The Jamaican drag attack has spurred journo and concerned citizen, Dr. Orville Winthorp Taylor to pen an article exploring the nuances of Jamaica’s gay culture. In an awkward attempt to be fair & balanced, Taylor winds up tacitly condoning violence against gays. But, really, what do you expect from an article commencing thus: “Every time that I conclude that the gay debate is over, I realise that I can’t turn my back on it.” Because those gays sneak up when you least suspect it and – bam! – you totally turn lavender.
Taylor opens the article with a brief rundown of the recent anti-gay happenings in the Caribbean nation before insisting that he does not condone physical violence. Well, except for when they are “in the process of harming others or is seriously resisting arrest”. But, rest assured, Taylor believes, “People ought not to be beaten simply because their lifestyles are offensive.” Gee, thanks…
Taylor also excuses public violence in some other text book cases stereotypical of sexual panic:
One can, however, excuse the public when there is pederasty (child-targeted homosexuality), or other attempts to force one’s sexual will unto a victim. Therefore, it is difficult to reproach an unsuspecting gardener, who accepts a drink from the boss, who then plies him with alcohol and attempts to violate him in his stupor. Neither can one have much sympathy for those predators who lure and drug young boys and have sex with them against their will.
The same goes for those ‘bad men’ in prison who try to ‘bow’ new inmates, and those outside of institutions, who feel that having sexual contact with an enemy or disobedient ‘soldier’ is an acceptable means of punishment.
Taylor then delves briefly into Lawrence v. Texas, which separated sex and state. His outline leads him to ask whether human rights can be expanded to include “diversity” and whether or not “we should widen the tolerance of a violent Jamaican public”.
Jamaica isn’t as homophobic as other countries, Taylor goes on to argue, but it remains unclear whether that’s a defense, a call for action or threat. He does, after all, agree with the public defender’s recent comments saying drags and gays should stay in the shadows:
Public Defender Earl Witter raised the arguments that male homosexuality was illegal and perhaps Jamaican gays should “hold their corners” or hide in the cracks.
The public defender makes sense, because I would not walk into a Ku Klux Klan-dominated neighbourhood in Alabama with a Black Panther jacket. Neither would I recommend anyone to walk into Tivoli with a yellow Portia shirt, or into Payne Land with a green Bruce jersey. Discretion is the better part of valour. Cross-dressing is not the same as effeminacy.
No, not it’s not.
Gays Again? [Jamaica-Gleaner]