Caribbean Queer Theory & Identity

Thomas Glave begins his theory by exposing how the “naysayers, editors, agents were not Caribbean themselves. None of them, as far as I knew, self-identified as gay or lesbian” (4). Glave mentions this because the stories about the Caribbean usually leaves out gay and lesbian people. Glave says, “what I wondered, did they in their continental North American worlds–context rife with spurious images of conjuring of the Caribbean as fetishized “paradise” for tourist– really know about our lives?” (4). This reminds me of a single story. The Caribbean is highly known as a paradise place but the people that live there are barely humanized. They’re not depicted as having feelings or being in love. If you’ve ever watched the commercials which try to generate tourist, Caribbean people are usually smiling and serving drinks. Now that I think about it, I don’t know anything about Caribbean people nor do I think about what it must be like to be them.

Glave created an anthology which featured all queer writers from the Caribbean. One thing he talks about in steps to creating this book is language. He wasn’t sure if he should have the language in Creole or not. However, he “threw up [his] hands in resignation of realization that, for a variety of reasons, I could see no way around the decision–an editorial decision, entirely my own–to make English the book’s representational language” (9). It seems like Glave tried to separate the anthology from colonial ideology but when he put lesbian and gay in the title, the “gathering” lost two writers. But, after reading some of the writings in this anthology, it is clear to me that Caribbean people have formulated identities while the rest of the world is too busy trying to collect money off of the islands. The poem “Young Faggot” by Faizal Deen is breathtaking and truly made me think about the content of his poem.

After reading Dennis Altman, the most captivating aspect of his theory to me was the idea of identity. He mentions the term “global gay” which I believe depicts a linear identity for gay people. However, there are terms like “lipstick” gay which completely throws me off. I’m not sure what that means. I believe that in modern times, people have tried to break away from the old terms and “traditions” on how to describe gay people. I believe that once upon a time, there wasn’t a solid depiction of “gay.” However, now society has tried to develop this identity and I still believe that it is wrong. Just like many identities out there, it is hard to describe a gay of people under one umbrella. This is so much out there to be learned, that identities will constantly change and new ones will be invented.


One thought on “Caribbean Queer Theory & Identity

  1. I think we (white, cis people) tend to categorize everyone but ourselves, as if we’re the only truly diverse group of people. And in a sense we do this in order to maintain the mirage of “other” groups as being inferior. Variety and difference within a marginalized group would necessitate us to reconsider if we were wrong in our categorization-and we hate being wrong. (Even though we usually are)

    I have been reading a lot about the Altman essay and wish I’d picked it. I keep imagining “Global Gay” as some 21st century “Captain Planet,” only much more devastating.


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