Welcome Home, Lil Nas X!

Lil Nas X surprised the world by coming out on the last day of Pride Month, and to that, I say “hell yeah!” 

Being completely transparent with all of you, readers, I had no idea who Lil Nas X was until about the second week of June. I’m not one to turn on the radio, EVER, so I tend to miss the Top 40 trends unless they’re being discussed on one of the many podcasts I enjoy. 

Old Town Road began to haunt my earbuds and speakers after I stumbled across a clip on my Instagram feed; probably some trade twerking to the song, I’m sure. From that moment on I’ve been listening to the track on repeat and have added it to my overall music rotation. Also – I finally got a chance to sit with his latest project, 7, and have been digging it more and more with each listen. 

Here are the tweets Nas X shared:

nasx tweet 1

nasx tweet 2

(X highlights Pride colors on the cover of his EP, 7.)

 

I connect with his first tweet so deeply. I vividly remember the night I decided to come out to my closest friends and family. I was away at my first semester of college in Indiana and they were four hours behind in Alaska; MySpace was the main social girl back then, Facebook was still blooming, so I wasn’t creating any epic posts back in 2005. 

The email I sent to my inner circle had a similar tone as Lil Nax X’s tweet: “Hey, this is me. We can be cool, or y’all can have a nice life without me.” I won’t get too much into comparing my coming out to Lil Nas X’s because this is his moment; and what a moment it is! You’ll hear more about my coming out story on a future episode of my podcast, Thanks for Coming

Nax X also encouraged us all to listen to the lyrics of the track, C7osure (You Like) closely:

“True say

I want and I need

To let go

Use my time to be free

It’s like it’s always what you like

It’s always what you like

Why it’s always what you like?

It’s always what you like, huh

Ain’t no more actin’, man that forecast say I should just let me grow

No more red light for me, baby, only green, I gotta go

Pack my past up in the back, oh, let my future take a hold

This is what I gotta do, can’t be regretting when I’m old

Brand new places I’ll choose and I’ll go, I know

Embracing this news I behold unfolding

I know, I know, I know it don’t feel like it’s time

But I look back at this moment, I’ll see that I’m fine

I know, I know, I know it don’t feel like it’s time

I set boundaries for myself, it’s time to cross the line

True say

I want and I need

To let go

Use my time to be free

It’s like it’s always what you like

It’s always what you like

Why it’s always what you like?

It’s always what you like, huh

Ain’t no more actin’, man that forecast say I should just let me grow

No more red light for me, baby, only green, I gotta go

Pack my past up in the back, oh, let my future take a hold

This is what I gotta do, can’t be regretting when I’m old”

Source: LyricFind

In the end, Lil Nas X was ready to live his truth, out and proud. Not only is he making waves on the country charts – after all that controversy and ignorance he faced – as a black man, but now he’s facing the hip-hop/rap part of the industry. We’ve seen queer artists break the mold in other areas of music, but hip-hop and rap historically have been tougher audiences for queer performers to capture. While toxic masculinity is definitely a thing, and we won’t dive into that today, there has been an outpouring of support and love shown by peers of X online. This makes me very happy.

One last note for all you readers as more comes out about Lil Nas X, queerness in hip-hop/rap, sexuality and representation:

Continue to love and support the artists and music you love. If somehow you’re reading this blog and don’t fully support LGBTQIA+ rights, I charge you to be open and move in a more positive direction. Now that the rapper has come out as gay doesn’t make the song any less of a hit, or him any less of a human being. 

Some of you have children, and I KNOW the kids absolutely go crazy for Old Town Road. Don’t let your ignorance steal that joy from your kids or yourselves! Let the damned song play, keep YOUR mind out of the gutter, and don’t form narratives that aren’t present because you may view the artist a little differently. 

Allies! Continue to share the love with Lil Nas X, support his art, and help people understand how big a deal this is. We are in a time where discussion on topics of race, inclusion, and equal human rights is of the utmost importance – especially for queer people of color. The work will never be done, so let’s continue to lift Nas X up on this new adventure. 

Thanks for stopping by everyone! I’m going to listen to “7” again 🙂

More on the Country removing “Old Town Road” from the Billboard charts.

