Written By: Brandon Jamil
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We’ve all heard stories about down low men; gay men who hide in the closet due to circumstance, geographical location, religion, and family ties. As we develop our sense of self and sexuality—we hear about the drama these down low men bring. From wives, baby mama’s, children, church, and other obstacles that tend to get in the way; we tell ourselves that we won’t participate in any of it. But, as life would have it, our gay culture has plenty of closeted gay men. Sometimes due to the lack of options in our geographical area, we’re forced to accept what is available.
In secret we flirt with the idea of the closeted gay man. He’s masculine, he makes us feel safe and balanced. This type of man has a way with his words and can sing the panties off any woman if he has the inclination. Gradually—he gets in our head, and we’re gleeful. Why wouldn’t we be? I mean let’s be frank—he doesn’t have a huge gay friend following, he is most likely not heavily involved within the gay community, and he prefers his business to kept in secret. In-turn we conjure the false idea that the situation is workable and very low risk. Again, this is our own deceptive belief that leads to disappointment.
At first having someone that no one knows about can be fulfilling. Meaning we don’t have to share him with the world. We become content with him showing up at our house after 10:00p.m. Which leads to late night pillow talks, and deep emotional confessions, fears, and what we perceive as working towards our closeted man coming out of the closet.
We don’t add pressure to him, because he’s expressed his concerns and needing someone that will be patient and not give up on him. Around this time something interesting happens to us, we begin to catch up with our friends, family. Naturally we have the urge to share with them our latest love flame that is keeping us up at all hours of the night. But and this is a big BUT, we fear the disgrace and condemnation it’ll create within our friendships and family. This has more to do with how we feel about ourselves vs how others perceive us. We know deep inside we’ve betrayed ourselves.
I recall a time when I met a young man—that was closeted and allowed myself to be apart of his life. Things fell apart when I wanted to go out on dates and have him come out with some of my friends. But, I couldn’t have that with him. It was this very moment I knew I couldn’t love him in the way he needed me to.
To be honest, I felt guilty, and shameful, because I was rejecting someone that truly wasn’t a horrible person. I had my back against the wall, and I asked myself: Am I choosing my truth or am I choosing a life that doesn’t meet my needs?
After I answered this question, it was clear that I had no choice but to choose myself and not feel guilty about it.
Like most of us, I called up my JUDY (a good girl friend or gay best friend) I asked him was I insane for feeling this way. His response: “If you’re with someone that makes you feel empty or less than, and you’re not able to express your truth, leave it be.”
I think most of us have those moments where we believe we’ve found the perfect match, but we’ve only found someone that masks our own pain and loneliness. By the time I processed everything, I discovered that anyone who loves me, would never position themselves in my life to make me dim my own light and truth for their insecurities.
So, when dealing with situations as such, ask yourself: “Am I being authentic and true to my own heart.” Answer that question and there goes your answer. What helped me in this scenario was coming to the realization that he felt no shame for keeping me a secret. He didn’t care how me diming my light to enable his inability to love and accept his sexual identity without shame.
I am not suggesting that we should perpetuate hate and bash a gay man that is struggling with his sexual identity. BUT I am not suggesting that we fall in love with someone that we can’t ultimately trust. After a certain point in our life, we can’t operate in spaces that aren’t healthy for us and guess what? WE DON’T HAVE TO!