Real Talk: The Whole Truth Behind The "Your Preference Is Racist" Discussion

MTV’s Decoded is back again to specifically talk about racism on gay dating apps.

We know, several readers are probably rolling their eyes and sighing (or did so as soon as they saw this article’s title).

That said, the conversation of racism in gay dating keeps coming up for a reason. The topic is relevant in several gay men’s lives.

We know, in today’s PC culture some readers may feel like we’re the boy who cried wolf, and honestly some people’s perspective on the issue can be quite repetitive/restrictive.

That said, the overall situation is fairly simpler than most are willing to consider.

First, check out the Decoded video starring internet content creator Dylan Marron (of the “Shut down” series) to see most of the situation’s truth. Then, come back to read this Instinct writer’s additional thoughts below.

Now again, we know that some of you are already triggered and writing down your opposition to this side of the conversation (if you haven’t already), but hear me out.

No matter what, the preference to date only one type of guy is by definition racist. (Note: I don't mean having a preference of liking Native/Indigenous men more than other races. I mean the decision to reject all other men or one type of race specifically).

For instance, imagine if I were to say, “I’m only interested in Black guys. It’s a preference.” By saying so, I’m ultimately rejecting every other shade of man that there is out there. Do all mixed men look alike? No. Do all Asian men have the same personality/lifestyle? No. So, how can I outright reject all of men of a certain color? That’s a gross generalization.

By rejecting all white men, for instance, simply because they’re white, I’m showing prejudice against them based on their race, which is the definition of racism.

On what basis can you really justify going, “I wouldn’t date you because you’re ____,” or “I would never date a _____ guy,” when there’s a wide variety of looks and personalities within one race?

And if you’re immediate response is, “That’s just what I like,” or “That’s what makes me hard,” my response to that is, “Why?”

Now, of course, there could be some understandable explanations like some kind of traumatic experience. But even then, the simple solution is exposure. Meeting a few more Latino men can widen your perspective on Latino men and wipe away that bad memory (in terms of dating at least).

Now for those vehemently against this “Preference is Racism” mentality, here’s where you might be happy to see my reasoning.

At the end of the day, this writer realizes that I have no real sway in anyone else’s life. Everyone is entitled to dating whomever they like, and my forcing my views on you would ultimately be another form of oppression.

Let’s be honest, this is your life. I may not be happy with how you run it, but you get to live and date how you want.

But that’s not all. There’s one final piece to the puzzle. Acknowledgement.

As someone who understands the “preference” defense is racist, I can still acknowledge that I shouldn’t force my views too much on others. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t express them.

In addition, you can live your life and date whomever you want, but I hope that you can eventually acknowledge that what you’re saying/thinking is inherently racist. I’m not asking you to change (though I’d like you to), but I’m asking you to acknowledge the problem.

Alright, that’s my spiel. That’s my perspective. What do you think? Is there a hole in my reasoning? Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts below.

Just remember when commenting, there are (hopefully) other human beings on the other end of your screen.

How Real Is The Race Problem In The Gay Porn Industry?

How much do we learn from pornography, and how much does it really affect us?

These are two questions that many researchers, news site writers, and internet commenters have asked countless times before.

Porn has been around for centuries (since 5200 BCE, depending on how you want to define pornography), but thanks to the internet this medium has become a large staple in human society. In fact, Pornhub says through their insights that in the year of 2015, users watched 4.5 billion hours of porn.

With that commitment people have put into the porn industry, it’s a wonder what we’re getting in return. New technique ideas? Witty pickup lines? Or racial bias?

One gay porn star thinks it’s the latter, especially when it comes to an upcoming gay porn awards ceremony.

Yesterday, we reported that Adult Film actor Hugh Hunter is shining a light on the racism and polarizing intersectionality found in the latest nominations for GayVN Awards.

After the nominations were announced, Hunter renounced his nominations because he was offended by the addition of a “Best Ethnic Scene” category.

“I have never felt so ill-at-ease as I do with the most egregious infraction demonstrated in the announcement of the 2017 GayVN Awards.”

