Category Archives: personal

You Don’t Know My Name

‘Cause did I mention (oh) You bout’ to miss a good thing
And you’ll never know how good it feels To have, all my affection
And you’ll never get a chance to experience, my lovin’ (oh)
‘Cause my lovin’ feels like

You Don’t Know My Name – Alicia Keys

“El Salvador?” (No)
“Colombia?” (No)
“Russia?!” (No)

He had just stumbled across the room. A nice build, cute face, dark features…clearly plastered. We locked eyes and I introduced myself. We were going through my typical icebreaker, but I clearly couldn’t guess the country of origin.

He smirked.

“Peru.”

“Oh NOs!” I thought.

I have a few Peruvian gay men in my life. I stopped dating Latino men a long time ago; the gender role bullshit was a bit much for me. But he was sexy and I wanted in. It was already established he liked “chocolate.” I knew what this would turn into…a mental grappling match. I cupped his ass and went to work.

I don’t usually like to like to get in someone’s personal space within minutes of meeting, but whispering in each other’s ears turned into testing out the merchandise. I retuned to my friend.

“You getting out of here?” (he smiled)

“Yeah. I’ll talk to you later.”

Outside Peru called an Uber. He lived in Queens (natch) and we were both eager to put in work. So eager it turned full make out session in front of the bar. He reached into my pants and smiled.

“Te gusta?” (I continued to suck on his neck)

A botched incident with a Puerto Rican a few weeks earlier had me paranoid. I figured I’d ask.

“Do you have condoms and lube at home?”

He sighed. “I don’t like to use condoms…or lube. But you have no need to worry.” (If I had to guess he was Poz and undetectable.) We keep making out, but we both know neither of us is going to get what we want tonight.

It’s so frustrating to meet someone cute, have them be a good kisser (which he was) and have the house of cards fall apart over the penetration particulars. I really don’t want to be on PrEP, but I can’t keep turning away good ass like this. We tussle some more, but he won’t budge. We won’t be staying for the movie. Will have to settle for the previews.

The Uber eventually arrives. We get one more tongue battle in (with UberPool passengers and driver observing). I managed to have him drunk dial me before he leaves.

The next day I reach out. He was kind of a mess, and it would take weeks to get on PrEP and properly breed and seed him, but I was hoping we could keep in contact.

He didn’t remember anything from the night before. I estimate he was drinking for five/six hours before we even met. Sigh.

Oh well. I didn’t have the patience to recreate the night for him. But I’ll keep his number. Something tells me this won’t be the last time we meet.

Hookers and Cocaine

I had lunch with a colleague today. We talked about academia, career and getting to happy. The meeting left me with more questions than answers, but it was a great time nonetheless.

I paid off five credit cards last year. I’ve never had this much disposable income in my adult life. It’s weird actually.

But I have no idea what I want.

I definitely want to keep traveling. I have some great plans for 2016. But other than that, I’ve got nothing. I tried dreamlining like I always do this time of year and didn’t come up with much. Nothing pragmatic anyway.

A coworker just retired after 30 years and plans to “disappear for a while.” That sounds amazing.

I know what I don’t want (always).

I no longer think I want a boyfriend. It might have been the Fleshjack that was the nail in the coffin.

I low key want to quit my job and follow Christina Aguilera around when the new album comes out. But I doubt we’ll get a proper tour.

I also kind of want to do something big for my 35th birthday. With strippers and debauchery and all my friends like I did for 26. That was legendary.

Dominican Wifey says this is all normal because it’s my Personal Year 9. I guess that makes sense. But what’s next? I hate these in between periods of my life. Although, that’s when things always get really interesting personally.

Did you see this Powerball video. I can’t stop laughing. This guy knows what he wants. This guy has dreams. I want to be that guy.

