Two Bahamian Men Talk About Their Lives
Guardian, July 28, 2003
#4 Carter Street, Oakes Field, P.O.Box N-3011, Nassau, N.P. Bahamas
By Shavaughn Moss, Guardian Staff Writer
Unlike other countries, which have liberalised both their law and social
practise, in The Bahamas there is still a law on the books against the
euphemistically named “unnatural crime,” or buggery.
There is also an entrenched religious and social condemnation of
homosexuality, even though there’s no evidence to indicate there are any
fewer same-sex relationships in this country than anywhere else in the world.
What is evident, however, is that the homosexual Bahamians feel constrained to
hide their sexual preferences and to live much of their lives behind closed
It’s because of this that we do not see two men or two women walking down
the street being openly affectionate.
After the past few weeks an uproar in the country is forcing Bahamians to
recognise homosexuality is here and being thrust into the public eye.
In this series, The Guardian introduces you to two homosexual men,
23-year-old Lavardo, who describes his profession as merchandising, and
28-year-Alex, who is in the service industry, (names have been changed to
protect their identities) to get their views on homosexuality, and why they
are the way they are.
Lavardo and Alex answer questions on whether homosexuality for them is just
a sexual experience or more about companionship.
They tell how homosexuals identify each other, what some find fascinating
about dressing up as a female, and what characteristics they look for in a
In this no-holds barred interview, Lavardo and Alex talk about men and
women who indulge their homosexual tendencies for money, clothes and jewelry,
but who try to live heterosexual lives.
A burning question Lavardo and Alex will answer is whether they feel they
were born with homosexual tendencies, or if it was something they grew into
later in life.
Gay, sissy, pooftah are terms used in a derogatory fashion to describe
people who like the same sex. Lavardo and Alex prefer to be called
Asked for their definition of the word “homosexual,” Alex said to him
it means two persons of the same sex having feelings for each other, whether
mental or sexual.
Lavardo’s definition is two persons of the same sex attracted to each
other in a relationship.
The interview began tentatively. Alex and Lavardo, both young, handsome,
intelligent men, had to warm up to me and the discussion about their lifestyle
which, in the past, they had only discussed in the company of fellow
The friends, referred to me by an acquaintance, and who are not an item,
say they agreed to the interview because they felt it was time the homosexual
community had its say. They are tired of being lambasted because of feelings
they say they can’t help.
Lavardo and Alex are not in or out of the closet.
According to Alex the answer is not black or white, but has a lot of gray.
“I think I’m pretty much in between, because of our community, and how
people accept it and deal with it,” he said. “You don’t want to seem
like you’re pushing or throwing your lifestyle in people’s faces, and you
have to protect yourself and your image.”
He said he was not, but was more or less adapting to what Bahamian society
sees as acceptable, to which Lavardo agreed.
“I would say I’m in between, too, because I take part in the activities
they have here at the local club, but I won’t go anywhere around the island
and just say I’m this and that, because you have to respect people. And we
live in a country that says what we do is called unnatural sex, and if you
throw that in someone’s face, there’s no telling how they’re going to
act towards you.”
Lavardo cares about his image at home, but said if he lived in the United
States, particularly Miami Beach, he wouldn’t care if people knew whether he
was gay or not.
“Nassau is so small and your name is basically all you have, and we
don’t have any rights per se, so people could not afford you opportunities
just because they know that,” said the well-groomed young man.
“We know that people know or assume, and on some level we don’t
care,” interjected Alex “and by that I mean we’re not going to be living
our lives to try and prove them otherwise. I guess we live at a point where if
they know, they know, but we don’t have anything to prove to them or to show
While they accept who they are, neither Alex nor Lavardo has told their
families they are gay. Both say their families have heard rumours but neither
has sat their family members down and told them they were gay.
To live their lifestyle, both had to move out of the family homes and get
their own apartments.
Alex said his family found out he was gay through a relative who had a
conversation with a mutual acquaintance about him. That relative then told the
family what had been told to him.
“Never at any point have I admitted it. I’ve never come out and told my
parents that I’m a homosexual, but they always remind me that they know,”
Coming out and telling his parents he’s homosexual he finds complicated.
“First of all you already know it’s a burden. We grow up in a community
where your parents have certain expectations of you. They think that
eventually you will marry, have 2.5 kids with a dog and picket fence, and I
think that’s pretty much why it’s so complicated to have the
Alex says his family does not have to accept him, but he thinks they’re
dealing with it. He isn’t pushing his sexual preference in their face, and
they don’t want to break ties with him.
Lavardo said his family had inklings of his sexual leanings early on in his
teenage years because they would eavesdrop on his phone conversations and read
his letters, but he, too, has never actually told them he is gay.
His family questioned him on the issue, but he said he denied it, to
“They would tell me that they hate this thing so much, yet they still
asked me to admit it to them, but I didn’t. In essence they’re asking me
the questions, but telling me at the same time that they don’t accept it, so
I can’t even see myself admitting it them really and truly,” he said.
His response was to move out, get his own apartment to live his own life,
free from their questions.
Lavardo’s family rarely visits him at his home, but he says he goes by
their home once in a while to say hi. He says that people tell them stuff
He wonders why his family can’t just accept that they are a regular
family with problems, with a black sheep, but they are the kind of family that
has to look a certain way so they can look good in the community.