‘On the Down Low’ author to visit campu

J.L. King’s decision to go public about his “down low” lifestyle gained more attention than expected from the black community.

According to King’s book “On the Down Low,” the phrase is used to describe men who have sex with other men, but do not consider themselves gay or bisexual.

King will give a speech tonight in Lee Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m. and expose the characteristics of straight black men who sleep with other men.

“Admission is free to all students and the public,” said David Boyd, a staff assistant for the Student Government Association.

“For tickets, just come by the SGA office,” Boyd said.

King will focus on the five personality types of “down low” men and the importance of educating the black community about HIV prevention.

“He tells me that people do not agree with what he does,” said King’s executive assistant, Sylvester Cosby. “But a lot of people are very receptive.”

King said “coming out of the closet,” or admitting he was on the down low, was important to him.

“When I think about all the sex I have had, most of it unsafe even during the height of the AIDS plague, I shudder to think of how many times I have put my life and the lives of my women at risk,” said King in an interview with the Black AIDS Institute.

According to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of black women in the United States are diagnosed with AIDS, with many of them infected by their male companions who do not disclose their sexual relationships with other men.

Zach Ingram, a 20-year-old dancer from Miami, describes his “down low” lifestyle as “experimenting and trying new things.”

“I know I should tell a woman when I meet her that I have sex with men, but I don’t. I won’t tell her unless I know for a fact that she would be willing to accept it,” Ingram said. “Most of the women that I have sex with are bisexual anyway.”

Risking his marriage and family, King said he couldn’t change the truth.

The truth meaning the “down low” lifestyle many men around the world are participating in is said to further complicate efforts to stop the spread of HIV.

Today, King’s marriage is over.

He said his children support him 100 percent in his efforts to educate the black community, according to http://www.oprah.com.

As for his lifestyle, King prefers to not be labeled as gay, as do many men still living on the “down low”, although he still partakes in homosexual activity.

There will be a book signing after the lecture.

Contact Tiffany Taylor at famuanlifestyles@hotmail.com.