Lifting the lid on Antigua’s secret ‘gay’ society

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – There may not be very many open gay people in Antigua but – according to six who spoke exclusively to OBSERVER Media – there are thousands of homosexuals and bisexuals walking our streets.

The macho guy you see spitting or cursing at the sight of a transvestite (born a man but dresses as a woman) in St John’s, is – according to our interviewees – very likely gay.

“They are probably more embarrassed about their own inclinations to have sex with a man and not disgusted at seeing a transvestite walking the streets,” one cross-dresser – ‘Anita’* – reported.

Anita said much of the openly gay community participated in a survey “she” – as she prefers to be called – organised and the findings are “very telling.”

“I’ve had my gay friends compile information and evidence about their partners and I talked to close to 100 of them and they each have had sex with about 10 men which would therefore show there’s on average, about 1,000 men who engage in sexual relations with other men,” the source revealed.

Like the other five gays who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, Anita said there are “many” homosexuals holding influential positions and offices in the country.

“Some people would want to say I’m lying or we are lying, but it is a fact. We don’t come out and reveal names because our sex life is private.

“Just like normal women don’t reveal the names of all the men they slept with, we don’t and we are even more confidential because of the stigma, discrimination and backlash we’d face if we did that,” she revealed.

Anita said she’s writing a book to be titled Secrets, Lies and S.E.X. The Hidden World of Caribbean Men on the Down-Low, which would address the concerns and realities of the homosexual world in Antigua and to a lesser extent the Caribbean.

Limited finances and no willing publisher “yet”, she said it is important to reveal the “reality” of what is happening in the country.

“I had to find a way to talk about it. It will start the discussion. When we go to parties about 100 to 200 people who show up openly represent the gay community and to me that’s a lot and people need to know,” Anita said.

“But why? What discussion?” this reporter asked.

“Our society needs to wake up. It is wishful thinking to want to believe homosexuality isn’t a big thing in Antigua. We need to talk about it and fight for the rights of individuals in our community.

“People only talk about it when the topics of AIDS and HIV come up, but we need to talk about it everyday because we are humans,” the interviewee responded.

Most of the sexual rendezvous occur late at night in inconspicuous locations.

The interviewees cast aspersions on top government officials, military and lawmen in the armed forces, banking officials and many others from all walks of life – even members of the clergy.

Another interviewee said, “These men don’t come out in the public with us, not because they are ashamed of us, but because they are ashamed of themselves and afraid of society.”

According to a third transvestite who referred to herself as “Lady S,” those officials need to unite and use their influence to lobby for the rights of the gay community.

*Names have been changed to protect identities

(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)