International flag for the
Lesbians Talk: Making Black Waves
(V. Mason-John & A. Khambatta, Scarlet Press, 1993, ISBN: 185727007X)
Documents the lives of Black lesbians in Britain. It provides a fascinating record of achievements and struggles, debates and issues. A dynamic and honest book which searches among the embers of the 1990's British culture for a Black lesbian identity. It transcends labels to explore herstory, racism and separatism among the voices of Black lesbians living in Britain today. (review)
Note: visit this link for a list of books on black homosexuality: Books On The African American LGB Experience.
Fighting Words: Personal Essays by Black Gay Men: Breaking the Silence on Issues of Identity, Family Relationships, Race and Sexuality (Charles M. Smith, Harper Perennial, 1993, ISBN: 0380799472)
A boy discovers his sexuality in the shadow of a murder spree in Atlanta. A U.S. marine writes of his fierce, tragic love for a fellow marine. A man is forced to do a thing he dreads-play basketball-or risk losing face to the youngster for whom he is trying to provide a role model. These and twenty-seven other illuminating essays reveal a world of double barriers and two-fold prejudices-a world of men looking for love and careers, companionship and mentors, rough trade and gentle understanding among those who alone can know what it means to be African-American and gay. Writings that range fromthe street-smart to the erudite, from the erotic to the political and the spiritual, this collection explores the vicious crosscurrents of pressures that black gay men face, and the ways they have coped with them-or failed to. A vivid, candid and provocative portrait of a diverse community, Fighting Words is a remarkable anthology of individual journeys experienced by African-American gay men. (www.amazon.com)
The Greatest Taboo: Homosexuality in Black Communities
(Delroy Constantine-Simms (editor), Alyson Books, 2001, ISBN: 555835643)
Does homosexuality remain the greatest taboo in black culture? Is homosexuality a European cultural imposition on Africans? Are you black first or queer? Delroy Constantine-Simms has compiled 28 powerful, provocative essays from academics and writers of all ethnic heritages, genders, and sexualities, including bell nooks, Eric Garber, Seth Clarke Silberman, Gregory Conerly, and Dr. Gloria Wekker, to explore the often volatile relationship between black gay men and lesbians and others of their race. Inspired by what Simms sees as a lack of explicitly black homosexual perspective in academic literature, he set out to find those unique insights that would provide illumination into such areas as identity and sexuality, religion, cultural perspectives, African perspectives, black lesbian perspectives, black male homosexual perspectives, black literature and homosexuality, homophobia and black popular music, and mythologies surrounding black sexuality. The sweeping scope of The Greatest Taboo runs from 19th-century slave quarters to postapartheid South Africa, from RuPaul to the Wu Tang Clan, from 1920s Harlem to 1995's Million Man March on Washington, providing a clear-eyed societal, cultural, political, and historical view of both the transformation and continued repression of black lesbians and gay men. Academically rigorous yet intellectually accessible, The Greatest Taboo seeks to stimulate a lively discourse and foster greater understanding of this internationally important, vastly misunderstood, and fascinating topic. (www.amazon.com)
Note: that a few minutes to read this interesting interview with the editor, published in Q: The Gayteway to South Africa: interview with the editor
(Steven G. Fullwood, Vintage Entity Press, 2004, ISBN: 0-9752987-0-4)
A collection of 30 short personal essays. The book offers a much-needed voice for a population of gay men who many outsiders seem to know little about. This, in part, is because of the deaths of poetic gay writers like Essex Hemphill, Joe Beam and other black men who are militantly black and defiantly homosexual. (Kheven LaGrone/www.washblade.com)
Note: visit this link for a list of books on black homosexuality: Books On The African American LGB Experience.
Note: visit this link for a list of books on black homosexuality: Books On The African American LGB Experience.
BOOKS (homosexuality in the Caribbean)
Jamaican-American author Christopher John Farley (see below) mentioned a few Jamaican authors: 'In the more recent past, writers with Jamaican roots, such as Audre Lorde and Michelle Cliff, have published novels about gay life in the region; younger lesbian writers such as Patricia Powell and poet Staceyann Chin have written about the experiences of Jamaican homosexuals'.
Kingston by Starlight: A Novel
(Christopher John Farley, Three Rivers Press, 2005, ISBN: 9781400082452)
It tells the story of Anne Bonny, a real-life Irish woman who journeyed to Jamaica, dressed as a man, became a pirate, had a relationship with another cross-dressing woman, and was put on trial for her alleged crimes in 1720. Kingston by Starlight is a story of adventure and beauty, rapture and revenge, the lower depths and the high seas. It's also, I think, a story about the true soul of Jamaica. Some dancehall performers may never admit it, but gay life is intertwined with the history of the Caribbean; it's part of the legends, the literature, the landscape. (Christopher John Farley/The Advocate) (interview with the author)
Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles
(Several authors, Duke University Press, 2008, ISBN: 978-0822342267)
"Our Caribbean is a superb anthology. Thomas Glave does not exaggerate when he writes that this is ‘a book that I and others have been waiting for and have wanted for all our lives.’ Here we have a book that makes literal the ongoing necessity to write ‘against silence.’”—Elizabeth Alexander, author of American Blue: Selected Poems. The first book of its kind, Our Caribbean is an anthology of lesbian and gay writing from across the Antilles. The author and activist Thomas Glave has gathered outstanding fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and poetry by little-known writers along with selections by internationally celebrated figures such as Reinaldo Arenas, Audre Lorde, Achy Obejas, Assotto Saint, José Alcántara Almánzar, Michelle Cliff, and Dionne Brand. The result is an unprecedented literary conversation on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experiences throughout the Caribbean and its far-flung diaspora. Many selec tions were originally published in Spanish, Dutch, or creole languages; some are translated into English here for the first time. The thirty-seven authors hail from the Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Suriname, and Trinidad. Many have lived outside the Caribbean, and their writing depicts histories of voluntary migration as well as exile from repressive governments, communities, and families. Many pieces have a political urgency that reflects their authors’ work as activists, teach ers, community organizers, and performers. Desire commingles with ostracism and alienation through out: in the evocative portrayals of same-sex love and longing, and in the selections addressing reli gion, family, race, and class. From the poem “Satur day Night in San Juan with the Right Sailors” to the poignant narrative “We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This?” to an eloquent call for the embrace of difference that appeared in the Nassau Daily Tribune on the eve of an anti-gay protest, Our Caribbean is a brave and necessary book. (text from Duke University Press)
Born Gay Or Made Gay?
Peter Tatchell commenting the book BORN GAY: The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation. By Glenn Wilson and Qazi Rahman
Note: several subjects are covered on the www.petertatchell.net webpage
J-FLAG: Parliamentary Submission
The submission by Jamaica Forum for Lesbian, All-Sexual and Gay (J-FLAG) with regard to "an act to amend the constitution of Jamaica to provide for a charter of rights and for connected matters".
Why should being gay be a crime?
In 75 countries being gay is still a crime. On November 17 2006, the Paris-based International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) will launch a global campaign for a United Nations resolution declaring that homosexuality should no longer be considered a crime anywhere in the world. (The Advocate, November 15, 2006)
Malcolm X – Gay black hero?
Malcolm X was born 80 years ago today, on 19 May 1925. But amid the commemorations, controversy is brewing. Some black activists are enraged by suggestions that their hero might have been gay - or at least bisexual. (The Guardian, May 19, 2005)
Report on the roots of the word, behaviour in society, repression, studies. EXCERP: "Some claim (including Sigmund Freud in his psychoanalytic theory) that some or most homophobes are repressed homosexuals, but this claim is highly controversial. In 1996, a controlled study of 64 heterosexual (by experience and self-reported orientation) men at the University of Georgia (Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal?) found homophobic men (as measured by the Index of Homophobia) considerably more likely to experience more erectile response when exposed to homoerotic images than non-homophobic men. However, the homophobic men also tended to report more negative emotions in response to those particular images (not sexual arousal), and the researchers noted that general anxiety has been shown to enhance erectile response. There was no significant difference in results on the Aggression Questionnaire. The group recommended further research."(EnPSYCHlopedia, 2005)
Teaching Tolerance: 'Homo High'
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: Soon after the Center on Halsted opened in 2007, Rick Garcia, whose office overlooks Halsted Street, began to notice something troubling. The Center, near downtown Chicago, is perhaps the Midwest’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community center. “All of sudden,” says Garcia, political director for the LGBT advocacy group Equality Illinois, “the street was inundated with kids — kids who’d been abandoned by their families, who had nowhere else to go. All I could think was, ‘Why aren’t these babies in school?’”Chicago’s public school system had a problem. LGBT students were three times more likely than straight peers to miss school because of threats to their safety, according to a 2003 districtwide survey; and students who faced regular harassment were more likely to drop out. For these kids, schools were failing. In fall 2008, Chicago officials took a drastic step. They proposed a “gay-friendly” high school where students of all sexual orientations could learn in bully-free classrooms where a safe and welcoming environment was the norm. (Teaching Tolerance)
Gay Cops Carve Out a New Beat in South Africa
The story two cops that became South Africa's first gay, married officers. The article describe acceptation within the police community and homosexuality under the apartheid. (San Francisco Chronicle, May 25, 2003)
The roots of Caribbean homophobia
French interview with An Ou Alle, LGBT organisation from Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana. The interview is specifically interesting for their oppinion on the roots of the Caribbean homophobia. They elaborated it in three spheres: geographical, historical and institutional. (Heteroclite, December 2006)
My Princess Boy: Is it OK for boys to dress like girls?
