Bashy wedding in Thailand leaves local model happy
Adrian Frater, News Editor
Western Bureau:As a child, Tracey Dawkins often struggled with her identity.
She knew she was a girl but unlike her peers, who began to show interest in boys in their teenage years, she was attracted to girls.
After leaving Jamaica more than a decade ago and experiencing life in countries such as St Martin and Thailand, the former Miss Jamaica World contestant, who had a successful modelling career locally, shed her Christian upbringing and fully embraced the lesbian lifestyle.
Last week, the free-spirited Dawkins, who is now a successful fashion model in Thailand, married her lesbian lover, Lisa, also a Caribbean national, in what she described as "an experience laced in love".
"I have never been happier in my life," said Dawkins, who once hosted a popular entertainment programme on a community television station in her Montego Bay, St James, hometown.
"As a child, I wanted to travel, fall in love and get married to the right girl, and that is exactly what has happened."
When she was reminded that the vast majority of Jamaicans would be offended by her "lesbian nuptial", Dawkins says most Jamaicans are hypocritical as the country is being ripped apart by crime and violence yet, "Jamaicans are behaving like homosexuality is the only sin".
"I grew up in the Church and at the tender age of 13, I was molested by a deacon," alleged Dawkins, a graduate of a prominent high school in St James.
"Today, men are raping eight-year-olds in Jamaica … people are being murdered daily and yet all the people seem to be concerned about is beating and humiliating people with same-sex lifestyles," declared Dawkins.
"I now live in Thailand, a Buddist country of 70 million people," continued Dawkins.
"Nobody cares about your sexual orientation; you are judged by your contribution to the development of the country and guess what? The crime rate here is almost zero ... the people here have their priorities right."
forced to hide sexuality
In reflecting on her teenage years in Jamaica, the outspoken Dawkins, who appeared in several music videos and radio and television commercials in the 1990s, said she was forced to establish relationships with men to hide her sexuality.
"I used to talk to boys, I even had quite a steady boyfriend at one time," said Dawkins.
"However, on the side, I had a few affairs with girls, which I kept a secret."
After leaving Jamaica for St Martin in the 1990s before moving on to Thailand, the Arianox Business & Technology College graduate said she felt at home in both countries as the people there exhibit the kind of tolerance to lesbianism which would spark hostility in Jamaica.
"Except for my mother, who only seems to have a problem with me being a lesbian when I am in Jamaica, I don't think anybody close to me is either surprised or disappointed with the life I have chosen," said Dawkins.
"Basically, I don't care how people feel … I am happy and that is what is important to me."
Despite being in a same-sex relationship, Dawkins is harbouring thoughts of one day mothering children of her own.
According to her, her partner is quite comfortable with the idea.
"We are thinking of using a sperm bank," said Dawkins.
"The good thing about that is we will get a chance to select the race of the child I want … also (we get to) choose a person with above-average intelligence so that we have smart children."
In looking back on her wedding, which took place on a luxury boat with all the trappings of a traditional wedding, Dawkins said it was an unforgettable experience, which has left her bubbling with delight.
"It was a beautiful experience … the wedding of my dreams. This was what I was dreaming of as a child in Jamaica but could not say it out because of the way things are in Jamaica."
Unlike her childhood days when the fear of God and God's judgement held her back, Dawkins has not only shed Christianity but she has refused to embraced any other religion.
"God … I am no longer a believer … I am atheist and I am comfortable with it," said Dawkins who, in addition to being an established fashion model, is appearing in numerous television commercials and fashion magazines in Asia.
"Unlike the Christians, who live to die and go to heaven, I live because I have life. That is more fulfilling based on my personal experiences."
Quizzed about whether or not she would ever come back to live in Jamaica, Dawkins readily accepts that the country is one of the most beautiful places on earth, however, she does not believe Jamaica is yet ready for what she is bringing to the table.
"I love Jamaica and I still have friends there," said Dawkins, whose marriage is legal in Europe and Asia. "I will come back to Jamaica one day but right now, Jamaica is not ready for me."