Caribbean

 

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Gay Jamaica: Activist Risks Everything to Advance LGBT Rights in Jamaica

| August 2nd, 2014 | Comments Off

Jamaican activist Angeline Jackson (photo right) visited San Diego and found loving support from St Paul’s Foundation in her quest to bring LGBT rights and tolerance to her native society–despite great odds.   Also see: Jamaica Photo Galleries Gay Jamaica News & Reports   June 10th, 2014 By Ken Williams San Diego Gay and Lesbian News Her homeland is noted for its laid-back spirit–and its rampant homophobia. The U.S. State Department noted in a 2012 report regarding Jamaica that “homophobia was widespread in the country.” As a young lesbian activist and college student, Jackson is bravely putting a public face on the emerging LGBT community in Jamaica. She is the founder of Quality of Citizenship Jamaica (QCJ), and is its first executive director. Jackson said she is leading QCJ in two directions. One, QCJ will not be a membership organization for safety reasons. Two, the leadership is creating a social group

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Gay Life in Sint Eustatius

| February 9th, 2013 | Comments Off

Sint Eustatius (Statia) is the sister island of St. Maarten, a short 45-minute ferry ride or 10-minute flight away. It is one of the smallest inhabited islands in the Caribbean, a mere five square miles. Its land surface consists mostly of the inactive (for now) volcano called Mount Scenery. At 877 meters, this is the highest point within the entire Netherlands ‘kingdom’ or any of its territories. Saba, including the tiny offshore islet of Green Island, became a special territorial municipality after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010. Posted .

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Gay Cuba – Changing

| January 1st, 2013 | Comments Off

Intro: This story is part two of a pair of stories about gay Cuba on this web site. The first, Gay Cuba 1997-02 (on a separate page) is a compilation of reports, stories and news that I stitched together from numerous sources before I visited Cuba. I suggest you peruse that story before reading part two, It will give you a broad idea about how controversial homosexuality is in Cuba under socialism. The second story, here, Gay Cuba, is the result of my visit to that once-paradise island where gay life is still alive and humming although repressed. Not surprisingly, lesbigay folks dance a careful line between relative freedom and relative risk. Also see: Gay Cuba Stories Gay Cuba News & Reports 1997 to present Gay Cuba Photo Galleries Richard Ammon Updated July 2013 A brief reading about life in Havana reveals four common themes: (1) watching or participating in

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Gay Cuba 1997-2013

| January 1st, 2013 | Comments Off

Intro: This story is part one of a pair of stories about gay Cuba on this web site. This first one is a compilation of reports, stories and news that I stitched together from numerous sources before I visited Cuba. I suggest you peruse this before reading part two; it will give you a good idea about how controversial the homosexual issue is in Cuba under socialism. This second story, Gay Cuba, is the result of my visit to the country. Getting a ‘take’ on gay Cuba today is like the old adage of four blindfolded observers trying to define an elephant while each is holding a different part of the animal. A unified consensus is  difficult when seen from the separate pieces. While each aspect is valid, any single view is not sufficient to define the beast. Such is gay Cuba today–a fractured, passionate, fearful, flamboyant and still vital

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Gay Life in Anguilla

| October 9th, 2012 | Comments Off

Anguilla is a quiet little island of only 35 square miles located about 100 miles east of the British Virgin Islands–no discos, casinos, duty-free shops or cruise liners. Hardly anything is heard about this place other than real estate and tourist brochures and occasional news items about offshore finance or tax havens.   Homosexuality in Anguilla Virtually nothing is ever heard about Anguilla’s LGBT community, if it can be called that. This is another one of these small island ‘villages’ in the Caribbean (like St Eustatius, Saba, Cayman Islands or Montserrat) where homosexuality is virtually a non-issue mainly because there are hardly any such folks around and/or they don’t discuss or gossip about it. Gay and lesbian life is minimal, confined, for better or worse, to the private parts of one’s mind and bedroom. There is no community or organization, no activists (not that I could find researching this story),

