By Branden Lee

One reason I was terrified to move to Atlanta was because of what I heard about interracial dating. I’d encountered guys from Atlanta when they visited Boston or Philadelphia where I used to live, and I talked to guys from Atlanta on dating apps. Every single one said that interracial dating was “taboo” or “rare” in Atlanta.

This terrified me. I mostly dated outside my race my entire life. I come from a diverse hometown where all my best friends were a different ethnicity. I went to college in Boston, which is a pretty diverse city in the sense that white people are still the majority, but there was a decent amount of people of color so that I could still date guys of all races, but mostly got with white guys.

I’d encounter black gay guys here and there for dates, and pretty much all of them were only into other black guys. Even going to NYC – the most diverse city in the country – I encountered guys who pretty much stuck to dating within their own race. My life has always been full of diversity. I love different cultures, backgrounds, and race has never been a prerequisite in picking out a partner. I was scared to move to Atlanta and feel limited to only one race.

I’ve been in Atlanta for over a year now, and the entire first year I only dated and hooked up with black guys. Even pretty much all of my friends were also black. Atlanta is definitely the blackest city I’ve ever lived in. It’s a bit of a strange transition going from maybe one of a dozen of my yearly hookups being black, to only getting with black men.

I’ve been hit on and approached by men of other races since living in Atlanta, just none of them were appealing to me. My type is big, beefy, brawny, butch, and bearded. Those qualities, especially in Atlanta, are more likely to be found among black men. The men of other races that were hitting on me were older than I’m into, too skinny, twinks, bottoms, etc. So dating only black men wasn’t my choice, but more so circumstantial to my environment.

I have missed diversity while living in Atlanta. I did feel myself constantly wonder when or if I’d ever hook up with a guy that wasn’t black again while living in Atlanta. Would I have to vacation out of town to experience a white guy again?

Finally, it happened. I had my first date with a white man. Chef Hungary and I met on Grindr. He just moved to Georgia from Maryland. He does live like 70 miles outside the city, which is inconvenient, but he’s willing to make the drive.

We’ve had two dates so far, and it does feel a bit odd dating a white guy again after over a year of only dating inside my race. I felt a bit uncomfortable on our second date. We went to dinner at Joe’s on Juniper. The patio was filled with dozens of black gays, and I felt awkward there with my white date. I felt like eyes were on me, and I was being judged. I was not the only interracial couple there, but I’d never experienced this discomfort before when I lived in the North. Race was never a factor or issue that I was conscious of while dating in the North. In Atlanta, it’s making me paranoid. I did try to avoid eye contact with anyone besides my date that night, but I did feel eyes on me when I did look around.

I’m not going to let my own insecurities of interracial dating in a new terrain hold me back. I’m enjoying Chef Hungary, so far. He’s been a perfect gentleman. Surprised me with flowers. He’s exactly my type. We have a lot in common. After all, it’s cuffing season, and I’m ready to get cuffed!