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Barbados Is No Jamaica

Timothy Kincaid

May 27th, 2008

There is no question that the Caribbean islands are not as friendly to gay people as, say, Chelsea or West Hollywood. But Robert Best in Barbados’ makes the argument that Barbados will not follow Jamaica’s increasing hostility and violence towards gays.

Barbados, like some other Caribbean nations, prefers to limit it’s response to mockery and laughter.

For example, even before there was talk about “gay rights”, for generations “she she” men have had to endure ridicule but for the most part they were never run out of town. Nor has it been common practice for people who are “straight” to refuse them the right to live among them.

What has been more likely is for “she she” men to find people mimicking their antics while regarding them with amusement rather than see them as objects of hatred.

Best then argues that the physician that provides care is welcome whatever their sexual orientation and cautions that some people have made compromises that allow them to reconcile their difficulties around the issue. While I would wish that Best’s illustrations of difference were examples of respect and support, I believe his sincerity.

Barbados is no gay paradise. In fact, if has some of the most punitive sodomy laws. But if all Barbadans are like Best, I would feel welcomed on their islands.

I was speaking with a heterosexual woman this weekend who was shocked to hear about the homophobia that runs unchecked on Jamaica. Her last vacation was on the island, but because she loves her gay brother and her gay friends, she vowed not to return.

It’s nice to know that there are other places of equal beauty that can benefit from the tourism from gay men and women, their friends, families, coworkers, neighbors, and just plain ol’ people of good will and conscience. And it’s nice to know that some on Barbados are trying to make it such a place.



Steve - Geneva, IL
May 27th, 2008 | LINK

There are some places in the Caribbean that are very gay friendly. One of those is the beautiful island of Curacao. They actually have made the choice to reach out to gay people and invite us to their island. I’m sure its partly about money, but I’d rather they value my business than hate me so much that they don’t want my money. The tourism bureau has a website geared towards the gay community. Check out

I spent a week in Curacao this past winter. It is full of great beaches, awesome diving and snorkeling, beautiful architecture, fascinating history, breathtaking National Parks and wonderful people.

May 28th, 2008 | LINK

“Barbados is no gay paradise. In fact, if has some of the most punitive sodomy laws. But if all Barbadans are like Best, I would feel welcomed on their islands.”

Mmm — no, I don’t think so. There are lots of places I can go without being ridiculed because of what I am. Ridicule and punitive sodomy laws are hardly going to make me feel welcome.

For the most part, I admire your attitude on this site, and your willingness to reach out to the anti-gay forces, but there are limits.

May 29th, 2008 | LINK

If all Barbadians (that’s the proper name for inhabitants of the island, btw, not Barbadans) were like Best, then maybe those punitive sodomy laws would have been repealed by now. But they haven’t been, so perhaps Best is the best they’ve got, and that ain’t much to draw me there…

May 11th, 2009 | LINK

I’m a Lesbian, and my family is from Barbados, I would love to think that one day my partner and I could visit my home land and not have to fear for out lives. I know that Barbados is not as bad as Jamaica, but what is stopping it from getting like that?

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