…Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity…Nothing is required for this enlightenment except the ability to use reason and an upward mobility mindset in all matters…
By: DeoVonte “Deo” Means
In modern-day society, the urban LGBT community is perhaps the only prevalent sub-culture, in which a healthy, educated, mature, upwardly-mobile, well-spoken and attractive man in his mid-30’s, can be categorized as “old.” If not more insulting, undesirable. In comparison to a young lad in his early 20’s whom dwells in the pits of poverty while speaking broken English, uneducated, unemployed, lacks maturity and has no realistic concept of the travails that accompanies navigating the real world. What’s even more compelling is the fact that we as a generational entity have bypassed our foreordained birthright as leaders & standard bearers, and submissively allowed the inexperienced youth to gain the power and influence of our community! True power is the bending of the world to one’s will; the remaking of reality into one’s desires or own image. This is exactly what has transpired. The community is now in hysteria and we all sit in our intimate groups & homes and proclaim via social media how there is a lack of quality men, quality events, quality venues and a low sense of sophistication and motivation within the community, yet you’ve allowed that! You place the reigns of the community into the hands of inexperienced youth, whom in turn have bent reality and the standard of excellence into three distinct categories. That which they only know, are accustomed to or that which comes easy to them. So now, our community is in a day and age where escorting, dependence upon government assistance, drug addiction (without the resources to fund it), violence, nude pics, faux masculinity and microwave “status” is most impressive and sought after. While the enlightened man striving daily to keep his head above water, while embracing ideals that challenge him and enable him to one day live the life of a vested and contributing member of the real world; is shunned. . .But we’ll get into that later…
Before we can begin to effectively explore the current state of the community, we have to first understand and come to terms with the process of maturation within our very community. Because of societal norms, socio-economic & religious oppression, homophobia & racism; most of us are raised in households whereas we are forced from childhood to deny -or at least encouraged- not to be that which we really are. We hit 18 or 19 years of age and now identify with being an adult. Almost as if driven by the hand of God, we are exposed and subsequently ushered into this community that not only identifies with our plight but also finally embrace, encourage and accept us. Because we’ve been mentally, emotionally and physically oppressed for so long, we have this bubbling over, gregarious appetite to experience and embrace everything that comes with this new found “Promised Land.” The goals, deliverables and accomplishments we once held as a child evaporate and the only thing of importance is enjoying and conquering this lifestyle. Those dreams we once held to become attorneys, doctors, teachers, and social figures are replaced with the insatiable desire to become “legendary”, over-all parental figures and that one person whom everyone knows, wants to be around and perhaps even emulate. In this quest, you are perhaps exposed to some of the darkest vices of our community. Many of these newfound indulgences will not only stain but also become a handicap in everything productive you decide to do in the future. But right now, that’s not important to you. The focal point and driving force of your existence tends to be being seen weekly, getting quick likes” on a pic and fulfilling your obligation to a family/clique whom you have promised undying dedication to, in exchange for popularity and validation. Quality is an absurd factor! You tend to embrace quantity. Because we live in a society that is deeply rooted in bitterness, resentment and the “crabs in a bucket” mentality; there’s no one in your immediate circle to give you true guidance on how to bypass mistakes made by others. Those whom tend to challenge the status quo and attempt to give true guidance are labeled “arrogant”, “pompous” “old”, “ugly” and “washed-up.” You are encouraged to continue on this misguided path of destruction by any means necessary. Most often this leads to a prolonged cycle of showing up at the weekly nightclubs and kick-backs feeling “grand”, but returning home as the sun comes up to a one bedroom, dilapidated, roach infested apartment with 6 other individuals all whom lack the ability to acquire heat, electric for the refrigerator, food or modern conveniences such as cable & internet. As you dwell in the pits of your high, you realize you are now living a hand-to-mouth lifestyle, but once again, your peers reassure you that this is in fact the way of the world. In their minds, the way to survive is to become a “hustler.” Escorting, stealing or other crimes are glamorized as “paper chasing.” Nothing tends to matter, as long as you are able to score a quick “bump” of whatever drug you are now doing while making sure you can “be in the building” of the next function.
