Gay and Straight Together

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 22, 2016

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn Monday evening, like so many people across America, I attended a vigil in honor of the 49 people who were gunned down at Pulse Night Club in Orlando just because some folks hate gay people. I was on my way to London but stopped in Wellesley, Massachusetts, to gather my papers and other necessities for my trip. In that small town of 28,000 people, about fifteen miles outside of Boston, I joined about three hundred people on the lawn of Wellesley’s Town Hall who had come together to stand in solidarity with those who had lost their loved ones in Florida.

I was asked to read out the names of six victims of the massacre. They were Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25; Jerald Arthur Wright, 31; Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25; Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25; Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24; Jean C. Nives Rodriquez, 27, and Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33. After reading these names, I could not help but think how young these victims were. After all, they had just gathered together to find some love and companionship among themselves.

At that gathering I thought of my earlier life in Trinidad and recalled how cruel we were and perhaps still are to those who are born or become gay or lesbian. I remember my neighbor and pumpkin-vine family, Wesley Crichlow, a professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and the painful book Buller Men and Batty Bwoys he wrote about his being gay and black in Toronto and Trinidad. He says, I get so mad when “I hear Black people say you carr be Black and be a buller man at the same time, despite all the hard work I does put into the community.”

In Jamaica, there is much violence against gay people. In “Jamaican gays flee to save their lives,” Tony Thompson describes the hell gays go through in Jamaica. In one gripping story he allows Fitzroy, a 28-year-old musician, to speak for himself: “It’s terrible,” he says, “I can’t have peace and freedom like everyone else. If I walk down the road, all I hear is ‘batty man, him hafi dead, shoot him, slit him.’ I can’t find work—I had to leave my last job when my boss found out—and I can’t find a home. It doesn’t matter how much you try to hide it.” (London Guardian, October 20, 2002)

Such persecution does not exist in Trinidad nor do I expect us to replicate the Orlando tragedy. That more than half of adult Trinidad and Tobago (a guesstimate) are homophobic causes us to wonder about the safety of gays and lesbians in our society. None of the Orlando victims could have anticipated their fate but at least, for their families’ sake, they were more fortunate than the 32 LGBT people who died at the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans in 1973. Many of these victims were unidentifiable because they used fake IDs and aliases to hide their identities.

It was remarkable that young and old, black and white, Christians, Jews, and Muslims came together on a cool spring evening to celebrate life and love and to show solidarity with gay people and the families who had lost loved ones. After we read the names of all the 49 victims we lit our candles “to light the way of hope and life which is always more powerful than hatred and violence.”

As the evening drew to a close one of the women in our midst raised the anthem of the women’s movement of 1970s, “Singing for Our Lives,” that always soothes the hearts of those who are in pain. It says: “We are gay and straight together/and we are singing for our lives./ We are a gentle, loving people/and we are singing for our lives.”

It was a fitting way to end a heart-rending evening. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, says: “Such violence does not exist in a vacuum but snowballs from intolerance and bullying that begin in the classroom” (Attitude, July 2016). I hope the barbarism in Orlando forces us, Trinidadians and Tobagonians, to reconsider our attitudes towards gay, lesbian and transgender people in our society.

8 Responses to “Gay and Straight Together”


  • There were a few Bulla men in my area. Two I knew personally as
    neigbours and one who covered his head and associated himself with the women especially at weddings. The one who covered his head suffered abuse from time to time. Most people did not bother or made much of their slant. I just saw them from childhood eyes as being diffrent. I remember though my neighbour whenever he was drunk would twist his face and with a grimacing look recall the time he enter the back door of one of them. He would say he should not have done that. Poor man he was tormented.

    There has been many questions as to the nature of homosexuality but little research on the physiology of this lifestyle. There isn’t much information except two camps one who accepts the lifestyle and others who strongly condemns it as an aberration of human sexuality. Western culture for the most part accepts the lifestyle but this happened after intense lobbying from the gay community. However in many parts of the world gays are executed and frown upon by the citizenry. As a society we could continue to struggle with these issues and no one should be too quick to judge. Life is not as easy as we think it is for many.

  • I regret to say that my brother Cudjoe is woefully misguided on this matter.

    In the first place, there are indications that Orlando was a hoax, a psy-op. An LGBT agenda is being pushed and the gullible public is being played. See https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+shooting+crisis+actor

    In the second place, the sin of Sodom is condemned by God. And God doh change; Malachi 3:6.

    That is an iron logic whose implications cannot be wished away by any psy-op of Satan. If God destroyed Sodom for the sin of Sodom, any person or nation who merely gives aid and succor to the purveyors of that iniquity invite the judgement of Sodom.

