A few days ago we celebrated 51 years of independence from our progressive Imperial Britain. So independent that even 51 years later we have laws on our books that selectively facilitate the recognition and actualization of inalienable human rights for the privileged majority – heterosexuals. It is therefore no surprise that the always regal, majestic continental one felt it necessary to salute, perhaps knight Jamaica’s pristine (?) men who don’t find their own sex appealing and/or fulfilling.
I have heard persons describe the response of the LGBT community to utterances of our highness as trivial, unnecessary and uncalled for. It made me realise that there was a certain right or power or privilege assumed by the intolerable heterosexual majority, who cannot appreciate that homophobia is on a continuum. Hate, intolerance or bigotry do not start and finish with mob murders. Killing LGBT persons is not the only form of inhumane, discriminatory treatment. Do you not understand that it affects us when national spaces and airtime are used by our cultural icons (?) to disrespect or make us feel as though we aren’t Jamaicans too? And the government just sits there and enjoys the musical bigotry being stringed into the psyche of our children. . .
As I reflect further on this independent nation I can’t help but think of the irony before me. Our [former] Imperialist is in fact encouraging and subtly forcing our government to “adhere to proper human rights” and address those legal inconsistencies that lend themselves to treating non-heterosexuals as personae non gratae. I suppose the effect of the Privy Council ruling in the Pratt and Morgan v. Attorney General case offers some hope given the profound effect it had on the administration of the death penalty in Jamaica. Perhaps in a similar manner if the Left Honourable Maurice Tomlinson decides, [or has] to take the current case of Javed Jaghai v. The Goliaths of Jamaica all the way to the highest, most binding court of appeal, paradigm shifts will follow in domino-like fashion.
Until then, I’m finding that it is difficult to be patriotic in a country that does not recognise the legal and social changes that must take place in order to accept, support and just love all human beings regardless of who fills their soul with joy, their eyes with flirtation, their bodies with pleasure, their minds with intellectual orgasms or their vena cava with joy.
I am tired of this independent Jamaica. I am tired of the need to defend my sexuality. I am tired of the abuse my community faces. I am tired of wondering if my dad secretly feels like I’m a lesser child because I’m gay. I am tired of feeling afraid of expressing my sexuality in some spaces. I am tired!
I want to feel like I belong here and I can just be. And wi non-heterosexual pickney dem can tap run from licensed-to-kill mobs! Please honourable houses, make that clause a sinner.