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This is an article about David A.B. Murray who is an Anthropologist who wrote a review on Gender Studies in the Caribbean. He first talked about his trip to Barbados in 2009 and the changes that happened since 1998. During his visit in 2002 he was first introduced to the UGLAAB in the newspaper. Darcy Dear who was the founder of the United Gays and Lesbians against Aids in Barbados and was the president during that time. Darcy owned a bar in Brockton which was for queens, gays, and lesbians for more than 20 years.
Due to the spread of HIV, she wanted to support and educate people about it and that’s why she started the UGLAAB. As they were talking, he talked about how he refers to himself as a queen or as gay. Didi was another man who he met through Darcy who was also self-identified as a queen. In 2003, Didi became the president of the UGLAAB, which he discussed gay issues and HIV.
Sexscape is a term that relates to the absence of gay men. The definition of gay In Euro-American is basically men who are interested in men and heave sexual desires. As Murray was there, he went to Darcy’s club and noticed that almost everyone controlled their body language, their style, and their language. He also noticed that in the newspaper no one mentioned a gay man or a lesbian woman. And, how when other people want to support gay men and lesbian women they always do it anonymously and either mentioning that they are heterosexual or not mention their sexuality at all.
Murray mentioned how queer activists/ community were having trouble being accepted along with transgendered people. In Barbados transgendered people were more accepted and visible than gays and lesbians who happened to be the problematic group. Later, Darcy and Didi started talking about their childhood and Darcy who is in her 60. She remembered Queen of the Bees which was an event that everyone attended from queens to straight people. This event reached its highest in 1970 but, sadly didn’t last long because of the spread of Aids. Then, Murray talked with other queens and talked about how their families reacted when they knew. They were lucky that their people were supportive and accepted them for who they are because some people were not accepted and even kicked out. That’s why Darcy sheltered many young queens when they were kicked out and supported them.
Even though queens were accepted by their families, friends, and people around them they felt like they were more accepted back then. Queens that Murray talked with agreed that that’s true especially after the raise of Aids. Around 1980 there was a change that’s included more churches and Jamaican music which got a lot popular in 1990. Unfortunately, the music had a very aggressive and homophobic lyrics. Since Aids was spreading there were rumors about Darcy’s shop and how they can catch it there and that’s why she had to close her shop in 1980. Then returned in 1999 after the gay couples died who were running the store and her store became a safe place for queens, gays, and lesbian.
Another topic that’s was brought is how there was no support and respect between queens and gays. That’s when he met Cherry who is transgendered from male to female, she had always felt like she was a girl and that’s why she never identified herself as gay.
Then there is Devine who identified herself as queen not transgender, because she was just like Cherry felt like a girl but Devine felt trapped in a boy’s body. Later she talked about how when she was 17 at the church they tried to cure her out of her sickness and tell her how god is not going to love her and basically give her aids as a punishment which is very cruel. Then, she started talking about how queens describe themselves. There is butch queens which are males wearing men’s clothing and acting masculine around people, posh queens which are men that have money and dress expense because of their jobs, then there is thugs which are men who dress like dancers and singers.
Gigi is another young queen who talked about how he was never really discriminated or criticized growing up. But, had a lot to say about being respected as a queen in his 20’s. Gigi divided gay people into three classes; A, B, and C. Class A is someone who has already made it mainly older with a good job and a house. Class B is someone who is working on it but going through the right path and working very hard to have a stable job and trying to be independent. Then there is class C, which are the bread and two faggots; who are ones that drag others down and just not allow them to be how they are. After Gigi explained all the classes, he placed himself in class B but working to be in class A. Even though Gigi is not in class A, he always looked up to them and that’s why he wants to be in that class. To be confident with good income and good house.
This article included a lot of information about queens, gays, and lesbians and included a lot of opinions and experiences from queens and gays themselves. It was interesting to me to read about how people felt growing up and reading about their experiences. I also love the fact that Murray included queens with different ages from 20’s to 60’s. Which is good because everything changes nothing stays the same, so reading about what used to happen in the 80’s and how people used to think especially about Aids was interesting. To me always respecting one another is a number one priority because no matter what happens we are all people with feelings. Putting differences aside and just respecting one another is very important. But, unfortunately, some people can’t put their differences aside and that causes a lot of trauma for other people and makes them go through experiences like in the article.
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