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Black AND Gay: Life of the Party!

Do you know what’s fun? Being the only gay person at a party. Do you know what’s really fun? Being the only black AND gay person at a party.

“Come out with us, you’re such a good dancer!” (Truth, but now there’s an expectation that if your moves aren’t up to snuff then you’ve made your friend look like a damn liar.)

“You should meet my black gay friend, he’s so funny.” (Once again, this is true, but now there is the pressure to “perform” for an audience. Also, please stop referring to me as your black gay friend.)

“I can’t believe you’re not coming out – lame.” (Sincerest apologies, but I wasn’t really feeling the black/gay minstrel show tonight. You can find old clips of In Living Color on YouTube, though.)

Sometimes, (more and more often) there is a sense of dread that comes with meeting new people, especially straight white people, because of the anxiety that comes with knowing one is going to have to put on a show less they be considered a disappointment. Was the story you just told witty enough to do you credit but relatable enough as not to scare off the white heterosexuals? Were those dance moves good enough that Beyonce would be proud but not so advanced that Becky still feels like she could do them?

Maybe the performance anxiety is just on us (or just me), but when your straight friend looks at you in horror when you tell her “I’m just not really in the mood to dance tonight. I’m just going to sip on my overpriced cocktail,” then chances are these feelings aren’t all completely in your head.

When you’re gay, everyone expects you to have the latest info about…well, just about every damn thing.

When you’re black, everyone expects you to know every dance move and be able to execute each one flawlessly. Oh, and you need to be able to perform them at any minute because straight white people just love “The Cupid Shuffle.”

Straight white people, if you could maybe just expect less entertainment every single time that your gay friend, or your black friend, or your *GASP* black and gay friend hangs out with you, that would be nice. Most of us have no problem spilling tea or dancing the night away to whichever diva is fashionable at the time (Whitney forever), but sometimes we just want to sit at home like you do and watch 30 Rock.

And by 30 Rock I really mean Living Single.

Written by Brian Matthews

I'm a 29-year-old English teacher living in a Maryland suburb outside of D.C. (and yes, the place has stunk since 45 got into office.) I like long walks on the beach...ok, that's a lie, I actually can’t stand the beach, but I do enjoy reading, dancing, writing, talking (a lot), drinking (box wine is my favorite), and just generally having a good time. Issues surrounding education, race, LGBT issues, and social justice are incredibly important to me, and I'm currently in the process of becoming an Episcopalian (after an unfortunate exposure to the conservative Baptist Church as a child). And I'm also obsessed with The Golden Girls (obviously).

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