Preferred Citation: Hawkeswood, William G. One of the Children: Gay Black Men in Harlem. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1996 1996.



1— "He's Family": An Introduction

1. To ensure anonymity, the names of my informants and the institutions where they socialize have been concealed by the use of pseudonyms throughout the book.

2. Explanations of gay black slang and African terms appear in the glossary.

3. Dr. John Martin of the Sociomedical Sciences Division of the School of Public Health at Columbia University directed a seven-year study of the psychological and sociological effects of the AIDS epidemic on the gay communities of New York City. The project was funded by National Institute of Mental Health grant number MH 39557. Initially we networked 850 gay men into the project during 1985 and 1986. Each year we interview these men for approximately three hours, questioning them about changes in their lives, their homes, their work, their religious, alcohol, drug, and sexual activities, and their social networks, and about AIDS losses and their coping strategies.

4. For example, Hannerz (1969), Keiser (1969), Lefever (1988), Liebow (1967), MacLeod (1987), Schulz (1969), Sullivan (1989), and Wilkinson and Taylor (1977).

5. For example, The Black Scholar 18, no. 3 (1987) and Essence 20, no. 7 (1989).

6. See the novels of Chester B. Himes and Donald Goines, for example.

7. For example, Baldwin (1965), Brown (1965), Ellison (1972), and Wright (1966a, 1966b).

8. For example, Brink and Harris (1967), Connolly (1977), Engerman and Genovese (1975), Farley and Allen (1987), Killian (1964), Newman (1978), and the New York Urban League (1984).

9. Rarely is Suttles's work ethnographic (descriptive or contextualized), and he tends to neglect the individual people themselves, their perceptions of their lifestyles, their roles, and their relationships.

10. Inevitably, a well-written ethnography on the gay black community will also find an ordered structure. But a different picture of black men emerges—that is, different from received descriptions.

11. According to Hannerz, issues of economy and race prevent more people from achieving "mainstream" status. He defines "mainstreamers" as "those who conform most closely to mainstream American assumptions about the 'normal' life" (Hannerz 1969:38). Although he addresses the characteristics of "mainstream" families, he does not focus on the roles of "mainstreamer'' men.

12. See Moynihan (1965) and Rainwater and Yancey (1967).

13. See Gutman (1976), Hill (1971), Ladner (1971), Martin and Martin (1978), Schultz (1969), Stack (1974), and Staples (1971).

14. For some excellent discussions of the "poor" in America, and in black society in particular, see Howell (1973), Piven and Cloward (1972, 1979), Susser (1982), and Valentine (1968).

15. Nowhere in the literature on black society are black gay men (or gay black men) studied in depth. Anderson (1978) refers to black gays as "sissies" in passing, but they are marginal to the group of men he is studying.

16. The psychological studies of Bell and Weinberg (1978) and Julius Johnson (1981) do include black gay men in their samples.

17. Only passing references to black gay men appear in some works—for example, D. Altman (1986), Jay and Young (1972, 1978), and Levine (1979). More commonly, black gay men appear in fiction—for example, Beam (1986), Duplechan (1985, 1986), and Smith (1983).

18. Gilbert Herdt's (1981, 1982, 1984) works deal with ritualized homosexuality in Papua New Guinea. Male initiation and male cults, rich in symbolism, are shown to express a philosophy that views growth into manhood not as predetermined by nature but as presided over by men. The Sambia, among other Melanesian peoples, define the separation of men and women as both a biological and a social imperative, so they transform young boys of the female realm into warriors and adult men of the male realm by insemination. The works inform us about the social construction of gender; they do not inform us about "being gay." However, their importance to the study of sexuality, and homosexuality in particular, cannot be denied. In fact, as a result of this work, Herdt questions the validity of sexual typologies created and utilized by earlier sex researchers (see Kinsey, Pomeroy, and Martin 1948, Karlen 1971) and in much the way that more recent works attempt (Callender and Kochems 1985, De Cecco and Shively 1984, Nanda 1990). Nanda's work on the hijra is an excellent ethnographic example of a society's (here India) cultural construction of a third sex or gender, for which we have no term in English.

An interesting collection of papers on the anthropology of gay society and homosexuality is Evelyn Blackwood's The Many Faces of Homosexuality (1986). Some of the papers deal with methodological issues: the ethnographic pieces deal with the berdache (ritualized Native American drag perfor- soft

mances), Mexican bathhouses, and gender roles in Brazil. No particular theme links this collection of papers, but they do present the cross-cultural existence of homosexuality and portray a variety of expressions of the "gay lifestyle." The best example of an ethnographic description of homosexual behavior comes from the work of Joseph Carrier, an example of which is included in Blackwood. He contextualizes homosexual behavior in the Mexican-American community and shows how it is accepted, at one level, as an extension of male machismo (Carrier 1976a, 1976b, 1977, 1985, 1989).

19. Humphreys's is a groundbreaking work in sociology and followed closely on the heels of the extensive psychological literature of the 1960s. The lasting controversy concerning issues of ethics surrounding Humphreys's methodology have somewhat marred an otherwise important work. While one or two of his informants are black, he does not discuss the issue of race in relation to this setting.

20. The issue of racism is taken up by John Victor Soares (1979). The author states that the gay population in the United States apes non-gay America in its treatment of people of color. The article briefly mentions different types of black gay men, without investigating the types or analyzing their roles in society. It really acts as a guide to travels in black gay America.

21. The only other published source of information on black gay men (and gay black men) appears in the fictional writings of black gay men themselves (Beam 1986; Duplechan 1985, 1986; Johnson, Robinson, and Taylor 1988; Smith 1983). These works are mainly autobiographical and provide an interesting record of what it feels like to be black and gay. While they are important and informative background reading, they lack the sociological analysis necessary to make them significant contributions to our comprehension of gay black identity.

22. This was in contradiction to the interest-group theory of Glazer and Moynihan (1963), which stressed the psychological dimensions of ethnic affiliation.

23. It is "affect" that gives identity its psychological power, not only to inform individual values and attitudes (which we see manifested in "intimate" situations) but also to unite people into groups and to maintain group boundaries.

24. While Cass (1985) Richardson (1984), and Shively et al. (1985) all bemoan the lack of definition in the terminology employed in the study of homosexuality, they discuss the importance of homosexual behavior as a significant aspect or stage in the process or development of the homosexual and, therefore, the gay identity: "Sexual fantasy and practice, however, is inevitably the major, if not the sole, criterion by which sexual orientation might be inferred" (Richardson 1984:85).

Richardson explains that the behavioral aspects of homosexual identity were raised to significance by the behavioral determinists of the 1940s (see Kinsey, Pomeroy, and Martin 1948). Later, Hart and Richardson distinguished homosexual behavior from homosexual identity: "Many people engage in same-sex acts without necessarily identifying as homosexual. Alternatively, a person may not have actually engaged in same-sex sexual acts, continue

although they would define themselves as homosexual" (Hart and Richardson 1981:73).

