Mr Golding did not get it right

Mr Golding did not get it right
Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Dear Editor,Your editorial of May 26, “Mr Golding got it right”, is reprehensible. You fail to acknowledge that PM Golding’s stance can do nothing but bolster the perpetrators of the very anti-gay violence that you claim to abhor. You also fail to recognise that this sort of stance, taken by the highest elected official in the land, can lead to further discrimination in the workplace and in public facilities. If the PM can discriminate against gays, why can’t the rest of the society do the same?

No, Mr Editor, Mr Golding did not get it right, he got his priorities all mixed up. If this is the issue on which he wishes to spend his political capital, both in Jamaica and abroad, then he is not going to be able to achieve very much. There is a huge contradiction (which you also fail to point out), between the so-called softening of attitudes to gays that the PM spoke about in the BBC interview and his own hardened position. Where is the evidence of this softening, may I ask? Certainly not in the bellicose rantings heard on talk-radio, and not to mention the vulgarity that passes for discourse on the Internet.

Something that nobody has been able to explain to me is what necessitated the “no gays in my cabinet” statement in the first instance? Was he under some pressure from the dreaded “outside lobby groups” to include gays in his Cabinet? No, this is mere populism of the darkest kind and you, Mr Editor, have no business supporting it.
Contrary to what even some gays might say, homosexuality is not a privacy issue, about what two people of the same sex do behind closed doors. Most people keep their intimate sexual activities private, but heterosexuals proclaim their sexuality in public at every turn. Just watch a passa passa video, if you are unsure. Indeed, the issue revolves around the right of homosexuals to “come out”, to be able to do the same things that heterosexuals are allowed to do in public, without the fear of verbal or physical abuse.

If you are seriously against anti-gay violence, and this is not just a byline that “decent” people use when promoting their homophobic views, you should be calling on the prime minister to proclaim unreservedly his opposition to such acts. There is no record of him having done this and it is unclear that he wishes to do so. Instead, he brings up red herrings such as gay marriage in an effort at obfuscation and just plain old deceit. Our elected officials have an obligation, not an option, to protect the rights of minorities, and remaining silent on the issue of anti-gay violence is tantamount to supporting it. In this respect, Jamaica has been horribly served by this and the previous government.

Delain Navin
Georgetown, Guyana

Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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