It’s Cool

Run away with me

Hope that’s cool
Cause I’m really not trying to
Impose but I suppose that
I’m supposed to be here
With you
With eyes as sad as mine I think you’ll find
You need me just like I need you, yeah

But it’s cool
We ain’t gotta be nothing
It’s true
I’d actually prefer it, yeah
It’s on you, it’s on you, it’s on you
It’s on you, it’s on you, it’s on you
It’s on you, it’s on you, it’s on you
It’s on you, cause I’m cool

Jhene Aiko – It’s Cool

To the One That Got Away,

So many things have happened the last few years; joy, disappointment, miscommunication…

…but I keep going back to the first time we met. It’s really the only time I had you alone.

You were more beautiful than I could imagine. It’s not often I’m impressed (let alone speechless). As I sat across that table I couldn’t help fixate on a piece of pie hanging on the corner of your mouth. I wanted to take my thumb, ever so gently and whisk it away. Before I did other things with that bottom lip.

Do you remember what you said when I could no longer help myself and explicitly hit on you? It’s etched in my brain forever.

“I don’t think my boyfriend would like that.”

I could tell by your smile you didn’t have a problem with the thought…with the possibilities “we” could result in.

And I’ve played the game long enough to know desire does not equal a relationship. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed we didn’t get to talk it out; compare needs, discuss ambitions…see if there was any overlap. In my heart of hearts I think it could’ve worked. But the baggage, the trauma we both bring to the situation won’t let us be great.

I never thought you were Superman. I didn’t seek you out to save me. I just wanted a chance…an opportunity to verify what I already knew; the love we share is pure. And rare. And undeniable.

There’s so much I want to say, but I don’t want to belabor this. Your boy seems likes a nice guy. You seem happy even.

But we both know it’s a very safe decision.

To be clear, I wish nothing but the best for you. If you truly believe he’s what you want/need at the moment, I hope you’re right (for everyone’s sake).

Because desire (like that) doesn’t go away.

Not when the connection is that genuine. Not when the energy is handed down from the universe. You can’t repress that kind of yearning.

Ask your friend Boston Boy (he knows).

Besides, you’re brilliant. On a certain level I think that’s why you’ve done your best to not be alone with me after that. Unfortunately (for both of us), my powers extend beyond the physical.

I know you’re busy; new job, new city…starting over is hard work, trust me. Best of luck with that.

If I have any hope it’s one day I can sit across from you again, without all the noise and distractions and we can figure out a plan to sit in the sun together…if only for a moment.

Because that’s how I prefer to see us.

Love,

Tony

Love in Black and White

Black black

The funniest part of that night: he brought me Hennessy.

Hennessy!

Everyone who knows me knows I don’t drink brown liquor. Besides, we had a conversation about my love for tequila days prior. I didn’t really understand.

But stereotypes are powerful like that.

An orchid kind of love this was not; but it’s the closest thing I’ve had to effort in a long time.

When was the last time someone sought me out?
When was the last time someone worshipped my body? (and not the other way around)
When was the last time someone made it a priority to please me?

Admittedly it was nice. There wasn’t really the spark I hoped for, but what we lacked in chemistry we made up with in kink.

“Ask me again if I’m an experienced top.”

I thrusted harder…deeper this time. A shiver ran through his obliques while a smirk emerged from his lips. He wanted to be disrespected and I was happy to oblige. Got to give the people what they want no?

One Mandingo fantasy coming right up!

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want…specifically from men. And whom to get it from. I’ve also been thinking a lot about my place in the sexual marketplace and how that bodes for my personal goals.

If there’s anything the last situation taught me, it’s companionship ain’t shit if you don’t see the person on a regular basis. Especially the way we socialize men to enter a space, get their needs met and walk away. I’m actually really tired of my future husbands coming and going as they please but not taking my feelings into account.

“I got feelings too.”

By the end of the night I ran out of lube…and excuses. There was no reason to stay in this cycle of disappointment. If I wasn’t getting my needs met, it was my job to find what I was looking for elsewhere.

Hell, I didn’t have to look far. He was on his knees licking up the rest of the cum off the floorboards.

The joke’s on me.