Today, some social constructionists apply "homosexual" just to sexual activity between members of the same sex, while using "gay" to describe a whole identity that incorporates other sociocultural attributes (Richardson 1984:83-85).

25. For example, see Cass (1985), Hart and Richardson (1981), and Minton and McDonald (1985).

26. Prior to 1970 most of the literature on homosexual men dealt with psychological issues, reinforcing the labeling of homosexuality as a mental illness. See Bieber et al. (1962), Cass (1985), Richardson (1984), and West-wood (1953).

27. See Rainwater's definition of a "valid identity" as "one in which the individual finds congruence between who he feels he is, who he announces himself to be, and where he feels his society places him" (Rainwater 1970:375). In other words, not only are an individual's psychological needs satisfied but he or she utilizes the cultural material available to him or her to validate his or her chosen identity and make it socially acceptable.

28. Unfortunately, Humphreys does not follow through on a discussion of the intersection of race and the gay identity, even though he lists ethnicity as a sociological variable that may influence the degree of acceptance of a gay identity. He does provide data on the socioeconomic standing of some of his informants and discusses the significance of different religious teachings to the development of a gay identity, even providing "Negro" examples.

29. While Dank and Humphreys agree that sexual orientation is an overriding factor in the construction of a gay identity, many other culturally definable attributes are incorporated: socioeconomic status, occupation, education, and a host of expressive traits, for example, dress, language, and nonverbal behavior.

30. Much of the recent approach to the study of homosexuality and the development of a gay community by the social constructionists has resulted in comprehensive historical accounts of the evolution of the concept "homosexuality" and its predecessors, for example, "inversion" and "uranism'' (Karlen 1971, Lauritsen and Thorstad 1974, Symonds 1901). The production of such historical accounts is a significant feat in its own right and ought to be pursued, not only to set the record straight but also to instill a sense of pride in a scattered, diverse, and often disillusioned population (Duberman et al. 1989, Greenberg 1988, Weeks 1977).

31. This is not to deny the fact that all fifty-seven respondents to the life history interviews for this project declared their homosexuality "natural." To believe that sexuality is indeed an integral part of one's essence is to accept oneself in the face of constant denial by the society around one and many of the individuals with whom one interacts socially. Here one could aptly argue that this essentialist belief itself is the product of social construction.

32. See Goffman (1963), Plummer (1975), and Weinberg (1983).

33. The best examples of this theoretical approach in relationship to gay communities are Goffman (1961, 1963) and Weinberg (1983).

34. See Banton (1987), Becker (1963), Cory (1951), Polsky (1969), and Reiss (1961).

35. Sources include Bott (1957), Buchler and Selby (1968), Fox (1967), Lévi-Strauss (1969), Schneider (1968), and Young and Willmott (1957).

36. See Cohen (1985) and Varenne (1986).

37. See Barnes (1969), Epstein (1961), Stack (1974), and Weston (1991).

38. In Harlem the gay black community refers to itself as "family" and to its members as "mothers," "aunts," ''brothers," "sisters," "cousins," "uncles," "husbands," or "children." For examples of structuralist analyses of gender roles, see MacCormack and Strathern (1980), Ortner and Whitehead (1981), and Strathern (1987).

39. See Weeks (1985, 1986).

40. See D'Emilio (1983:231), Musto (1987), and Salholz (1989).

41. See Adam (1987:79).

42. Five gay bars have closed on Christopher Street since 1987. Several others in the surrounding Greenwich Village neighborhood have also closed. The East Village community has been even more devastated with the closure of several bars, bathhouses, sex clubs, movie theaters, and discos (McFadden 1988). But the most noticeable changes in the mainstream gay scene appear on Christopher Street itself. Not only are the current patrons younger (teenagers and young men in their twenties, as another generation takes over) but they are also by and large non-white: one bar formerly catering to a mixed clientele is now exclusively black, one white neighborhood bar has become a black and Hispanic disco bar, and three white bars now serve a mixed clientele. As well, five gay bars on Christopher Street now employ black barmen, and black players feature prominently on the bars' pool and gay softball league teams. These changes not only reflect the arrival of another generation on the scene but also the dramatic effects of the AIDS epidemic. The middle-aged generation of gay men, say, from thirty to fifty, predominantly white and from out of town, are now absent. Many have succumbed to the disease, many others have moved away from the epidemic (often to the towns and states of their origin), and those who remain have withdrawn from the social scene. The residents of Greenwich Village have also changed: white non-gay couples, often with children in tow, who would have been a rare sight on the streets just ten years ago, are most visible in the daytime and during the weekends. At night they stay indoors, and the vacant social scene becomes replete with young gay New Yorkers, probably reflecting the true gay population of New York itself in its racial makeup.

43. This "snowball" method of making contact with potential informants is what Roger Sanjek employed in his study of network serials. He saw it as "an explicit urban ethnographic research strategy" by which "the problem of urban dispersal which arises once a unit of study has been selected can be overcome" (Sanjek 1978:266-267).

44. For example, regulations concerning the participation of gays in the U.S. armed forces.

45. This contradiction between perception and experience runs through continue

all the accounts of gay life in Harlem recorded by my informants. It is most obvious when they discuss AIDS.

46. In 1968 Columbia University resolved to erect a gymnasium in the neighboring Morningside Park. The local black community in Harlem protested. The student body at Columbia sided with the black community, all act that is regarded as crucial in the ensuing student uprising at Columbia. For further opinions of black Americans on the white power structure in the United States, see Gwaltney (1980).

47. When and where it did, I decided to leave up to my informants. After all, I expected any impact and resulting changes in social behavior would mirror those found in other AIDS studies on other gay communities around the country.

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

1. See "Brothers from Georgia" section and Berry and Blassingame (1982).

2. See Aschenbrenner (1983) and Martin and Martin (1978).

3. Figures from the 1980 national census (Farley and Allen 1987) show that 2.5 percent of all black men counted completed college (compared to 7.4 percent of white men) and 2.2 percent of black men go on to graduate school (compared to 7.3 percent of white men). While this may imply that my sample is skewed, Farley and Allen's statistics are based on figures that do not include the whole black population, let alone Harlemites in particular (78 percent of the informants in my study did not participate in the 1990 census).

