CODE RED Slammed!

Letter writer indicts the work of CODE RED for Gender Justice, CatchAFyah and the Caribbean Review of Gender Studies for “denigration of the Caribbean male” and the promotion of (male) homosexuality.

He argues that what we, as feminists, are concerned with is domestic violence and that “progress is being made” in that area. Our efforts are therefore deemed unnecessary and completely misplaced since what we are really doing is seeking to promote homosexuality, he argues.

You can read his letter here.

What do you think?

New Multimedia Collection on Homophobias in the Caribbean

Theorizing Homophobias in the Caribbean: Complexities of Place, Desire and Belonging is a a digital multimedia collection of activist reports, creative writing, critical essays, film, interviews, music, and visual and performance art reflecting the complexities of homophobias in the Caribbean, while also expanding understanding of Caribbean sexual minority experiences and activism in the region and its diaspora.

There’s a lot there. I began my tour with Charmaine Crawford’s critical essay “‘It’s a Girl Thing’ Problematizing Female Sexuality, Gender and Lesbophobia in Caribbean Culture”. Excellent, well written, highly analytical read.

Crawford analyses how Caribbean lesbian lives are rendered invisible through Caribbean feminist analyses which take women to be always already heterosexual and sexual citizenship activism which often focuses on gay men.  While Caribbean lesbians often escape public homophobic violence which is meted out to gay and gender non-conforming men, Crawford reveals the “private” violence to which they are subjected.  Her analysis demonstrates how heterosexism and gender ideologies coalesce to render Caribbean lesbians as disruptive women who breach societal norms about both gender and sexuality.

I’ll definitely be coming back to this collection again and again.

Image source: Globe writer

Activism, Nationalism & Reponsibility

Earlier this week I came across this Tribune 242 article about a local politician taking to twitter to denounce birth control.  It contained the following line:

 “He referred to women who use oral contraceptives as “murderers” who should be hanged, as they are touched by the devil’s evil hands.” (paragraph 6)

I wrote this post in response and it was shared 192 times on facebook.

Someone who identified himself as the politician to whom the comments were attributed categorically denied ever having said that women who use contraception should be hanged.  I immediately updated the post to reflect his comments.

However, he was not the only one who took offense at my blog post.  On local message-boards some persons felt that the blog post tarnished the national image of The Bahamas on an international scale.  They said that as activists we “had gone too far” and did not take into account the damage that could be done to the country’s image by giving even more mileage to the opinions of just one man.  (FYI, we were not the only once to denounce his comments.  There were multiple rebuttals and follow up stories in the local press by local journalists. We actually learnt about his comments through once such rebuttal and then checked out his twitter feed for ourselves)

What do you think?

Was our post much ado about nothing? Was it irresponsible?

Did we give unwarranted mileage to what is clearly a minority view?

Does our responsibility as activists extend to ensuring that Caribbean countries do not “look bad” internationally?

New Book: Mimi Sheller’s “Citizenship from Below—Erotic Agency and Caribbean Freedom”

Originally posted on Repeating Islands:

One of the new books presented at the annual Caribbean Studies Association’s 2012 book launch organized by Faith Smith in Guadeloupe, was Mimi Sheller’s Citizenship from Below: Erotic Agency and Caribbean Freedom (Duke University Press, 2012). [See full list of books launched in our previous post Caribbean Studies Association’s 2012 Book Launch.]

Description: Citizenship from Below boldly revises the history of the struggles for freedom by emancipated peoples in post-slavery Jamaica, post-independence Haiti, and the wider Caribbean by focusing on the interplay between the state, the body, race, and sexuality. Mimi Sheller offers a new theory of “citizenship from below” to describe the contest between “proper” spaces of legitimate high politics and the disavowed politics of lived embodiment. While acknowledging the internal contradictions and damaging exclusions of subaltern self-empowerment, Sheller roots out from beneath the historical archive traces of a deeper freedom, one expressed through bodily performances, familial…

View original 209 more words

Caribbean politician denounces use of contraceptive pill

 

Are sexual and reproductive health and rights under threat in the Caribbean?

Young people, men and women, boys and girls do not get the comprehensive sexuality education which they need to make informed choices about their sexuality.  Child sexual abuse continues to be a major human rights violation in countries across the region.  Access to safe termination of pregnancy differs from country to country. Even in countries where abortion is legal, such as Guyana, that does not translate to access to safe abortion.  The main public hospital does not offer abortion services so “bottom-house” abortion clinics operate, claiming lives.  We are no where close to ending discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Against this background, the Tribune 242 reported that Bahamian politician, Rodney Moncur, declared that women who use the contraceptive pill are murderers who should be hung. (On the comments section of this blog someone who identified himself as Mr. Moncur stated that this report is inaccurate and he never advocated capital punishment for women who take birth control).  “Let man’s sperm ‘bust’ through those pills and the woman take seed. Woman, thou art commanded to take seed, become pregnant and renounce those evil cancerous birth control pills,” it is reported that he wrote.

Here are a few of his tweets, in all caps just as they appeared in the @RodneyMoncur twitter feed (unverified twitter account):

HOW CAN YOU PROCLAIM GOD, WHEN YOU WILL NOT GET PREGNANT? DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT IT IS IMMORAL FOR THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN TO TAKE THE PILLS?

IF YOU SAY THAT YOU LOVE THE LORD AND YOUR NOBLE HUSBAND, THEN LOVINGLY SUBMIT AND THROW AWAY THOSE UNHOLY BIRTH CONTROL PILLS. BABY TONIGHT

THE PILLS WERE INTRODUCED HERE IN 1966. AFTER THAT DATE, THE WOMEN KEPT SWEET HEARTS WITH REGULARITY! THE PILLS WORKED FOR THEM.

This misogyny requires no deconstruction.  But just in case you missed his message, here’s the breakdown:

Post-1966 the pill turned Bahamian women into sluts. Women were made to have sex with men only, to submit to men and to bear children. Absolutely nothing else.  If you are a woman, you should be married to a man and you should go and make a baby TONIGHT.  If you and your partner choose to use contraception, you, woman, are a murderer and you should be put to death by hanging.  FYI, you cannot be a Christian and use the pill.

Got it?

Do you understand why we need Caribbean feminism?

Sign on to the CatchAFyah Caribbean Feminist Network!

Edited to add:

Here are two reports about the twitter rant but none of them makes reference to women who use birth control as murderers:

http://www.tribune242.com/news/2012/jun/07/women-must-quit-devils-pills-and-take-mans-seed/

http://www.tribune242.com/news/2012/jun/08/devils-pills-rant-what-was-he-thinking/

This Tribune 242 article states: “He referred to women who use oral contraceptives as “murderers” who should be hanged, as they are touched by the devil’s evil hands.” (paragraph 6)

EDITOR”S NOTE: Earlier this week this heading of this blog post read: “Caribbean politician proposes death penalty for women who use the pill.”  This heading was based on the Tribune 242 article referenced above which contained the following line:  “He referred to women who use oral contraceptives as “murderers” who should be hanged, as they are touched by the devil’s evil hands.” Someone who identified himself as Rodney Moncur denied that he ever said this.  I looked through his twitter feed and was unable to find any tweets which stated that women who use birth control should be hung.  This post has been edited to reflect these developments.