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Gay Life in Cayman Islands

| October 8th, 2012 | Comments Off

If you can separate the politics from the people, and separate being gay from enjoying a beautiful island, then go. The Cayman Islands are lovely and full of luxury resorts along white sandy beaches; just do not show too much public affection.   Yesterday and Today The Cayman Islands (3 in number) have been a British possession since the 1670s and were a dependency of Jamaica until July 1959 and are now a British overseas territory. This means that while they have their own legislative assembly, there is a Governor in post appointed by the British government with a duty to oversee the overall running of things, including the approval of legislation and immigration matters on behalf of the Crown. But where authority actually lies is a gary area. Same sex activity was forcefully decriminalized in 2000 by a British law order imposed on the Cayman Islands–and many conservative locals

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Gay Life in Sint Eustatius

| October 6th, 2012 | Comments Off

St Eustatius is one of three northern Caribbean Dutch territories (Sint Maartin, Saba and Sint Eustatius)  not far from the Virgin islands. There are three other Dutch territories (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) in the southern Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela. All six islands offer a mixed bag of life and sites to LGBT visitors from Europe and the Americas.   Gay Life in Sint Eustatius (Statia) There are three quick ways to size up the ‘gay scene’ in Statia. The first is a statement made by Commissioner of Culture Clyde van Putten who said in 2009 that there is no way the Government of St. Eustatius will implement a law allowing people of the same sex to get married. He put that position forward in a meeting with the Dutch Minister of Social Affairs Henk Kamp in the Netherlands. As of 2012, this position still holds. The second is

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Gay Life in Saba

| October 6th, 2012 | Comments Off

Saba is the sister island of St. Maarten, a short 45-minute ferry ride or 10-minute flight away. It is one of the smallest inhabited islands in the Caribbean, a mere five square miles. Its land surface consists mostly of the inactive (for now) volcano called Mount Scenery. At 877 meters, this is the highest point within the entire Netherlands ‘kingdom’ or any of its territories. Saba, including the tiny offshore islet of Green Island, became a special territorial municipality after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010.   News alert December 19, 2012: Legalization of gay marriage sends Saba’s popularity soaring Little Saba, an autonomous Dutch territory has approved gay marriage as of December 1, 2012 making it the first such island in the Caribbean to officially legalize same-sex unions. Read more.   Gay Life? “Saba is not a hot bed of gay activity.  There’s not a single gay

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Gay Life in Sint Maartin

| October 5th, 2012 | Comments Off

Saint Martin has been a divided island since 1658, half French in the north (called Saint Martin) and half Dutch in the south (called Sint Maartin) . The whole island has a generally positive reputation of begin gay friendly. But that does not mean there is a bubbly gay scene. In neither half is there is a unified community that rallies around a gay center (there is none) or a gay Pride parade (there is none). This story is about the southern Dutch half of St Maartin. (See this story about the French half.)   History Evidence dates the island’s first settlers, probably Ciboney Indians (a subgroup of Arawaks), back more than 3000 years. Around 800 A.D another subgroup of Arawaks migrated from South America. Both were farming and fishing societies, living in villages of straw-roofed buildings that apparently withstood hurricanes–or were easily rebuilt. Their pastoral society valued artistic creativity

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All-Caribbean News & Reports

| October 2nd, 2012 | Comments Off

    Click on this link to see News & Reports for multiple Caribbean islands from 2010 to 2012: http://archive.globalgayz.com/caribbean/all-caribbean-news-reports/           Click on this link to see News & Reports for multiple Caribbean islands from 2001 to 2009: http://archive.globalgayz.com/caribbean/all-caribbean-news-reports/Posted .