4. Prices paid for brownstones and apartments range from $60,000 to more than $200,000.

5. See Garry (1983), Hannerz (1969), Landry (1987), Liebow (1967), and Meister (1972).

6. See Anderson (1978), Gary (1983), Keiser (1979), Landry (1987), and Liebow (1967).

7. Here I sometimes refer to these men as "hustlers," as do some of the gay black men who help support them. However, these men differ in terms of background, employment, and gay community participation from hustlers in communities elsewhere, as described by other social scientists (Boyer 1986; Kamel 1983; Panajian 1983). Because these men are not (exclusively) sexual laborers, neither exploiting nor being exploited by their contacts in the gay community, whom they refer to as their "family," I use the gay black men's term "boys" to distinguish them from other types of hustlers.

8. While some of these men do choose to hustle, it is understood that the choice is made under severe racial, socioeconomic, and class constraints. Although many of them do not need to live a life of hustling, it is a vocation that is appealing to gay men who may have intermittent employment problems or who do not want to work a 9:00 A.M. to 5.00 P.M. job for low wages.

9. See Boyer (1986), Erickson (1986), Kamel (1983), Panajian (1983), and Wright (1988).

10. See, for example, Hannerz (1969), Schulz (1969), and Stack (1974).

11. See Cone (1991).

12. There are plans to "gentrify" 125th Street. In preparation, several businesses have closed (including two bars where gay men socialized) and several buildings have been razed. During the period of research, no new construction had commenced, although the city was in the process of reconstructing the sidewalks.

13. The "rent party" is a rare phenomenon today in Harlem. Historians of Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s (Anderson 1987, Garber 1989, Johnson 1968, Lewis 1989, Ottley 1968) describe them well. Essentially, a host would invite people to come to a party where they would pay for the liquor and food they would consume. Alternatively, guests could donate a gift of money. The profit from the sales and the money collected by donation helped to pay the rent. In the 1920s these parties were the main avenue for social contact between gay people (Garber 1989). At that time, hosts opened their doors to the public. Nowadays, for security reasons, rent parties are by invitation only.

3— "One Big Family": Community and the Social Networks of Gay Black Men

1. Only two acknowledged that they socialized elsewhere than Harlem. Their workmates downtown often take them out in SoHo or midtown, or they meet friends from Brooklyn halfway and go out drinking or dancing in the Village or Chelsea. Invariably, though, they "hang out" in Harlem, especially if they go out from home.

2. See Gans (1962) and Stack (1974).

3. See Martin et al. (1989) and Martin and Dean (1990).

4. Compare Stack (1974:32-34, 42-43).

5. This is a classic example of Radcliffe-Brown's (1952) "mother's brother."

6. See White (1987).

7. See Gans (1962), Park (1982), and Weston (1991).

8. See Grahn (1984).

9. These uses of fictive kinship are also found in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and in the white gay population in the United States (Rodgers 1972).

10. These fictive kin terms are further defined in White (1987), who provides an interesting discussion of solidarity and unity among black people, a unity that is reflected in the use of fictive kinship terms as a result of their common experience in the United States.

11. See Cohen (1985).

4— "Close to Home": The Organization of the Gay Scene in Harlem

1. Theater is a popular pastime in Harlem. The YMCA, schools, and some established theaters, such as the Apollo, provide constant live entertainment that is well supported by the local population. Many gay men participate in the theater, but none of the theaters is exclusively gay.

2. Two of the gay bars employ four women (in their fifties and sixties) during the daytime hours. All are married with families and have been bartending all their adult lives. Two have since retired.

3. A distinction is drawn by many informants between having sex with someone and dating another man. To be "seeing" someone, or having sex with them, refers to the act of sexual intercourse or sexual gratification. To "date" someone means to be socializing with someone with the intention of entering into a long-term monogamous relationship. Dating may or may not include having sex.

4. Joking relationships have been the focus of much anthropological attention, from Radcliffe-Brown (1952) on. They are also discussed within the bar setting by Cavan (1966) and Spradley and Mann (1975). Among gay men, where kinship rules do not restrict interpersonal relations, a joking relationship may evolve as a social sanction of sexual relations between close gay friends. The joking overcomes the inherent tension that may result from the relationship. In fact, the closer the friends, the deeper the sexually explicit, joking insult may be.

5. The use of the feminine pronouns here reflects the siblinglike nature of the relationship between these two men. They regard each other as and call each other "sisters." With other friends, called "girlfriend" or "friendgirl," the feminine pronouns are also used. Nicholas informed me that the inverted "friendgirl'' was created by black gays "just to be different." Now that mainstream, white gays are referring to their friends as "girlfriends," gay black men have taken their display of affection one step further.

6. "Finish it up" means to terminate the relationship, and "in trouble deep" means physical violence.

It is important to note that one of the main areas in Harlem where gay bars are located is also a section that is marginal to mainstream black life. Here immigrant Hispanic communities are developing. For example, the full length of Broadway from 125th Street to 168th Street, as it passes through Harlem, is lined with Hispanic residences and stores. Some "interethnic tension" has resulted as the two populations meet.

7. This atmosphere contrasts sharply with the feeling of alienation in lesbian bars described in Wolf's The Lesbian Community (1980). Here gay black men's bars more closely resemble the sociability of the English pub.

8. Mainstream American culture promotes an ambiguous attitude toward drinking and bar culture (Cavan 1966).

9. Pete's Paradise fronts 125th Street. It has a narrow entranceway, no awning, but a sign painted above. There is a small window, which is often barred.

10. Like almost all the bars and clubs in Harlem (and many elsewhere in Manhattan), the doors are locked for security purposes. Entry is gained by a buzzer to the bar staff or by a bouncer.

11. "Moonwalking" is a dance step created and popularized by the singer Michael Jackson.

12. The "meat rack" at Pete's Paradise was a shelf that ran down one side of the barroom at elbow height. Drinks and ashtrays were placed on top of it, and patrons frequently leaned against it. From here individuals could cruise the other patrons sitting in the bar, dancing, or walking up and down the length of the barroom.

13. None of the informants in this study participates in the national political process. They do not vote. Some admitted they would probably support the Democratic party, but they were not registered. Most had no party affiliation. Local, city, and state politics were of conversational interest, but again no one voted. The attitude seemed to be captured by Sue: "Ain't nothin' different he [Charles Rangel] can do."

14. For example, see Johnson (1990) and McKay (1928).

15. In most of the bars in Harlem, books and magazines, videos, cassettes, furniture items from chairs to televisions, groceries (especially meat), and clothing were sold by street hustlers. These vendors, both male and female, were of all ages. Money earned was often the sole income of the individual seller, but sometimes such an income supplemented welfare checks or other irregular income.

16. Most of these men have high-paying jobs ($40,000 to $100,000 per year), and several own their apartments. Moses is probably a millionaire.

17. Staying out till dawn means remaining inside a bar after its 4:00 A.M. closing time until the bar staff decides to turn everyone out, or it means that after 4:00 A.M. everyone moves on to an "after-hours" club. Such private social clubs exist all over Harlem. From Mickey's Place, the gay crowd has only one block to walk to a gay after-hours club. There, in dimly lit rooms, drinks can be purchased and conversations continued, and dancing to the jukebox is permitted. This particular club, frequented by many of my informants, closes between 8:00 and 10:00 A.M. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It is not open for business the other nights of the week.

