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Anti Gay-Rites of Passage of Black Men for Status

Anti Gay Feelings Affect Young Gay’s Ability to Qualify for Rite of Passage



A rite of passage marks the transition of an individual from one status to another and is seen as a ritual. In a rite of passage, an individual’s status is changed. Joining of the Boules fraternities is deemed as a rite of passage where many people are restricted due to their poor educational backgrounds and their sexual orientations. A culture is a manner in which people live, and it consists of behavior, values, beliefs and accepted symbols. It is, therefore, a system of knowledge that people share. Various cultural groups are different in the manner they think, act and feel. This paper discusses what happens in the South with alternative lifestyles and gender people, and the rites of passage struggles for males who are gay.

As to the African Americans, joining the fraternity is a kind of passage, since those who are lucky to be introduced into the fraternity are treated equally and would qualify for any form of leadership role. The members of black fraternities have a negative attitude towards gay members. The fraternities do not discuss issues regarding homosexuals openly. Whenever there is any discussion touching upon the topic of homosexuality, it is mainly aimed to condemn such relationships and actions. The fraternities’ attitudes are influenced by masculinity as it relates to gay members. According to the black fraternities, masculinity includes stoicism and physicality as opposed to being feminine and sensitive, traits that are observed in some of the gay members.  Being refined and studious portrays homosexuality or femininity.

The Boule fraternity members are stereotyped as ideal lovers, masculine and bad boys who would want no association with homosexuality that is common among African American men. Kappas, on the other hand, would not want to be associated with homosexuals because they are stereotyped as men ladies would want to be with bad boys. Alphas members believe they are gentlemen and nice guys who would not want to be associated with homosexuals because they are intellectuals and ideal husbands.

Fraternal initiation is not often offered to Gay members. As a result, there are stigmas attached to homosexuality, and gay pledges are treated very harshly. On the other hand, gay members feel uncomfortable around members who are heterosexual, and this restricts them from the rites of passages. Sometimes, gay members fight the stigmas by authenticating their masculinity for them to be regarded as true brothers by others in the society (Parks, 2012).

The statistics of black funeral homes in the South indicate that there are more homicides reported every day. According to Knight, deaths are too many among African American men in the South. For example, in a single funeral home, the phone can ring up to 300 times from clients in just an hour. In a year, one funeral home can serve more than 100 homicide victims. A city can receive more than 500 homicides in a year. Homicide deaths had fallen since 1990s, but they have risen in the past few years. Homosexual violence is mostly concentrated on the South during summer.

African American men in the South have been involved in homicide cases that are not looked into keenly by the law enforcers. Sexual orientations of the African American community of the South are lifestyles that are linked to an issue that led to everyday homicides in the community. There are unexplained fights as well as lesbian and homosexual assaults that stem in due to what the African Americans call Down-Low to refer to a subculture of men who lie to be identified as heterosexual but have sex with man. They do not want to be called gays or bisexuals, and they will never disclose this information to their female sexual partners. In this culture there is an epidemic of homicide contributed to by homosexuals and bisexuals. These murders are not put into consideration by law enforcement agencies and are seen as unimportant segment. The murders are only targeted by elite groups that own funeral homes. The bisexual men find their victims very easy to target and murder, and police departments take the cases as mere intimate quarrels. If a male was molested at a young age, he targets other gays for homicide, thereby resulting in the rise of homosexual homicides.

The members of various fraternities have a different culture than that of homosexuals. However, the two cultures, the members of the fraternity and those outside the fraternity share the same geographical location and language. For example, it has been the culture of the Boule to practice high class quality control of every member it has. This has been a culture that has been jealously guarded by the Archons.

Additionally, there is a culture of heterosexual people and that of homosexual people in the region. Homosexuals are men who have sexual relations with other men while heterosexuals are people who are attracted sexually to other people of opposite sex. According to Bell and Vila (1996), homosexual homicides are very common in the region, especially in south Carolina, and are more violent compared to homicides with heterosexual victims. Homosexual homicides include overkill where the victim is wounded more than required to kill. This means that homosexual homicides consist of more violence. According to the findings of Mize and Shackelford (2008), homosexuals kill their partners more violently and brutally than the heterosexual men would kill their female partners. The killing patterns used in the homicides show offenders’ motivation, and brutality of the homicides varies with the sexual orientation of the offender.

In cultural relativism, there is no one cultural group that is superior or inferior to the other. Therefore, there is a need to understand why there are differences in various viewpoints between cultures. Homosexuals and heterosexuals are two groups of people who have different viewpoints on the topic of sexuality. Sexual orientation of a group does not make them superior comparing to others. There should be no discrimination based on the sexual orientation. However, education background of an individual qualifies or disqualifies him into the Boule fraternity.


Heterosexual African American men have an easy time joining black fraternities than their homosexual counterparts. However, even though homosexuals find it difficult joining the fraternities, it is easier for homosexuals from rich backgrounds than to others from weaker families, including homes with single parents and backgrounds where education is not very much focused on.



Bell, M. and Vila, R. (1996). Homicides in homosexual victims: A study of 67 cases from the Broward County, Florida, Medical Examiner’s office (1982-1992), with special emphasis on “overkill”. Am J Forensic Med Pathol., 17(1): 65-9.

Parks, G. (2012). Gay Men in Black Fraternities. Retrieved online on 3rd January, 2015 from

Mize, K. and Shackelford, T. (2008). Intimate partner homicide methods in heterosexual, gay, and lesbian relationships. Violence Vict., 23(1): 98-114


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