BC’S B’DOS – Happy Barbados
TODAY’S HEADLINE was really supposed to be Gay Barbados, but I wasn’t sure that would go down well with Bajan men, so to speak (apart from The Lowdown, of course, whose ears prick up at the mention of picking up men, but more on that at the bottom of this column).
Over the last 23 years, I’ve learned from direct experience, often involving direct attacks on my person or reputation, or both, that God has any number of defenders, but human rights and breastfeeding have few champions in the English-speaking Caribbean. And, if I’ve learned one thing over three years of living in Barbados, it is that Bajans take their religious belief more seriously than anything else.
But I was still surprised by the email response drawn by last week’s column, which was headlined Gay Bashing in the paper. (You’ll have to check my website www.BCRaw.com to see the headline
I wanted). The homos gave rise, as it were, to more feedback than God usually does, when I write about Her in this space.
Human rights causes are unpopular in the West Indies because we don’t think of ourselves as humans, far less accept that we are all entitled to human rights. Our predilection for self-loathing allows us not only to ignore the most pressing human rights issues, but to be contemptuous of them.
When, for example, we deny the right of children not to be beaten like animals, the right of even murderers not to be subjected to state murder themselves, and the rights of adults to express love freely (and I am particularly pleased to stand up for lesbians), we declare openly that we are not human beings; not if measured by United Nations standards.
Only a West Indian could so openly and so willingly reveal himself as so self-abnegating. Because people are a little different from us does not give us the right to make decisions on their behalf; especially if it deprives them of rights so basic the world feels they should be recognized, and even more so if the only justification for our crimes are a couple of Old Testament phrases.
Leviticus, particularly, with its equation of homosexuality and shellfish as “abomination” is offensive to liberals; it gives a whole new meaning to “shrimp cocktail”; and I shall steadfastly resist the temptation of pointing out the deep irony of the descendants of slaves relying on the same authority that condoned slavery to condemn homosexuals.
But three comments on last week’s column need to be raised before the subject is dropped: (1) the email in which someone complained lesbians rubbed him the wrong way and worried young boys might be sucked into the gay agenda; (2) a Nation online comment in which H. Jonah observed that The Bible enjoined one not to covet his neighbour’s ass; and (3) Good ol’ Lowdown, who misinterpreted my mentioning that a gay friend once explained his basis for deciding which married men to approach as teaching me how to pick up men. I’m sorry to disappoint The Lowdown, but it’s not a skill I’ve yet acquired.
B.C. Pires is a humming bean with THE NATION.