 

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Cruised

The shower area of the gym is steamy, warm, and a most welcome feeling with the chill of winter’s approach outside. I towel off in the shower stall so I don’t track a pool of water into my private changing area, before I notice the tanned, dusty-haired, blonde that had been making eyes at me across cardio equipment. He’s an attractive guy – beefy, with body hair in all right places, and an ass that looks like it could feed a small family – but I tend to lean more towards dark-haired men, and let’s not forget that I’m off the market.

Our shower and changing rooms were right next to each other, and there are only three showers so the space between the two is small. Removing his towel so only his front was covered, he offers carnal grin. “Good morning” he says, still holding the towel with only a couple fingers just under his navel; revealing a wet torso and thighs. “Good morning. Did you have a good workout?” I know exactly what he’s up to, so I slip into my changing room and calmly close the half door.

Making sure the door doesn’t slam, I leave him alone and exposed in the small area between shower and changing room. I begin to dry off as he answers my question, and the small talk continues the entirety of my getting dressed. Fully dressed I make my way out of the changing stall. “See you tomorrow” he flirts with another grin. “Later! Have a good day.”

My inner Beyonce tends to surface after all of my workouts – various songs of hers play in my head (complete with choreography) when I notice changes in my body as I’ve already lost 100 lbs – making me feel strong, awake, and confident going into the work day. The influence of Scorpio season and the fact that I had just been cruised at the gym had my inner Queen Bey slaying the stage; dropping it like it was hot all the way to the car. It wasn’t even 7AM yet! I can’t wait to tell S what happened.

Pride Started With A Riot.

Pride is a time of joy, celebration, and being unapologetic in how you exist in today’s world. While Pride events take place all year round, let us not forget how we came to be as out and proud queer individuals who can – for the most part – celebrate in our fiercest heels, tightest tanks, and deliciously worn leather during the entire month of June. Pride is a time of remembrance and reflection as much as it is a party.

“Pride started with a riot.” This quote has been haunting me on Instagram and Twitter. Okay, fine. It’s probably just the internet doing what it does best and marketing to its target audience, but I feel a way about it. I’m now 32 years old and have had plenty of time to reflect on my journey as a gay, black man as I exist in the queer community. I think about the day I figured out I was gay. I reflect on all my relationships and how they’ve matured or stayed in my past as I’ve grown into my queerness. I think about how I was in my early twenties when it came to navigating new queer relationships. I think about what my interracial, gay marriage means to me and the message we want to send as a couple to our communities.

Every year I look out and around at the LGBTQIA+ community members and think if they’ve taken a shot or twerked in the name of any epic queer leaders. People like Marsha P. Johnson,  Sylvia Rivera, Harvey Milk, Alexya Salvador, Laverne Cox, or those who were peacefully enjoying themselves at the Stonewall Inn when the riots broke out in Summer of 1969.

My intention is not to make a blanket statement and imply that we as a community don’t take moments to remember these powerful individuals. I’m just curious if we know our history and reflect on them in our Pride celebrations. As mentioned above: Pride is a time of remembrance and reflection as much as it is a party.

With all of this in mind, I want to encourage all members of the LGBTQIA+ to continue educating family, friends, and allies.

I’m particularly triggered when people accuse myself or others of throwing our sexuality in their faces. “What do you mean throwing my sexuality in your face? By sharing my experience and by existing?” I usually find myself mildly entertained and suppressing the urge to raise an eyebrow or two when I get comments on the blog as they relate to fragile male egos or ignorance in general.  Please remember to be safe and respectful of everyone’s boundaries on topics of queer culture and what Pride means, but don’t ever let anyone diminish your existence. Internet trolls are going to troll, but give those who may require some time a chance at understanding. We get to choose our circles and family, you know?

