Brazil, like other Latin American countries, is multifaceted when it comes to LGBT+ rights. As a country bursting with art and culture it provides unique opportunities to showcase queer identity through art and celebrate the pride of the community. São Paulo hosts the largest gay pride parade in the world, and the Ipanema neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro is known for being a popular gay destination.
Upon meeting Maurice Tomlinson, one would never guess all that he has been through in his life. His smiling face lights up the room and his laughter is immediately contagious. Nothing about the LGBTI rights advocate’s demeanor reveals that he was forced out of his home country of Jamaica after threats to his life.
The film begins with drive-by scenes of Puerto Rico: blue sky, sun-soaked houses surrounded by greenery, the ocean in the distance. The camera focuses back into the car, a person of ambiguous gender in the driver’s seat, with straight blond hair flying back in the wind.
The cold, mosquito-filled storm drains of Kingston, Jamaica are no place that any human would want to visit, let alone inhabit. Yet, these storm drains are home to over 25 young LGBTI Jamaicans who have been kicked out of their homes and excluded from Jamaican society. These young and vibrant Jamaicans that go by names such as Batman, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Pebbles, have built a community in the storm drains in order to escape the risk of being openly gay[i]. They are the gully queens.