Men on the “Down-low”

23 Mar

For those unaware of what a man on the down low is, it is a gay man that leads two distinct lives, on in which he presents himself to the world as a straight man (Or allows himself to be thought of as such), and a second life in which he is actually the gay man he was born as. Men on the down low elicit a number of responses from people because this behavior is viewed radically different depending on who you ask to comment on it. To fairly examine men on the down low, you have to examine not only what they do, but why they do it.

Men go on the down low or “DL” for a number of reasons. In some cases it is necessary to protect their careers such as those serving in an institution like the U.S. Armed Forces. For the most part it is safe to say most of these people would prefer to not be on the DL, but it is a condition of the path they chose. In other cases men have found them self on the DL because as a part of denying their sexual identity, they tried to go the whole nine yards towards heterosexuality including marrying a woman and in some cases having children. Often they don’t want to hurt these people that they do love, however they cannot deny their sexual needs, and as such rather than divorce they turn to going on the DL as an option. The third most common type of man on the DL is the man that might best be described as a self loathing hypocrite. They lead a very public macho life for all to see, often bashing gays, but when possible they slink away to a locale they can safely indulge their needs with another man.

While there is rarely if ever any outcry about men going on the down low to protect their career, there is at times some surrounding those doing so in the hopes of protecting their family. The general angst surrounding that scenario is that it is unfair to the wife they sneak away on, and that they never should have married a woman in the first place since they knew they were gay. That creates an interesting side conundrum in that the people most often complaining about that type of man on the DL are Christians who endlessly argue heterosexual marriages and procreation are Gods will, and that being gay is just a choice. Therefore they say that a good loving Christian heterosexual marriage will end homosexuality. When that fails however, those very same people that encouraged the marriage as a cure then often turn venomous, so in effect the man cannot win, and is better of on the down low in some regards.

It is the last type of male on the down low which really gets everyone across the board irate. It isn’t the fact that they are gay, or even so much that they are on the DL that causes anger, it is the way they lead their life when not on the DL which creates an issue. The code has always been you can do whatever you want in regards to being in or out of the closet, but if you are in the closet and/or on the DL, you damn sure don’t stat badmouthing the people just like you who had the stones to come out and live their life openly.

This is the type of man on the DL most people think of when they hear the term because it is the type of man that is presented in the news and television programs or movies most often. They are controversial due to their hypocrisy, and the higher their personal or professional profile the better the ratings. To be honest the general feeling among more LGBT people than would be thought is that any gay man on the down low that falls in this category deserves the exposure and all the fallout that comes with it, even if it destroys their career and reputation. it is a very harsh scenario and stance, but the thinking is often tit for tat whether that is right or not.

The bottom line is men go on the down low for a variety of reasons. Some are quite valid and others are decidedly not. To lump them all together as the same however is unfair. In the final analysis when exploring men on the DL, it really is a case by case examination into the “how and why” of their winding up on that path, and how they conduct themselves while traveling along it.

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