If you are one of the few and lucky ones, around the age of 25-27, something clicks and you begin to see the error of your ways. You exhaust all due-diligence to respectfully remove yourself from that toxic environment and you begin to hedonistically seek the real world. Almost immediately you discover how fundamentally you were misled. The rest of the world is not living in poverty nor glamorizing the “profession” of escorting. The rest of the world does not lay their head on a pillow next to the resting roaches or dwell in the slums of our urban cities. No one really cares about if you were “legendary”, over-all, mother “Ovah-Shakova”; that can dramatically dip to the beat and sweep your back on the sweaty/dirty floor of a night-club. That’s just not a commodified asset in the real world. The real world cares about quality, accomplishment, proximity to opportunity, gainful employment, health and social issues that universally affect us all as people. Just because you identify with being “gay” does not relieve you of the same social responsibilities that everyone else has to carry. Your conversation and countenance should be one where as you could fluidly, effectively and efficiently converse about more than the latest scandal that happened at the Tuesday, 2 a.m. night club. It’s at this age where you begin to embrace a mindset of quality and universality.
Between the ages of 30-40, if you’ve successfully matured as the rest of society; you’re still young, desirable and fairly vested within the community, your scope is different. See, you’ve strategically went back and corrected some of the past mistakes you made. This has allowed you to gain a small yet respected portfolio of real world accomplishment. When you’re at the Easter dinner table and your younger cousin speaks on the house he’s just purchased, degree or marriage; you too are able to speak on some of your accomplishments. Once again, grandma and papa could care less if you are overall mother Kardashian with a mass following, yet working as a Barista at Starbucks… if that at all. At this stage in your life, you are FINALLY able to thoroughly live the life you were only able to fake in your early 20’s. You are comfortable! No, you may not be able or have the desire to club every week, but you’re able to pay your rent, car note, phone bill or even purchase your drugs or cigarettes with no sweat off your back. If you decide to travel, you can fly out and stay in a comfortable hotel instead of car-pooling or riding the Megabus for 2000 miles and crowding into a Red Roof Inn. You no longer select your nightclub experiences off the venues that will allow you to wear baseball hats. You now come clad in Ferragamo. Escorting becomes laughable. You can fuck for free because when you apply for jobs, it’s no longer settling for $9.50 h/r…Now you can negotiate a yearly salary because you have experience and has become familiar with the nomenclature and structure of corporate America. Oh, and speaking of dating; dating is no longer “let’s pull together our pennies, roll a blunt and smoke.” No, dating is now; let’s go to a nice restaurant with nice wine, have a nice conversation and then back to my place to “smash” like we ratcheet lol. In the unfortunate times where you DO have to ask a “date” for assistance, it’s not for bus fare or a few extra cigarettes. It’s more like to use him as a reference for a salaried position you are now being vetted for.
The genesis of my prose is not to be divisive, nor to spark a galvanized war that triangulates the differing age variables within our community. We are all one. My argument is quite simple. You can’t challenge the fundamental structure, principles and hierarchy of a social structure and expect a healthy, flourishing and engaging sub-culture. When accomplished young men are made to feel irrelevant while we hail young men that are unfamiliar with anything outside of the club, drugs, saggy pants and fitted hats; you can’t complain about the lack of quality. We live in a society where we are individually challenged to meet the rubric of success that’s universally presented before us by our peers and leaders. If that rubric of success is substandard, then at most, the product of that social structure will be mediocrity. If you want a community that’s overflowing with men of means, great conversation, opportunity and success, then we have to exhaust all means to make that such man the ideal standard of excellence within our community. We have to embrace the capacity to marshal ideas and move men! Dreams become reality only when their champions are strong enough to bend history to their purposes…this is power! It’s not my intent to fill you with Homeric oratory, but the complaints that we now vocalize is our own due fault. You can’t expect the student to teach and the class to pass the test! When our community prefers to patronize a ball versus intimately hanging out with the members of Alvin Ailey, something is wrong with that picture. When our community prefers the “homo-trade” over a man of opportunity, something is wrong with the picture. When our community prefers an over-crowded, dilapated lounge over a sophisticated night club, the picture is also distorted…but then again who am I? I’m just Deo…..Cheers!!