Is it okay for boys to dress like girls? The topic is addressed in the book “My Princes Boy” – watch the author and her son, who inspired “My Princess Boy,” in this Today show video clip. Meredith Vieira talks with the mom and her 5-year old who likes to dress in girl clothes – Why? Dyson says “because it makes me feel happy!” “My Princess Boy” explores this societal taboo of boys dressing like girls in the hopes of spreading acceptance. What’s your stand on kids dressing as the opposite gender? (NBC Today Show, January 3 2011) (My Princess Boy)
In this section, I am listing websites that deals with homosexuality in general. If you want to visti more websites, it's easy! Just visit the LINK section of the following webistes. And if you desire to seek articles, interviews and websites that are closely related to homophobia in Jamaican music, visit the LINK section of my website or simply clik here: Murder Inna Dancehall: Links.
Gay Lesbian Straight Educational Network: Ensuring Safe School for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students.
UK website on Equality & Justice for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals.
Note: the INFORMATION BANK, found on the main page, easy to go through, contains short and instructive texts.
It Gets Better is an online video channel founded by Dan Savage in September 2010, in response to the suicide of Billy Lucas and a number of other teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or because their peers suspected that they were gay. Its goal is to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by having gay adults convey the message that these teens' lives will improve.
(It Gets Better Project)
Established in May 1990, OutRage! is the world's longest surviving queer rights direct action group. Unapologetic and provocative, OutRage!'s remit is to challenge antigay discrimination, confront the perpetrators of homophobia face to face, promote the public visibility and media debate of queer issues, and articulate a radical agenda for sexual freedom, (which will ultimately benefit everyone -- gay, straight, and bisexual).
Note: this organisation, with it's 'Stop Murder Music' campaing, was a key element in establishing a deal with record companies to control homophobic lyrics in the dancehall music. More about their mission : Our Ideas, History and Activism
UK website that provides a space to disseminate information and for Black LGBT people to interact and discuss issues that are relevant to them.
Note: nice link section related to Caribbean issues, most of them are related to Homophobia in Jamaica: Caribbean links
Founded in 1986, Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) is an organisation that is working to improve quality of life within the New York City
black gay community by effectively fight the triple threat of AIDS, homophobia and racism through education, advocacy, health and wellness and social support.
The mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is to secure the full enjoyment of the human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression, and/or HIV status. A US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO), IGLHRC effects this mission through advocacy, documentation, coalition building, public education, and technical assistance. Africa Asia & Pacific Europe Latin Amercia & Caribbean US& Canada
personal webpage that brings tons of articles and stories from gay and lesbians around the world.
Note: there is a very nice and easy-to-access section on Africa that covers 26 African countries: Index of stories or visit directly Gay Jamaica
On 17 May 1990, the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders. The fight for the recognition of equal rights for lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender people did not end there though. Today around 80 countries in the world still criminalize homosexuality and condemn consensual same sex acts with imprisonment, of these 9 (Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen) still have the death penalty. Discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity is still not recognized formally by the member states of the United Nations (even though human rights mechanisms such as the Human Rights Committee have repeatedly condemned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity). In every country of the world, please pass the message: 17 May is the International Day Against Homophobia, it is of homophobia that you should be fearful, not homos!
Sign the petition for a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality that will be sent to the United Nations: Petition
French website. Network connecting the families, the educators for childrens, governments services and community organisations. Diving-board for parents' every day concerns regarding the education of their young children.
Note: several tips and articles on how to deal with children's questions. The website suggest to explain homosexuality at a very young age to prepare a child for society's diversity and avoiding homophobic behaviour: L'homosexualité expliquée aux enfants
Organization based in Montreal, Canada. French/English website. AlterHéros is an incorporated non-profit organization whose mission is to facilitate the social and community integration of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgenred youth by: A) Informing and Educating the youth, parents, family, and friends through the sharing, and dissemination of information. B) Providing Aid and Support by posing, clarifying and responding to questions, and by creating a mutual aid network. C) Creating a community where the youth can share, exchange, contribute, make contacts and connect with others.
Note: nice Canadian link page for community sevices such as Helplines, Students Associations, Discussion Groups: Mutual-Aid Network
Egale Canada is a national organization that advances equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-identified people and their families across Canada.
Note: In September 2007, they launched the Stop Murder Music campaign in Canada and have done several actions since to make the conflict evolved. Action includes pressuring Canadian immigration to not allow visa to singers that promote violence, asking music retailers to remove violent homphobic songs and establishing an official Jamaican tourist and goods boycott.
HIV/AIDS in Jamaica
The diseas is real and is not spread only by the homosexual community. Jamaica has the third higher rates of infection in the Caribbean after Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Everyone is concern. A country that doesn't discriminate gays and lesbians gets better treatments and everyone benefitiate from it. Help your community by getting informed, voting the right laws and taking the appropriate precautions.
Read the Human Rights Watch report: HIV/AIDS in Jamaica
THE LAWS (Criminalization of homosexuality in the Caribbean)
Trinidad and Tobago's Sexual Offences Act of 1986 makes sex between men punishable by up to 10 years' imprisonment and that between women by five. Bahamas' Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act of 1989 makes male and female homosexuality punishable by up to twenty years' imprisonment. Jamaica's Offences Against the Person Act prohibits "acts of gross indecency" between men in public and private. Section 76 of this same Act provides for up to ten years' imprisonment for buggery, defined as anal intercourse between a man and a woman, or between two men. Under an order from the Privy Council, Britain recently scrapped anti-homosexual laws in its five Caribbean territories, Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos after their legislatures refused to decriminalise homosexual activities between adults in private. Jamaica, however, remains a sovereign nation which cannot be 'ordered' to divest itself of its own archaic colonial legislation. Taken from the article published in Jamaica Gleaner: Clash: Gays vs dancehall (part 2)
NOTE: The above text only reflect the reality of the five British Carribean territories, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. In another article I found the following: 'Several Caribbean islands do have such a law in their criminal code. The maximum penalty is in parentheses: Barbados (unknown), Cuba (1 year), Grenada (unknown), Guyana (life), Jamaica (10 years), Saint-Lucia (25 years), Trinidad & Tobago (10 years)'. According to Wikipedia: 'Homosexual relations between consenting adults have been legal in The Bahamas since July 1991' (another article says:e Bahamas, where buggery laws were repealed in 1998).
This is a list of Caribbean associations that seeks for equality of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. If you are not from the Caribbean and would like to conatct an associations in your country, this link provides a good list of worlwide associations: Gay & Lesbian Associations
Jamaican Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays founded in 1998. The first organization in Jamaica to react to hostile climate and advocate for LGBT rights. They offers counseling and referral and referral services. Provides documentation in asylum cases based on gay-bashing incidents; and lobbies local, national and internationals officials. (website)
Note: If you could spare a donation, with your help, services offered to the Jamaicans LGBT community could increase.
