Monday, November 15, 2010


Do you see me?
      Do you hear me?

Do you understand
this feeling suffocating my mind, my heart and my emotional
stability every time you spit the hatred of your
                    in the face
of my name by calling me…a faggot.

I was born this way so how dare you say
I’ve chosen to live this way; why would I chose
               to be abused
by the fists of the confused
who can’t grasp the fact that my genetics
formed the molecules of my heart

                and how dare you call me queer
just because I stand here
                  on the corner where
tears have marched for equality and where
the rights to love has stood in protest
for the freedom to wed/so why don’t you care?

There is no amount of force that can keep me
hidden and smothered inside a closet
with no air; there are not enough chains that can strangle
me inside a chamber afraid to be who I am
so go ahead and stare or is that your fear
                           calling me a faggot.

You called him a faggot; an eleven year old
with a happy smile who played on the playgrounds
of judgment with no protection from the laugher; no one to protect
him from difference giggling at his reflection.
He was so young but you told him he couldn’t
be because he was not what society wanted to see
                   so he hung his life so he could be free

and you called him a faggot; a college student
with a future giving in to his attraction.
He could’ve been/should’ve been a leader
an inventor or the first gay president
but all his dreams drowned when your ridicule
           and embarrassment took precedent
evicting himself from being a resident
in your shelter of hostility.

I was born this way and so were they;
so how dare you say we choose to live this way
and be murdered every day by the bullets
of closed mindedness flying array. But I will stand strong
for them; I will be strong for them;
I will define strength for them

and I will never surrender to your ignorance
so I dare you to call me a faggot.

© 2010
Tarringo T. Vaughan

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Moments Of Connection "Vol. 8"

Sometimes you just meet that one right person at that one right time in life. It’s that voice you feed in the many crowded spaces of silent that reminds you that you are not alone. And as I sat in my sunlit apartment on an early Saturday afternoon I wondered about myself. I wondered if there was any chance of connection for me as I was newly discovered in a new world that had yet to know my name. I was too quiet and hesitant and the kind of person who waited around for things to happen to me. I found myself unhappy and lost all ambition to believe in the gay world. I felt alone in an empty crowd. Apart of it but yet very disconnected until I found a gay chat site on the internet. It was there in this cyber space that I found many like me; many just opening their eyes to new visions of discovery so I began to communicate. After about an hour or so I found myself in this continuous conversation with a guy who had much in common. He was just a screen name but the individuality in him quickly shined through and after a couple more hours that online conversation transferred to a phone conversation where two the common voices of strangers connected in familiarity.

A bond is a connection between two souls discovered.

I never expected this kind of interaction. And I never believed it possible from that sort of venue but there he was talking and sounding so real. As that afternoon turned to early evening a phone conversation turned into a possible meeting. The hesitance resurfaced inside me and all the doubt bullied my thoughts for just a moment. But something told me to meet this man for dinner so I did and at that time was never treated with so much respect and gentleness than I was when our eyes met and a new connection began. It was beginning to feel like one of those lifetime movies where two people meet out of fate. He was a couple years older, taller, well built and very real. We continued to talk over Chinese dumplings and a glass of wine. He was changing the way I viewed this new world; this gay world and for once in long time I felt a constant smile on my face. And a once lonely Saturday afternoon turned into a warm night of walking and having ice cream. We traded our experiences and continued to connect until the night had to finally end. It turned into a few months of dating and an eternity of an experience. I was in my mid twenties back then, lost, alone and pessimistic about this life until that moment of connection set me on a new path of possibility.

The people we meet help write the chapters of our definition.

© 2010
Tarringo T. Vaughan

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Exposed ~ Diary Of A Gay Black Man Vol. 7

Sometimes I sit and stare out my window wondering about how different life would’ve been for the reflection staring back at through life’s mirror. What if fate didn’t shine it’s flashlight on my hidden reality? Where would I be, who would I be, how would I be living? As a child I observed everything around me and quickly knew the life I was meant to grow up to live. But somewhere the recognition turned into confusion as my feelings weren’t cooperating with society’s definition of a boy like me. But then, society really didn’t know a boy like me; a boy who decided to remain hidden and shield himself from feelings and thoughts that were exposed to be sinful. I decided I would be who society wanted me to be even if that meant exposing me as a fraud to myself.

I was comfortable in a secured closet with no one knowing my secret. But I was quickly drowning in paranoia and stress of people around me finding out. Family, friends, co-workers and people I barely knew. I was afraid of the judgments, the resentments, the neglect…so frightened that I lost my sense of self and at one period even turned my back on me. People wondered and I turned away, people asked and I denied. I was covered by my own fear not ready to be stripped and left naked to those I felt wouldn’t approve. I never wanted to be pointed at and called a faggot or pointed at with insane assumptions. I didn’t want to be defined as a lesser man because of who my heart decided to love. I was not opening my closet door and exposing myself to the non-accepting world.

