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20 February 2009

Comments

Mark

Thanks,Rod, I appreciate the hearing.

When I said he might have "chosen to live a gay life" I meant he might have chosen to live a life in which he pursues men as partners instead of seeking girlfriends or a straight married life.

I could imagine that happening as follows. Say Patterson is innately capable of arousal with both sexes. (Unlike me, for example, who is innately turned off by the very thought of sex with women. No offense intended to women - I refer to my unchosen innate make-up.) But say Patterson is innately bi-capable. Then in childhood he has an experience with a man that interrupts the social conditioning toward exclusive heterosexual behavior that he might have otherwise accepted. Perhaps he found the experience thrilling in some way, taboo, or maybe he has some guilt feelings behind it. In any case the experience is fraught with emotional excitement for him. It becomes part of his repertory of sexual fantasies. So the social conditioning toward strict heterosexual behavior does not take with him. He still has a choice. He can either repress his homosexual side by not acting on it despite his fantasy life. He may even marry a woman and choose to live a straight life. Or he can live a bisexual life, since he is still innately bi-capable. Or he can choose to live a gay life.

Why would he do the latter? Plenty of possible reasons. Any of them or all in combination could play a part. Maybe he falls in love with another man as an adult. Maybe he enjoys the anonymity or simplicity of sex that can be available through the male-male sex market (bathhouses, sex clubs, etc.). Maybe he does carry guilt feelings for his childhood experiences and does not feel worthy of a relationship with a wife and all that entails (in which case, he should seek therapy). Maybe the man gave him an STD and he can only have safe sex from now on. This is all speculation. All I am trying to do is lay out the possibilities for how and why someone might choose to live a gay life.

As for those who say no one would choose this life: I used to say that myself, but nowadays I am not so sure. I certainly did not choose to be gay, but I cannot extrapolate from my experiences to judge what may have happened with other people. And the world has changed since the early eighties when I was struggling with my sexual orientation. The nineties have changed a lot. Yes, there is still homophobia, of course, but gay lives are shown and celebrated in the media today in ways that seemed impossible just a couple decades ago. I believe it is now possible for someone, who innately has a choice between partners of either sex, to choose to have sex with the same sex exclusively -- even though a large majority of gay people, like myself, had a choice only between a sex life with same-sex partners or no sex life at all.

"He might have chosen to live a life in which he pursues men as partners." So he could have "chose" to be gay IF he were innately bisexual or IF he were asexual. But the bottom line is you're agreeing people can CHOOSE to be gay.

I notice there are very many "maybes", "ifs" and "could haves" in your response. This is extreme conjecture to explain a history that Patterson refuses to qualify, quantify or even use the term "sexual abuse." Just my thoughts. -RM

Danny Rivera

Eighties Baby said, The use of the word spirit by him, refers to the human spirit, I dont think he was speaking of a demonic context.

You "don't" think so? Or you know for a fact?

As a human being, Rahsaan Patterson presumably already has the "human spirit." But he was not talking about that, he was talking about sexuality.

But you keep telling yourself that...

Anti-believer


Agree with others... I'm a fan of his music.

I agree with Mel.

rahassan is self hating and adopting Donnie McClurkin hypocritcal thinking to justify how they appear to society. I think they are too embarassed to say "Hey I'm gay and I didn't choose to be this way." So sad that black entertainers can't come out and still make millions of money. I completely understand it does affect your bank account.

Rod, i agree this plants a seed in parents head thinking they can rescue their children/young adults from being gay by going through "the ex-gay 12 step program".

Sorry but even I tried to be str8 as possible for many years. I could not fight it anymore when i finally fell in love with a man after dating many "fish". I'm in love with "beef".

Rahassan, how do you explain being with Tevin?

Don't people understand love?

I knew I was gay 100% after falling love with a man.


