Buggery, Bigotry And Buffoonery

As the war of words heat up in print between straight-allied activists, religious intolerant groups and the LGBT lobby and several legal challenges hanging in the balance I think we need to tread very careful and try not to get lost in the sea of charges and counter charges. Today’s piece however in the Gleaner by Attorney Gordon Robinson however is a good one:

Gordon Robinson, Contributor to the Gleaner wrote:

Bigotry is as bigotry does.It’s usually dressed up in many disguises, usually religious, but bigotry always exposes itself by the lengths to which it’ll go to fashion fallacious arguments to create an illusion of truth protecting its unreasonable beliefs from plain sight.

The worst form of bigotry is the self-righteous kind where the Bible is blamed for man’s inhumanity to man. “Is not me say so,” preaches Pastor doing his best Shaggy impression, “It’s in the Bible!”

As one bogus excuse for entrenching bigotry as national policy is debunked, another is trotted out. Humans, looking as earnest as chemistry professors in nightclubs while feigning sincere attempts to grasp non-existent complexities as they explain why other humans shouldn’t be treated equally, never tire of producing nonsensical arguments in support of their fatally flawed hypothesis.

Because, make no mistake about it, any hypothesis that a baby born who, when grown, is attracted differently from another baby born and grown on the same planet is somehow inherently evil (or requires ‘cure’) is a fallacious hypothesis.

What follows from this simple premise is that any argument put forward by those seeking to perpetuate such a bigoted view is easily exposed as nonsense. It matters not the form bigotry might, from time to time, take, whether segregation, apartheid, religious intolerance, racism, slavery, or homophobia. Bigotry is as bigotry does.

Sometimes, persons trying to expose the fallacy in a shiny new argument become entangled in the need to be politically correct or maybe is himself/herself conflicted, hence trying to argue from textbook theory instead of inalienable truth. The inalienable truth, which is self-evident, is that all humans are created equal. However, no two persons have the same DNA. All of us have always been, and will always be, Differently Natural Animals, yet we’re all equal in the sight of God.

These things don’t confuse children. In their innocence, children play with any other child. It’s only when a supervising adult says, “Don’t play with that little boy. He likes to put on girl’s clothes. He’s queer” that the child, conditioned to obey, shies away.

Q: What is segregation?

Little Girl: I don’t know what seggeration is.

Q: What is bigotry?

Little Girl: I don’t know what bigory is.

Q: What does hatred mean?

Little Girl: I don’t know what that is.

Q: What is prejudice?

Little Girl: Umm, I think it’s when somebody’s sick.

Recently, I’ve noted the religious righteous have launched a new offensive against homosexuals. It’s as if an executive council of the forces of bigotry held emergency meetings after receiving cell phone calls from today’s Paul Revere, “The homos are coming! The homos are coming!” – from which fresh arguments were fashioned to defeat annoying activists expecting gays to be treated as humans (OMG!). Then foot soldiers are deployed to spread the word.

Previously, the favourite argument of lobbyists for bigotry as government policy was, “Where will it end? If ‘unnatural’ sex acts are to be tolerated, man should be able to have sex with his dog. Or cat. Or donkey. Where do we draw the line?” This is, of course, crude fearmongering disguised as argument.

What exactly is ‘natural’?

Buzzwords like ‘unnatural’ deliberately conjure up disgusting mind pictures designed to regurgitate your lunch. Especially in an undereducated nation, this word will scare plenty people. But, first, what exactly is ‘natural’? What’s natural for the goose can be awkward for the gander. My dictionary defines ‘natural’ as ‘existing in nature; not made or caused by humans’, which, if I took ye Olde Testament literally, makes ALL sex unnatural.

Bigotry needs fear to feed its irrationality, hence the inclusion of fearsome buzzwords and the persistent use of inappropriate analogies rather than addressing the actual situation bigotry wants to condemn.

Logic’s reply excludes all emotive words. It’s that the world needs more, love not less. Anything done between consenting adults in the name of love is between them and their God and none of the State’s business. It’s all about consent. So, the reason why the State justifiably steps in when a man is caught raping a donkey is because the poor donkey can’t consent. Like all bad analogies, bigotry’s use of the donkey parable is irrelevant to the real issue.

