www.ambiente.us  MAY / MAYO 2008

Flawless Machos & Dominatrix Fembos:
Trans-Forming Homophobia

By Mayra Lazara-Dole

It’s theorized by some scholars (and viewed as myth by others) that
we once lived in matriarchal societies (yummy!) without the “H” word.    

No.  Not, “horticulture.”  I’m talking about, “Homophobia.”     

Many Latin Americans and Latinos in the U.S. believe homosexuality is abhorrent, thus homophobia is
passed on from one generation to another.            

In the early fifties, Cuba was well known for its red light district (now for its

Americanos traveled to the Pearl of the Antilles to watch voluptuous women do The Omelet--an infamous
horizontal dance. The word “
tortillera”  (female omelet-maker) quickly became synonymous with depravity
and prostitution.  On the other hand, men who slept around were proud machasos with gleaming
reputations.  Pero

hombres who loved men were called chernas, maricones, bugarrones, and so forth.     

In my quest to find the root   of homophobia, the bumpy ride took me back to Paleolithic times.  Here, we find
a world of acceptance, celebration, and reverence to

LGBT expression.  

You heard right!  

It’s believed by some academics (and considered myth by others) that the gorgeous creature: Female   
brought forth life, bled monthly, and didn’t die, thus men worshiped her as the giver of life and the Goddess
religions began.  Males and females believed in the power of gender transformation.  Transsexuals were
revered and considered magical and sacred.  

Let’s fast forward into Gay, er… I mean Greek mythology:     

La Hermes (Greek God of alchemy and medicine) better known in some circles as la regia Mercury of
Roman times/ bisexual messenger of the Gods   was sometimes depicted as a nude woman or an
androgynous male (think Walter Mercado).  If you’d walk into la loca’s temple, it would be as if you’d ventured
into the infamous Viscaya’s White Party--Hermes’ priests wore flowing female garments and artificial
breasts.  (¡Qué divinas!)

Hermes had an affair with Aphrodite and their baby was named, "Hermaphrodite”--a combo of both names.

La flawless Heracles (Roman Hercules) and his wife, the Amazon Queen Omphale (a total Dominatrix!)
loved to cross-dress.  Omphale wore her husband’s lion-skin garb and carried his club while la muy fina
Heracles wore his wife’s elegant, transparent garments.  His homies called him, “Heracles of the Black
Buttocks” due to his hairy butt.   

Many spiritual traditions held transsexuals and gender variants as positive and empowering people.  Can
you imagine living in that world?  

So, what happened to us?  How did we degenerate into a society of hate where people are still killed for
being gay?  

After religion became an established political force, our fabulous and glamorous image received a bad rep
due to hard core, horrid PR.  
Qué mala suerte.  

Check it out:

In Biblical times, Canaanites, Egyptians, and other cultures displaying LGBT behavior (rowdy Bears, Butches
with turkey basters, Queens in Haute Couture… (OK. Just jiving!  I’ll leave it up to you to imagine them!) were
a bad influence on small ancient tribes whose main goal was to be fruitful and multiply.  Procreation held the
key to their survival, thus stories like Sodom and Gomorra, and the book of Leviticus, as well as other biblical
passages that condemned LGBT’s, spotlighted these behaviors as abominations.  

Generation after generation continued with the indoctrinations, instilling fear within these so-called biblical
"truths."  These "truths" weren't always based on religion but also in a need to feel morally superior.     

So how do we get rid of Homophobia if it’s so ingrained within us?

Fast forward through the tunnel, make a right turn, and follow the sign that says, INSIDE MAYRA’S BRAIN.  I
have an idea that might stomp on homophobia.  

Hear me out:

Could Lawrence King   and Mathew Sheppard’s lives have been spared if their killers were exposed to
LGBTQ literature/novels in school?  I propose that middle grade and high school history books and social
science texts include LGBT historic figures, along with victims of hate crimes, such as Sheppard, King, and
Harvey Milk, for discussion.

In college, you hear about Walt Whitman, Gertrude Stein, Sappho, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Leonardo Da
Vinci, Michelangelo and so forth.  But that’s too late.  Don’t you think it’s best to start much earlier in order to
plant the seeds of love, acceptance, and tolerance, instead of moral superiority and hate?   

Schools have Black History, Hispanic, and Woman’s History month.  Why shouldn’t middle grade and high
school kids be educated during LGBT month about our positive contributions, too?    

Having middle graders read that Akhenaten, Nefertiti    and Hatshepsut were cross-dressers would inform
them how far back LGBT’s have been a part of history, and how it’s likely that gays started the idea of
“dressing up,” which kids do religiously, on Halloween.  

In ancient Greece, in order to achieve victory in battles, young male couples were sent to fight.  Gay warriors
proved a sure victory: they fought with fierce passion to defend their lovers.  What a beautiful love story and
one that’s never been mentioned in history text books.  

Isn’t it time for texts to state the whole truth about some of our greatest homosexual warriors such as
Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar and Richard the Lionheart?”

In some African cultures, same sex and transgender behavior have been linked to military valor.  

We’ve come really far, but we’re not there yet.  In the spirit of Hercules’ twelfth labor, we might be at number
seven.  When it comes to Mercury, not all of us have gotten the message.  

So let’s unite, take action and make homophobia a thing of the past!

I’d like to thank my partner Damarys for helping me with the research.        


Cynthia Eller, The Myth of Matriarchal prehistory  
Mariga Gimbutas,The Language of the Goddess, Marija Bimbutas and Joseph Campbell.
Barbra G. Walker, The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Castle Books. Randy P. Conner, David
Hatfield Sparks and Mariya Sparks, Cassell’s Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol and Spirit.  Cassell Philip
Davies, The search for History in the Bible, What separates a minimalist from a Maximalist?, Biblical
Archaeology review, March/April Vol. 26 No, Edith Hamilton
Riane Eisler, The chalice and the Blade, Harper San Francisco


Mayra Lazara Dole was born in Havana Cuba (Marianao) and raised in Miami Florida (Hialeah).  Dole is the
author of the just released Miami Cuban YA/Adult humorous novel Down to the Bone--has an all Cuban
LGBTQ and straight cast of characters.  She's also authored two critically acclaimed bilingual children's
Miami Cuban books, Drum, Chavi, Drum! / Toca, Chavi, Toca! and Birthday in the Barrio / Cumpleaños en el
Barrio in the works towards becoming a short children's film.  Mayra's Cuban poetry and short stories have
been published by Cipher Journal: A Journal of Literary Translation and Palabra: A Magazine of Chicano and
Literary Art.   She's been a drummer, dancer, landscape designer, Cuban "chef", hairdresser, and library
assistant.  Mayra now lives in Miami with her partner, Damarys.  She suffers from MCS (multiple chemical
sensitivities) and lives in a "bubble". She wrote Down to the Bone when she was near death after being
chemically injured and first being diagnosed with MCS, because she wanted to leave something fun and
meaningful behind. Though she survived the onset of MCS, Mayra still has to live in a glassed-in room
isolated from anything with chemicals such as perfume, gasoline, paint, ink, traffic fumes, smoke, new
technology, detergents, pesticides, paper, etc.

Mayra Lazara Dole is currently writing a monthly column for Ambiente ranging in topics from Latina lesbo
humor, equality, homophobia, politics, fiction, poetry, Green living, satire and whatever interests you! Contact
Mayra at: MiamiCube@aol.com

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