DL

I think before we can make an accurate assessment of Rashaad's statments regarding "spirit" and its connection to his sexuality since none of his aforementioned comments are posted on here in its entirety. He makes only one refernce to "spirit" that I can see here and all he is saying is he believes a "spirit is bigger than that". How others are reaching this conclusion that he is referring to sexuality or being human is beyond me.People have a bad habit of taking things people say out of context which is what I think "Rod" appears to be doing with this interview with Rashaad.

I'm taking this "out of context"? Not only is that ridiculous but you do not know what the phrase means. The MAJORITY of the interview is posted here. Rashaan Patterson's ENTIRE responses are provided. Don't try to blame this on me.

If we still do not know what he is referring to, perhaps its because he refuses to use finite terms such as "sexual abuse" or "sexual orientation" and prefers vague phrases such as "spirits", "choice" and "lifestyle." But nice try. -RM

Anthony in Nashville

I have been a longtime fan of Patterson, but apparently not long enough to know he has a history of these kinds of statements.

How disappointing. I thought he was more confident and secure in his identity, but it seems he is not that different from other LGBs with a church background.

I look at this as another example of the harm rigid churches can have on people, even if they acknowledge their sexuality. But in my opinion it seems many black LGBs are stuck in that kind of thinking. And we wonder why it's so hard for us to sustain a community? We don't have a high enough level of self-respect!

Too many of us enjoy the (false) security of the closet and are willing to make excuses for other (semi)closeted people.

Devin

DL, you really have no idea what you are talking about. There is nothing 'out of context' in this post. The only thing out of context is your criticism of Rod. That was a bit much.

Now since this was supposed to be taken out of context, why don't you explain exactly what he meant? And where in the interview did Patterson say it and it wasn't quoted?

**CRICKETS**

Carlos

Anti--Believer and Anthony in Nashville are on the money

So is Mel and Isis...

These type of explanations and euphemisms are standard operating procedure in black church and are often the language of black LGBTs. We have adopted the language and thinking of the "oppressors" and that is hard to build a black LGBT "community." Too many of us secretly hate ourselves and are caught in stigma and shame.

I will agree with Rod...
Rashaan Patterson has so much guilt and shame he cannot say "abuse" or "molestation." He is using old church folk terms about "spirits." We have to claim our own destiny.

I'm still a fan of Rashaan Patterson's music tho and will support his work. I am just disappointed he is taking a backwards view on sexuality.


Just my opinion is all ..


Also let me say that I have disagreed before with Anti-Believer but today he he is 110% correct!

Diva1961

This young man sounds like he is simply (still) a work in progress as it pertains to his abusive past. He doesn't sound like he has had professional counseling (not a read at all), or if has, he hasn't integrated the understanding of placing the blame away from himself and onto to victimizer.

He still, in a way, sounds as if he is blaming himself for this act of power. Power meaning that molestation (like rape) is more about power, than the sexual act. he is mentally/emotionally busy distancing himself away from what happened, which is why he won't put the act into concrete terminology and call it molestation. It becomes too real for him. Until he is able to do this the victimizer will always own Rahsaan's power. Rahsaan has to take his power back. When that happens, I believe his language concerning this situation and his sexuality will become more concrete.

One thing I never hear him voice is anything pertaining to love, as it aligns with sexuality. I never have bought into the "lifestyle" usage. Lifestyle is whether one wears sportswear or trendy daywear, not whom you love. I do believe that one thing he said pertaining to one gender having the abilty to have sex with the same or opposite gender is true. But that has nothing with whom your heart chooses. Orientation is so much more than orgasm. To me it shows how he has stopped growing emotionally, as it pertains to sex and sexuality, most likely because of what happened and the fact he has not received counseling for it.

Just my opinions.

Rod Mc

That's an excellent observation, Diva. I wouldn't argue with any of that.

kevjack

Diva

You are right.

