It’s a sad fact that elements of the gay community are racist. Some are overtly racist directly through their language and actions, while there are others who don’t even recognise that they are racist. Their micro-aggressions against people of colour through flippant language, stereotyping, fetishising or their racial ‘preference’, can often inflict just as much damage to minorities.

We surveyed over 850 gay men about their thoughts on racism, including white gay men. Why are we singling out white gay men? Because they make up the majority of the gay community, live in a society of white privilege, and they should be accountable for their actions and things they say.


REJECTING PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THEIR RACE

Our survey showed that 30.6% of white gay male respondents wouldn’t date a south east or east Asian man and that 16.3% wouldn’t date a black man. In fact, around 10% of respondents have actively rejected someone because of their race, with 8% unsure if they have. 

“I’m only sexually attracted to white guys, and sometimes guys who have a slight mixed race. That’s not something I can help, it’s simply how I’m wired,” say Liam, 24 from Bristol. “Much the same way girls do nothing for me sexually, it feels sort of like that when it comes to guys from other ethnic backgrounds. I don’t like being made to feel like a racist because I don’t find black guys attractive. There is a clear difference between saying, ‘I think you’re not attractive because you’re black’ and ‘I’m not attracted to you because you’re black’. The first example is racist. That’s saying that someone is ugly and generally unattractive because of their skin colour. The second is saying that you personally don’t find that physical attribute attractive. Is it OK to say, ‘hey, I’m only into fat guys’? or ‘I’m not into guys with ginger hair’? Those are also types of discrimination too, only when skin colour becomes involved, it’s suddenly racism.” 

“I’m not fond of guys from India, Afghanistan or some Chinese guys. They can be criminals and terrorists,” says Beeker, 45. 

“I only find white skin and features attractive and I do not consider this racism,” believes Simon, 36.

“I’m into sugar and spice not chocolate or rice,” says Jack, 28 from Chester. 

“I’m just simply not attracted to most Asian people. I have nothing against them as friends but I don’t find them attractive. Not all of them but most,” says Peter, 32 from Northern Ireland.

However, some white gay men recognise how ingrained institutionalised racism is. 

“I used to be more self-conscious of it,” explains Craig, 26 from Cardiff. “I grew up in a community where 99% of people were white British. It took me time to grow up to people of other backgrounds, I think.”

“In all honesty I probably have rejected people because of their race, although I would never frame it in those terms. But cultural standards of attractiveness are deeply ingrained into us all from a very young age, and it would be stupid to try and pretend that race doesn’t play a factor when judging whether or not you find someone attractive. The key is to recognise it, and challenge it wherever possible,” says David, 36 from London. 

RACISM ON DATING APPS

We asked whether it was ever OK to state to publicly state that you aren’t into certain races on gay dating apps. 14.2% believe that it is OK, while 10.7% were unsure. Whereas 38.8% of white gay men would be offended if a profile stated ‘no white men’. 

“Yes, it’s OK, doesn’t mean they’re racist, just means they aren’t interested in them as partners or when it comes to sex!” says Robert, 55 from London.

“Sexuality - even though in broad terms it means attraction to a specific gender or genders - is more complicated, it’s very personal. If an individual isn’t attracted a specific race then, yes it might seem racist but they can’t help who they are attracted to,” believes John, 28 from Sheffield.

“I believe that people do have preferences especially if it is primarily for sexual activities. I think racism is often overplayed. If you identified as gay you wouldn’t be accused of being sexist by saying no girls however if it is done in a disrespectful manner or insult the person the it becomes racism but simply putting no blacks or equivalent is not racism,” says Adam, 21. 

“It is about sexual attraction. Just because you don’t find a particular race sexually attractive does not mean this is based on a racist view point. It’s about personal choice and what you are sexually attracted to. Nobody should be told that their sexual preference is wrong; be it gay, straight, black, white, brown, yellow, masculine or feminine,” thinks Rob, 37 from London. 

Thankfully, not all white gay men think the same way and see that discriminating against whole minorities is damaging. 

“You cannot assume every member of a racial group lives up to what ever stereotypes you have a problem with. And even if you are racist and unable to get over that... there is no need to make a statement on a profile which may lead to people reading it having negative attitudes and beliefs, either about themselves or others, reaffirmed. Also it is kind of sending out the signal, that it’s OK to be racist,” says Robert, 55 from London.

