Black gay men as sexual subjects: race, racialisation and the social relations of sex among Black gay men in Toronto.

Published: February 18, 2013

Abstract

In this study of Black gay and bisexual men in Toronto, sexually active survey participants reported on their sexual behaviours with male partners of different ethnoracial backgrounds, and interview participants reflected on how their sexual relationships emerged in the context of race and interracial desire. Most survey participants reported sexual relationships with other Black men. Participants were more likely to be insertive with White and other ethnoracial men than with Black men. A significant number of participants who were receptive or versatile with Black partners switched to the insertive role when their sexual partners were not Black. Interview participants ascribed a sense of fulfilment to their sexual relationships with other Black men, but avoided relationships with White men or interpreted such relationships as either purely sexual and/or inflected by their racialised objectification. Others avoided sexual relationships with other Black men or preferred relationships with White men, sometimes in opposition to experiences of oppressive masculinity from some Black partners but mindful of the possibility of racialised encounters with their White partners. Study participants emerge as informed sexual subjects, self-conscious about their sexual relationships and variously inclined to negotiate or resist racialisation and oppression in the private and public spheres.

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