Friday, July 03, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
Friday, June 26, 2015
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Friday, June 19, 2015
Monday, June 15, 2015
In two days about a quarter of a million people will be made stateless. They will have no homes, no passports, and no civil rights. There are several reasons for this, but the primary reason is racism.
At issue is a ruling by the Constitutional Court in the Dominican Republic to strip away the citizenship of several generations of Dominicans.
According to the decision, Dominicans born after 1929 to parents who are not of Dominican ancestry are to have their citizenship revoked. The ruling affects an estimated 250,000 Dominican people of Haitian descent, including many who have had no personal connection with Haiti for several generations.
What we are witnessing is one of the largest humanitarian crisis in the western hemisphere, except this one is completely by choice.
As a recent Peace Corps volunteer in the DR, stationed near the border of Haiti, I have a very personal perspective on this issue.
This may be hard to believe for most Americans, but racism in the DR is much worse than racism here in the United States. The idea of being black in the DR is wrapped up with being Haitian, and then takes on a xenophobic quality.
The thing is, 90% of Dominicans would be considered 'black' by American standards. So there is a huge difference between being considered moreno (brown) and negro (black). The Policia Nacional Dominicana are so underpaid and openly corrupt that being mistaken for being Haitian means having to bribe officers (which I've personally witnessed) or be arrested and possibly beaten. Being mistaken for being Haitian means being denied job opportunities, public education, bank accounts, and health care.
In other words, being black in the DR means being a second-class citizen with no legal protections. And now it means being stateless.
What the Dominican Republic is doing is ethnic cleansing, pure and simple. It's shocking that we haven't heard anything in US media about it. Also, Haiti, being the Western Hemispphere's poorest country, has problems of its own. What would happen if Haiti refused to take these people in?
Friday, June 12, 2015
Friday, June 05, 2015
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
From the time I first travelled to the DR I loved it. Granted it was not the capitol city as the travel agent had said, but looking back she probably didn't know it herself. Not many people had even heard of the Dominican Republic then, and much like today, people are still guided to the north coast or to the resorts, though word has spread about the benefits of staying in Santo Domingo proper, especially if you are LGBT.
That said, my first trip was glorious! My group had the best of both worlds. We stayed at a nice resort in Juan Dolio and enjoyed its accommodations, then ventured into Santo Domingo to party and to explore the city. We made the best of it. During that initial trip we met some long-time acquaintances and picked up on the unspoken and spoken codes. One thing was for sure, we were definitely returning to SDQ and would be staying in the city when we did.
Yes, so many things have changed since those days of Paradise, Penthouse and the others. Even the short-lived Atlantis was a great dance and mingle spot on the Malecon. There have been others to make their mark, such as Monaga, JD's Disco and the Sports Bar SDQ and I agree that Bar Phoenix, aka Bar Freddys aka Bar Friends, is a bit cheesy, but that's what makes it the gathering place that it is. It has never tried to be something other than what it is, even under the auspices of "Dr" Leon.
There has always been a need to have a place to let your hair down, somewhere unpretentious, where one can be uninhibited. Even if it seems a bit seedy, that is its calling card. That's why places like The Lido stay in business. And don't pretend you don't know about The Lido theater.
Yes, there have been changes in our little piece of paradise. Fact is, there will continue to be. This is life, honey. Change is inevitable. I have learned that things cycle back around. I have also learned that we, LGBT, can be a fickle bunch.
No, I'm not ready to give up on my beloved DR yet. Cuba is forthcoming on the travel list, but I have history with the DR and I just believe that there is much more to discover. I believe that beautiful tropical flower will continue to blossom and reveal even more.
Friday, May 29, 2015
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
Friday, May 08, 2015
Saturday, May 02, 2015
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Wednesday, April 29, 2015
The United States ambassador in the country, James W Brewster, has confronted former President Hipolito Mejia over his recent comments in New York on homosexuality and gay marriage, which he described as derogatory. "I am particularly shocked and disheartened at your recent disrespect and insensitive comments about people who have a different sexual orientation than yours, because we have been together in our respective homes," he said in a letter sent to the former President. He said that the term "little queer" used by Mejia is pejorative and perpetuates bullying, discrimination against minorities and promotes abuse at all levels of society. He says that although Mejia's words were not intended as an insult, they had that effect.
"As the former President of the Dominican Republic and a public figure, your comments reflect a negative image of your nation's dignity. Many Dominicans here and overseas are fighting for equality between everyone created by God, a struggle that I hope you appreciate and lead," he stated. Brewster said that his husband, Bob Satawake, was willing to meet with Mejia to discuss the issue. He said that the former President's arguments against gay marriage, concerning procreation, as well as discriminating against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, also insult the significant number of people who are unable to have children or who choose not to procreate.