Tammy Hennessy

The Dating Game

The dating game 520x259

He’s Just Not that Into You (Best Date I’ve Ever Been On)

We talked online on and off for months. It wasn’t until I randomly realized he lived near me that I asked him out on a date. We set a day, but two night earlier I got a random text asking if I wanted to hang out then. I was ill prepared, but decided to say yes anyway because I really wanted to meet him.

I drove to his place and picked him up. You could tell he was nervous. He kinda just stared at me in the passenger seat. You could tell he had never met someone so sure of himself. I laughed.

“So where do you want to go eat?”

We drive to one of his spots to get chicken, his favorite food. We go back to his place and talk for a little while eating. He was exactly as I had expected. I couldn’t stop staring at his bottom lip. I wanted to jump on him right there.

He turned on the TV, doesn’t say anything. He goes through the On Demand choices and decides on Love and Basketball without consulting me. Did he put it on because I was Black? I wondered.

Funny story: At the time I’d never seen the movie. In fact, as the Nia Long stan I am, I was boycotting all those Sanna Lathan romantic comedies from the early 2000s because I felt she was encroaching on Nia’s castings. I only saw Something New because Simon Baker half naked was too good to pass up.

Ironically if you’ve seen the movie, you know it’s basically about these friends who became lovers then didn’t speak for a long stretch of time. And that’s kind of what happened. After the movie, I wanted to fool around, but he wasn’t game. The day of our actual date, he cancelled last min. I would seem him around, but we never really debriefed after that. I don’t think I was up to his beauty standards (he has a particular look he likes in Black men and I didn’t fit into it.), but I still appreciate the time we spent that night. Despite being a non-starter, I loved the bitchy/affectionate banter we had. I’m a homebody; silly nights like that with a boyfriend are all I really want.

Praise and Worship Service (Best Non-Date I’ve Ever Been On)

Also met online after a “hey, you live close by” type of situation. He wanted to meet for coffee, but I think it was an ambush for dinner.

“I’m hungry.”

I took him to my favorite soul food spot in the hood. Honestly the best conversation I’ve had in years. Our work is similar, but we were also able to connect outside of career talk.

It was such a beautiful night, we decided to walk back home. I was sloshed at this point. We pass by a church and the singing draws him in. They have the door open and we watch for a while. His smile is brimming from ear to ear, transported to another world.

I, was beginning to sober up and got more and more upset as I reflected on how random the night was.

“If there were no social media, would we have met?”

He looked bewildered, not knowing where this was coming from.

“You don’t go to the clubs, I don’t go to church…would our paths have even crossed?”

He didn’t know what to say. And truth is it wasn’t so much about him as much as it was about how I meet men in general.

We arrived back at my block and I think he wanted to be invited in. I was over it.
A. I haven’t bottomed in nearly a decade
B. Even when I did, I don’t get fucked on the first date
C. He already had several situations going on, I wasn’t going to be another notch on his belt

He has this tall, dark and handsome look going on and he can form sentences so I’m thinking he has offers all the time and doesn’t know how to court someone at my level. We’ve touched base since then, but I think he wanted to be chased.

I don’t chase after men.

I was so invested in getting a boyfriend a few years back and honestly I’m not sure why. Looking at the gay men I know in relationships, many of them don’t seem happy fulfilled. I’ve realized many men want a daddy, to resolve daddy issues, a mentor, or just want someone to take care of them.

I’m looking for a partner.
An equal.
Someone who inspires me.

But that’s not the game most gay men are playing these days. These two examples of non-starter situations that had so much potential, it’s clear I need to rethink some things.

If you’ve ever watched The Dating Game, you know how this goes: I may not have all the information I want at my disposal, but decisions need to be made. There’s always winners and losers, but I take solace in knowing what works for me and what doesn’t. Lord knows that’s half the battle.

The German

The German

“Frenchie, I really don’t feel like going out tonight.”

My dorm mate was harassing me to go party. At the White spot no less! Heaven, the twink club was down the street and we were on break in between semesters. I had only been a few times before and hated it every time. All they played was Top 40 radio and the White boys would get plastered and step all over me. Not my idea of a good night.

