One of the things that surprised me when I first moved to the Dominican Republic is the openly gay community that you find here. While politically the Dominican Republic appears to be rather neutral, the predominant religion of the country Catholicism has historically been, at least publically, against same sex couples. Even with this pressure against this sexual orientation, homosexuality is more prevalent in the D.R than in any other country in the Caribbean.
While in the United States the more showy gay men (flamers) are usually only seen in the larger cities, it is not uncommon to see men in traditionally women’s clothing even in the smaller towns of the D.R. For the most part Dominicans are tolerant of this culture (either locals or foreign visitors), although there is frequent reports of “Gay Bashing”, either verbal or physical, reported in the news. It is not uncommon to meet younger men (15-20 years old) that are obviously experimenting with “alternate lifestyles”, even in the smaller towns.
Like the U.S. homosexuality is even more frequently observed in the larger cities, especially the ones that receive large amounts of tourist traffic. Prostitution, both straight and gay is open and readily accessible in most of the beach and tourist towns. (more…)