Note: Usually this conflic is centered on male homosexuality, but I found a very interesting article that interviewed Karlene, which is co-chair of J-FLAG: Lesbian Activsits in Jamaica Tell Horror Stories
The Jamaica OutPost (Jamaica)
Newsletter published on a quarterly basis for the Jamaican lesbian, all-sexual and gay community. (website)
Barbados Gays & Lesbians Against Discrimination (BGLAD) is dedicated to the promotion of human rights for all persons within the Barbadian society and in particular lesbians, gays and bi-sexuals. BGLAD, through education on issues of human sexuality and individual differences, will promote the acceptance of all persons and develop a positive agenda for change within Barbados and the Caribbean regio. (website)
CAISO (Trinidad & Tobago)
Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO was formed in June 2009. TEXT FROM WEBSITE: In June of 2009, on the eve of Trinidad & Tobago’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) communities’ 15th annual celebration of Pride, a range of community organisations and leaders came together in an unprecedented fashion to form a new advocacy group: the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation. Our acronym, CAISO, appeals to our pride in nation and culture, while invoking the loving yet poignant way in which our national artform has engaged with political advocacy. CAISO’s stakeholders are both community members directly, and a number of NGOs and projects serving our community, such as Bohemia, Friends for Life, MSM: No Political Agenda, the Trinidad & Tobago AntiViolence Project, Velvet Underground, and 4Change... (more on the website). (website)
SASOD (Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination) is a group based in Guyana which is committed to eradicating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. SASOD supports the view of equal rights for all persons. (website)
The Rainbow Alliance Of The Bahamas (Bahamas)
The Rainbow Alliance of The Bahamas is a support and advocacy group for persons in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. The group was established in May 1999 during a social event hosted by members of other GLBT groups. The members of those groups, BGLAD (Bahamian Gays and Lesbians Against Discrimination) and Hope TEA (Hope Through Education and Awareness), decided it would be better to pool their resources together and create one national gay rights organization. They named it “The Rainbow Alliance of The Bahamas.” Homosexual relations between consenting adults have been legal in The Bahamas since July 1991. (text from Wikipedia) (website)
FOKO stands for Fundashon Orguyo Korsou. Description on YouTube: Welcome to FOKO, Curacao's Gay Pride Organization's Web Community AFO, striving for emancipation of sexual diversity in general and homosexuality in particular in Curacao, the Dutch Caribbean and the Caribbean as a whole. Look to FOKO for topics and campaigns on Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights, GLBT Culture and Spirituality, Gay Marriage, Sexual Freedom and the struggle against homophobia. (website)
Founded in 1999. SEROvie is an Haitian community organization that offers to men and sexual minorities, as well as their families, free programs for health promotion, prevention of HIV and AIDS,and other sexually transmitted infections. (no website).
Founded in 2007, GrenCHAP is the Grenada chapter of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Partnership — a network of NGOs and CBOs in the OECS islands working with most at risk populations in the context of HIV/AIDS and Human Rights. Working with stakeholders, which include the National AIDS Directorate, the Government of Grenada, regional and international organisations, GrenCHAP operates with the vision of a reduced rate of HIV infection, and respect for human rights and dignity as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights UN Charter. (no website)
No description found. No website.
St.Kitts CHAP (St.Kitts & Nevis)
No description found. No website.
Vincy CHAP (St.Vincent & The Grenadines)
No description found. No website.
United & Strong (St. Lucia)
No description found. No website.
MSM No Political Agenda (Trinidad & Tobago)
Created in February 2002, it's an organisation of volunteered individuals who work together to produce an MSM Newsletter and Website. The need for such a product to address HIV/AIDS for the MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) Communities in the Caribbean is what prompted our team to develop a hardcopy printed and electronic document. (website)
An Nou Allé! (Martinique, Guadeloupe & French Guyana)
This association was originately created in Martinique. It grown up by adding members from Guadeloupe and French Guyana. They are opperating in France and in the Caribbeans. Their main goal is to welcome, listen and help people by getting in touch with their black identity combined with their homosexual identity. They fight against homophobia, work for prevention of AIDS, suicide and alcoholism. They bring international solidarity for black Africans, and also welcome members from all other ethnical background. They offer social activities.• (website)
Tjenbé Rèd! (France, Africa, Martinique & Guadeloupe)
“Tjenbé Rèd !” is the Martinique Creole for: “Hang in there!” The association was founded in May 2007. Civil movement for action and reflexion on black, metis and LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals or trangenders) in France, Africa or the Caribbean. Their objective:To bring together and provide support for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, two spirit, trans & gender non-conforming) people of color, and those close to them, in order together to promote the development of shared ways of thinking in our communities of African or overseas origin.The association works in paralel with An Nou Allé! Among several actions, they called for a boycott of the dancehall singer Admiral T in France and in the Caribbean in late 2007. (website)
Caribbean Anti Violence Project
The Caribbean Anti Violence Project is a regional initiative based in the HIV Education Unit of the University of the West Indies. It is supported by a coalition of private citizens and groups who share a vision of a kinder, fairer and more caring society. We oppose all forms of victimization, prejudice and discrimination. You should use this site to report harassment, discrimination, bullying, assault, violence and hate crimes. (website)
Note: at the moment of visit, this website was not working. (website)
Caribbean first gay and lesbian social network. The site, which is translatable in six languages, has all the interactive features of a social network like Facebook. Members are able to create and join groups, add music, events, videos, chat, make friends, find dates, create and join discussions, write blogs and read news from the Caribbean and the World. (website)
More Information on Caribbean Groups
On the following document, you can find several agencies that you can contact if you have questions regarding HIV/AIDS: Human Rights & Advocacy 2009.You can find another important document (PDF format) by making a search on the internet with 'Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report"
OTHER RELATED CARIBBEAN ASSOCIATIONS:
Jamaicans For Justice
Jamaicans for Justice is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-violent, volunteer citizens' rights action group, founded in 1999. It advocates for fundamental change in all spheres of Jamaican life - judicial, economic, social and political - in order to improve the lives of Jamaican citizens. JFJ believes that justice is the bedrock of any civilised and progressive society, and all Jamaicans must have equal access to fair, correct and impartial treatment. JFJ believes hat the majority of Jamaicans are decent, law abiding citizens, that each person is innocent until proven guilty in a Court of Law and that each citizen deserves respect, freedom and the right to enjoy a peaceful existence. (Jamaicans For Justice)
Jamaica Aids Support
Jamaica AIDS Support is the world class leader creating best practice in the delivery of innovative services that celebrate human diversity built on love, integrity, trust and respect. MISSION: Jamaica AIDS Support (JAS) is dedicated to preserving the dignity and rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS and to help in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS by providing education and other interventions – to promote changes in attitudes and behaviours and empower persons to respond positively to the challenges. JAS does not discriminate against persons because of colour, race, disability, gender, class, sexual orientation, age or religious belief. (Jamaica Aids Support)
Murder Free Jamaica
MurderFreeJamaica.org is a Cyber-Jamaican Nationalist that is dedicated to the cause of reducing the murder rate In Jamaica to a tolerable level (that is, below 0.1 per 1,000 people) and promoting non-violent and civil conduct in Jamaica. We are a great and unique place and people and we should do a much better job in taking care of our country and of each other. Our murder rate hit an all-time high in 1980 and has remained alarming since. We need to urgently address this problem as it is literally killing us. Together we can do it. LIFE IS SACRED.
NOTE: Specific texts regarding gays and lesbians are located in: Section 5 – Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons, precisly under, 'Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination' (MurderFreeJamaica website) (MurderFreeJamaica Blog)
Homosexuality discussed in Jamaican newspapers
In Jamaican, there is three main newspapers, The Jamaica Gleaner, The Jamaica Observer and The Jamaican Star. At first I tought those newspapers would be unfair when writing about homosexuality. But I was wrong. Of course, you have the sensasional news that make newspaper sells, but I also found several in-depth articles published in The Gleaner and The Observer. 'The Jamaican media, like all media everywhere, needs to become more intelligent and sophisticated in how it discusses the issues. We need less sensationalisation (such as we see often in the Jamaican tabloids) and more in-depth, sensitive reporting. We also need the media to understand that homosexuals do not spend all our lives thinking about sex, any more than heterosexuals do. We are complex human beings, just like you'. (interview with Thomas Glave)
July 25, 2001: SPECIAL REPORT: Gays in Jamaica
In July 2001, The Jamaican Gleaner ran a 10-article special report on Jamaican gay life. They made a really good job with it. If you feel to learn about homosexuality, this could be a nice start.
(GAYS IN JAMAICA: 'I Was Born This Way') (GAYS IN JAMAICA: Sexuality And The Law)
(GAYS IN JAMAICA: Homophobia Remains High) (GAYS IN JAMAICA: Bisexual Woman Struggles With Identity)
(GAYS IN JAMAICA: Is There A Gay Gene?) (GAYS IN JAMAICA: Homos At Risk)
(GAYS IN JAMAICA: Sexual Orientation: Is There A Conclusion?)
