Yesterday I attended the Public Lecture at the Faculty of Law, UWI Mona by Robert Wintemute of King’s College, London. The question he sought to answer was: Lesbian and gay human rights in the Caribbean: Would decriminalisation restrict religious freedom? While I found the title of the lecture to be problematic I welcomed the fact that there would be yet another space where ideas and opinions around LGBT issues would be shared and debated.
Sadly, I realised at the end of the function that human rights was in trouble in Jamaica, not because we don’t love and respect all persons, but because we don’t regard personhood. The church in Jamaica and some of those who stand with the church believe that their doctrine should supersede each person who is perceived as anti-church or anti-religion.It seems there is no person if there is no church. You should not be counted among those who are deserving of love and respect if you don’t stand with the church. And you cannot stand with the church if you are non-heterosexual or gender nonconforming.
One openly Christian man likened a certain ‘homosexual act’ with that of jumping off a cliff. According to him, if he has a friend and discovers that he is gay, because he loves him he would encourage him to change, in the same way he would prevent a friend from jumping off a cliff. I do not want to analyse this so let me move on. . .
At the heart of this tragedy(?) is the recognition that some of our tertiary level students are deprived of the knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to advance this nation. Basic human rights concepts like sexual orientation are not understood. And I blame our laws and how we teach our students. The reasoning – even by some law students – is that since anal sex is illegal, and some gay men indulge in anal sex, then being gay is illegal, (never mind married heterosexual couples who may indulge in anal sex in their undefiled beds). The drought of education baffles me.
While Robert delivered a very informative, evidence-based lecture, it was capsized by the inappropriate, impassioned, irrational, over exaggerated, uninformed views of some members of the audience – an audience that questioned whether he was promoting sexual Apartheid against the heterosexual majority much like the white minority did against the black majority in South Africa’s racial Apartheid.
The event certainly could not end without the coitus-like conflation of paedophilia and homosexuality, and the issue of bestiality as a rebuttal (?) to any arguments made for revising the ‘buggery law’ to exclude consenting adults in private. Perhaps we should conduct a survey among livestock farmers and pet owners to identify the animals out there who are able to consent to sex with humans.
I am so frustrated!
When will we recognise that the rights of LGBT persons should have nothing to do with religious doctrine? Was Vision 2030 crafted to include heterosexuals and gender conforming persons only? Aren’t LGBT persons entitled to Jamaica as the place of choice to live, work, do business AND RAISE FAMILIES? Perchance we will be covered in Vision 3030.