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 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

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

This article shared 3540 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 3540 times since Fri Apr 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

VIEWS Mike Johnson: The smiling face of Christian tyranny 2024-02-14
- Mike Johnson wants to rewrite the constitution to make the United States a Christian nation. James Michael Johnson, Republican from Louisiana's Fourth District, is the 56th speaker of the United States House of Representatives. He was ...


Gay News

VIEWS Parents, not legislators, should be making decisions about medical options for children 2024-02-06
By Jeffery M. Leving - No matter the medical issue, when it comes to kids, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said something last December that every lawmaker in the country should realize when it comes to medical decisions for children. "Were House ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Sundance items, Green Day, 'Wednesday,' Queerties, 'The Wiz' 2024-01-26
- At the Sundance Film Festival, Jodie Foster told Variety that the $1.4-billion success of Barbie helps confirm that Hollywood no longer views women directors as too much of a risk. She said, "With a big success ...


Gay News

VIEWS Is the Pope Catholic? Francis faces opposition in steps toward LGBTQ+ inclusivity 2024-01-02
- The recent change in Vatican policy allowing priests to bless same-gender couples has provoked an unprecedented backlash against Pope Francis and his openness to LGBTQ+ people—a backlash that some fear might devolve into a schism in ...


Gay News

Bring Chicago Home: Guess who's saying no again 2023-12-04
Commentary by Bob Palmer and Mark Swartz - Chicago is ushering in an era of change with a new progressive mayor with a vision to invest in communities long ignored and a significant increase in like-minded city council members. We are excited to see ...


Gay News

Pope Francis's community of transwomen 2023-11-28
- It's a rare opportunity to meet the pope. It's even rarer if you're a transgender Catholic. However, on Nov. 19, in Torvaianica, Italy, a community of transwomen, many of them sex workers, were welcomed and seated ...


Gay News

Banning the Banning of Books: Illinois and California lead the way 2023-10-26
- In June, at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation banning book bans in Illinois public libraries. This legislation, initiated by Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, passed the Illinois House and ...


Gay News

OPINION Renewing state's Invest in Kids program is investing in anti-LGBTQ+ hate 2023-10-23
- In February 2020, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield warned transgender students in the Diocese's educational system that they "may be expelled from the school" if they live their lives authentically. Lansing Christian School ...


Gay News

Gilbert Baker Foundation reacts to death of shop owner who flew the rainbow flag 2023-08-29
--From a press release - In response to the murder of Laura Ann Carleton over flying the Rainbow flag in her shop in California, the Gilbert Baker Foundation released the statement below. Facebook refused to post the statement as it did not "...meet their standards." ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT U.S. higher education under siege; freedom of inquiry and speech at risk 2023-07-03
- The Covid pandemic threw a harsh spotlight on higher education in America, exposing forces eating away at the foundations of college and university learning, calling into question the traditional purposes of such education in our post-modern, ...


Gay News

Guest essay by Florida mom Nicole Pejovich: What's Happening to Florida's Public Schools? 2023-06-19
Related video below - A queer Florida parent answers questions about recent laws, how Floridians are coping, and how you can help Books pulled from school library shelves by the dozens. All evidence of inclusivity stripped from classrooms. The politically ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT For divorced parents, transgender children's health can present tricky dilemmas 2023-06-12
- Over the last few months, issues impacting individuals who identify as transgender and non-binary are getting a lot of attention in the media and among some politicians. Sadly, because it's become a political issue; a lot ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT War in the 21st Century: mercenaries, private military companies, private armies 2023-05-20
- In 2022, $407 billion of the Pentagon budget—representing half of that year's funding —were obligated to private contractors, of which a significant number were Private Military Companies (PMCs) involved in ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Telling the world about my mental health disorders 2023-05-04
- Over the years, coming out as a lesbian hasn't been that hard for me—because I was always too busy hiding something else. Confessing queerness can be a breeze compared to revealing mental illness. But I decline ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT German bishops endorse blessings of same-sex couples: Ancient rituals retturn 2023-03-31
- This March, at a national meeting of leaders of the German Catholic Church (referred to as a synod), a document titled Blessing Ceremonies for Couples who Love Each Other" received overwhelming support: 176 votes in favor, ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

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 Transgender 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


 



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.