What’s the Low Down on the ‘Down Low’?

Justin Luc Hoy’s article, “Secret Sex and the Down Low Brotherhood,” discusses a fairly recently developed subculture of black men who have sex with other black men, but identify as heterosexual.  This subculture was exposed to society in the early 2000s, when black women began to speak out to the media about being infected with HIV from their partners, who had been secretly sleeping with men.  Several social factors play into the ways that the “down low culture” is framed by society, from the general homophobic nature of the black community to the importance of hyper masculinity to black men.  Efforts to critically examine and understand the down low culture have been few and far between.  This article seeks to go deeper and ask why black men engage in these behaviors, why it’s such a well kept secret, and why no one wants to talk about it.

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Down Low… “Nobody Has To Know”

In Secret Sex and the Down Low Brotherhood by Justin H. Hoy, we hare introduced to a “startling new subculture of black men who have sex with other black men, but still identify as exclusively heterosexual;” this is the down low or DL (380).   Continue reading