Magazine Featured Dear white gay men... By Ian Howley, editor FS magazine @ianhowley QUICK LINK: HOW CAN WE STOP RACISM ON THE GAY SCENE? Last month we asked guys to fill in a short survey about racism. Over 400 white gay men responded. We asked for their honest thoughts on racism on the gay scene – whether they discriminate against other races, whether they have ever experienced racism themselves, and their general thoughts about preference vs. racism. Of course not all white gay men are racist. Many of the men in the survey were shocked and outraged by instances of racism they had observed on the scene. However there were also plenty of examples of casual racism in some of the responses from the white guys in our survey. And we were surprised by some examples of more overt racism. WARNING: some of what follows may be offensive to some, we do not condone it but felt we needed to present the responses honestly. We asked: Which ethnic group do white gay men find most sexually attractive? (1 = most attactive 7 = least attractive) 1 – White2 – Hispanic/Latino3 – Mixed race4 – Black5 – Arab6 – South Asian7 – Asian We asked: Many stereotypes exist about different ethnic groups. What are your thoughts on the following stereotypes? Black men have large cocks: 78% of white gay men in our survey believe this to be true.Asian men have smaller than average cocks: 75% believe this to be true. Latin men are crazy, wild and passionate: 70% of white gay men believe this to be true. Mixed race men are more likely to be accepted by white men: 67% believe this to be true. Black men are more active, strong and dominant in the bedroom: 60% of white gay men believe this to be true. Asian men are mostly submissive bottoms: 56% believe this to be true. Arab men aren’t gay if they’re top only: 35% thought this to be true. Latin men are mostly rent boys or in it for a passport: 10% of what gay men this is true. Are the stereotypes true? FS says: Does it matter if they are true or not? The worrying thing here is the amount of gay men who believe these common stereotypes. All stereotypes do is belittle our minds to think a certain way about others. If straight people were to believe every stereotype about gay men then we would all be lablled camp sex mad divas. But we are not and we know there is a lot more diversity to the gay community that what many straight people think. Believing stereotypes about Black and minority ethnic men prevents us from responding to each other as individuals. Open your mind a little and do your best to forget common stereotypes. We asked: Are there other stereotypes based around race or ethnicity that you are aware of? If so, what are they? Examples of racial stereotyping that our respondents had encountered included: “Irish men are alcoholics.” “Scots are aggressive. Irish people are stupid.” “Asian men seem to go for older Europeans.” “South Asian boys won’t suck. You’re still a good Muslim if you don’t suck and only top.” “All Latinos are bottoms!” “Asian guys only date white men for visa and/or money.” “Latin/Catholic men tend to be active as they have more issues with being gay/passive.” “Spanish and German men have big cocks. Irish men have tiny cocks.” “Black men are more promiscuous than other ethnic groups.” “Brazilians who cruise are all thieves.” “Indian gay men smell.” “Every Arab man I have been with is a top and refers to me as a wife... and I am not effeminate.” “I was told on a number of occasions by English guys, ‘You Irish guys are great in the sack but I wouldn’t have a relationship with you’.” “Pakistani men prefer transvestites/femmes.” We asked: Have you ever seen racism on the gay scene? Yes – 43%No – 31%Not sure: 26% If yes, please tell us what you saw. “A group of white guys verbally harassing a Black guy in a gay gym.” “My friends telling me Latino guys are filthy/or they are not attracted to Black/Asian guys.” “People referred to as ‘gaysian’, or ‘rice queens’. People stating they ‘only go for’ or ‘never go for’ Asian/Black/Brown/White people.” “I saw an Asian guy in a sauna being rejected by a white man very rudely, which spoiled the atmosphere.” “Constant rejection of certain races in dating apps. I dated a Black guy last year and some people reacted with shock and surprise, and there were constant subtle references to his penis!” “Using racist language: ‘paki’, ‘darkie’, ‘paddy’.” “In a bar, white friends served quicker than Black friends. Other punters in the bar pick arguments with Black friends over nothing. In clubs Black friends are asked if they’re dealers.” “White people making assumptions about Black men’s likely class background.” “Mainly on social media/dating apps. Sexual racism dressed up as preference.” “I see racism particularly on online apps – people who insist on “no Asians” or “whites only”. People say it is a ‘preference’ but I consider it racism.” “A South Asian man (Sikh, wearing a turban) turned away from the Green Carnation because it was a ‘private event’. It wasn’t, because I was there with my friends. I did complain to the manager.” “White drunk guys screaming ‘chinky boys’ and doing slitty