Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Author Santiago on 'Being Open about the Downlow'
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Liz Baudler
2017-03-14

This article shared 381 times since Tue Mar 14, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Cordaro Dont'e Santiago grew up a bit of an outcast—an overweight, observant kid who watched his family dysfunction and felt personally responsible.

As he got older, he realized he was attracted to men, but as a young Black teenager trying to navigate high school life, being out and finding men wasn't easy. I Will Never Be #1 In His Life: The Story of Dating Downlow Men: Volume 1, covers Santiago's early life and sexual experiences as the first installment of a longer memoir. He spoke with Windy City Times about his reasons for telling his story.

Windy City Times: Parts of this book are so raw, emotionally and physically. Were you hesitant to put so much of yourself out there?

Cordaro Dont'e Santiago: As I was writing this, I wasn't worried at all. I thought, "oh, it's going to grab people with its intensity." I didn't get scared or nervous until two weeks before I released it. I was like, wait, a minute, do I really want this much information out? I did not really think I was going to release it. I was just writing as a form of therapy.

I've been writing this book since 2012. Things just kept happening that I kept adding and I felt like if I didn't just put something out there, I never would. The book is not for everyone, and I knew that when I wrote it, but I was not going to sugarcoat anything just to make others feel comfortable. Life is uncomfortable sometimes, and I wanted people to feel that.

When people read the title, they think it's a tell-all book. A lot of people have deserted me because that's what they thought this book was. Guys who I was dating who still weren't ready to come out. A lot of people have not supported me because they thought that to support me would be to support the lifestyle, and they don't agree with it. My church congregation has sort of turned their back on me. Those things I was preparing myself for, but that still doesn't make it easier.

WCT: What convinced you to put it out publicly?

CDS: The Pulse Nightclub [mass] shooting really made me say, "I need to tell my story because there's no telling who else has gone through this." The hatred involved in that shooting made a lot of men, friends I knew who were on the down-low, afraid to say it. They were one step closer to saying, "you know, I'm ready to just be free," and then that shooting happened and they said, "you know I can't do this." And then what gave me the final push was [film] Moonlight. [With] Moonlight, you would think the author of that and me were in the room talking. I felt instantly connected to it.

WCT: A lot of moments you write about are humiliating: You were bullied, [and] you had to come out to your mom when you were 14 in front of the school principal. What effect did that have on you?

CDS: My mother knew all along. She was just avoiding the whole conversation. In that moment, it all became real for her and she didn't know how to handle it. The reaction my mother had toward [my coming out] wasn't for me—it was for her. But the whole humiliation I suffered in school was really because I trusted so much. I opened myself up to so many people. Just having a listening ear was enough for me because I didn't anyone else to talk to. If a person was pretending to be my friend to get information, I didn't know the difference because that's what I needed at the time.

WCT: How much do you think parents affect their kids' sex lives?

CDS: I think they do more than they realize. My mother was with a lot of men. There were certain things that I saw, certain things that I heard. I was just very curious, and I think that curiosity is what made me really more interested. I saw a lot, and it was never a conversation. She never sat me down and had "the talk." I'm not sure if they just didn't think I saw, or comprehended, or if they just didn't want to have that conversation.

WCT: This is volume one. What happens next?

CDS: The title really starts to stick in volume two. Part one ends with me getting into college. College life changed me completely. I got older. I explored my sexuality more. Guys approached me who were interested in me, and that had never happened before. Before that, everyone I was intimate with was just for intimacy. I started to experiment more now that I was more confident in myself.

WCT: What particular challenges do you see your community facing in the future?

CDS: Before Donald Trump became president, I felt like we were going in the right direction. I felt like more people wanted to be proud of who they were. But with the rumors of the things he plans to do, the fear came back. The African-American gay community, we react to fear. Fear is what drives us and makes all of our decisions for us.

I experienced it with my long-term boyfriend. He would have good days when he'd say, "I'm ready to be out, I"m ready to be with you," and then he'd have days where he'd hear about a gay-bashing or a Black person getting kicked out of a church, and then fear would settle back in. And if we keep doing that, that's going to be our downfall. There's a stereotype that we just want to have sex with everybody, and we don't want to love, and that's just not the case.

I Will Never Be #1 in His Life is available on Amazon as a paperback or for Kindle.


