In the Caribbean, there’s a strong sense that feminism and LGBT liberation are two separate issues. However, I worry that this separation is less for practical reasons such as different needs from society and the community. I suspect a large portion of the separation between Caribbean feminists and the LGBT community is flat out homophobia.
Think I’m wrong?
Hear me out…
There are many women in the Caribbean who see it for themselves. They want all the freedoms that are offered to a man. They want physical safety. They want legal protection. They want economic prosperity.
Some of these people who see it for themselves do not see the LGBT community as deserving of these same freedoms.
Some of them may blame this on their Catholicism and claim that “the lifestyle” (ahem, note the homophobic way they view the LGBT community) is against their religions. Some may claim that they’re uneducated, so don’t want to speak out against homophobia or transphobia. While claiming this, they also refuse to get educated about LGBT issues. Some women also do not want to upset the HPIC (head patriarchs in charge) by allying themselves with the LGBT community.
They think that if feminism doesn’t appease men, it won’t work. They forget that appeasing oppressors has never been a part of the path to liberation.
And you know what? The existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Caribbean people is not going to change how much men hate women in this region. Women allying themselves and supporting the LGBT community will not cause men to hate them any more or less. In fact, the more we appease cisgender heterosexual men in general, the less effective any of our movements will be. They are looking for us to ‘get back in our place’.
Caribbean women need to reject homophobia, transphobia, and homophobes/transphobes from our movement. We need to call out women who use their religions as an excuse to marginalize those in the LGBT community (especially since this affects people who are both women and a part of the LGBT community). We can no longer allow women who have all the resources in the world to educate themselves to plead ignorance.