The Caribbean ain’t the safest place for homos. Just a few weeks ago, some gay, funeral attending Jamaicans found themselves on the receiving end of some good old fashioned homo-hating. The week before that a group of dancing queers got jeered – and hit – by an angry mob. As if that’s not bad enough, some fool’s popular vacation destination launched a now defunct website calling for the death of all batty boys.
Meanwhile, religious conservatives in Tobago attempted to ban Elton John from a jazz festival. Because, you know, he’s so fine and his gay potency would turn all the men lavender. And employees at the Bahamas’ Half Moon Cay protested a gay cruise’s course past their queer-free grounds.
Though times are tough, not all hope is lost. The Voice reports:
The Caribbean Anti-Violence Project (CAVP), an initiative of the University of the West Indies (UWI), is to launch a web-based documentation project to record incidents of harassment and violence based on homophobia, gender and HIV-related stigma.
UWI Professor and UNESCO regional chair, Dr. David Plummer remarked, “There are real costs to homophobia we are seeing across the region, not just for gay and lesbian people, but for all of us.” Meanwhile Tobago’s National AIDS Coordinating Committee chairperson, Angela Lee focused on ostracism’s health effects:
Stigma and discrimination drive the HIV epidemic underground. Homophobia does the same. Homophobia has contributed to the spread of HIV in this country and the entire Caribbean region.
And, in fact, the world.