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It was upsetting, but also exhilarating. I started messaging a man and, before long, we were seeing each other. I had my first sexual experience with him and I felt so free when we were together. I would sneak out to meet him on the weekend, and for a brief while I felt totally happy.

"I Can't Date Jesus" looks at challenges black gay men face today

After a few months things with that guy fizzled out, but something inside me was different after sleeping with him. My confidence had grown, and I started messaging a few different men.

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Before long these messages became phone calls, and several of those phone calls got pretty explicit. My sister has a couple of gay friends, so I thought she would be understanding - and I was right. But then came mum overhearing the phone calls. By the time this happened I was well on my way to saving enough money to move out.

Her response devastated me.


Though my mum and I were never that close, part of me hoped my coming out might bring down some of the walls between us. But the opposite happened - there were more barriers between us than ever before. We continued to live in the same house for several uncomfortable months.

Mum acted like I had never told her I was gay. We barely spoke, except to make polite chit-chat. I knew I had to leave. He mentioned there was a spare room in the student house he was about to move into - and I jumped at the chance to take it. I ended up living with four students, three of whom were also gay. For the first time, I felt like people really understood me. But feeling accepted as a black man in the wider gay community was a different matter for me.

My experience as a gay, black man

Black, gay men are underrepresented in the mainstream, and the impact of that is huge. It makes me feel really objectified. Want to stay abreast of changes in prevention, care, treatment or research or other public health arenas that affect our collective response to the HIV epidemic? Or are you new to this field? Menu HIV. GOV Search Search.

'Growing up, it felt like I was too gay to be black and too black to be gay'

Locator Search Search. Still, it was a very lonely time for me. As I slowly came to terms with my sexuality, I started going to gay bars and clubs. I have always admired gay men who are confident in themselves.

'Growing up, it felt like I was too gay to be black and too black to be gay' - BBC Three

I definitely find a lot of black men, like myself, to be more reserved about their sexuality, in comparison to gay, white males. I question where this confidence stems from: Does it come from within? From family support? Or from the media? The media openly embraces white homosexuals and their lifestyles unlike homosexuality in the black community.

I wonder as a young boy, if I would have seen a black, gay man on screen that I could relate to, if this would have led me down a path of acceptance, rather than rejecting my true self.

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It sounds ridiculous, but because I longed to have a network and support system I played up to this. I was tired of being an outsider and I craved validation. In a way, I even felt proud of myself because I was finally seeking approval from other gay men, rather than trying to fool people into believing I was straight.

No one should have to act in a way that is unnatural — regardless of race or sexuality.