I am so glad this post has opened up a very good discussion of sexuality and spirituality. I think that people are confusing two issues of sexual abuse. One of the first things that sexual abuse does is to sexualize a child at a very young age. This causes them to be sexually inappropriate and generally more sexually active at younger ages. There is no empirical evidence that sexual abuse is related to sexual orientation-- but it has been shown to be related to sexual behavior. That is why some posters need to tell the stories that folks like Ms. Donnie love to spin on TBN.

Second, we need to distinguish between sexual orientation sexual identity, and sexual behavior. They are distinct, and we can't confuse the three.

Mark

Premise: Some people (Group 1) only have the option of A, some others (Group 2) only have the option of B, while for some (Group 3) neither A nor B is an option. But the majority (Group 4) have the option of A or B, or sometimes A and sometimes B, as they choose. Conclusion: While Groups 1 and 2 have the choice to take the option open to them, or to restrain themselves (if they are able), and Group 3 does not have the option of either A or B, the last category (Group 4) can choose to take option A exclusively, or can choose to take option B exclusively, or can choose to take both options, or can choose to take neither option. Thus Group 4 can choose to live as if they were in Group 1, without actually being in Group 1. Likewise, Group 4 can choose to live as if they were in Group 2 or 3, without actually being a member of those groups. So this is just another way of saying that someone can choose to live a gay life, without actually being gay, that is if they have the capacity to enjoy sex with either sex, but choose to limit themselves to only the same sex. Of course there are "ifs," "maybes" and "could haves" in my response. I am not in the man's head, how can I know what he feels? I am merely laying out the possibility that he is telling the truth of his experience accurately as he experiences it; people should never be disappointed when someone tells their truth, just because it does not mesh with what we believe, or what we consider politically correct or expedient. The point of view I am laying out here is not radical, it is pretty much accepted in the theoretical analysis of sexual orientation. A book by philosophy and L&G studies professor Edward Stein, called The Mismeasure of Desire, seems to lay out the issues in very careful and thorough terms, if anyone is interested.

7

I don't know about y'all, but I will always wonder, would I still have homosexual tendencies if I wasn't sexually abused as a child? Guess I'll never really know.

TheRevKev

WOW.

I am lifted that this interview/profile has prompted this brilliant exchange amongst us as Gay/Bi Men of Color.

I had a friend, L. Michael Gipson, who has been writing for years about so many subjects in our community, and among the most thought-provoking articles he's written is one about molestation in the Gay/Bi male community. The most jarring observation that he made, after interviews with psychologists/psychiatrists and others who have interacted with members of the community who have been molestated, and the abuse survivors themselves is this: ARE THEY GAY (NOW) BECAUSE THEY WERE MOLESTED OR...and here is a something that we never discuss in among ourselves...WERE THEY MOLESTED BECAUSE THEY WERE GAY?!

In so many of our journeys of discovery, we remember loving boys at an early age. Today, even as in our youth, we see young boys whom we already see the "signs" that they may be different.

Predators, who are the molesters, are ALWAYS in hunt mode and little innocent boys who are looking for acceptance are prime for their vile advances.

In the case of a sweet, talented, bright soul like Rahsaan Patterson, who was always on a world stage on KIDS INCORPORATED or a young talented Donnie McClurkin, who was raped by an uncle and then that same uncle's son, who clearly must have unleashed his own son on that same young victim and so many of our own stories, there is a pattern.

Young, vibrant, searching and innocent boys and a predator who approached and made each little boy feel...wanted.

I cannot tell you how many times, from my years as a Peer Counselor or during my years in ministry, that I have heard gay and bisexual men tell stories, in almost innocent context, about their first "boyfriend/date/lover" and they are anywhere from 12 to 17 and the "partner" is 12 to 25 years their senior. The youth/young adult retells the story as one of free-thinking sexuality and his ability to "attract" a grown man who had all of the choices in the world but "chose" the young boy. The young boy grows up to believe that he was A) aware of his sexuality at an early age and B) had the first experience(s) was part of the journey into sexuality and C) that he had the power to attract a grown/older man.