After tons of begging, I finally relented. We arrived, got some drinks and headed to the dance floor. I immediately caught eyes with a man who would change my life forever.

Here’s the thing: it’s not that I’m unattracted to White men…I just don’t get into the whole blond hair, blue eyed (Children of the Corn) look. I chalk that up to my hometown. Most of the cute White boys in high school had some sort of edge. At a minimum, they were brunettes. That preference continued with my soap opera crushes (Ryan Phillippe, Eddie Cibrian*) to movies (Brad Pitt, Paul Walker) to music (JC Chasez, Jon B.).

Anyway, that was not what we had here. Little trendy T-shirt and jeans hugging his ghetto booty. Dirty blond hair and light eyes. And he could dance! I was thoroughly impressed.

Frenchie went over and struct up a conversation. Turns out he went to our school (in a graduate program) and was here studying abroad. I smiled, introduced myself, and we had a great time the rest of the night. Thus began our semester long love affair.

Frenchie made it clear he was interested and wanted to try dating him. He’s also European (hence the nickname) and found it hard finding gays from his side of the world. But after a few times together at various places, it because clear to everyone involved The German and I had a better connection.

A similar sense of bitchy/sarcastic humor, he could often finish my puns. He was also a lover of R&B and introduced me to some European soul artists I was unfamiliar with.

They say you never forget your first and The German holds a few titles of mine.

He was the first uncut man I dealt with, which was funny considering how many Latino/Hispanic men I sexed before that.

He was the first person I went to Fire Island with. We went with my one of my straight boy besties and his side chick. Good times.

More importantly, The German was my introduction to intimacy. All the men I had sex with up until that point were straight-identified (read: put penis in orfice, cum, pretend it never happened…rinse/repeat). With the German, it wasn’t about the sex so much as everything that came along with it. With an openly gay man, I had access to all these things I didn’t before: hand holding, caressing, getting lost in ones’ eyes.

Having a stereotypical dorm bed, I often fell asleep on top of him to the rhythm of his breathing. I got so used to falling asleep with him in my arms, when he left my body physically ached for weeks, like some sort of psychosomatic atrophy. It literally hurt that he was gone. I wouldn’t wish that pain on my greatest enemy.

The situation wasn’t without drama. At some point people started referring to him as “my boy” which eventually ruined Frenchie and my friendship. I had never “stolen” a prospect from someone, I didn’t know how to react when he stumbled into my room drunk one night, collapsed and began balling.

“Why does he love you and not me?! What’s wrong with me?!”

Another time, The German and I were at the pizza place on Christopher street after a night of partying and got into a fight. He didn’t understand why I “wasted” so much time with my (mostly straight) floormates.

“They’re not your friends. They don’t even know who you really are!”

The German was out since fifteen. He didn’t understand how I was twenty-something running around still in the closet and not sharing that part of my life to friends and family.

Talking to him about race was even worse. People began to treat me differently…better. I didn’t understand the implications of a trophy White boyfriend until then. I tried to explain where I was coming from several times, but structural racism wasn’t something he seemed to be interested in acknowledging let alone fighting.

The semester went by so fast, we didn’t really get a chance to talk about next steps. I had just gotten into my honors program and moving to Germany wasn’t an option (nor something I was interested in). He also needed to go back to the motherland to finish his degree.

Over the next ten years, he would periodically come back to visit. We would write letters in between, but it wasn’t the same. And when he was back in New York, he was usually partnered. The boyfriend would pick up on our shorthand…needless to say none of them liked me. Awkward!

The German isn’t necessarily the one that got away, but he definitely has an impact on my current dating life. That whole White privilege thing irritates me in the obvious ways, but it has a major positive byproduct: direct communication.

The German never had a problem stating his piece. His wants, his needs, his desires was always put on the table, whether they were met or not.

Meanwhile, I can’t even get the men of color I date to answer simple questions (let alone explain themselves).

If there’s anything I miss about The German at the moment, it’s his transparency. There’s something magical about letting someone see all of you and experiencing them whole-heartedly. Most of the current men in my life I can’t do that with.

