Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gleaner Editorial: Confront Anti-Gay Bigots

When Barack Obama referenced Angeline Jackson in his remarks to young leaders during his visit to Jamaica, it was more than a statement about the bravery of an individual and the right of people, whatever their sexual orientation, to enjoy their fundamental human rights in a free and democratic society.

It was a declaration, too, of the nature of leadership: that, at its best, it is conditioned by neither opportunism nor narrow expedience.

We hope that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller heard and was inspired to lead her administration in a frontal legislative defence of this country's gay and lesbian community to love who they wish, without fear of discrimination, official, or otherwise. In other words, it is not enough for the prime minister to designate a member of the Cabinet - as the Americans may have been advised she has done - to trove for complaints about government agencies that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and then use moral suasion in an effort to reverse such bigotry. Nor should such an initiative be secret, as it appears to be.

(photos added for this entry, not at source)

Ms Jackson was 19 when she was raped. Her rapists hid behind the chimera of their action being some kind of corrective therapy for her lesbianism. Instead of slinking off in the darkness, Ms Jackson formed an advocacy organisation, Quality Life Jamaica, for women like herself who have faced such trauma and, as President Obama put it, to push back against such stereotypes.

Said Mr Obama: "But more than anything else, she cares about Jamaica and making it a place where everybody - no matter their colour, or their class, or their sexual orientation - can live in quality and opportunity."

It was a sentiment similar to President Obama's and the bravery of Ms Jackson that we perceived in Mrs Simpson Miller when, during the 2011 election campaign, she rejected notions of a sexuality check for prospective members of Cabinet and promised a parliamentary conscience vote on the law against buggery, the major weapon of terror used to intimidate gay men.

Mrs Simpson Miller and her Government have done little publicly to advance this issue, which requires a major public-education campaign and would benefit from her unique skills of communicating with most Jamaicans.


It is easy to understand why Mrs Simpson Miller and Government may be tentative. A Bill Johnson poll for this newspaper last year found that 95 per cent of Jamaicans were in favour of retaining the buggery law. And while more than 80 per cent agreed that gays were not treated fairly in the society, two-thirds felt that they that should not enjoy the same rights as straight people. In other words, it is right for the law and other institutions to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Such attitudes are fanned by fundamentalist Christians, whose unevolved fire-and-brimstone interpretation of scripture helps, in too many circumstances, to reinforce bigotry and constrain governments keen on socially progressive and transformative actions. Put crudely, they influence votes. It would make sense that the fundamentalists undertake a review of their bearings.

At the same time, Mrs Simpson Miller might find that the hold of the fundamentalists and the bigots might be not as powerful as they assume if her leadership advances to the protection of people like Angeline Jackson.


Nothing much to add except to reference the Quality Citizenship Tab immediately below to see other posts by date order, new ones appear first including this post so scroll down for more.

As this old Clovis toon implies it's about winning election so explosive matter such as Buggery/Homosexuality may not really get the attention they deserve or be made to become political capital harvesting tools.

In the meantime see:
Health Minister Says Boldness Needed to Change Buggery Laws for HIV Prevention Work to be Effective

Member of Parliament Lloyd B Smith on Of Buggery & Rationality

Justice Minister reiterates his personal position on the Buggery Law, Anal Intercourse, Consent & Privacy,

More gay marriage paranoia & hijacking of the homosexual debate by fanatics

Opposition leader (JLP) reiterates his call for a referendum on Buggery ...

Non Governmental Organization Consultant says JLP suggested Referendum on Buggery is not a good idea

Opposition Leader sides with antigay groups on Referendum on The Buggery Law

Promised (I mean suggested) Conscience vote on Buggery law not a priority right now (yet again) says Prime Miniister

Holiness, hypocrisy and homosexuality …Pastors and the buggery law debate

Foreign Affairs Minister says Govt should be cautious on gay rights issues in Jamaica

Promised Conscience Vote on Buggery in Jamaica was a fluke,

PNP’s Bobby Pickersgill differs on Conscience Vote route to decide on Buggery Law

The False Dichotomy of the religious right on the LGBT advocacy Godlessness

The PNP's first 100 days ............. buggery review looks far away

PNP's Damion Crawford says it's highly unlikely buggery review will happen ........ it's not important now 2012

CVM TV @ Sunrise on the Buggery review & JFLAG's 100 days hope for meeting with PM

Gleaner's associate editor on no to theocracy

Milk River PNP Councillor says no to buggery repeal ..............


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