As I mentioned you in an earlier post, I live in quite a homophobic country. And yes, the Dominican Republic may be known as little paradise in the middle of the Caribbean sea, but it’s homophobic AS FUCK. And as you may understand I’m being extremely unapologetic about it, and sadly I can’t help it at all!
In the Dominican Republic, and let me explain this using coloquial terms, the LGBT community is heavily discriminated, and as years go by it becomes more and more common to see topics about the LGBT family being discussed either on popular internet sites or mass media in the country in a general consensus.
This year, yes 2016! folks, all Dominicans aged 18 or more are being called to the polls all over the country to cast our votes for any candidate that we feel is the best option for our nation. And for the first time in over 20 years, it’s a fully general election, where not only the President & Vice-President get elected but all mayors, local representatives, senators and regional representatives will all be elected in the same day.
The options that we have for President are varied: from incumbent Danilo Medina, to ultra-nationalist & high-profiled conservative figure Pelegrín Castillo, also including: former Prosecutor, Guillermo Moreno; daughter of Mirabal sister Minerva, Minou Tavárez; doctor, Soraya Aquino; conservative Elías Wessin Chávez; businessman Luis Abinader; and economist Juan Cohen. With such a variety of people up there, also including 2 female contenders, we have a lot to choose from, however, there are two options leading all polls: Danilo & Abinader. That will be in another post, I promise.
Now back to the controversy, just a few weeks ago, it emerged that high-profile leaders from the Evangelical Church published an op-ed in major newspaper Diario Libre, demanding ALL CANDIDATES running for the Presidency must express their stance towards the presence of Ambassador for the United States to the Dominican Republic, Mr. James Brewster, and about his sexuality and openess of it, since it was recently reported that Mr. Brewster together with husband Bob Satawake, visited a school in Santiago together and reportedly spoke about homosexuality and topics LGBT-related to a selected group of high school students.
This has left many people torn apart. The school itself made a press release stating that they actually invited the Ambassador to the school because, the students were in the process of building their UN Model and they were sent the invite so the students could better understand the role of an Ambassador and what they usually do in a daily basis. They were in a classrooom together with a bunch of school staff and all questions asked to Mr. Brewster were carefully selected between the school and the Embassy.
Their visit has caused as much contorvery as their designation to the country has meant since it was announced by the U.S. Government in late 2013. As soon as they step foot in DR, conservative bigots have gone blazing NUTS about them, their sexuality, their relationship and so on and so forth. It’s really annoying that high-profile figures spend so much of their time talking about them than trying to reduce many of the issues that affect the middle, lower classes of this country.
Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez is the antithesis of the message Pope Francis wants to transmit to the masses of the big old Roman Catholic Church, an establishment high-profile class in the country, as he’s the leader and most prominent figure of the dominating religious faith here. Dominican population largely affiliates with this church, an estimated 80%-85% of the national population stated in the most recent census that they were Catholics.
This leads to many things that are actually not cool: first, the Cardinal, is known to be a HUGE & OPEN SUPPORTER of the rich and higher class families; second, although he says that corruption SHALL NOT prevail, he DOES NOT GO AHEAD and gets in the way of those corrupt politicians that hurt the poor badly; third, he has repeatedly used PROFANE & ATROCIOUS language towards Ambassador Brewster and his husband, for example, he once said: “He’s a wife, he is married to man. He better run to his man and do the housework, instead of doing business here”, and that was one of the many examples.
The guy you see in the picture abore is known journalist Julio Hazim. He’s had his own morning show for over 20 years now, and he’s also a big bigot. Coming from one of the country’s richest families, this old guy has always had a ton of money, and for anyone to run a TV program in local television for the time he’s been able to do it, it’s admirable. Now, let’s play him into this ordeal, the comments he made about Ambassador Brewster in his TV show recently, are just embarrassing! Just like, Jesus Christ, why? W H Y ? !
I won’t play the YouTube clip, as it’s way too long (over an hour long, but you can look it up if you want to know exactly what he said), but there’s one I’d rather all of you to watch, is from Dominican film director José María Cabral, where basically bashes and criticizes Hazim’s comments he made using despiteful, rude, and severely profane language in his breakfast TV show. It’s called “No somos homofóbicos, pero no queremos gays” (English: “We’re not homophobic, but we don’t want gays“)
Basically, the video is completely satirical in a way, but mostly on point. The Dominican Republic has MAJOR civil rights issues, and when I say major I really do mean it that way, and it’s been like that probably since the days of the Spanish Colony.
In the end, Ambassador Brewster is here to stay and he’s not going ANYWHERE. An online petition was started by someone connected to the Evangelical organizations on the White House’s website, to which they responded by basically saying that Ambassador Brewster was appointed with full support from the U.S. Government and the House of Representatives, and the House of the Senate, and that his work in the country has been completely positive and has followed in its entirety the guidelines set by the Government and it’s mission for the rest of the world.
I just hope that one day, things can actually change here. That’s all.