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Flaming Souls

Flaming Souls: Homosexuality, Homophobia, and Social Change in Barbados

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 160
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  • Book Info
    Flaming Souls
    Book Description:

    Illustrating the influence of both Euro-American and regional gender and sexual politics on sexual diversity in Barbados,Flaming Soulsmakes an important contribution to queer studies and the anthropology of sexualities.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6068-7
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-15)

    In recent years, across much of the global North, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community events and activist groups have shifted their focus from local to global rights for sexual minorities, and this focus is now being taken up and supported by influential non-governmental human rights organizations; they in turn are pressuring governments and international agencies like the United Nations to revise their policies, laws, and/or legislation to support the rights of sexual minorities. In these events, discussions, and documents the Caribbean often appears as an example of one of the ‘problem regions’ that require attention and action. Following...

  5. Chapter 1 The Spectral Homosexual in Barbadian Feedback Media
    (pp. 16-28)

    During a series of research trips to Barbados between 2002 and 2005, I was struck by the saturation of media coverage on homosexuality. Homosexuality was being discussed in a variety of Barbadian media sites ranging from newspapers to the Internet and radio. During my longest visit, from September 2004 to April 2005, I cut out and filed every news item from theNation(one of Barbados’s two daily newspapers) that included the wordshomosexualorgay. By the end of that seven-month period my file folder had 355 clippings, which amounted to approximately 1.5 news items per issue. In retrospect,...

  6. Chapter 2 Gender, Sexuality, and HIV/AIDS Discourses in Barbados
    (pp. 29-37)

    In this chapter I engage with the local-national-transnational dynamic of gendered and sexual identity formations and practices through an exploration of the way in which the Barbadian state has become involved in the sexuality of its citizens (an involvement that is also and always gendered) through activities and statements related to HIV/AIDS. The virus knows no national boundaries and was of significant concern to the state in the early years of the new millennium owing to the rising rates of infection among certain sectors of the population. The fact that most HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and education efforts in Barbados (and...

  7. Chapter 3 Whose Right? Human and Sexual Rights Discourses in Barbados
    (pp. 38-53)

    As we have seen in chapters 1 and 2, there were a number of public forums in which issues pertaining to sexuality were being debated in Barbados in the early years of the new millennium, and the media were a primary site through which information and opinions were conveyed. Various governmental ministries and departments, ranging from health to education to gender affairs, also disseminated information pertaining to the social, ethical, and health-related aspects of sexuality. Churches represented a semi-public forum in which moral aspects of sexuality were discussed, and numerous non-governmental organizations, ranging from HIV/AIDS commissions to child-care boards to...

  8. Chapter 4 Gay Tourism and the ‘Civilized’ Homosexual
    (pp. 54-63)

    Up until this point I have primarily focused on how the homosexual is discussed in public contexts in Barbados. One notable characteristic of most Bajan public debates on homosexuality, whether they occur in the pages of the daily newspaperThe Nationor in a town-hall meeting discussing gay rights, is that the homosexual is almost always an invisible figure, a ghostly haunting without flesh and bones and, most important, without voice. With the important exception of a few self-described ‘out, loud, and proud queens’ (queensis a local term with multiple contextual meanings but, broadly put, refers to effeminate gay...

  9. Chapter 5 Bajan Queens, Nebulous Scenes
    (pp. 64-81)

    In the first three chapters of this book, which focus on the consistently negative representations of homosexuality in public contexts in Barbados, I contended that the veracity of these representations could and must be challenged and that there was increasing documentation of the long-term and widespread presence of sexual diversity in the Caribbean (such as Glave 2008; Kempadoo 2004; Murray 2002; Padilla 2007; Wekker 2006). From my first visit to Barbados in 1998 until my most recent one in 2008, I readily found evidence of this diversity. In the previous chapter I presented one source through which I learned about...

  10. Chapter 6 Digisex: Cellphones, Barbadian Queens, and Circuits of Desire in the Caribbean
    (pp. 82-96)

    One Sunday in January 2005, Cynthia (whom we met in the previous chapter), Fabric Land, and Steven stopped by my apartment unannounced, ‘Just to say hello.’ As usual, once we were sitting around the kitchen table, sipping glasses of mauby (a local drink), talk turned to love lives, but this time the conversation went in a very different direction from the usual complaints about ‘wutless’ (worthless) Barbadian men who could not be trusted and who only exploited the queens. Cynthia informed me that since I had last seen them (about four weeks, prior to returning to Toronto for the Christmas...

  11. Chapter 7 Life Stories
    (pp. 97-109)

    My objective in this chapter is to provide insight into the lives of a few gay-identified men in Barbados through their life stories that were presented to me over the course of two or three one-hour interviews. The interviews focused on the ways in which these men negotiated their sexual desires and public knowledge about gay or homosexual identities at various stages of their lives and viewed homosexuality in Bajan social life past and present. In these narratives we see some opinions and perspectives overlapping with those of the queens presented in the previous chapters, but in other domains there...

  12. Conclusion: Flaming Souls and Imperial Debris
    (pp. 110-118)

    On 25 July 2009, theNationnewspaper published an article titled ‘Drag Queens on Show,’ which announced that eight queens from Barbados and Trinidad would be vying for the title of Miss Galaxy World in an upcoming beauty pageant to be organized by Darcy Dear, founder of UGLAAB, to raise funds for people living with HIV/AIDS. On theNation’s website, readers could post responses to the article, and, perhaps not too surprisingly, within a week of the article’s publication there were over sixty postings, of which approximately 75 per cent were negative or critical and 25 per cent were neutral...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 119-126)
  14. References
    (pp. 127-134)
  15. Index
    (pp. 135-144)