I hate black people! Wow, I feel so much better now that I can be honest! I hate the hypocrisy, the bigotry, and the homophobia! One of the reasons why I wrote my second poetry collection Under My Skin is due to the fact there is a paucity of a queer black history in Canada. Black gay people in Canada need to be more involved in engendering our own history. There is a gay and lesbian archives in Toronto but it is a white history not a black one.
There is a facade in Canada since gay marriage has been legal since 2005 that discrimination has been eradicated against LGBT people. However, there is a reticence of the mainstream media and the gay press in Canada to explore gay rights beyond the white Gay Canadian community. The image of the homosexual in Canada is still Eurocentric of a white male under forty, middle to upper class, fit and he lives in the Church and Wellesley area.
Although, I was born in Canada, I never felt a part of the black Jamaican community or the gay community. I have felt conflicted at times that I exist in a purgatory not trusting either side and feeling alienated by both communities.
There are times I felt the gay community in Toronto to be racist and the black Jamaican community to be homophobic. For instance, in the black Canadian Jamaican community in Toronto there is no discussion about gay marriage or gay rights. The Canadian media and gay press are either ignorant or apathetic to the fact gay rights is non existent in many communities of colour. For example, in Toronto the top Caribbean newspaper Share Magazine rarely ever reports about gays unless it is about stereotypical themes such as HIV and AIDS. Being a gay man or a lesbian in the Jamaican Canadian community is frowned upon. The struggle for black LGBT people of Caribbean descent is about survival since we are invisible. Of course, gay Jamaican people exist in Toronto and they attend gay pride and go to gay bars. However, during Caribana in Toronto every summer there is no gay float, the gays who were out and proud during gay pride are cognizant they must hide their homosexuality during Caribana.
In Jamaica, male homosexuality is still illegal. Many gays of Jamaican descent have sought asylum in Canada running for their lives fleeing homophobia. In fact, I wrote a letter for an acquaintance a few years ago because he asked me to. In my letter, I had to provide specific information and addresses about the gay bars we frequented. I am happy to report my acquaintance was granted asylum in Canada. However, I wonder, how many gay people from around the world are denied asylum in Canada? There hasn’t been much movement in the black Jamaican community in Toronto to have a discussion about homosexuality. Last year, I wrote a controversial story for the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom called “Why I Hate Being A Black man” the piece received international media attention from British and American people. However, the Canadian media ignored my essay. No Canadian media outlet bothered to contact me and yet I got interviewed by Don Lemon on CNN on November 16th 2013. One of the things I hate the most about the black Jamaican community is the refusal of the heterosexuals to see that gay rights are indeed civil rights. Gay people around the world in countries like Jamaica, Iran, Uganda, are fighting just to live.
Another thing, I resent about the black Jamaican community is their hypocrisy. Black heterosexual people cry and whine about racism yet discriminate against black LGBT people. The black religious Christian rhetoric is curious. Why do black people believe in Christianity when it was forced onto them? Christianity was a form of mind control the slave masters and the missionaries used to control the slaves. However, hundreds of years later black people are still not mentally free, they buy into the garbage of Christianity. They believe in a book that was written over one thousand years ago. Due to the colour of my skin I am considered a part of the black community and yet in my heart I feel alienated and ostracized by the people I am supposed to trust the most. There is a real fear in Toronto by many black gays to live in secret about being gay or lesbian. I hope my new book Under My Skin makes a difference and calls attention to the black gay struggle. More stories, art, and literature by black LGBT artists need to be told. Our lives are important even though the homophobic black heterosexuals wish we would perish and die.
By Orville Lloyd Douglas author of the new poetry book Under My Skin published by Guernica Editions on May 15th 2014.
Under My Skin is available on Amazon, Indigo.ca, Barnes& Noble.com. Under My Skin will be available at Canadian bookstores.