That young black gay man’s name is Jonathan W. Jones, author of Get-By: A Survival Guide To Black Gay Youth. For more info about Jonathan, click (here)
Jonathan: Lack of any substantive source of information before it. I remember when I was young and growing up. I was such a geek. I always answered my question about anything by going to the library and looking it up. I was fortunate to have found many of the answers that my peers were still clueless about. By the time I was 16, I was a resource at the local Planned Parenthood. By 18, I had enough knowledge, I felt, to share it with my peers. I saw that our community needed some knowledge. So that compelled me and the rest is History
LS: I think that the biggest obstacle in this lifestyle is the acceptance of your family. The outside world can be so cruel but as long as you can come home to a loving family, everything is okay. Do you have the support in your endeavors? Also, what do you have to say to those who are dl, openly gay, etc who don't?
Jonathan: You're right. Tons of people tell me that the hardest thing to do is tell their mother/father, because those are the people whose opinion shapes their life the most. Friends have said "Now that my mom knows, I don't care who else knows", and that's because family represents safety - safety against the troubles of the world, and the shortcomings within ourselves. So to have an accepting family is essential to being a happy gay person. I admit that I am fortunate. My mother, after I came out, said to me that she was "disappointed". But I wouldn't stand for that. Just as I became educated on what it means to be gay, I went to the library and found books and videos on what it means to be the parent of a gay child. I was lucky that she was open enough to read and watch the material I got.
LS: So your mother is cool now with your lifestyle choice? Or is she still dealing with her "disappointment"?
Jonathan: She learned, and she is very accepting now.
LS: That’s a blessed thing to have that acceptance. I have a friend who came out to his mother and told her that he was bi, unfortunately they both made a pact that its in the best interest of both parties not to tell his father. I noticed you mentioned your mother and not a father. Some would argue that the reason for a man especially a black man, being gay is because of a lack of father figure. What are your views on that?
Jonathan: I wish I knew the answer. The truth is I didn't have a father around, or even a father figure. My parents divorced when I was around 5, and the pillars of my family were my mother, 3 aunts, and a grandmother. Science has yet to determine WHY people discover that they are homosexuals. I think the environment we are raised in does play a part in how we act, but I don't act femininely at all. Is it possible that being around all women made me like men the same as they do? I'm not ruling out the possibility. But I also wouldn't "blame" my homosexuality on that fact either. I don't think being surrounded by women can make just any person "like suckin' dick"!! Hahahaha!!
LS: Lol, that is true. Suckin dick is an art and cannot be done by everyone. So its black history month. There are some heterosexual black men who are appalled at the fact that gay rights and civil rights are considered to go hand and hand. Especially with the recent battles of same-sex marriage. Gay rights. Is it civil rights or civil liberties?
Jonathan: This is for sure a loaded question. I think, undoubtedly, that is insensitive to compare the civil rights struggle for Blacks to the civil rights struggle for Gays. True, there are some similarities. But overwhelmingly, the atrocities done through the history of the United States to Black people is unalike, to the injustices enacted on Gays. With that said, I think it's most important to pay attention to human rights as a whole. Through time, the majority has never seemed to look at the whole picture. First it was all men are created equal...except for Jews. Then the exception was Blacks. Next women came. And now the struggle for equal treatment is a "Gay thing".
LS: So do you personally try to separate the two when celebrating both? Basically, I guess the question to you is, what the mean to you on black history month, to be a black gay man or in any month period?
Jonathan: I think anyone with multiple social ideates can celebrate multiple heritages and histories. During Black history, I use that time to commemorate the struggles of African Americans before me who I attribute the freedoms I have today. During Gay History month (October, I bet most didn't know that), I acknowledge the ongoing fight for Gay civil rights and the triumphs of Gays before me. It's impossible to alienate one identity because "it's not that months turn". But I use each month as a marker for when I can find more information to better my understanding of that specific identity.
LS: Ok, I just learned something new. I didn't know there was a Gay History Month.
Jonathan: Hahaha!! True story
LS: Can you elaborate on how that was established...