(GAYS IN JAMAICA: 'I Was Sleeping With Their Husband And Father')
(GAYS IN JAMAICA: Sexual Orientation: Critiquing The Theories, Looking At The Realities)
(GAYS IN JAMAICA: Sexual Orientation: US Church Divided On Issue)
February 26, 2006: From Stonewall to Brokeback Mountain – A rising flood not easily dammed
JAMAICA GLEANER. Several American historians and sociologists trace the modern militancy in gay activism to a fight in a bar in New York City's Greenwich Village in June 1969. The police regularly would raid bars in the area patronised by gay men and lesbians and arrest them on indecency charges, sometimes beating them. On June 27, 1969, in what turned out to be a bloody brawl and rioting, the gays fought back, throwing garbage bins and other missiles into police vehicles and engaging the police in fist fights. The protests continued over three days and for a while at least, the stereotypical image of the limp-wristed, lisping, swishing "fairy" was challenged, and the police were in retreat. The riots and eruption marked a turning point in what historians say was a simmering frustration and anger over the beatings and harassment to which gays had been subjected and turned America's attention more fully to questions of individual rights and decency laws. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
April 13, 2006: The opposites of manhood
JAMAICA GLEANER. Matthew 'zekes' Phipps may not have quoted Rexton Ralston Fernando Gordon (better known as Shabba Ranks) in court on Thursday, March 30, but his premise for denying being a homosexual was the same as Shabba's declaration of being a womaniser in the 1987 song. As The STAR reported Mr. Phipps as saying, "I have several kids by different babymothers. Even since I was in jail a baby born for me, the baby was born in September. So I could never be a homosexual". On the other side of the class divide, but still connected by that infamous gas riots congratulatory handshake, former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson did not have the luxury of leaning on a quantity of babymothers to support his denials of homosexuality when the JLP was dancing to the beat of TOK's Chi Chi Man. He did deny being a homosexual, that headline in The Gleaner ahead of the last general election being remarkably similar to the one about Zekes in The STAR recently. And more recently, in informally summing up his legacy, Mr. Patterson measured his progress by saying that "man have more gal than before". I am not, naturally, calling Mr. Phipps' sexuality into question, as the man has already made his position clear. However, his defence goes to the heart of something I pointed out about three years ago and goes even a little bit further. I wrote then that our common definitions of manhood are negative, in that men often define themselves by what they do not do, such as have sex with men, do the chew on women, run away from a conflict, ejaculate quickly or get drunk easily. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
May 26, 2006: Vasciannie's error
JAMAICA GLEANER. (The counter part an article published a week before) Sodomy laws may in fact reflect the social values and religious beliefs of most Jamaicans. We, therefore, realise that repealing Jamaica's sodomy laws will not alone eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation, but must be coupled with significant public education regarding respect for human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. The fact that a majority of Jamaicans hold biased views regarding a homosexual minority cannot justify retaining laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation any more than biased views on race, origin, colour, or religion justify laws that discriminate based on these factors. As the Ministry of Health has recognised in advocating to repeal Jamaica's sodomy laws, sometimes the law must lead in order to make change. Human Rights Watch hopes that the deputy solicitor general will not loftily dismiss the now well-established proposition that discrimination on account of sexual orientation is just as unlawful as discrimination on account of race. It is time for Jamaica to join the ranks of progressive and demo-cratic countries that recognise that an effective policy against HIV/AIDS must be predicated not on prejudice but on inclusion. In the wake of apartheid, South Africa created a constitution that extended human rights protections across the board including based on sexual orientation. We urge Jamaica to follow this bold example. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(Jamaica Gleaner: ORIGINAL ARTICLE) (Jamaica Gleaner: VASCIANNIE'S ERROR)
February 20, 2007: The state and the rule of law
JAMAICA GLEANER. If the rule of law is held in respect and each individual is to be assured the equality of its protection, the police will charge those in the mob who attacked the three young men outside the Monarch Pharmacy in Kingston's Tropical Plaza last Wednesday. At the same time, those legislators on the parliamentary committee examining current legislation dealing with sexual offences should end the fudge and come to the conclusion that the State has no role in the bedrooms of consenting adults - whether male or female or a combination thereof. These two issues are connected and, in a sense, mutually reinforcing. But the first point first. An angry mob outside the pharmacy kept the three men hostage inside, because they suspected the group, maybe because of behaviour or dress, to be homosexuals. The young men were eventually rescued by the police, but in the process were jostled. At least one was hit by a stone. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
July 8, 2007: Golding says 'no' to homosexuality
JAMAICA OBSERVER. Psychologists, academic predict increased violence amidst move by gays to gain acceptance. Opposition leader Bruce Golding has come out strongly against any change in legislation to sanction homosexuality in Jamaica, even as members of that community are moving for greater acceptance among locals. According to Golding, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) of which he is president, is not prepared to go against the cultural norms of the Jamaican society, which are largely anti-same sex relationships. "Let us be very clear. There are some countries that are prepared to overturn tradition and culture in the interest of what they regard as individual freedoms and to do so at the instance of the homosexual fraternity, which comprises a minority in the population. You will find this pretty prevalent in Europe. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(Jamaica Observer 1) (Jamaica Observer 2)
EXAMPLES OF BAD ARTICLES
March 12, 2006: High school girls gone gay!
JAMAICA GLEANER. Scores of high school girls in the Corporate Area have seemingly gone gay. Reports have reached The Sunday Gleaner that in, at least one instance, a girl had to fight off a lesbian schoolmate who made a presumptuous advance at her. A past student of St. Andrew High School, located at Cecelio Avenue, gave another sickening episode. She told The Sunday Gleaner that while attending a social, which was staged at Ardenne High School on Ardenne Road, she was dancing with her friends when she was brazenly approached by a student from Holy Childhood High, who discretely whispered, "I like you" to her. She dismissed it. But, the pursuing lesbian approached again with the same words. "Normally, I would have used expletives but due to the shock I gave no response," she said. On leaving the venue the persistent young lesbian approached a third time with the words "I want you and I am going to get you no matter what." The St. Andrew past student said she was now numb with disbelief and quickly boarded the vehicle she came in and left the compound. "I felt like I was raped," she said in anguis..A visit to The Queens High School, which is located at 4 Central Avenue, confirmed reports that the administration is having problems with the girls who have gone gay.A senior official, who requested anonymity, told The Sunday Gleaner that the homosexual behaviour among the girls is spreading like a fungus. "The recruitment is heavy. Every time we get rid of a big batch we have to deal with the recruited ones," the senior official told our news team. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
November 23, 2004: COLUMN: 'The New Gay World Order'
JAMAICA OBSERVER (This is a column, not an article). The unrelenting assault by homosexual activists disguising as human rights proponents is something that requires careful thought and strategy. Let us be clear about one thing. What we are seeing is calculated, deliberate and focused strategy to apply as much pressure as possible so that we will not only bend, but capitulate and bow before the altar of what I call, "The New Gay World Order". It seems to me that there is no end to how far we can stretch the barriers of personal behaviour, and then arrogantly ask the rest of us not to judge or criticise. The question is, where will human beings draw the line? I'm told that there are countries in Europe where public notices are posted enticing people to have sex with anybody or anything - man, woman or do. If we are not careful, we may be muzzled by laws which tell us that we cannot criticise people who engage in bestiality. I realise that what we are seeing is the ever-expanding borders of human degradation, where absolutely anything goes, and where people with a sense of decency are being goaded into silence. Even when I was a victim of the folly of youth, I realised that I had to be guided by what was right and appropriate, and that there were certain lines that I would never cross. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
August 4, 2007: LETTER – Parent offended by gay content of The Simpsons' movie
JAMAICA GLEANER. Last Saturday, I took my children to the cinema to see what I thought would be a movie with appropriate content for children. Admittedly, I had my reservations at first because I was familiar with the tv show, The Simpsons, in which the writers have repeatedly subtly and overtly introduced adult issues. However, I was not prepared for the kind of explicit audio and visual homosexual content that the movie had to offer. The movies shown at cinemas in Jamaica are reviewed for inappropriate content by the 'Cinematograph Authority' prior to domestic release. However, this group sadly erred in judgment when they sanctioned the showing of this film as 'PG' rated rather than the 'PG-13' rating it was given in the United States. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
Homosexuality discussed in Caribbean newspapers
I didn't made much research for other Caribbean islands, but I would like to point out the wonderful website Global Gays, which brings several articles from several Caribbean islands, such as: Aruba, Bahamas, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Haiti, St.Lucia, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caico. Visit: Global Gayz
There is another fantastic website that is full of articles related to gay life in the Caribbean. The numerous articles features Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Netherland Antilles (Curaçao, Bonaire, St. Eustacia, Saba and St. Maarten), Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago. Visit: Latin America & The Caribbean
There is probably thousands of documentary related on homosexuality. This is the short list of the one that know that deals with Caribbean and African community. The first two deals directly with the situation in Jamaica. I doubt that you can find any of these in a video store. Sometimes large cities have gay and lesbians center that provides documentaries. You may have to purchase them; be aware that documentaries are produced for a small market, which raises the cost of production. They are usually sold between $40 and $150, sometimes even more. If you want more documentary on homosexuality, you may visit the Amnesty International website.
