The closet is full to bursting. Though not my closet, which is decidedly bare. The proverbial “closet'”. The one where Martha lives wrapped up in a rainbow scarf, but Arthur won’t let her out.
If you ask a local about homosexuality, they will suck their teeth in disgust and tell you that there are no homosexuals in the Caribbean because it is forbidden by God. There is actually one gay in our village, but he doesn’t seem to count because he is American. Also, since he isn’t a muscle Mary or a mincing queen, but simply a regular gay guy, his sexuality has by and large gone unnoticed. Rather surprisingly, there is also one transexual here. Apparently, back in the 60s or 70s, she was a he. Everybody knows and accepts this, to the point that she is a very well-respected member of the local community. I seem to be the only person who has a morbid fascination with it. She works in construction and yet she opted to have massive tits, which to me, seems somewhat impractical given her chosen profession. I’ve concluded that this must have been her last male decision.
Anyway, I digress.
The other day while I was in the supermarket dealing with the double whammy of discovering that I was allergic to all the laundry detergents as well as all the bars of soap currently on the shelves, I became distracted by the Christian radio station blasting through the speakers in lieu of music. It has a broadcast in the afternoons which presents a moral problem (given as a monologue) and then the supposed pastor’s either gushing approval of what the person did or admonishing advice on the given situation. I guess it is a bit like a Christian version of the UK’s Problem Page; I’ve found it certainly has the same comedic problems.
The problem on this occasion was a mother explaining to her daughter how their female neighbour had “turned bad” by taking a female lover and how she advised her daughter not to turn down such a dark path and to avoid this evil woman altogether. Given the incredibly prejudiced manner in which this problem was presented, I was waiting for the “pastor” to chastise her and dish out some generic advice about ‘”love thy neighbour as thy love thyself”. Oh, how wrong I was! The “pastor” instead applauded her actions and told her how important it was to teach our young to stay on the righteous path. I was gobsmacked. I looked around me to see if anyone else was also reeling in shock. Nope. So I checked the date and yes, indeed it was 2013, and yes, indeed I was in fact awake. WTF?!
Alas, to me this is one of the biggest down sides of island life. By default, you are isolated which means that social progress is slow, religious progress is even slower, then add to that the internet and satellite TV and what you end up with is a dichotomy. A community that has one foot stuck on Noah’s Ark, while the other is “winding and grinding” with a total disregard for the 10 Commandments and the like. It’s front to back and back to front.
I imagine that there are many men and women over here who would be very much out of the closet if they had only been fortunate enough to be born in a more liberated part of the world. Ironically, the Festival of Emancipation has just been celebrated over here. I believe it has been 175 years or so since slavery was abolished, but sadly there is a percentage of the local community who are still in chains, slaves to the Christian edicts who refuse to give them the personal freedom to simply be themselves. I do believe a RastaMary might liven things up over here…