Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Is Jamaica the Most Homophobic Country in the Americas?

You can definitely make a strong case for it:

Today has been proclaimed 'Gay Eradication Day' by residents of the McGregor Gully community in East Kingston. Residents say that they will be taking action as a two-week notice given to all gays and lesbians to flee the community has now expired.

THE STAR learnt that about two weeks ago angry residents who declared that they were fed up with seeing the activities of several gay persons in their community, ordered that they leave by today or suffer the consequences.

Some residents who admitted to THE STAR that they are a part of the "gay clearing out" scheme said that it is being done to protect their families and the community on a whole.

Most Americans (in a different kind of base stereotyping) think of Jamaica as an island of happiness, home to marijuana and Bob Marley. Few realize that Jamaica is actually home to rampant homophobia that isn't even remotely veiled. Attacks on homosexuals on the island are not limited to verbal assault; Jamaican homosexuals often face very real violence if they come out of the closet, with nowhere to turn. Even the police get in on the act, committing abuses based on sexual orientation. It would be nice if this despicable (and that's being charitable) act of this community in Kingston was abnormal. Unfortunately, it's not - it's symptomatic of broader attitudes towards homosexual men and women in Jamaica, and there's just no sign of any aid coming to those who are threatened anytime soon.