I’ll leave you with some items to reflect on as our respective Pride celebrations approach:

  • Our trans brothers and sisters need our love, protection and support. ESPECIALLY TRANS WOMEN OF COLOR. In 2019 already, there have been six fatal attacks on trans women of color.Say their names:  Dana Martin (31), Jazzaline Ware, Ashanti Carmon (27), Claire Legato (21), Muhlaysia Booker (23), Michele “Tamika” Washington (40), and now only hours ago, Chynal Lindsey (26).
  • Racism and a lack of body positivity exists within the queer community still. “No fats, no fems, no Asians… White only, please… BBC (big black c**k) this way!” is what you will find on plenty Grindr profiles. Don’t be one of those queens online that fetishize myself or other based on who they are as people; only wanting them for that. We aren’t objects. We are human beings and most of us have been battling identity issues our entire lives. Do better and call your “friends” out politely when you catch them slipping.
  • Respect the pronoun. Please try to use peoples’ preferred pronouns. We are past the excuse of “It’s too hard to change now after all these years!” Try. Be a decent human being and have some manners.

Stand firm in who you are. What does Pride mean to you and what has your journey on the rainbow road been like? Pride is supposed to be fun, so have your fun, queens! Just remember to take time to reflect, check in, and support the community you love and are very much a part of.

J,

The Little Things Interlude

It’s the little things.

Like watching him get ready and realizing

How handsome he is right before a night on the town.

Damn.

Can’t we just stay home?

He never wants to skip anything productive with me.

That says more about me than it does him, ha.

But, come on…

Who is this monster?

Crispy button-up shirt and fitted jeans,

Appropriate accessories and casual Vans.

I did that.

And don’t forget the coffee.

(A queen’s gotta survive the night and keep the Zs away.)

Homie didn’t drink coffee OR eat spicy food before me.

(Enter dramatic sigh here)

It’s the little things.

But seriously…

Netflix and chill?

 

Pulse Reactions 

It’s just after midnight and I find myself unable to sleep. All the faces of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting haunt my thoughts and bring light to every dark corner in my mind this hour. So much life stolen. So much life wasted. So many lights dimmed only to become a flicker in my mind… When it’s already too late. Maybe these are just random thoughts and a suppressed guilt for not really being active in the LGBT community as I once was. Is living enough? Living by example of what my gay harmony in the United States of America is? I’m not positive, but I’m not positive about most things when a tragedy of this magnitude strikes. What’s one to think? What else is there to feel besides an extremely heavy sadness? How do we come back from this? These are just my raw and unfiltered thoughts and feelings. The faces of the victims are faces that I will remember. At least for a long, solemn while.

A brief note:

I wrote the reaction above using an app called Flowstate. Flowstate allows you to write for five, fifteen, or thirty minutes. In the case of this midnight reaction, I selected five minutes as my first Flowstate piece of writing. What makes this app so special? Well, if you stop typing for more than five seconds? Everything you’ve typed so far will disappear. No editing or saving until you’ve continuously typed for the selected amount of time. This forces the user to really dig deep and come across as honest and authentic as possible. I plan on using this app to stop over-editing and to write more on this topic.

My Black Thoughts

I’ve always said that I’m bad about following the news, and keeping track of things that are going on around the world and in my country. “Twitter is where I get my news!” is what I usually say when people ask me if I’d seen some story on the eleven-o-clock news the night before. I’ve never been one to sit down and watch the news on television, read a newspaper, or actively search for developments in current events, but here recently, I’m having a hard time NOT checking the news. The list of unspeakable treatment of Black Americans is growing at an alarming rate, and the deaths of Black Americans – wrongfully killed – was a large list to begin with.  As a black man I have to follow these stories. I have to keep track of stories like this for my own safety, to educate myself further on the existence of racism in America, and to gain strength for my people.

I was extremely saddened to learn about the event that took place in South Carolina, where nine black church attendees lost their lives after a young white male sat in their prayer meeting for an hour before opening fire on the peaceful group of people.  I cried reading this story in my cubicle at work, because, what did these people do to deserve this? Sadly, this is a question Black Americans have had to ask ourselves a lot recently when following news stories to learn of more black deaths in our country. Before the South Carolina tragedy, we lost the lives of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and a more black lives that didn’t make the news. All of these innocent black men lost their lives due to pure ignorance, and nothing else. In the Walter Scott’s footage – and thank goodness for mobile recording technology because now police can be held accountable for wrongful treatment of any individual they handle – we saw the white cop try to create a false crime scene; tossing a weapon near Scott’s already dead, and unstirring body.  What gives?! I don’t not know.