18. The existing committee chooses its replacements. Applicants or nominees will be known to the incumbents. Character references, community service, and income are considered.

19. House music developed during the late 1980s in clubs in New York and Chicago. It is an R&B and disco fusion popularized by gay men who "vogue" to it as patrons or guest artists at the large, mixed dance clubs downtown.

20. These formal balls are not to be confused with the balls of the younger "house queens" occurring in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Newark in the 1990s. Although undoubtedly part of the inspiration for these smaller events, the large Harlem balls remain major annual social events in Harlem. They are attended by as many of Harlem's non-gay elite as its established drag celebrities.

21. Francis also liked gay men and had a reputation for being well hung. He preferred the active role in the sexual encounter, but with non-gay partners he frequently took a passive role sexually.

22. SoHar is the area of Harlem between 5th and Morningside avenues and 125th and 110th streets, directly north of Central Park.

23. This seems to be a different experience from that of other gay men, especially in Manhattan. Very few Manhattan gay men were born and raised in the borough. Martin and Dean (1990) note that about 80 percent are non-New Yorkers. Most come from the suburbs, other states, or abroad.

5— "Different from Other Colors": Black Culture and Black Identity

1. Here I'm using black as a cultural adjective, not as a racial category. Admittedly, being black, as a political expression, may limit or dictate the adoption of black partners, but being black per se does not. Also, situational preference develops out of residence patterns.

2. Specifically, in anthropological writings that embrace the thesis of a black "culture of poverty." Works of that theoretical persuasion implied that cultural traits associated with poverty in the black community, such as single-parent families, were passed from generation to generation through socialization. See Lewis (1966) and Valentine (1968).

3. It is important to note that this study did not focus on race per se, or on interracial relationships (social or sexual). Also, most of the informants did not discuss race, as it is not an important issue for them in their daily social lives. Yet some social scientists, especially psychologists, would have it that the construction of a positive black identity is the result not only of interracial contact but also of black self-hatred. This may be the case for a few of these informants, but the majority do not and have not experienced any long-term interracial interaction. Moreover, they have been socialized by "black is beautiful" ideologies. Race and interracial conflict, then, are not big issues for these gay black men in their daily lives.

4. These men have a convenient supply of black male sex partners in the black community and rarely interact with men of other races. None rejected men of other races as potential partners, but they often noted that black-on-black relationships are an expression of pride. Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) members, in particular, frequently stated that they actively sought such relationships as a pro-black statement. However, their choices are not meant as expressions of anti-white sentiment. It was evident from some informants' comments that blacks who have white or Hispanic partners are seen as "different" primarily because they tend to socialize outside of the community.

5. Incomes in this population range from $10,000 to $250,000. For example, Cleveland, with an $85,000 job, rents or leases apartments and land he owns down South, and he has other investments earning hundreds of thou- soft

sands of dollars per year. In contrast, Freddy depends on hustling (not just for sex) and the contributions (money, shelter, meals) of friends and family. His income was difficult to calculate and unreliable. Anyway, income is only one indicator of class. Education, residence, and social contacts, among other variables, need to be considered. Cleveland and Freddy are best friends.

6. Sometimes lesbian friends will accompany gay men to dances and on boat rides. But otherwise their presence in the gay social scene is minimal. It is presumed by these informants that lesbians in Harlem have their own social scene and are more likely to participate in mainstream lesbian and gay life.

7. Until comparable work is carried out with non-gay black men, we can not extend this finding beyond the black gay community. Evidence does exist in my data, however, that non-gay, unmarried black men are also involved in child care.

8. See Martin and Dean (1990).

9. Lewis (1975) stresses the importance given to interpersonal relationships, nurturance, and emotional expression (as well as idiosyncratic behavior and nonconformity) in the socialization of black children, as opposed to the independence, individualism, and conformity stressed in white children's socialization. For further examples of the cultural attributes instilled during socialization in the black community, see Kunkel and Kennard (1971), Lewis (1964), and Young (1970).

10. See Anderson (1987:3-7), Harris (1968:99, 103), Johnson (1968), Lewis (1989:27-28), McKay (1940:18-20), and Osofsky (1971:113-117).

11. For further information on the Nation of Islam, see Lincoln (1961) and Lomax (1963).

12. Kwanzaa is an annual festival celebrating the African roots of black Americans. Held over the Christmas and New Year's season, it features a different theme on each of the eight days of celebration (McClester 1985).

13. "It was inevitable that preachers who had played such an important role in the organized social life of Negroes should become political leaders during the Reconstruction period when the Negro enjoyed civil rights. . . . During the Reconstruction period a number of outstanding leaders in the Baptist and in the other Methodist denominations became outstanding leaders of Negroes in politics. . . . As a result of the elimination of Negroes from the political life of the American community, the Negro Church became the arena of their political activities. . . . The Negro church was not only an arena of political life for the leaders of Negroes, it had a political meaning for the masses. Although they were denied the right to vote in the American community, within their churches, especially the Methodist churches, they could vote and engage in electing their officers" (Frazier 1964:47-49). See also Du Bois (1989).

14. See Anderson (1987), Huggins (1971), Lewis (1989), and Naison (1985).

15. For further information, see Ottley (1968) and Schiffman (1984).

16. See Berry and Blassingame (1982); Breitman, Porter, and Smith (1976); and Harris and Wicker (1988).

17. A "toast" is a "folk poem" usually associated with black hustler culture (Wepman, Newman, and Binderman 1976).

18. Such separatist ideological expression can best explain the racial attitudes statistically accounted for by Schuman, Steeh, and Bobo (1985).

19. See Cromartie and Stack (1990).

20. See Garcia-Barrio (1988).

21. "These hero figures were important. They symbolized the strength, dignity, and courage many Negroes were able to manifest in spite of their confined situation. . . . After slavery Afro-American folklore began to feature other types of heroes as well: secular, human heroes who were not to be contained by the limits of the actual" (Levine 1978:400).

22. John Henry was a black laborer, a big, powerful man of slave ancestry who worked in the mines and on the railroads. He worked harder and faster than any other laborer but was finally defeated in a race against a train, or, in some accounts, from overexertion while steel-driving in competition against a steam drill. The white man's machine finally crushed the honest labor of the black man. The events of John Henry's life have been much embellished over the years, and different storytellers emphasize different attributes of the man and his deeds. Here, many gay informants emphasized the refrains concerning the man's physical strength, his masculine attributes, and his sexual prowess.

