I have several gay cousins in this area who don’t know I’m gay. It’s been pretty easy to avoid them.
They are all in their 20’s so we don’t circulate in the same crowd or the same clubs. In fact, one time I was at The Mill a few years ago and one of my gay cousins walked right past me and didn’t even notice me.
You see, I was just another ancient dude in the crowd, so I probably wasn’t sexually attractive to his 20-something self, and I was out of context.
What I mean by out of context is that he was used to seeing me at family funerals, weddings, cookouts and Thanksgiving dinners and not gay clubs so I probably didn’t even register as Cousin Immanuel in his mind.
The same thing sometimes happens when I see white co-workers on the street or at the Target on weekends. I can walk right past them and they don’t notice me until I say something because I am out of the context — I’m just a black man on the street and not Immanuel from the office.
Well yesterday my family anonymity ended…kinda sorta. I knew the day was coming.
One of my cousins hit me up on Adam4Adam. Thank God I have a private face pic that wasn’t open. But he put his face pic out there so I knew it was “Kip.”
“Wassup,” he texted.
I just ignored it. In fact, I deleted the message, turned off my laptop and pushed it under the bed.
And I called my partner “Van.”
“Look Van if you get hit up on by a guy with the profile ChocolateDrop555 don’t answer — it’s my cousin,” I said, laughing.
“Oh, I think he has hit me up before,” Van said. “Let me check the profile.”
Van was quiet for a few moments while he checked his web browser.
“Yep Immanuel, I have seen him before.”
“Look Van, what if we have a sex party and he shows up?”
Van was calm.
“Look, if he hits us up I will just ignore him so don’t worry.”
Kip is my second cousin once removed. He grew up in a middling size town near Cleveland but decided to move to Washington, D.C. where his grandparents live.
He is big, tall, dark-skinned and very gay. I mean flamboyant. You just can’t miss it. Kip couldn’t be down-low if they paid him a million dollars and 25 cents.
His grandmother once called me and asked whether my son, who is a few years younger than Kip, was “normal” because they suspected Kip is gay. I guess she wanted to know whether that shit was genetic and ran in the family.
Little did ” Cousin Irma” know I was already living the gay life.
“Well, Irma my son is okay as far as I know.”
“Well, is he masculine Immanuel,” she asked. “Because we are worried about Kip.”
“Yeah, as far as I know,” I answered, almost choking in my effort to stay calm.
I’m friends with Kip on Facebook and last night I almost messaged him “Stop hitting on me on Adam4Adam.” I need to reach out to him in some way and give him some support because I know he gets grief for being gay from certain family members.
I’ll let you know how that goes.