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 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

REFLECTIONS: On the Up and Up
by Max Smith
2005-04-01

This article shared 3337 times since Fri Apr 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


The February 2005 Identity featured an interview of Keith Boykin, whose recently published book BEYOND THE DOWN LOW: Sex And Denial In Black America takes a critical look at JL King's book ON THE DOWN LOW: A Journey Into The Lives Of 'Straight' Men Who Sleep With Men. For a short while I wondered if JL King would write another book or at least an article to refute all the strong criticism Boykin has for him. Instead, the third book out with a perspective on the issue is ON THE UP AND UP: A Survival Guide For Women Living With Men On The Down Low by the ex-wife of JL King, New York Times Bestselling Author Of On The Down Low, by Brenda Stone Browder. Stone is her maiden name and Browder is the name of her second husband.

When I first got this book I was hopeful it would tone down the emotional rhetoric and be a reasonable and even rational path to reconcilliation between bisexual men and their female partners.

Brenda Stone Browder opens by saying 'For more than fifteen years I kept his secret. For more than fifteen years I lived with a lie—his lie that had become my life. Perhaps I felt even after all of those years that I was responsible somehow for what had happened to me. Perhaps it was the feeling that I was all alone, that I was the only woman in the world who had this happen to me, that also kept me silent. But after fifteen years of secrecy, I am ready to speak ... .'

That opening to this book set the tone. It is a book about one woman's personal journey and struggle to understand things never taught to her by family, church, school or her husband, who did not like his attraction to men. Brenda Browder makes it plain that JL King has made so many efforts not to be himself that he has called himself by several names over time; JL, James, Jimmy, Jay as he went thru many changes in life. She tries to get closure by not blaming herself for her husband's confusion about self identity by saying: 'Today I realize that I wasn't woman enough for Jimmy. I was too much of a woman for him. Because the truth is my womanhood or womanliness was not what he was seeking. And I could have been Halle Berry or the Queen of Sheba and Jimmy still would have done the things that he did.'

While Keith Boykin puts the blame squarely on homophobia, prejudice against, and ignorance about, gays, Brenda Browder minimizes how homophobia causes men to be on the down low.

She says, 'Looking back, Jimmy probably never should have gotten married. But because we live in a society where a gay lifestyle is not accepted—especially in the Black community—Jimmy never felt like he could openly explore the feelings he'd probably had since he was very young. But that's no excuse for what he did. That's no excuse for putting someone you love through years of hurt and self-doubt—not to mention the impact it had on our children.'

Regarding her ex-husband, though, Browder says later in the book, 'JL King must be applauded for putting a human face to a very inhumane behavior. He must be applauded for having the courage to tell his story and let thousands of women know that they aren't crazy.'

While Browder's book gets off to a good start, it will be subject to the same kinds of criticisms Keith Boykin levels at JL King's book. There are many generalizations and opinions presented as facts. For example Browder says there are 'types' of women who are more likely to get involved with men on the down low. She never uses the politically incorrect term 'fag hag' but does say: 'You will see a lot of DL men with women who are very overweight. If a woman is struggling with obesity, she has some self-esteem issues. You can't possibly love yourself if you are eating yourself to death. That fat is a symptom of a greater ill, and men on the prowl prey on that.'

One friend who saw a copy of this book was so curious to read it that he read it cover to cover in one afternoon. He said he couldn't put it down, but that Browder will truly stir a lot of controversy with it because she seems to be on a mission to convert Black gay men to become heterosexual. I was able to read her book with an open mind until I got to page 119. After that page Browder lets her feelings of frustration with, or anger against, same-gender-loving men show very clearly. She lifts up gospel singer Donnie McClurkin as a perfect example of how and why gay men should change.

Why doesn't she understand that her marriage to JL King, which she says was so hurtful, is exactly what happens when a same-gender-loving man tries to become a heterosexual? Her entire Chapter 7 'Yes, He's Gay' is a long series of one contradictory statement after another. Browder writes with the frame of mind of someone who does not know or does not care about the profound social changes of the last 35 years which began with the Stonewall revolt in 1969 and brought on this era of lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender pride.

As of press deadline, my repeated requests to interview Browder were not accepted. I'd like to ask her if she has ever heard of liberation theology, Unity Fellowship Churches, Metropolitan Community Churches, affirming congregations of the United Church of Christ or Chicago's own Church of the Open Door. Her old tired 'hate the sin, love the sinner' comments on the morality of lesbian and gay relationships are behind the times. She shows no awareness of the historic context in which the Old Testament Hebrew Bible was written. She does not acknowledge that Jesus Christ does not say anything about homosexuality in the New Testament. Browder, who is from Ohio, probably voted in November 2004 for that state's Constitutional ban on gay marriage, yet she criticizes gay promiscuity.

