Fashion designer and adult entertainer Boomer Banks posted a photo of a sign at the DC Equality March that caused a bit of a storm on social media. The sign pointed out our community’s tendency of segregating ourselves and I thought it was conversation that deserved more thought. Recently, he took a few moments to talk more with me about it.
You recently posted a photo from the DC equality march that said “if your profile says no latino, no black, no asian, no fat or fem then you don’t belong here.” It got a lot of attention. Do you think you could sum up what that sign is saying?
Boomer: First of all, it wasn’t my sign. It was a sign I saw that moved me more than the other signs there because lately I’ve noticed that within the LGBTQ community there seems to be this underlying fight between each other. More than anything right now I feel like this shouldn’t be a thing because we have other people trying to fight us. We’re under fire from outside forces and fighting each other right now isn’t productive. It caught my attention, I took a picture and posted it. I think it got a lot of good and bad responses because some people get it and some people don’t. To me that sign means it’s ok to have preferences ― that’s not something I’m discouraging ― but feeling the need to post those statements on social media? That’s going a little bit further and delving into a racial bias, in my opinion.
What you just said there is the thing I think some people don’t get. When someone says “that’s just my sexual preference. I’m just being honest...”
Boomer: Right. Someone said to me that it was just a preference and to “get over it.” This is someone who lives in white privilege. I understand these are things we grow up being taught. This is what we are subjected to. If all you’ve ever dated are white boys, I get it. But it’s still not ok to make these statements out loud on social media...
Right there’s a difference between saying I prefer these sorts of physical traits versus “No Black People.”
Boomer: I think the difference is being vocal. We all have things we like and don’t like. But if you are going to be vocal on social media... That I think is the point. At that point you become responsible for that comment. And that comment becomes a political statement of something you do or don’t allow. If that is race, then that becomes a racial issue.
If someone says boldly on their profile “no Latinos” or “no Asians” do you think that is inherently racist?
Boomer: I think if they feel the need to say that... at this point in the progression of this topic that has been talked about over and over? Yes, I think at this point if you put that in your profile you are racist. This isn’t a new issue. We are fighting for equality. If you are defending your “preference” so strongly that you feel the need to say these things? It’s not ok.
I’m in my mid 40s now, but when I was 20 I had a hang up about not dating effeminate men...
Boomer: When you were in your 20’s, was that the ‘90s?
Boomer: In the ‘90s, I was in high school. I remember going into phone chat rooms. You would call a number and every guy in there ― including myself ― would butch up their voice and talk in a certain way so that everyone would be attracted to you. It was ridiculous. Now going forward I’ve grown into the man that I am and I don’t give a fuck what you think. I’m a queer man. I don’t need to butch up my voice to prove my masculinity or whatever. I embrace everything about who I am.
As I got older I realized it wasn’t that I wasn’t attracted to effeminate men, necessarily, it was that I had a lot of internalized homophobia.
Boomer: Yes! That’s another thing. It can be a racial thing, but it’s also that. Some just don’t put themselves out there where they meet different kinds of people. Half of the guys who say these kinds of things don’t put themselves out there to meet different kinds of people. For me at some point I decided to say “maybe I should date this or that kind of person. Or hang out with this person and see how it goes. You know? And then I realized these people are cool.. or I was attracted.. or aroused or whatever.
Like, no, you don’t have to be attracted to everyone. But also maybe you’ve just closed yourself off.
Boomer: We do. Because we were taught that. We watch television and we are told certain things. We’re told by our parents that certain things are right or wrong. We grow up a certain way and don’t allow ourselves to be our own people. We are living in a time where we are being attacked by outside sources. Now more than ever we need to be united.
Follow Boomer Banks on Twitter at @boomer_banks.