On why I’ve never ‘come out’

14285672_1135756359828458_1612499771_oPhoto credit- Marceano Adrian Narine

It has been four years since I knew that I was genuinely attracted to women and three years since I’ve accepted the emotional and sexual fluidity that bisexuality allows me. Despite never hiding my sexuality since then however, I have never really come out of the proverbial closet and I think because of this, many persons view me as the hot-tempered heterosexual writer girl, who may be a LGBT sympathizer but does not particularly belong to them.

In a way, I guess this can be seen as a ‘coming out’ of sorts and to my friends and family learning about a part of me through this post, I’m sorry that I’ve had to become a label to justify my queerness to you. Hopefully, we can continue to have the same strained conversations we have all grown so accustomed to over the years- But let me for a minute explain why I’ve never come out.

Honestly, I think the whole thing is a bit too dramatic. I just could not see myself having a sit down with family and friends to tell them I ‘like like’ women. Awkward. I know it may sound weird but for some reason I felt, and still feel as if me having to officially announce my sexuality to individuals somehow gives off the vibe than I am ashamed of who I am when in actually it is something I revel in.

Another reason I’ve never seen the necessity of it was that I generally don’t understand the pressure persons belonging to the LGBT community face to come out because their sexuality is not considered normal and as such, needs to come with theatrics. My reasoning is, if you’ve never had to come out as heterosexual to me, I should not be pressured to come out as queer to you because my sexuality does not define who I am. You feel me?

I do not want to be known as that bi girl and oddly, I feel that when you come out as part of the LGBT community to people, they tend to dehumanise you. You are no longer a person, you are a sexuality, one either to be fetishized over or to be angry and hateful towards.

I realise I’m beginning to sound like one of those persons who encourages others to keep their sexual identity to themselves but that is very far from what I am trying to say in this somewhat incoherent post. Many of my friends and family realised I was interested in women from the smallest of things, a facebook post, a casual comment, seeing me flirt with or kiss a girl in front of them. Legit, me casually kissing a girl in front of her was how one of my friends found out and I was secretly so happy and proud when she didn’t ask any questions and just went along with it.

Anyway, I think that’s the way it should be. We shouldn’t be pressured to justify and made to feel tremendous guilt at our sexuality, it should be a normal part of our lives, because believe it or not, we are pretty normal-sometimes boringly so.

 

 

 

 

The Orlando shooting

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With every mass shooting, bombings or acts of hate and terror in countries such as the U.S and U.K, the world watches in grief as the often-grisly murders are explained to them. Often, these killings overshadow similar ones in continents such as Africa and Asia as mainstream media decides who gets our sympathies and who does not.

Whether it is acknowledged or not, the attitudes and opinions we hold on certain tragic matters are largely influenced by the media and the stories they harp upon.

This is one reason why we hardly heard a peep about the 49 persons who died in Syria and the 35 others who were injured in shooting and shelling and hardly anything about the rise of Boko Haram and their countless victims.

Before I go on, I should say that I am in no way trying to undermine the brutality of the act of hate mixed with self loathing which resulted in the death of 49 persons and injuries of over 50.

The speculated reasons behind the assault are many, with the most popular one of late being that the shooter himself was gay and was struggling with an identity he was conditioned to hate from childhood.

To an extent, it can even be considered an act of terror, which was very particular in its nature, as was the case with the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

It should be noted that the shooters ghastly act not only wounded the gay community but also served to add fire to the proverbial flames of anti- Muslim sentiments in a time when followers of Islam have been singled out for hateful political rhetoric.

Whatever the reason behind the work of that deranged mind however, I know that the attack has caused LBGT persons in the U.S and around the rest of the world to feel less safe than they had just a few days ago.

Even here in Guyana the tension and unease amongst the gay community can be seen and felt as many persons openly share their sentiments which are largely urged on by religious views, that the man’s act was justified.

For every one of these bible thumpers however, there are maybe five who are sympathetic to the shooting. The sympathy and expressions of condemnation have been so overwhelming that it has caused me to wonder whether us Guyanese would have the same sympathetic response had such a shooting against LBGT members occurred here.

While we have never had such a mass shooting, over the years there has been a continuous rise in violent attacks often resulting in death against homosexual men, particularly those who are transgender.

