Down-low is an African American slang term  that typically refers to a subculture of Black men who usually identify as heterosexual, but who have sex with men ; some avoid sharing this information even if they have female sexual partner sthey are married to a woman, or they are single.
The term originated in the Black community, and was originally used to describe "any kind of slick, secretive behavior, including infidelity in heterosexual relationships". According to a study published in the Journal of Bisexuality"[t]he Down Low is a lifestyle predominately practiced by young, urban Black men who have sex with other men and women, yet do not identify as gay or bisexual".
In this context, "being on the Down Low" is more than just men having sex with men in secret, or a variant of closeted homosexuality or bisexuality—it is a sexual identity that is, at least partly, defined by its "cult of masculinity" and its rejection of what is perceived as white culture including white LGBT culture and terms.
Rejecting a gay culture they perceive as white and effeminate, many black men have settled on a new identity, with its own vocabulary and customs and its own name: Down Low. There have always been men — black and white — who have had secret sexual lives with men.
But the creation of an organized, underground subculture largely made up of black men who otherwise live straight lives is a phenomenon of the last decade.
Most date or marry women and engage sexually with men they meet only in anonymous settings like bathhouses and parks or through the Internet. Many of these men are young and from the inner city, where they live in a hypermasculine thug culture.
Other DL men form romantic relationships with men and may even be peripheral participants in mainstream gay culture, all unknown to their colleagues and families. Most DL men identify themselves not as gay or bisexual but first and foremost as black. To them, as to many blacks, that equates to being inherently masculine.
In his book Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies and Denial in Black AmericaKeith Boykin states that secret homosexual relations are not unique to African American men, and in fact occur in many societies and among all races. In "Power Plays, Power Works" John Fiske suggests that closeted homosexuality may be more common in American communities suffering from widespread poverty, in which members reportedly depend heavily on traditional family networks and often religious institutions for financial and emotional support.
The term quickly became conflated with an eroticism of Black and Latino homosexual activity. Throughout the gay porn industry and internet networks, "down-low" quickly became a marketing term used to publicize pornographic movies, models, sex-clubs and social gatherings that included Black and Latino men.
The first known person to use "down-low" in a homosexual context was George Hanna, who used the term in the song Boy in the Boat about lesbian women. The first mainstream media of the down-low as closeted homosexuality was reported in the Los Angeles Times on February 7, By the end of the year, numerous major media outlets had reported on the down-low.
The article was the first mainstream piece to openly criticize negative mainstream media depictions of down-low men and put a different spin on the DL phenomenon. King argued that the use of the term "down low" was a way for many African American men to admit to having sex with other men without necessarily identifying as "gay" in the traditional sense.
In Jeffrey Q. McCune, Jr. In addition, McCune has dedicated a dissertation on this topic. His study examines DL discourses closely, while also exploring how DL men handle masculinity and sexuality.
Inwriter Terrance Dean published his memoir, Hiding in Hip-Hop: On the Down Low in the Entertainment Industry—from Music to Hollywoodwhere he discusses his own experience being down-low in the industry as well as others in the industry who are also down-low. He distinguishes the difference between being down-low and being down-low-gay.
Someone who is down-low is on the receiving end of homosexual sexual pleasure and for that reason does not view themselves as gay, while down-low-gay is someone who is a closeted gay man. Using a content analysis of more than articles written between andsociologist Richard N. Pitt, Jr. He argued that the "down-low" Black bisexual is often described negatively as a duplicitous heterosexual man whose behaviors threaten the Black community.
Alternatively, the "Brokeback" white bisexual when seen as bisexual at all is often described in pitying language as a victimized homosexual man who is forced into the closet by the heterosexist society around him.
And more than one in four of these bisexual men have unsafe sex with both kinds of partners. The CDC report that analyzes the above-mentioned survey states that "many men who have sex with men MSMespecially young and minority MSM, do not disclose their sexual orientation" in order to avoid "social isolation, discrimination, or verbal or physical abuse.
Although this study did not find that nondisclosing MSM were at higher risk for HIV infection than MSM who are more open about their sexuality 1—3the data suggests that a substantial proportion of nondisclosers are infected with HIV and other STDs and are at high risk for transmitting these infections to their male and female sex partners.
In Beyond the Down LowKeith Boykin denied this connection, attributing the media claim to sexismracism, homophobia and classism.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has never cited men on the down-low as a factor. The authors of a study of the down-low on Craigslist. The authors maintain that by only focusing on Black people's sexual behaviors, larger structural issues such as poverty and drug use are ignored in the discussion about rising HIV rates in certain Black communities.
A cross-study analysis that reviewed 24 articles and published in the Journal of the National Medical Association found that "Black MSM are more likely than MSM of other racial or ethnic groups to be bisexually active or identified; and, compared with white MSM, are less likely to disclose their bisexual or homosexual activities to others. However, the contribution of high-risk heterosexual Black men to the rising HIV caseload among Black women has been largely ignored.
