Acceptance only surefire cure for ‘down low’

What is the “down low?” Singer/songwriter R. Kelly defined it years ago in his song “Down Low” as a sexual relationship with someone who is in a relationship with someone else.

But today things have changed.

The down low is now defined as when a man who is married, is engaged has a girlfriend but is secretly having a sexual relationship with men.

These black men are afraid to be real and let people know their sexual preference. J.L. King, author of the book “On the Down Low,” said, “before, I refused to accept the fact that I am gay.”

I’m not sure why he refused to accept his hidden sexuality. If you are a man having sex with another man, you are gay.

There’s no denying it.

Why can’t these black men admit it?

What are they trying to prove?

Maybe these black men think they have an image to uphold to in today’s society.

Forget the image and keep it real with yourself and the woman you are with.

Almost all of the black men on the “down low” are having unprotected sex with these men.

They are going back home to their female significant others and putting their lives at risk too.

“How Stella Got Her Groove Back” author Terry McMillan’s ex-husband was guilty of living on the down low in their relationship.

“I think (my ex-husband) should be charged with attempted murder for putting my life in danger,” said McMillan.

These are words from a woman who was terrified when she found out her ex-husband’s sex life with men. She found the thought of not knowing whom he was with and how long it was going on frightening.

It scares me to think one day I might get married and my husband could be doing the same thing.

You really can’t tell who is heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual these days. All you can do is ask and hope that the man is telling you the truth.

It has been said that the rise of HIV/AIDS in black women is increasing because of men on the down low. King said, “I should have been infected a long time ago because of the life I was living.”

In August 2003, a New York Times article said that according to the Centers for Disease Control, one-third of young urban black men, who have sex with other men are HIV positive and 90 percent of those are unaware of their infection.

Think about the consequences before you decide to be on the down low. Think about the children that will be put in the middle of this secret life.

We have to be aware that this is going on and try to let our black men know that you don’t have to ashamed of your sexuality.

Elisa LaMotta is a senior public relations student from Orlando. She can be reached at