Songs Of Freedom (2002) (documentary, Phillip Pike, Canada)
Songs of Freedom: Compelling Stories Of Courage and Hope by Jamaicans Gays and Lesbians. The documentary tells compelling stories of individuals courageously carving out meaningful lives, despite the taboo against their sexual identity. Instilled with an often contradictory sense of humour and anguish, these stories are about growing up, going to school, dating, and “coming out” in a country where one‘s individuality often collides with the dictates of family, community and religion. Still, Songs of Freedom does more than capture the conflict inherent in the lives of Jamaican lesbians and gays. Evoking the emancipative philosophy of the late Bob Marley, the documentary also conveys the unflinching sense of hope, love and camaraderie used by the people in front of the camera to compose their personal songs of freedom and redemption. We see them as whole persons, full of beauty, complexity and contradictions, always deserving of love and respect. (www.jahloveboyproductions.com) (Songs Of Freedom)
Read tan interview with the author: Phillip Pike documents homophobia and hope in Jamaica
To order the documentary: Songs Of Freedom: Compelling Stories Of Courage And Hope By Jamaican Gays And Lesbians
The Darker Side Of Black (1994) (documentary, Isaac Julien, UK)
In THE DARKER SIDE OF BLACK, Julien takes us behind the public face of dancehall, hip-hop and gangsta rap to reveal the violence, misogyny and homophobia that taint these musical genres—which have also been the source of some great, life-affirming music. Thoughtful comments from Ice Cube, Chuck D., Monie Love and Michael Franti mix with hideous rants by hit-makers Shabba Ranks, who “knows” God hates homosexuals, and Buju Banton, whose hit song 'Boom Bye Bye' celebrated killing gay men. Activist Donald Suggs warns of the dangers, and Cornel West and Tricia Rose offer historical perspective without excusing vile behavior. British writer David Dibosa adds a personal note by recalling how 'Boom Bye Bye' inspired people he thought were his “neighbors and brothers” to attack him and his lover in the street. (www.frameline.org) (The Darker Side Of Black)
This video was presented at the Center For The Arts, University Of Technology, in St-Andrew, Jamaica in March 2005: Culture or lack of responsibility? UTech students debate dancehall
Unfortunately, the price of this documentary is exhorbitant (75$ for rent, 295$ for purchase): Filmakers Library Some websites put the release date of that documentary in 1993, but the VHS that I have states 1994. It's really worth watching. Fourteen years later, it's still quite relevent. At first I tought only a small segment would cover homophobia in dancehall music , but more than 40 minutes deals with the subject. The documentary last 58 minutes. I hope that in the future someone purchase the rights and make a DVD release with it. It should be shown in schools, followed by a debate.
Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes (2006) (documentary, Byron Hurt, USA)
Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes provides a riveting examination of manhood, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. Director Byron Hurt, former star college quarterback, longtime hip-hop fan, and gender violence prevention educator, conceived the documentary as a "loving critique" of a number of disturbing trends in the world of rap music. He pays tribute to hip-hop while challenging the rap music industry to take responsibility for glamorizing destructive, deeply conservative stereotypes of manhood. The documentary features revealing interviews about masculinity and sexism with rappers such as Mos Def, Fat Joe, Chuck D, Jadakiss, and Busta Rhymes, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, and cultural commentators such as Michael Eric Dyson and Beverly Guy-Shetfall. Critically acclaimed for its fearless engagement with issues of race, gender violence, and the corporate exploitation of youth culture.
NOTE: Although this documentary is not about Dancehall music, I think it is a must-see as it analyse and raise questions about some of the same problems vehiculed through dancehall lyrics, such as violence, misogyny and homophobia. The documentary last 60 minutes. YouTube has a 5-minute segment introduction and Google Video seems to have the entire documentary. When it comes to purchase the documentary, it seems the only way at the moment is to purchase the Educational copy for College and University, which is quite expensive. But there seems a way to get a rebate, check the website. It was available for a retail price not that long ago... I paid 26$ for my copy in December 2008. Maybe you can find one for sale on eBay. If the Google Video link gets remove, make a search with 'Beyond Beats & Rhymes" on YouTube and you should be able to see some excerpts.
(YouTube: Beyond Beats & Rhymes) (Google Video: Beyond Beats & Rhymes) (Purchase the documentary) (PBS)
Dangerous Living: Coming Out In The Developing World (2003) (documentary, John Cagliotti, USA)
Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World, is a feature-length documentary that explores the immense changes that occurred for gays, lesbians and transgender people living in the Global South. In the last decade of the 20th Century, a new heightened visibility began spreading throughout the developing world and the battles between families, fundamentalist religions, and governments around sexual and gender identity had begun. But in the West, few people knew about this historic social upheaval, until 52 men on Cairo’s Queen Boat discothèque were arrested for crimes of debauchery. That explosive story focused attention to the lives and trials of gay people coming out in the developing world and the film chronicles those events. Dangerous Living opens with one of the Cairo 52 defendant’s, Ashraf Zanati, who was tortured, humiliated, beaten and forced to spend 13 months in prison. His simple, but powerful statement sets out the basic theme for the film: “My sexuality is my own sexuality. It doesn’t belong to anybody. Not to my government, not to my brother, my sister, my family. No.” (www.afterstonewall.com) (Dangerous Living: Coming Out In The Developing World)
There is also an official website for information on the documentary: After Stonewall Productions
Note: I strongly suggest this documentary. Very informative on the situation of gays and lesbians in developing countries around the world. Larry Chang is interviewd in it, briefly exposing Jamaica's situation. You can purchase it for 22$ on the Amazon website.
Woubi, Cheri (1998) (documentary, Philip Brooks & Laurent Bocahut, France/Ivory Coast).....[in French]
In one of the few films with gay subject matter to emerge from Africa, directors Brooks and Bocahut turn their documentary camera onto the Ivory Coast city of Abidjan and some of its queer citizens. The cast of characters is diverse and fascinating. Seductive, upper-class Barbara presides over the Association of Transvestites of the Ivory Coast (ATCI), a tough bunch of queens who fight the sensationalistic, derogatory treatment of transvestites and gays in the local media. Laurent is a small business owner who attracts the attentions of lay-about young men called "yossi." Vincent is a shamanic individual who speaks of his relationship with society and the spiritual world. Ferdinand Doudou serves as a cultural interpreter for the conversations and interviews in this refreshingly anti-anthropological perspective on contemporary African sexuality. In spite of Africa's increasing identification with the international gay movement, Woubi, Cheri makes it clear that sexuality in the Ivory Coast still speaks a very unique language. (www.frameline.org) (Woubi, Cheri)
Cameroun: Sortir du Nkuta (2009) (documentary, Celine Metzger, Cameroun/France) (52 mins).....[in French]
In early 2006, a list denouncing the purported homosexuality of 50 influential people appeared in several newspapers – a shockwave to the Cameroonian society. Homosexuality is taboo to the point that hitherto, according to public opinion :“There are no homosexuals in Cameroon!!!”The film offers a description of the difficult conditions sustained by this young homosexual “community” as well as the heroic fight of Alice N’Kom, lawyer for 9 imprisoned gays. 'Sortir du Nkuta' means "The coming out" in a Cameroonian slang. A “nkuta” is a gunny sac. (Balibari.com)
To my knowledge the movie is not for sale at the moment. It was broadcast in France on May 31, 2009 and it still being shown in festivals: Cineffable (Paris) in October 2009, FIFDH (Paris): November 2009, Des Images et des Mots (Toulouse): February 2010, Massimadi (Montreal): February 2010, FIFDH (Geneva) March 2010.
