Openly gay, white, wealthy business leader James “Wally” Brewster was appointed in 2013 by the Barack Obama administration to serve as a US ambassador to the Dominican Republic in order to advocate for the rights of LGBT Dominicans. Brewster’s presence remained controversial for the duration of his service, as he and his husband promoted an “out and proud” homonormativity that contradicts the more conventional “open secret” of LGBT lives in the Caribbean. This essay draws on ethnographic field notes, participatory research, and an online archive regarding the climate for LGBT Dominicans to question formulations of LGBT civil rights activism driven by NGO resources. The essay contends that under neoliberal development, Santo Domingo’s LGBT Pride festivities, such as the Caravana del Orgullo Gay, come to overshadow long-standing Dominican feminist coalitions and collective organizing against heteropatriarchy and hypermasculinity that in other ways seek to improve the lives of LGBT Dominicans.
Dominican Pride and Shame: Gender, Race, and LGBT Activism in Santo Domingo
Rachel Afi Quinn is an assistant professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and of comparative cultural studies at the University of Houston. Her transnational feminist cultural studies scholarship focuses on mixed race, gender, and sexuality in the African diaspora. She was part of the team that produced the 2015 documentary Cimarrón Spirit, about contemporary Afro-Dominican identities.
Rachel Afi Quinn; Dominican Pride and Shame: Gender, Race, and LGBT Activism in Santo Domingo. Small Axe 1 July 2018; 22 (2 (56)): 128–143. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-6985819
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