I can’t call him an ex, he wasn’t officially my boyfriend. But I can’t call him a friend either, it’s clearly more than that.

…so I always introduce him as The German.

The Power to Walk Away

Powertowalkaway

(read on the steps of the NYU Office of the Bursar)

Dear Dad,

A friend asked about you the other day. I completely forgot I told her you had prostate cancer and she was perplexed I didn’t have an update on your condition (or seemed to care for one). I don’t know where people’s idea that I hate you comes from. I figured I’d take this opportunity to speak my truth.

I don’t hate you. Quite the opposite: I nothing you.

I remember it like it was yesterday. We were in your temporary apartment in Queens when you whipped out the blueprints for the million dollar house you were building in Florida. It didn’t really click at the time the money going to the construction of that house was my college tuition. Almost fifteen years later, I guess I’m still in shock. For someone who grew up poor and then was able to build a middle class living, you know how critical education is for the success of Black men. I guess it didn’t matter I just happened to be the smartest one our town saw in a generation.

The lady at the NYU financial aid office, bless her heart. She could see the frustration on my face. All FAFSA saw was a father that made a six figure income. Not a son that got blindsided and was supporting himself indenpently since sixteen.

“Just pay the $15,000 and if the decision changes, they’ll reimburse you.”

Sure lady. The money’s in my other pants.

It definitely took a good chunk of my young adulthood to forgive you, but that was years ago. In fact, I’m actually writing this letter to thank you.

I see so many people in my life drowning in a sea of obligation. A false sense of obligation. Relationships in their lives are clearly not serving them anymore, but they refuse to give them up.

“We’ve known each other for years.”

“[insert university/program here] is the most prestigious school in my field. I can’t just leave.”

“We’ve been together for [X] years. What would happen to the children?” (As if children can’t tell when their parents can’t stand one another. Trust me, they can. And it’s no better than divorce.)

They give me excuse after excuse. And I watch as they spiral deeper into the rabbit hole. It’s depressing for all parties involved.

I don’t have that problem. And I have you to thank.

When a relationship with a person, job, etc. is no longer working for me, I reflect on exactly what is going on. Then (I try to) present my findings to the other party. Though it’s become clear over the years many people would rather stay with their head in the sand (your ex-wife being the obvious example). But that doesn’t change the impetus to leave, right?

The power to walk away is honoring the power of chosen family. To honor your truth. Once the ties of blood obligation goes away, you’re faced with the possibilities of seeing all living creatures worthy of honor, respect and care. I often wonder what the world would look like if everyone had this perspective.

And as I experience my thirties, I can honestly say I empathize with you more and more. With a bipolar sister, a drug addicted brother and liability of a mother, you clearly had a lot on your plate before any of us were ever born. I can only imagine what your life was like when you graduated from high school and thought about the future. Despite the horrid timing, I can’t spite you for finally taking control and seeking your definition of joy.

So while I don’t condone walking out on your family, I understand. It was probably the first time in your life you put your wants, needs and dreams at the forefront. I hope it’s working out for you.

Don’t worry about me. I have amazing people in my life. People who listen, people who communicate…people invested in my long term happiness and success. I wake up every day hoping to do my best to honor them. I pray you can say the same.

Take care of yourself,

Tony

Am I The Kind of Man I Want?

“Are we the kind of boys we want? And if not, who will have we, if we won’t have us?” – Yolo Akili

The strangest thing happened.

I spent the last two years trying to make this South East Asian man love me back (at the level I was at) to no avail. Then suddenly I got what I wanted…in another person.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I was searching for an assistant in early 2012. It was my first hire at work and (if possible) I really wanted to use the opportunity to award a young man of color an entry level non-profit position and the mentorship I sorely lacked the last few years. (There’s another post dealing with that whole process, but I’m unsure if I’ll ever publish it).

I ended up with a nice young man; he wasn’t that young, but I read him as such. He has a research background like myself, but lacked real world experience. It was a perfect opportunity and he was eager to learn.

