Tuesday, July 24, 2007

These words won't do any justice

I've been working on this post all weekend, going over and over in my mind how I could convey in words what I'm feeling. I am in a beautiful country and having the best and worst time ever! I love it here because I have really gotten a chance to commune with nature. I've swam with the fish, swam in the middle of the ocean hung out in a waterfall and lounged on a clear beach. I've fallen in love with the people of this country and have enjoyed this short respite from the continued presence of white privilege over me. However, I have had about enough of feeling alien because I love women.

After a near perfect day of the ocean and other cultural activities we go out and what do we hear but a song about how evil homosexuality is. Its bad enough that the song is playing but the majority of the club join in on the chorus that calls for violence against gays. At this moment I stand there amongst friends and just watch as they dance completely oblivious to the hate coming out of the speakers. I never felt more alone before. Later when I bring it up they do their best to try and understand and sympathize but they can't, because they just don't get it. Flash forward to today as I sit in class and hear our Professor talk about how many Calypso singers find homosexuality funny, and then he goes on and discusses how the idea of a Gay minister of govt is foreign to them, but not as foreign as other countries. He was only half trying to not seem completely biased and disgusted, but it was there. Then after class I have to defend all LGBT people to one of my classmates as he tries to argue that its understandable why people are homophobic and ignore LGBT people. At this point I had to fight back the urge to scream, cry and just run away from this all. This is all too much to handle at sometimes.

I want to hold on to my people and this country so tight, but I can only do this if I deny who I am. I find myself now in a bind, do I continue to blend? Or do I make a stand? Do I even have the agency and authority to make such a bold stand? Where is my safe place? Where is my place where I can go to get rejuvenated? How do I explain something that I can't even put in words to people who claim to be my friends here? Is it even worth it? These are all the questions that are constantly running through my head. I'm just at a point where I don't know where to go from here.

One of the few LGBT sites that isn't blocked is Jasmyne Cannick's blog, and while I don't agree with everything she says all the time, I do get a lot of useful information from here. She just posted this article from a local newspaper and a gay man was talking about how he doesn't have his rights, and all the ways that Trinidad and Tobago should improve in terms of its relations with LGBT people. This article let me know that by being a lesbian and not from here it is illegal for me to be here. Elton John had to get a special license to come and perform. I am absolutely astonished. I want to cling to the people here so bad because I feel like we are so similar, but I can't because I refuse to deny who I am.


sly civilian said...

just put up an entry in response...don't know if you can see it while you're down there, but just wanted to say i heard you on being split.

i feel for anybody who feels like they have to make a choice, because the pain you feel with that kind of tension and conflict has to be a signal that nobody should be forced to choose like that. if only folks could listen to that...on both sides...and ask why that is.

brownfemipower said...

dang, i had a whole lovely beautiful comment typed out, and I lost it all.
I don't have the time to type it all out again--so let me just say the core nut of what I said in it--keep your body safe girl. If you don't have structures of safety set up to help you if you get challenged or into trouble, i think that you as a woman esp. shouldn't mess around with that sorta potential violence. You ARE making a difference--you are using your words to bring some really really painfully important shit to the fore front--just because you are talking about this using an indirect route doesn't mean that it's not as important or as impactful as if you stood right up and screamed at that bar.

is there an LBGT street scene somewhere? or any underground resistance groups you could hook up with? they have to exist--whereever there is horrific silencing like this, they exist--

take care of yourself girl, and sorry if this comes off too mami-ish--but i worry about you!!!

Darkmind said...

Your expectations of humanity are too high. All groups are to some degree exclusive. That is what identifies the group. You have set yourself up in a delema of niche acceptance. The more groups you assign yourself to, the less accepted you will be, even by groups of which you are a member. For example, you are a woman so you are in the woman group. Women are not accepted by all humans, not even all by all women, so lets say if we stop describing you at "woman" you would be accepted by 40% of humanity. Now, when you add an adjective like "black" to your description, you must understand that the 40% that used to acept you just as a woman, might not all accept you as a black woman. So of that 40%, only 30% accept you. Of those only 50% will accept that you are Christian, of those only %80 percent will accept that you are college educated, of those only %30 will accept that you are political, of those only %10 will accept that you are gay. When you add it all up, only 0.00144% of humanity will accept all those things about you. That's about 1 out of 700. However, on the bright side, that still adds up to over 8.6 million people on earth who would really dig you. And also on a brighter note, if you know 700 people personally, but still have more than 1 person who accepts you, you are already beating the odds...
By the way, tag.

“I remember how being young and black and gay and lonely felt. A lot of it was fine, feeling I had the truth and the light and the key, but a lot of it was purely hell.” ~Audre Lorde