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Black and gay in america: how a ‘subset’ of men struggle for acceptance

Victor McDaniel is a black, transgender gay man who lives in Portsmouth with his boyfriend, Elvis, a white gay man, as well as Elvis’ family.

“I guess right now, it feels likes I’m not wanted anywhere,” the 22-year-old said.

McDaniel, who works at Kroger, said he feels like his identity and situation is a “double whammy” and he is struggling to find a family.

“My own family didn’t accept me being trans so me being gay is a really big problem for them right now,” he said.

His mother is a conservative Christian and McDaniel said he grew up in the church and was taught it was not okay to be gay.

McDaniel would dress as a boy wearing androgynous clothing and sometimes people would mistake him as boy. His mother thought he was gay and liked women.

“I think it would have been easier to understand if that had been the case,” he added.

While his boyfriend’s family support McDaniel because he is gay and is “okay” with him being transgender, they have an issue with him being black.

“It’s hard because there’s so many forms of racism,” McDaniel said. “It’s something that I’m very aware of constantly.”

For example, Elvis had to unfriend people because they made comments like “oh, you’re still with that black guy.”

The black community and the Black Lives Matter movement is a different story.

“It’s hard dealing with it because I’m very passionate about black issues,” McDaniels said. “I am kind of outspoken about it.”

One issue is people using the phrase “All Lives Matter,” and not understanding black people are disproportionately targeted because of the color of their skin.

“You’re not scared to get pulled over by police even if it’s a broken tail light,” he said.

And it can be difficult to explain that to some people who may not understand.

“I can try my best but walking into a room and being the only black person is absolutely terrifying,” he said. “If you’re not black you’re never going to be able to really understand that.”

“I would say being black is harder because it’s not something you can hide easily,” McDaniel said. “You can’t really conceal the color of your skin.”

He noted he is both black and gay “24/7” and when people say blue lives matter, he points out “that’s a uniform you can take off.”

“I’m scared of the police, if I need help I don’t want people to call the police, because I don’t want to be seen as a threat,” he said.

He said he would just do his best in an emergency to take care of himself or just go straight to the hospital.

McDaniel can’t hold hands in public with Elvis or show other public displays of affection.

“People are accepting but not as accepting as you think,” he said. “It’s just hard in general and I’m always scared of being beat up.”

In the black community, celebrating blackness is a challenge because he is gay.

“Being gay isn’t inherently a good thing,” he said. “There are spaces for black men but they are hyper masculine. You have to be a man, you have to grow up, you have to be a certain way, you have to do this.”

“If you’re anything other than straight, it’s sort of frowned upon,” he added.

June is Pride Month, but McDaniel said he doesn’t feel proud of who he is.

“I don’t feel like I have anything to be proud of,” he said. “I’m still scared to come out.”

“Because I belong to so many groups…it just feels like I have no true home.”

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