This category chooses several gay porn films with men of color as the leads and nominates them for this one award. They segregate the scenes between men of color (Black men, Latino men, and Asian men) into this one category.

Keep in mind that some of the men in this “ethnic” category do reappear again in the fan favorite nominations like “Best Body,” or “Best Ass” (Drake Magnum, Sean Zevran, Rico Marlon, Ken Ott, and Ridder Rivera to name a few).

That said, the idea of making two categories for best scene and best “ethnic” scene is what Hunter is really protesting.

“Why? Why were these scenes not just included in the best scene category? Why would a gay porn company choose to separate minority groups into their own race at an event that is supposed to celebrate the gay industry in its entirety? Why would this category be created in 2017 when the political climate is so thick with racial divide in this country? Why would they call it ethnic? Who uses the term ethnic?”

We reached out to Hugh Hunter to see if he would share more of his thoughts on why this separate category for men of color is dangerous for gay men as a whole.

“Creating a segregated award category like ‘best ethnic scene’ is dangerous,” he told us, “Other than perpetuating an already existing racial division in the LGBTQ community, it allows studios and content creators to continue disenfranchising men of color in the casting process. There is a lack of film opportunities for men of color in mainstream adult entertainment. This lack of representation can validate bigoted ideals of members in our community. We’re the educators of sexuality for many people. We do a disservice to our community by not creating a sexually inclusive fantasy.”

In addition, this isn’t a problem with just gay porn, but pornography overall. Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show created an entertaining and enlightening (though slightly NSFW and very biased) video covering the topic.

In addition, porn star and director James Deen just spoke to Broadly about the same problem of inequality in the industry.

Deen shared that he’s tired of the all too common practice of white female performers backing out of a project or asking for more money after finding out they’re assigned to have sex with a man of color.

"It's irritating and disgusting and annoying. And it creates a huge problem with casting," he told Broadly.

As inclusive and morally upstanding as Hunter’s and Deen’s words may be though, some may feel that they’re unnecessary.

For instance, a few Instincters have shared such thoughts in the comments and social media shares of the first article on this topic.

Some say that pornography doesn't have that much of an affect on our lives, but is that true?

Researchers with neurobiology, sociology, and psychology backgrounds are still trying to understand the real affects pornography has on our minds and lives.

Several advocates and activists such as Conner Habib, Dr. Chris Donaghue, Caroline Queen, Sean Zevran, Mai Li, and more give lectures, write articles, and educate in anyway they can about the influences pornography and sexuality have on other aspects of our lives.

If these experts and professionals think there is a real influence, we should listen and consider what they're saying.

In addition, some feel that porn stars have the right to choose whom they want to have sex with, which is true. That said, choosing to not have sex with someone based on their race and not on compatibility as a person is a problem.

Yes, it’s the whole “preference or racism” debate that we gay men love to have.

While yes, everyone is entitled to their own preferences and dating/having sex with whomever they choose, choosing so based on race is ultimately showing prejudice.

As porn star Mickey Mod said to Broadly, “There's a difference between not wanting to perform with someone because they're a person of color and not wanting to perform with someone because you're not compatible with them."

Some will immediately be offended by this statement because the words racism and racist are scary, overused, and meant for people with tiki torches. But, it’s important to realize that a person can participate in racism without being racist.

All that said, even if you disagree with the thoughts of Hugh Hunter, James Deen, Mickey Mod, and this Instinct Writer, at least you’re engaging in a conversation about it. What’s scarier is when the conversation is blocked from ever happening.

Hugh Hunter shared with us that after he spoke up against the “ethnic” category in the GayVN Awards, he’s been contacted by gay porn industry personnel who’ve told him they want nothing to do with it.

“I reached out to an industry person for help in starting a conversation about this,” he told us, “I received the following response: ‘I know this goes on for all AVN and XBIZ awards and while I find what you're doing commendable, selfless and brave I have my clients who are in the industry to think about and cannot help you out with this, would be bad for my business for obvious reasons.”

This message shows that people within the porn industry realize the problem they have with racism. Sadly, because most profit from it, few fight for the moral high ground. It is these people who are the real problem. Profiting off of racism and neglecting to make change from their positions of power.