It happened on a sunny morning close to my twenty-forth birthday. It was a day I opened my eyes and realized I had to live for myself, challenging those around me to accept and understand who I was. To challenge them to see the value in me as an individual and show them that I was not a different man, just one who wouldn’t live a life of lies. Many found out as I no longer held back who I was and luckily for me there was acceptance. The closet door swung open and I walked out with feet of pride. I created my own exposure realizing that it was important for me to do so for others in my same situation. To see strength is to be encouraged and to be encouraged is to live life the way that makes you happy and whole. Yesterday I was unrevealed, hidden in a world of confusion and shame. Today, I’m a man content with who he is because now it is happiness that is exposed.

Tarringo T Vaughan
Photo courtesty of

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vol. 5 Tales Of The Downlow

I guess I was afraid….
….of being seen as anything less than a man.

          I felt trapped inside the walls of societal expectations, inside my family’s vision and inside my own hope to be normal. I didn’t want to be the one slurred at and pointed at as different. I didn’t want to be called a sissy or queer for being me but as reality set in; my inner feelings had to learn to accept this life. And as I watch them almost every weekend in a local bar I understand them because I see through them what I life could’ve been if I remained hidden. Like them I could’ve been married with kids on the outside but on the inside living on the down low, lying to manufactured life hurting those who think they know me all the while betraying the honesty of myself. I sometimes wonder where their wives think they are when they are out exploring their temptation and when they are out having drinks with their only companion known as the truth. As I notice them, they seem to be enjoying this only time where they can be themselves. I pay attention because I could’ve been them if I didn’t embrace myself just in time.

          One is an older gentleman who hides his eyes just enough to reveal his stare. He stands in corners, gives false names and knows how to play the game. Sometimes he is just a whisper but other times his voice is heard when he finds his comfort; married with four kids, a city worker, taking a chance just by being there. Taking a chance by exposing himself in a world he knows he belongs by risking the years he built to be who he felt he had to be to become his identity. Every time I see him I think about the life his wife thinks she has lived and how her own health is a risk every time he allows a stranger in his car. But this is the road where closed mindedness and the fear of non-acceptance have led him. A destination where he can only be who he is on a weekend night, on a bar stool rubbing the thigh of a man he can only meet once.
          And the other is slightly younger, more vocal and doesn’t mind exposing his life. He says he has a great sexual relationship with his wife but he desires that closeness with other men for those moments during his few hours out. He doesn’t openly hide because he’s a people’s person and enjoys the company of those he feels he connects with. But he also lives a lie that disconnects him from the great relationship he claims he has. And perhaps he does but that fear of revealing himself to her demonstrates knowledge within himself that he is not fully happy with the path he has chosen. He is an undercover man lover stuck in a world he believed in. He followed a road that told him the only definition of a man was being with a woman. A destination that has him running to his car at 11:59 pm to get home five minutes before his wife so she thinks he’s been home all night.

          They are two of many living a separate life because of that fear of non-acceptance and they are two of many living this reality. These are not just tales, this is real life. These are husbands, boyfriends, priests, politicians, celebrities on the down low because they are afraid for people to know. And any one of them could’ve easily been me if I didn’t recognize the path my life was taking by hiding.

I guess I wasn’t afraid…
…to be seen as More than a man.
© 2010
Tarringo T. Vaughan
Diary Of A Gay Black Man:
The Volumes Of A Life Exposed

Monday, June 14, 2010

Civil Union

This is a ceremony of celebration
to never again neglect my own heart
because it has been held hostage by the ignorance
of closed minded views; it has been torched
as a sinner by the same bible that says God
loves all its children and it continues to be called a faggot
through the yells of belligerent eyes
who are afraid of difference; afraid to watch two men
kiss on the lips of their own natural emotion.

I stand on the altar of freedom with a lifelong devotion
and as a symbol of love and strength
against those who wear homophobia as their chosen fashion.
But for them I still have compassion
because I see their hatred as a disease
of distorted views which causes them
to fear same sex companionship.

So here I am sliding a ring upon this finger
and saying “I do”.
And thus, I am not allowing anyone to dictate
who I love or who I value.
Because in this hand I will strongly take his love
to have, to hold and to stand connected with pride
as we fight for civil liberties side by side
until death indeed shall we part.
I will be his shelter through our greatest weakness
and his shield of healing through our toughest sickness.
Together we will become the monument of love
proudly mounted on the plateau of human rights.

I make these vowels that I will no longer be attacked and shoved back
into a closet where the air of expression is a closed vent
of shame; I will no longer be guided to hide
the definitions of my soul behind facades
of emotional insecurities and I will no longer be afraid
to love because this is my civil union to the man
I stand here before; a man who will never again
wear the veil of loneliness as together we are pronounced


And with these words, I thee wed internal happiness.

© 2010
Tarringo T. Vaughan

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vol. 4 A Wrong Turn In Northampton

They all seemed so strange.

