Arnell: St. Maarten is accepting of gays

POSTED: 08/7/11 8:20 PM

AMSTERDAM – St. Maarten born artist Jabu Arnell has told attendees at panel discussion in Amsterdam that his home country is accepting of gays, but he’s encountered discrimination in the Netherlands because he is black. Arnell was speaking at Dushi and Proud, the first panel discussion on how Caribbean people deal with homosexuality.

Thursday night’s discussion was organized by Foundation Sabana and consultative body OCaN. The overall theme was How open-minded is the Caribbean Community in Amsterdam about homosexuality.

Arnell said that while St. Maarten was generally accepting of gays there is still a need for parents to fully their gay children. 

“Let your child know that as parents you love them,” the artist said.

Arnell, who has lived in the Netherlands for 20 year, has condensed his emotion in a painting titled Nigger Fag that speaks to a dual discrimination against his orientation and skin color. He deliberately chose that name for the painting because of the negative connotation attached to both words.

“These words are still insulting. I don’t personally use these words, but they express a feeling that I wanted to capture in the title,” Arnell said.

Dushi Boat
Ramona Pikeur, who is from Curaçao, has organized a boat for gays from the Caribbean for today’s Canal Parade in Amsterdam. The goal is to create visibility of Caribbean gays in the Netherlands. Pikeur also wants to press for acceptance of gays and not just tolerance.

“The ultimate goal is acceptance, not just tolerance. I want the freedom to be as I am, including my sexuality. It’s something wonderful, something perfect, something I can be proud of,” Pikeur said.

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