As always for me, my addressing an issue at length stems from one incident being the straw that broke the camel's back after many. So the following story is from such a moment since it led to my TikTok video about unwanted touch. And the further this story goes into details, you'll see why it was the straw that broke the camel's back.
I was out at the NYC gay bar, The Cock. You are allowed to strip down to your underwear on any given night, so the nudist & exhibitionist in me often takes advantage of that option. I was in the basement, and just standing there minding my business. An old white male that I have seen often, and had to swat off me often walked in my direction looking straight ahead of him. However, as he walked pass me, he grabbed my crotch. No eye contact from him beforehand to request an invitation to my body whatsoever.
Because of that lack of an invitation when he had the opportunity to request one, I immediately swatted his hand away. In response, instead of being apologetic, he in turn raised his finger to me and said, "Don't do that!"
So many words flooded my mind, but that raised finger; raised to lecture me like I was a misbehaved child stood so far out in my mind that the only words that initially came out were, "Who the fuck are you talking to??? THIS is my body! And I will do 'that'! Because I don't fuckin' want you!"
He replied, "No you won't!"
I said, "Excuse me. Try touching me again."
He said, "I will...gently."
"Try it! So I can put you the fuck out of your misery you Jabba The Hutt-lookin' mutha fucka!"
Yes, the Bed-Stuy ghetto boy came out in the Lower East Side that night.
As my voice was elevating with each syllable, I realized that one of the go-go boys and a patron tried to pull me away. Yes, you read correct. Pull me away. For it was at that point that I realized that I was actually walking towards the guy while yelling at him. Because his response of entitlement made me get more in position to see if he would actually take me up on my dare for him to touch me. A touch that would have resulted in a justified physical retaliation by me.
While I was glad for the go-go boy and patron's attempt to de-escalate the situation, I also felt there was some other reason for them intervening besides the common avoidance of a fight occurring in a bar. Then my inner-voice laid it out for me.
My conscience said, "LeNair, stand down! Think about the optics!."
My Aries rage made my response to my conscious be, "Fuck the optics! He deserves his ass whipped!...But then again, you are me. Therefore, you're smart. So maybe there's something I'm not seeing right now. But whatever it is, explain it fuckin' fast! Because this guy deserves an ass-whippin' for sho'!"
My conscience replied, "Okay. That guy looks like he's near or is collecting Social Security. And yes, you are 50. So yes, you are in the age range to justifiably beat his ass. However, as you have been told from talks with many guys in many places,...you don't look 50. To them you look late 20s - mid 30s at the oldest. So to mostly everyone within view of this confrontation, you beating on that man would look like a young punk beating up a senior citizen. And you being black and him being white makes the optics even worse. So again! LeNair, STAND! DOWN!"
To this explanation, my conscience proved to be intelligent as I figured. So I followed that voice.
There are a number of reasons this guy felt entitled to touch me and not take well to being called out on it. It could be a sense of white entitlement. It could also be the rape culture that is enabled by so many facets of the gay male community. It could also be his ethnicity-based male pride completely absent of a racist motivation, but instead an egotistical one. For I have had a number of confrontations with guys of different ethnicities that you know their aggression of that word "No!" is based in their ethnic culture of origin's idea that the male aggressor is to be submitted to by their target with no questions asked. Or it can be some combination of one or more or all of the above.
Whatever the case, it needs to stop. And it won't stop until we address it. I have said repeatedly in blog and social media posts that turning the other cheek and acting like such behavior "just comes with the territory" is why many who want to be a part of the events in such a space, and can act civilly decide to instead stay away from it.
What also is not a help is mocking me for addressing such intrusion into my personal space. From the moment I saw myself mocked by a bar patron for speaking up about unwanted touch via social media I knew that such an attitude has led to many, many, many. many unreported sexual assaults and rapes in the gay male community.
And for the record, all of the negative behaviors spoken of in this article are not unique only to The Cock. They can be found in many a gay bar and club across the globe. And that is the reason I am addressing this. We need to right this wrong. And gay media heads need to stop waiting for a cute white face that they owe a favor for a fuck to in order to address it. For their boy-toys are the kinds that give my sexual assailant the idea that he can get away with his behavior.
I want the new gays who come out to look at our community and be proud to be a part of it. The allowance, cowardice, and enabling of such behaviors makes us nothing to be proud of. In fact, they are a prime example of what prompted this Facebook post:
Let that sink in. Is this the kind of community we want to be? I know I don't. How about you?