Have you ever thought what it means to be gay? Have you ever thought what it means to be lesbian or transgendered? Have you you ever thought what it would be like if YOU were gay?
Think for a second or two, perhaps a few of you need a few minutes…but I would like you to think about it…what would happen to me if I were gay?
For the next few moments as you read along these lines, I would like you to reflect upon this scenario.
You were born a normal, healthy boy or girl, you had a normal childhood in a normal environment. You were loved by your parents, you attended school and you attained an education. However, despite all the normalcy in your life, you found that no matter what you did, no matter how hard you prayed, no matter how hard you tried to convince yourself that you were not attracted to members of your sex, you still felt the irresistible urge to express your feelings toward a guy or a girl…just like you.
Imagine, a world…your world, filled with utter confusion. Your feelings a complete and utter mess because you cannot fight the feelings of attractions toward someone of your own gender.
Think clearly. You know it to be wrong because the priest at your church says it is wrong, your pastor says it is wrong, your teacher says it is wrong. Everyone who says it is wrong, they instill such fear into you by letting you know that fire, brimstone and hell awaits such reprobates and deviants. Imagine still, you kneel down in front of the alter and you cry your eyeballs out begging God to make you different but there are no answers only more questions and more feelings and the confusion continues.
Imagine still…you are running away from everyone because you are afraid that they will find you out and you will face the scourge of the earth and everyone will call you names. They will taunt you and eventually they will use you as a punching bag and every Friday evening – you are involved in a fight at school because the bullies are taking advantage of you and all you’ve done is exhibit some form of behavior that is deemed feminine. Imagine the amount of fear that is instilled in you that you suffer academically because you choose to sit at the back of the class, or that you are afraid to ask the teacher a question because everyone laughs at you. Imagine that you are afraid to tell your parents that your grades begin to slip and you have lost any zeal for school that you now dread attending. School is the last place you want to be.
Imagine that you are so confused that by the time you are sixteen you are now looking to hide your true self by consuming alcohol and pick up the habit of smoking cigarettes. Imagine still that you are distant toward your parents and you feel so alone and that no one understands you. Imagine that you feel God has failed you and you are left without faith and hope. Imagine that by the age of seventeen that you are wrought with such feelings of inadequacy and failure, that you have become psychotic and suicidal and the system has failed you because you live in a third world country that offers no such help to individuals who are different, who are gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgendered. Imagine…..you are now standing at the back of your house or in your bedroom and you tie a noose around your neck and with tears in your eyes and not even a goodbye you jump. Imagine a dark abyss and you are falling….falling….falling.
In all Caribbean nations, homosexuality in whatever form is considered a criminal act. In some countries such as Jamaica and Trinidad, it is in the law books that it is punishable by imprisonment.
What is seen as an out dated and archaic law is still on the law book of some of the blessed islands that make up the gems of the Caribbean. Usain Bolt and all the glory that he brought to Jamaica at this years Olympic games would be nothing but a “chichi man” who will be beaten and chased by mobs who will want to murder him IF he were gay and came out of the closet. Kirani James – King of Grenada at this years Olympic games, would be beaten and treated like a common criminal if he turned out to be gay and came out of his closet. According to the law if someone thinks you are a homosexual upon entering Trinidad and Tobago, you could be banned from entering. As was the case of Elton John some years ago when the religious right of Tobago wanted to bring fire and brimstone to the organizers of the Tobago Jazz Festival.
We are faced with the daunting task of masking ourselves, in so much that, we lose who we are. So instead of being happy, we begin from an early age, to live double lives…hypocritical lives, that causes more harm than good.
We are faced with a political system that seeks to erode even the basic fundamental rights of our existence. Not only as tax paying homosexual men and women but as people on a whole. Most would rather not see us or acknowledge us and hide us into the proverbial closet behind all the brooms and mops and dust pans. We are faced with a religious right that continues to undermine the basic tenets of our religious right by forcing us to believe that we are doomed to hell because we choose to be gay.
Wake up from your dream now…… stop imagining….. do you think after all the persecution, all the backward thinking, the fear and the pain of existing in a world that seems so unimaginably cruel, do you think that I would choose to be gay?
Do you think your son or your daughter would choose to be a lesbian? That after being beaten, chased by mobs, cursed at, and spit on, that your son will choose to be transgendered? Religion has enslaved us into believing that hell is for deviants such as homosexuals and other criminals, but what the religious right has failed to address is that deep within their own fold these same deviants as they choose to call them, are hidden!!! One has not to look very far or in the not so distant past to realize that the Catholic church is filled with homosexual men, who hide behind the priesthood! Modern day full gospel churches are filled to the brim with whoremongerers, pedophiles and homosexual men and women, who are living secret lives. Instead they, rant and rave about what will befall same gender lovers and instead of preaching the truth, they choose scriptures that seek to instill more fear into the lives of men and women whose only hope is to be loved.
In today’s society, the third world mentality is killing our Caribbean nations with the religious right followed closely by a political system that is too weak to even allow for our so-called developing nations to prosper.
Few politicians have the testicular fortitude to stand up and make a quantifiable statement denouncing homophobia, so they pretend to show their equality by having a gay friend and hope that the world notices. Recently, a Jamaican politician (I believe she is now the Prime Minister) stated that she would like to see an end to homophobia. Not in her lifetime!!! Homophobia is so rampant in Jamaica, it is not funny. However, what is funny is that to every ten Jamaican homophobic men there are twenty homosexual Jamaican men. Homosexuality is deeply rooted in Jamaican history, as is their homophobia.
Unless we as a people, a Caribbean people, begin to look beyond a failed religious right that seeks to justify their existence in a society that is defined by its plurality….unless mothers and fathers begin to look beyond their child’s sexuality or sexual identity…..unless the political agenda and its directorate changes its current path, then we will continue to walk a treacherous path. Unless developed nations begin to impose sanctions on Caribbean nations that see homosexuality as a criminal act then there will continue to be rampant homophobia, more murders and more failures. Failures on the part of government and church to encourage citizens to accept and appreciate each and everyone for who and what they are and not be treated as a criminal because of who he or she chooses to sleep with.
Unless we as individuals stand up and make a difference and take a stand, then the suicides will continue, the double lives will continue, the tragedies will continue and we will be faced with more questions than answers.
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