraid every time you get near a trash basket for fear someone has left a bomb in it. If women allow themselves to become suspicious of every man, that will be foolish and self-defeating. It is my opinion that only people who look for and expect the worse, and who are unwilling to do their own thinking, are willing to accept that all people in ANY group are the same or behave the same. I'ts what we as African Americans have fought in this country for centuries. Gwynne

 
At 1:13 PM, Blogger Pittershawn said...

I'm not much for blanket statements the minute an issue with men arises. The bottom line is this; every human being has the potential to be bisexual. And every human being has the option to exercise this potential whenever they wish. That means you, me, a husband, etc.

Life is too short to sit around wondering if my man parts from the rough. Of course, we should exercise a certain level of caution, but not to the point of paranoia. Because you better believe that no matter what you do or say, if someone wants to fool you, they will. So belaboring over what they could or could not be doing is fruitless.

I believe in trusting until given a reason not to. And the minute we stop doing that, we doom all our relationships to failure. And, if we falsely believe that we can control every aspect of our environment and relationships, we will forever be disappointed to discover that we simply cannot. We must continue to do what we do, keep our eyes and ears open, and hope we come out on the other side healthy and wise.

The best thing to do to avoid certain risks is to surround your life with people of like minds. Although it does not eliminate certain possibilities, it lowers the likelihood of encountering people with lifestyles that are not in accordance with your own.

I don’t watch soap operas. But if I did, I would much rather be watching them than creating a life that becomes one. After all, we only have One Life To Live.

 
At 1:32 PM, Blogger Dee Savoy said...

Personally, I don't believe that being on the DL is a widespread phenomenon, but this is really the first time the issue has come into the open since we black folks don't tend to talk about it. Even so, here's what I don't understand--why aren't these men putting on a condom? You have got to be out of your mind to have unprotected sex these days. But I guess these guys are already deluding themselves that they are not gay, so it's not to far a stretch to delude themselves that they won't catch a disease. Sad.

 
At 5:25 PM, Blogger Elohimus Maximus said...

ill tell you whats high risk...waiting until you die to find the true church...but its ok...I found you first...
The Church of Jesus Christ of Even More Latter Day Saints

 
At 9:12 PM, Blogger Rowena said...

I, like Linda, do not believe that all Black men are on the down low just because a book says so!

I was, however, quite amazed alarmed to find how much of this down low is going on--I have many male friends, and this book gave some of them the freedom to honestly say that they had been swinging on both sides of the fence for some time! It's not a new trend, but in light of the fact that the African American woman is now the highest statistic of new HIV/AIDS cases, I hope that men who are considering down low behavior will think of the risks they are posing to their wives/significant others!! I personally could not stay with a man who was on the down low.

 
At 7:22 PM, Blogger Denise said...

Well I read the book and I must say that it did make me more aware of men on the DL. I won't say that every man is like that because there are some that aren't. But there are others out there that are still pretending that they are one thing when behind closed doors it's a horse of a different color. I was exposed to DL men at a young age because I had a gay guy friend and he thought it was time that he educate me on the men in my surroundings. I don't think we should judge all men but I do think that we should open our eyes to what's going on around us. Not every man you meet is gay, bi-sexual, DL or whatever term you use to describe them. My problem with DL and bi-sexual brothers is that it's such a big secret for them to acknowledge who they are and because they lie about their true sexual identity, they are taking our options and lives from us. I lost a girlfriend to a down low brother and he's forever sorry but that will not bring her back to us or her kids. If men feel that this book put them on front street or made it harder for brothers to approach us or that we ask too many questions...well good. It's time we took charge of our lives and be responsible. After all, it's our lives that they're trying to play games with. And for the brother that aren't DL, don't worry about it. As long as there are no skeltons in the closet, no bones will fall out. Just my two cents.

 
At 3:15 PM, Blogger kosIam said...

I had to add my 2cents after reading your initial post... not all men in this country swing both ways. I'm a single black man and I never, not once ever had any desires to be with another man. Whoever made that statement has distorted a one man story to alarm all women across America. In my opinion... women should always take precaution by protecting themself and always asking questions when they get involved with anyone. And for those who are married, you can't tell me a woman doesn't know when her man is cheating whether it's with another woman or a man. Follow your gut instinct and ask questions (communicate) but don't assume that all men are one way because it was said by someone who is ignorant of the truth.

 
At 8:57 PM, Blogger rozlips said...

I don't believe that all men are on the DL, but having lost two of my good girlfriends to this phenomenon and having a third escape just by the skin of her teeth, I must say, its fairly prevalent.

Girlfriend #1 had been married 20+ years and had adult children when she discovered she was HIV+. She had applied for some insurance and had to have the test. She discovered that her husband had been sleeping with men he picked up in gay bars for years, and didn't tell her. She committed suicide.

Girlfriend #2 married her high school sweetheart right out of college. He was the only man she'd ever been with. Discovered she was HIV+ when they began trying to have children. She has lived with the disease for 10 years.

Girlfriend #3 dated her college sweetheart for six years, and only discovered his status when he got sick with the disease. They had always used condoms for birth control and she tested negative.

Having watched so many of my gay male friends die in the 1980s, I'm horrified to find myself losing my girlfriends now. I have no idea how widespread and prevalent it is, but I know the deception is killing people.

 
At 11:05 PM, Blogger Isabella said...

I know it's unfair to stereotype, but I'm also horrified by the number of straight, monogamous black women in this country who are DYING from AIDS - a disease they contracted from their BLACK significant others. I'm sorry that this type of discussion offends some black men, but I'm more concerned about saving my life than protecting their feelings. HIV can affect any race of people, but don't you find it a tad bit odd that blacks make up only 12% of the population yet black women account for nearly 75% of new HIV cases diagnosed each year? They're not getting it from eating apples; it's coming from black men! Because the pool of blacks in this country is small, once a deadly disease like HIV/AIDS takes hold within our community, that disease is going to spread like wildfire, and that is exactly what's happening now. Yes, "down low men" have been around for centuries, but in today's world, that type of behavior is killing us.

I'm married to a white man, and if that relationship ever ends, there is no way in Hell that I will ever have sex with a black man again - period. Call it ignorance, call it fear, call it whatever you want, but I'm not risking my life in the name of political correctness. If the rest of you want to risk yours, be my guest. Just don't go crying on the Oprah show after you've tested positive - because you should've known better.

When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences; and choosing a black man in today's society is like playing Russian Roulette with your life. Don't risk it.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home