    It is not up to us to condemn the battybwoys and bullamen. That condemnation is God’s prerogative. Buttttt…. we must condemn battymanism in the strongest terms whenever this kind of conscience call must be made.

    There is a whole spiritual dimension to the sin of Sodom. Those caught up in it become literally possessed by demon spirits that serve Satan. In this it may manifest as an “addiction”, no different from alcoholism or other drug addiction. Any of these Satan may also use to ensnare and enslave.

    But in the same way no one is born an alcoholic, no child of God is born a bullaman or battymamselle. They are beguiled into that by the Serpent, the way Eve was beguiled in the garden. It is a rebellion against God. By taking that dirt road, you declare against God, however ignorantly, and side with the Serpent.

    What we must say to the bullamen and battymamselles is that there is a way of redemption. First confess the sin to God, and ask God to forgive. He has said he will “abundantly pardon”:

    “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto Yahweh, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:7)

    Then it is necessary to ask God to banish those demon spirits embedded in one’s spirit through the sin of Sodom. As with all addiction, it will take some sort of epiphany for the addicted one to get to that point of confession, and of submission to God’s ministering hand and holy arm. Victory over all forms of satanic infestation is then assured.

    But what we must not do is call evil good. We may sympathize with the sinner, but we must condemn the sin.

    Shalom.

    “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

    • I was under the impression that scientists have proven that there is a gene related to gay characteristics in human beings. People do not choose this lifestyle.

      • The so-called scientists are lying. Yuh t’ink Satan easy?

        Look… no child of God is born that way. Otherwise how could He condemn it?

        I say carefully, “child of God”, because there manifestly are those who are of Satan’s seed, literally. Those who are descended from the nephilim, the fallen angels who fornicated with human females, are not children of God, but of the devil.

        They are born out of rebellion against God. As children of the devil, they are very much disposed to wickedness in all its forms and are the devil’s agents.

        The sin of Sodom is a way to be initiated into Satanism, since its effect is to cause immediate and growing separation from God, to whom that sin is abomination. A portal is then opened for demonic possession.

        It is true that no child of God can be a bullama/battybwoy as of nature. They can however be for the moment indulging in what is actually one manifestation of what scripture calls baal worship. It is a beguilement, from which they may be redeemed. It is also an ensnarement that may become permanent.

        Satan certainly uses the science-ism of the day to promote the lie that one may be “born gay”. Except for those who are children of the devil, that cannot be true.

        This means in particular that so-called “black” people who are actually Israelite of the seed cannot be “born gay”. Those who follow that twisted path have been beguiled into it, in manner analogous to how Eve in the garden was beguiled by the Serpent producing in Cain the first child of the devil.

        Word to the wise.

        • Two strongly differing views which is how any conversation on this topic goes down. However all views must be respected. Gays are a minority community and the majority determines much of their future. In North America along with the media they are a powerful voice. In Canada there are .06% of gays who are married. But they are a very strong voice. In TNT I am sure the gays are less than .06%. Nevertheless this conversation will continue because we now live in a global village and we are not unaffected by the Orlando massacre.

          • None of which is in the end relevant.

            The “conversation” for the moment takes place only because the earth is “given over to the wicked”; Job 9:24.

            He — the wicked one — especially delights in tricking kindly and well-intentioned souls like my brother Cudjoe into wrong thought and wrong doing calculated to separate them from our God.

            “… shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar …” (Romans 3:3-4)

            God will have the last word on this and every other moral “conversation”, including especially that pertaining to the sin of Sodom. That is well to remember, having in mind the fate that befell Sodom and Gomorrha.

  • T&T is a very hypocritical, phoney society. No government, PP or PNM has the courage to get rid of antiquated laws and join most of the progressive countries on the globe.
    A new political entity is badly needed to include in its platform laws which retard the progress of our people.
    There is an immediate and urgent need to remove laws against swearing, homosexuality and marijuana use from the books….a waste of police time. Recently in one of our courts, a grandfather, accused of sexually abusing his granddaughter was granted bail, while a young man was given one year in jail for smoking a joint on the beach. Justice?

  • At that gathering I thought of my earlier life in Trinidad and recalled how cruel we were and perhaps still are to those who are born or become gay or lesbian. I remember my neighbor and pumpkin-vine family, Wesley Crichlow……

    We can’t be that cruel… Where on earth can you hear a people use the term ‘Mammaguy’ as part of their vocabulary as in Trinidad and Tobago?

Comments are currently closed.