When power differentials (of a car) attracts homophobia
We often hear of relationships gay or straight enter into challenges due to the improvement or importation of material wealth on one party’s part and how it can lead to breakups, fights and even worse. One side can get a promotion at work and it leads to jealousy, competition, territorialism in terms of the finances, role playing, dominance in the union and retention or refusal for sex as punishment. These power differentials are not divorced from same gender unions and can get even more egregious, the same gender nature of it suggest a lesser dependency on each other especially in a more middle class setting as one can easily relocate to another apartment and move on. Class differentials on the other hand can force the lesser empowered or social strata partnered individual is sometime forced to remain in the union as they have little option to shift to single life again. Similarly the financial powered beating stick can come into play and any upset or infractions can find someone with their back on the sidewalk seeking temporary stay with someone.
A St Catherine couple in Eltham Park who have been living there for just under 7 months found themselves in a challenge recently as the issue of material wealth differentials coming to play and spilling over into the immediate neighbour’s purview; unfortunately the neighbours showed up their homophobic feelings. The talk in parts of the community continues as word spread regarding the episode. One party recently acquired a new car after a dry spell of selling the old salad and taking the bus as his other partner has been doing. But it seems with the introduction of the car things started to change as one the car-less party suggested the car owner has changed, he is very touchy, when requested to go out on the road for errands he denies such and gets cocky, he is very touchy as to the cleanliness and presentation of his new prize. The car-less partner does have a driver’s license and drove the previously sold ‘salad’ alongside his partner; there were no issues in terms of clash of use, and over protectionism.
Arguments ensued over time often getting loud which also seem to suggest issues were festering otherwise and the imposition of the car had just opened the wounds of differences; thus the differentials become more pronounced and lead to fallout. Both men woke up last Saturday to another argument this time over who would go to the market for the traditional ground produce shopping. A comment reportedly made by the car-less party that of suggesting his partner is getting too touchy in typical Jamaican parlance was what set off the quarrelling match. Decibels raised as both men projected strength in the exchange attracted unsuspecting indeed inquisitive eyes and ears.
It got to a stage where a neighbour two houses away turned on their stereo loudly, turned the speakers out to the direction of the house where the men are and deliberately playing anti gay songs such as Buju Banton’s ‘Boom Bye Bye’ and so on while singing loudly and laughing with snide remarks being made. The men ignored the nosy Parker folks at first but it was when the said nosiers came out of their houses and gathered by the back fence line as the house rears face each other and the intermittent laughter they came outside to see the audience transfixed on the matter, other comments flowed such as battyman a live like husband and wife, one get new car and gwaan pon di other one, a wat kinda mixup dis, others using the typical antigay language of the ‘burn out’ narrative, some persons suggested the men need to move out of the area as they are not prepared battyman who are too bright (too open and in your face). Given the occurrence happened in the morning hours on a weekend more than usual individuals would be at home hence larger unneeded heat and attraction.
The men occasionally reminded the nosy audience they were too fass (inquisitive) but I think the lesser terse response from said audience maybe due to the non-stereotypical look of the parties involved as they do not look or act effeminately on the fly. The conflation of effeminacy with male homosexuality on route to the wanting to be a woman imperative in the minds of homophobes is what tends to drive violent or verbal responses predicated on hate. Both men are handsome, well groomed and do not match the aesthetic look others have of us as gay men, I can speak to that with numerous examples; my own experience where after my buggery arrest and short imprisonment and my return to my address, over time I was told by others and immediate neighbours that I do not fit the bill as a gay man. So they feel I would not be attacked or face too much pressure than normal. That turned out to be not necessarily true; I did face some pressure but ignored some of it and lived it down letting time be the healer of all things.
The men have not expressed any interest in relocating right now but they have been encouraged to start looking a new place, if not a trial separation as clearly there are some other influences at work and not just the car(lessness). Sometimes we gotta be mindful of our surroundings too in how we live and operate, like everywhere else around the world not all spaces support expected enlightenment and difference.
Peace & tolerance