Perhaps this continuing cycle of voices speaking out and being restrained by the industry is why the conversation of racism in pornography has been unable to progress faster.

That makes one wonder how a change can come. Will it be by louder voices like Hugh Hunter’s adding kindling to the flame? Or is something else needed?

Perhaps, what we need is to start pointing fingers at those in positions of power within the pornography industry.

If we don't speak up against those gate keepers, we will continue to have segregation and stereotypes like this “Best Ethnic Scenes” category.

We must not let that happen.

Update 11/26/2017 - An earlier version of this article included a survey discussed on NPR that deducted a negative correlation between pornography viewing and relationship quality for the purpose of expressing the influence of porn on our lives. That source has since been removed.

Catching Up With Hip Hop Artist And Actor Milan Christopher On The Red Carpet

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - Handsome, hunky actor and hip hop artist Milan Christopher had a lot to say about equality, LGBT youth, racism and homophobia at the recent Vanguard Awards, the annual star-studded fundraiser for the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Your single and video “When I Go,” shed light on the bullying of LGBTQ youth. Can you tell us why you wrote and released that song?

Originally the song that I wrote was about leaving a relationship and making sure when you leave a relationship, you take everything with you that you brought to the relationship. That’s what it was about originally.

But the music video that I got an award for is about LGBT suicide. So I ended up changing the whole visuals for the music video because I thought it was really important to cover something that a lot of the LGBT children and youth are going through. 

The number one cause of death for LGBT youth is suicide. I wanted to make sure that I put visuals and impact and importance on that issue.



I’ve heard from other gay black men that it’s very challenging to deal with racism in the mainstream culture, but also with homophobia within the African-American community


Can you speak to that a bit?

I was on a TV show, Love & Hip Hop and one of the biggest issues being on a television show with a demographic that is normally...[where] homosexuality is a defamation, is that they’re very homophobic. Because in our churches and our community, being a man, being a strong black man, is very important.

And when you’re LGBT you’re looked at as being effete or effeminate. So it’s kinda like tug of war. It’s very important to know that in our community [homosexuality is seen as] a bad thing. If you can perceive that, and get past that and be successful, then I’m all for it.

There’s so many different walls that are trying to keep you from being successful.

You say ‘our community.’ Can you define that?

Just being LGBT, or being black in the LGBT community. I think we’re all one community, [but] specifically in the black LGBT community, it’s harder.

I can’t speak for the white folks because I’m not white. But in my community, where I grew up, it was very hard. You have to be very careful. You have to be very cognizant of your surroundings...because as soon as someone knows you’re gay, they think you’re weak. And you’re a target.

If you think about what’s going on in our society and culture today...if you could wave a magic wand and affect social change in any way you wanted...what would you do?

Wow...I would love to see equality. I would love to see justice for all of the people that are dying at the hands of the people who are supposed to protect us, the police. I would just love to see everybody just be happy. We only have one life, that I know of, and I think it’s very important that you live it the way you wanna live it, and you’re happy while you’re doing it.


Watch "What the Flip?": Grindr's New Web Series About Swapping Profiles

Did you know that Grindr made a web series?

The series, titled What the Flip, is supposed to take a look at what the dating experience is like for different kinds of Grindr users.

The first episode was already released last week and another one is about to come out next week. This pattern will continue every other Thursday until all five episodes have come out.

But what is the series about?

Well, the goal is to approach the topics of racism, ageism, and body shaming in the Grindr user base and the online gay community as a whole.

The first episode, which you can watch below, shows a White man and an Asian man switching profiles and seeing how the other side lives. In addition, host Billy Francesca comments on the situation along with random pedestrians found on the streets of Hollywood.

As INTO editors, the digital lifestyle magazine working with Grindr to create the series, stated, “What the Flip? exposes the way we talk to each other, the good and the bad. But it also reminds us that we’re still human, and that we can do a better job of how we represent ourselves in the mad rush to connect.”

While the episode is simple and short, it is trying to express a higher message and point out a very true and crippling problem with the gay community, so the video is worth a watch.

Again, you can check it out down below.