At some point getting to know one another it became clear he was primarily attracted to Black men and wanted to get it in. I have this policy; no sex with people I work with/will see on a regular basis for business purposes. It’s just better for my sanity and I’ve seldom broken the rule.

But the timing was interesting. Considering on paper he was everything I was fighting for at the time, I couldn’t understand why I was so blah about him. Upon further reflection, I realized why I wasn’t attracted to him. The epiphany shook me to the core.

OMG. He’s me! The Filipino version of me. That’s why I’m not attracted to him!!

I immediately thought of the docu-poem by Yolo Akili. The first time I watched I was amazed most of the guys explicitly mentioned gender presentation. Ten years doing this work and I’m still amazed at the varying definitions of “masculine” and “feminine.”

Back to me, there was nothing “wrong” with my assistant. I wouldn’t stop if I saw him on the street, but he was definitely attractive in his own right. His mannerism and such swayed towards “feminine” but he has a strong personality and his interested varied like mine. Overall I would consider him androgynous. Of course race factored into all these assessments.

But it was his personality that had me intrigued:

He was funny, but in a goofy/quirky way (like me…although I’m more dry/sarcastic/bitchy).

He was very smart and driven (also like me, though I tend to wear it in a more elitist way).

And he was definitely a caretaker (like myself). For such a young person, he read more “old soul” than I do (and that’s saying a lot). Loyal and humble, he would make a great husband. But there was something missing: excitement.

And as much as I call myself boring in a self-deprecating way, to see it…to experience it personified in another person was an out of body experience to say the least.

When you have a long term romantic relationship with someone, but you never get a label, part of what they rob you of is feedback. No label means no accountability. The two “relationships” I’ve had since returning to New York, both intimate but unstructured, didn’t allow a space for the two men to critique me in a healthy way. I know how I felt about them, but no concrete language about how they felt about me. I can analyze their actions (and reactions), but they were both non-communicative, so not in their own words.

And it makes sense. The Bay Area was a hostile environment for me. It was unsafe, unsupportive…dare I say unloving. A specific version of Tony had to show up to survive that experience.

Which is a complete mindfuck because that’s not the version of Tony my undergrad friends know. That Tony was much more happy go lucky. It wasn’t until I was back in NY and the two groups started interacting more frequently that I even suspected something was wrong. Only then did unpacking the trauma that was my Masters program begin.

So am I the kind of man I want? Definitely. I love me, I get me. But not the version I thrusted upon this man for the last two years. That Tony was operating from a deficit. He was so starved for a genuine connection, when he found it that fateful night in Orlando, he became fixated on keeping it by any means necessary.

In Yolo’s poem the participant at 3:15 says he would date “a more masculine version of me.” I get that on a certain level. On one hand, I want someone with the same values, but to honor my Learner, I also want someone with a different background/interests. Dating interracially is the easiest way to find that (though clearly not the only way).

It’s easier to appreciate the time I had with Boston boy with this new lens. I can’t speak for him, but the situation makes a lot more sense now.

Gone and Never Coming Back

32

This [song] is about closing a chapter in your life. Whether you’ve lost someone physically, mentally or emotionally…there’s a lot of emotions that go into that; frustration, anger…and it’s OK to feel that way. When it’s time to close that chapter in your life, it’s not always easy to say goodbye, but sometimes necessary.
Melanie Fiona – The MF Life commentary

Something happens when you turn thirty. A shift. I can’t find the words to explain it, but it’s there.

In my case, I think I just stopped apologizing for being myself. When you’re self-aware at an early age people kind of freak out. Then the policing begins as people try to change what they deem unacceptable.

Turning thirty also coincided with living by myself for the first time. The move has been a blessing and a curse. I often spend days in silence thinking about this thing called life. And there’s no one to help wash the dishes.

Jeff wrote this really poignant turning thirty series and I though, let me try this out for a few years before I write something down. I can’t say I’ve come up with anything amazing.

The most interesting experience has been figuring out who I am outside of a formal educational setting. School was synonymous with my twenties, there was this void when I got back from San Francisco I’m still unsure how to fill.

