Protecting "Culture," But Tide May Be Turning (Lavender)

Jamaican Politico Takes Stand Against Gays

It’s another game of “culture” v. the queer over in Jamaica. Opposition leader Bruce Golding insists that he and his party – Jamaica Labour Party – will not betray the island’s “historic” homo-hatred.
Instead, they will simply choose to ignore the fact that gays exist:

There are some countries that are prepared to overturn tradition and culture in the interest of what they regard as individual freedoms and to do so at the instance of the homosexual fraternity, which comprises a minority in the population. You will find this pretty prevalent in Europe. We (the JLP) are not prepared to go in that direction. We intend to uphold the laws of the country.

According to Jamaica’s colonial influenced laws, men who have sex with men can face up to ten years in jail.

Golding promises, however, that the government will not go breaking down people’s doors. Gay sex can happen in private. If gays choose to live their faggotry on the street – well, they’ll just have to face the consequences.

There is a sharp distinction between what is permissible in terms of the public and what is permitted in your own bedroom. We are not prepared to interfere with people’s privacy, but we feel that we must be sensitive to the culture of the country.

There have been some amendments to laws to ensure that people’s rights and freedoms are respected, but bear in mind that individual rights must be established within the context of the norms and culture and moral predilection of a society and therefore, that is our position.

Nice to know that Golding and the JLP stand on the side of violence: Jamaica’s seen more than its fair share of anti-gay attacks this year, including the beating of a transvestite, a funeral attack and an incident in Montego Bay.

Some Jamaican doctors predict an increase in these kinds of attacks, mostly because Jamaicans apparently feel the need to prove themselves: One unnamed shrink says:

…We in Jamaica have a reputation and we have a reputation to uphold and our reputation is that we are homophobic and anybody who come with it is going to be knocked down. We perceive ourselves as being homophobic so any sense of anybody (gay) peeping through, don’t cross the line because we have the distinction. Jamaica is known for this so any semblance of this is going to meet with resistance.

Another psychologist, Sidney McGill, sees things a bit differently. While Jamaican gays certainly remain shrouded, there’s definitely a sea change:

We are influenced a lot by the North American scene, it is just a matter of time before the majority of Jamaicans will have to accept homosexuality as a viable alternative lifestyle.

And the queers are no longer content to hide away. They’re read to be out and loud – and prepared for the backlash. Gill continues,

It is indicative of the homosexual in the community becoming bolder, on a mission of coming out of the closet in a collective sense. And you have homosexual communities that are attached to gangs and they get some amount of protection from the gangs, which allows them to come out without too much fear.

That’s some hot shit – aligning with a street gang to protect oneself from anti-gay brutes. Genius!

Now, if only they could find some allies in the government.