23. See Hannerz (1969:94-104); Schulz (1969); and Wepman, Newman, and Binderman (1976:3-4).

24. This may reflect a "negative" respect—that is, respect out of fear. Undoubtedly, many do not respect the church, reflecting a resentment born of the churches' teachings on homosexuality.

25. For an explication of "expressive culture" and its application to aspects of black culture, see Gay and Baber (1987). In their anthology, they have collected papers that discuss the sociocultural aspects of black expressiveness, an "Afro-American ethos" that derives as much from Africa as from slavery, economic deprivation, and inner-city living: "[African-Americans have] created an ethos of expressiveness which was (and is) at once pragmatic and aesthetic, poetic and paradoxical, sustaining and enriching, ironic and incredibly imaginative. Of great importance to this ethos were an aesthetic of style, the spirituality of communal participation, and the power of performance in conveying the essence and vitality of life and culture" (Gay 1987a:2-3).

26. See Anderson (1978), Hannerz (1969), Keiser (1969), Liebow (1967), Stack (1974), and Williams (1981).

6— "Gay Is Lovin' Men": Gay Identity in Harlem

1. See Goffman (1963) and Goode and Troiden (1975).

2. It is important to note as the ensuing chapters unfold that there is some anti-gay discrimination in Harlem. It appears on the street (verbally) and in continue

the churches. Informants here who have experienced such discrimination in Harlem brush off the incidents. Thus some apparent contradiction exists between these men's experiences and their belief that people in Harlem are more tolerant than people elsewhere in the city.

3. For a discussion of the development of this distinction between "gay" and "homosexual," see Chesebro (1981), Harry and DeVall (1978), Humphreys and Miller (1980), Taylor (1978), and Warren (1974).

4. Such experiential foundations for acceptance of a homosexual identity have been confirmed in other reports: "The evidence now available suggests that, at least for some individuals, childhood and adolescent experiences may serve as the basis for the adult homosexual identity" (Minton and McDonald 1985:97). However, such experiences are only a stepping-stone in the achievement of a gay identity. Most researchers of homosexual and gay identities, who incorporate a variety of theoretical approaches, have produced models comprising a linear progression toward the achievement of a homosexual identity and the management of a gay identity. Homosexual experiences are but a stage in that development. See, for example, Cass (1979), Coleman (1981/82), Dank (1979), Hart and Richardson (1981), Lee (1977), Minton and McDonald (1985), Plummer (1975), and Troiden (1979).

5. See Coffman (1963), Gagnon and Simon (1967, 1973), and Minton and McDonald (1985), and Plummer (1975). Hoult (1985) emphasizes a "social learning model."

6. This is comparable to the manner in which "being black" is learned (see chap. 5).

7. See especially Minton and McDonald (1985:100) but also Coleman (1981/82), Lee (1977), and Plummer (1975).

8. This finding is corroborated by the works of Coleman (1981/82), Gagnon and Simon (1973), and Troiden (1979).

9. See de Monteflores and Schultz (1978).

10. These men challenge the arguments of some researchers, for example, Cass (1979), Ross (1978), and Weinberg and Williams (1974), who insist that a gay identity can only be achieved when both the private and public selves of an individual are one. This stage of the developmental process of achieving a gay identity, called "identity synthesis" by Cass (1979), requires a unified selfimage. Yet many gay men in Harlem, it would appear, are able to function being gay without achieving this "final stage."

11. See D. Altman (1971), Humphreys (1972), Jay and Young (1972, 1975), and Muchmore and Hanson (1982, 1986).

12. Verbal and nonverbal behavior among gays is the topic of an anthology edited by James Chesebro (1981). The writers' "communication perspective" elucidates such behavior by analyzing its functions and contextualizing its performance. Two papers by Hayes and one each by Darsey and Chesebro are especially good examples.

13. Kenneth Read (1980), in his symbolic analysis of a white West Coast bar, provides many interesting examples of cruising gestures.

14. Compare white mainstream America. Writing in 1971, Altman noted continue

in his lucid analysis of coming out that gays had to emulate heterosexual role models anyway, because there was, at that time at least, no gay role model available for young gay people: "It is in the playing of social roles that the gay world seems best to mirror the straight. Because there is, as yet, no genuine homosexual community, homosexuals take their cues from the straight world" (D. Altman 1971:35). See also Wolf's The Lesbian Community (1980) for a similar view.

15. The fact that these positions become inverted in actual sexual activity is another matter (see chap. 7).

16. In fact, Grahn (1984) has produced an interesting commentary on the development of a gay "tongue," presenting a well-researched etiology of gay slang terms. Hayes's article "Gayspeak" (1981) analyzes the social function of gay terminology on the basis of three types of social setting: the secret, the social, and the radical-activist, where "gayspeak" is found. Such contextualization enhances the comprehension of different meanings for familiar words. Rodgers's (1972) lexicon remains the definitive dictionary of gay slang. In it he refers to some words and expressions that are rooted in the gay black community, including "tea." See also Chesebro (1981) and the fiction of Mordden (1985, 1986).

17. "Fierce" has its origins in black diction, according to my informants. Black gays have used the expression for twenty years or more, especially in reference to men or clothing. By 1989 mainstream gays were using the expression, and in 1990, New York magazine noted that a fashion house in New York had brought a new expression to the fashion world by using "fierce" in its fall window display. The article noted, incorrectly, that the expression "started about two years ago with the black kids who vogue every day in front of McDonald's" (Walls 1990:28).

18. Rodgers (1972) refers to "tea" only in reference to the usage "have some tea," meaning to engage in small talk. Three southern-born informants explained "tea" as "gossip," such as that exchanged between "girls'' taking tea in the afternoon. They indicated that the expression was black and originally southern.

19. I use the term "sensibility" in the same manner that Bronski does, almost equating it with "culture" but incorporating a psychological dimension that allows for individual expression: "Homosexuals have created a separate culture that reflects their attitudes, moods, thoughts, and emotions as an oppressed group" (Bronski 1984:11-12). It is because gay society is separate from but dependent on mainstream American society that Bronski labels it the "gay subculture."

20. Many gay men live in Harlem but socialize in gay areas elsewhere in New York City, in Westchester County, or in New Jersey. They may be openly gay in their daily lives in Harlem, but they do not socialize within the gay community there. (This factor precluded their participation as respondents in this study.) Also, many gay men in Harlem who prefer other black men as lovers do not socialize in gay bars. They socialize with other gays at church or in private homes in Harlem. Almost half of my informants fit this description.

21. These men would fall into a category of the immigrant or the educated continue

"native son" in an urban black community, men whom Gwaltney (1981) defines as of the ghetto or of black culture but not of "core black culture." These are men who are raised black but are unfamiliar with many of the finer stylistic attributes of the expressive culture that is found at the "heart'' of the black community—that is, in the urban "ghetto" environment. This is probably because they have been raised in the suburbs or have attended private schools out of town and thus have not shared experiences with peers who run the streets and who are the creators and diffusers of urban black culture. Arthur Spears, a black linguist and anthropologist, suggested this explanation to me in a conversation on 27 February 1990, during which he discussed similar experiences in his own life.