This article shared 381 times since Tue Mar 14, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER 'Mary Rose' running through Feb. 12 2022-01-10
- Black Button Eyes (BBE) Productions is concluding its 2021-22 season with the world-premiere musical Mary Rose, featuring book and lyrics by Producing Artistic Director Ed Rutherford, music and lyrics by Jeff Bouthiette, direction by Ed Rutherford ...


Gay News

ATTRACTIONS 'Dr. Seuss' extended through Jan. 23 2022-01-05
- The Dr. Seuss Experience—the immersive spectacle that gives guests of all ages the opportunity to journey through nine different Dr. Seuss books—will now take place on Saturdays and Sundays through Sunday, Jan. 23. The attraction is ...


Gay News

Actor, poet, arts activist Jerrie Johnson talks new Amazon show 'Harlem,' other work 2021-12-20
- Jerrie Johnson's mission to book a series regular role six months after finishing graduate school came to fruition when they (Johnson uses they/them pronouns) were cast as Tye, a lesbian dating app creator/CEO (who uses she/her ...


Gay News

COVID U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker test positive 2021-12-20
- U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker separately revealed they have tested positive for COVID. Fully vaccinated (including getting a booster shot), the 72-year old Massachusetts progressive declared on social ...


Gay News

NATIONAL New Jersey, Audre Lorde, LGBTQ book, youth items 2021-12-19
- In the face of growing anxiety over the Supreme Court's conservative bent, state lawmakers in New Jersey are moving to pass marriage-equality legislation, Gay City News reported. According to Garden State Equality, the New Jersey Assembly's ...


Gay News

Author/feminist bell hooks dies at 69 2021-12-15
- Acclaimed author and activist bell hooks died Dec. 15 at age 69. The writer (real name: Gloria Jean Watkins) was born in 1952 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, per NBC News. Her first published work, a book of ...


Gay News

Leading groups join call for LGBTQ-inclusive books, books on race, racism 2021-12-13
--From a GLAAD press release - GLAAD joins over 600 groups and individuals in a powerful statement of support against efforts to ban LGBTQ-inclusive books and books about race and racism. The statement, created by the National Coalition Against Censorship, is the ...


Gay News

Author Anne Rice dies at 80 2021-12-12
- Writer Anne Rice, whose Interview With The Vampire sold more than 150 million copies, died at age 80 on Dec. 11, according to media reports. Her son Christopher Rice, an out gay man who is also ...


Gay News

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids reaches marginalized communities with children's book 2021-12-07
- U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids' children's book, Sharice's Big Voice, tells the story of how an Indigenous lesbian mixed martial artist and lawyer became the first LGBTQ+ representative of Kansas. "My hope is that when children or ...


Gay News

Hell in a Handbag Productions to present Christmas Dearest Nov. 27-Dec. 31 2021-12-03
--From a press release - CHICAGO (December 2, 2021) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to continue its 20th anniversary season with the return of one of its most popular holiday musicals: Christmas Dearest, featuring book and lyrics by ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: World AIDS Day, 'Benedetta,' books, wine in a can 2021-11-26
- —World AIDS Day event at Belmont Harbor: —The Chicago Parks Foundation will hold a World AIDS Day event on Dec. 1, 9-10:30 a.m., at the Belmont Harbor Yacht Club. Antonio King, LGBTQ health and outreach liaison ...


Gay News

Designer and entrepreneur Kiki Bryant discusses future of 'Lollipop Lola' 2021-11-26
- On Jan. 21, 2021, Kiki Bryant set a $2,000 fundraising goal on Kiva.org to launch a children's doll based on her original book character, Lollipop Lola. The goal was met that same day. "That was a ...


Gay News

Missouri district returning LGBTQ+ books to high school libraries 2021-11-23
- In Missouri, the North Kansas City School district said it would return two books exploring LGBTQ+ themes to its high school libraries following public outcry, The Hill noted. The district announced its plans to reshelve All ...


Gay News

Downers Grove parents complain about LGBTQ books 2021-11-16
- Continuing a battle that's been taking place in several other states, parents in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove say they want publications they call "pornography" removed from the high schools' libraries, according to WGN-TV. At ...


Gay News

ATTRACTIONS 'The Dr. Seuss Experience' at Water Tower Place 2021-11-12
- It's certainly a time and place to be immersed in nostalgia. The family-friendly attraction "The Dr. Seuss Experience" is running through Jan. 2, 2022, at Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave. It's certainly hard to ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.