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In New York City, Staceyann makes her living with her powerful voice. In Jamaica, she says her decision to speak out about her sexuality made her a target.

"One afternoon I'm coming home, and I walk in and there's a bunch of boys kind of around me, and I don't know what happened. I think one of them grabbed my bag," she says. "Before I knew it, my back was against the bathroom door. I had been shoved in, and I was inside and those boys were inside with me. In my memory, I think it was about a dozen."

Staceyann says they began circling her. "Then I kind of knew what was happening and I was kind of freaking out in my head. Then they started throwing taunts at me and then they started grabbing at me," she says.

"[They said], 'We're going to show you what a real man feels like,'" she says. "I think the moment I knew something terrible was for sure going to happen was when … my bra strap broke and he stuck his hand into my shirt."

Staceyann says she was too afraid to fight back. "All the time I was thinking they're not going to rape me. And then when it was apparent that they were going to, it was as if I wasn't kind of in my body. I was kind of watching them do this to somebody else," she says. "I'd always been such a big mouth, and I always knew that if something happened, I would fight back. … And when it happened I was silent. I'm still angry at myself that I didn't do anything, that I didn't punch one of them."

Before things went any further, someone intervened and saved Staceyann from being raped. "The day it happened I knew I couldn't live my life as an out lesbian. I couldn't raise children in a partnership, and I knew if I couldn't do that I wouldn't be able to kind of be myself, and so I knew that I had to leave that space so I could do that."

Staceyann sold her computer and used the money to buy a plane ticket to her aunt's home in New York.
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FROM: Gay Around the World
Published on January 01, 2006

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