22. What is being implied here is double-income males with no children.

23. The written record of gay history has been slow to evolve. Many of the historians reiterate the claim of repression as the cause for the absence of gays in the historical record and indicate their intent to correct that record. Katz (1976) remains the "Bible" of gay American history, although Greenberg's (1988) thoughtful reconstruction of the history of homosexuality provides the most comprehensive international perspective. Boughner (1988) and Rowse (1977) seek to produce a more general account of gay involvement in the history of Western Civilization. Lauritsen and Thorstad (1974) provide an interesting account of the rise of homosexual consciousness over the turn of the last century, especially in Europe. And Altman (1971), D'Emilio (1983), and Adam (1987) document the rise of the gay liberation movement in the United States in the 1970s. These works and others, including academic treatises about particular individuals and events (see Bérubé [1990] on gay servicemen and women in World War II, for example), culminated in the large collection of papers on gays in history by Duberman, Vicinus, and Chauncey (1989). Such increased enthusiasm for "setting the record straight" involves an attempt not only to justify gays' rightful place in history but also to validate their presence in society at large.

24. For further information about the role of "bulldaggers" (lesbians) in the Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz Age, see Garber (1983) and Lewis (1989). For further information on Gladys Bentley, see Garber (1988). This article contains an interesting map of Jazz Age Harlem and a brief but excellent bibliography. Also, Parkerson (1987) writes about the Jewel Box Revue, a drag theater, and its master of ceremonies, Stormé, a lesbian in drag. The Harlem Renaissance is discussed further in chapter 9.

25. Gay folklore has become a significant feature of gay life. Joseph Goodwin, in his comprehensive study of gay folklore, has noted,

Being forced to form a secret system for interacting [with] and meeting people similar to themselves meant that gays also had to develop a private means of communication, which in turn fostered a heightened sense of community. Rejected by the larger culture, gay people turned to their subculture, which—especially through its folklore—could serve as a source of strength and as a way of developing a surrogate system of social support. (Goodwin 1989:2)

Goodwin goes on to embellish his analysis of gay folklore with examples of gossip, repartee, and jokes. His theoretical construct—including concepts of humor, ambiguity, and inversion—enables him to explain the power and sig- soft

nificance of folklore to gay people and to the maintenance of their gay community.

With these points in mind, we can examine folklore as a multifaceted process that functions in many ways. Traditions help to hold the subculture together and in many cases express the gay community's differences from the straight culture, defining the in-group based on an understanding of its folklore and a sharing and acceptance of subcultural attitudes. (Goodwin 1989:4-5)

26. See Clark and Kleiner (1989).

27. See Bronski (1984:104-106).

28. In this and the following quotes, names have been omitted to protect the identity of the individuals referred to and because no documentation to validate the claims was located.

29. For a good example of noncommitment on the issue of Hughes's sexuality, see Rampersad (1988). Rampersad leaves the question of Hughes's homosexuality unresolved, yet he provides some interesting evidence that is frequently referred to in gay folklore.

30. This does not exonerate their behavior in any way but should at least be understood as a typically teenage attitude toward nonconformity, whether a matter of sexual orientation, color, ethnicity, religious belief, age, or whatever. Also, teenagers are less inhibited when expressing society's intolerances.

31. While all of my informants have related instances of name-calling, and one or two instances of physical abuse were reported during the period of research, but not among the informant population, I believe that gay black men are more widely accepted in their residential neighborhoods, in their churches, and within the gay scene than comparable communities in the mainstream gay areas of the city. Verbal abuse, especially from teenagers, is common in New York; you do not have to be black and gay to experience that! For further reading on homophobia, see Larsen, Cate, and Reed (1983), Journal of Homosexuality 10(1/2), and Hooks (1988). Gomez and Smith (1989) deal with homophobia in the black community in particular.

32. This stereotype does not take into consideration yet another symptom of racism in the gay scene outside of Harlem, in which gay white men express no interest, at all, in black men as sexual partners and potential lovers. See De Marco (1983), Icard (1986), and Loiacano (1989).

7— "Different to Other Men": The Meaning of Sexuality for Gay Black Men

1. For example, closeted men are also labeled "gay," although they are regarded as being different because they are still in the closet. Their gayness is assumed, usually as the result of a sexual encounter with another known gay man. Gay black men in Harlem did not verbally distinguish between these different types of gay men; they considered all of them "gay."

2. The popular image of the femininity of gay men's behavior includes continue

a desire to act passively in the sexual encounter with other men; that is, to assume the passive or receptive role in sexual intercourse. This assumption smacks of earlier psychological analyses of homosexuality, in that the "condition" (homosexuality) is assumed to be the result of an overbearing mother, hence the "sissification" of the boy child. See Bieber et al. (1962), Green (1987), Litten, Griffen, and Johnson (1956), Socarides (1968), and Westwood (1953). It is important to note the peculiarly skewed samples with which these researchers worked. No doubt psychological dimensions of the gay identity exist, but ideas of homosexuality as a mental illness are currently out of favor, not only within the gay population at large, which has struggled so long to shrug off the mantle of mental illness placed over it by psychologists, psychoanalysts, and psychiatrists, but also in the growing social-scientific literature on gay culture. See D. Altman (1971), Greenberg (1988), Hooker (1969, 1972), Humphreys (1972), McCaffrey (1972), Marmor (1965, 1980), and Szasz (1972).

Some of the earliest works questioning the concept of homosexuality as a disease or mental illness were Kinsey et al. (1948) and Ford and Beach (1951). Some of the key players in the development of psychological theory concerning homosexuality are Freud (1905), who introduced the psychological dimensions to his consideration of the etiology of sexuality (along with the social and the biological); Bieber et al. (1962), who found heterophobia (my term) as the root cause of homosexuality; Ovesey (1954), who described homosexuality as a neurosis; and Kolb and Johnson (1955) and Litten, Griffen, and Johnson (1956), who raise the issue of parental relationships in their theory on the development of homosexuality.

3. Data were collected from a total of 91 men. Sixty-one were anally passive, 54 anally active, 75 orally passive, and 75 orally active. Since the arrival of the AIDS epidemic, 8 men have desisted from active anal intercourse, 4 from anally passive intercourse, 2 from orally passive intercourse, but none from orally active intercourse.

4. This contradicts the received wisdom on hustlers in the gay community. Most reports describe how hustlers view their active sexual role in the homosexual encounter as an extension of their masculinity, thus conforming to the "machismo" model. See Boyer (1986), Kamel (1983), and Panajian (1983).