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Gay Life in Bermuda

| October 2nd, 2012 | Comments Off

Bermuda is another island in ‘paradise’ where thousands of northerners go for a taste of foreign life and a balmy semi-tropical climate, even in the cold season. It is a small island (actually more than one) that has a certain mystique due to its hidden treasures troves of off-shore bank accounts and due to its hypocritical attitude toward LGBT people. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1994 but no further action or laws were approved to prevent discrimination against these citizens. But hundreds of thousands of tourists go there each year unaware of the mysteries. Gay Caribbean–A Range of Experiences Gay Bermuda is an easy find on the internet with  many comments and venues offered on the BBs and travel chat rooms, especially from LGBT folks who have explored the Caribbean aboard cruise ships. There are about two dozen destinations in the Caribbean that are variously praised for different reasons. The main

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Gay Life in Montserrat

| September 29th, 2012 | Comments Off

Montserrat Island is a mere 40 sq mi of land surface and has been the ‘target’ of enormous natural disasters. In 1989 destructive hurricane Hugo virtually wiped out the entire island and in 1995 its main volcano blew up and made a wasteland of the entire southern half of the island. Any modest sign of gay life was decimated as most of the population escaped to other islands or to the north end of Montserrat. Recovery as an island paradise has been partial but it will never be the same. Gays are everywhere but hardly here.   Montserrat is a island that has known great suffering in the past 20 years, not as in Africa from ethnic warfare or in the Middle East from religious sectarianism or in  Russia from political repression. Rather, this island territory of a mere 104 km2 (40 sq mi) of land has been the ‘target’

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Gay Life in St Vincent and The Grenadines

| September 28th, 2012 | Comments Off

Gay Life in St Vincent and the Grenadines follows close on the unhappy LGBT situation in nearby Grenada–it is illegal, stigmatized and not tolerated well by the locals. But, at least Grenada has one LGBT organization. St Vincent has none.   A Bad Situation and a Bad Law Gay Life in St Vincent and the Grenadines follows close on the unhappy LGBT situation in nearby Grenada–it is illegal, stigmatized and not tolerated well by the locals. But, at least Grenada has one LGBT organization. St Vincent has none. There’s no dedicated place for LGBT citizens to go for support if one is young and gay or coming-out in middle age. As a result, most LGBT people in St Vincent get married to opposite gender spouses and some of those live on the ‘down-low’ for secret pleasure and authentic affection. There is one ‘indirect’ agency, the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Alliance in Saint

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Gay Life in Grenada

| September 25th, 2012 | Comments Off

“Marginalized populations start off at a stage of questioning and paranoia. Then there’s this long journey where you go along until you eventually are comfortable with yourself and you can function as a “normal” person. And I think if we can speed up that process (in Grenada) as much as possible so that people can start living their lives and be comfortable sooner than later, then that would have a big impact on peoples’ lives. Ultimately, we want people to have a better life.” Quoted from Nigel Mathlin, leader of LGBT GreCHAP About the Island of Spice–Grenada Grenada is an island country and British Commonwealth member consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. Grenada is also known as the “Island of Spice” because it is a leading producer of several different spices. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger,

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Gay Life in Saint Lucia

| September 24th, 2012 | Comments Off

Being gay in Saint Lucia is walking a fine line between expressing desire and love mixed with fear of being caught, convicted or bashed. Here is an online-researched report that summarizes various findings about homosexuality in this beautiful, scenic, appealing tourist-friendly island nation where same-sex behavior is criminalized and HIV is highly stigmatized.   Shadows of the Past Any thoughtful research or understanding of LGBT life in Saint Lucia is clouded over by the May 2011 beating and robbery of three gay men by five armed homophobic and violent local thugs. News of the attack went viral and countless gay and straight people were outraged and vented their anger and disbelief on the Net and in print. The government tried to stem the damage to their tourist image with a lengthy apology, and some suspects were arrested.  Since then the locals and tourists appear to have calmed down and moved

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St. Lucia (Caribbean) Activist Says: ‘We Are Here to Stay!’

| September 21st, 2012 | Comments Off

An interview with St Lucia’s outspoken LGBT lesbian activist reveals her optimism and courage in the face of daunting circumstances for gays in her island nation where homosexuality is still criminalized and Christian homophobia runs high.   Kenita Placide (photo right) is at the forefront of the Gay and Lesbian movement in Saint Lucia. Dressed in baggy jeans and a T-shirt, with her hair cornrowed back, I couldn’t help but notice a shyness about this heavily pierced young woman as we spoke in her hometown of Gros Islet. She took time with each word. Her voice was raspy and strong as she admitted that the subjects she deals with on a regular basis are very sensitive.   The group, United & Strong, has actually existed since 2001 and has at its core the interests of Lesbian, Gays, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) people of Saint Lucia. As the co-Executive Director of