The truth is that the "power" was never the youth's. The predator had always been after young boys and thus, was looking for that "something" in that young man.

Therein lies the struggle. Young boys who are drawn into sexuality before they have any reference for sexual orientation. They were sexualized before they understood themselves and from that moment forward, they are "conflicted" between sexual behavior, which includes the conflicts of intimacy and pleasure, inappropriateness and vulnerability AND sexual orientation, which would be attraction that they would/will develop in their burgeoning lives. Before they are able to gain a real grasp of themselves and their attraction, they are INUNDATED with images and words and social morals and church rhetoric and all of the matter of things that would destroy a young boy who is looking for acceptance and being told that WHO HE IS IS WRONG and he didn't even get a chance to discover that.

I can only imagine what it must feel like, internally and emotionally, to go searching for a self-image that is already damned, already scorned, already hated.

The struggle is something that we haven't discussed much in our communities (Black, Latin or Gay and Bisexual).

There are so many wounded boys, now grown and living and trying to love and build a life and that voice, that past, that pain is still within them.

I hurt, I ache for Rahsaan Patterson, whom I love and respect as an artist and a creative being and a brother, because he has had to grow in that skin, in himself with the voice of a boy who didn't get to find himself...he was...yanked into himself. What a world he would have lived in and what skin would he possess if he had been able to discover himself and not been forced into that same self, with someone who didn't love or care for him, but just sexualized him.

I love you, Rod, for going where so many celebrity-driven, hits-gathering blogs dare go.

THIS SUBJECT IS AS IMPERATIVE AS THE CONVERSATIONS WE NEED TO HAVE. We are struggling to have loving relationships, to build love and connections and marriage and power and we are doing it from a wounded place. As men now, grown and adult, we must reclaim POWER.

The choice that we get to make NOW is that we get to determine how we move forward, how we love, who we believe--the predator who made us think THIS IS ALL YOU ARE or the LITTLE BOY WITHIN who must be assured NOW that he is worth everything!--and what we do next.

Rahsaan, Donnie and so many gay-identified men (present, past or ex-) have been broken by a society that won't have the conversation about what happened to those little boys and made them such suffering men. We, now on this side of survival and living and reclamation, but be willing to have the conversation or we are only, in our own way, rebuilding that same community that didn't believe us, believes we should just get over it or move on and makes the pain that has been suffered by those little boys, now grown men, futile.

We must be willing to do the work, have the conversations and the conferences, attend the workshops and panels, have the intimacy with our friends and lovers to discuss who we are and who we were and give each other permission to move past brokenness to find a REAL JOY IN OUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION, which is a Gift from God and it is THAT GIFT that the predator STOLE!

I choose to love myself as a Black, Gay Man, raised in the projects of Washington, DC by a single mother, who knows the God loves me, who is creative and talented, who has been thick and vulnerable my entire life and who was molested by 2 teenagers on a playground because they wanted to know what my fat butt looked like and heard that I liked to suck dick, which was a lie that they wanted to make into truth. I remember the old white man who approached an 8 year old me at a bus stop and tried to get me in his car but my mother was there, looking in a store window, and she broke a bottle from the garbage and told that man to "get the hell away from my son or I will slit your throat and feed you your own dick!" I love myself today because I discovered the treasure in me. I know, now, that there is something in me--perfect and perfectly made by God--that made someone else want it so badly, so blindly that they thought, like any common thief, that they could simply steal it.

I AM TAKING IT BACK--MY CHILDHOOD, MY JOY, MY INNOCENCE, MYSELF.

In the name of all things good and a God who loves me without condition, I TAKE IT ALL BACK and I am clear that any power that I have today is MINE to keep or give away! It is from this place that I live and breathe and have my being.

