Sexual Discretion: Black Masculinity And The Politics Of Passing

Paperback | March 7, 2014

byJeffrey Q. Mccune, Jr.

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African American men who have sex with men while maintaining a heterosexual lifestyle in public are attracting increasing interest from both the general media and scholars. Commonly referred to as “down-low” or “DL” men, many continue to have relationships with girlfriends and wives who remain unaware of their same-sex desires, and in much of the media, DL men have been portrayed as carriers of HIV who spread the virus to black women. Sexual Discretion explores the DL phenomenon, offering refreshingly innovative analysis of the significance of media, space, and ideals of black masculinity in understanding down low communities.

In Sexual Discretion, Jeffrey Q. McCune Jr. provides the first in-depth examination of how the social expectations of black masculinity intersect and complicate expressions of same-sex affection and desire. Within these underground DL communities, men aren’t as highly policed—and thus are able to maintain their public roles as “properly masculine.” McCune draws from sources that range from R&B singer R. Kelly’s epic hip-hopera series Trapped in the Closet to Oprah's high-profile exposé on DL subculture; and from E. Lynn Harris’s contemporary sexual passing novels to McCune’s own interviews and ethnography in nightclubs and online chat rooms. Sexual Discretion details the causes, pressures, and negotiations driving men who rarely disclose their intimate secrets.

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From the Publisher

African American men who have sex with men while maintaining a heterosexual lifestyle in public are attracting increasing interest from both the general media and scholars. Commonly referred to as “down-low” or “DL” men, many continue to have relationships with girlfriends and wives who remain unaware of their same-sex desires, and in ...

Jeffrey Q. McCune, Jr. is associate professor in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and the Department of Performing Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.4 inPublished:March 7, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022609653X

ISBN - 13:9780226096537

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

One / Introduction: Discrete/Discreet Acts, Goin’ Down Low

Two / Yo’ Daddy’s Dysfunctional: Risk, Blame, and Necessary Fictions in Down-Low Discourse

Three / “Out” in the Club: The Down Low, Hip-Hop,and the Architexture of Black Masculinity

Four / Goin’ Down Low: Virtual Space and thePerformance of Masculine Sincerity

Five / The Pages Are Ridden with Discretion:  Pedagogy of the Pass and Present

Conclusion: From Sexual Discretion to Sexual Suspicion

Notes

References

Index

Editorial Reviews

“In this superlative study, McCune addresses the concept of the ‘down low’ in a sophisticated manner that transcends any of the popular literature on the subject. A combination of ethnographic study, media analysis, and theoretical work, the book challenges both the media hysteria regarding the down low and what this concept actually is. . . . Sexual Discretion is a must read for those working in the fields of sexuality, race, and gender studies. One hopes that McCune will continue to revise his research in this rapidly changing culture. Highly recommended.”