That argument having flopped, the forces of bigotry have regrouped; a new argument has been developed; and is being broadcast islandwide. It begins on cue, “Where will it end?” Bigotry continues, “If anything between consenting adults is okay, what if a father and his adult daughter have consensual sex? What about that?”

This inane argument has been the subject of an insidious campaign of brainwashing by immersion from all angles, including by educated panellists on a popular TV show. That show’s token liberal fumbled the ball while she stammered her way to an equally silly response about ill-advised genetics. Genetics, schmenetics! Don’t let bigotry’s smoke and mirrors confuse you. It’s all about consent.

Consensual sex between a father and his adult daughter is an oxymoron of cataclysmic proportions. Both in law and common sense, ‘consent’ can’t be present if it’s the result of undue influence. A parent has complete and authoritative influence over his children from birth, and each child places total trust in that parent’s guidance. Sex with one’s daughter is inherently sex obtained by an abuse of that trust (undue influence) and so can’t be consensual, properly so called, regardless of the daughter’s current age.

As bastions of prejudice are crumbling worldwide, it seems local bigotry’s desperation has pushed it to the use of whatever argument necessary, no matter how patently flawed, to ensure only one type of love is tolerated in Jamaica. Woe betide your love should it not conform to Bigotry’s notion of ‘natural’ love.

It matters not how skilled or qualified you are. It matters not how caring and loving an individual you are. If you dare to love a member of your own gender, you must be shunned, hated, and punished. Every possible obstacle must find itself in your ambitions’ path, your hopes, your dreams, your love, even your very life. To bigotry, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as passing judgement on a fellow life traveller less righteous than him/her.

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,

There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb.

There are oceans and rivers enough to cross

Enough to last until the end of time.

At this time of national crisis, our economy is being squeezed to death, our children are undereducated, our health services are chaotic, bus fare hikes are about to cripple the poor, yet the number one issue churches can find to throw their coordinated strength against is the perpetuation of hatred against gays. Right now, as Peter Phillips correctly said, we need all hands on deck. That’s ALL hands, whether left- or right-handed, gay or straight.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

No, not just for some but for everyone.

 

Instead of calling for unity against economic crisis; or unity against the violent, frightening crime, Jamaica’s chauffeur to the most wanted, Reverend Al, has a more important national focus. He wrote:

“We declare that we’ll mobilise and resist any attempt to tamper with the Constitution as it relates to buggery. Our present Charter of Rights sufficiently covers and protects the rights of all citizens.”

Al, the Constitution doesn’t ‘relate’ to buggery. Your Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship made sure of that. Talk about fleeing when nobody pursueth! He removed all pretence at political neutrality when, in his most arrogant tone, he said:

“We will not support any politician or political party that seeks to promote and foist on our nation, in any shape or form, the gay-rights agenda, which is alien to our culture as a people.”

POLITICAL THREAT

Rev Al Unplugged produces a partisan political threat to destroy any government who even debates treating gays as equal under the law. Al believes the “gay-rights agenda” is “foreign” to our culture. Al, why’re you so afraid? Since gays have proliferated in Jamaica since forever (including in the Church), and since Jamaican gays most definitely want ‘gay rights’ (all they really want is human rights), here’s the bad news, Al. Gay rights is about as foreign to Jamaica as priests inappropriately fondling young boys or pastors knocking up church sisters. Al saved the best for last:

“We respect the right of privacy and freedom of personal choices. We believe and demand that Government and the courts bear in mind and uphold the Constitution of our nation and the will of the majority of our citizens.”

Why does Al DEMAND the courts uphold the Constitution? Is he saying they’ve been derelict in that duty? Maybe he believes that’s why the courts convicted him of a gun-related offence. His stated respect for privacy, coming immediately after his lurid threat to withdraw “support” from any government considering allowing gays their privacy, rings as hollow as a Loretta Lynn’s birthplace.

Q: What is segregation?

Little Girl: I don’t know what seggeration is.

Q: What is bigotry?

Little Girl: I don’t know what bigory is.

Q: What does hatred mean?

Little Girl: I don’t know what that is.

Q: What is prejudice?

Little Girl: Umm, I think it’s when somebody’s sick.”

