A gay man of color’s musings on finding love in the digital age

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Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

As I search endlessly for love in the digital era, I wonder if my hopes of meeting Mr. Right will ever be fulfilled.

Of course, it’s not impossible to meet someone using dating apps and online sites: success stories of happily partnered couples who have met virtually abound. However, this has not yet happened for me. And as I am faced with more disappointing dates and unanswered messages, I find that I have become steadily more dejected.

The search for love, and its resultant lack of fulfillment, has left me in a state of yearning that is akin to being really hungry with no possibility of finding food. If this sounds like a depressing state of being, it is indeed. However, my unfulfilling search for love has also had the unintended consequence of producing some incredibly valuable insights. …

Will outdated gender norms continue to dictate costume choices this Halloween?

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Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash

I recently stumbled across a satirical video on Facebook from The Onion entitled: How To Find A Masculine Halloween Costume For Your Effeminate Son. It was done in the style of a segment on a daily variety show. The convincing production and realistic style made me pause for a second and stare at my screen in disbelief; I quickly scrolled to the comments section to verify that this was indeed a satirical video made for the purposes of pointing out the sheer ludicrousness of suggestions such as:

‘If you want your child to depict a male-dominated profession, be very careful not to choose one that’s been co-opted by the gay community like a fireman, a cop, a cowboy… otherwise they’ll just end up looking like a stripper.’ …

The movie that still makes me proud to be queer a quarter of a century later

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Taken from www.imdb.com

Pride season is upon us and it makes me think of all things gay and glittery. It’s a time to celebrate all the wonderful aspects that make us queer and also to reflect on those things that create divisions within and between our communities and that keep us from being more united and powerful.

As a gay man, I reflect on those cultural moments that have mirrored my own queerness back to me resulting in a strong feeling of belonging. …

Gay men’s unrealistic body standards and the collective damage they inflict

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Image taken from pixabay.com

Typing #gay into Instagram’s search feature reveals a surprising number of men taking shirtless selfies, often revealing chiseled, perfectly defined bodies. Many of these are taken at the gym in what has become an almost obligatory right-of-passage snap for any gay man who works out. These pictures tell us how highly-prized a muscled physique has become for gay men.

Another insight comes from the world of online dating and apps, where phrases such as no fats, no fems are frequently seen. …

Letting go of fairytale love in order to find the real thing

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Jill Wellington on pixabay.com

At last he reached the tower and opened the door into the little room where the Princess was asleep. There she lay, looking so beautiful that he could not take his eyes off her. He bent down and gave her a kiss. As he touched her, Sleeping Beauty opened her eyes and smiled up at him.

— Sleeping Beauty by the Brothers Grimm.

As a single gay man, I have longed for that magical moment when I meet my Prince Charming. Thanks to the subliminal influence of fairytales and their Disney adaptations, part of me still longs for this perfect man — one who will rescue me from the dreary circumstances of my daily life and infuse every moment with joy, possibility and a sense of adventure. I know that many of my straight single girlfriends also cling to this notion: while we may tell ourselves that it is utterly ridiculous and unrealistic, there is a part of us that wonders if it really is impossible to meet that ideal man. …

Doing something that you love all year long

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Photo by Leonardo Sanches on Unsplash

In 2018, I sang nearly everyday. This year, I plan to better that feat and to sing every single day.

This tidbit of information would come as no surprise if I actually was a singer — it would then be expected of me, singing would be my labor and my way of earning an income and therefore, I would need to sing (for my proverbial supper). However, I am not a singer. Not even close. In fact, I sound rather shrill and have little regard for timing, tune or pitch at times.

Nonetheless, I like to think of my voice as a supple instrument: as capable of singing the Queen of the Night aria as it is at belting out a show tune, singing every different harmony in a song, and doing both the male and female parts when it comes to duets. …

How my intersectional identity has become an act of political power

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Photo by Zhang zekun on Unsplash

I am—and always have been— a walking, talking (occasionally writing) act of defiance. This has not been by choice but rather by the inherently radical nature of my intersecting identities.

The Defiance Campaign of 1952 in South Africa was one of the first large-scale movements against Apartheid by oppressed people of color. Groups of protesters, including a young Mandela, actively broke unjust laws: they entered areas without passes, walked into railway stations through the Europeans Only entrance, sat on benches designated for whites and violated other apartheid regulations.

What appeared to be petty, almost adolescent, violations of the law were really something much deeper: radical acts of defiance by people just beginning to understand how the personal is political; how prosaic acts can have profound consequences. Their struggle would continue for another 42 years, but this moment was the start of the fire in their collective belly that would not easily be extinguished. …

an ode to defiance

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Photo by Lurm on Unsplash

Where is I in HIV?
Is it immunodeficient?
Am I deficient?

I am alive
I hope to survive
I want to thrive

But I am stuck
Stuck between H and V
Stuck between health and virus
Stuck between hate and violence

I have no immunity against hate
I have no immunity against violence
I am immunodeficient

Where is I?
Who am I?

I am alive
I have survived
I will thrive

Krishen Samuel is a queer author with a master’s degree in Public Health and has previously written for the Huffington Post UK and the Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide.

Follow me on Twitter @krishensamuel

A gay man’s account of discovering bravery through HIV infection

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Krishen Samuel shares his HIV journey

‘Don’t run, stop holding your tongue

Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live

Maybe one of these days you can let the light in

Show me how big your brave is…’

– from Brave by Sara Bareilles

In 2017, after 7 years of living with HIV, I finally decided to go public with my status.

Beyond the initial concerns about facing my mortality, getting my head around all the medical facets of living with HIV and learning to embrace the daily ingestion of antiretrovirals, there is also the business of getting on with living.

For those who have moved into this next phase, once the shock and immediate terror have abated, a new set of challenges become apparent. …

A gay man’s account of coming to terms with an HIV diagnosis

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Photo by Thomas Bennie on Unsplash

18th June 2009. On that fateful night nine years ago, I found out that I had been infected with HIV.

In the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats, the central character, Grizabella, is shunned and ostracized by the other cats. They are repulsed by her appearance and refuse to touch her or come near her. In her emotionally-charged moment of redemption, she sings these famous lines from the signature ballad from the musical, Memory

Touch me!
It’s so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun…
If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness…


Krishen Samuel

Keen observer of society in all its conflicting guises. Queer and colorful writer and commentator. Race, gender, sexuality, health & more…

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