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Gay Life in The Bahamas

| September 20th, 2012 | Comments Off

The situation for LGBT locals and visitors in the Bahamas is mixed. Homosexuality is legal but homophobia is high yet many gay locals ignore all that and get on with their lives. There is no public gay life to celebrate, no parades, no Rainbow flags, no activist organization, no LGBT tour promotions, no legal protections and only a few quiet gay bars and clubs downtown in Nassau.   Important update August 2014:  The inaugural Bahamas Gay Pride, known as Freedom Weekend Pride in Paradise, is set to take place over Labor Day Weekend, from Friday, August 29, through Monday, September 1, at the all-inclusive Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach. See also:  Bahamas Gay Pride website. Also see: Bahamas Photos (Google Images) Gay Bahamas News & Reports Troubled History In The Bahamas individual and small groups of homosexual tourists are left alone for the most part but boatloads of gay visitors were

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Gay Life in French West Indies (Gaudeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barts, Saint Martin)

| September 18th, 2012 | Comments Off

In many Caribbean island-nations and territories, LGBT (gay) life can consist of a rosy romantic cruise or a languid lounge on a picturesque beach topped with a gay  party in the evening. But not for all, especially native born LGBT citizens whose families descend from indigenous Caribbean cultures such as Taino, Arawak, Caquetio (and a dozen others) as well as Spanish and African cultures where homosexuality is not usually a welcome trait. There is wide variety of gay people in the Caribbean but the widest separation is between northern American and European white tourists and the local-born ‘natives’ of these islands. We are everywhere and we are everywhere very diverse. Geography The French West Indies consists of the four main islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin (the French half) and St. Barthelemy. These islands are well organized as tourist destinations with French spoken as the official language, although English is

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Gay Life in Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire)

| September 10th, 2012 | Comments Off

History and Geography Bonaire Island is not big but it’s not a speck either; it covers 111 sq mi (294 sq km) which is enough for a small colony of locals. expats and visitors. It is is a special ‘municipality’ of the Netherlands, a mere 4416 miles (7108km) away so it not likely the Queen’s guard will be visiting–about the same distance from Amsterdam to Katmandu, Nepal. The permanent population is about 15,000. The main town is Kralendijk. There is a nearby tiny uninhabited islet called Klein Bonaire, 2.3 sq mi big (6 km²) that offers beaches and scrub forest and reef diving under water. The reef is particularly well preserved so it draws divers, snorkelers, and boaters from around the world. The island’s earliest settlers, around 1000, were probably the Caquetio Indians, related to the Arawak from Venezuela. Any queer anthropologist would be curious if and what non-conforming erotic

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Gay Life in Netherlands Antilles (Aruba)

| September 9th, 2012 | Comments Off

Aruba is one of the southernmost islands (Antilles) that are affiliated with the Kingdom of the Netherlands in far off Europe. Along with Bonaire and Curaçao, these three tiny islands (called the ABC islands) just off the north coast of Venezuela are quiet nests of gay-friendliness–at least to the eye of public tourists. (I am endlessly amazed how such a tiny country as the Netherlands made so many worldwide conquests in the 17th-18th-19th centuries. Indonesia was one of the Dutch colonies and outsizes Netherlands by 120 to 1 in land surface. Indonesia has 735,358 sq mi (1,904,569 sq km) consisting of 6,000 inhabited islands. Netherlands  has a mere 2,119 sq mi (5488 sq km). How  did they do that!? With ships, gun and merchandise!)   Caribbean Geography is Not Simple First, get the Antilles Islands sorted out; it’s not easy. Overall, the Caribbean Antilles (antilles is an ancient word meaning