Preview (8 mins): Les films du Baribadi French text: Sud Planet Images: Festival Des Images Aux Mots
Apostles Of Civilized Vice (1999) (documentary, Zackie Achmat, South Africa)
Mixing interviews and historical reenactments, Zackie Achmat's inspiring documentary Apostles of Civilised Vice traces queer history in South Africa from colonial times to the present. Between 1910 and 1933, one estimate says that over 60,000 men were convicted of sodomy and "unnatural offences" by laws that were only dropped from the books in 1998. The majority of those tried, convicted, and imprisoned were black men unable to afford legal representation. Looking at the law's larger implications, Achmat doesn't lose sight of the individual stories that it manifested: From the nineteenth century, there is the story of Dr. James Barry who was accused of multiple counts of sodomy and whose death revealed a shocking fact – that he was a woman. In 1902 a white confectioner and a black cook were caught by police and jailed for sodomy. And a notorious gang of criminals prided themselves on their same sex relationships, both in and out of prison. Apostles of Civilised Vice makes hidden queer histories visible and gives voice to gays and lesbians silenced by colonial rule and apartheid laws, which criminalized and marginalized same sex desire. (www.frameline.org)
(Apostles Of Civilized Vice)
Of Men And Gods (aka: Des Hommes Et Des Dieux) (2002) (documentary, Anne Lescot & Laurence Magloire, Haiti)
A frank look at a largely unexplored area, Of Men And Gods examines the daily existence of several Haitian men who are openly gay. Prevalent, yet still taboo, homosexuality and gay culture are allowed to flourish within the context of Haiti's Vodou religion. As "children of the gods," the men find an explanation for homosexuality as well as divine protection. They also find an outlet for theatrical expression through exhilarating performances in which they embody the gods. Meanwhile, the AIDS epidemic looms as a continual threat and adds a disquieting degree of nihilism to their relatively optimistic attitudes toward life and happiness in Port-au-Prince. (www.der.org) (Of Men And Gods)
Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100 (1999) (documentary, Yvonne Welbon, USA)
In 1998 she was awarded grants from the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media, the Astraea National Lesbian Action Fund, and the Wexner Center for her film Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100. Ruth Ellis was born on July 23, 1899 in Springfield, Illinois. The documentary focuses on the life and times of the oldest "out" African American lesbian known and offers a rare opportunity to experience a century of our American history as lived by one inspiring woman. By example, Ruth Ellis shows us what is possible and what can be realized, if one not only lives long and ages well but also lives with pride. Ruth Ellis passed away peacefully, at home in her sleep, on October 5, 2000 at 101. Living With Pride has won seven "Best Documentary" awards, and been screened in over 100 venues around the world. (www.sistersincinema.com)
(Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100)
Venus Boyz (2001) (documentary, Gabriel Baur, USA)
A film journey through a universe of female masculinity.A legendary Drag King Night in NewYork is the point of departure for an odyssey to transgendered worlds, where women become men - some for a night, others for their whole lives.What motivates them? What changes take place? What do they dream of? The drag kings of NewYork meet in clubs and change lustfully into their male alter egos, parodying them and exploring male eroticism and power strategies.In London we see women experiment with hormones to become new menand cyborgs. Masculinity and transformation as performance, subversion or existential necessity. An intimate film about people who create intermediate sexual identitie. (www.venusboyz.com) (Venus Boyz)
Everything Must Come To Life (2002) (documentary, Mpumi Njinge & Paulo Alberton, South Africa)
This documentary tells the unusual stories of of three dynamic lesbian sangomas (traditional healers) in Soweto, South Africa. Articulate and sympathetic, these women share their stories willingly. After leaving their husbands, two of the women were visited by their dominant male ancestors, who instructed them to take wives. They explored their sexuality as a result of this commandment, and became intimate with other women. The relationship between the Sangomas and their ancestors, the roles the ancestors play in Sangoma healing powers, and the role they play in shaping Sangoma sexuality are focal points in this documentary. (www.frif.com) (Everything Must Come To Life)
Simon & I (2001) (documentary, Beverley Palesa Ditsie and Nicky Newman, South Africa)
Simon and I recounts the lives of two giants in the South African gay and lesbian liberation movement, Simon Nkoli and the film maker herself, Bev Ditsie. The story is narrated by Bev, both as a personal statement and a political history. Through good times and bad, their relationship is viewed against a backdrop of intense political activism and the HIV/AIDS crisis. Their converging and diverging lives, culminating in Simon ’s death, are revealed in this heartfelt testament using a mixed format of interviews and archive footage. (www.dayzero.co.za) (Simon & I)
Forbidden Fruit (2000)
(documentary, Sue Maluwa-Bruce, Beate Kunath and Yvonne Zuckmantel, Zimbabwe/ Germany)
Zimbabwean filmmaker, Sue Maluwa Bruce, breaks long held taboos about sexual identity and lesbian love in African society in her groundbreaking video, Forbidden Fruit. “What is most remarkable about 'Forbidden Fruit' is its range of appeal. It opens rural life and village politics in Zimbabwe to a new understanding, which is reconfigured by the love shared by the two women protagonists. To a society hostile to that love, the film responds neither with pleas for tolerance nor condemnation; instead, Forbidden Fruit exploits passion in the service of transformation. The inventive reconstruction of that love story breaks the barriers of genre, too: this is a docu/dramatic and moving call to queer, global solidarity. (www.brynmawr.edu) (Forbidden Fruit)
That's Me (2001) (documentary, Sasha Wales-Smith, Zimbabwe)
7-minute documentary. In Zimbabwe President Mugabe has said that gay people are "worse than pigs or dogs". To be HIV positive on top of that is even more shameful in the eyes of society. Acceptance is the theme of this inspiring film about a young drag queen. Life with HIV can still be celebrated, he tells us, as long as you acknowledge sexuality and love the virus. (www.newsreel.org) (That's Me)
Paradise Lost (20XX) (documentary, Campbell X)
I will make a research to find the synopsis soon. (Preview)
Note: since 1994, South Africa has it's own Gay & Lesbian Film Festival: Out In Africa
Note: on this link you can see more short films and documentaries on black homosexuality: February 1998: 911 Media Arts Center
Movies and television are an easy way to relax. Why not combine education and relaxation? This is a small varied list of movies that I appreciated over the years. If you want a detailed list that includes hundreds of movies, click on this link: movie guide
American Beauty (1999) (movie, Sam Mendes, USA)
Noted theater director Sam Mendes, who was responsible for the acclaimed 1998 revival of Cabaret and Nicole Kidman's turn in The Blue Room, made his motion picture debut with this film about the dark side of an American family, and about the nature and price of beauty in a culture obsessed with outward appearances. Kevin Spacey plays Lester Burnham, a man in his mid-40s going through an intense midlife crisis; he's grown cynical and is convinced that he has no reason to go on. Lester's relationship with his wife Carolyn (Annette Bening) is not a warm one; while on the surface Carolyn strives to present the image that she's in full control of her life, inside she feels empty and desperate. Their teenage daughter Jane (Thora Birch) is constantly depressed, lacking in self-esteem, and convinced that she's unattractive. Her problems aren't helped by her best friend Angela (Mena Suvari), an aspiring model who is quite beautiful and believes that that alone makes her a worthwhile person. Jane isn't the only one who has noticed that Angela is attractive: Lester has fallen into uncontrollable lust for her, and she becomes part of his drastic plan to change his body and change his life. Meanwhile, next door, Colonel Fitts (Chris Cooper) has spent a lifetime in the Marine Corps and can understand and tolerate no other way of life, which makes life difficult for his son Ricky (Wes Bentley), an aspiring filmmaker and part-time drug dealer who is obsessed with beauty, wherever and whatever it may be. American Beauty was also the screen debut for screenwriter Alan Ball. (www.allmovie.com)
Note: very few of the movie deals with homosexuality, but strongly effective to dismiss prejudices.
Philadelphia (1993) (movie, Jonathan Demme, USA)
At the time of its release, Jonathan Demme's Philadelphia was the first big-budget Hollywood film to tackle the medical, political and social issues of AIDS. Tom Hanks, in his first Academy Award-winning performance, plays Andrew Beckett, a talented lawyer at a stodgy Philadelphia law firm. Andrew has contracted AIDS but fears informing his firm about the disease. The firm's senior partner, Charles Wheeler (Jason Robards), assigns Andrew a case involving their most important client. Andrew begins diligently working on the case, but soon the lesions associated with AIDS are visible on his face. Wheeler abruptly removes Andrew from the case and fires him from the firm. Andrew believes he has been fired because of his illness and plans to fight the firm in court. But because of the firm's reputation, no lawyer in Philadelphia will risk handling his case. In desperation, Andrew hires Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), a black lawyer who advertises on television, mainly handling personal injury cases. Miller dislikes homosexuals but agrees to take the case for the money and exposure. As Miller prepares for the courtroom battle against one of the law firm's key litigators, Belinda Conine (Mary Steenburgen), Miller begins to realize the discrimination practiced against Andrew is no different from the discrimination Miller himself has to battle against. (www.allmovie.com)
Note: if you are not too sure about watching a movie with gay characters, this one is more accessible.
L'Homme est une femme comme les autres (1998) (movie, Jean-Jacques Zilbermann, France)
British TV host Antoine de Caunes (Eurotrash) stars in this French comedy about gay clarinetist Simon. His mother and wealthy uncle know he's gay, so the uncle says he'll give him $2 million dollars and a house if he will get married. Simon, who can barely survive on his income as a piano-bar musician, turns down the offer -- but then he meets soprano songbird Rosalie (Else Zylberstein), who sings Yiddish favorites for senior citizens. After she takes Simon to meet her large family of Hassids, those wedding bells might yet chime. Filmed in Paris and New York with French, English, and Yiddish dialogue.(www.allmovie.com)
Note: This one is a French movie. maybe hard to find depending on where you live.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) (movie, Stephan Elliott, Australia)
The usually menacing British actor Terence Stamp does a complete turnaround as Bernadette, an aging drag queen who tours the backwaters of Australia with his stage partners, Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) and Adam/Felicia (Guy Pearce). Their act, well-known in Sydney, involves wearing lots of makeup and gowns and lip-synching to records, but Bernadette is getting a bit tired of it all and is also haunted by the bizarre death of an old loved one. Nevertheless, when he gets an offer to perform in the remote town of Alice Springs, the threesome ventures into the outback with Priscilla, a lavender-colored school bus that doubles as dressing room and home on the road. Along the way, the act encounters any number of strange characters, as well as incidents of homophobia, while Bernadette becomes increasingly concerned about the path his life has taken. (www.allmovie.com)
Note: Hollywood made a remake of this movie with Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. If heard the remake is just so-so...
