Out reggae/dancehall artist Diana King shored up her lesbian fanbase when she headlined Club Skirts' Dinah Shore Weekend 2013 at the Sunday pool party. Shortly before, she'd made history by being the first Jamaican artist ever to come out as LGBT. And now that the Supreme Court struck down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, King is ready to make her partner of seven years her lawfully wedded wife.
King, who now holds U.S. citizenship, has been navigating the heartbreak of long-distance with her soon-to-be-spouse, Simone, for nearly a decade, traveling back and forth to Jamaica and bringing her lady stateside for brief visits every three months. They couldn't make more frequent visits because it might catch the attention of immigration officials, who could deny Simone entry at any point, King explains in a new interview published on Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend's blog.
"It has been very inconvenient and frustrating for us, but I know it could be worse," King said. "We have been engaged for most of the seven years and I vowed I'd never get married until we are equal. I was married before to my son's dad so I know first hand what we were being deprived of … NOW I can honor my word."
So where was King when she heard the news that DOMA was dead, clearing the way for LGBT Americans to sponsor their foreign-born spouses for citizenship?
"Honestly, it was "S***T I got powers," she laughed. "Then 'The universe heard us!!!' Then 'Uh oh' … I think I'm still in disbelief."
Disbelief or not, King is living proof that it gets better for LGBT folks of all stripes. Although she's been living in Florida for many years, King reflected on the homophobia that still plagues her native country. As the first Jamaican artist ever to come out, King told Club Skirts that it was "one of the most terrifying things" she's ever done, but being honest about who she is made her proud.
"My country still has a far way to go," she lamented. "Everyday holds a casualty from gaybashing. It's sad, the pace is slow but more and more people are rising up. I suspect there will be some fight from the remaining states in America, but I truly hope Florida, where I live and all others will fall in line and move forward as well. It's only fair."
Read the full interview here, and join us in congratulating Diana and Simone!