Population Description and Interview Research Paper

Pages: 10 (2597 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 11  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality


The population that was picked was male, African-American homosexuals. This population was picked because there is a need to understand this group of men as black gay men have the highest HIV rates of any population in the world (APLA 2010). In fact, a study in the United States shows that 46% -- or one in two -- black men who have sex with men may be HIV-positive (2010). Too many men are unaware that they are even affected, which is what makes the risk for black gay men to acquire HIV very high.

This population group was chosen because many African-American gay men tend to live "below the radar" (GMAD 2010) -- that is, black gay men tend to suffer and die in silence from HIV / AIDS because prevention funds never reach them. Black gay youth have the tendency to become homeless and they must resort to violence and prostitution as a result of feeling like they are alone. Many feel isolated, alienated and many of them lead a life full of harassment (2010). Black gay men may feel like they are unsupported by the community that they live in and thus they suffer from depression and insecurity that forces them to take drastic measures in order to find financial and emotional support (2010).

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African-American gay men have a very difficult plight ahead of them. They are forced to not just fight against racism that still exists in this country, but they are forced to fight against the stigma of being gay in this country. There are many variances in the subculture of the black gay communities and appropriate ways to reach these men and counsel them are of the utmost importance.

Research Paper on Population Description and Interview Assignment

I am not very familiar with the African-American community. While I have had African-American friends in the past, for the most part, the community in which I live is nearly entirely white. On the other hand, the community where I live has a very large population of middle-age, white and rather affluent men. I have several gay friends because of where I live -- both male and female gay friends. I was drawn to this study because I was considering the issues that my gay (non-black) friends deal with currently. There is so much going on politically with the rights of gays to marry and I am constantly discussing the issue with my gay friends. We also talk about intolerance, in general, when it comes to their sexual preferences. Overall, my friends are gay males that do not "flaunt" their gayness -- that is to say, they are not men who can probably afford to let their gayness show because of the type of jobs they have. Many of them work in very corporate environments and are heads of businesses, etc.

In thinking about my friends' issues and challenges when it comes to being a gay man in America, I started to think about not only the prejudice that gay men face, but what would happen when those men are also men of African-American descent? The racial issues that black gay men have to deal with on top of the intolerance when it comes to being gay, I thought it was an area of research that needed more understanding. Through some of my homosexual friends I was able to meet a gay black man whom I will be interviewing for this research.

Part Two.

Date: 24 October 2010

Time: 3:30 P.M.

Location: On Common Grounds Coffee Shop

Interview Questions.

1) Where did you grow up?

2) Were you faced with racism in the community that you grew up in? If yes, how did that affect your childhood?

3) When did you first think that you might be gay?

4) How did you deal with those initial first feelings? Did you tell anyone? Was there anyone that you could talk to about it?

5) How did knowing you were gay affect what you did with your life after you became an adult (after age 18)?

6) Did you seek out a community of other gay men?

7) What are the challenges of being both black and gay in America?

8) Do you feel that being gay is harder for you because you are black?

Part Three.

On the Racial/Cultural Identity Development Model (R/CID), my interviewee is at the 'Introspection' stage -- or Stage 4. Stage 4 of the R/CID model is when an individual realizes the extreme nature of his or her feelings associated with Stage 3 ('Resistance and Immersion') and how those feelings come into play or interfere with the development of self-identity (Sue & Sue 1999). Bruce's basic attitude toward himself seems to be one of concern with his basis of self-appreciation (1999).

Bruce went through a rough period (that lasted about twenty years, according to him) when he was very angry. He had intense feelings of anger that was directed toward the white society, but he also had very intense feelings of anger against women who were both black and white. Bruce had a tough period where he was trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. Because of his background, he never went to college. Instead he moved to Los Angeles where he had a series of unfulfilling jobs -- usually as a bartender or waiter in gay establishments. Because of where he worked a lot of the times, he met many gay men and he had many affairs with different men whom he did not like, but felt like he needed to be with to be complete.

Bruce has had one fulfilling relationship in his life and it was with an older black man, Philip, who died of AIDS in 2003. Bruce has been HIV-positive since 2002 and this is another factor that has led to severe anger and rage. Bruce is living a healthy lifestyle today (i.e., he does not sleep around like he used to, but when he does engage with sex with another man, he always informs them of his illness and he wears a condom). For the most part, however, Bruce does not have a significant other in his life. He has a few very close friends who are also black and gay. He doesn't have many white friends, more like acquaintances that he sees when he goes out to bars or clubs. He still seems to be quite skeptical of white people, in general. He states that he is not racist, but because he grew up in the south, he has seen a lot of discrimination against black people and he says it is simply something that will probably never go away even though he can rationally tell himself that not every white person is a racist.

Looking at all of this information about Bruce, I am now wondering if Bruce could be on the very edge of Stage 3 -- the Resistance and Immersion Stage. I do believe that he is already in Stage 4, but he exhibits some views that are still those that minorities tend to view. He does still seem to "reject the dominant values of society and culture (Sue & Sue 1999). By this I mean that Bruce has engulfed himself into a life that is nearly completely one race -- black. His friends are all gay and almost all are black. Bruce has very little contact with his family.

Bruce states that he no longer feels any guilt or shame about who he is. In his younger years, he hid the fact that he was gay from his family and he forced himself to try and be with women even though he has known, he says, since the roughly the age of 14 that he was not attracted to women. When he first had feelings of desire for another boy at school, he thought that there was something very wrong with him and he felt angry at himself, his family, and at God for making him feel those things. His family was quite religious (Baptist) growing up and he said that he would go to church and he would feel that everybody could see it in him. Because of his feelings of shame and guilt, he put on a "tough guy" act. He got into a lot of trouble at school, outside of school, and he fought with his mother and siblings.

While Bruce says that he no longer feels any guilt or shame about the fact that he is both gay and black, he does state that he feels some anger still; however, his anger is not necessarily about his being black and gay, but his anger is more about what has become of his life. He doesn't have a significant other anymore since Philip died. He works at a local health food/grocery store as a manager and he doesn't see himself ever getting out of that job. He has health insurance and makes a decent wage and he doesn't think that anywhere else he… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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