In part one of this post/question that was asked on my sister blog GLBTQ Jamaica on blogger way back when I was apart of JFLAG, Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays in April 1 2009 I took a brief look at the issue at the time as same gender loving women who attended the then (GLABCOM) Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Community meetings though small in numbers complained bitterly of how over bearing the men were and that they were not able to speak openly, by extension the complaints also stretched to the party scenes and the general behaviour or gay men as well where they also had problems with men especially effeminate men using up the dancefloor space and not allowing others to enjoy their money as it were.
The matter was raised earlier this week by a female friend who saw the old post and wanted to discuss it some, she said that things have certainly changed as with the increased use of social networking (thank God) we are now able to understand the issues and thinking of the groups under the LGBTQI umbrella she continued that more and more lesbians in particular seem to like the effeminate component in gay men and seeing that the subject came up during a transgender discussion on cross dressing, tranvestic issues and how the males in particular presented themselves publicly in drag she said the community is getting more comfortable or tolerant with those issues.
She is right and I concur as we not have ways of discussing issues better outside of the advocacy structure devoid of over intellectualizing the issue thus talking over the heads of the not so bright members of the community hence leaving them out. What is also noticeably changing is the response from the butch community who once were very aloof towards effeminate men in particular (this is not to suggest it was a wide spread aloofness) but I think with the importation of the African-American swag culture that is also embraced by effeminate men in their daily public movements and with clothing becoming more unisexual (along with a national metro sexual craze on in earnest thanks to Vybz Kartel) these powerful aesthetic influences have helped to soften how the groups respond to each other.
It is now fashionable in a sense to see stereobutches for example with cross dressers at selected clubs and parties now as they break the gender norms that once were held in high regard. Same gender loving men especially those at the lower socio economic levels where most of the loudness and caustic comments sometime came from towards lesbians now are embracing and tolerant now probably now more than in recent history. The stinging use of words like “Manroyal” and likening butches to be too manlike or male have since died down on the face of it and in fact the more a butch in particular or a stud to a lesser extent presents as such is the more acceptable by the guys. Probably another influence is the more public scenes of transgender persons and the recognition and declaration of their orientation in the community publicly. The cross dressing phenomenon interwoven into the swagg culture as mentioned before is a major factor for me in this change, as this is probably a timely discussion …..
given that we are ending Pride month internationally. If this trend continues though it should auger well for the community in the long run, one particular space where same gender lovers, transgender and bisexuals are certainly getting some social release is at The Oasis Lounge in Kingston which is a membership social group but non members are welcomed to discuss issues on a Wednesday night or so. The troubling part of the inter community phobia though is the intense bi-phobia now along with bi-invisiblity from the national advocacy structure. Many same gender lovers have openly expressed their disgust at bisexuals with all kinds of stereotypes attached including their inability to be monogamous and their potential to carry disease and infections such as HIV. Serious work is needed there and I am doing my small part in trying to highlight those issues as best, I encourage you my readers to also try to sift through the issues while using your own experiences as a backdrop to finding solutions.
In a previous post on some of the concerns and discussions elsewhere I looked at how the issues were being looked at on the ground, although it may not be a reflection of the entire community clearly.
here is an excerpt:
“As we continue to delve inwards to find out a little more of where we are unofficially of course we are learning more especially from a younger more vibrant LGBT body politic.