The lives we lead: secret lives of men

Picture it. You come home from a long day at work, ready to be consoled by the man you love. You walk into your bedroom with the words “Baby I’m home” rolling off your tongue.Then you lay eyes on him.
He’s in bed with another man. They’re naked in bed together.
This scenario is only one of many real life occurrences women can experience when dealing with a man who is on the “down low.” To the unsuspecting woman, the thought of her mate being gay never crosses her mind.
Without the presence of flamboyant behavior she would have no reason to assume so, right? Wrong. There is an underground world of homosexual men who lead heterosexual lives. Truth be told, we as women, need to stop turning a blind eye to that fact.
The scene mentioned above may have left some cringing and questioning whether their man is on the “DL” or not. Some may have even taken the thought as far as trying to find something that would prove or disprove mental accusations.
There is no sure-fire way to tell if a man is batting for the other team without asking him-assuming that he will give a truthful answer.
Men on the DL plague our society and have gone to great lengths to remain below the radar, leading double lives without suspicion, hence the term “down low.” Some of these men have wives, children, go to school, play sports, and have careers. But unknown to a na’ve portion of society, there are many outlets for men of the bisexual and/or gay orientation to go and express themselves sexually while maintaining their heterosexual lifestyles.
Places like “Flex”, a gay bathhouse with several locations in the US, including New Orleans, serve as “safe havens” for those who choose to keep their true sexual preference secret. BGCLive.com (black gay chat) is an online chat site similar to MySpaceT where gay people interact with one another.
While the down low phenomenon is not limited to black men, they do represent a large percentage of the group. Due to the stigma that is attached to homosexuality in the black community (being seen as feminine, weak, an outcast, etc.) many men prefer a secret life.
Some DL men don’t view themselves as gay or even bisexual. Being an openly gay male risks ridicule and rejection by family, friends and peers. Unfortunately, the longer these men continue to mask their lifestyles the higher the risk for their partners.
You may be questioning why this is relevant in your life. The answer is: HIV/AIDS. Black and Hispanic women account for 81% of the women living with HIV/AIDS in 2005 who acquired HIV through high-risk heterosexual contact according to the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/HIV/topics/women/resources/fact sheets/women.htm). Yes, heterosexual contact. So though your man may or may not be sexually involved with another man, you are still at risk.
Unprotected sex is the easiest way to sign your death certificate. Stay alert, informed, and protected.Landis C. Anderson is a junior English/studio art major from Bronx, NY.