Ah, and then there are the men. So many beautiful disasters. If there’s anything I miss about my youth it’s my innocence. There’s a kind of dreaming that is rarely possible to maintain in your thirties. A heart can only break into so many pieces.

Truthfully, I’m just happy to be here. I meet so many young Black/brown men who don’t think they’re going to “make it” past thirty (finances, violence, HIV, etc.) and hence don’t act/plan accordingly. I also had little/no gay examples growing up so I was just making it up as I was going along.

But I’m grateful every day for the journey. And the opportunity to learn new lessons.

Tuesday

RIPMark

“What do you need?”

It’s an awkward question. I don’t get asked it often enough to have answers ready either.

When I first heard of Mark Carson’s murder I instantly got a migraine. Not because I was still intoxicated and processing the events of the night before. Nor was it because I work right there and that could’ve been me. I saw his picture and knew this would become something more than I was psychologically prepared to deal with at the moment.

The first internal email came late Saturday afternoon. The troops were being gathered. We were going to march and rally to condemn this unspeakable violence. And I make a horrible company man.

The news started blowing up on social media. “A gay man was killed in cold blood? In the heart of Greenwich Village? This still happens in NYC in 2013?”

Newsflash everyone: the Village doesn’t belong to the queers any more, especially Black gay men. The Hangar is still there, but the neighborhood looks vastly different since I was an undergrad ten years ago. Between the new residents who despise the youth of color, annoying tourists and increased police presence, I try to get out of there as soon as I clock out.

Speaking of police why would I want to mourn the death of another Black gay man with a woman who endorses a policy that disproportionally affects Black/brown men and LGBTQ people of color? And it’s complicated; I love Christine Quinn. I actually like Bloomberg too, but I’m in the habit of letting people know what’s working for me and what isn’t.

The first interview I saw with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly seemed suspect to me. I’ve never seen the NYPD so quick to call an incident a hate crime. He almost seemed happy. Anything that calls for more police excites him. More police is the last thing I need right now.

By the time they started promoting the rally publicly, the peanut gallery was already fighting. “Despite what most think of Christine and her political bullshit tonight is not the night to attack her in any way. Please tonight is not the night. We need to unite and show up.”

Well when is a good time to have a more nuanced conversation?

I wanted to have one earlier in the year when Jabbar Campbell was beat by police in his own apartment, but no one wanted to have one then either. Isn’t this groupthink/no dissenting opinions BS the same thing that gets us in trouble every time there’s a terrorist attack? Have we not learned anything from that false claim of weapons of mass destruction?

By the time Loreal texted me I had an even bigger headache so I decided to stay home Monday. Unfortunately that didn’t make me feel any better.

I had to go to the supermarket to get bread. The (Black male) cashier doubled charged me for my peanut butter and I didn’t want to go back to complain. Disillusioned and uninterested, he clearly doesn’t like his job. On the corner the Negroes were taking about the usual bullshit (“ruthless mafia niggas” and such). I wanted to slam my groceries to the concrete and scream, “A man was killed Friday night. A gay Black man that lives up here. This isn’t Scarface you idiots!” Truth be told, it was just another afternoon in Harlem.

Darian asked where the LGBT people of color were. There’s an article on Mused Magazine with one comment. If it was a story about Beyonce or tops vs. bottoms there would be dozens. I suppose that’s better than Discreet City cracking jokes?

And I get it. I don’t condone any of it, but I get it. People handle stress in different ways.

Today on Facebook Persian sex master (who’s a counselor) asked for resources for talking to African American teens about internalized racism. I wanted to say, “Tell them to forget about it and if they’re brave enough, just get it over with now. Even if you get past all the internalized stuff, you’ll wake up in a country that wasn’t made for you. And it just gets harder to take as you get older because your resources will diminish.”

I hate when I get like this…all Dark Phoenix; kill, kill, kill, burn it all to the ground. And it happens more often than I like to admit.