Despite the deaths of these men, public response to these murders were miniscule at best with only a selective few seeing the clear trend of hate driven crimes that was forming. The years, 2013 through to 15 saw these targeted murders rising but yet, the larger public remained oblivious and even the police force did not seem to see the significance in the crimes nor the need to actively pursue and solve them.

In 2014, there was even a march against the slothful way in which the police were attempting to probe into the murders of several homosexual men with several citing the reasons for sloth as being trans-phobia and homophobia deeply ingrained within the psyche of the police officers.

While it is no laughing matter, I cannot help but find it amusing when I heard some of our nations leaders protest against the shooting and comment upon the need for tolerance and acceptance when nothing substantial is being done to protect those belonging to the LBGT group in their own country and removing outdated and dangerous legislation which makes criminals out of otherwise law abiding citizens.

If nothing else, this tragedy has offered us at home and abroad the opportunity to confront the often-unchallenged anti-gay rhetoric and actions touted and carried by friends, family and acquaintances. When these views remain unchallenged all they serve to do is contribute to the acceptance of hatred and violence against those in who their distaste lies with. Too often, these messages of hate and discrimination come from our churches pulpits and podiums when there is an urgent need for messages of love and acceptance. Too often, these messages of hate are passed down to the minds of our children. Regardless of what religion one belongs to, efforts should be made to ensure harmful ideologies, which discriminate against each other are not adapted.

Guyana: Culture & musings

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Often, whenever people talk about Guyana in a good light, they mention our diverse and rich culture and how it remains unmatched by many countries.

While this is true, not many of us realize the greatness that lies in our diversity and culture and as such, shun it. It was only last year in Haiti that I myself had a small glimpse of how various cultures can merge to create something truly wonderful when I bought plantain chips from a vendor who had no sour for me to pour on it. Haiti did not benefit from the same influx of Indians as Guyana did; as such there was never the chance for cultures to merge and people to figure out that plantain chips tasted better with sour.

Our cultural makeup goes far and beyond ethnicity and food though, and while we are a country of varying ethnicities, religions and customs, we are all unified in our shared history. This is not realized however, as we have sunk deeper into a culture of mimickery, superficiality, suppression and self-loathing as we cannot make links with our history and learn from it.

Knowing the History of one’s country and ancestors has its benefits, as it will show how the self-loathing of our culture is not something we are wholly responsible for as it was conditioned into our ancestors by plantation masters and then into us. Being aware of history will make one realize that every time they don American accents and upend their positive traditions for more Western ones, the plantocracy wins.

The plantocracy, suspicious of anything it did not understand chose to ban and denounce cultural practices and traditions different from their own, labeling them as being paganistic. As a result, we began to feel contempt for our culture as we were conditioned to think the “white man’s” own was better. So we adapted his God, his mannerisms and even his biases in an attempt to become more like him and have an advantage in the world.

The dying of languages, cultural erosion, diffusion and infusion all seek to upend Guyana’ already fragile cultural atmosphere. We have reached a point in which we seem to be struggling for an identity and grasping any one, which is dangled before us. While I do believe the state has a role to play in the preservation and promotion of varying cultures, the people have depended too much on the state to make changes regarding the values and attitudes of their cultures. Instead, we have traded in our own creole for that of Jamaica and other Caribbean islands and we twist our tongues to match that of the hackneyed Americans. We celebrate people “outside” making small ripples but do not celebrate our own who make large waves. We forget our mythology such as the Churlie and Water Mumma while celebrating the ghouls and ghosts of Halloween. We even thwart our Mashramani celebration to align with that of Trinidad’s carnival.

Then of course, Guyanese wonder why our country has such a low tourism rate. That is because tourists recognize that we have no real culture as we rush to mimic rather than create and embrace our own.

I know, nothing is fixed, changes are necessary and no one culture can claim to be pure as they have all undergone mutations when exposed to others but, these cultures have seemed to develop their own cultural uniqueness, a task which Guyana is yet to complete.

Guyanese need embrace their color, their creole, what’s left of our culture and release themselves from the shackles of colonial mentality as only then can we hope for a semblance of national identity free from biases and mimickery.