eyes at a group of young quiet and scared Chinese gay guys.” “Racist language used in online profiles. I also knew someone who did porn who refused to work with non-white scene partners. He said, ‘it would be too degrading to be topped by a Black man.’” “Men calling those of Arab descent “pakis” also the word ‘nigger’ being used.” “I’ve seen people reject guys due to them being Black, white and South Asian.” “A friend saying he would never have sex with a Black man.” “My Black boyfriend constantly harassed/turned away by doormen; and all kinds of permutations of racism in the way men select prospective partners, friends and generally treat each other.” “People on the club scene using terms such as curry queen or dinge queen when talking about guys who have Black or Indian partners.” “Comments from other punters in bars: ‘I can’t accommodate a black cock as I’m afraid of splitting and shitting’.” “People making fun of Chinese guys in Circa bar.” “I’ve heard derogatory comments about ‘rice queens’. I’ve heard prejudiced comments about Black guys.” “White men in saunas slagging off Black men as ‘monkeys’.” “Black men ignored while waiting to be served at a gay bar, Racist remarks behind the backs of Black people.” We asked: Have you ever rejected anyone (sexually) because of their race? Yes – 21%No – 68%Not sure – 11% If yes, why? “Personally I don’t find Black men do it for me, just like skinny blokes don’t do it for me either.” “You can’t call rejecting somebody sexually, racist. People have preferences, in the same way people may prefer dark hair over blond hair. I do find I am more readily attracted to white people but I am also attracted to other ethnicities.” “I’m not happy with Jewish guys or Indian guys, they just don’t excite me. Or some feminine Asian men.” “I just don’t like having sex with Black guys.” “I do not find Black men attractive.” “He was very Black and it was too dark to make out any of his features.” “I tend to find Chinese guys least attractive of all races/ethnicities.” “Chinese guys because they look ugly, and smell. They have the manners of a pig. Black guys, again they look ugly to me, also very rude and a big chip on their shoulders.” “I don’t find them aesthetically pleasing to look at. I can actually feel physically sick at the sight of too much black flesh.” “Many years ago. I was young, it was a blind date. I freaked out. I had never even spoken to a South Asian man before and when he showed up I panicked.” “I was in a sauna. An Asian guy approached me and attempted to make out. My interest wasn’t completely there as he had an extremely small penis which was a turn off for me.” We asked: Have you ever experienced racism towards you by other races on the gay scene? Yes –18%No – 67%Not sure – 15% Comments: “Some Black guys saying they’re not into whites.” “Some ethnic groups seem to stay within their racial culture.” “Black guys in particular assume I’m stuck up due to my physique and white skin.” “Being assumed to be racist as I am white.” “I had an Asian boyfriend for a while and received racism on several occasions while out as a couple.” “I was ‘too white’.” “Going to Black gay clubs and getting nasty attitudes.” “I have been called a ‘rice queen’ and ‘rice bowl’ because I was dating an Asian guy.” “By other white gay men because I date gay men of a different race and background.” We asked: Do you believe it’s OK to publicly state ‘No Blacks, No Asians’ on a dating app? Yes – 23%No – 64%Not sure – 13% Comments: “If you rarely find those men attractive, then it makes sense to write that. Similar to people not often liking tall/short/fat/slim/muscled men.” “It saves their time if someone is not interested.” “I would not mind a Black man writing ‘No whites’ if he didn’t want any. It’s the same as other preferences.” “Fair enough if that’s your preference but there’s no need to say it. It’s insensitive.” “A) it’s revoltingly racist; B) I personally like strong features which you generally don’t get in some races but I’d never rule out a whole race as, funnily enough, people of the same ethnicity don’t all look the same!” “It’s terribly insensitive language and, to Black or Asian people, is reminiscent of the kind of language and discrimination their parents and grandparents had to put up with. If you don’t want to date ‘Blacks or Asians’, just ignore their messages or send them a courteous ‘no thanks’.” “People are perfectly entitled to be direct and make clear what they are/are not attracted to.” “God no. It’s really appalling. It’s the equivalent of telling someone to fuck off in a bar because they’re Asian or Black.” “It’s rude, discriminatory and does not allow for individuality – a particular preference is always likely to have exceptions to the rule and to exclude an entire ethinicity is narrow-minded, short-sighted and racist.” “It would be more appropriate to say something on the lines of: “in general I seem to prefer Caucasians to Black or Asian guys.” “If you’re not interested you are not interested, so why not?” We asked: Would you be offended if someone said ‘No white men’ on a dating app? Yes – 34%No – 