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2— "A Host of Different Men": The Diversity of Gay Black Men in Harlem
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Louis and Paul

Louis met Paul in 1983. They dated for two years, but Louis continued to play around, until Paul delivered the ultimatum: we live together or break up. Louis chose to stay, and the two men have purchased a spacious apartment in a brownstone. Several of my informants own their own apartments and cars. Often homes were inherited, but maintenance costs and other payments demand well-paying employment, which most of them retain as well. Paul works two jobs to help with payments on the house and with savings to buy a car, and Louis struggles with night school as he completes his Mast-


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er's degree. They are active socially in most of the "gay scene" in Harlem, visiting the gay bars there at least two or three nights a week, often staying longer on Fridays and Saturdays. They also support citywide, black gay social clubs that provide a wide variety of social gatherings, from picnics and boat rides to dances and dinners. Louis considers himself very lucky.

LOUIS : I am lucky, you know. Paul is so very good to me. What he has to put up with. . . . I wouldn't want to be out here alone now. Not with this AIDS shit. It's scary. I mean, I've always got someone to go home to. Give thanks for Paul!

Louis and Paul have been living together for about seven years, just off St. Nicholas Avenue at 150th Street in Harlem. Louis is very proud of himself, his college degrees, and his vocational history. He says he is proud to be both black and gay and that his non-gay friends and family are slowly accepting and understanding his gayness. He is currently working hard to put a younger sister through college, an act that is endearing him even more to his mother. He and Paul also support two less fortunate gay men in their immediate neighborhood as they struggle to complete their high school equivalency diplomas. Louis serves on his co-op board, and both he and Paul support three large, citywide, black gay social organizations (which will be discussed later). As well as maintaining a high profile in the gay scene in Harlem, both Louis and Paul visit their mothers, together, every weekend. This can be an exhausting task as they haven't yet bought a car and their mothers live in New Rochelle and New Jersey, respectively.


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2— "A Host of Different Men": The Diversity of Gay Black Men in Harlem
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