Homophobic Yet Homosocial (Repost)

Originally published in the Star 26.11.08 by Playwright and actor Paul
“Blakka” Ellis, this a popular piece so I decided to repost it and is worth re-reading, it’s one of those instances where someone takes a good look at ourselves without prejudice just straight facts and reasoning.

Some Jamaican brethren love to run off mouth about how dem love woman and brag ’bout dem nuh pet man. Yes, big man, start counting the number of activities that you participate in, exclusively with other ‘man friends’. Calculate the amount of time you spend with members of your own sex.

Now, compare that with your quality engagement and time spent with the opposite sex. I’ll bet all the money I lost in Cash Plus that when the situations are objectively compared, many men will find that they spend more time and energy dedicated to activities with other men than with women. Isn’t that funny? But, as I’m never tired of saying, we are a case study in contradiction. Is true, man! Many Jamaican men seem to be violently homophobic, yet passionately ‘homosocial’ at the same time. Check it, dem burn fire on men who sleep with men but di only company dat dem keep is men.

Some roughneck, macho men seem totally happy to spend 20 hours of one day socialising with a bag a man and then share the remaining four hours with a woman. And, those four hours are likely to involve maybe 15 minutes of talk, 45 minutes of sex and three hours of sleep. In fact, one man made it clear to me that, as far as he’s concerned, the main thing to do with the opposite sex was sex.

Strip poker

When asked if he talks or plays with his lady, he said he hardly talks, he mainly sends text messages. Quoting an old joke, he said the only game he plays with his girlfriend is strip poker, with the aim being for her to strip and for him to ‘poke her’. He went on to seriously assert that men, who spend a lot of time with women, are sissies. What do you think?

I think it’s kind of sad. Plenty men just don’t treat social, emotional or intellectual engagement with women as a central part of their life. It’s like they marginalise their dealings with women to the extent that any relationship with a woman that doesn’t involve sex, gets minimal time, limited space and zero value. And, the women, with whom we share conjugal relations, sometimes only get personal attention when it’s time for them to ease our sexual tension.

Potential conquest

You know, there are men, who have no genuine women friends? You realise that there are men out there, who can only see women as objects of potential conquest? And, some of those same men love and idolise other men, who they describe as their ‘God, dads and general’!

Some men work all day with men, spend evening chilling and talking with other men, then spend the weekend playing with men again. They eat and drink with men, ‘par and link’ with men, then smoke and joke with men again. That’s how I see it yah and I don’t care who vex. Some men do every single thing with other men – except sex – and the one deggeh-deggeh thing dem do with women is sex.

But, guess what happen in the process? We miss out on opportunities to learn, grow and build mutual respect with our sisters. Look nuh, I love sex, I adore women and I value the many things I can share with them. Yeah, man, that’s one of the reasons why I’m a big fan of co-education. If it does nothing else, mixed-sex schooling helps boys to learn, from early, that there are many fulfilling experiences to share with girls, including, but not limited to sex!


"You’re Not My Son Anymore" a short story by Geoffrey Philp

I found this very poignant piece written on a blog written by a Blogger: BlogJamaica, it describes rejection of a young man by his father and by extension his family because he is gay. The piece is posted here with permission from the host. Please visit this blog for more stimulating readings. It reads:

taken from the book: Who’s Your Daddy?: And Other Stories

Pausing by the hospital door, I took a deep breath. The last time I’d seen my dad, Harold Sr., I was lying on my back looking up at his fists and twisted face. “You think you can fight me? You think you are a real man? You’ll never be a real man. You and your battyman friends!” I pushed the stethoscope deep into the side pocket of my jacket so that I wouldn’t be confused with the other doctors who worked at the hospital. Gently opening the door, I braced myself for a sight that I’d seen so many times at the hospice where I’d worked, yet to which I’d never grown accustomed. “Who’s that?” “It’s me, Dad.”

“What are you doing here? Didn’t I tell you I never wanted to see you again?” It was as bad as I’d imagined. AIDS had ravaged my father’s body. A stroke had paralyzed his left side and he was now almost blind. “I wanted to see you, Dad.” “You mean to see what’s left of me? Look and leave. I’ve spent your inheritance. You’re not even in my will.” Dad tried to pull the sheet over his chest, but he couldn’t. The tell-tale signs of Kaposi’s sarcoma covered his body. “I don’t need your money, Dad.” “Then, what are you doing here? I told you before. No son of mine is a battyman!” “I don’t want to fight anymore.I’ve come to make peace.” “Peace? What peace? Go and look for that somewhere else. You forgot about the last time? My God, if I could get up out this bed, I’d knock you down again.”

He tried to raise his tired arm over his head, but failed. I swallowed hard and slumped into the visitor’s chair. A web of IV drips surrounded his bed. “Dad, it doesn’t have to be this way.” “What way do you want it? Or is that how your confused battyman friends–the ones who spread their disease to real men like me–used to ask you?” I bit my lip.
I wanted to say, “Dad, my friends didn’t give you this disease. If you’d just worn a condom when you were having sex with your girlfriend, you wouldn’t be dying now. If you’d worn a condom, my mother–the only person who kept you alive by giving you your meds regularly–wouldn’t have died three months ago after you infected her.”
But I didn’t. Instead, I gazed at the beam of light that lanced across the headboard and gilded the charts that declared his death sentence. “Bugger!” He kept on cursing and I listened and waited until his tirade ended.

A nurse poked her head through the door. I told her that everything was all right. From the look on my face, she knew I could be trusted with his care. She left without a word. Dad was so exhausted from his rants, he collapsed into a deep slumber. Rising from my chair, I brushed the wisps of hair over his head, so that if anyone saw him, he would still resemble Harry Lewiston, Sr. And not what he had become–a scarecrow in defeat. I pushed the chair close to the bed and walked toward the door. Although I had said as much as I could, I still felt as if I had left a shadow in the room.