51%Not sure – 13% If yes, why would you be offended? “I would feel like there is something wrong with me.” “Because they don’t know the person which is what matters.” “Clearly racist.” “For the exact same reason that I find ‘no Blacks, no Asians’ offensive.” “What a ridiculous question! Of course I would be offended, given that there is an immediate judgement made about me based on the colour of my skin.” “Because they’re ignorant.” “Every one is (or should be) equal.” “Because it’s racist. Fine to turn someone down on the basis of a picture but not to blanket refuse an entire race.” “It’s a generalisation and doesn’t reflect the person.” “Because it’s narrow minded. I would probably more feel pity for the person though.” “Because I’m white and I can’t change that. I’m still entitled to belong to the gay community and be accepted as a person who needs love and social interaction. Not denied this simply due to my skin colour or age or even how my photo looks.” “Because I’m more than the colour of my skin.” “Because I like to be treated as an individual.” “I actually think it’s rather a stupid mindset. More fool them if they are that blinkered/set in their ways.” “Dismisses me for my race not my intellect or good looks.” “It degrades me by making a pre-judgement. If I’m not someone’s physical type there are non racist ways of articulating that.” “Not acceptable in 2015.” Survey fact: 18% of white gay men who think it’s OK to publicly state ‘No blacks/No Asians’ would be offended if they saw ‘No White men’. We asked: Overall – please tell us your honest thoughts about racism on the gay scene. “I think there is little racism on the gay scene. Just because a person from one ethnic group does not fancy a guy from a different group does not make him a racist.” “Racism on the gay scene is as much present as anywhere else in society but at a personal/individual level the mixed couple is seen much more often and also accepted. Sexually speaking gays are more likely to be open about their attraction to other races.” “Racism is real on the gay scene and in gay porn, which I think partially drives it.” “I think there are a lot of judgemental and prejudice attitudes don the gay scene – possibly rooted in people’s own experiences of prejudice, and being internalised. If you don’t fit into a ‘mould’ which is accepted as ‘properly gay’ then you will notice judgements. As a (quite fat), white, non-dancing, tuba playing, (pint of) beer drinking, not-very-stereotypically-gay gay man, I certainly notice it! “It’s there, probably no more prevalent than outside of the scene but it’s more visible through apps like Grindr.” “Racism is unfair anywhere and it should not be tolerated. However, you cannot stretch this into the world of sex and dating. Refusing somebody a job on the grounds of their skin colour is illegal, and so it should be, but if people are now suggesting that you can’t refuse somebody a date or sex on the grounds of their skin colour, we are getting into very ridiculous territory.” “There is racism by privileged white gay men to other races, as I guess there also is in wider society.” “You can’t force anyone to fancy someone – but racism is wrong. Simple as.” “I’ve met many people who held racist beliefs because of personal experiences with individuals. It always surprises and shocks me that people feel capable of judging (and excluding) an entire race based on the behaviour of a few individuals.” “Sexual racism is endemic (called ‘sexual preference’), so too are sexual stereotypes. Being gay doesn’t stop us from having our own fair share of stupid.” “It remains present but thankfully significantly declining. It’s clear many Black/South Asians choose not to be on the scene.” “Gay people can be just as small minded as straight people. And often gay men are just as misogynistic.” “I think racism on the gay scene echoes the racism in society generally; the same stupidity and ignorance exists. I believe our offence is much worse than in general society though because we come from a group which has been margianlised and persecuted, and which is still hated/ridiculed, so we know what it feels like to be the outsider and should know better; we should evolve faster than general society when it comes to matters of discrimination.” “I think it is too easy to use short words like NO this COLOUR. It can be innocent and not so innocent. We need to look for other ways of saying things to better reflect our intentions.” “I think there is an element of having a ‘trophy’ boyfriend if your partner is BME. Otherwise the scene is largely tolerant.” “Stereotypes continue. People worry about what their friends will think if they date someone from another race.” “It exists and I think gay guys tend not to examine their own racial prejudices because they see themselves as oppressed and not oppressors. So when white gay guys have it hard (and they often do) they don’t think that there are guys from other ethnic and racial backgrounds who are dealing with homophobia AND racism. Gay guys (and I feel safe saying it’s mostly white guys) need to be aware that racism exists and not be stupid