When persons incite violence against us and discriminate against us as LGBT people, do they ever pause for a moment and consider that we are homo sapiens sapiens? Who or what is responsible for indoctrinating Jamaicans to believe that all non-heterosexual people should be “stoned in Half-Way-Tree”? Who or what socialized us to believe that LGBT persons are sick, disgusting, nasty and abnormal? Who or what socialized us to condemn and victimize LGBT persons who have been abused in a bid to ‘correct’ their sexuality? Who or what influenced the unofficial policy of discriminating against LGBT populations?
Do you know? I don’t, at least not for sure. But the loudest anti-gay voices echoed by our culture seems to be my favourite [?] institution – the church. Several sources may be explored but in my opinion, religion has single-handedly controlled the sexuality narrative in Jamaica. Remember we are one of the most murderous Christian countries in the Western Hemisphere so it’s no surprise that we have been labelled as “one of the most homophobic countries in the Western Hemisphere”.
It is the screams of anti-gay rhetoric from the pulpit that has pierced the cerebral cortex of Jamaicans who no longer care about our human quality, but where and how we use our anatomy in the privacy of our homes [which, by the way is ONE element of sexuality]. A lesbian’s choice to perform cunnilingus rather than fellatio becomes the basis on which she is denied her inalienable rights. A gay man’s choice to perform fellatio rather than cunnilingus also becomes the basis on which he is denied his inalienable rights; not to mention prostate stimulation between men! But why does it matter where consenting adults place their organs in private? Why should we become pariahs? Why should we be victimized, discriminated against, verbally and physically assaulted, and blamed for inviting assault and battery on ourselves?
Shouldn’t the church discourage rather than encourage the society to place us under siege? How much longer should we remain within the protective shells of our clothes and shoes because of fear? I want to be able to go Downtown, Kingston and shout from ‘Parade’ that I am a lesbian without the fear of being assaulted arresting my mind – as ‘out’ as I am, I quiver with great trepidation because I know the risks involved.
In my opinion, the church took that freedom of movement and speech from me when they indoctrinated all of us about the eternal damnation of same gender loving. And no, I do not want to muzzle or gag the church; I just want the church to understand that rights and freedoms have necessary limitations as per social contract. Your rights and freedoms should not be used to infringe upon the said rights of others, especially minority populations that are often subject to institutional and cultural abuse. As a nation I want us to elevate our thought processes and learn to accept and appreciate diversity with respect.
There is nothing more I want to say to/about the church at this point. I started with the church because of the significant impact I believe they have on the homophobic culture in Jamaica. I want to now focus my attention on the human rights of, and legal implications for LGBT persons in Jamaica. Let me just say I have no expert knowledge on legal affairs but whoever created me blessed me with a mind that tries to be critical and analytical. So I will spend the next few days exploring some of the laws that impact sexual identity and expression in Jamaica and share my interpretation with you. Look out! It’s coming!