A Dominican Lesbian In the middle of the Border!
Today , I found myself writing Scott to tell him to add queer single mom to my bio that was to be posted on world pulse today, then without thought, like a reflex, i pressed delete and shrugged it off as not relevant or relevant enough to be in my bio. Don't get me wrong, I am an acitve queer organizer in the south bronx so its not that i am not out, so I sat and wondered where did that come from?
Tonight, I was on a conference call with the Astraea Foundation having a similiar conversation and evaluating a recent trip to Guatemala where i participated in the 9th Lesbian Feminsist Conference of Latin American and the Caribbean. And then I got it. Internalized oppression, jesus, how it creeps on you and takes away your voice and your choice.
When I made the decision to not have my sexual identity/orientation at the forefront of my bio it was becuase somewhere in the back in my mind I was thinking, what would people think about me? would they listen the same way, would they read my journal, would they respond, would I loose something?
And then after my conversation with Astraea, where we spoke about building international relationships with the LGBTQ movements across the world, I found myself talking about building a model of self healing for a community living the contradictions within as we define ourselves but also creating a safe space of self care and sustainability as the LGBTQ community has a huge struggle ahead to fight against transphobia, homophobia, and hetersexism.
In addition, I had also just had another powerful conversation with my co-worker about my organizations recent repsonse to anti-gay attacks in the South Bronx where three gay young men where brutally abused last month. On Saturday we collaborated with another Bronx organization to provide a day of healing for the community.
So in the mist of all these conversations, why would being a lesbian not be at the forefront of my bio and identity today? Then I remembered that on my trip to Guatemala, what i experienced as a Domincian Lesbian in a latin american country was culture shock for me. See in the states, i live my life creating both a politcal and sexual identity without context and within a white theory of feminism . My activisim comes from this stand point as I live a constant life of making myself as visible as possible, and as loud as possible proclaiming and reclaiming my I am a women of color, immigrant, domincian , lesbian idenity because in the states I am the minority fighting for justice.
In Guatemala however, my sisters had a new name for me. I am now from the North, a North American with privilege coming to bring my white theory and impose it on a movement that I no longer am a part of. For ten days, I became an observer to a movement I fight for everyday in the united states and I asked myself who am I in the mist of this identity war and body politics, where i am niether from here or there.
I am a dominican lesbian in the middle of the border.....and this is my story of going back home and yet not knowing where home is becuase I am a lesbian.
Maricona by DEE
I feel fire red flames in my belly
at the sounds of the unspoken words
coming from my families minds
"She is a maricona"
"An embarrassment to the family"
Damn, with that big ass and she loves women"
Yeah, that big ass
my ass has been what has defined me for so many years
I wore big clothing, long t-shirts
becuase the curves of my body gave men permission to
touch me, hit me and then apologize as if nothing had happened
My family asks, "what happened to me"?
did i get beat or raped?
Why do i hate men?
Why do I love women?
A summer in the Dominican Republic with my family
turns into shades of grey
as my safe haven, my home
slowly disappears from right in front of my face
becuase I wasnt the crazy cousin
from the states
now I was the lesbian cousin
who went out with a women
from the nieghborhood
And I am shocked!
I dont understand
I thought you loved me the way I am.
Its me DEE, yanara I called to them
but nobody wants to hear me
nobody wants to see me
dancing on the dance floor
the only two women daring
to love eachother in broad daylight
They see humiliation, they see
the community gossip
But its me i cry over and over again
Dont you see im the little girl you helped raise
I am your comadre, your cousin, your family, your blood
i get it as long as I am silent
as long as people cant see
that I have decided to take on patriarchy
challenge the machismo in this country
where mi culo is what defines me, the role i play
and who I love
I love women!
dont say that too loud
people might hear
My family says
I could be in danger now
they might wait for me and beat me
thrust their manliness inside of me so I could learn my lesson
I remember I use to love to go home
I would start planning months in advance
I bought shirts that showed my cleavage
let my hair grow long
Buy the pants that showed my curves
I would be the best female, feminine, dominican
heterosexual I could be
I thought you had my back
I thought they had my back
my family that is
I want to throw up
this black ball inside of me
my biggest fear had come true
Homophobia has hit home
and now I have no home....