The Caribbean is, for the most part, a very conservative place. You're not going to see same-sex couples walking around hand in hand. As a matter of fact, in my country, Trinidad and Tobago, all same-sex relations are illegal, with penalties as extensive as life imprisonment. It's even illegal for homosexuals to enter the country (let me see them try to enforce that one!), so if you come here, better leave those "Gay", "Lesbian", "Bisexual" and "Transgender" name-tags at home.
Don't get me wrong though. There's a thriving glbt scene here -- if you know where to look.
All bi myself
As you may know, from childhood most of us realise we are what we are, and the road out of that closet differs greatly for each person.
My bisexuality was something I have always been aware of. I remember wanting to hold certain classmates' hands not because it was something little girls do; it felt good, really good. Even in high school when female friends joked about being married, and about who was cheating on whom, in my mind I fantasized about my girlfriend or wife. But it was something I still was unprepared to explore - until only about three years ago.
Taking a step
That was when I met a girl that turned my world upside down. She is a lesbian who was living with her girlfriend at the time, so inevitably it would not work. I fondly recall one day looking into her eyes and having the rest of the room disappear. It literally turned black (or white maybe) around her face and I saw nothing else. But it was the wrong place and the wrong time, *perhaps* the wrong woman, too. I'll never know.
I did tell that woman how I felt - and only then found out that the person she called "roommate" was actually "lover". But that's fine. I'm happy I did it. I took the step that allowed me to open up to women, at last.
When I was younger I had chosen to suppress that side of myself. I knew I was always attracted to both men and women, and by a simple twist of fate, I met a woman I was willing to share my true self with. I could finally admit that chicks were cool. So now, I am ready to take on the chicks. (If they'll have me is another story...)
HOGAN, Steve and HUDSON, Lee; "Completely Queer-The Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia"; (c)1998 Henry Holt and Company, Inc. New York, NY.
E-mail Charlene: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlene is a 26-year-old bisexual living on the island of Trinidad - part of the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies.
She graduated from university when she was 21, and currently manages her own business.
Her purpose in contributing to Oasis is to educate and bring awareness to people in other regions of the world on alternative lifestyles in the Caribbean, particularly in her country.
Please note that, unless otherwise indicated, the opinions and views expressed in her articles are solely her own as a regular girl growing up on a Caribbean island.