KINGSTON, Jamaica — Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are the targets of unchecked violence and discrimination in Jamaica, frequently refused housing or employment in the Caribbean country typically described as the region’s most hostile to LGBT citizens, a leading human rights group says in a report released Tuesday.
In its 86-page report titled “Not Safe at Home,” Human Rights Watch noted that LGBT citizens in Jamaica are often driven from their communities by neighbors and sometimes even family. Some health professionals stigmatize them by casting judgment on their sexuality when they seek care. Police protection against bias and physical attacks is generally poor.
Jamaica is among numerous English-speaking Caribbean nations with anti-sodomy laws. Public health officials say the laws criminalizing gay sex have fueled the region’s HIV epidemic by making it hard to effectively reach men who have sex with men, a population that generally faces elevated levels of HIV infection.
The New York-based rights group(Human Rights Watch) called on the Jamaican government to strike down the anti-sodomy law that criminalizes anal sex and another that prohibits “acts of gross indecency” between men. While prosecution is rare under Jamaica’s 1864 law making sexual intimacy between men a crime, the advocacy organization says it gives “social sanction to prejudice and helps to create a context in which hostility and violence is directed against LGBT people.”
Reggae and Homophobic Lyrics
Queen Ifrica states that she uses homophobic lyrics when she is not connecting with the audience. She claims that gays in the audience love the gays slurs.! She has been banned from concerts in Canada and the USA. People like her are cruel bullies who are walking with “blood money” to the bank. When she was banned, the comments were unbelievable. Many Jamaicans cannot distinguish between ‘free speech” and ‘hate speech.’ She stated that the real culprit was religion. Nothing like ‘washing your hands’ Queen Ifrica, but like Lady McBeth, water will not wash away the blood!
LGBT Jamaican Youth Live in Sewers
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Around 11 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013 police officers led by Cmdr. Christopher Murdock lowered a ladder into an open sewer in New Kingston, the Jamaican capital’s financial district. The sewer, damp and strewn with trash, flowed out of the business district housing several banks, large hotels, and shopping arcades. And it was home to a group of youths Murdock wanted gone.
Their alleged crime: stealing. Murdock said he had received more than 30 reports of theft and robbery since the group, ranging in age from teens to early twenties, had moved into the sewer several months before, and he was becoming concerned that the stretch of Trafalgar Road that runs over their makeshift home was becoming unsafe for people to walk.
But Murdock’s televised following the Sunday raid left the impression the kids were unwanted for an entirely different reason: “The aim of this operation was to remove men of diverse sexual orientation who continue to plague the New Kingston area.”
The New York-based rights group called on the Jamaican government to strike down the anti-sodomy law that criminalizes anal sex and another that prohibits “acts of gross indecency” between men. While prosecution is rare under Jamaica’s 1864 law making sexual intimacy between men a crime, the advocacy organization says it gives “social sanction to prejudice and helps to create a context in which hostility and violence is directed against LGBT people.”
Human Rights Watch did note that there has been a “groundswell of change in Jamaica in the way it is responding to human rights abuses against LGBT people.” It praised Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and other government leaders for constructive statements about LGBT rights.
Religion Again Fails to Love
But many people in the largely Christian country consider homosexuality to be sinful, and believe the gay rights lobby is a perversion from abroad. Even among those who tolerate homosexuality, some people think it should not be advertised and believe activists have exaggerated reports of violence.
A recent poll commissioned by the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper suggested that 91 percent of Jamaicans are opposed to repealing the anti-sodomy law. The survey of 1,208 Jamaicans had a margin of error of 3 percent.
Last year, a transgender teen named Dwayne Jones was killed by a mob at a crowded street dance outside Montego Bay and the slaying remains unsolved. He confided in a girl who went to church with him; she turned him in.
In late August, a young Jamaican gay rights activist who brought an unprecedented legal challenge to the Caribbean island’s anti-sodomy law withdrew his claim after growing fearful about possible violent reprisals. When the legal challenge was initiated last year, several pastors led crowded revival meetings in Jamaica’s two biggest cities to counter what they called a growing mainstream acceptance of homosexuality.