News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Mar. 29, 2013: Caribbean-born NBC Weekend Today show anchor, Jenna Wolfe, coming out announcement that she is a lesbian and in a relationship which will soon produce a daughter this week stunned many and in a backhanded way, put the spotlight on the issue of homosexuality in the Caribbean.
Several Caribbean countries still fail to recognize same sex unions and in at least six, same sex sexual activity is illegal. Gay life in the region is still fairly secretive.
If Wolf and her girlfriend of three years, NBC News correspondent Stephanie Gosk, were to go to any Caribbean country, including Jamaica where she was born, and Haiti where she grew up; or even Puerto Rico where her father grew up, their union would not be recognized.
Infact, only Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean recognizes same sex relationships. Should the couple decide to get married and move to the Caribbean to raise their baby daughter, that marriage would not be recognized anywhere in the region.
Further, Wolfe, 39, and Gosk, 40, could not engage in same sex, sexual activity in six Caribbean countries.
Homosexuality – both male and female – is illegal in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Dominica, Grenada and Barbados.
However, Wolfe could actually have sex in Jamaica, which along with, Saint Kitts and Saint Lucia, only makes male homosexuality illegal but not female.
In several of the British dependent territories, however, as well as Haiti or Puerto Rico and the U.S.V.I., homosexuality is very legal. San Juan is, however, hailed as the “gay capital of the Caribbean” and offers gay guesthouses, nightclubs, bars, and dance clubs.
Grenadian sociologist Claude Douglas argues that the wider Caribbean’s attitude to homosexuality is changing.
Douglas, a lecturer at St George’s University, says tolerance has increased significantly in recent years and partly blames the United States’ cultural invasion of the Caribbean.
Douglas makes his case in his 60-page book, Homosexuality in the Caribbean – Crawling Out of the Closet, which examines the rise of this alternative lifestyle in the region and says he envisages “homosexuality is becoming an alternative and acceptable form of human sexuality in the Caribbean.”