Being Gay In The Caribbean

All of us growing up gay in the Caribbean are in survival mode.

By Nattalie Gordon


Creative Commons


In June 2004, founding member and the public face of the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) and Jamaica’s leading gay-rights activist, Brian Williamson, was stabbed to death in his home…

Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher Rebecca Schleifer had a meeting with Williamson that day, and arrived at his home not long after his body had been discovered. She found a small crowd singing and dancing. One man called out, “Battyman he get killed.” Others were celebrating, laughing and shouting “Let’s get them one at a time”, “That’s what you get for sin”. Others sang “Boom bye bye”, a line from a well-known dancehall song by Jamaican star Buju Banton about shooting and burning gay men. “It was like a parade”, says Schleifer. “They were basically partying.”—Trinidad & Tobago Newsday


I grew up in reggae and dancehall culture. I used to sing along to reggae and dancehall songs. I was a child and didn’t know what I was singing. Many of those songs were about killing LGBT people in the most horrific ways. I remember when “Boom Bye Bye” was a hit, years later the song was banned and Buju Banton wasn’t allowed to perform it in the United States.


I’ve met many people who claim to have been gay fresh out the womb, others simply came to the realization later on in life. Unlike many teenagers, I never thought about sex or sexuality. I was never interested in anybody in a romantic sense. As I got older I liked and found men attractive…until I did not. That’s the story. I didn’t wake up one morning and made the choice to pick the fairer sex. In fact it happened when I…

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