In this article, the author complicates the current positioning of Jamaica within international discourses as exceptionally homophobic by focusing on the island in the 1970s as a site through which to understand how the struggle for sexual agency among subjects of same sex desire becomes possible. In 1977, Jamaica witnessed the birth of one of the Caribbean’s first gay activist organizations, the Gay Freedom Movement (GFM), during the democratic socialist administration of the newly independent island’s then prime minister Michael Manley. By situating GFM in relation to Jamaica’s national self-determination efforts and a vibrant transnational politics of what was then termed “gay liberation,” this article contributes to a queering of Caribbean history and to a decentering of the West in global histories of sexuality.
Tracing “Gay Liberation” through Postindependence Jamaica
Matthew Chin is an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University. He is currently conducting an ethnographic study of the history of sexuality in Jamaica in the second half of the twentieth century, with a focus on the politics of same-sex desire.
Matthew Chin; Tracing “Gay Liberation” through Postindependence Jamaica. Public Culture 1 May 2019; 31 (2): 323–341. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-7286849
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