Life Abuse and Hate Crime I'm black but you still have to ask for consent Words by Philip Samba | @IdiosyncraticXL On a few occasions, men who were perfect strangers have touched me inappropriately in gay bars and in gay nightclubs without my consent. If you accidentally make eye contact with someone, they sometimes believe they now have the right to touch you how they please. This has always been something that not only confused me every single time, but also infuriated me. Why would anyone believe it is perfectly okay to touch another man’s dick without permission to do so? Life is difficult enough with the intersection of being black and gay; I’m already a minority within a minority and I don’t need this. I’m more likely to be diagnosed with HIV, as well as significantly more likely to self-harm, suffer from mental health problems or commit suicide in comparison to my white and Asian counterparts. I’m constantly met with racism in and out of the gay community either through racial profiling with the police always assuming the worst of me, or stereotypes of how black men that are hypermasculine, unemotional and aggressive, as we are constantly portrayed in the mainstream media. The gay media itself lacks many positive gay black male role models and sadly we are also not promoted as much as our white gay men. Sexual consent is actively agreeing to participate in sexual activity. Before having sex with anyone, you need to know that they want to have sex with you too. It is very important to be completely open and honest with whatever you want to do and don’t want to do, as giving and asking for consent sets boundaries and respect between sexual partners. Everyone involved must agree to sex each and every single time in order for it to be consensual, any sexual activity including genital touching and oral, vaginal or anal sex without consent is sexual assault or rape. There are serious issues within the LGBT community. Sadly, there are people within the gay community that believe that consent is automatically given the second they step foot into a dark room, and ‘anything goes” in a chill out or a sauna. Or sometimes even at a regular party. The last time I was touched without consent was about four weeks ago. I went to a club in Shoreditch for a friend’s birthday then afterwards I went to a house party with a lot of people from the club. At the party there was this guy that was completely shitfaced; I had never met him before, never spoken to him or even made eye contact with him and out of nowhere he tried to stick his hand down my trousers! Luckily, I am a very calm person (and sadly desensitised to being assaulted because of the frequency that it happens), so I just moved his hand away and removed myself from the situation by leaving the room. It did really piss me off as it always does, but I knew that the guy was very drunk, the party was going well with positive vibes and I didn’t want to be the angry, black man overreacting and ruining the party for everyone. For me this is the usual way I handle things: instead of screaming and shouting, getting into fights or causing a scene and this is what I suggest you do too, my black kings. Trust me, I understand how infuriating this can make you feel being reduced from an individual with thoughts, opinions, feelings and morals to just a dick. This is not all you are, but this is all others see sometimes: a big black cock. I don’t believe in ‘when they go low, you go lower’, I believe that we have to be better and rise above it, instead of becoming the ‘stereotype’ that everyone expects you to be – be better, take a deep breath and simply walk away.