Stigmatization on Effeminacy in Gay Jamaican Culture (REPOST)

Many gay men epsecially those on the downlow, bisexuals and progressors seem to have a problem with effeminate men as it “shows’ them up, if and when they appear in public together,
however there are some masculine men who like their cream with a little “sugar” on top.

Most Jamaican GB men including those who publicly “bun out chi chi” (pretend to be homophobic) will tell you behind closed doors that an effeminate man can be who they are (“real”) in a private setting but when in public they must be masculine acting.
This unwritten rule applies to most African descented gay cultures especially African American where gay, bisexual and progressive men feel that somehow their manhood would be threatened or depleted when seen with a “queen”, in Jamaica their person may be threatened by others and they may loose respect from the thugs or other males.

To be even identified as “Gay” is a problem as many attach the stereo typical “queen acting” male who has on tight fitting designer outfits, outrages drag and wigs and carrying a designer handbag image, hence shy away or refute the description/word being applied to them.

We just seem to be hooked on this idea of a hyper macsuline homo thug image somehow.

Jamaica is a unique place as far gay culture is concerned, if we are to really examine the underground scene right here on the rock it would be amazing as Bob Marley says “if night turns to day” then we would really see the other side of things. While we have rampant homophobia, we also have rampant homosexuality and bisexuality too, of course this is based on my experiences. Lots are men especially from the inner city will get down for the right price, if there is a reward to be had and if you really look good too. I think though we have more bisexuals than any other Caribbean territory as the common thread in justifying gay sex is that they are just stealing it on the side.
While the stigmatization of “queens” publicly occurs by masculine bisexuals gays, for sexual purposes some of these same masculine men don’t have a problem having an effeminate man as a substitute for his absent or predisposed girlfriend for a night yet this is the same man who when attending a dance party, stage show or club event and the DJ plays an anti gay tune and asked for audience support, will have his hand/rag or cigarette lighter (as is customary) in the air in solidarity.
Interesting how we can switch personalities and attitudes with the greatest of ease to match the environment we are in.

Personally, I have had my run-ins with this “thug type” or heaviots as we call them here derived from the word “heavy” to mean deeply masculine or a gangsta, they are very protective of their identity and image and would do anything including vilify and bash another gay man so as not to be identified.
I have seen it oh too many times,they pass you on the street and if you should say hi that could lead to problems, worse if you are effeminate looking or acting.

The stigmatization is also used by the homophobic mainstream to justify attacks on alleged gay persons and the regular outcry after an attack would be “Is because he act funny/like a girl, serves him/them right, is him/them cause it on themselves.”

I can appreciate the “buy in” by gay and bisexual men using as a form of protection when you play the masculine part in order not to be identified, verbally or physically abused in public.

Don’t be fooled by the dancehall industry’s seemingly homophobic stance, well at least I am not, I think they do it for two main reasons
1). to make money off the homophobic sentiments the public carries in the majority – one of the easiest ways for a struggling artist to make a come-back or a current artist to stay current is to voice an anti gay track
2). To cover their tracks left from behind the scenes liaisons and affairs – it is alleged and known that many in the fraternity engage in homosexual activities but try to put a str8 face to it.

Judge Dread

Peace

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Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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