In January 2013, at the age of 21, I came out to my mother…

actually I just lied so let me start this again.

In January 2013, my mother made me come out to her. It’s funny because the typically planned “Tell Mom I’m gay and wait for her to react” turned into “Mom asks me if (really, she tells) I’m gay and waits for me to react.” And how did I reply? I told her “yes, I am gay…”

…and she was 100% cool with it!

So now I’m officially gay (even though many of my friends knew all along). All the fireworks start going off and confetti is thrown into the air and we all had a big party with some tacky sign hanging in the back reading “OMG Cameron’s gay!” (all in my mind of course). But with that said, I was relieved that my immigrant mother didn’t threaten to send me back to the homeland to pound yam in the mortar and sweep the yard with a straw broom all day.

Then what happens? I finally graduate from college (#MamaWeMadeIt) with a BA in some sh*t and a minor in some other sh*t, and somehow I manage to fulfill every gay boy’s dream and get a decent paying job in New York City.

Let’s recap: I’m gay and 22 years old with a decent looking body and a job, living in New York City.

I can’t even begin to explain all of the random hookups I’ve endured and foolishness I’ve encountered from the men I’ve met since moving to the city. But because I went to that “fancy” Ivy League school (that was borderline in the trap) I’ve been trained on how to gather large amounts of information, put the individual pieces together and tell a story. So I did just that using my own — ridiculous — life as the pieces of the puzzle. And here’s the story that I would like to tell today.

White men objectify my body. And I’m tired of it.

In the eyes of many white men, I’ve gathered that I’m nothing more than a toned, black body, and therefore, an object of sexual desire. And with that said, after living in New York City for almost two years it’s about time that I speak up and tell the world about all of the nonsense I’ve endured since leaving Philadelphia (now you know where I went to college). This is an open letter to every white man who has grabbed my butt in a bar, shoved his hands down my pants, told me they “like dark meat” or “big black d*ck” or “I have a thing for black guys”, etc. before even getting to know my name.

Dear white men who objectify my body,

STOP IT. But actually, stop it. STOP IT. You know those big red signs on the road that say “STOP?” Do that. Remember when we were little kids (I was a fat kid) and when other kids would tease us, we would yell and cry “stop it?” Yes. This is my inner emotional (fat) 4-year-old self with my Barney plush doll running to you and yelling “STOP IT.”

But after working a corporate job and attending the numerous play dates I had with you all as children, I’ve learned that many of you chose to question and oftentimes reject other people’s feelings and emotions (including your mother’s feelings after you called her a b*tch after soccer practice in 3rd grade). I just told you to STOP IT, and if I were sitting in my “fancy” cubicle in Midtown, chances are you’d want me to explain why you should stop it. So let me explain:

  1. I am not here for you. Contrary to popular belief, the world and everyone in it were not created for you, even though Cristobal Colon and Vasco da Gama would tell you otherwise. We are centuries past 1492 and my ancestors are no longer accepting gunpowder and doubloons for our relatives that you forced us to capture and give to you as slaves. When I go to Central Park to relax, I am not there for you. When I go into the grocery store to shop, I am not there for you. When I go to the gym, I am not there for you. So when I walk into a bar, what makes you think I’m there just for you? You think I came all the way from Brooklyn to the East Village or Hell’s Kitchen just to see your ass that I more than likely do not know? No. So stop reaching for me/eyeing me down/feeling way up and down my back after barely knowing my name (you’re probably too drunk to remember it, anyway), as if I’m that expensive piece of steak you paid for at dinner. I do not belong to you. This brings me to my next point.
  1. I do not belong to you. Do you see me wearing a dog (or child) leash? Do you see me on all fours playing fetch or slurping water out of a pail? Do I look like Tito Jackson? Am I wearing an orange jumpsuit like an inmate? Am I going through TSA at JFK? No. I am not your property. Therefore, do not treat me as such. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have the right to speak to me however you want. Please do not lick my ear or my neck 25 seconds after I tell you my name. Please do not pat me down and feel all up in my ass cheeks talking about some “I love black ass” whenever you please, and especially without asking for my permission first. Which brings me to my next point.
  1. I do not like when strangers touch me — It’s gross. If you rode that nasty D or Q train to get into the city like I did, I know exactly where your hands have been. And seeing the way you act in bars, they’ve probably been in many, many other places prior to you grabbing my ass and/or sticking your hands in my pants, feeling for whatever trinkets and toys you might be trying to find. Keep your hands to yourself. I think they taught us this lesson in daycare, or maybe your live-in nanny in your Connecticut or Long Island suburb taught you.
  1. You’re drunk. Just go home. It looks like all of your “friends” have left you at this point and you can barely speak an entire sentence or stand up straight. So just go on your little fancy iPhone 6 and request an Uber to take you home. It’s simple. Not only are you pissing me off every time you mention my “big black d*ck,” but you’re making yourself look like a complete fool when you grab me on the dance floor… because you can barely dance (for obvious reasons). So please take yourself back home to your fancy apartment in the Upper West Side/SoHo/Hell’s Kitchen/Crown Heights (please don’t get me started on the ones in Crown Heights) and maybe you can reflect on the many times you mentioned “dabbling in black men every now and then.” I’m sure your daddy would love to hear you say that!
  1. You are being disrespectful. Now I’m not sure if you went to Kindergarten, but for those of you who did I remember my Kindergarten teacher taught us this big seven-letter word called RESPECT. And what you did to me when you attempted to grab my genitals when I was using the urinal is NOT respectful. In fact, let’s role play for a second. How would you feel if I went up to you expressing to you how much I want your “average-sized white d*ck”, or looked you into your eyes and told you how much I want your “tasty white meat?” In fact, what if whispered in your ear “I want to take your average-sized cracker ass home with me tonight?” How would that make you feel?
  1. I treat my body like a shrine. My body is precious and I will treat it as such. If you ever want to be intimate with me, you had best do the same.

I anticipate that roughly 6% of all white men reading this letter will actually get to this point and not be upset or want to call me “racist.” So for those of you who actually read up to this point and are sitting back on your sofa like “#yaaaaas,” thank you for at least trying to understand the plight that many LGBT men of color face in predominately-white LGBT settings.

So I’ll leave you all with this”

Dear white men, next time you want to speak to me in a bar, just say hello. Smile. Shake my hand. Ask me my name. Tell me something amazing about yourself. Talk to me about the little boy you mentor on the weekend or the last overseas trip to Fire Island (kidding) that you took recently. Tell me about what you’re passionate about.

Just be a human being and I will treat you like one.

And please just stop the foolishness.

— Cameron Nyennoh-Donyen

For more content like this, sign up for our weekly newsletter below.