Over 850 black, white, Asian, South Asian, Arab, and mixed race gay men participated in a survey by the Fact Site where they shared their thoughts on race in the gay community.
The survey found that 80% of black men, 79% of Asian men, 75% of South Asian men, 64% of mixed race men, and 100% of Arab men have experienced some form of racism in the LGBTI community. Whether it be getting called racial slurs on dating apps or just feeling ignored by others in the community, the vast majority of gay men of color have seen these issues first hand.
63% of black and Asian men said racism is a bigger issue to them than homophobia.
‘I’m more conscious of my skin color than my sexuality,’ says Gerry, a 35-year old mixed race man from Glasgow, UK. ‘People comment more on my skin in a derogatory manner.’
‘Going to a gay pride event and hearing racist comments from gay men directed towards you makes you feel unwelcome in a community you want to be a part of,’ says Shabbis, a 31-year old South Asian man from Coventry, UK.
‘I’d rather be somewhere that’s homophobic than somewhere that is racist, because I can pretend I’m straight. I can’t pretend to be a different skin color or race. So racism is a bigger issue for me.’
‘Let’s not forget that racism isn’t just white versus others,’ states Ishan, a 35-year old from London. ‘I frequently hear Asians disliking Black guys or even each other. Often we stereotype ourselves.’
On Dating Apps
Many gay men of color have noticed the disturbing trend of casual racism on dating apps like Grindr. Numerous profiles on the app state racial preferences, such as ‘whites only,’ ‘no blacks,’ and even things like ‘no chocolate, rice, or spice.’
‘When I’ve had a profile photo that wasn’t too obvious whether I was white or Asian, I got people chatting with me until the moment they realised I was Asian, then suddenly they either went completely silent or I got told that I’m not their type,’ recalls 32-year old Matt from Bristol, UK.
‘I’ve been blocked on apps because I am South East Asian,’ says Ari, a 39-year old from London. ‘Or thought of as Muslim, even though I am not a Muslim. I have had abuse sent through messages, saying “go back home Paki” or a question asking if Allah is happy I am on here.’
For black men in particular, they are often stereotyped and fetishized based on penis size. 82% of black men who responded to the survey said they’ve personally felt objectified by white gay men.
‘White men will often come up to me and tell me that they like black cock, I’m their fantasy fuck, and they have a strong desire to have my big black cock inside them,’ says Andrew, a 48-year old from Manchester, UK. ‘This can be intimidating as they have no idea of the size of my cock. I feel like an object.’
‘It slightly annoys me as I always feel like my skin color is being fetishised,’ adds 23-year old David from London. ‘I get messages like “I’ve never had sex with a Black guy before” like I’m a rare collector’s item.’
‘Certain door staff can be particularly hostile towards people of color,’ says 29-year old Jimmy, who is South Asian. ‘This is not an opinion, it is a verifiable fact – I’ve seen it several times. I also went to Vauxhall once, and was told my “brown boyfriend” didn’t “fit the look’ of the club.”’
‘Poorly-trained door staff are part of the problem,” says author and activist Vernal Scott. ‘Door security needs training on race issues, just like the management and bar staff do.’
‘The gay community is big on encouraging non-gay establishments to get trained up on LGBTQ issues, but they should take a page out of their own book and submit themselves to race awareness training. If we fail to undertake such training, then future generations are going to be having this same conversation thirty and forty years from now.’
‘Racism isn’t just a word, it’s an experience,’ Vernal explains. ‘A white gay man cannot comprehend, or more importantly, feel the experience of being black and gay – and the “double minority” status and discrimination that come with it.’
‘I still live with the trauma of having dated Milo Yiannopoulos, who now spends his time being as demeaning towards black men as possible and calling it entertainment,’ Vernal states. ‘I can confirm that he is very different from the time we spent together. I fear that he’s just saying what a lot of white gay men think: black men are just walking cocks, not people. In my case, I’ve lived and learned. Because of guys like him, I’m increasingly drawn to just dating guys of my own race.’