I remember her like it was yesterday, she was strutting down Church street in Toronto, i was 18 and couldn’t take my eyes off her…until i walked into a pole and suffered a massive thigh contusion. True story, my first transvestite and still the most beautiful woman I’ve seen to this day. If you read my other posts, you must have figured out by now that I’m a raging liberal. My friend Andrew said my last entry lacked my usual edge so I’m sharpening the claws a bit for this one.
Did i mention Harvey Milk is one of my go-to civil rights heroes? I’m not even American or gay, but in my own Caribbean nation it’s pretty difficult to find gay rights advocates as homophobia still wafts along the island breezes like garbage rot. Though, I have lots of personal heroes in family and friends. You’re probably wondering why yet another straight white girl is pandering to the movement. I’m not, or maybe i am dependent of course on the opinion of whomever reads this; your prerogative. Be warned, i won’t care. Thing is, i love many people who happen to be gay, who were born gay just as i was born straight; though i did attend drama school in NYC for two years, any drama kid knows the lines are all kinds of blurred in such an environment, it is required because, art. But back in the dour real world, the lines are defined and i am too. Nonetheless, with a few failed relationships under my belt, i do think asexual slugs are on to something.
Now I’m slug-pandering, oh dear. Anyway, i realize that not many write about their experience with gay rights in the Caribbean and the lack thereof. Is it the hilarious machismo infecting our male populous that causes such an injustice? I do believe that is one reason. Within my own circle of friends we are all, fortunately intelligent and socially liberal, i wouldn’t fraternize with any other kind of person. I have one strict friendship requirement; don’t be a bigot. If you are, then i don’t like you one bit so you must play alone and go f*** yourself. Such a reaction is based on the fact that this issue hits close to home for me as one of my very favorite people/cousin happens to be gay and proud. He’s a warrior because existing as an openly gay man in the Caribbean is not easy, but he is unabashed and damn right i support him.
Now i hate labels, they are a necessary evil. Truly, i think we’re all atomic bundles and being gay or straight doesn’t make you special; you’re just a human, being a human. What i hate more is the mostly negative focus put upon the LGBT community within my region and of course the planet. It’s annoying to put a spotlight on people for simply existing, i believe the spotlight should be saved for attention whores, like Miley Cyrus…the little shit. The fact that organized religion is quite prevalent in the Caribbean might be the majority incentive for discrimination. Ah i know I’m stepping into dangerous territory but i have to adhere to this as it’s always the first reason for gay condemnation. Either they’re insecure and big up that awful Buju Banton song, or because Jesus said so. I personally think Jesus was a warm-blooded mystic, revolutionary and we all know they like the free love, man. I think he ate some crab once too. All in all, he was about love and inclusiveness so the only people his “followers” should factually condemn are the Romans for you know, killing him!
In my growing, socially conscious generation we often encounter the vestiges of old school thinking who see the LGBT community as martians. It sometimes feels like two sides facing off, while extremism is in a small dark corner throwing in their two cents whether we like it or not. I’ve had my own experience with religious extremists as i unfortunately have a distant family member who is one. It was the Facebook debate of 2010, my previously mentioned cousin had recently come out, so at him and his supporters, this particular relative and her equally unbalanced spouse spewed their venom. The crescendo was a vile personal message full of cloaked abuse and psychotic dogma that he received. It stated that while she does love him(ew), he could easily book a seat on the Heaven express by practicing celibacy. Well you can imagine, my kettle blew. Within her logic she is allowed to have unattractive, flabby sex with her icky husband but beautiful gay men may not? Excuse me while I barf from the visual.
She’s simply an example of one who’s generally lost the plot, not every christian is like that i know. But the belief system does tend to make the crazies crazier at times, doesn’t it? In any denomination, it’s all about interpretation and the nutters ruin the party for everyone. Obviously, I’m not a church mouse, though i do maintain respecting a belief once it’s not imposed or inflicting harm. Break my commandment though and it’s open opinion season. My acknowledged relation broke it tenfold and is coming for Xmas, so my inner Rottweiler is snarling at the ready.
Time for some facts? Fact, Trinidad still maintains a collection of constitutional laws that can actually bar someone from entering the country based on their sexual orientation. Fact, if you are found to be gay you can be incarcerated for up to 25 years. Fact, if you are a gay minor; 5 years. Fact; In 2007, there was an actually campaign to prevent Elton John from performing at Tobago Jazz because he is an openly gay man. They were ignored, thankfully and he played on. Fact, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Elect stated;
“I do not support discrimination in any form against any individual, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. I share your view that the stigmatization of homosexuality in T&T is a matter which must be addressed on the grounds of human rights and dignity to which every individual is entitled under international law.”
So, when are those words going to be put into action? Such laws are never enforced and need to be stripped from our constitution ASAP and replaced with the alternative, anti-discrimination and marriage equality law. That’s just Trinidad, don’t get me started on Jamaica and the violence shown to the LGBT’s over there. Despite Jamaican leaders openly against discrimination, the anti-gay jargon is rampant within dancehall and is still played by DJ’s. I was recently at a party in Trinidad that was blaring one such song, it implied that gay men should be shot in the head and suddenly my buzz was gone. Bob Marley would be so pissed. Thankfully we have peaceful rock steady to quell the hate; One love. Same Love.
At the end of the day, its really about that. The belief that love is a simple concept without borders, should be the basis for everything, shouldn’t it? In a perfect world yes, but the existing idea of free will is highly irritating in this case. Therefore all i can ask is that we exercise it well, and drown out those who abuse it. Usually on my small, bloggy soap box i blab about my privileged life- experiences thus far, but in this case i will stand for something resolutely. I stand for the freedom to love, marry and divorce who you wish and exist as you are…once you’re not an asshole, obviously.