The people in Ferguson and Baltimore lead peaceful protests and candlelight vigils after the loss of their community members, and unfortunately some protest activities turned into violence and riots. Violence is never the answer and Deray Mckesson framed the rioting in Baltimore the best in an on-air talk with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Blitzer, excuse me, CNN – because Blitzer was just their sacrificial lamb when it came to talking to the “angry black people” in Baltimore – seemed to be more worried about Baltimore property damage than the wrongful death of Gray. Blitzer kept pushing for Mckesson to say the violence wasn’t necessary, and in response Mckesson stated “There should be peaceful protests, but I don’t have to condone it to understand it, right? The pain that people feel is real.”

A good, white friend of mine – and it’s sad I need to even tell you his race, but in the hopes of promoting good interracial relations, there you go – asked me if the strides the gay community have made in recent years can be linked to the stand the black community is taking in the face of all the recent negativity and deaths. This is was interesting to me. I’m black, gay, and from Alaska. I was always aware of race issues when I was growing up, but I never really faced any racism until I moved to Indiana. There have only been a couple non-violent instances when it comes to my experience with racism, and I am definitely more aware than I ever was when I lived in Alaska. When I think about there being a link between the success the gay community has seen in their fight for equality, and the black community’s current fight, I think there are similarities and differences.

There were major strides made in the original civil rights movement between the years of 1954 and 1968. Things were made fair(ish), everyone could move on with their lives, everyone could be somewhat comfortable; and I use that term loosely. The gay community was different in the sense that most people in this community remained in the closet and watched silently as the AIDS crisis played out across the nation. Now, don’t take that the wrong way. There were a good number of people who were out, proud, and fought for equal rights for the gay community, however, there were many who were afraid to join the fight, and for good reasons. The gay movement’s fight was slow, steady, and has finally reached a point where people can have open conversations regarding gay-straight relations across many platforms and topics.  We, as a nation, are JUST now attempting to have an open – and ongoing – dialogue on the topic of black and white relations; any color and white relations, really.  Show’s like ABC’s Black-ish do an incredible job illustrating everyday situations between black, white, and other races in today’s society.

It’s extremely easy to be ignorant and afraid of the unfamiliar. Being gay has always been a huge stigma in the traditional Black American family, and I know this because it took my own father eight years to say, out loud, that he had a problem with me being gay. My dad met my husband last summer when we visited Alaska, and things went really well, and quite honestly, it shocked the hell out of me. I have an uncle who is gay, and I’m still not one-hundred percent sure that side of the family has dealt with it openly. When I think back on S meeting my dad, I have to wonder if Black Americans can draw some inspiration from the gay community, and start sparking smart, honest, and real conversations with people of all colors.

Equality is a work in progress, and I feel that it’s something that will always be under construction, but it is with communication that we, Black Americans, can invite others into our world, and grow together.  The presence of video technology, the internet, and the ability to share what’s going on in any given area of the country – sharing events like the McKinney pool party incident – should be used as tools for learning for those who respond inappropriately to a situation. The journey through race relations has never been easy, and won’t get any easier, but the fact that people are talking about these problems is a great start. Not all black people hate white people. Not all black people hate gay people. Not all (insert community, race, gender, etc) hate (insert community, race, gender, etc). So what now? Let’s give this an honest try, and fix this.

Bonus Material: Cake Update

So the The Last Slice of our wedding cake actually tasted pretty damned good after spending a year in the shadows of our freezer. S didn’t actually have any of it, and I absolutely demolished it after I had a hearty amount of champagne in my system. Maybe he would have had some if I asked again – I think you all are learning that I’m a little impatient – but my drunken-not-wanting-to-cook-anything self said “quit picking at this cake and just finish it. ” The gluten-free, red velvet materpiece was still so soft, moist, and melted in my mouth. I could feel a most devious look forming on my face as I took the last bite, and memories from the day it was given to us played in my memory. I’m not even sure S was looking to eat any of that last slice of cake. It’s been almost a month, and he hasn’t said anything about the thawed dessert’s absence. Oh well! It was delicious.