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20 February 2009

Comments

Carlos

Sigh. I really enjoy Rahsaan Patterson's music but he has adopted the language of the oppressors. It seems that he still has a long road to healing. God bless.

Adrian

Just because someone can discuss their sexuality does not mean they necessarily accept it.
I love Rahsaan music but when he starts to talk about being gay...he is obviously very uncomfortable. He uses words and phrases that have very little value or meaning and cannnot say "gay" or "homosexual" etc. But he is no that much different than many other black gay men. They also suffer the shame and guilt...

Mel Smith

I feel sorry for people who are sexually abused as a child. But that cannot blame that on homosexuality or heterosexuality. Unfortunately, due to the prejudices that gays face in society, they blame being sexually abuse as one of the reasons why they are gay. Straight people that were molested don't have to do that because they represent the dominate group, and straight people don't face sexual discrimination as we do. Due to self-hate, gays look for a scapegoat to explain they are who they are. Regardless if they were molested or not, heterosexuals don't have to explain themselves to society.

TB

I also enjoy Rahsaan's music and applaud the fact he has come out.


Very few black gay celebrities shave.


But he is not trying to be a role model just speak from his own experience.

Mel Smith

Due to self-hate and prejudice by the larger society, we often look for a scapegoat to explain why we are gay. To be honest with you, I think self-hating gays and ignorant gays do way more damage than homophobic real heterosexual people. See, foolish comments made by gays give homophobic heterosexual people feeding power to justify their prejudices against us. That's why Patterson, McClurkin and others get on my nerves; their self-hate is being fed to ignorant and homophobic heterosexual people. If anything, being molested by a family member would make you dispise that person and their sexuality. I don't think you would become attracted to the sexuality of the person who molested you. But, our self-hate has taught us to equate our God given sexual orientation, to being molested as a child. That's how low prejudice society has buried us.

RJ

TB, this is exactly the problem. As a celebrity he is using his celebrity as a platform to bring awareness to issues. Rahsaan Patterson is speaking from his own personal experience and he doesn't really understand what he is talking about. It is tragic what happened to him. But I am gay and was not abused and I know men who were abused and are very straight.

Mel Smith

Adrian, that's my point too. The self-hate, shame, and stigma gays have for themselves is a major problem. And to be honest with you, I think we are our own worse enemies.

CA

Mel you are absolutely right. There is so much self hate and shame in our community we are used to hearing it and expect not much more.


I disagree with TB. It does not sound like Rahsaan Patterson is accepting his sexuality at all. It sounds like he is trying to make excuses or justify how he became the way he is today. I wish him the best of luck but would prefer is he would sing and leave the explanations for sexual orientation to those who understand it. His interview can be easily used as a recruiting tool for Donnie McClurkin and the ex gay church queens.

CA

Or let me say " "Donnie McClurkin and the SO CALLLED ex gay church queens." "

TB

Why does the word 'spirit' bother some of you? This does not have to be a 'demonic spirit', it could be a spirit of another kind.....?

Adrian

The word "spirit' bothers me because it doesn't mean anything. Or it could mean everything. I think nowadays we can use more concrete terms such as DNA, genes, chromosomes and sexual orientation. That is church talk and he really should know better. If he doesn't he may want to get counseling or talk to someone.

KevJack

This is a tragedy. I have loved RP's music since his debut in 1997, and have bought every album since. When I heard he came out I was excited, but when I read the interview I was sad and dejected. While he is out, he is most certainly not proud. I think one thing we need to talk about are the people who are out but who come out covered in shame-- this is especially true of former/current church queens.

Everything he says about sexuality is an old re-hash of tired church propoganda about gays. This is obviously someone who is dealing with a broken spirit. For too many of us, internalizing these hateful thoughts keeps us broken, weak, and sitting ducks for homophobes. I pray that RP can come to fully accept his sexuality and its organic bond to his life.

Mark

Mr. Patterson is a different person with a different experience from many who are gay. It might well be that he has chosen to live a gay life because he was exposed to it and it turns him on. For others, it was not a choice. Why do we always have to impose our own experience on others? He doesn't, by the way:

"I think it is a reason for a lot of people's lifestyles that they choose. At some point you choose for that to be what you're into and what your lifestyle is--for some."