And, somehow, as I closed the door, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the next time I’d see my father, I’d be closing the lid of his casket.

"Keep it to yuself mentality" on homosexuality

The notion that gay people in Jamaica should keep their homosexuality, tendencies and or urges to themselves is a strong one, hence the no PDA – public display of affection unwritten rule for expression and aesthetic presentations and behaviour.

Reggae singer Queen Ifrica(photo) popular yet subtle anti gay song “Keep it to yuself” echoes that message oh so loudly in which it says:

“Yu feel like a bad man (Keep it to yu self)Doan bring it to Jamaican (Keep it to yu self)We nuh want dat a jamrock (Keep it to yu self)Wi can’t tek no more slackness (hear dis) …..

Yu can change di laws of manBut yu can’t change di laws of god

So if dem nocking a big glass dem glad

Wan wi fi change a must mad dem mad

Somebody tell mi what is happening

A don’t want no fish inna mi Ital dish

To see mi son become a father

Mi greatest wishDi situation kinda very ticklish

But everybody fed up from parish to parish(Yes) and to whom it may concern

A nuh dat deh way wi want di table fi turn

As a citizen wi got a lot of concern

Di truth is a nuh dat. Wi want wi chrilden dem, fi learn


Verse 2:

Yu fi multiply an replenish di Earth

An dats why di woman labor inna child birth

Mi nuh want si mi brother Dress up inna no skirt

An mi sister nuh fi mek lift up her skirt

As a nation nuh matter what wi put god first

If yu pass eighteen issa blessing not a curse

Lighting an thunder Bown fi mek di cloud burse

A just di water from

Di Sugar Cane can quench nany thirst(Yes) and to whome it may concern

A nuh dat deh way wi want di table fi turn

As a citizen wi got a lot of concern

Di truth is a nuh dat. Wi want wi chrilden dem, fi learn”

Clearly the song outlines that heterosexism is to replenish the earth’s population which enhances a popular sentiment expressed by the christian community and others, a challenge to the cross dressing of males is also evident. The “Fish” in the verse is a subtle term used here to refer to gay men who are mostly effeminate.
This call for repression of one’s expression as a human being I feel is one of our main problems in how we interact with each other as gays and lesbians. The question of the “downlow” comes into play here then it’s no wonder why so many persons choose this path than to confront and accept themselves for who they are instead of living a lie as I see it. The other problems of situational homosexuality and behavioural bisexuality further compound the issues in our highly sexualized society with HIV/AIDS and the bridging populations.
Repression of self can lead to falsehoods and a shaky sense of security and self esteem issues I feel (I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist). Are therefore to just glibly hide ourselves forever?

Look out for Part 2


Jamaicans For Justice berates Justice Minister over crime forum remark

A slight diversion of sorts but rights in other spheres also affect us, with the remark made by the gentleman to the effect that rights may have to be suspended the JFJ responds …….

HUMAN rights group Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) has berated National Security Minister Dwight Nelson over a statement he made at a crime forum in Westmoreland last week, that rights, at times, have to be restricted in order “to bring back order and discipline”.

National Security Minister Dwight Nelson.
In a statement yesterday, the human rights watchdog described Nelson’s remark as “hasty and irresponsible” and one that could be seen as an endorsement of police abuse.

“His utterances amount to state-sanctioned infringements of the constitutional rights of citizens. Breaches of human rights in a society plagued by such abuses are not the answer to our crime rate, it may in fact be contributing to it,” the JFJ said.

Jamaica has been crippled by a spiralling crime rate which has seen murders averaging 1,200 annually. The police report that there are 200 deadly gangs running amok in the country.

Between January 1 and July 31 this year, Jamaica has recorded 908 murders while robberies, break-ins, larceny, rape and carnal abuse have all increased steadily.

Police have fatally shot 157 persons between January 1 and August 31 this year.

The out-of-control crime rate has been causing headaches for Nelson, who has been trying to devise new methods to rein in the crime monster.

Since being appointed security minister in April this year, Nelson has been keeping a series of crime fora across the island.

Successive security ministers have offered a plethora of crime-fighting strategies, but according to JFJ convenor, Carolyn Gomes, none of them have managed to curb criminal activities or prevent police abuse.

“What have we got for this trade-off in the last 40 years? A rise in the murder rate, a decreased clear-up rate, a rising rate of police killings, an increase in the inefficiency of the court system which has trampled on peoples’ rights. That argument has no currency in 21st century Jamaica!” Gomes said.

Instead of restricting human rights, the JFJ said the security ministry, could, among other measures, enhance the police capabilities to fight crime; improve the ballistic, forensic and pathological capabilities to operate effectively; enhance the capabilities of the criminal justice system to deal with matters expeditiously and justly; and heighten social intervention in economically depressed communities.

October is LGBT History Month …. links to some local facts and people

Well it’s LGBT or GLBT History month depending on how interchangeable you are or tolerant eh? I have been putting together a list of Jamaican historical facts I could find around in my archives and from other reputable sources.

Most of the posts however on local history appear here while on my other blog Gay Jamaica Watch includes other information so far in our young active gay community. To visit the direct posts on the subject click the LGBT logo on top of the page or follow the links on this post.

Feel free to contribute any news or bits of information you know of or were involved in, I feel we must begin to retrace our steps and remember the stalwarts who stood in stead before us in the fight for basic rights, decency and recognition.

Enjoy the posts and look out for new ones coming and feedback please.