"The really strong patriarchal Black male system comes partly from slavery. We’re not taught to be emotional or to open up intimately to others. Deep seeded hatred and oppression from the past. So whenever a Black guy comes out as gay, they go, “What the fuck, NO! You need to be strong for everything that is going on.”
Welcome Marcus. Thank you so much for taking time out to talk with me. As QTPOC, I feel like we are constantly policed when it comes to our identity. I would like to give you this time to self identify.
I just want to be labeled as a person. Labels are convenient as hell. Like stereotypes. They are easy. They’re not better. But if you're trying to describe someone, instead of going into detail about the person across the street, people use, oh look at that Black, Hispanic, or Asian one. So it’s convenient, but I don't think the way that people use them so aggressively and negatively, and acting upon them is uhh...That is what we need to shy away from.
How do we shy away from them?
I don’t think we can do anything, because racism is so deeply rooted in homophobia and transphobia and all of that so we can, I don’t really know. Cause I don’t really approve of riots and violent protests. Maybe wait for the old generation to die out and try again? I’m not sure.
You mention riots and protests. Where has your mind and energy been during this political state?
I think the peaceful protests are good, but you probably won’t see me in one. I don’t know. It’s like a really dire situation. If you really want to fight for something, you should be ready to pay for it, but not with your life I guess. This is hard.
Because like, it’s not that I’m scared, but I don’t feel like this is where I really need to be. I want to be a nurse and I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field. So I could go to riot or like a protest and potentially get hurt, or I could just go to nursing school and have access to definitely helping people in that way. Does that make sense? I feel like I have so many things I want to do in the future, so I don’t want to risk it for this one.
Would you say you want to build a foundation for yourself before providing for others?
Yeah. I don't think you can put towards a cause unless you’re stable in yourself. Cause it’s like, you can’t really fight for someone unless you can even fight for yourself. It’s like my second year of college. I’m still a baby.
What attracted you to the nursing field?
I’m just a really affectionate person. I really like to take care of people. I don’t know if it has to do with that, but my dad was never really around when I was a kid. He was around. It wasn’t like they were separated, but he traveled a lot.
So he was home once or twice a week. So my mom and grandma and aunts raised me. I don’t know if it has something to do with it but I have a very maternal thing about me. I just wanna take care of others and make them feel better. I didn’t know what I wanted to be as a kid, just knew it was in the medical field.
When you are a nurse, do you think it is your place to push for equality and to train the patients? Where do we find room for social justice in the work field?
I feel like everything happens for a reason. Like I try to...hmm. Let me try to put my words together. So I’m not here to force anything or police anyone. I feel like it’s not what I need to concentrate on. I’m extremely liberal about most things. I thought I was normal until I met people in Houston, like around the third ward, and was like SHIT.
They’re real conservative.
Well I am a double minority. I’m Black and gay. So it's like, just being yourself and being a good person is enough to set a good example. You know when you meet people and they’re like, “Wow I never met a Black person like you,” it’s frustrating but it is also a compliment in a way. Like, if you're a tolerable human being yourself, then I guess you're in the right direction. I understand it comes from negative stereotypes and racism, but at least I’m changing the narrative a little.
I grew up in a white neighborhood and all white school. So even my school is like, “Oh that’s just Lisa’s kids. They’re not that Black. They grew up in Siena.”
What is it like being gay in the Black community?
I fucking hate it.
Like, it's I have a thing with the Black community.
They are just really hard on Black gays, which goes all the way back to the slavery times. When Blacks were brought here as slaves, everyone was tortured. Many were raped, including the men. And so they had to steal up their emotions and resolve to help their family survive. The really strong patriarchal Black male system comes partly from that.
We’re not taught to be emotional or to open up intimately to others. Deep seeded hatred and oppression from the past. So whenever a Black guy comes out as gay, they go, “What the fuck, NO! You need to be strong for everything that is going on.”
There is still stuff going on. Racism is so real. So they equate being gay with being feminine, and weak, and underwhelming or whatever. It is sort of the opposite they are going for. I am also light skinned, so that doesn’t help because light skin and dark skin is how slaves view slaves. So the house slaves were inside and in the shade, and not in the heat and vice versa, and felt different ways. I don’t really like the relationship with the Black community. I’m working on it.
Any advice on reconciling the past and fixing history?
There is no gay education. There is no Black education beyond slavery. The only time we talk about minorities is when white people are involved. Like oh, we are talking about them because the white people enslaved or bombed them. It is so bullshit. We call America the melting pot. They say we are all so diverse but look at our education system. It is all about the white man and what he has done for us. Most of the good stuff has come from the back of immigrants. We are American culture. It makes sense why this has happened. It doesn’t make sense we have all these phrases, that history repeats, but yet we are continuing this cycle.
I am also interested in genetics and how prevalent it is. Have you had anyone ever say you're just like your great, great grandma and you've never met her? I believe genes affect personality and mental state, and so if you know what your ancestors have struggled with in the past, you can more easily get past that. So I feel like kids would really benefit from that.
You study at one of the most diverse schools in the country. Many equate diversity with equality. What is your experience like at UH?
I am experiencing and seeing things I’ve never seen before. First off, I am realizing I am attracted to men I didn’t know I was before. Like I didn’t know I like Indian guys.
I just love boys.
Ugh. It might have to do with growing up in the white neighborhood, but I don't really date a lot of Black guys. But I love UH cause all the people you can meet and all the cultures you can explore. There are white and Black people in the Filipino organization. They let all races and people join any event. It’s really cool. It really exposes you to what the rest of the world is like. It is beyond the area UH is located.
Can you talk more about why you're not attracted to Black men?
I’ve had a really big problem before, being scared of guys, like growing up in the white neighborhood. You know Sienna? It's like really high class white people. Really stuck up and believe they deserve everything. So I started being made fun of starting third grade and it just got worse until high school, where I came out and they just let it go.
Black guys were the most persistent. It bothered me because I was like, you’re a minority too. I’m a double minority but we’re on the same boat. If something happened, they would be looking at both of us funny. Not just me or you. It didn't make sense. My family, my dad...they were in denial. They knew but didn't face it.
He would say all kinds of things about gay people, and I was like, oh shit, maybe I shouldn't come out. I just had a hard time with Black guys cause they were so not accepting, even before I came out. I also don't like the way Black people look at me. Even today I get funny looks because I'm obviously gay. So it's like, it’s not like I’ll never ever date a Black guy. I’m talking to one right now.
But like, I would more so prefer another race. It’s just my experience with them is like eh. Most of them are really closed in, don't express anything. Aggressive. When they want something they go for it. End of story. Forced to be socialized in specific ways. I'm trying to be a nurse. I'm very open and giving, and really crave and need affection, and love to give affection, and I'm not compatible with that.
Preference and attraction are always rooted in very sensitive and systematic issues. Thanks for sharing your personal experience.
Good luck with the gentleman you're talking to right now by the way!
Ekkkks. Ah! Thanks.
What advice do you have for your younger self and/or the next generation of QTPOC?
They need to open their eyes. Just be aware of the climate and the culture and everything going on. Even now, as a twenty year old, my parents still say be careful. Watch out. Just the other night, my mom was saying, “Be scared of the cops Marcus. Be afraid.”
A lot of Black people are very bold and believe we need to fight, but we unfortunately can only be courageous to a certain extent. Just be like calm and smart, cause the world isn’t fair. It has never been fair. Act within the law. We see too many of our family die.