Most people would be excited about a trip to Jamaica but I guess I'm not most people. Like other tourists I was attracted to the beautiful beaches, duty free shopping, and the exciting nightlife of the islands before I became aware of the hostile and often deadly environment for gays and lesbians in Jamaica.
As the plane I was on began to make it's final descent , I looked out of the window and all I could see for miles was the most beautiful crystal blue water that I've ever seen, I was definitely not in Atlanta anymore. I remember going to the movies to see Taye Diggs in How Stella Got Her Groove Back and vowing that I would one day make the journey to Jamaica to find my own "Winston", little did I know my chances of finding him on the island of Jamaica was slim to none and could actually cost me my life . It's so true that you appreciate being an American so much more when you travel outside of the country. We may have a President that promotes inequality for LGBT people and an overall homophobic climate in many parts of the country, but you can guarantee that an entire community would never hunt down and stone someone because of their sexual orientation.
As I stepped off the plane and began to take in the beauty of Kingston, it was almost hard to believe that the people who occupied such a beautiful place could be filled with so much hate. I rarely give a second thought about how I'm being perceived because I always make sure that I carry myself in a dignified and professional manner, unless I'm around friends and then I'm liable to queen out (I know that's hard to believe...lol !). But I found myself monitoring everything that I did, from the way I walked (and ya'll know I have a fierce walk...I can't help it!) to the way I talked, fearing that I would be "clocked" and possibly harrased or worse. My heart started to pound when the eyes of a handsome young man with the skin the color of a melted Hershey's bar met mine. I noticed a sly grin on his face and I honestly couldn't tell if he was flirting( I doubt it) or if he was thinking, "dat dere is a batty man" ! Regardless, I kept it pushing.
I promised myself that I would not contribute financially to a country that demeans, murders, and surpress the true identity of it's LGBT residents with threats of violence. Jamaica didn't get a dime of my tourist money and they never will. The rainbow flags of the "gayborhood" in midtown Atlanta never looked so good to me before. I pray for the strength and safety of all of my LGBT brothers and sisters living in Jamaica.