“A frequent defence of the ‘no Blacks, no Asians’ is that everyone has a preference and that they should be allowed to state that,” agrees Bob, 34.

“This is the blanket and wholesale elimination of potential dating partners due entirely to their race. It is, by definition, racist. It is removing what a guy has to offer, who they are, what they have done and simply defines them by race.”

WHITE GAY MEN WHO FEEL VICTIMISED

13.4% of the gay white men who took our survey believe they have experienced racism from gay men of colour. 

“I often see black or mixed race guys saying they will only meet other black and or mixed race guys. I’ve also been in bars and clubs that are predominantly black or Latino, and told that that bar or club is not for me and asked what I am doing there!” says, Nick, 54 from Manchester.

“I’d been racially abused for being white and Scottish by a group of black men when I was on holiday in London,” says Alan, 36 from Edinburgh

“Racism works in many ways,” says Robert, 55. “Racism against white people should be as discouraged as racism against all other races. There is no need for negative statements on apps or otherwise.” 


RACISM IN GAY BARS AND CLUBS

A massive 68.9% of white gay men who responded to the survey have witnessed racism occur on the gay scene, with only 38.46% taking action when they saw it.

“I once had a table booked at a Soho bar for a small group of friends for my birthday,” explains Jonathan, 28. “We were told there may be a £5 cover charge for people coming in after 10.30pm. One of my friends arrived at that time and they tried to charge him £15 to come in, and it wasn’t until I came to the bouncer to explain he was with me that they let him in at the cheaper rate. He’s a beardy South Asian guy and the only non-white person who came to the event, but no one else, including those arriving late, was charged this much. He’s also told me he gets asked things like ‘do you know what this sort of place this is’ quite a lot upon entry.”

“When I arrived at a gay club with a black friend, the door staff asked him whether he knew it was a gay club not me and when I walked around the club with him, people on the dancefloor kept stopping and asking him if he sold drugs. They didn’t ask me the same thing,” says Stephen, 47 from London.

But why don’t some white gay men step up and challenge racism when they see it?

“It didn’t affect me,” admits Rob, 64. “Sometimes I challenge it, sometimes I don’t,” says Jeff, 25. “There are friends I know who have had less kind attitudes to some ethnicities. Sometimes I challenge or chastise them, sometimes I don’t. I tell people I’ll mix with whomever I want and I will generally challenge racial slurs.”

“I must admit, when people display indirect forms of racism, I’ve let it go and not challenged it,” admits Kevin, 32.

RACIAL STEREOTYPES

41.7% of the white gay men who took the survey believe stereotypes about different ethnicities to be generally true. 26.5% believe that black men have bigger penises, with the same believing that Asian men have smaller penises. 10.2% believe that black men are more dominant and 9.9% believe that Asian men are more submissive. These are only a fraction of the stereotypes white gay men believe to be true.

“Asian people are smarter,” thinks Arron, 17 from Manchester.

“I generally go for darker skin but the reason I don’t date Asian men is because in my personal experience, I’ve always found them girly. That’s not stereotyping, that’s my experience personally,” says Marcus, 48 from London.

“I’ve heard that black men cannot maintain a monogamous, faithful relationship,” says Colin, 55.

“I’ve heard that South Asian men won’t kiss,” says Paul, 38.

“White men are superior and white men are cleaner than any other race,” says George, 25.

HOW DO WE MAKE A CHANGE?

How do we make it so that racism on the gay scene becomes a thing of the past? What can white gay men do to acknowledge the visibility of minorities in the gay community? Listen to these people of colour for a start: 

“My skin shouldn’t define who I am, the content of my character should. Martin Luther said that years ago, yet no one seems to understand this today,” says Fillix, 25 from Manchester.

“I’d like others to know skin doesn’t make the person,” agrees Steve, 34 from London, “and the next time you decide if you’d like to get to know someone be it for a friendship or a relationship try to see if you have any of the same interests. Rather than judging by race, looks or creed. Also, think how you would like to be treated.”

“Remember that I’m just a normal guy. Being black doesn’t mean I’m anything special. Race doesn’t make you inferior or superior. Not all black men are dominant tops with huge cocks. If you’re not into black men there’s no need to say exactly that, just say you’re not interested and leave race out of your reply,” says Marcus, 28.

“Just treat me like a human being. That’s all,” states Tony, 26. 


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