Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Jamaica has a violence, homophobia problem

Published:Tuesday | October 19, 2021 | 12:06 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The Gleaner recently carried a news item re twin brothers who left Jamaica in the interest of their safety. They declared their sexual orientation status as gay men who were concerned in the midst of a violent society characterised by homophobia.

It has been very telling to see how hundreds have responded to this Gleaner item. Their existence alone has offended many. Reference to the twins speaking about the killing of LGBTQ people has drawn the ire of many social media respondents. Much condemnation has also been brought on another report elsewhere that they apparently said that gays are killed in Jamaica every day.

This entire story calls us to listen again to what exactly the often stigmatised and discriminated LGBTQ persons have to live with in the main. While we do know that gay people are not being killed every day in Jamaica, we must pause and explore the deeper side of the concerns expressed. An oppressed group that has lived with stigma, discrimination, hatred, and various manifestations of assault and violence may eventually feel like they are experiencing a daily dose of murder.

JUSTICE FOR ALL

Jamaica has a violence problem. Jamaica also has a homophobia problem that sees many disregarding the human rights of many of the more vulnerable in society. People fear loss of job, loss of housing, loss of social status, loss of life every day in Jamaica even on the mere suspicion of being gay.

The threats meted out to even heterosexuals in the name of the various pejorative expressions for a gay man or woman are a daily reality on Jamaican streets. Homophobic slurs and labels are used to silence, shame, and even stir violence. This is Jamaica.

Maybe if every issued threat were acted upon, there would be a murdered LGBTQ person every day in Jamaica. Would that we all shared a common quest for justice for one and justice for all.

FR. SEAN MAJOR-CAMPBELL,

J.P.,

Anglican priest and advocate

for human rights