about it.” Is the gay scene racist? FS says: Of course there are racist men on the gay scene, just as there are probably racists in every walk of life and community (including Black and other minority ethnic communities). Some of the racism is overt, some of it is unintended or may not be considered racist by the individual expressing that view. Reading through the results of our survey tells us that there is a lot of confusion between preference and racism. No-one and we mean no-one is telling you that you have to have sex with someone you do not find attractive, but that doesn’t make it acceptable to publicly state that you find a whole race ‘unattractive’. That’s not preference… that’s racism! The 18% of white gay men who have no problem stating ‘No Black/No Asians’ but are offended when they see ‘No white men’ shows us that when the table’s turned, they don’t like it. Why are you picking on white gay men? We are not. Whether you agree or not, the responses from Black and other minority ethnic men to our survey demonstrates that they encounter racism on the scene regularly. Black and other minority gay men make up a small percentage of our gay community but are far more likely to suffer from racism, mental health issues, HIV and poor self-esteem. In our survey most Black men and minority groups felt racism was a bigger issue for them than homophobia. If we are to improve as a community then we need to look at the problems these men face and try to fix them. How do we stop racism on the gay scene? Ending racism is very difficult. It’s a big challenge to change how people feel towards others but we can start by making sure when these views are publicly stated that they are challenged. We asked Matthew Hodson, Chief Executive of GMFA, for his thoughts on the results of this survey He said, “We know that we can’t fix the problems of racism just by drawing attention to it but I hope that by sharing these stories we can be part of a process of change. It’s up to all of us to think about how we treat each other and to consider the impact that our actions, or our inaction, can have individuals.” HOW CAN WE STOP RACISM ON THE GAY SCENE? Words by Ian Howley, CEO of GMFA Normally in an FS feature article we share some tips and advice we hope you can use in your everyday life in order to make better choices. This can be anything from how to have safer sex, to looking after your mental health to improving your relationship. And we do this because we know it matters to you. But, how do we get you to care about the health, well-being and overall happiness of Black, Asian, Arab or Latino gay men when you probably think racism and casual racism doesn’t affect you? Let us paint a picture for you. You are out with your friends and a group of Asian gay men come into the bar. Your friend whispers a racist joke or makes a remark saying “all Asians have small cocks”. What do you do? Do you laugh? Do you agree? Do you make a joke too? Or do you pull up your friend and tell him how ignorant his ‘joke’ is? Chances are you will giggle, think to yourself ‘that’s not nice’ and forget about it quickly as it really doesn’t affect your life. But it does... What you have just done is allowed someone to make a remark that’s racist. It may only be casual racism in his eyes and that person may not have meant any harm, but it does have an impact. Why? You are out one night and an Asian guy comes up to you. You think he’s hot and would like see more of him. Suddenly you think about your friends and what they will say about your choice of men. Now that ‘casual racism’ has come back to bite you on your butt. Thinking that racism on the gay scene only affects minorities is silly. We are all affected by it because it makes us wary of the men we sleep with or who we date. It also segregates us into groups where we are likely to have friends mainly our own race. There is a belief that only direct racism, such as men who publicly state ‘No Blacks, No Asians’ on their Grindr profiles are the ones causing damage as it’s the racism minorities are seeing. But racism and casual racism amongst our group of friends has an impact as big as anyone who publicly states their racism. It creates an idea in our heads that minorities are somehow different and forces only to interact with gay men our friends find ‘acceptable’. Tackling racism is your job just as much as it’s our job. We can shout on every page that ‘racism is wrong’ and you will probably agree, but unless you start to pull people up when they make jokes or racist remarks then nothing will ever change and we will never move forward as a community. So I’m asking you to do the following: The next time you see someone make a racist remark online, the next time one of your friends makes a joke about a minority, or the next time you spot some casual racism in your circle of friends... Have the balls to stand up to them and make them aware it’s not acceptable. If we all challenge the casual racism in our lives then together we can put an end to racism on the gay scene. Ian Howley @IanHowleyCEO, GMFA. THIS ARTICLE WAS TAKEN FROM FS ISSUE #148.