He uses the phrases "a lot of people" and "some." That does not mean "all" or "most".

Mark, that is a very curious defense. Please explain how one chooses to "live a gay life". Does that mean being gay and living in the Castro or Chelesea? What about being closeted and living in suburbs? And how is a little boy who was molested exposed to this "gay life"?

It's truly amazing the number of gay men who will defend terms such as "choice" and "lifetsyle. Those are the same arguments used by churches and homobigots.

Derrick from Philly

"It might well be that he has chosen to live a gay life because he was exposed to it and it turns him on."

What pubescent black boy would choose to become something that everyone in his world seems to hate? The neighbors, his middle-school classmates, his church family, his blood family, maybe even the family dog--nobody seems to like gays, or the "F", in the black community (the white community aint much better, but they don't have a lot of mouth). You don't choose a damn thing about your sexual orientation. You can choose to act on it or not.

You can choose to blame your homosexuality for your mental illness, but it's a lie. It's the way people treat you because of your homosexuality, and the effort you put into hiding your homosexuality--that's what causes you to get throwed in the head.

truthiz

Greetings Rod and All!

I’m a lesbian of color and long-time visitor to this site. I enjoy coming here but I’ve never responded before.

However, this post has pulled me right in:) Sooo at the risk of being shown the door, I have to say that I couldn't disagree with the prevailing opinion more.

I don't think Rahsaan is "self-hating"_ "scapegoating" or in denial about anything.

He's speaking from hi won experiences.

Rod wrote:
“Rahsaan Patterson is only speaking of his own experience—but his explanation is sadly more of the debunked "molestation makes you gay" meme. It does not.”

Not in all cases. But certainly there are gay men and lesbians who believe that as it relates to their lives/sexual orientation _that is indeed the case.

I was sexually molested as a young child (age 6-9) and I’m gay. Are the 2 issues related? I honestly don’t know???

And I don’t know of anyone who can give me an “absolute_ there is NO doubt” right answer on this matter. So I’ve settled for there being a 50/50 chance that's why i'm a card-carrying member of the SGL community.

“There are gay survivors of sex abuse, as well as straight survivors.”

Rashaan didn't refute that.

“A majority of gay men do not report abuse,”

But that doesn’t mean they weren’t abused.

“and, the majority of abused women are not lesbian.”

But that doesn’t mean the majority of LESBIANS weren’t abused. There’s a difference.

Re: The reference to “choice”, Rashaan stated:

“We all possess sexuality and we all possess the ability to be sexual with whoever we choose to be and that is not all of who we are.”

He didn't say that one’s sexuality is a “choice.” He’s saying that each of us has the “choice” to be sexually intimate with whoever we choose to be with. Or we can “choose” NOT to be sexually intimate.

No matter one’s sexual orientation, you can “choose” to act on your natural impulses_OR choose to not act at all.

I can choose my “lifestyle”_NOT my sexual orientation; they are 2 different issues. Rashaan doesn’t refute this.

BTW: Until Rashaan mentioned “spirits” in the context of discussing his childhood and his sexuality, I was the only person I knew of with feelings very similar to what he described.

And I realize that any such talk usually sends folks running for the exits_but it is a lot to say

Thanks so much for reading the blog. I'm very sorry to hear about your experiences. Hopefully you've seen a therapist or talked to someone. Rahsaan's interviews shed very little light on the subject of sexual abuse. He does not even mention it by name.

You critique each of my points, so, let me make a very general observation: If your argument is that many boys who are abused by MEN grow up to prefer sex with MEN, why would many girls who are abused by MEN grow up to prefer sex with WOMEN? Under this argument, shouldn't boys REJECT the gender who abused them and "choose" the opposite?

It's very dangerous to speculate the "majority" of gay men or lesbians "could have been" abused when many surveys suggest they have not. Why don't we stick to what we know? -RM

Mel Smith

I'm glad to see that most of us have similar views about this topic. Again, the prejudice society use the words of McClurkin, Patterson and others to justify their prejudices against us. They usually take McClurkin and Patterson's words and say, 'you gays were all molested as children.' Again, being molested does not determine heterosexuality or homosexuality. Why do people equate our sexuality to change? Do people equate heterosexuality to change or choice? For me, it's very sad to see another gay person fall into the self-hate and ignorant crowd.

