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I decline his advances, to which he seems genuinely perplexed. '' Don't dress, you know, white.'' William smiles as I climb into his silver Jeep Grand Cherokee, which I take as a good sign.
Before I go back upstairs, I ask him if he normally uses condoms here. Two of William's best friends are in the car with him: Christopher, a thin, boyish 32-year-old with a shaved head, and Rakeem, an outgoing 31-year-old with dreadlocks who asked to be identified by his Muslim name.
Christopher moved to Atlanta when he was 24 and was surprised when black men in the city couldn't get enough of him.
Talk about serious issues like Black Lives Matter (#BLM) and Institutional racisism in the age of Trump. But the creation of an organized, underground subculture largely made up of black men who otherwise live straight lives is a phenomenon of the last decade.Many of the men at Flex tonight -- and many of the black men I met these past months in Cleveland, Atlanta, Florida, New York and Boston -- are on the Down Low, or on the DL, as they more often call it.Rejecting a gay culture they perceive as white and effeminate, many black men have settled on a new identity, with its own vocabulary and customs and its own name: Down Low.There have always been men -- black and white -- who have had secret sexual lives with men.