About the Book

Beyond the Down Low

Beyond the Down Low

Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America
January 2006
Trade Paperback · 311 Pages
$14.95 U.S. · $18.50 CAN · £8.99 U.K. · €10.99 E.U.
ISBN 9780786717040
Da Capo Press


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Keith Boykin, a former Clinton White House aide, syndicated columnist, and AIDS activist, breaks new ground by going beyond the hype with the first responsible, eye-opening look at the down low sensation. Unlike all previous accounts on the topic, Beyond the Down Low refreshingly presents the DL not merely as a problem of gay and bisexual men living in the shadows and endangering women, but more broadly as a telling example of the African-American community's overall failure to engage in critical but uncomfortable conversations about sexuality. Boykin details how the virtual silence from black leaders on sex matters has helped to create an environment where gay and bisexual men feel compelled to lead double lives. Meanwhile, the dialogue that has occurred both inside and out of African-American circles encourages an unhealthy battle of the sexes, ignores the complexities of the closet, demonizes homosexuality and bisexuality, disempowers women from personal responsibility to protect themselves from STDs, and misdirects public resources and attention at vilifying down low men.

About the Authors

Keith Boykin is one of America's leading commentators on race and sexual orientation. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, and NPR, and been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today, among many other publications. Boykin is currently a contestant in the Showtime reality show American Candidate, which airs nationally in Fall 2004. A graduate of Harvard Law School, the author served as special assistant to President Clinton on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues. Today Boykin is president of the National Black Justice Coalition, an organization established in 2003 to marshal African-American support for same-sex marriage rights. He is the author of One More River to Cross: Black and Gay in America and Respecting the Soul: Daily Reflections for Black Lesbians and Gays. He lives in New York City.