A university lecturer is predicting that homosexuality could soon be accepted as a way of life in the Caribbean.
Claude Douglas, a sociologist, has just released a new book titled, Homosexuality in the Caribbean: Crawling Out Of the Closet, which examines the rise of homosexuality in the region. The 60-page book covers issues ranging from biological origins and the gay tourist phenomenon, to the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in the region.
“If we look at the evolutionary process of the society and see how the society evolves, we would see that yesterday’s deviants become today’s and tomorrow’s norms,” Douglas told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
“Let us take, for example, the wearing of earrings by men. This was actually tabooed in Grenada many years ago. Today, there are men who appear almost feminine, based on their attire, and this is a growing acceptance now.”
The book examines the libera-lism in Europe as it relates to homosexuality and how dependent territories in the Caribbean, such as Suriname, Martinique and Guadeloupe, have been affected as a result of the stance adopted by their former colonial masters.
For example, the author notes that in 2001, the United Kingdom was in the forefront of repealing laws in its overseas dependent territories, such as Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Anguilla.
“As the society evolves, people become more tolerant of certain behaviour that was sanctioned in the past; people become more accepting of certain behaviour. But it’s a reality that we would all have to deal with, whether we like it or not,” said Douglas, a lecturer at the St George’s University here. “It is coming. It is really coming and we have to brace ourselves to deal with this upsurge in homosexuality in the Caribbean, and Grenada, in particular.
“There is a whole tide of this rights movement throughout the world and it’s really taking hold in the Caribbean as well,” he added.
Decriminalisation of homosexuality has become a hotly debated topic in the English-speaking Caribbean and the issue of whether homosexual cruises should be allowed into Port St George was a major talking point for months in Grenada late last year.
Advocates include St Kitts and Nevis prime minister, Dr Denzil Douglas, and Guyana’s Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy who both suggested that decrimina-lisation could help curb the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Attorneys general in the Eastern Caribbean are due to meet in Guyana in November to review the laws on homosexuality.
Meanwhile, Pastor Gerard Keens Douglas says he is concerned that new legislation being developed to protect victims of sexual harass-ment could favour women against men because it is being spear-headed by a feminist group, the Grenada National Organisation for Women (GNOW).
“I believe there is no doubt it’s going to be tipped towards the feminine position on the issue of harassment. I believe it’s definitely going to be biased and prejudicial in favour of women against men,” said the Pentecostal pastor.
GNOW has just completed a national consultation on sexual harassment to solicit feedback for inclusion in an initial draft bill.
While recognising the work of GNOW in the development of women here, Pastor Keens Douglas is calling on feminist organisations to abandon their old mantra that men are sexual aggressive predators while women are helpless victims.
“That would have been good in the 20th century and the 19th and going back, but from the 21st century, we have a new kind of female on the scene. The stakes have changed. What we have today are females who are thought to be aggressive, assertive, to get your way, don’t take no for an answer.
“And whereas, in the past, men were always perceived as the sexual aggressors, today, it has become a cross gender issue and that has to be of concern. And so, in framing a legislative agenda that’s biased against men, women are just as guilty. It really is of serious concern to me,” the pastor added.