There is a spirit of sadness rampant in the community of black gay / homosexual / same-gender-loving men. It can be recognized underneath the many beautiful faces and wonderfully sculpted bodies of brothers in bars and clubs. It was evident in the August 1998 issue of Malebox magazine, a Washington, D.C., based publication by and about black gay men. In this magazine, dozens of men gave very negative responses to the question, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” Many of these men made one or more of the following responses:
- Black gay men want a perfect partner; he should have himself together spiritually, physically, mentally, financially, professionally, and sexually.
- Most black gay men, particularly those who live in major metropolitan cities, aren’t interested in a long-term relationship because there are too many men to attempt to date and/or sleep with. In other words, why even consider having a relationship with one man when dating many men makes life more exciting?
- Black gay men don’t truly understand the concepts of love and commitment. However, they’re highly proficient in good sex etiquette.
- I’m too busy with my job or career.
- The social-economic status of many black gay men leaves much to be desired.
- I’m tired of the games people play.
I’m not a self-righteous expert on relationships. Still, I want to share with you some things the LORD has revealed to me on the subject of encouraging my brother who is unhappy not having someone special in his life.
The first point of encouragement is to not give up on GOD. No matter how bleak the single scene may seem to be, don’t give up on finding someone special. Perhaps it’s better to say don’t give up on someone finding you. Giving up is related to not having any more patience. Brother, if you have patience to deal daily with people who aren’t to your liking, whether it’s on the job, in school, in the club, or even in your family, then you certainly can have patience in being blessed with a romantic relationship. Know that if you acknowledge the LORD in all your ways, then He will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:6). Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
The second point of encouragement is to remind you that being single does mean you are a failure at finding someone special. Understand that your relationship status is what it is because of GOD’s will and your choices. For example, when you choose to speak or not to speak to someone you find attractive; when you give GOD some of your time; when you decide to not pay your tithes; when you choose to go out on a date. These and other choices all contribute to your life’s status and that includes the relationship aspect of your life. Do not feel you’re lacking something or that you’re incomplete because you don’t have a boyfriend. You’re not a failure because you still don’t have a man after spending hours upon hours making yourself attractive and appealing in every conceivable fashion. After all, what is more important: what you don’t have of what you do have? I’ve learned that each time someone turns me down, GOD paves the way for the brother who won’t turn me down to appear in my life.
The third point of encouragement is a challenge to all black gay men including myself: be prepared to give to someone what you ask for from someone. This statement is for those persons who have any of the opinions listed in the first paragraph. For example, how can you want someone who is good in bed all the time when you have had some not-so-good sexual experiences? How can GOD give you an honest, trustworthy, and caring brother when you sometimes might be dishonest, distrustful, and begrudging? So you want a man who doesn’t play games; how many times have the played the call waiting game? That is, how many times have you said to yourself, “I won’t call him first; instead I’ll wait to see how genuine his interest in me is by letting him call me first”? This is not say that one shouldn’t set good standards for oneself but have you learned not to set impossible standards? 1 Timothy 4:7-9 says, “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying worthy of all acceptation.” Finally, know that one should not seek perfection because no one is perfect.
The final point of encouragement is to remind you to appreciate yourself and your friendships. Many black gay men want a lover who is also a friend. I feel that brothers can appreciate their partner if they appreciate their current friends. For example, contact a friend and surprise him/her with a token of appreciation of his/her friendship. Just let them know how much you enjoy having him/her in your life. Telling your friends you love them can make it easier for you to tell your boyfriend you love him. Don’t take a person’s friendship for granted. If don’t appreciate your current friends, then how will you appreciate of boyfriend who is also a friend? It has been often said that black gay men don’t really appreciate each other and their friendships. Such a statement can be overturned by those of us who practice and believe in Proverbs 18:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
To conclude, I encourage my brothers to be true to, appreciate, and respect yourself and the people around you. I’m learning to grow closer to GOD as I live life as a single black gay man. In turn, GOD teaches me how to be close to myself and how to love and encourage others with His teachings. Oh my brother, be encouraged and He shall strengthen thine heart.
Florida native Shurron Mitchell Farmer is a mathematics professor in Washington, D.C. He earned his bachelors in mathematics from Florida A&M University and M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics from Howard University.