This web page is aimed at confronting racist behaviour and speech in gay men, particularly those of us who use online personal services like gaydar. If you’re after more general material about racism check the links page.
What we’re saying in summary is, sexual behaviour is no more justified a place for racial prejudice than any other area of life. We should stop making racist statements in essentially public forums like personal ad sites. If our sexual preferences have had an ethnic or racial bias, we should challenge ourselves to confront those limits and, if we can, exceed them. We believe these things because we think that narrow-mindedness, hurtful speech and exclusionism have no place in the gay community.
“Real beauty lies in the fact that so many are united — not in the negatives of hate and exclusion, so common today, but in the positives of love and inclusion.”
– (Former Justice) Michael Kirby at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Gay Games in Sydney
This site isn’t about *forcing* anyone to do anything. We have never and will never encourage any site to take down ads we don’t like. We are not forcing *you* to do anything. We are not interested in curbing your right to speak.
We are interested in challenging your preconceptions, asking you to think about the effect of your words and actions, the emotions you express, the tone you take, on others, encouraging to reflect on patterns in your own behaviour and what that might reveal to you about what’s going on inside you.
What is Racism?
Racism is fundamentally a set of judgements made about a person, not based on how you perceive the person, but based on generalisations you already believe about all people who share their ethnic background or their country of origin.
Racism is unfair, unethical and damaging to both those who do it and those who are its victims. It enforces the myth that we are separate and distinct instead of exclaiming the truth that we are one human people.
Racism is sadly alive and well in how we *talk* about our sexual and romantic preferences, and sometimes in how we *act* on them. Racism in the sexual and romantic parts of our lives is what we’re calling “sexual racism”.
Racism seems to be more acceptable there because we have fought so many battles over our right to our sexual preferences, many men hold their sexual preferences as sacred – even if they contradict other beliefs they may have. This is confusing because some people who abhor racism in general life still behave in a racist way in their sex life.
Stop Racist Speech
|Saying “No blacks” or “No GAMs” or “No GWMs” in my profile is just letting people know what I want. It’s being honest and it saves them from having to face rejection.||It’s not honest to say you’ll never consider an asian or black or latino or anglo man. It’s racially prejudiced and it seriously damages the self-esteem of the people it’s aimed at.|
Many men believe that they can only “get off” with guys from one ethnic group or that they can never, ever have some “1-on-1 fun” with guys who come from one ethnic group.
Personal profile services like gaydar encourage people to be specific, so guys write things like “No Fats, Fems or GAMs” or “Not into hairy guys or GBMs, no offence” or “No whites, sorry!” in their profile. We write these things to help increase the number of contacts we want and decrease the number that we don’t.
What we don’t think about is how it feels for other men to read them. Imagine how it feels to read ad after ad that excludes you based solely on your race. Imagine for a moment, that you were in a minority in the country you were born in and kept reading apparently endless profiles saying you weren’t desirable. It just might ruin your day, mightn’t it? Do you really want to help make other men feel bad about themselves?
But there’s an alternative to this grumpy, negative kind of speech that just makes everyone feel sad and diminished. If we simply make positive, inclusive statements in our profiles, tell people what we *do* like, and deal politely with people who don’t turn us on, we’ve made a positive change. Try talking about the *characteristics* you’re into, not about the person’s race.
Some examples (what they actually turn into depends on what the author is actually looking for, which often isn’t explicit from the negative version):
|“Not into hairy guys or GBMs, no offence”||“Really prefer guys with smooth, pale skin”|
|“No whites, sorry!”||“More comfortable with other black guys”|
|“No Fats, Fems or GAMs”||“Looking for slim, fit, masculine guys. Usually prefer men of [caucasian, latino, black] background” (although perhaps this guy should just get out more)|
Challenge Racist Behaviour
No-one has the right to get laid. Most of us can’t control quite how we respond sexually or emotionally to another. If something doesn’t turn us on, there’s not much we can do. Is there? In fact, for most of us our tastes change over our lifetime. Usually, they get broader, sometimes they get narrower. Can you honestly say that you like the same guys now that you did when you were 17 years old? What can you attribute that difference to other than experience?
Sometimes, we think we’re not into one type of guy, but then we meet that one guy that blows our preconceptions out of the water. Unless, we protect ourselves from ever meeting him. If we never really have opportunities to meet, get to know and get to appreciate guys with different kinds of bodies, different looks, different faces, how will we ever know if we could have found them sexy.
If you don’t consider your behaviour racist, but you can’t recall ever having chatted up, perhaps an Asian man, or slept with, perhaps a black guy, or got to know, maybe an Anglo dude, then how come you don’t consider that behaviour racist? We believe we should all challenge racial bias wherever we find it… even if it’s in our own behaviour.
Why not check someone out to see if you find them sexy rather than excluding them without even looking? It’s racially prejudiced to rule out someone for a job based on their race or to keep them out of a pub. Ruling out someone as a potential partner based on their race is just as prejudiced.
Stop Sexual Racism
Many men consider that sexual preference simply can’t, by definition, be racist. We think that’s wrong. Prejudice is prejudice. Racism diminishes us, weakens our community and, let’s face it, means that everyone gets laid less and has fewer chances to fall in love. That sucks.