Jonathan: In 1994, I think, a high school teacher saw there was no history teaching about Gays. Rodney Wilson took the idea to Congress, and with the help Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation, Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and other national organizations got it approved
Jonathan: October was chosen to commemorate the anniversaries of the first two gay and lesbian marches on Washington, October 1979 and 1987. I was born in October, so that's extra sweet.
LS: Okay so before we change the tone, of the interview do you have anything else that you would like to say to the readers?
Jonathan: Not that I can think of.
LS: Okay now, this question on is on a more personal opinion. A majority of my readers are bisexual men, you are proud black gay man, how do you feel about bisexuals? What’s your opinion?
Jonathan: There’s really no way to "feel" about them. I can't generalize and group and say "Bisexuals are ____". They are products of human sexuality. Some people are 100% straight, others 100% gay, and most people fall somewhere in-between that. Someone have homosexual urges only 20% and feel straight otherwise. Or some can feel completely half and half. Bisexuals are just people who are willing to admit that they have both attractions. I do have to say, though, that they are bold for handling the love of a man, and the heart of a woman. THAT is a feat!
LS: Would you date one?
Jonathan: Absolutely. In fact, I have dated plenty. I don't discriminate on such a petty characteristic.
Jonathan: I ran a workshop for Black women. The bulk of them said they wouldn't date a bisexual man because of their own insecurities. That they wouldn't only have to worry about you cheating with another woman, but also that the fear of you leaving for a man would hurt deeply. I think that from both sides, bisexuals are seen as "greedy", or wanting to have sex with "anything that walks" But that's just ignorance, and people's natural placement of their own securities on others.
Jonathan: I think the real taboo comes in the thought that some bisexuals feel its ok to have two relationships - one w/ a girl, and one w/ a boy simultaneously
Jonathan: People assume bisexuals are more likely to cheat
LS: Okay, can I play devil's advocate?
LS: If a bisexual man, is openly informing you ahead time, I have a physical attraction with females but emotional and physical with males. So even though you wit me and I’m feelin you, my heart is with you. Me going to fuck a female is just that a "fuck". Would you be okay with that?
Jonathan: It depends on how early he tells me. If he tells me right off the bat that he gets down like that, it's not a "go". But If I catch feelings for him, then there's no telling what I would do to hold on to him. If I have to sacrifice that part of my pride to be happy otherwise, I'm willing to do that. But I would also include a clause to that freedom I'm giving him. He'd have to tell me every time he does it - no sneaking around. Honesty is what would make that situation work.
I might even throw in a clause saying tat I can do the same - have unemotional sex with people.
LS: Interesting and very real answer, so can you do a long term relationship like that? Do you believe in long term relationships in this lifestyle from your experiences?
Jonathan: I've seen it. They are not easy to establish, because the psyche of the gay man always wants better. He has something good, but wants flashier, bigger, and hotter if it comes along - most often. In life, not money, fortune, or fame is what I crave the most. It's love. True love that will last me until I die. But in all honesty, the odds of me finding a man who loves me as equally as I love him are not in my favor. Even worse is the likelihood that that mutual love will last. A person changes every 5 years, and so do our tastes. A long relationship has to withstand both people natural changes.
Jonathan: I am single definitely. But whether I am looking, it's off and on. I think I have given up on finding "husband material" at this point, because I feel like where I'm at in life, I'm not ready for it. I'm too busy, and I work/study too much to commit time to a lover. I have the feeling that when I'm older, and don't even live in New Jersey anymore, I will bump into him, and that's when it will happen. For now, I am just trying to use my youthful energy while I've still got it. Next for Jonathan....I don't know. People around me have been tossing the idea of a weekly web cam show around. I don't know if I have the time for it, or even the skill to write and produce a show EVERY week. People have also been asking about a second book. I don't really see myself as a long-term author. I just wrote that book because it needed to be written, and that's a topic I know about. I don't know anything else, so I couldn't really write to well on another topic. But who knows. With me, the possibilities are always endless.