Just breathe may be two words, eleven letters that's part of the refrain of a Faith Hill song, but it's probably the sole reason why my travel agent now drives a Just
Just breathe may be two words, eleven letters that's part of the refrain of a Faith Hill song, but it's probably the sole reason why my travel agent now drives a BMW. You see, I have to fly off this island, Reggae's rock, Marley's big yard and Sean Paul's root cause, just to breathe.
Just to breathe in some "Gay" air, some level Lesbian vibes, in Atlanta, Washington, DC, Miami, Boston, or New York City. Wherever I have friends - and no relatives.Wherever there is a strong Gay and Lesbian community that gives a context of belonging and pride, all wrapped up in the love and politics of a universal rainbow.
And of course a place, that has healthy throngs of fiercely cerebral,hot women who look like Tweet and Beyoncé.
When I travel outside of Jamaica, it's the only time I am relaxed enough to remember that I have a pussy and that I like to connect it to others, in a literal, spiritual, intellectual and figurative sense. And, yes, I did say "pussy." I've reclaimed it for us women, us Lesbians, as a term of endearment and empowerment.
But traveling to someplace else just to be 100 percent Lesbian me, is what I have to do regularly, living on an island that boasts a Guiness World record's worth of churches per square mile and many more uncounted bars in between. It's what a Lesbian gots to do, in a country that has the fear of God slave mastered and fed throat first, by flaming priests, deacons in denial, Jesus freaks parading as parents, and pastors who fast and pray that Junior really isn't the sashaying queen, the Church bulletin has rumour milled.
Hopping on a plane, that's partly what it takes to live a full Lesbian life that does not include little talk boxes on PC screens, and late night phone sex with some drippy chatroom queen.
But don't get me wrong, there are lots of Lesbians here in Jamaica, not to mention the ones who label themselves "Bi." But you see, they are deep in the closet with the vacuum cleaner, swiffer and spray starch. So, outside of screaming big, wild, straight dick on the loose to smoke 'em out, trying to meet and connect with Lesbians as part of a daily experience here, requires serious strategy.
Yes, Lesbians crawl the aisles of the John R. Wong and Sovereign Supermarkets on Saturday afternoons in Kingston. Yes, they give knowing glances between stylist scissor snips at the salon, in passing at the Day Spa, at the incense and candle shop, or after forming the perfect full lotus in Yoga class.
But when a woman crosses your Lesbian lens, and there is lingering eye contact with some matching body language, it would be great if you didn't have to once again, run through your pyramid of concerns. "Is she looking at me because she likes my hair or these fabulous shoes? Does she know me from high school or is it Buddha or Allah? Lord, let it be so that it's the universal the-eyes-have-it signal of the sisterhood."
Living "La Vida Lesbian" in Jamaica, having long fingers with tender tips, a willing eight inch strap-on awaiting matching Reggae, R&B and Merengue hips attached to feisty lips, is akin to living in both Gay Siberia and a new Gay mecca, all at once. Truly a landscape of extremes.
On the one hand, the Church and its supporting conservative media mafia pound pulpits with Bible favourites. Tabloids splash homophobic headlines and fatten column inches with their "it's-great-to-be-straight manifesto," denouncing, according to international stats, at least 260,000 Gay and Lesbian Jamaicans.
On the other hand, the old money, hillside dwelling nouveau niched, the academic and the typical eccentric artist, are allowed the privileged and less rumored existence, just because.
On the one hand again, we have more call-to-murder anti-Gay lyrics chanting in Reggae's dance halls, while some local companies already have policies of openness and protection for their Gay and Lesbian executives and employees.
Then, from west to east coast Jamaica, there are Gay resorts thriving. Yet, Jamaicans and their foreign friends are very afraid to go to house parties or even be seen near Gay clusters at straight events.
Even further, we have a 1970's and early 1980's legacy of Gay and Lesbian bars plus a newsletter called the "Gaily News," to a current situation where you couldn't pay volunteers here to work for the local Gay and Lesbian groups. Their head and heart thick with society-induced fear and self-loathing.
So, yeah, at times, meeting single Lesbian women can be like craving jerk pork in the Ukraine. You know there are Jamaicans practically everywhere on this planet, so you know it's possible that there's pork being jerked someplace.
In fact, you can almost smell and taste the damn thing. But again, you wonder if it's worth leaving your second re-read of Toni Morrison's "Sula" to play the finders-keepers game, in a bid to feed that core need of love and a two car garage.
And so, while living in homophobia central of the Caribbean, replete with closets full of wonderful Jamaican Lesbians, I count myself quite fortunate in having the ability to leave Jamaica in between "is-she-or-isn't-she-a-Lesbian" sightings and actual relationships, for deep lung's full of Gay air, that's generous with memories of connecting with women, feeling safe and the joys of wallowing in legally righted entitlements.
"Andrena" is the pen name of a Lesbian writer living in Jamaica.