The recent parliamentary elections in Jamaica were plagued with anti-gay rhetoric, as candidates tried to show how manly they were by denigrating the LGBT community. So it’s perhaps not surprising that it was a woman, Prime Minister-designate Portia Simpson-Miller (right), who was the only one to speak in their favor. During a televised debate on December 20, she said, “No one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation” and indicated she favored a review of Jamaica’s anti-sodomy laws.”
With Simpson-Miller’s People’s National Party emerging victorious in Thursday’s election, it looks like Jamaica’s gays might see the dawn of a new day.
Colin Robinson, president of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO), told Trinidad Express that the most immediate effect of the election upset is that politicians might now rethink homophobia as a campaign tool.
“What the win says is that you do not lose an election by being supportive of the rights and the humanity of gay people,” Robinson said. “Similarly the [opposition] JLP candidate, outrageously using homophobia as a campaign tool, lost his seat. So the other message is, [saying] ‘bun batty man’ and beating the Bible on the backs of gay people will not win you elections.”
Let’s hope that’s true in America as well.