One of the biggest problems we have with achieving lgbt equality is all of the misinformation put out there about our community.
The religious right peddles misinformation on a daily basis so it's bad enough dealing with them. But when misinformation is pushed due to simple ignorance, it's still a problem.
And the lgbt community has a problem with the ABC show The View:
On June 21st, Slate published a story titled "Inferior Blood" that asked, "If it's OK to reject blood from gay men, what about blacks?" Federal guidelines ban gay males from donating blood if they have had sex with men in the past 30 years, because they are classified as a group with an increased risk for HIV. But the article notes that since HIV prevalence is 18 times higher for Black woman than their white counterparts, why not ban Black folks from donating blood too?
The next day on ABC's The View, D.L. Hughley, a Black actor and comedian, presented his wildly misinformed opinion as a fact: "When you look at the prevalence of HIV in the African-American community, it's primarily young women getting it from men on the 'down low.' " That's simply not true.
Despite years of speculation about so-called "down low" men--or, Black men who sleep with men while identifying as straight and having sex with women, too--the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found no evidence that they are responsible for high HIV rates among Black women. In fact, CDC studies have found men fitting the "down low" description are actually no more likely to have unprotected sex than their peers. Nonetheless, thanks to folks like Hughley, the "down low" meme lives on. Meanwhile, the far less sexy factors that appear to play large roles in HIV rates among Black women--such as poor access to routine STD screening and treatment or histories of sexual abuse--get ignored.
Yesterday, in a full-page ad running in Variety Magazine, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Black AIDS Institute and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) called on ABC and The View to correct misinformation put forth on the the show.
The "down low" meme is motivated by ignorance and a cynical exploitation on the fears of black women. It motivated many others to throw out all of sorts of nonsense on the subject including Shahrazad Ali.
Ali, who once said that black women need a good smack in the mouth, wrote another book called How To Tell if Your Man is Gay or Bisexual. In this book, she gave a few "tips" on spotting "downlow men," including:
How does he sleep at night, what position does he sleep in? Does he sleep like a woman, or like a man? What does he talk about in his sleep?
You can touch his rectum to see if he has those tell-tale humpson his anus from having it stretched open with a penis. Then later on ask him if he's ever had hemorrhoids really bad.
If he asks you to "toss his salad" and you agree, and his legs go up too quickly, he's probably used to doing it.
It would be hilarious except for the fact that some folks actually took her seriously
What you can do: contact ABC and get the network to correct the misinformation put out by Hughley and Shepard:
Brad Jamison, Vice President Corporate Initiatives
ABC Television Network
Julie Hoover, Corporate Communications Vice President
ABC Television Network
Bill Geddie, Executive Producer
ABC "The View"
CDC: ‘Down Low’ Men Not Responsible for High HIV Rates Among Black Women