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Until recently there has been a lack of discourse regarding the mental health of individuals who simultaneously identify as being part of the queer community and the communities of ethnic minorities. When you then focus the scope to specifically gay black men, the information available becomes even more scarce. Information regarding queer people and mental health comes from a lens of whiteness, and information regarding black men and mental health comes from a lens of heteronormativity. I want to examine the relationship this demographic has with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders even though sources are limited. Dr. Beverly Greene in her study of queer ethnic minorities and mental health stated that care needs to be taken in how to determine how one’s race intersects with their queerness to inform the state of their mental health. Care needs to be taken in how the lenses of the demographic’s privileged antipodes do not skew the perceptions of those identities. Something that is integral to this examination was the understanding of  discrimination against them and what coping mechanisms are being used by ethnic minorities. Another was the cultural impact of relative constructs and policing of gender norms within each culture in question (Green 243-244).Gregory M. Herek and John P. Capitanio wanted to gauge the black heterosexual response to gay men and lesbians. One of their hypotheses was that black heterosexuals dissociating gayness from blackness can serve as a distancing method which in turn could lead to a lack of empathy toward queer individuals by labeling it as a “white thing” and that someone who is black could not be queer. This could possibly lead to higher levels of negative perspective  toward queer people within their own community. Another hypothesis was that heterosexual black men, in correlation to heterosexual black women, would be more likely to have a more negative response to queer men than queer women (Herek and Capitanio, 96-97).  Herek and Capitanio started with a sample of black americans that were chosen by telephone numbers acquired through Survey Sampling, Inc.. They gathered phone numbers from telephone directories, in some states these numbers were cross referenced with motor vehicle registration data. The approach did not include black americans who live in neighborhoods with less than 30% black households and individuals living in  rural areas. Another criteria one had to fit to be a viable subject of study was that they had to be a “Black, English- speaking household resident at least 18 years of age.” The only telephone numbers from the starting pool of 1,900 numbers that came from residential households were 80.2%. Then when filtering out non-Black households only 794 were eligible candidate homes. Then from that sample only 607 of those homes were interviewed. The interviews were to observe the reaction black residents of California had to AIDS. “The Wave 1 response rate for the Black sample was 67.4%. At Wave 2, reinterviews were completed with 420 (69.2%) of the original respondents.” The only significant difference between the second wave and the first was by income and status of employment (97).  The participants of  Black heterosexuals were 38% men and 62% women with a mean age of 48.2 years, median level of education being the completion of high school curriculum, and a median income between $20,000 and $30,000. What was shown was a negative perception of lesbians and gay men. A little over two thirds of the population believed that sex between two men or two women is wrong, and  a little over half expressed “disgust” at male homosexuals and lesbians. Less than one out of four respondents believed that homosexuality is natural.  66.1% of respondents did not usually connect black men with just the very word gay.  However there was no actual significant difference between men and women in their perceptions of homosexualities; though that the results do suggest that black heterosexual men had more negative perceptions toward gay men than lesbians. The only significant gender difference was that the women were more likely than the men to believe that male homosexuality is natural (99-101).This could be due to gender constructs that are specific to the black community, hypersexual stereotypes that are placed upon black individuals by those outside of this demographic, and the importance placed on and the perpetuation of hyper-masculine ideals toward black men within the community. Strayhorn and Tillman-Kelly surveyed black men in college and it was reported that to be considered a “real black man” one must “(a) have sex with multiple female partners,(b) desire success, power, and competition, and (c) project confidenceeven if they’re not” (Strayhorn and Tillman-Kelly, 88). In analyzing another study done they saw the way in which black men in educational settings negotiate and express their masculine performance. Main displays are through perpetuating and performing the aforementioned hypersexual stereotyped placed on them, disrupting the inherent flow of control and power within the classroom, and participation in violence such as fighting (89). If the success of existing as a black man in this world is so reliant on their being and performing heteronormative heterosexuality, where does that leave gay black men to go?Strayhorn and Tillman-Kelly then surveyed 29 black men who identified on the queer spectrum who were currently enrolled in six different  four-year Predominately White Institutions (PWIs). All schools included have at least one Queer student organization and a Queer student resource center on campus, so all participants were purposefully selected with the help of presidents of the Queer student groups on each campus to pull a batch of initial participants. “To participate in this study, participants had to: (a) be enrolled at one of the six universities included in the sample, (b) identify as African American or Black, and (c) self-identify as “gay,” “homosexual,” “same-gender loving,” or a synonymous term.” Participants who were comfortable were invited for one-on-one in-depth interviews with a research team member. They all agreed to be interviewed, then more participants were found because initial participants were asked to spread the word of the study to other potential participants at their university that they knew (92-93). The results yielded that the type of abuse that these men experienced due to their gayness varied, but they all experienced some form of abuse. One thing every single one of them experienced thoughts of suicide due to aforementioned forms of abuse.  In a separate study done by Strayhorn of black gay men in college”almost all participants noted that it was difficult to feel a sense of belonging to the institution at which they were enrolled.” They had a sense of “betweenness” and did not feel strong ties to their gay or same-race peers. (Strayhorn, 111-112). Surely the queer community is their only viable option to fit in, feel safe, and feel wanted. That is not necessarily the case. Now to discuss the black experience in a very white-queer world. Black gay men report discrimination due to their race within the, predominantly white, gay community; namely “in gay bars/clubs, parties, and even online dating sites” (Strayhorn, 109). White men hold privilege and a sense of superiority expect to be served in their sexual encounters with black men. When in the dominant, or “Top”, position, white men can dissociate from their partner  and view them as a subservient object to conquer because of their blackness. On the flip side, when in the submissive, or “Bottom”, position, white men can potentially objectify their black partners and see them as a dominant thug “BBC” (Big Black Cock); this is a term that is used as a popular category of interracial porn when the “bottom” is white and typically boyish and the “top” is an aggressive and “ghetto” black man with a penis that is vastly above average size. Both perceptions can be used as a tool to rebel against norms and expectations of white-normativity within the gay community; the main “norm” being that everyone should be vying to align with “whiteness” as much as possible, through one’s choice in partner being a main tool to do so. Black men report that they have had sexual relations with white men who don’t want to interact with them after sex, and go out of their way to make sure that their white friends do not find out that they are having sex with black men (Teunis, 273).Having a doubly isolated existence leaves room for one’s mental health to suffer. I think the mental well-being of people with multiple intersecting minority identities, especially black gay men, is worth further study. There are incatricies in the intersectional oppression that are specific to different groups, and it can lead to higher cases of mental and physical health issues.  

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