Disclaimer: I am an extremist.
Jamaica is considered one of the most homophobic places on earth, and as it is traditionally, gay men have been exposed to the more visible effects of homophobia than lesbians. This has created a false sense of security for women who love women. It is a man’s world, and in as far as men find two women sexually attractive, are of the opinion/impression that what lesbians do is not really sex and hold the possibility of sleeping with them both, lesbians have been excused from the venom of homophobia. I see this security being slowly eroded from beneath our feet, and are lesbians ready for a real world of homophobia? Are butches or women who do not dress conforming to their gender, in skirts and feminine attire, prepared for the kind of backlash that non-gender conforming gay men have become accustomed to over the years of exposure to homophobia…I think not!
Increasingly, butches and other women who do not look typically like what society expects a woman to look like, are finding it difficult to traverse the streets without homophobic slurs or advances from men. (On a side note, what or who the hell gave some of these creatures called men the authority to want to touch or pass rude comments at women going about their businesses, it seems like one freaky hell hole, where if you are walking with a woman, it is automatically assumed that one is fucking the other, this obsession with sex is unnatural and starved).
Nothing under this sun is new, everything has been experienced before, simple lack of communication and not caring about someone else’s experience because at the time it is not yours, is the sole reason why we keep feeling and not learning from other peoples mistakes/experiences. Having concluded that lesbians are not prepared for the lion’s den of homophobia, what can we learn from the experience of gay men and homophobia?
Firstly: Homophobia is real and very subjective, almost schizophrenically applied. You never know what, when or how it will show up. Imagine that instability of the homophobia in itself is enough to drive anyone crazy, as you never know when or even why it appears so you truly can’t know exactly how to prepare or protect yourself in specific circumstances.
Secondly: At times the people who are the first to start creating homophobic drama are themselves gay o.O YESSS…usually as a way to protect their own sexuality from being exposed, they attack first
Thirdly: Homophobia is crippling, too much exposure can instill so much fear that it renders the gay person wukliss, yes..wukliss, fear of taking public transportation, internalised homophobia makes you think that everyone is judging you on the account of your sexuality. This causes ‘acting out’ in order to protect and defend self from perceived threat.
Fourthly: Learning to survive in a homophobic environment, adjusting your ‘gay-o-meter’ or homosexual expression whether it be how you speak, what you wear or even how you talk is a critical skill. I have seen gay men do a miraculous transformation from Queen to Thug in a jiffy dependent on where they are. I have often looked on at this with heart full of sadness as that kind of need would cause mental issues in anyone.
How do we do this?
Personally, there are some lesbians who take pride in keeping a bagga man friend, who are homophobic and generally do not respect their choices or who they are a same-sex loving person. Not saying you cannot have male friends, but ensure that you get over the part where they feel they can get pussy.
Secondly, if you are not interested in men, DO NOT TAKE THEIR MONEY OR FAVOURS, brave up and try to find a job or earn a skill. Independence is a treasure, outside of that you may find yourself forced in situations that make you uncomfy.
The issue of the gay-o-meter is up for discourse, but I do believe that there is a time and place for everything, underpants showing and other such likes are simply not cute on any human being…gay or straight. People really do not need to be all up in your business so the kissing on the street is a little much perhaps in a society where showing public affection even among heterosexuals is odd.
One of my biggest pet peeves, is how much we share with heterosexuals about the details of our life and lifestyle. Sometimes, no matter what we share in an attempt for people to see us as what we are…normal…will not change their impressions, but rather give them information that they now run with publicly, party venues and other meeting spots are a no-no to share as it puts people’s security at risk.
Slowly slipping are the days when lesbians were not as offensive to the status quo…how are you prepared for the impact?