Lesbian overview in Jamaica

Lesbians in Jamaica have an easier existence than gay men, obvious to everyone these days as most of the venom towards gay life is directed at gay men. Our sisters enjoy much more overt freedoms than we do and across the landscape of the exotic nightclub arenas and massage parlors (also known as sex shops) patrons can readily find lesbian entertainment reasonably priced. Things seem to be changing though as in recent times it is noticeable that our lesbian sisters are feeling the pinch of homophobic violence across the island.

There are no laws presently on the books that directly speak to lesbian behaviour as illegal except for the gross indecency clause where one may be charged if caught in a public or private place conducting that specific sexual activity, the alleged perpetrators consenting or not. The new Sexual Offences Bill 2009 speaks of penetration with an object vaginally or anally gender neutral and as we know many lesbian couples do use sex toys for pleasure, that’s the closest they may come to legal woes here.

There have been several “corrective rape” crimes carried out in Portmore and Kingston and most recently in St. Thomas where an attempt was made on a 19 year old woman and in upper St. Andrew on a visiting Jamaican student studying in the United States who was followed and set upon by 2 men who she had resisted there advances in the hometown of her birth while she was shopping at a local grocery store. Corrective Rape in the paragraphed is used to describe the sometimes despicable sexual assaults of lesbian and bisexual women with the intent to punish and correct their same sex attraction or choice. There are several other types of rapes as well such as date, war, prison and gang rape.

Lesbians like the gay male community also have their fair share of problems within each sub group and they have developed ways of dealing with them, of note the forumatic activity which seems lacking in the gay community in general as the two groups socialise differently and many lesbians openly refuse to be seen at parties, events or forums where certain types of gay men would be present. Lesbophobia is also a pressing problem for some lesbians, the now defunct GLABCOM meetings usually held by Jamaica AIDS Support for Life which was an outreach arm of their targeted intervention program for Gay Lesbian Allsexual and Bisexual Community as the acronym spells out. Many lesbians complained of gays overtaking the meetings and not allowing fulsome discussions and exchange of ideas while many of the men wanted a meeting for themselves to deal with issues.

JFLAG has not had any forumatic activity in a while which begs the question what does forum in the name and acronym stands for? There was a lesbian group which was a spin off from early JFLAG days called Lesbians in Action which later changed to Women for Women. Their primary concern is social intervention within the Jamaican lesbian and bisexual female communities. They have bi-weekly meetings at selected locations and often have excursions with friends and family members. They can be reached via email at: womenforwomen1999@gmail.com. I think though that because women in general are naturally social creatures they are able to come together to handle issues.

Straight men attracted?
Jamaican men in general seem titillated by lesbian action, I say this because of my observation at some of the exotic nightclubs I mentioned before and even the bootleg DVD business, sales on the streets of Kingston and other areas where lesbian xrated porn is openly sold. One of the ways to test the temperature of sexuality and lifestyle I have seen is to check these two spots as mentioned.

In a poll I started some time now on here I asked whether lesbians could use their tolerance advantage to assist with the fight for equality in Jamaica, yes seems to be the majority answer so far as at the time of this post it was 93%. it has been suggested that they could speak on certain issues definitively and may not get rebuffed as easily as the gay male voices over the years in GLBT agitation.

To track issues relating to lesbian posts on here just click on the labels section “lesbian issues” or type in the search bar on top to list all articles.

GLTBQ Jamaica hopes to work together with all the groups and gender variants to arrive at a cohesive working relationship and tolerance.



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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