C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005) (movie, Jean-Marc Valee, Cambodia/Canada)
A middle class teenage misfit living in 1970s era Montreal dreams of abandoning his familiar hometown surroundings to seek a brighter future in director Jean-Marc Valee's character-driven drama. A sexually-confused Christmas Day baby who likes to march to the beat of his own drummer, Zachary Beaulieu (Marc-Andre Grondin) nevertheless longs to live up to his old-fashioned father (Michel Cote)'s decidedly more traditional expectations. As Zachary seek solace in the sounds of Pink Floyd and David Bowie, his mother assures him that he's bound for greater things and testosterone-fueled siblings raise hell around the house. Despite feeling bound by his comparatively normal surroundings, the revelations provided by David Bowie's "Space Oddity" allows the disheartened Zachary the luxury of dreaming. (www.allmovie.com)
Note: I don't know if this movie will be available easily outside of Canada, but try to find it, nice story. I learned that an American studio purchased the rights and is making a remake of this movie.
In & Out (1997) (movie, Frank Oz, USA)
Life is sweet for high-school English teacher and sports coach Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline); he's still living where he grew up, he has a good relationship with his father (Wilford Brimley) and mother (Debbie Reynolds), he's respected by his community, and he's about to marry Emily (Joan Cusack), his fiancee of three years. Fearing she was about to become an old maid, Emily has shed 75 pounds for the upcoming nuptials. But first, the entire town of Greenleaf, Indiana, settles in to watch the Academy Award telecast, because young stud star Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon), who attended Greenleaf high, has been nominated for an Oscar. What's more, he wins, and in his acceptance speech, singles out Howard -- and announces his favorite teacher is gay. Everyone in town is thunderstruck, including Howard himself. The media descend on the town, particularly Peter Malloy (Tom Selleck), whose job is hanging by a thread. But now so is Howard's; principal Tom Halliwell (Bob Newhart) is shaken by the news, and is toying with firing Howard. The beleaguered teacher tries to convince everyone (and himself) that he's as straight and macho as the next guy; he even tries to follow the rules on a motivational tape, "Be a Man." But his fondness for Barbra Streisand, his theatrical mannerisms and the fact that he and Emily have yet to make love make everyone's eyebrows stay permanently raised. Meanwhile, out in Hollywood, Cameron, who's really a decent guy, learns about the problems his impulsive comment has caused, and heads back to Greenleaf to see what he can do to help. Peter's mother is fiercely determined to see at least one of her two sons wed -- Walter (Gregory Jbara), the other, is a doofus -- and as the wedding date draws nearer and nearer, poor Howard's life flies even farther out of control. (www.allmovie.com)
Note: not a big movie, but a nice family comedy.
My Own Private Idaho (1991) (movie, Gus Van Sant, USA)
Gus Van Sant's dreamtime riff on Shakespeare's "Henry IV, Parts I and II" features River Phoenix as Mike Waters, a narcoleptic male hustler who is first seen drifting on a stretch of highway in Idaho. Mike shifts from Seattle to Portland, where he has taken up with Scott Favor (Keanu Reeves), who is also a hustler. The difference between them is Mike's sleepy state betrays an uncertain future, while Scott is ready to inherit a fortune from his father within a week. Mike feels a real affection for Scott, but Scott does not believe men can really love each other. Besides, Scott is mostly hustling as a means of slumming and killing time before he inherits his money. Will, however, delusionally thinks Scott will continue with his life as a drifter after receiving his inheritance. Mike's belief is shared by the dregs of Portland, who live out of an abandoned hotel with their spiritual leader Bob (William Richert). They're convinced Scott's fortune will benefit them all, when in reality Scott plans to use the money to escape his bleak existence and abandon his friends. (www.allmovie.com)
Note: Experimental movie... not the usual story you are habituate. Strong!
Kinsey (2004) (movie, Bill Condon, USA)
Alfred Kinsey was an entomologist who taught at Indiana University and had a keen interest in an area of human behavior that had seen little scholarly research -- human sexuality. While the courtship and reproductive patterns of animals had been carefully documented, Kinsey believed that most "established facts" about human sexual behavior were a matter of conjecture rather than research and that what most people said about their sex lives was not born out by the evidence (a subject that had personal resonance for him given the troubles he and his wife Clara Kinsey had in the early days of their marriage). After introducing a course in "Marriage" at Indiana University which offered frank and factual information on sex to students, Kinsey began an exhaustive series of interviews with a wide variety of people from all walks of life in order to find out the truth about sex practices in America. When he published Sexual Behavior and the Human Male in 1948, his findings were wildly controversial, indicating that most men had a wider variety of sexual experiences than most people imagined, including a number of practices commonly thought to be dangerous or perverted (including pre-marital sex, same-sex contacts, and masturbation). An even greater outcry greeted Kinsey's next volume, Sexual Behavior and the Human Female, which contradicted common notions than most women went into marriage sexually inexperienced. Kinsey is a film biography written and directed by Bill Condon which examines Kinsey's life and work from his strict childhood until his death in 1956. Liam Neeson plays Alfred Kinsey, and Laura Linney co-stars as Kinsey's wife and colleague Clara. John Lithgow highlights the supporting cast as Kinsey's repressed and moralistic father, while Chris O'Donnell, Peter Sarsgaard, and Timothy Hutton play members of Kinsey's research team and Tim Curry appears as an IU faculty member at odds with Kinsey's teachings. (www.allmovie.com)
Note: great biography on Alfred Kinsey. A must for everyone who is currious to learn about the evolution of sexual behaviors in our society.
Bad Education (aka: La Mala Educacion) (2004) (movie, Pedro Almodovar, Spain)
Filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar takes a look at his own adolescence as well as confronting the issue of sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church in this stylish drama, which was chosen to open the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. Enrique Goded (Fele Martínez) is a Spanish filmmaker who is having trouble settling on a new project when he's approached by Ignacio Rodriguez (Gael García Bernal), who was his close friend when they were schoolboys. Goded, who fell in love for the first time with Rodriguez, barely recognizes the man as his former crush, but agrees to read the short story he's written. The tale turns out to be an semi-autobiographical account of their days in a Catholic boarding school, in which a cross-dressing night-club performer named Zahara (also played by Bernal) hooks up with a man named Enrique (Alberto Ferreiro), who turns out to have been his first lover when he was a student. Recalling their school days, Zahara tracks down Father Manolo (Daniel Giménez Cacho), one of his teachers from school with pedophilic tendencies, and threatens to expose the priest's attempts to seduce him and ruin his relationship with Enrique years ago. Goded decides to use the story as the basis for his next film, and Rodriguez, an out-of-work actor, makes it clear he's eager to play Zahara. However, Goded isn't certain if Rodriguez is the right actor for the role, or if he's even the man he claims to be; an angry conflict with Rodriguez leads Goded back to the real Ignacio's mother (Petra Martínez). Iconic Spanish screen star Sara Montiel also appears in the film as herself. (www.allmovie.com)
Note: this movie may not please to everyone. If you are not habituate to watch movies with gay characters, you might be offended by some scenes. There is always gay characters in each movie directed by Pedro Almodovar... Among my favorites: Talk To Her (aka: Hable Con Ella) and All About My Mother (aka: Todo Sobre Mi Madre).
MOVIES (African homosexuality)
I have seen only one movie that deals with African homosexuality so far. I'm positive there are more on the market. If you know some titles, let me know.
