Cypher Avenue Interviews: Small Islands – Same Problems
Let get right to it because I know you are hitting the clubs tonight.
What’s it like living on the island vs. living in the US?
The island is more close nit and laid back…US is lot more restricted. The US has more rules and regulations that are heavily enforced. Life on the island is a little bit more (or in general) an easier way of life.
Yes there is a gay culture but there is not really a gay club scene per se. There are no gay clubs on the island; however there are regular clubs where gay men frequent or clubs where these men go and hang out together.
There is a club I go to where it is a lot more urban or for a lack of a better term“ghetto”. It’s always interesting to watch how these super DL guys act…how they communicate, how they stand, how they signal to each other when they sense you may be down. And of course it’s an island so word about your sexuality or practices may get out to those in the lifestyle…because of that, they may try to signal and send a message.
Okay so if this is how the ghetto scene is, how is the more upscale or professional gay scene.
I really can’t say too much about that because my strategy is to not associate with gay men in my professional status.
(We start to laugh but ask)…Why is that?
Because the society is so tight and small and thirsty…they talk a lot.
Well there is a guy that I have been seeing, dating, (whatever term you want to use) named Jason and he has been on the island his whole life. Well he has been gay for over 12 years and that is a lot of time for people to pretty much know or find out your business…so it is pretty much known that he is gay…so I kinda guard myself and watch where I go with him in public.On the other hand I feel like wait…there is another side to me that is like fuck this…I shouldn’t care who sees us together, I can hang out with a gay guy if I want to.
We went out one Sunday to a shopping mall and saw a group of guys that I somewhat could sense were gay. Well Jason confirmed this and told me that one of the guys in the group was very messy and most likely he would start calling around to try and figure out who I was…and sure enough this is exactly what happened.
Another time Jason and I were out at a lounge and my cell phones rings not to long after being there and I got a text from one of my straight female friends asking “who was the gay guy I was with at the club?” Someone of course had seen us there and notified her within minutes after arriving…that’s some bullshit.
I am saying all of this to say; the less I expose myself to the “gay” men in my professional circle, the less these things will happen. I don’t want to be around these professional types because of the way the network and gossip. I would much prefer to deal with men who don’t run in my circles…we may not have anything to talk about but at least I don’t have to worry about these type of situation happening.
Even through you live on an island do you feel there is a smaller or larger selection of masculine gay guys to choose from vs. being in the United States?(Raymond starts to laugh)
Are the men you meet and deal with younger or older?
Can you see yourself in a long term relationship on your island?
Yes…because I think it would be easier because there would not be a whole lot of distractions.
Is there a gay prostitution area on your island or as I call it…”The HO Stroll”?
Yes there is and it is known in the gay culture here, but maybe not to the outside world. It’s known to the masculine gay guys and also to the drag queens.
Whoa! Drag Queens on your island…Really? Wait do you mean the area is known to the masculine gay guys?
Yes…there are a lot of drag queens and they have their area where they prostitute and you have the area where the guys prostitute…and the guys are very masculine. You may think it’s just a guy walking down the street but he will be prostitute, they roam around that area.
So this area caters to those looking for drag queens as well as masculine male prostitutes?
I know right
What is the attitude on your island compared to other islands about homosexuality?
Well first, personally I am torn with homosexuality…I mean since living in the US, I have accepted that part of me but there is a part of me that is this island and I thinks it’s wrong and I don’t accept it.
If I answer your question, of what the general attitude is…it will be based on an American perception and my island perception…Do you understand what I am saying?
I understand but, like what does the media on your island say…meaning like are their public opinion polls in your newspapers about gays or gay right?
Well yes…they have gay rights.
But can you recall any poll or opinion results?
No I can’t tell you that.
Okay…what about attitudes or opinions amongst your heterosexual circle of friends or your family?
To answer that question very plainly and clearly…the attitude is the same as you would find in any “small town” in America.
There is a lot of misconceptions…you will hear people on the radio saying things like “it’s a choice”. They attempt to use religion to change you and justify why it is incorrect…but having said that, there is a guy I went to school with who is now a drag queen as an adult and he is very open and very public and works in a prominent store as a sales person in our down town area. He works dressed as a drag queen… He is employable so obviously people understand he has the right to be who he is. Understand?
So there is a gay element on your island for lack of better terms that is open and in your face?
Oh hell yeah. Yes there are drag queens that are out and open and for the most part no one heckles or bothers them.
OK…well as you may know there is a problem in the US with kids being bullied for being gay or being perceived as being gay…is this aproblem on your island?
Yes it is…when I was a kid bulling was not this big thing that it is now and yes we have had some instances that have made our news. But keep in mind…if you are gay on my island you are either super DL or very out and open…there is not a whole lot of in between. For the most part gay men on my island are at least 90% masculine and un-clock-able.
When you look at other islands in the Caribbean like Jamaica where they are literally killing gayfolk, is that a problem on your island.
No, that is not a problem here. My island is nowhere near as bad as Jamaica….that is like one of the worst places on the earth. I remember when I was living there and I overheard a group of guys talking…and they were very animated and they were saying…”Jamaica don’t have no gay men in it, and if they did we would kill them on the spot.”
Has there ever been any type of gay activism or anything of its kind on your island?
Well yes there are discrimination laws that can protect you from being fired because of your sexual orientation just like here in the US.
Is there anything you would like to add at all?
Well…I think one thing I would like to clear up is a misconception that most people in the US and around the world think and that most of the islands in the Caribbean are like Jamaica.
Yes…a lot of us do.
Well, the same way I said earlier to you, the US has places in it like “small town” America that have certain attitudes towards homosexuality and you also have places on the islands that are acceptable and are tolerant like some major cities in the US…Atlanta, DC, New York etc.
Me living in the US and living on my island…there is very little difference. Trinidad is one island that is very tolerant…some people on my island have said that being gay in Trinidad is like a fad because it seemed there were a lot of gay people from that island and that is a perception some may say my island has as well because you can see drag queens open and walking down the street.
In your opinion what is the gayest of the Caribbean islands?
I would say it’s between Trinidad and Barbados. But I would say Trinidad because they have a lot of gay clubs but you won’t catch me there because the muthafuckers I am trying to avoid on my island are over there visiting…LMAO!
Well man thanks for taking the time to speak with me. This was very interesting.
Well man this was cool…very therapeutic for me.
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