?The love that dare not speak its name has come out, and actually now dares to be outspoken. A�love definition attributed to Oscar Wilde in 1895, flashes forward alongside terms coined for newly recognised, and newly celebrated, realities. After a passage�to�Toronto last month, I�may well be�writing�as a linguistic and cultural never-see-come-see.
For I was taken by words. New words, words�for new human preoccupations, words more precisely characterising old human inclinations, newly understood. Certainly new to me, a permanent resident of somewhere far from the world crossroads of ideas and expression. Oscar Wilde, playwright, essayist and novelist, for his soundbites–short, sharp, and smart–was once�a literary heart-throb.
The 1960s Port-of-Spain Public Library,�the hard-copy equivalent of Google and Wikipedia today, had showcased a picture book about the trial of Oscar Wilde, which reported on his later imprisonment in Reading Gaol, for�being a "Sodomite." Wilde had been�accused by the father of the young Lord Alfred Douglas.�A constant�companion�of Lord Alfred, Wilde had sued the peer's father for libel.�
He ended up, however, being himself tried and convicted for the practice, or the reputation, of homosexuality, then the acknowledged moral contagion of Sodom, the Bible's ultimate measure of depravity, which also bore the civil stigma of a legal abomination. As a champion of�that accursed orientation–the love that dared not speak its name–literary celebrity Wilde was 38 when he began a relationship with the 22-year-old Lord Alfred.
Wilde offered a memorable defence, as he stood in the dock: "It is the noblest form of affection. It repeatedly exists between an elder and a younger man, when the elder man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him." More than 100 years later, new words are available. Lord Alfred could today be called a "twink," for being "young and hot." His older mentor-friend, a man of greater literary and economic substance, could earn the label of a "NutraSweet daddy"–a health-conscious updating of "sugar daddy."
Such additions to vocabulary reached me, as someone given to picking up strange and wonderful shells and rocks on any beach of language. In Toronto, over days preceding the June 28 Pride parade, a hoard of such collectibles was available from the hard-copy and digital media's build-up reporting of a parade that once was called simply "Gay Pride."
Now, "gay" by itself won't do. So I was educated by a 32-year old social worker who, operating in today's Toronto, needs to know the nuances. He broke down the categories that, once, were loosely subsumed under the broad heading of "gay," or "homosexual." The community formerly so-called now claims differentiation into sub-sets covered by the amazing acronym, LGBTTIQQS–lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersexual, queer, questioning and two-spirited.
Numerous synonyms and catchwords are applied to the enthusiasms now burgeoning out as sexual preferences.�So that, in the fine print of announcements for shows, parties, and forums, people presumably find one another, having been tagged in terms such as "dyke-identified," "trans-identified," "tranny," "transman,"�"intersexed," and "scenester." �I saw "cruise" used as a transitive verb, translatable as "to track." Before spectators estimated at hundreds of thousands, 164 groups assembled to flow in�the Pride Parade's rainbow-flagged�river of love.
The event tends to be compared with the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and�its Caribana derivative.�What I saw last week, however, was a much more multi-racial and socially and politically representative parade of bands of men and women, exhibiting freedom to advertise varieties of love, for centuries condemned, happily�now, "outed" and open.
Banners announced participation by the Anglican Church and the United Church; the Universities of Toronto, York and Ryerson; the city's police and firefighters; and partisans both for and against Israel. Men in frilly pink minis and tops illustrated "transgender;" a band of�mostly middle-aged men wore nothing at all�but shoes; fully clothed women spectators lined up to pose for photos with them.
A Carnival resemblance is compelling in respect of the music trucks, banners, floats, moko jumbies, bat wings, bikinis, boas, and bareback body men wearing plumed helmets, loincloths of chain mail, and carrying swords, advertising the Trojan condom brand. "Love is a battlefield," said a large pink banner in Toronto's Pride parade, in a declaration of apparent international relevance. On the following day, I received an e-mail message from a coalition cleverly claiming the cover of a prestige-heavy T&T "art form." Caiso!
That's how they name their acronym, which stands for Coalition Advocating Inclusion of Sexual Orientation as a constitutional right. The battlefield of Trini love that dare�not speak its name�had been�delineated in a statement reported from Gender Minister Marlene McDonald, suggesting�a�refusal of official�recognition for�"same-sex unions, homosexuality or sexual orientation."
Those were taken as fighting words by T&T's own GLBT, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens. They at once formed the Caiso coalition. In T&T, too, love that dare not speak its name has outed itself and its adherents will be speaking out, with others,�for constitutional reform.