Caribbean poet and writer Geoffrey Philp talks about his new book of short stories “Who’s Your Daddy?: And Other Stories.” Two of the stories deal with the construction of Black male sexuality and gender identity in Jamaica – part of a conversation which, as the writer states, is “long overdue” and one which fuels much fear in the Black male.
This stereotype drives straight men to have sex with as many woman as they can (or to lie about it) and to have irrational fears about gay/queer men–as if gay men represented a diminishment of their sexuality. It is an idea that the African-American writer, James Baldwin, explored in “Going to Meet the Man,” where the protagonist’s sense of virility depends upon the debasement of another man–a black man who is lynched because of another man’s penis envy.
It’s an image that allows for gay bashing and murder in Jamaica, and has led some gay men to commit suicide. It’s an issue that many straight writers in the Caribbean continue to dodge, but one which I felt compelled to address in “First Love” and “How Do You Tell”