Us vs. them (Caribbean): ‘If they only knew …’


Maurice Tomlinson (Photo by Jalna Broderick, courtesy of Gay Star News) Maurice Tomlinson (Photo by Jalna Broderick, via Gay Star News)

First of two articles about the challenge of breaking through emotional barriers that people erect between themselves and victims of persecution who act or look unlike them.

This article, by activist lawyer Maurice Tomlinson, focuses on affluent gay men’s barriers to understanding  poor LGBT  Jamaicans, Trinidadians, and themselves.  The following article, by activist/commentator Scott Long, will focus on the difficulty keeping relatively affluent Westerners’ interest in non-white victims of repression, particularly in news coverage of Egypt.

When asked how many slaves she had helped to liberate, the great American abolitionist, Harriet Tubman, said: “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” I often feel the same way about privileged gays, or “rich queens” in, and from, the Caribbean.

Last week I heard from one such person at a screening…

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