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When Staceyann decided to come out to her family, she says her brother had the most difficult time accepting the news. "My mother and father did not raise me and they weren't around when I was a child. My grandmother, I don't think she cared," Staceyann says. "I think that my brother was most challenged because he was a Jamaican boy who was very against homosexuality, and I think his love for me conflicted with [that]. So now he's maybe a little better about it."

Why is homosexuality so taboo in Jamaica? "There's a culture of braggadocio. We don't like people telling us what to do," she says. "Couple that with religion and poverty and the intense lack of knowledge. I mean, half the people I know in Jamaica confuse pedophilia with homosexuality. They don't know the difference."

Staceyann says she feels safe living as a lesbian in New York City, but she desperately misses living in Jamaica. She still visits and hopes her story can help transform the way people perceive homosexuality back home.

"It's not that Jamaica is bad. I think that we just need a whole bunch of education in Jamaica," she says. "We need to have support from the legal system."
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FROM: Gay Around the World
Published on January 01, 2006

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