Trans Communities in Jamaica and Around the World

Can There Be Transgender Concensus?

A friend was discussing an interesting situation to me, and it was breaking my heart while opening my mind. They said they were watching Young and Gay: Jamaica’s Gully Queens. This┬ádocumentary discusses how the queer community in Jamaica is misinterpreted, misnamed, misunderstood, and simply misaligned with what is happening with the LGBTQ community in North America, thus subject to different terminology, different rates of evolution and different levels of access from the various communities in North America that want to align themselves as an ally or a partner with those overseas.

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Considering the level of severity that is simply surviving another day in Jamaica, it was unfortunate that the media here couldn’t give the queer folks in Jamaica the space and time to articulate their particular scenario. What was it?

One of the main issues happening in Jamaica, was that the transgender community was being judged and perceived as the exact same people and membership to the gay community, and everyone that was not heterosexual was considered homosexual, whether gay, lesbian, or transgender.

This homogeneous judgement of these very diverse gender realities should certainly be given their own individual identities and spaces to delineate their desires in the context of the society they exist in. But it’s certainly not easy when Jamaica is just getting to cleanse itself of its generations-deep homophobia in general, and letting go of the legacy of the Christian Church across the island, much less learning the truth of transgender men and women that exists too!

It’s a lot for a society developing the levels of sex education it is while still extracting itself from its intense history.

Ultimately, there simply are lifetimes of education to do in both the Caribbean, North America, South America, and across the world, to teach people the various evolutions and truths and secrets and lies that must be unlearned about transgender sexuality, and how it’s different across cultures and peoples.

The stark reality is, the transgender person in Jamaica in this documentary had experienced both a gunshot and a knife wound “just yesterday” during their interview, and this harsh life is the flip-side of the Hollywood Republican cover-model reality of Caitlyn Jenner.

The transgender community has enough problems with job security, housing, safety at night, diet, washroom privacy, legal representation, and a hundred other issues individually and separately to be easily unified and connected with any sort of international consensus on what defines a modern transgender individual.

There’s just so much that can get lost and found in translation…

So, just care and learn and grow as much as you can, because we’re all in some kind of transition.


Addi Stewart

Watch Young and Gay: Jamaica’s Gully Queens:
[youtube id=”ILXVpFQVEbw” width=”600″ height=”350″]

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