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Gay Life in Netherlands Antilles (Curacao)

| September 8th, 2012 | Comments Off

Curacao is a small Caribbean island that is an independent country. It is not hard to quickly discern the attitude here toward LGBT people–at least to tourists to whom the welcome sign reads: “Welcome. “Live and Let Live” or “Biba i laga Biba”. But homophobia is an undercurrent here as well and natives do not come flying out of the closet. Geography is Not Simple First, get the Antilles Islands sorted out in your mind; it’s not easy. Overall, the Caribbean Antilles (antilles is an ancient word meaning islands) are divided into two major groups: the larger “Greater Antilles” to the north and west, includes Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Then there are smaller “Lesser Antilles” in the southeast Caribbean. The Lesser Antilles are broken down into two other groups of islands: the Leeward Antilles, close to Venezuela, and the Windward Antilles northeast of Venezuela. (Click

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Gay Life in Puerto Rico

| September 1st, 2012 | Comments Off

Puerto Rico is the most gay-friendly island of all the nations, territories and dominions of the Caribbean. Perhaps Havana, Cuba has more LGBT people but the scene there is muffled by the authorities who are willing to look the other way but only up to a point. No such restraint appears in PR which is an overseas territory of the USA and therefore is freer and happier place to be gay.   The island was originally populated and ‘owned’ for hundreds of years by indigenous aboriginal Taínos. However all that changed when Christopher Columbus presumptuously decided the place should belong to Spain, in 1493. The island was then forcibly colonized and the Taínos were coerced into slavery and nearly exterminated by weapons and Euro-diseases. In 1520 King Charles I ended slavery and Spain possessed Puerto Rico for more than 400 years during which immigrants from all over Europe moved to

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Gay Life in Trinidad & Tobago

| August 28th, 2012 | Comments Off

Trinidad & Tobago has beautiful Caribbean scenery, beaches, climate and lush green hills—and industry. It’s another one of the many tropical islands that make up the archipelago that stretches from Venezuela to Cuba. Although homosexuality is illegal the laws are mostly ignored.   Tropical Industry Versus Tourists Trinidad & Tobago  is one of 13 completely independent Caribbean sovereign states that are not overseas territories, departments, or dependencies of large far-off mostly European countries. The other 20 are politically attached to Europe and the USA. The island of Trinidad–the larger of which comprises about 94% of the total area and 96% of the population–and the much smaller Tobago together cover about 2000 square miles, slightly smaller than US state of Delaware, with a total population of almost 1,300,000 inhabitants. Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498 until the arrival of British warships in February 1797.

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Gay Life in U.S. Virgin Islands

| August 27th, 2012 | Comments Off

The British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands are among the more gay welcoming islands in the Caribbean, but are not without resistance and secret lives. For the most part they lack the conflict and drama found on other islands which discriminate or criminalize same-sex activity. Throughout most Caribbean islands, even though homosexuality is legal, there are varying degrees of native Afro-Caribbean homophobia which can make life uncomfortable for gay citizens and tourists. However, most of it is silent and invisible and most tourists will hardly notice.   Fantasy Islands The U.S. Virgin Islands are a collection of Caribbean islands with the most inhabited being Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas. There are several smaller ones including Water Island and other surrounding minor islands. The total land area of the territory is 133.73 square miles with a population of about 106,000. (By contrast, the total area of New

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Gay Life in British Virgin Islands

| August 27th, 2012 | Comments Off

The British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands are among the more gay welcoming islands in the Caribbean, but are not without resistance and secret lives. For the most part they lack the conflict and drama found on other islands which discriminate or criminalize same-sex activity. Throughout most Caribbean islands, even though homosexuality is legal, there are varying degrees of native Afro-Caribbean homophobia which can make life uncomfortable for LGBT citizens and LGBT tourists. However, most of it is silent and invisible and most tourists–gay or not–will hardly notice.   The British in the Caribbean The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are small parts of a very long archipelago of islands that stretch from South America to Florida in North America. The main BVI islands are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke; there are about fifty other smaller islets and cays and only about 15 of the islands

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