Sunday, February 4, 2007

V.L., Chinese; Oakland, CA, 19

I never envisioned it as a movement. I never saw a difference between identifying as gay and downe. Now that I have become aware of this issue, I am now noticing that this in fact is a movement. I grew up in a school environment that was very ethnically diverse. There were a lot of minorities at my high school. But despite the presence of many ethnic communities at my school, there was a lack of a queer community. Coming out my senior year of high school, I was not able to find a queer community to associate with. With the prominent portrayal of a “straight-acting” persona, I felt the need to portray the masculine straight-acting image in order for acceptance. That as well as family pressures and expectations.

The lack of white men on my campus as well as the community probably caused the lack of my attraction to white men today. In a prospective partner, besides being Asian, I definitely look for maturity, direction, independence and stability.

I see the downe identity similar to the down-low. Maybe even someone who does not what to admit they are gay. But I also see it as a sub-culture within the gay community. When one hears the word gay or sees a gay person, they have automatic stereotypes of a loud “gay-pride” kind of guy. I think the downe identity is a reconstruction of the gay identity.