Northampton, Massachusetts wasn’t a place I’ve ever heard of before until I went to college in a nearby small town of Amherst. It was close to where I lived but yet so far away as far as atmosphere goes. My first travels to this town had me looking around at all the difference and feel a fear; a fear that I was a part of that difference and at that time in my life I wasn’t ready to embrace it or even acknowledge it. There were tree huggers and Goths, friendly musicians on sidewalk curbs translating the music of life and there were men holding hands with other men and woman embracing the open arms of other women and all I could tell myself was that I wasn’t ready for that kind of exposure. But college life did change me as far as opening a mind that was stuck in its own ways. I was around people of many views and backgrounds and people on the voyage of exploration. The overall experience helped me realize there was something inside of me needing to get out.

And I went through five years of college developing friendships and emotional bonds that began to confuse me. I started to wonder why I had the type of closeness to male figures that seemed a little too close. I developed jealousies that I couldn’t control because I was experiencing crushes on these other male figures that held me in a shame and ultimately shaped me into pretending to be someone I thought I was. And what really triggered this inner conflict I started to have was the way I had to force those same feelings to the opposite gender. There were girls I had much in common with until it came to any hint of physical contact which resulted in an instant injection of discomfort. The confusion turned into a curiosity which started to turn into real feelings and I couldn’t fight any longer. It was time to pay attention to what my heart was telling me.

One weekend afternoon I decided to go home for the day. I took a bus to Northampton and waited for a connecting bus that would take me to the next town before getting back home. I always felt awkward there and with this strong feelings swirling around within me, I felt like I was in a place that was going to expose me to the world. There were more people parading around town than usual. Rainbow flags hung in the front of storefronts and people lined the street. I wasn’t quite sure as to what was going on but I remember telling myself not to make eye contact. There was an extra laugher in the air as smiles shined and a sense of love seemed to orbit around everyone within the organized crowds. And then as I sat at the bus stop I started to hear the music and the crowd cheer. Hands were waving and more rainbow flags were gently massaging the air. People were hanging out of high rise apartment windows and a symphony of voices collided with echoes of “happy pride”. Back then I didn’t know what it was all about but I knew it was a filled with homosexuality and I watched without trying to be interested. But I was and they didn’t all seem so strange anymore as it became obvious to me that I took a wrong turn into something right. It was all about pride and at that moment I knew I could no longer hide.

© 2010

Tarringo T. Vaughan

Monday, February 8, 2010

Diary Of A Gay Black Man Vol. 3 "The Myth"

I cringe just writing about this but here I go. The most annoying and frustrating question I’m asked is guess?

“Is it true what they say about black men?”

Now how do I answer this question? My usual answer is we’re just like other men, there are different shapes and sizes and we’re not all twelve inches! I guess all myths stem from some reality but you must remember that all myths are myths because they have some exaggerated truth about them. Now I’m not going to discuss my dick size because that’s simply not important. Well put it this way, I haven’t had any complaints. But as far as the gay world goes, it’s a pressure put on us black men. There are some men who are size queens who seek the biggest “cock” they can find and to them that’s going to come from a black man.

It happens in the straight world also because all through college, my roommate, who was very straight constantly asked to see my supposedly monster “cock”. He always said cock, but I’d rather it be called dick. But I’m sure you all have your own name you call it. Whatever is fine with me. I entered the gay world very na├»ve and I felt any guy who liked me would like me for who I was and not what was between my legs. Unfortunately I found out that some guys do measure there man by the number of inches they have. I understand part of that because they just want to be “satisfied”. But far does that really take someone in a relationship? I don’t like feeling and wondering if the guy I’m with is only with me because I must be “hung”.

When I get emails on online sites some of the first responses I get are “how hung”, “you must be hung”, “love hung black men”. It makes me shake my head when I read these emails because first of all I don’t get a “hello” or a “how are you”, just straight to what counts the most, my size! It really puts a pressure on me because if I was to meet any of these guys I have to well….represent. I know for a fact there are white men definitely bigger than me, a couple of you may even be reading and I also know for a fact that there are some smaller. But I’ll tell you that doesn’t even enter my mind when first seeing a hot guy on the street or even chatting to someone online. Eventually the topic may come up but I really do try to get to know the guy a little bit before asking what’s in their pants.

And I don’t want this to add to the stereotype that all gay men are just sexual, just 95% are just don’t assume you’re going to get something the size of a snake when I drop my pants. Who started this myth, what started it? I really don’t have a clue. Like many myths I’m sure a black man ran around naked somewhere and someone figured “they must all be like that”.

You know I used to be proud of the myth but somewhere in growing up it became annoying because I really don’t want to be defined by what I’m packin’, I want to be defined by how I can use it. I’m kidding but you know that’s important and ladies can even agree to that one. So if you’re a size queen please don’t take offense, if you’re well endowed don’t brag too much, and if you’re not blessed below just learn how to use it. But just let the myth die please.

© 2007

Tarringo T. Vaughan