Sunday, January 6, 2013

From Untouchable To Out: A Change In Island Attitudes Towards Gays

It's strange but nearly all of the ideas that started brewing as Blood Is One got back on its footing- nearly all of the ideas that generated seemed to center around Filipinos and Chamorros. Both cultures are severely Americanized as a result of American imperialism and carry with them a similar outsider mentality to the inner city rappers this website has at the top of its banner.

Joe Meno is very intelligent, articulate and originates from the 35 mile island of Guam. He is also very openly gay - his main pictures on Facebook including a picture of him dowsed in rainbow imagery as well as a rainbow Batman symbol I sent to him.

His culture is far away from the San Francisco Bay Area, where he now lives. Chamorros are conservative - as most tribal cultures usually are. When I was there, the "faggot" bomb was dropped with the lack of intensity you'd expect in a conservative culture.

At the suggestion that gays in conservative cultures actually are more open than elsewhere, Joe said, "If anything i think it's really a face that they put on to hide the hurt and discrimination that they have to go through. Just think about it - anyone who is gay and open really has nothing to hide eh? The only thing is that they have to face the rest of the world who are against it. On Guam, it's both culture and the world."

Joe calls the culture of homosexuality on Guam one of "untouchables" - borrowing a term used to describe a class in Indian culture. Thanks to alot of sea changes in global culture, however, Joe noticed a change in behavior of these "untouchables" - " I've noticed that the LGBT as well as the Untouchables group are really visual in promoting the safe sex and homosexuality life."

In our discussion, both Joe and I agreed that homophobia in conservative cultures doesn't really result from hate but instead a reverence for family, as he said, "Families are starting to realize that they have to 'accept' their family members who are gay or lesbian."

If a little tiny island like Guam, which still oozes with tribal culture and mentality, can accept homosexuality, that may bode well for the world as a whole in moving on and learning to accept a diversity of lifestyles. 

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