Centers expose ‘down-low’ culture

By Carlos Galvez

The LGBT and Women’s Resource Center hosted The Down Low Dirty Shame, an event meant to educate students on black men’s sexual relationships with other men, Monday night.

Samantha Newman, graduate assistant for the LGBT and Women’s Resource Center, answered questions and clarified the sexual conflicts black men have with other men.

“The event … was to deepen the understanding of black men who have sex with other men and challenge the stereotypes that are associated with those men,” Newman said. “We have a deep dedication to aware people about these issues.”

Romeo Jackson, junior intersectionality and social justice major, discussed the topic through a PowerPoint presentation, revealing the diversity and differences of black men who have sex with men and how they form their relationships and choose to self-identify.

Newman and Jackson discussed the way men on the down-low portrayed themselves, why they did it and how it was done. For example, the clothing that men on the down-low usually wear is masculine. Men on the down-low tend to dress manly to mask that they are gay. Baggy clothes and shiny accessories make down-low men more appealing to females than to males, according to the presentation.

One issue that was addressed was the consequences of revealing the real identity of a person: isolation, misunderstanding and hate. Usually, men hide their identity to keep their friends because their friends wouldn’t understand. Men on the down-low keep their identity hidden because they are afraid of losing people and being judged.

“We focused on black men because of the month,” Jackson said. “It’s important to talk and help others discover their identity and talk about the taboos that aren’t really meant to be discussed.”

Students were also invited to join the discussion by providing feedback on the topic.

Jay Fucilla, senior political science major, thought the event gave attendees different views.

“This isn’t my first time at one of these events, oh no,” Fucilla said. “But today I thought was pretty interesting. It’s an issue that isn’t really talked about, but it gives a different perspective.”