Confidentiality in a Society Scrutinized

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By Vanity Delbridge

A world all its own: discreet. That is the ultimate rule for those living the life. For some it is merely a lifestyle that does not quantify as being labeled a particular orientation.

Living on the down low (DL) as it is commonly known in urban areas, yet it is not only prevalent amongst men of color. Whites are living the life as well but from its presence it has typically been associated or synonymous with Black bodies. Back in 2004, John N. Craig of Fairfax ran a phone network and support group for closeted men, most of whom were married with children. The Voice Roundtable was completely anonymous, serving as an emotional and intimate sound board where men could call without the fear of being caught. For some, having a sexual attraction to other men does not classify as gay, but bisexual. Others view it as having the best of both worlds: Men and Women.

Because of the increasing HIV rates, it was nationally bought to the spotlight. Men in heterosexual relationships who [secretly] have sex with other men are known as being on the down low.

In 2004 Queen of TV Talk, Oprah Winfrey dedicated a show to this “secret sex world,” as she called it. In it, J.L. King speaks on how his sexual desires destroyed his family. Though he married his high school sweetheart and fathered children, the urge to be with men was strong; so strong that he eventually developed a host of lies to cover his tracks. This lasted for several years until his wife followed him one day to a conquests’ house. Though he never verbally came forth in the moment after returning home from the sex act, he could sense the aura his wife simply gave off. Soon after came the divorce. His goal moving forward was to warn women of men just like himself; living as if all is good yet in reality they are living a LIE. A lie cultivated from the social pressures and stigmas that exist, making men like his-self continue to live this life behind closed doors, fearful of the outcome or repercussions if ever exposed.