I had to curse White Wifey out. She’s been begging for a date since she returned to NYC and I just don’t have time. “You’re smart, beautiful and you have a vagina. You shouldn’t be this pressed.” (aka leave me the fuck alone).

She got off nicely. I also cursed out my niece who has been texting me incessantly since Mother’s Day. She recently got an iPod touch and is out of school for the moment. “Go play with your little sister. Your mother spent thousands of dollars (and ruined this family) to have her so you wouldn’t be alone, go play with her.” She lamented: she wants a younger brother and prefers to hang out with teenagers. She’ll be fine: she was institutionalized a few months ago with a mood disorder and is so doped up on Abilify she won’t be giving anyone any trouble anytime soon. Besides, she’s not even eleven and is already over 200lbs. If she’s fat and ugly I don’t have to worry about her having sex in middle school and it buys me some time. I can’t fly across the country to give “the bird and the bees” talk, I have bigger fish to fry right now:

Like my loans
Or grant writing (cause these social workers don’t know how to do anything other than talk about their feelings)
Or saving this city from HIV

Speaking of HIV, another White friend who lives roughly six blocks from where Mark Carson was murdered was upset because I had to cancel on him too. I had to explain what happened.

“Wow. That’s really sad.”

Did he not hear all the queers marching down the street Monday night? Even being HIV positive, White privilege is a beautiful thing; you can just ignore things/problems you don’t deem applicable and carry on. Must be nice.

“What do you need?”

The question actually came up a few weeks ago. After we saw Iron Man 3, another female friend asked me how my father was doing. I completely forgot I told her months ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I often forget who I tell what these days. I would never unload everything on one person (like people often do to me). That would be unfair.

Truth is I need a lot:

I need a real vacation. The staycation was great but clearly not enough.

I need $150 to pay for associated costs related to this blog.

I need everyone to stop calling about their bullshit relationship problems.

I really needed Christina to tour this year. Desperately. She looks great though.

I need to write about Charles Ramsey, Jason Collins, Mr. Cee and everything else that has been going on lately.

I need to finish my damn thesis.

I need to drink less. All it’s led to is crying in front of people uncontrollably and that can’t happen again.

I need White people to be more aware of minority stress.

I also don’t have time to explain to them who Lena Horne or Eartha Kitt are.

I need to prepare to be the only Black person on staff again (whose job isn’t tied to a mop and bucket) and the stress that will undoubtedly bring.

I need a new primary care physician so I can get checked out for hypertension and find out more about my cancer risk.

I need us to be able to have an intelligent, elevated conversation about race and how it complicates issues like gun violence, hate crimes, etc. Cause you know, the data shows LGBT people of color disproportionally face more violence.

I need people to stop freaking out when I say things like that. It’s not the Oppression Olympics, it’s the facts Jack.

I need the media to plaster Elliot Morales’ mug shot anywhere and everywhere like they do when a Black man is accused of any crime.

I need people to stop pretending like this isn’t about gender presentation and higher standards of Black masculinity. When Mark’s friends remember him as “fabulous” we all know what that means.

BTW, I don’t need stories about Mark being harassed at his job by homophobic customers. I need to know what his favorite color was.

Mark deserves better than this.
Sakia Gunn deserves better than this.

Everyone killed by hate deserves better than this!

They deserve allies that are not only committed to the work but know what is really going on and how we got here in the first place. Complicated problems need complicated and coordinated solutions.

What do I need?

Honestly, I really just need a moment. A moment to take a breath: to reflect, to regroup. Another sex master quit her job a few months ago. She cares so much it was consuming her. She was so over it she threw her hands up and hibernated. She gets to play with babies and her dog and other happy things now. I wish I could do that.

Ultimately that’s why I didn’t go to the rally Monday night. Not because of politics, not because of any particular beef. I knew Tuesday, when the dust settled; when the barricades were removed and everyone went back to their lives I would have to return to the front lines for the next LGBT person who needed help. I called my sister, wished her a happy birthday, hung out with Loreal one last time before she goes to do HIV prevention work in Africa for two months and went to bed. I need all the rest I can get.

Because the struggle continues.