At every turn, I’m under attack. I’ve been trying so hard to emancipate myself from mental slavery. I’ve been defending gay rights in Jamaica. But it seems as if I might have to stop and start minding my own business. I can’t take on other people’s troubles.
All of us in Jamaica were raised on the Bible. As children, we were told by adults that sex was not for minors. As we grew older, we were taught that heterosexuality was the norm. Homosexuality was condemned by God: that’s what the Bible says.
I can still remember the first gay man I became aware of. He worked in a beauty parlour on the same road where I lived.
I was about eight or nine years old at the time. And I came to realise he wasn’t ‘normal’. He walked with a swing in his hips and his hair was straightened. And he was a hairdresser! Those days, that was women’s work.
I can’t remember the first gay woman I became aware of. It seems as if we’re not so obsessed about them in Jamaica. It’s gay men who are constantly scrutinised. And since women are open about friendship and love to embrace each other, they could be gay and no one would be any the wiser.
All that to say, I did get another email from ‘Jordan’ last week. It was funny. But I wan’t amused.Now I know how men feel when a man tries to have sex with them and they don’t want it. I’m an adult. I can make up my own mind. I’m not going to uncritically accept any interpretation of the Bible that claims we should call down hellfire on gay people. I have friends who are lesbian. But I’m not having sex with them. I’m not gay and I don’t want to be propositioned by women.
Here’s the email: “Good day Prof Cooper, how are you? I took a look at your blog it’s nicely set up. The articles are interesting.The patois makes me dizzy though as we read only english during my time at UWI. I know you don’t remember me but we ‘met’ briefly on the jogging trail a few mornings. I’ve always hoped you were gay but i never had the courage as a student to make such a brazen proposition!
“It would be good to have intelligent gay role models for homosexual youth in Jamaica, however i don’t think our society is ready for this.The PM seems to share the same sentiment as evidenced by her apparent avoidance of the issue which i believe to be a wise decision at this time. Developing a thriving economy and minimising corruption should be top priority …. well things may change unexpectedly … look what happened in Brazil a few years ago! Anyhow take care and keep up the exercise …. you look good girl !”
People take liberties with you if you’re not careful. It looks as if I’m going to have to stop writing for the Gleaner and reclaim my privacy. If it’s not abuse, it’s unwelcome advances. The only person I want to proposition me is a suitable gentleman of an appropriate age. No young boy. No old man. No married man. No man who is having sex with men and woman. You have to be literate.
You must have teeth. If you qualify, you can make an offer.
Otherwise, please leave me in peace!