5. See Greenberg (1988:2-3, 483-493) and Halperin (1990:4-9).

6. Deconstructing stereotypes, popular or academic, lays bare the scene for those who would piece the evidence together and reconstruct the notion of gay identity and the emergence of gay culture from the experiences, feelings, and opinions of individuals. Some social scientists would prefer to label gay sexual behavior "same-sex behavior" in an attempt to eradicate "homosexual" as too restrictive a term (Vance 1989). I would agree, given the broad range of behavior and the changes in sexual object preference over time that I encountered in this population of gay men.

7. For examples of the white media, see Wilkerson (1988), Barbanel (1989), Kolata (1989), and Terry (1990), all in the New York Times . For examples of the black media, see Black Scholar (May/June 1987), Essence (November 1989), and Emerge (February I990).

8— "This Epidemic Thing": Gay Black Men and AIDS in Harlem

1. See Goldsmith (1989) and S. Altman (1986).

2. See chap. 9 for suggestions for further research.

3. See Coimbra and Torabi (1987), Davies (1986), Martin and Dean (1990), Schreiner (1986), Siegel et al. (1988), and Turner, Miller, and Moses (1989).

4. See Bakeman, Lumb, and Smith (1986), Friedman et al. (1987), Quimby and Friedman (1989), Rogers and Williams (1987), and Sehk, Castro, and Pappaioanou (1988).

5. There is, of course, much literature within anthropology and other disciplines on the social creation of the "other." This construction is especially common when those who are suffering with AIDS are blamed for their own illness. Patron's (1985) groundbreaking work on the sociological impact of AIDS not only explains why we create an "other" category, when threatened but also carefully exposes the social construction of AIDS by the gay community. Gilman (1988) shows how AIDS was constructed by media images as a disease of the ''other." Sontag (1989) applied her model of illness as metaphor to AIDS in much the same manner as she had for cancer in Illness as Metaphor (1979). Clatts, an anthropologist who works with adolescents and AIDS, and Mutchler (1989) unravel nonmedical representations of AIDS. And Murray, a medical sociologist, and Payne, a sociologist who recently died from AIDS, explain how the creation of risk groups helps deflect attention, by blaming the victim as "other," from the inability of science and medicine to cope with AIDS (Murray and Payne 1989).

6. None of my informants had been tested for antibodies to HIV by the conclusion of this study. Since that time (1989), approximately 20 to 30 percent have, but all have tested negative.

7. GRID (gay-related immunodeficiency) is believed by Murray and Payne (1989) to be a 1981 gay press term for the illness. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, the same acronym for Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome) made its first appearance in print in Science (13 August 1982).

8. That AIDS may have its origins in the African continent was either ignored by my informants or, if acknowledged as a possible theory, always discussed within the context of racism: another attempt by the white power structure to blame blacks for something wrong in society, and to further stigmatize African-Americans (Dalton 1989). For discussion of the theory, of African origins of AIDS, see Barnes (1987), Dickson (1987), Doolittle (1989), Feldman (1986), Greaves (1987), Newmark (1986), Palca (1988), Penny (1988), Piot and Plummer et al. (1988), Sharp (1988), and Schmidt (1984).

8. That AIDS may have its origins in the African continent was either ignored by my informants or, if acknowledged as a possible theory, always discussed within the context of racism: another attempt by the white power structure to blame blacks for something wrong in society, and to further stigmatize African-Americans (Dalton 1989). For discussion of the theory, of African origins of AIDS, see Barnes (1987), Dickson (1987), Doolittle (1989), Feldman (1986), Greaves (1987), Newmark (1986), Palca (1988), Penny (1988), Piot and Plummer et al. (1988), Sharp (1988), and Schmidt (1984).

9. Compare Rogers and Williams (1987), who state that AIDS is regarded in the "public consciousness" as a disease of white, middle-class, gay men See also Senak (1987). For black perspectives, see Greaves (1987) and Porter (1989).

10. During the course of the fieldwork for the study, five informants continue

passed away: key informant Cletuh died during an epileptic seizure in April 1988; Ralph and Bailey suffered fatal heart attacks in December 1987 and October 1988, respectively; Franklin passed from pneumonia after surgery in April 1989; and Todd, a hustler, died from a brain aneurism in March 1988. After completion of the data collection, Francis, a diabetic and another key informant, passed away after surgery in July 1990. None of these men had been diagnosed with HIV.

11. Centers for Disease Control statistics reported in the gay press ( Outlines, February, 1990, 43; Brinkley [1989]) and elsewhere (Quimby and Friedman 1989:405) show that black gay men comprise 10 percent of the total AIDS diagnoses and 16 percent of the "male gay/bisexual contacts" category. Blacks total 27 percent of reported AIDS cases to date. This percentage is the same as reported a year earlier ( BLK , March 1989, 17). For New York City, the percentages are higher; for example, at least 19 percent of gay diagnoses are black men, and a further 37 percent are men who engage in homosexual practices and use IV drugs (Quimby and Friedman 1989:406).

12. Some of the significant New York City and national press examples are L. Altman (1981, 1986, 1987), Brand (1988), Collins (1985), Johnson (1988), Lambert (1988), Shilts (1988), Stone (1987), and Sullivan (1986).

13. Quimby and Friedman list organizations and individuals in the black community who have assisted in their respective communities' mobilization against AIDS. All of the churches noted are in Brooklyn (Quimby and Friedman 1989:408). Since that time at least three churches in Harlem have offered some type of assistance to people living with AIDS.

14. The availability of drugs and a lack of sex education allow for the transmission of HIV in Harlem. See Friedman et al. (1987), Greaves (1987), and BLK (1990).

15. These reasons for and against condom use compare favorably with the responses of male clients of female street prostitutes in Camden, New Jersey (Leonard 1990), and with the responses of patrons of singles bars in San Francisco (Stall, Huertin-Roberts et al. 1990). See Martin et al. (1989) on changes in sexual behavior.

16. Increased risk-taking associated with drug and alcohol consumption has been the focus of other research (Hasin and Martin 1988). It has been found that sexual risk-taking among drinkers, especially regular bar patrons, gay and non-gay, is substantially enhanced by substance abuse (Stall, Huertin-Roberts et al. 1990).

17. See De Stefano (1990), Hardy (1990), and Au Courant (1990).

18. This is not to denigrate the Minority Task Force on AIDS. It is composed of a group of hardworking gay men (and others) who are devoted to this cause.

19. During 1989, condoms and nonoxynol-9 lubricant were once again made available to whoever wanted them in the bathhouse.

