A video has been going around trying to explain homophobia in Jamaica. Why does the Caribbean island supposedly hate the LGBT community? According to the video, Jamaica’s homophobic roots go back to slavery, when enslaved men were often raped by their White men masters, not just on plantations, but in the ships in which slaves were transported. The video even talks about “seasoning plantations” in Jamaica where slave masters raped Black men in a process called “buck-breaking” in order to “demascluinize” them and condition them to servitude. Check out the video below:
Though these practices are likely true, does this explains the violence, corrective rape, murder, and staggering homelessness inflicted on LGBTQ youth in Jamaica?
Let’s forget about how rape is completely different from consensual sex between two adults. Let’s forget about how looking at sex and intimacy through a White supremacists lens is inherently violent and dominating. Let’s forget how Christianity has a White imperialist history imposed on people of color and it’s a religion layered with homophobia (70 percent of Jamaicans identify as Christian according to Vice). Let’s not explore how sex and intimacy was viewed throughout the many tribes, regions and countries throughout Africa before chattel slavery and colonization.
It’s unfortunate some people start Black queer history at slavery. It is also unfortunate that queer-antagonism is based on a supposed universal idea of what a Black man once was before slavery. A Black man couldn’t have possibly been queer before slavery or submissive to women leaders. The good part, is that we can create space to explore a much broader Black history that was once lost from a people that are so vast.