What this book shows is that people with progressive attitudes about LGBT issues have a long, long way to go. Yet still I do find hope in the fact that the issues regarding the down low are being discussed like never before.

Comments? Concerns? Contact MaxsonnCS@aol.com


This article shared 3337 times since Fri Apr 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

VIEWS How same-sex couples can ensure parenting rights if Supreme Court reverses Obergefell 2022-06-30
By Jeffery M. Leving - After the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade last week, many are now wondering if the court would go after same-sex marriage next. Justice Samuel Alito, in his majority decision, wrote that nothing in its ...


Gay News

Survey: Americans hold complex views on gender identity and trans+ Issues 2022-06-29
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 28, 2022) — As the United States addresses issues of transgender rights and the broader landscape around gender identity continues to shift, the American public holds a complex set of views around these ...


Gay News

VIEWS Workers' rights are LGBTQ+ rights 2022-06-27
- June usually marks a joyous month for the LGBTQ+ community and our allies as we reflect on the decades of hard work that our community and movement have put into securing and promoting our civil rights. ...


Gay News

WORLD Japanese ruling, Pride events, Colombia election, Boris Johnson 2022-06-26
- A Japanese court ruled that the country's ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution, and rejected demands for compensation by three couples who said their right to free union and equality has been violated, ...


Gay News

How Coming Out in the 1970s Helped Me Make Brave, Life-changing Decisions 2022-06-25
By Edith Forbes, author of Tracking A Shadow: My Lived Experiment With MS - As a child growing up in Wyoming in the 1960's, I did not know any actual person who was gay. I knew exactly one fact about gay people, a fact universally accepted but never talked about: Gay people were strange. Even ...


Gay News

VIEWS The gay general at Valley Forge 2022-06-18
- Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben was born on Sept. 17, 1730, in Magdeburg, Germany. Son of a military father, Friedrich joined the Prussian army— considered the most advanced professional army in Europe at the ...


Gay News

VIEWS Introductory speech at the IML/IMBB 2022 contest 2022-06-04
- Note: International Mr. Leather (IML) 2022 and International Mr. Bootblack (IMBB) 2022 took place May 26-30 in Chicago. At the culminating contest on May 29, Chuck Renslow Charitable Foundation President ...


Gay News

LETTER Homophobia on The Maze Jackson show 2022-06-02
- NOTE: Maze Jackson—who hosts"The Most Dangerous Social-Radio Show in Chicago" on weekday mornings at WBGX 1570AM—is the husband of Metropolitan Water Reclamation District President and Cook County assessor candidate Kari ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT: LETTERS Pride: Remembering who we are 2022-05-30
- The LGBTQAI community echoes the mantra of secular society: Happiness comes from sex, money and power. Life is too busy with work and leisure to have time for religion and/or values. During this period of Pride ...


Gay News

VIEWS Another 'Handmaid's Tale,' or sex and the supreme Catholics 2022-05-24
- Amy Vivian Coney Barrett was confirmed as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 26, 2020. Barrett is only the fifth woman ever to serve on the Court. She is also the sixth Catholic ...


Gay News

'LGBTQ Rights on the Line: The Role of Communicators Advocating for Equality' event preview 2022-05-22
-- From a press release - Celebrating, honoring and acknowledging Pride Month is more important this year than ever (and it should be celebrated all year, not just during one month). The expected Supreme Court ruling that will undermine the right to ...


Gay News

VIEWS Dignity/Chicago celebrates 50 years of ministry 2022-05-06
- It was 1972 and it was dangerous to be gay or lesbian. One could be arrested, publicly humiliated or fired from one's job. Even finding safety in the emerging bar scene was hazardous. Added to that ...


Gay News

VIEWS Biden, Democrats must end Title 42 now 2022-04-26
- The Biden Administration should honor its commitment to immediately end Title 42 restrictions which were imposed by former President Donald Trump, to deny asylum seekers their basic, protected rights. It would be a mistake for Democrats ...


Gay News

VIEWS The closing of civil society: Russia and the U.S., or fear the queer! 2022-04-23
- Putin's invasion of Ukraine has made manifest the fragility of civil society in Russia and the strength of civil society in Ukraine. It has also once again focused an intense spotlight on our own civil society. ...


Gay News

LETTERS A difference in opinion about Vatican document 2022-04-07
- I am responding to DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burks, who issued a press release that Windy City Times published. A newly released document from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education could trigger a new wave of ...


 



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
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     
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.