20. See Greer (1986), Voelcker (1990), and Zuckerman (1988).

21. Altogether, the 57 respondents in this study identified 86 different people who had died from AIDS (57 men, 23 women, and 6 children). Of the 57 men who had died, 27 were presumed to be gay, 7 of whom were continue

also reputed to have been IV drug users. Currently, these respondents know a total of 62 different people who are living with AIDS (31 men, 26 women, and 5 children). Of the 31 men with AIDS, at least 20 are believed to be gay. Most of the gay men who died from AIDS passed away early in the epidemic: 1979 to 1984. The 6 who died later were not members of this community.

22. Compare the findings of Singer et al. (1990:81-83), who found the opposite in the "Latino community."

23. This is an example of homophobia. It's happening in Brooklyn, not Harlem, and is being perpetrated by staunch church members.

24. Several reports of funerals have emerged in the gay literature on AIDS. A similar example from Harlem is Harris (1986).

25. As an aside, one of the most startling impressions made on me in Harlem was the ubiquity of the funeral parlors. Every block seemed to have a funeral home tucked away in a basement. On main thoroughfares like Lenox Avenue, some blocks sported two or three. I wondered if the surrounding neighborhoods had the population to support such a need. For reports on morbidity in Harlem, see Kristal (1986) and Terry (1990).

26. The press reports otherwise (Lazare 1990). It is suspected that the trade in (and the addiction to) crack have enhanced a sex-for-crack exchange, which may in fact lead to an increase in the spread of the HIV virus to other addicts and dealers (Des Jarlais et al. 1986, Harold 1990).

27. See D. Altman (1986), Clatts and Mutchler (1989), Fabian (1983), Ingstad (1990), and Sabatier (1988).

28. See Herdt (1988/89) and Schinke, Holden, and Moncher (1989).

29. See Gagnon (1989), Kus (1988), Martin et al. (1989), Sandoval (1977), Zehner and Lewis (1983/84), and Ziebold and Mongeon (1982).

30. Lack of safer sex practices and forays outside of this community will endanger the entire community. Recommendations have been made to outreach workers at the Gay Men's Health Crisis and the Minority Task Force on AIDS to educate these men.

9— "One of the Children": Being a Gay Black Man in Harlem

1. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has become the most significant repository of black American artifacts in the United States. It is based on the collection by Arthur Alfonso Schomburg of over ten thousand books, newspapers, and other materials, which the black Puerto Rican bibliophile amassed during a thirty-five-year period. This collection was purchased in 1926 by the Carnegie Corporation for the New York Public Library. For further information, see the Schomburg's publications "The Legacy of Arthur Alfonso Schomburg: A Celebration of the Past, a Vision of the Future" (1986) and "Remaking the Past to Make the Future" (1986).

2. The Harlem Renaissance was originally named by the New York Herald continue

Tribune in "A Negro Renaissance" (7 May 1925). (Also, see Lewis [1989: 116]). It is used today to refer to a period of artistic production in many fields, including literature, poetry, drama, journalism, music, composition and performance, dance, Broadway productions, painting, sculpture, and the academic and business support of the artists involved. Those artists were perceived to represent the "Talented Tenth" of their generation by such black leaders as W. E. B. Du Bois and Charles S. Johnson. Most agree that the Renaissance began in 1919 with the return of black troops from Europe and World War I; they differ, however, with respect to the date of its demise. Some would have the 1929 Wall Street collapse as the final blow, others 1934 or 1935, with the deaths of writers Fisher and Thurman and the persistence of the depression. See Lewis (1989), as well as Ottley (1968), Anderson (1987), and Campbell (1987).

3. Further reading on the ambiguity of Hughes's sexuality should include Berry (1983), Rampersad (1988), and Smith (1983).

4. Reprinted in Smith (1983).

5. Isaac Julien is a young gay black British film director well known in Europe for his documentaries and television commercials on AIDS. At the time of writing, his full-length feature on Langston Hughes has had only two screenings in New York City, restricted by legal proceedings pursued by the Hughes Estate. Even at those screenings the censor cut much of Hughes reading his own poetry.

6. Reprinted in Smith (1983).

7. Gumby owned the Bookstore, a book-lined studio on 5th Avenue at 131st Street which hosted parties for literati and readings. "White author Samuel Steward remembers being taken to Gumby's one evening by a lesbian friend and enjoying a delightful evening of 'reefer,' bathtub gin, a game of truth, and homosexual exploits" (Garber 1989:322). Locke, a Harvard Ph.D., was a professor of philosophy at Howard University who negotiated much financial support for Renaissance writers, especially Toomer, McKay, Cullen, and Hughes. He acted as a go-between for the white wealth invested in Harlem at that time and the Talented Tenth. He was as well known for his predilection for young men as for his essays about the Harlem Renaissance. Jackman, Countee Cullen's lover, was a West Indian-born Harlem school-teacher and friend of the Renaissance artists. He was painted by Reiss and sculpted by Barthé. Van Vechten is the most famous of Harlem's white entrepreneurs during the Renaissance period. A New York Times music critic, he spent much time in the speakeasies and parties of 1920s Harlem, acting as a go-between for publishers like Knopf and the Renaissance writers. He is most famous in Harlem for his controversial novel on the times, Nigger Heaven . For further information on these men and others, and their roles in the Renaissance, see Garber (1983, 1989) and Lewis (1989).

8. In the winter of 1990, white gay men on Christopher Street were "snapping." Marion Riggs makes delightful reference to different types of snaps in a scene from his 1989 videodocumentary Tongues United . He has also recorded young gay black men vogueing at the Christopher Street piers. Also, during 1990, Fox Television's Emmy Award-winning comedy series In continue

Living Color featured a skit in which gay black men snapped. On television now, snapping will probably diffuse into American culture at large.

9. Some debate exists as to the actual origin of vogueing. Some informants believe the younger dancers got their posing moves from the large Harlem drag balls, where contestants pose on a runway in competition for the title Queen of the Ball. See chap. 4.

10. The Paradise Garage was located downtown and catered to a large black gay crowd. It offered R&B and other popular black music—for example, "house." It was open Friday and Saturday from midnight to noon, and several thousand gay men danced the night away. No alcohol was served, but a movie room and a roof garden provided space for imbibing other substances. Whitney Houston, Colonel Abrams, and Gwen Guthrie, among many other pop stars, performed on a large stage in the dance area. Grace Jones always started her show at 6:00 A.M. on Sunday.

11. These "houses" are described as "gay street gangs" in the documentary film Paris Is Burning, directed by Jennie Livingston.

12. Men Who Cook is an organization of black artists, many of whom are gay, that holds a cookout to raise funds for a children's art festival held each summer in Harlem.

13. Compare Gorman and Mallon's (1989) report on the success of community-based efforts at AIDS education in Los Angeles.


Preferred Citation: Hawkeswood, William G. One of the Children: Gay Black Men in Harlem. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1996 1996.