by: Rohan Lewis
For some people, a hook up is jolly good fun. Another night, another high, another fling, etc., through which the politics of sexual performance is all that matters.
For me, it’s never that way. A hook-up is constantly a political battle, whether or not to deal with the stereotypes of the U.S. Afro-American gay male (which I don’t identify as).
The stereotype of the hyper-sexual black male has constantly plagued me, no thanks to U.S. media. Tyler Perry, NFL, NBA, etc. The black male is on a pedestal of athleticism and testosterone, destructive, fit and invigorating. How many films have we seen to have a hyper-aggressive black male? In jail, abusing his wife, smashing bottles, drinking; society only allots the U.S. Afro-American the brutish space, the bestial aspect.
This aspect I think has easily translated over into LGBTQQIAANO (etc.) culture. Apart from vogue culture, which has been ,most fascinatingly, recontextualised across racial boundaries, the bestial black man survives in the art of pornography. His virility remains terrifying, raw, and charged with a hyper-aggression that, honestly, would terrify me. If he dominates, he does so thoroughly, and if he is dominated then the man that dominates him has the black man whimpering– given that the dominating male is more aggressive than the recipient.
Such racial binaries disturb me. Even in Atlanta, where I am from, the fact that there is a Pride Parade and a Black Pride Parade suggests that the LGBTQQIAANO community is not as progressive as most would perceive. Rather, I find it to be just as divided, racist, and socially backwards as any other community.
I identify as Jamaican-American; I do not have a gender identity; hence, I identify with neither categories. In my other homeland, race is categorized differently: we recognize the mixture of people in a much more complex fashion than in the States; almost anyone you see will have a multi-cultural heritage, and it is a positive thing, whereas here those of “mixed-race” are always viewed as an anomaly, who have to conform to some idea of identity. So why am I forced into the gendered performance of this black ram that tops the white ewe when I am my own entity? I must constantly correct people for assuming, placing these horns of race and gender on my body when they do not fit.
It is not a pleasurable experience knowing that my sexuality is inescapable from the colour of my skin. Most who have approached me see a six-foot black male. No one bothers to wonder if perhaps this social-classification of race is nothing more than that, a cultural reality, some illusion that we all exist under in order to facilitate our transactions.
I cannot find authentic fantasy in this illusory reality, where the bonds of love are formed with society’s permission.
In reality, I am tired of race. I am tired of having to face the U.S. world, knowing that every day everyone who views me will never see me. Dating is impossible, because those “exterior” to the black race, whatever that means, will just see a black man in front of them, whose stereotyped virility is without question; those “interior” to the race will try to fabricate some brotherhood without even bothering to understand that I was only born to one brother in this life, and he’s the only one that I have. This racism is mutually held across the imagined borders of racialised reality. This does not mean that I “hate my race.” How can one logically hate what one does not identify with?
Here is where I come to the title, the impossible orgasm. A priori, the orgasm was an experience in which one was to be freed of everything, of societal restraints: moaning, yelling and other concepts are permissible. However, I can never be free of the reality that an orgasm is closely linked with Orientalism. In order to best please any U.S. partner, I must play the wild beast, the black monster that fulfils so many sexual fantasies, both animalistic and fraternal.
Some may revel in this role. Others may not. It is not my place to say.
I will say that I do wish that Prince Charming were real. Can he see me in the ball, above all other women in society because I am the different one? I, who came from the ashes of society’s own frivolities, labelled the colour of cinder? Will he see me not for my suffering, not for the melanin within my skin, but rather just simply as I am? Can he appreciate my love for K-pop, Ballet, Opera, Europop, and so much more?
If Prince Charming existed, then the orgasm would be ideal. I wouldn’t have to worry about how he viewed me. He wouldn’t look at me as some Nubian Queen or Egyptian Prince. He would see Rohan Tristan Ares Llewellyn Lewis, whom was wrought from independent fashions. The orgasm would be so liberated from every societal limitation of sexual identity and expression.
Of course, Prince Charming stays in books and movies. I write about him for that reason.
Rohan Lewis is soldiering their way through their third year at Northwestern University. An ethnomusicology major with a minor in dance, Rohan invests time in performance and creation. A choreographer, dancer, trumpeter, playwright, composer, poet and fantasy writer, Rohan loves all things “fairytale.” Zie is inspired by Yo-Yo Ma, Lin Hwai Min, J. K. Rowling, Isabelle Allende, J. R. R. Tolkien, Tamora Pierce and Shakespeare. Rohan, born in Florida but raised in Atlanta, also carries a Jamaican dual citizenship.