From right here, I choose to be me. I know that many people will laugh or shrug or take it all as spiritual mumbo-jumbo, but I know today that God loves me perfectly and has a purpose for my life that someone tried to destroy. I take it back! I move forward in the journey of discovery of me and no weapon formed against me shall be able to prosper. The word of God said it wouldn't prosper. It never said that it wouldn't formed. God didn't say that enemies wouldn't come against us. God just promised that they wouldn't be able to separate us from God's love. On that rock, I stand.

(WOW...I can't believe I just wrote all of that on a Saturday morning, while I was preparing a sermon for service tomorrow. The truth, however, is that the sermon title for tomorrow is "YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT ANYMORE" and I think I have to release my own story so that I could give myself permission to not have to do THAT anymore...to be hero instead of just being human. I know today, right now, that saying this truth will help someone else move...forward).

With Open Arms and An Open Heart, I remain,

Elder Rev. Kevin E. Taylor
Pastor
Unity Fellowship Church New Brunswick (NJ)

Mel Smith

Rev. Taylor, thank you for those strong words.

RB

Mr. Patterson chooses not to have his freedom of action, his creation of self, constrained by a fascist, essentialist discourse of sexual identity, of a truth of the self as the revelation, elucidation, and liberation of theoretically universalized inner desires, an essential "gayness" on account of which your truth must be his truth and his denial of the relevance to him of what you "know" to be your truth is a threat to you, and therefore he must be shut up? Bravo for his refusal to be controlled by the oppressive, normalizing discourses of sexual identity.

RB

Diva1961

Rev. Taylor, thank you for your words. Your words are not something I personally would laugh, nor shrug away. They are correct. Until one takes their power back (and it doesn't matter when or what age this ability comes about), there will always be a searching for completeness, without the understanding that it comes from within, not outside one's self. The "perfect" lover, friend, sexual experience, ect., will not fulfill this internal gnawing.

One has to realize it was not their own fault. One has stop thinking if they were butchier, or not alone, or not in the wrong place at the wrong time, or ect., because of the molestation. Again, for the molester/s, it was about power. The power of the submission of someone else through force, or mental manipulation.

You are right. We are all treasures, and just because someone stole some of our precious jewels doesn't mean we can't take them back. That is what makes us worth wanting ourselves and taking care of ourselves. When we come to the understanding that we are precious treasures, no one can make us feel worthless.

alicia banks

ditto

i love his music too but
this bs enrages me.

it is akin to the antebellum tortured mulattos who deny blackness as they embrace whiteness...ie "my white blood is pure...my black blood is evil...and i am a lost tainted human..."

ie
"i am a het spirit...tormeneted by homo trauma...so i am a twisted gay human..."

such a weak cowardly crock of psychobabble!!!

most of the hets i know have been molested
and most of the gays i know have not been!!!!

i have never been molested and i was born gay!


ie
to speak of homosexuality as a curse or haunting or scar is to degrade all homos

rp is no less an enemy than donnie m...just as dm uses his bible to slay us rp uses his mic

i will keep loving his music
and skipping out on his silly bogus interviews...

shame!!!!
ab

Todd

That's why I'm glad that Rod prefaced this article by saying that artists are not spokesman.
Be real people, Rahsaan Patterson is dealing with the same homophobic attitudes and personal angst a great majority of gay, especially black gay people have to endure. Compound that with the profound influence of the black church and it is understandable why Rahsaan may initially have a hard time coming to terms with using "gay" and "homosexual" in association with himself. (It's only been a couple of years since he's come out.) Give him time and remember that we are all individuals and we have different ways of dealing with this issue. Being a public figure doesn't mean you stop being human.
Lighten up!!!!

Anderson

"RB", what was that supposed to mean? I can't even try to begin to translate that rant into plain English.

Thankfully Rev Kev, KevJack and Diva are speaking some sense. And thanks to Rod for creating the conversation! As black gay men these are the discussions we need to have, not more silly talk about celebrities and the down low.

Eddy B

REV KEV! Thanks so much for those moving and inspirational words! It is like church up n here, up n here!

