Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Q&A: Errol Fields on Young Black Gay Men and Perceptions of HIV Risk

via, by Kellee Terrell sat down with the researcher to clarify the findings of his new study, which found that young black gay/bi men believe that "masculine" men are less likely to have HIV.


This preference for masculine men, or what was perceived as masculine, was fairly dominant and oftentimes, masculinity was described as something that "was not effeminate." Other descriptions of masculinity given were images we would see in hip-hop: Thugs and "gangstas", men who bragged about sexual conquests and certain physical attire. 

But we also found that many of these men preferred masculine partners because by hanging out with more masculine men, they could hide their own sexuality from other people they were not out to. Hanging with more effeminate men would give their sexuality away and they didn't want that. 

In terms of HIV risk, some of them had this assumption that masculinity meant not being involved in a "gay lifestyle" and men who were "wrapped up" in the lifestyle were more likely to be infected with HIV because they were exposing themselves to something they shouldn't be. There is this underlying assumption that HIV is something that is housed in the "out" gay community, and that was evident in their bias. One man told us, "If he is a guy with a girl and two babies, then he is not messing around with a lot of other men, so he doesn't have HIV."
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