Being homosexual in the West Indies: a book to free speech

For Caraïbéditions, this is a first. The West Indian publishing house publishes “being homosexual in the West Indies”, an unpublished book whose main theme is homosexuality. Caroline Musquet, a former journalist from Guadeloupe, gives fifteen testimonies on this taboo subject in the Caribbean. A reading advice from Overseas the 1st on the occasion of the international day against homophobia and transphobia.

They are called Louis-Georges, Laura, Nicaise or Estelle. They are sportsmen, lawyers and express themselves on condition of anonymity or not. Fifteen women and men, known or not, committed activists or not. Their common points? They trusted Caroline Musquet and shared their story, that of homosexual or transgender people who live in the West Indies or are from there. Victims of verbal or physical aggression.

JAJ is one of the artists who agreed to share their story. Statistician by day, author, composer and performer by night, the sporty young man describes his childhood in Martinique in the 90s.hard“during which he becomes aware from primary school that he is”more attracted to boys than girls“.

It is difficult because we are already asking the question. Can we get closer to a boy? Is it allowed? When you do, you see the looks around you. The difficulty of knowing with whom one can speak. What else can we talk about?

Victim of bullying and insults, JAJ evokes “the feeling of loneliness“that he feels, so much that he thought”to be the only gay in all of Martinique“. At the time, talking about it remained a dreaded step. Confiding is all the more complicated as “all these voices, these benchmarks around us, for example in the Christian religion (…) say that homosexuality is bad, that it’s a fad… All these things that send us back to the taboo around homosexuality“.

This testimony like the fourteen others, Caroline Musquet collected them in 2018. “Having fifteen is almost a miracle!“, confides the Guadeloupean author.

The receipt of a letter prompted this former journalist converted into the public service to reconnect with her passion. “This is a letter from a friend that I received when I came to live here [en France hexagonale, ndlr] who revealed his homosexuality to me when we had never talked about it face to face, when we saw each other very regularly. That’s when I said to myself: there are very strong things happening that we are not able to talk about out loud. And that was really the click, she explains.

When I arrived in mainland France for my studies, I realized that some people had to experience situations that I had never thought of, that there were realities that I had never become aware of and that deserved leans a little more on it because there was a real taboo in the West Indies on the subject. No one talked about it, neither at home, nor with family or friends. It even seemed like homosexuality didn’t exist, except in sketches”

Front cover of the book “being homosexual in the West Indies” at Caraïbéditions



©Caribeditions

Collecting the testimony of parents was the most complicated for Caroline Musquet. Only one mother talks about her experience. This retired teacher even shared the screen with her son in a video in the form of coming-out, this exchange during which a person reveals their sexual orientation. A way to play down the situation and encourage parents to listen to their children. An invitation to go beyond clichés and “discover the diversity of Caribbean identities“.

Being homosexual in the West Indies: a book to free speech – Outre-mer la 1ère