I’ve recently finished reading the new book, For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough: Coming of Age, Coming Out, and Coming Home by author Keith Boykin, a well known political columnist and television commentator (CNBC and BET). His book features 44 stories from gay men of color that run the gamut from coming of age as a black, gay male, to coming out to family and to the larger community, to struggles with prejudice not only as African Americans but inside the black community because they’re gay, and inside the LGBT community because they’re not white. Also covered are struggles with religion in the context of its importance within the black community and so much more.
This book, an answer of sorts to the mostly white face of the “It Gets Better” campaign, paints a very different picture. For some of these men, it did indeed get better but, for many, the struggles continue in large part because of race. We get eight distinctive sections here with stories from mostly African American men but at least one man is of Jamaican descent and at least a couple are of Asian descent.
In some of these stories, the men who contributed show that they have triumphed over the odds. In others…not so much. The struggle continues. Many of these men tell an abbreviated story of their journey with a primary focus on one factor like, coming out to family, or reconciling their gay selves within the black view of what it means to be a Christian, or the difficulty in finding a partner to share life with because of the color of their skin. At times you’ll laugh with them but, mostly, you’ll shake your head that it’s so hard and you may even, possibly, feel some of their pain.
Boykin has done an amazing job pulling these 44 stories together into a read that you won’t be able to put down. I couldn’t. It’s a pretty stark view into a world many of us never see directly from men living in it.