Have a campaign of tolerance (Observer Letter) but …….

Dear Editor,

At the General Assembly of the OAS held in June this year, Jamaica joined the unanimous adoption of OAS Resolution 2604 “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”. This marks the third such resolution that Jamaica has supported in as many years which promotes the recognition of the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) individuals.

However, between 2009 and 2010, the country continued to record numerous human rights violations of LGBTI citizens, including:

 * A 32 per cent HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among men who have sex with men due to homophobic laws driving gays underground away from effective HIV prevention.

* Six reports of persons being ejected from their homes by family members because of their sexual orientation.

* Four reports of lesbians being raped to “make them straight”.

* Four men forced to flee their homes (one at gunpoint and another after his home was stoned) because they were identified participating in a national “Walk for Tolerance” for persons infected, affected, and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.

* Two mob home invasions of people suspected to be gay. Now more than ever, the treatment of Jamaican LGBT runs afoul of our international obligations and it is only a matter of time before we are made to account for this.

A campaign of tolerance needs to be launched and the necessary legislative changes made to recognise the human rights of all Jamaicans.

Failure to do so may well result in us being branded a pariah state by the international community, negatively impacting our access to international markets and our ability to travel.

Maurice Tomlinson                                                  maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com



A few observations though, it is interesting that it’s only Mr. Tomlinson a human rights lawyer from Montego Bay, consultant to AIDSFREEWORLD and a Jamaica AIDS Support for Life board member who seems to be speaking publicly on these issues apart from a few bloggers, JFLAG seems quiet or is he the front man using the AIDSFREEWORLD platform? Of course independent voices such as this and other brave bloggers are not “tolerated” by the powers that be yet here we are asking for tolerance from general society.

Why doesn’t JFLAG speak out openly? this is just what the homophobes and christian right opposition needs to bolster their argument that AIDS is being used as a front to slide in or hoist homosexuality on the country. Yes I understand the co-relation between the groups and HIV/AIDS but just come out and openly tackle the issue instead of a supposed front man.

With the CARICOM meeting to be held in Montego Bay Jamaica on the weekend of July 3rd and Jamaica’s assumption of it’s leadership in the person of non other than Prime Minster Bruce “Not in My Cabinet” Golding, it is going to be interesting to see what plays out in this matter as clearly this is the new thrust now to tackle the regional legal and political structures while yet the individuals on the ground of note the homeless MSMs still are out there made nomads by dubious circumstances with the closure of the shelter earlier this year.

Hypocrisy, institutional homophobia (with an element of classism) or misappropriated priorities?

Think about these things folks.

Peace and tolernace