NY-Based Co-Founder of J-FLAG sees no need for same sex-marriage, “Breaking the Sexual Silence” at UWI opens dialogue on Gays & Lesbians

Monday nights to host lectures is almost a kiss of death at UWI, so imagine when the place got packed up to ten minutes before the Panel Discussion? What could draw so many people? The topic of Homosexuality, male and female, and how society treats them and what can be done to open people’s minds especially when there are Dancehall lyrics from Buju Banton, Sizzla and Beenie Man calling for violent deaths of gays.

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I am going to make an observation here – while it is granted the Bible has comments on gays and lesbians in Leviticus and other parts such as the tale of Lot, nevertheless there are other factors to consider – the Old Testament (OT) is usually conflicting with the New Testament (NT) and even in the same portion of this revered tract (viz. “Eye For An Eye” in Genesis while Jesus in NT speaks of tuning the other cheek, the OT also talks of marriage as a conjugal union yet Song Of Solomon looks at consensual unmarried inter-racial sex), there is also something never mentioned in the Bible yet we as humans decided to remove it from most of the planet… The decision that slavery is wrong and races are equal!

The Bible is the ultimate benchmark for some, yet who composed the Bible? Fallible human beings who once felt pork was bad to eat for religious reasons yet when it was discovered how to properly cook that meat? People found excuses to eat the product! If the Bible says to stand on one leg 12 hours a day will we follow it blindly? Illegitimate children were a stigmatised concept of decades and centuries before, which now have no bearing in the 21st Century, so when do we evolve otherwise?

Oonya Kempadoo & Thomas Glave at the Arts Lecture Theatre, UWI

Oonya Kempadoo & Thomas Glave at the Arts Lecture Theatre, UWI

The panel was very broad-based, it included Oonya Kempadoo, she’s a British-Guyanese author who did the very popular “Buxton Spice,” and Professor Jane Bryce of the LLS reveled to the audience what Oonya may well be undertaking before the year is through {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR AUDIO};-

In her introduction to Oonya, Professor Bryce revealed the author may be having a residency in Barbados as a cultural exchnage partnership with the NCF.

(standing) Evelyne Callaghan, (seated) Jane Bryce

(standing) Evelyne Callaghan, (seated) Jane Bryce

Evelyn O’Callaghan coordinated the evening’s discussion which is a continuation of the project which began in Trinidad, at the St Augustine Campus they announced the Panel Discussion via Facebook and she related some of the reactions over there {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR AUDIO};-

Facebook comments ranged from accusing the St Augustine Campus to being a haven for homosexuality while others indicated that love and all its differences should be respected.

Professor Thomas Glave of Binghamton University makes a point

Professor Thomas Glave of Binghamton University makes a point

This is not an uncommon situation in the Caribbean as we are all aware, in fact Thomas Glave (He is one of the founding Members of the Jamaican Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays – known as J-FLAG for short, he now resides in New York as a Professor at Binghamton University) expounded on it with an extract from Makeda Silveira who contributed an essay for the anthology “Our Caribbean – Gay & Lesbian literature of the Archipelago” where she recalls her childhood and how her grandmother would gossip;-

Oonya’s own take of sexuality is intriguing when she made an exploration via children who used toys as proxy for discovering and expressing their growing desires;-

When there was an opportunity for questions, I observed gays and lesbians have no luck in straight society if they’re single then they must be promiscuous yet if a homosexual couple wants to be  united then that too is a problem and what can be done to raise people’s consciousness that EVERYONE needs love? Even further, would legalised Unions of gays & lesbians not benefit the State taxwise?

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Glave delivered a flippant remark which hints at a more profound view, why marry at all? {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR AUDIO};-

The Binghamton University lecturer believes that the idea of marriage is a concept forced on to the world by a primarily heterosexual society and if gay couples are content then don’t marry.

While this is his own view, nevertheless he sees that many places are becoming more liberal in accepting what is a growing movement {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR AUDIO};-

In looking at the increasing phenomenon of same sex marriage, Glave also mentions how Barbados is seen by many as ‘the gay capital of the Caribbean’ with Trinidad close in rank.

Professor Glave also read an excerpt from his short story collection, “The Torturer’s Wife,” which created a stir in the audience with its use of raw language {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR AUDIO};-

Middle-class Jamaican man from St Andrew has a crush on a fisherman from St Thomas and fantasises about sex with him – yet he considers himself not gay…

What had me is a woman brought her 5 year old son to the discourse! No babysitter? Tough, then stay home… Read about it on my website, or the dead-tree media if they dare cover it? This is a topic for ADULTS, with the title “Breaking the Sexual Silence,” you should NOT be expecting Barney the Dinosaur! She arrived at the part when Thomas Glave was in the graphic part of his book excerpt – I looked at her afterwards and commented she’ll have a lot to explain to her son and she offhandedly responded that it will go over her son’s head…

Afterwards, there were book signings

Afterwards, there were book signings

Please, if my step-grandson can open a fridge and get water by himself or open a DVD Player at the age of two then imagine how sharp he’ll be at 5 or 7? Kids are better at the Internet or programming DVD players than adults so why fool yourself that sex between two men is not going to be comprehended by an intelligent infant? Unless she’s saying her own child is DUMB? Show some responsibility and stop making excuses!

Even when you think the autographs are done, folk still came back for more!

Even when you think the autographs are done, folk still came back for more!

There were also books on sale from both writers after the presentation and discussion lasted well into the night and guests had to be gently prodded that it’s time to close and exit! All of which showed that Barbados has only scraped the iceberg on a very controversial topic.

4 Responses

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  1. Omg, I’m shocked at your assessment in the beginning of this article, I am sure you’re an atheist.

  2. So because I question the Bible makes me against God? Did God write the Bible or fallible humans?

  3. Don’t mind the fundamentalist, for a straight guy you’re doing a great job!

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