Tuesday, August 5, 2014

sexual experimentation - a rite of passage?

There's a white elephant in the room. Actually, the elephant isn't white
at all, it's mainly black, unless of course I'm colorblind. That elephant is thousands-strong and includes a lot of our Dominican young men and women.  

While our society parades itself as this happy group of heterosexuals we have a marauding, increasing number of young people who "dabble" in homosexual and bisexual lifestyle as a coming of age activity. 

I see it at activities, I hear about it from my younger family and friends. It's in their schools, churches, groups, etc. Young men and women who are secretly and not so secretly experimenting with their sexuality in an effort to "find" themselves. Since when does sex and sexual preference help you to find yourself? 

While we may never have the statistics to prove this, mainly because of the social taboos we place on sex as a society, we still need to have the fora where we can address/discuss youth sexuality. 

For too long we've allowed these discussions to be held behind closed doors and among friends, often times giving misguided or misleading information and with little or no guidance. No one to provide the basic facts and truths.

So as I write and you read, hundreds of Dominican young men and women are flirting with their sexuality. As a friend put it, "they're not exactly gay, they just prefer women for now because I know some of them who still have boyfriends" and once the experimentation is over, they will revert to their boyfriends. He was speaking about a group of young women but I'm sure it could have very well been a group of young men also and not simply because of their clothing or demeanour. Our young men are flirting with bisexuality as much as our young women. 

Is the experience worth it? Is this bisexual culture a healthy one? Is it a phase? Or is this culture something that has always been there, occurring behind closed doors? 

Is it solely due to the influence of the American media and culture that daily bombard us with images of the rainbow culture? No it isn't, Dominica already had gays, lesbians and bisexuals long before the first television was hooked up to electricity. While it is true that we have more overseas influence in this generation in comparison to past generations we can't simply lump the issue into that heap. 

Sexual experimentation long been heralded as a rite of passage for young people as they journey to adulthood but they should know that their sexual preferences shouldn't define who they are or who they want to be... 

It's one thing to experiment, it's a totally different arena when you think that the experimentation will somehow define the kind of person you will become in the future... 

How do we address this? Is there a need to address it? Who will address it? The Church? Schools? Government? Youth Council? 

One thing is for sure, our sexuality will continue having an impact on our individual and collective health as a society as we still grapple with the taboo and secrecy that exist in hypocritical Dominica. 

If we pretend it doesn't exist and we don't address the repercussions, it will just go away... Yea right, Dominica... Yea right!

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