Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chi Chi Man Fi Ded! A Gay Jamaican's Lament

Challenging the Gender Binary,
Signing Your Own Death Warrant

Jamaica is the proud and resolute, self-proclaimed most homophobic country in the world. Walking through the streets, it is common to hear, (whether on the radio, or from individuals), the following exclamations at the mention of homosexuality, in any context: ‘Wi no waahn no bati man bout ya’ (we do not want homosexuals here), ‘faiya bon fi a batibwaai’, (burn homosexuals), ‘dem fi ded’ (they must be killed). The popular 90’s song by Buju Banton still rings out at nightclubs, to popular appeal:

Eni taim Buju Bantan kom
Batibwaai git op ahn ron
Bum bai bai iina batibwaai hed
Ruud bwaai no promuot no naasi man, dem a fi ded
Sen fi di matik an di Uzi insted
Shuut dem, no kom ef wi shat dem.
Gai kom nier mi den im skin mos piil
Bon im op bad laik uol taiya wiil.

Whenever Buju Banton comes
Faggots get up and run
Boom bai bai (the sounds from a gun) in a faggot’s head
Rude boys don’t promote nasty men, they have to die
Send for the automatic and the Uzi instead
Shoot them, don’t come if we shot them
If a guy comes near me then his skin must peel*

Burn him up badly, like an old tire wheel.
*from acid thrown on him

Violence against homosexuals (‘batiman’, as we call them) is a recurrent theme in the Jamaican Danceheall, as we use our music to promote traditional Jamaican values, and the rejection of debased western lifestyles, which are now corrupting the minds of our youth, as noted by the perceived increased prevalence of homosexuality in our Christian country.

We rock to the cool sea breezes of our Caribbean paradise, while listening to songs like TOK’s Chi chi man (faggot):

My kruu, my daagz, set ruulz, set laaz
Far wii riprizent di laads av yaads
A gyal aluon a fiil op mi baalz.

Fram dem a paar iina chi chi man kyaar
Bliez di faiya mek wi bon dem! Bon dem!
Fram dem a jrink iina chi chi man baar
Bliez di faiya mek we don dem! Don dem!

So mi go so, yu si we ai si?
Nigaz wen yu duiin dat
Nof a dem a friik, dem a kyari aal dem doti ak
Tog niga wana-biiz, nof a dem a lik I bak
Ef dem bring it tu wi, huol on, nof kapa a shat
Kapa shat raiz op, evri kyaliko go rat-tat-tat
Rat-tat-tat, evri chi-chi man dem ha fi get flat.
Get flat! Mi ahn mai niggas a go mek a pak
Chi-chi man fi ded ahn das a fak.

So mi go so la la la la la la la la la
Na go mek no chi-chi man waak rait ya so
Fram a bwaai a duiit wi a go don dem rait nou

Lef im huol faambli dem a blou wou.

My crew, my dogs, set rules, set laws
For we represent the lords of yards
Only girls feel up my balls.
If they're hanging in a queer man’s car
Blaze the fire, let’s burn them! Burn them!
If they're drinking in a queer bar

Blaze the fire, let’s finish them! Finish them!

That's how I go, do you see what I see?
Niggas when you are doing that
Many are freaks, they bring all their dirty acts
Thug nigga wannabees, lots of them are doing it
If they approach us, hold on, much copper shots
Copper shots fly, every calico ( gun ) goes rat-tat-tat
Rat-tat-tat, every queer has to run for cover.
Hit the floor! Me and my niggas will make a pact
Faggots must die and that’s a fact.

That's how I go, la la la la la la la la
Not going to let any faggot go by right here
If a boy is doing it we're going to finish him right now
Leaving his family behind.

How refreshing it is to hear the assertion of true Christian values in Jamaican popular culture. That is what Jamaica needs more of, and precisely what secular societies are trying to snatch from us. I have traveled to America, and let me tell you, there is nothing but moral depravity being paraded around as normality. Men trying to be women, women trying to be men, and the like, which God explicitly condemns in good old King James. That must never be witnessed in Jamaican society, for we know better. The high murder, and rape rates we have are bad enough already; having homosexuals parade around freely would only hasten society’s moral degeneration. Our children would suddenly be at risk, for fags believe that everyone is gay, and so their mission is to convert as many as they can. That is what I heard anyway. Thank God buggery is still illegal in my country- men having sex with men is against all that I know to be natural. I don’t know any homosexuals personally, but my good friend, Keisha, was telling me about a male coworker who was excessively effeminate. He stared at the boss once, for a tad too long, as she put it, and was fired immediately. How presumptuous of him! Those people need to be kept in their place. Fortunately, there is no place for them, here in Jamaica.


My name is F, and I hail from Jamaica, a beautiful island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. During my formative years, I was often bombarded with questions challenging various elements of my being: ‘Why do you look like a girl?’ ‘Why do you walk and talk like your sister?’ ‘Why won’t you play football?’ ‘Why can’t you change?’ Immeasurably perturbed by how different everyone perceived me to be, I experienced numerous identity crises. I had heard enough, from my family, my friends, and the world at large- I had to try to change. Fortunately, as fate would have it, the pressures exerted by the different forces around me were insufficient to produce any irreversible changes to the boy that ultramasculine Jamaican norms tried to obliterate.

The jeers were hard to ignore; there was no escape, no enclave of solace for someone of my nature. Only in the realm of the unconscious could I get tender relief, but even then my otherness haunted me, with each malicious criticism progressively lacerating the very core of my humanity. I woke each morning unsettled, wondering, ‘would today hold anything different for me to experience?’ I was constantly trying to reinvent myself, to be less effeminate. Each new school year presented a new opportunity, for I had been away for two months, and surely, people would understand, and even appreciate, if I changed radically from my effeminate self. Year after year, I failed. I was fully aware of the ideal, which was all around me, but I was never possessed of the substance needed to be the ideal.

My last relapse occurred when I was sixteen years old. I convinced myself that the fruits of change would be much sweeter than those borne from my unyielding stance against societal norms. I can vividly remember strutting home with a gangster twitch in my steps, while singing a dancehall song; my speech was slurred and I was resolute in the profound need for a transformation. I awoke the following morning with the sentinel of my soul shining through from my core; I looked into a mirror and all I could see was a lonely little boy- not a ‘batiman,’ not a sissy, but a young Jamaican. The scales of my repeated attempts at metamorphosis were instantaneously shed. Whether it was the futility of my efforts to gain acceptance, or my inability to face the world as a teen desperately crying out to be loved, I stopped wishing I was like everyone else.

Thereafter I began to challenge all those values that had shaped the way I thought gender. Why was effeminacy a vice? Women were not different from men when the relevant aspects of an individual’s contribution to the world were measured, I reasoned. Why was there a force in society that legitimized conformity? The progression of humankind over generations depended on the dynamism and uniqueness of individuals who believed there was a need for change, so why should modern Jamaica be stagnant in its understanding of gender identity? My reaction to the world thenceforth created even more upheaval in the society, but I was unfaltering. Unless those who criticized me could rationally expl
ain why the peculiarity of my personality necessitated a change, I refused to make any compromises to who I was. No more was I living for those around me, my life belonged to me.

My personality is not independent of the influence of Jamaican society, but I am not characteristic of an individual who was nurtured by its traditional values. I am now a liberated man; the chains representative of Jamaican society, which strangulate those who attempt to express an individual position outside of the norm, have been broken. Changes to the society dynamic are warranted, and my desires for such demand my return to Jamaica in the near future.


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