Dakan (1997) (movie, Mohamed Camara, Guinea)
Dakan will inevitably be remembered as the first feature film on homosexuality from sub-Saharan Africa. While "coming out" may have become prime time fare in the U.S., this film was met with angry protests when it was shot in the director's native Guinea and has generated heated debate among Africanists here as well. But beyond its controversial topic, Dakan is a contemporary African version of the age-old Romeo and Juliet conflict between love and social convention. Director Mohamed Camara has written, "I made this film to pay tribute to those who express their love in whatever way they feel it, despite society's efforts to repress it." When Sori and Manga tell their parents they are in love, they respond that, "it's impossible; since time began, it's never happened. Boys don't do that." They try to "cure" their sons by separating them; Manga is even subjected to a traditional purification ceremony in his ancestral village." The two sons dutifully try to live heterosexual lives; Sori marries a village woman and Manga becomes engaged with a white woman in Conakry. But they inevitably reunite; their destiny is both to love and to be lost because of their society has no place for them. In French and Mandike with English subtitles. (text coming from the VHS sleeve)
(information on Dakan)
With this new millenium, we now assist a explosion of television series that have main gay and lesbian characters among their cast. •
Six Feet Under (2001) (television, Alan Ball, USA)
A clan of funeral directors buries people and digs up its own family skeletons in this alternately hilarious and disturbing weekly drama created by American Beauty screenwriter Alan Ball and broadcast on HBO, home of the similarly grown-up Sex and the City and The Sopranos. Just as the NBC drama Law & Order always starts with a crime, Six Feet Under begins each episode with a death. In the series premiere, we learn that patriarch Nathaniel Fisher (Richard Jenkins) owns and operates a suburban Los Angeles funeral home called Fisher and Sons, although the older of his two boys, Nate Jr. (Peter Krause), has long since flown the coop to Seattle (where he works in a food co-op) to stay far away from his family. On the way to pick Nate up from the airport for a holiday visit in a brand-new hearse, Nathaniel dies in a horrific traffic accident -- providing the first of many corpses Fisher and Sons will bury over the course of the show's first season. As the series progresses, this highly repressed family's problems compete for screen time with the grief of their clients, whose deceased loved ones include a yuppie swindler, a Latino gang member, an innocent toddler, and a couple of old ladies. (www.allmovie.com)
Note: I strongly suggest this one. Wonderful teleserie that shows, among all, the process of a coming out. There is five seasons. The first season is a must. Created by Alan Ball, the same who wrote the screeplay for Amercican Beauty.
Noah's Arc (2004) (television, Patrik-Ian Polk, USA)
Noah, Alex, Ricky and Chance are four friends living the gay life in Los Angeles. Noah (Darryl Stephens) is a struggling screenwriter embarking on a new love affair with newly out (sort-of) and much more successful screenwriter, Wade (Jensen Atwood). Campy HIV counselor Alex (Rodney Chester) always keep it real with his clients but struggles to do the same with his anesthesiologist boyfriend, Trey (Gregory Keith). Ricky (Christian Vincent) owns a trendy and hip clothing store on Melrose and is the slut of the group. College professor Chance (Doug Spearman) has recently married and adopted his partner Eddie’s (Jonathan Julian) three year old daughter after a whirlwind courtship. With all these gay boys and their various paramours, you’ve got a recipe for deliciously gossipy drama and truly human comedy. (www.tlavideo.com)
Note: America's first Black gay television series. It's being hailed as the Black Queer as Folk. The second season aired in Automn 2006.
The L Word (2004) (television, Ilene Chaiken, USA)
The L Word' is billed as the intimate story about the lives and loves of a group of lesbian friends living in Los Angeles. Mostly centering on Jenny (Mia Kirshner), a recent graduate of the University of Chicago, who moves to Los Angeles to live with her boyfriend Tim (Eric Mabius) and begin a professional writing career. Jenny's life is turned upside down when she attends a party hosted by Tim's next-door neighbors, Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Hollomon), a lesbian couple who are looking to take the step into parenthood after seven years of dating. A brief encounter at the party with Marina (Karina Lombard), the owner of The Planet, the local coffeehouse that the ladies gather on a daily basis, suddenly has Jenny thrust into the local lesbian community and a whole new world she never understood until she questions her own sexual orientation. Other friends of Bette and Tina include Dana (Erin Daniels), a rising tennis player looking for love despites having no dating experience; Alice (Leisha Hailey), a magazine writer whom just wants to find the woman of her dreams; Shane (Katherine Moenning) is a sexually aggressive slacker/hairstylist whom seeks out her own girl just for her own pleasures. (www.amazon.com)
Note: The third season has been aired in Winter 2006. A fourth season is planned
Queer As Folk (1999) (television, Charles McDougal, UK)
When the dramatic television series QUEER AS FOLK appeared on England's artsy and liberal Channel 4 in 1999, it was an unprecedented move, even for them. The series, which honestly tackles the intricate and complex story of three Manchester gay men and their trials and relationships, deals with sex explicitly and does not shy away from controversial subject matter. Fortunately, because of its beautiful handling, layered storylines, and nuanced, complicated characters, it was a huge success. QUEER AS FOLK, which tracks the characters of Stuart (the charismatic Aiden Gillen), a wildly promiscuous, often callous advertising executive, Vince (Craig Kelly,) the overly nice and unintentionally celibate grocery store manager, and Nathan (Charlie Hunnan,) the attractive and immature 15-year old who falls in love with Stuart and follows his example, is a highly important and incredibly involving step for television. (www.cduniverse.com)
Note: I never watch that show, but I know it was very popular. I believe there were two seasons in England. Americans felt they needed to do a remake and I think there were five seasons for the US version.
Da Kink In My Hair (2007) (television, Ngozi Paul, Canada)
Da Kink in My Hair is a play by Trey Anthony, which debuted at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2001. The play's central character is Novelette, the Black Canadian Caribbean Canadian owner of Letty's, a Toronto hair salon. Novelette is forced to confront her goals and ideals in life when she receives news that her onetime boyfriend Cedric, who loaned her the money to open the salon, has died and his daughter Verena is demanding repayment of the loan. It was not only the first Canadian play to be featured at the Mirvish's Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, but the first Black play as well. It then went on to play in California and England. A one-hour television pilot based on the play was produced in 2004 by Vision TV's Cultural Diversity Drama Competition. A half-hour weekly series adaptation will air on Global Television Network in the 2007-08 television season. The series cast will include Ordena Stephens, Trey Anthony, Ngozi Paul, Richard Fagon, Natalie Johnson and Conroy Stewart. (wikipedia)
The Simpsons: Homer's Phobia (1997) (television, Matt Groening, USA)
Season 8, show aired in February 1997. The Simpson family befriends John, the owner of Cockamamie's collectible shop and a devoted collector of kitsch and Americana. Everyone takes to John, especially Bart, which makes Homer a bit nervous since John is openly gay. Fearing that John's sexual preference might rub off on his son, Homer tries to engage Bart in more manly pursuits. Homer, Moe and Barney take Bart hunting but wind up stuck in a reindeer stampede that nearly kills them. The only person who can save them is John, who has the decency to overlook Homer's prejudice and come to his rescue. Safe and sound, Homer thanks John profusely and says it's okay for Bart to be whoever he wants to be. (www.thesimpsons.com)
Note: The Simpsons have always been an excellent critiscm of our society. This specific episode brings a nice critism on prejudice. There has been numerous gags althrough the years regarding homosexuality in the serie, but another entire episode was dedicated to the gay and lesbian cause: There’s Something About Marrying (Season 16).
YOUTUBE VIDEO SCRAPBOOK:
The Internet video channel YouTube offeres a variety of video segments. By clicking on the following link you will find a page where I share the different links that I found and that were relevant for this research. Some videos deal directly with Dancehall music, while some others deal with homophobia in general or within the black community.
The selection contains: interview made for public television, excerpt from documentaries, excerpt from television series, music videos, excerpt from concerts, personnal video footage and TV commercials.
There are several gay magazines worldwide (The Advocate, OutMagazine, PRIDE & Equality, Tetu...). I found two that are dedicated to the Afro-American community: Clikque & Venus. And you would have guess, there are also the erotic/porn magazines, such as Flava Men and Black Inches... •
Self-describe as; "America #1 Black Gay Lifestyle, Entertainment, Fashion & Travel Magazine"
Venus Magazine is the world's only lifestyles magazine especially for People of African descent. Includes bold fashion stories, celebrity interviews, vacations adventures and more. (4 Issues per year.)
NOTE: I was unable to find a webiste for the magazine, so link it to an online retailer.
BLACK CULTURAL FIGURES THAT ARE GAY
It is proven that having role models can help moving a cause and homosexuality is no exception. There are homosexuals in every sphere of the society. Mostlikely the ones to become road models are often the one that are in the public eyes such as singers, actors, writers, poets, activists, politicians, athletes, choreographer and fashion-designer. The black community is lacking in contemporary gay and lesbians figures, specially in the show business that target the teenagers and young adults.
To consul the list of well know africans descent who decided to live their sexual differences openly, vist this link: Back cultural figures that are gay
Folk american singer Tracy Chapman is not officialy out, but never denied the numerous rumours. Over the years, she had associte her telent with gay and lesbian causes and give interviews to gay publications, which can be percieved as an unofficial way of revealing her sexual preferences. Several other black artists could also be added, but let's avoid this kind of gossip and let's welcome offical 'coming out' from the artists.