So, when El Listin Diario editors expressed concern about so many "pajaros" (a pejorative word used in DR for gays) on television, we wondered if some of the concern was about singers such as El Jeffrey (pictured, right, in a photo taken for El Caribe CDN by Ariel Castillo).
Not that we're saying that El Jefferey is gay but in an illuminating article from yesterday's El Caribe El Jeffrey is asked the following questions:
Q: What, if anything is missing from your closet?
El Jeffrey: "Nothing, because I really like to protect my image, I try to have all the things that I need, the only thing missing is some order because it's in chaos."
Q: Does it bother you to be criticized for wearing colorful and scandalous clothing?
El Jeffrey: "The comments, I enjoy them. Tell me, if I'm not [the object] of criticism, how will I sell [my records]? On one occasion a reporter asked me if I was homosexual and the next day I appeared wearing pink clothes on television, it's part of the business."
Q: But there's a lot of commentary on that specific point [and] people say that you are homosexual.
El Jeffrey: "(opens his eyes wide) It is important, who I am, and that [those who are] mine know who I am (silence) if they say a lie about me why am I going to deny it if it's false, and if it is the truth the same thing goes."
Q: Is there anything that you always put in your mouth?
El Jeffrey: "My finger (he paces his right index finger near his lips)"
Q: Who do you find irresistible?
El Jeffrey: "Definitely the North-American singer Beyonce"
The singer also says that he does wear make up even if he doesn't like it because he prefers things to be natural, that he has not had any plastic surgery done and that he admires the work of, um, Ricky Martin. Oh! And that he does not like reggaeton and the influence of the music on his sons.
Not the first time that we have written about a Dominican merengue singer who plays coy with his sexuality even as he plays the stereotypes up for the cameras and his fans. On August 9, 2006, we featured Hector Aponte Alequin of Mala Fe and his video "Pluma, Pluma Gay" ("Feather, Feather Gay").
When I heard that few gay men showed up in yesterday's gay pride rally in Santo Domingo it made me wonder about the relative cultural acceptance (and success) of personalities like El Jeffrey and Mala Fe in as homophobic a culture as the Dominican Republic and the public invisibility of gay men in the island.
The stereotypes that El Jeffrey and Mala Fe play up to probably live up to Dominican perceptions of fagdomness in a way that is not as threatening to macho culture in the island (come to think of it, Ricky Martin's coyness also plays well in Puerto Rico whereas him actually coming out might not).
Ah! The paradoxes of gayness and homophobia in the Caribbean.
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