JL King, the Atlanta resident and author best known for revealing the “Down Low” to Middle America on “Oprah,” brings his life lessons to the black magazine Rolling Out with a column full of advice on self-acceptance.
And for Rolling Out, a publication for “the Hip-Hop Generation” whose readers presumably know a little something about dealing with being gay, King kicks off his new column with a primer on, well, being gay—something it took him seven years to admit after appearing on Oprah’s show, not to mention more than 20 years of having sex with men while saying he’s not gay. Readers are probably more advanced on the topic and in their development than King is, but he talks down to them anyway.
Look, we know King is revered, not only in his own mind (“Many people know me as New York Times Bestselling Author JL King…”), but also by some who think his story broke ground for the black gay movement. We disagree. Like black gay LGBT activists who shun his derogatory attitude and self-aggrandizing rise to fame, we think he actually sets the movement back. Even now that he’s out, he still presumes to know more than everybody else, and it’s just insulting.
Apparently, it’s OK to be gay after all. And now that it’s OK to be “a Proud Gay Man” with King, we can all learn from his hard-fought wisdom and self-anointed importance to the movement.
The benefit of my struggle in accepting myself is that I’m now positioned to help others come to grips with their own struggle of acceptance.
The first step in accepting one’s gay or lesbian orientation and enjoying life against the odds is to understand that sexuality is only a portion of who you truly are and that it does not define you. Just as heterosexuals are multi-faceted outside of the bedroom, so are gays. The second step in self-acceptance is to examine the age-old issues against gays and understand why they still exist.
We didn’t know we were “enjoying life against the odds.” Silly us, we thought we were just enjoying life. You know, inclusive of our “gay or lesbian orientation.” That it’s just part of who we are helps us move on, too. Thanks, JL. As for understanding why we still exist, he actually never goes past saying that with an explanation. We say we still exist because we exist, but that would be stating the obvious, like King’s own pearl of wisdom in the column: “The basis of the discrimination against LGBT people stems from the personal opinions of others.”
Wow. Breakthrough. Revolutionary. Can’t wait for the next column. In the meantime, we’ll relive his 2008 Outwrite appearance (photo) and the accompanying photo gallery. Thanks to Oprah, “Men on the Down Low” did ride the Times Bestseller list for 30 weeks in 2001. This appearance was for one of his nine other erstwhile books that never made the list, the novel “Love On A Two-Way Street.”