Buggery no shackle, gays want ‘hate crimes’ law (flashback 22.05.08)

Another emancipation day flashback post that I want us to look at in terms of tracking the various points of view presented over the years epecially those that are with merit. I particularly was taken by this letter as it seem to have come from an individual with a fair perspective.

What do you think? …

Have a read:

Buggery no shackle, gays want ‘hate crimes’ law

The Editor, Sir:

I believe the Legislature and Government of Jamaica have missed the point on this whole issue of homosexuality. The fact is, the buggery laws are not a shackle for homosexuals who exist in this country and the decriminalising of such acts would have had little consequence on those men who perform sexual acts consensually among themselves.

In reality, these laws don’t make ‘homosexuality’ illegal as, in its broadest sense, homosexuality includes lesbians as well. So, for our prime minister and government who would much rather political expediency than an ‘objective’ discussion on same-sex relations in our nation, the buggery laws shall remain.

Put reasonable laws in place

The gay people of Jamaica do not need the permission of churches, Government or public figures to live our lives and have sex with whom we choose. However, we do want the Government to put its policy where its mouth is and ensure that violent acts against people of different sexual orientation and also other vulnerable members of society, such as the disabled, mentally ill and even people living with HIV and AIDS, are punished to the full extent that law provides.

This should be done with the creation of a hate crimes law which would serve specific penalties for persons accused of harming or murdering people because of their differences, whether perceived or otherwise.

In reality, it only takes an assumption or a suspicion of being homosexual in some Jamaican communities for someone to be attacked and brutalised. Of the many cases that have come to public attention of ‘gay’ men being beaten and even killed, very few have been as a result of these said men being caught in compromising positions. Yet, they are set upon and, in what might seem like sanctioned events, the all too familiar scene unfolds.

Classic defence

And when someone murders a known homosexual, we are tired of hearing the classic gay defence of ‘he tried to rape me’. What of the many lesbians who suffer in silence after being raped by men who believe they can turn them ‘straight’? Why should they suffer because of circumstance?

Of course, the hypocritical ‘religio-political’ mass of this nation will quickly condemn such efforts as protectionism for ‘sinners’ and the morally decadent, yet they would decry general acts of violence in society. So, I ask, what is the distinction?

Aren’t we all just a bunch of sinners being murdered by a bunch of other sinners? Our Government promised protection for all. ‘All’ should include the yet to be acknowledged homosexual men and women of Jamaican society.

I am, etc.,

JAMES MARCHAND

jtmarchand@gmail.com

Kingston 8

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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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