On being naked. 

It’s liberating. I’ve waited a long time to get naked in front of the camera, spent the better part of my life afraid of being naked. Sheltered behind closed church doors, inundated with conservative ideology —ashamed of my bare brown skin to be exposed, I never featured my body growing up, I hid it. I’ve experienced enough judgement and shade from the holy to ever let someone catch me with my pants down. 

What began as my saved and sanctified mother putting her hands over my eyes lids every time nudity appeared on the movie or television screen or her confiscating my Playboy magazines hidden carefully under my mattress, ended up creating a negative, shameful, and unaffirming connotation about nudity, sexuality, and sex. The religious dogma stirred into my psyche most of my life caused me to hate myself, my body, and sexual urges and fantasies.

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Something within me was mesmerized by something within him, and despite all my caution I understood him immensely. Whatever I found in him was special to me, Nirvana at best, and at best was often enough for nothing else to matter after him. We were on the run together on an adventure, and as long as we had each other there existed a fire, a love that would make us invincible against the world. For boys like us, there is not much we long for more than love and acceptance. 

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It has taken me four days and nights to locate the words to share what my soul is feeling. My spirit is disturbed at the insanity of the ways of our world. My heart is broken because I wear my gayness like I wear my blackness, boldly without apology; just as my straight white brother wears his. I know the pulse of the LGBT experience of color like I know the spelling of my full name. Forty-nine of our brothers and sisters were gunned down, another 53 are wounded, some gravely, and still some of us on this wayward planet are not phased by this atrocity. Way too many of us don’t care because no one died that we knew or loved, no one close enough to us for us to taste the bitter blood in our mouths, or feel the void in our lives. There are many of us who are disturbed but are lost as to what to do and send our condolences in sadness. Most of us are looking for someone to blame. We have our pitch forks pointed in fear at the Muslim community; we have fashioned our own mental bombs armed for retaliation at ISIS.

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