“My name is Diana Eugena King… I am a woman… mother… aunt… Jamaican… international artist… singer… songwriter… band leader… friend… lover… entrepreneur… goddess… and yes – I am a lesbian.”
So says Diana King in a lengthy coming out statement on her official Facebook page.
She is now the highest-profile Jamaican to have ever publicly stated they were gay.
“Honestly speaking, I have always been afraid to admit it openly,” she adds, “because of the unknown of what it may cause negatively, to me my career my family and loved ones.
“But I realized that it is not my job to make others comfortable. I am only responsible for my life, the stuff you think about on your deathbed and at this point in my life I do not care about the things that frighten me anymore. My biggest regret is that I didn’t come out earlier because being silent has held me back from being all that I was born to be.”
She describes the deep fear she’s had that her Jamaican people will judge and reject her. “I have always been who I am from the moment I could think, and had even tried to be the opposite because of society’s pressures.
“Trying to live a lie is horrible, whether gay or straight, and for me it was the saddest part of it all because it only caused immense pain to everyone involved. I have been myself to the fullest all except for when I came to my sexuality. And it is particularly tormenting, when you are a free spirit.”
Hundreds of King’s fans rushed to congratulate her and give their singing star a big online hug in the hours after her epic coming out speech was posted. Most of the comments were supportive, but not all of them. King reacts: “It’s been overwhelming, but in a great way. Love is all I see, so love is all I have – everything else I just ignore. I won’t let anyone or anything dim my light.”
While lesbian acts are not mentioned in Jamaican law, homosexual male acts are punishable by up to ten years’ jail – though this law is rarely enforced. Meanwhile, hate crimes and hate speech against homosexuals is rife in Jamaica.
So Diana King’s public statement is brave and groundbreaking.
Check out Diana King’s most recent video and songs below.