Future research must evaluate the relative contributions of bisexual men and exclusively heterosexual Black men to HIV cases among Black women. Additionally, a qualitative study, published in the Medical Anthropological Quarterly, concluded that:. It was concluded that bisexual activity is highly correlated with secrecy and unprotected sex. The risks of bisexuality among Black men are exacerbated by incarceration, homophobia, drug use, and the prison and public health focus on surveillance rather than prevention.
Riley Snorton contends that Black sexuality operates within the glass closet, a space "marked by hypervisibility and confinement, spectacle, and speculation. This type of hypervisibility reinforces the confining space of the glass closet, and continues to position Black men as subjects of regulation and surveillance.
Therefore Black masculinity is perceived as "dangerous, prone to trickery, promiscuous, and contaminated while also framing white masculinity and sexuality as less susceptible to such problems. Down-low men are racialized, sexualized, gendered, and classed. The meta physics of the glass closet are like the physical properties of glass, sometimes liquid and sometimes solid, located in the slips of categorization.
If we understand the closet as a racialized metaphor, then we must fully consider what it means when Black bodies enter the illuminating space of the closet. It resembles the phenomenon of peering into a lit window at night—the contents inside captured by the glass frame.
Despite the hypervisibility of the glass closet, there is still potential for the performative tactic which Snorton calls "ignorance". This ignorance "relies on the subversion of knowledge and a deft manipulation of spectacle.
For other uses, see Down-low disambiguation. Cassell's Dictionary of Slang.
Sterling Publishing. ISBN Retrieved Three Rivers Press. Archived from the original on August 18, San Francisco Chronicle.
Progressive Black Masculinities. AIDS and Behavior.
PMID S2CID Racial identity, masculinity and homosexuality in the lives of young Black men who have sex with men: Implications for HIV risk Thesis. ProQuest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Archived from the original on Journal of Bisexuality. The New York Times.
The Village Voice. August 16, Archived from the original on March 7, Power Plays, Power Works.
Blackness and Sexualities. Junewww. July 23,www.
Harpo Inc. April 16, Mccune Jr. Blacktino Queer Performance. Retrieved April 22, ISSN X. The Journal of Men's Studies. Cities, —". Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
February 7, Archived from the original on October 5, Deviant Behavior. Journal of the National Medical Association. PMC Medical Anthropology Quarterly. JSTOR Riley Nobody Is Supposed to Know.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Down low LGBT hip hop. Lesbiangaybisexualand transgender LGBT slang. ZIP: 20010 20011 20012 20015 20228 20520 20307 20418 20319 20024 20510 20593 20020 20427 20540 20240 20245 20204 20202 20390 20006 20005 20004 20003 20002 20009 20008 20535 20317 20405 20057 20052 20053 20017 20018 20565 20566 20560 20260 20064 20551 20553 20019 20230 20373 20007 20032 20036 20037 20506 20001 20045 20016 20013 20022 20026 20027 20029 20030 20033 20035 20038 20039 20040 20041 20042 20043 20044 20047 20049 20050 20055 20056 20058 20059 20060 20061 20062 20063 20065 20066 20067 20068 20069 20070 20071 20073 20074 20075 20076 20077 20078 20080 20081 20082 20090 20091 20201 20203 20207 20208 20210 20211 20212 20213 20214 20215 20216 20217 20218 20219 20220 20221 20222 20223 20224 20226 20227 20229 20232 20233 20235 20237 20238 20239 20241 20242 20244 20250 20251 20252 20254 20261 20262 20265 20266 20268 20270 20277 20289 20299 20301 20303 20306 20310 20314 20318 20330 20340 20350 20355 20370 20372 20374 20375 20376 20380 20388 20389 20391 20392 20393 20394 20395 20398 20401 20402 20403 20404 20407 20408 20410 20411 20412 20413 20414 20415 20416 20417 Black lady Washington DC craigslist sex 20420 20421 20422 20423 20424 20425 20426 20428 20429 20431 20433 20434 20435 20436 20437 20439 20440 20441 20442 20444 20447 20451 20453 20456 20460 20463 20468 20469 20470 20472 20500 20501 20502 20503 20504 20505 20507 20508 20509 20511 20515 20521 20522 20523 20524 20525 20526 20527 20528 20529 20530 20531 20533 20534 20536 20537 20538 20539 20541 20542 20543 20544 20546 20547 20548 20549 20552 20554 20555 20557 20559 20570 20571 20572 20573 20575 20576 20577 20578 20579 20580 20581 20585 20586 20588 20590 20591 20594 20597 20598 20599 56901 56902 56904 56908 56915 56920 56933 56935 56944 56945 56950 56965 56966 56967 56968 56969 56970 56971 56972 56998 56999