S. Flemming

SMH ...

GRANT

Truthiz, if what you are saying is "true" I am sorry. But to hear your explanations and defenses, these are the exact same arguments used by anti-gay evangelicals and church people who talk about gays and sex abuse. Surely a gay person who reads blogs and gay magazines would know this and understand the damage. And I am very concerned a gay man or woman would say without evidence the majority of LGBT people could "have" been abused.

Mark

To beat a dead horse, most (not all) people are innately capable of experiencing the thrill of sexuality with males and females. But most people choose to stick with one sex. Some people are only innately capable of enjoying sex with one sex, and that is the experience of many of us who are gay. But for the majority, who are innately capable of arousal with both sexes, life experiences will likely play a role in how they live out their lives. Most people in this majority category of bi-capable people accept society's conditioning toward heterosexuality and repress their homosexual side. Some people in this category are exposed to homosexual experiences and, for some among them, as Aristotle put it, "the memory of past pleasure makes them long for its repetition."

When someone says they believe they turned toward the homosexual side due to experiences, that may not be how it was for most of us, but we have to stop discounting that it may have been that way for some. Otherwise we are just discounting other people's experience, which is what we hate when other people do to us. We need to take a more nuanced view of sexual orientation. It is not a simple matter of "you are either hetero or homo." Experience can play a role for some people.


Mark, you are correct, experience could factor in some cases and we have had discussions on nuanced sexuality. But you still did not explain how someone "chooses a gay life." This was your phrase and very similar to Rahsaan's. I would like to know exactly what is a "gay life" and how is it chosen. -RM

isis

While I do applaud Mr. Patterson for being an openly gay artist I think his opinion does more harm than good. I have gay friends and family members and they have told me that if they could have chosen to be straight they would have done it in a heart beat. Why would someone "choose" to be stigmatized and ridiculed? I trully believe its NOT a choice! I think Mr. Patterson is somehow trying to absolve himself from owning up to who he is. Why not LOVE yourself? Why does there need to be some obscure reason for they we turn out (straight or gay)? How sad for him.......

Eightiesbaby

I think some of the readers are reading too much into his statements and not understanding what he is saying.Homosexual or straight thoughts are one thing you can't control..acting on those feelings and having intercourse is a choice.I believe he is saying the act itself is a choice but not the feelings. Also he didnt say that sexual abuse is an excuse for sexuality all he said it can be a(n)influence on some individuals.Bottom line , the act of having sex and who you have sex with is a choice.The use of the word spirit by him, refers to the human spirit, I dont think he was speaking of a demonic context.

Cindy Birdsong the Good Supreme

See, there is diversity amongst the GLBTQ community about sexuality also. Please understand the same exists in the Christian community.

Dalton H

isis and mel smith speak truth... abuse and molestation are horrible things and are in a larger legacy of shame and guilt in black culture. it is far too easy to blame homosexuality on abuse. but who in their right mind would "choose" to be "gay" and all the pain and suffering that it entails?


we need to talk more about love, loving ourselves and overcoming a massive legacy of shame and guilt in our black community that goes all the way back to slavery. our community doesn't even aknowledge hiv or aids in our community...or the many black gays in our community and churches. there is no way i'm going to accept the language of the church to explain who I AM when they will not even aknowledge me.

Will

"the act of having sex and who you have sex with is a choice."

Of course it is and why do people keep repeating that line. No one is disputing that. T

We are talking about SEXUALITY and SEXUAL ORIENTATION. Big difference between HAVING SEX and SEXUAL ORIENTATION. Perhaps some of you don't know the difference.

Derrick from Philly

"Bottom line , the act of having sex and who you have sex with is a choice..."

For many of us the "who" has to be the same sex. Whether we have sex is a choice, but the "who" we have sex with will never be the opposite sex--CAN never be the opposite sex. THat's what so many hetero (and some homos) find so difficult to believe. Perhaps, because many people actually have BIsexual sexual histories that they can't believe that all of us aren't capable of being bi--if we really really really tried. Honey, I adore women--even emulate some, but there aint that much Viagra in the world....

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