Reading your words, it is like you understand my pain. I was sexually abused by a male family member in my pre-teen years. However, before that I knew I liked other boys. Perhaps he saw something in me, but he was an evil man who said i would grow up to be a "sissy" anyway. I guess I blamed myself for years until I started talking about it and then went into counseling and therapy. It was not my fault!

It took me some time bit I have learned to be ME! I have learned to like, to love...and to understand that sometimes very bad things happen to good people! It has helped that I "wanted" to understand my tragedy and wanted to go "forward". Some people don't.

It also helps what church or religious background you might have. I think very many of us black people grew up in the strict black church, or fundamentalist black churches, and that experience is not the most welcoming for young black gay men. It took me time but I eventually found somewhere that didn't blame "me".

Finally, I wish Rahsaan Patterson the best and will continue supporting his beautiful music. But I will pray he seeks therapy or counseling sessions. Referring to sexuality as "spirits that attached themself to him" does not sound like anything a psychiatrist or psychologist would tell a patient. It sounds like the things they say in the church to describe what we know better.

Thank you Rev Kev for once again shining some light!

Alec

Eddy, thanks much for sharing,,
and thanks Rev Kev for the great comments, so inspirational

Clientel

I agree to a point. Just hear me out for a second. I do believe that there are some who come to the gay lifestyle because they were molested and probably are not really gay. They became accustomed to pleasure through this abuse and carry it into adulthood. (i.e. Rahsaan and Donnie McClurkin)

But I believe that most homosexuals weren't raped or molested. That as long as we can remember that desire was there and that is natural to us. I quess I don't see why both can't be true. Some people become promiscuous early in life after sexual abuse and it is directly related to that abuse. Others sleep around just because they want to sleep around. I believe both can be true.

Diva1961

I would like to clarify two things, and I do understand they are my opinions:
1) The use of the word "lifestyle" to pertain to whom a gay person loves is shameful. The reason I say that is because it is a term straight people( and some still evolving gays) mainly use to signify gay love. Yet, it is never used to signify straight love. Gays who use this term should look at that, and use this term "lifestyle" when talking to their straight friends when talking about their husbands, wives, ect., and see what kind of reaction it gets, then you may understand. If you won't or are afraid to use it on straight people that means you are aware the usage is wrong and has more to do with how you view yourself as less than, than straight people, and how you need to get some clarity for yourself.

Me being totally heads over heels in love with my man, is no more a "lifestyle choice" (because the use of word "choice" always seems to find itself into the conversation when someone straight, or self-hating gay, utilizes the word "lifestyle"), than Obama loving Michelle. Neither is a choice, but a way of life. Again, use of the word lifestyle is never utilized when straight people are talking, writing, expressing their love for the opposite sex, yet is utilized for gay love.

2) There needs to be clarification between sex and love. They are very different and mean totally different things. If one decides to utilize the argument that one becomes accustomed to the pleasure of the gender of the molestor, that still has nothing to do with actualized love.

One can become accustomed to Lays potato chips and get pleasure out of that. Yet that doesn't account for the internalized desire of healthy, mature love. Love is on the mental, emotional, spiritual planes.

A number of men who go to prison have sex with men. They become accustomed to it, yet leave it (most who were straight to begin with, and not gay who got turned out and found "home") when they return from prison. Yet that wasn't love, that was simple pleasure, accessibility and comfort.

So again, one may become accustomed to the pleasure of same sex, but that is not the same as being in love with that person in ways that create a real healthy, spiritually connection. Because if there was man and a woman standing next to each other, and you knew you had the ability to have sex with both, but you had to choose only one and base it on not only the sex, but your emotional, mental, and spiritual love connection, that would help clarify your sexuality more so than the simple pleasure and comfort of an orgasm.

Mel Smith

Diva1961, thank you; that was powerful.

TheRevKev

BRAVA DIVA! WELL VOICED AND WELL VERSED!

Love, RevKev!

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