Legendary song-writing duo, Hal David (lyrics) and Burt Bacharach (music), wrote ‘What The World Needs Now is Love’ in 1965. Dionne Warwick turned it down (although she subsequently covered it in 1966), so it was first recorded by Jackie DeShannon. In 1971, in the aftermath of America’s notorious political assassinations, disc jockey Tom Clay created a superb remix which pulled together elements of the Bacharach/David song and 1968’s Abraham Martin and John (written by Dick Holler and first recorded by rock ‘n’ roll star Dion).

The musical collage featured a question-and-answer session with a little girl for whom these concepts of hate were truly foreign. Tom Clay’s remix became a smash hit. Readers could revisit it in these times when purveyors of hatred threaten to tear us apart and destroy any hope of a successful Jamaican vision.

Peace and love.

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.

 

Also see:

The False Dichotomy of the religious right on the ………

Espeut, West says “Homophobia” was invented to abuse Christians as hate speech

‘Gays Made, Not Born’ – On the Confused State of the Religious Mind

Some religious right lies about the lgbt community…

Don’t Shield Gays From Criticism

The abomination of cowardice; The just and the unjust … John Maxwell’s 8y/o piece revisited

Some of you may know by now I have always liked this particular article from the late John Maxwell, in its original form it was one of those pieces that turned me on even more to advocacy and to think it came from a heterosexual at that in Jamaica is even more exceptional. His Maxwell House Blog is still up.

Here is the article in the form of an Observer Column published today:

The abomination of cowardice; The just and the unjust

Today marks the second anniversary of the passing of iconic journalist John Maxwell. In the following excerpts culled by his widow, Dr Marjan deBruin, from two of Maxwell’s columns (December 2004 and February 2007) published in the Sunday Observer, the journalist is at his trenchant best on issues over which the society continues to agonise.

SEVERAL years ago, various media outlets carried a rumour that homosexuals were planning a march on Jamaica House. I don’t remember anyone believing the story, but the media ran with it anyway. On the day appointed, dozens of idiots armed with cutlasses descended on Half-Way-Tree square prepared to teach the homosexuals a lesson. None, of course, appeared.


MAXWELL… if we do not ‘love’ one another, ie respecting the rights of all, if we destroy those who are different, we are sabotaging our own chances of survival by reducing the diversity and complexity of life, which is what enhances the odds that we will survive (Photo courtesy of Leah N Gold)

As I have said in an earlier column, it was a uniquely Jamaican occasion, because I don’t believe that anywhere else in the world would the press have been so willing to spread such a plainly ridiculous and dangerous story, given the homophobic environment; nor would there be, anywhere else in the world, people idle enough to assemble for a sporting massacre, as it were. It was a low point in Jamaican civilisation and none of our leaders said a word.

Unfortunately, on the question of homophobia and homosexuality, the press is at least as backward as the majority of Fundamentalist Jamaica. Reading the advice columns demonstrates just how ignorant and illiterate people — including some counsellors — are about anything concerning sex.

Betty Ann Blaine, a very nice lady who is also a well-known social worker, delivered herself of the dictum that homosexuality is ‘learned behaviour’… There is no authority anywhere for anyone to say that homosexual behaviour is learned.

On the contrary, controlled experiment with rats under environmental stress produced ‘homosexual’ intercourse which surprised the investigators because that was not what they were looking for. And homosexual pairing is well established among certain birds. There is also some evidence that there may be genetic predispositions which may or may not be reinforced by nurture. The fact is that no one really knows, which, I suppose, is as good a reason as any for murder.

Be fruitful and multiply…

 Diversity is the key to survival with species and among species. If we do not ‘love’ one another, ie respecting the rights of all, if we destroy those who are different, we are sabotaging our own chances of survival by reducing the diversity and complexity of life, which is what enhances the odds that we will survive.

To be fruitful and multiply is not, as some of us imagine, a prescription for uncontrolled breeding; it means that we should provide equal opportunity for the survival of all. Fitness arises from diversity, not the other way round.

The more diverse we are is the more likely that some of us will survive, which is directly opposite to the views of the sectarian bigots who now presume to lay down rules to decide who we should love and who we should allow to survive.

The prophet whose teachings they claim to follow, Jesus of Nazareth, was in fact a supremely practical philosopher whose teachings seem to contradict most of the stuff handed down by the new rule makers. When Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, it was clear that He was not discarding the Sabbath and what it stood for, but making the point that while ethics and principles and the rules derived from them were prerequisites for a healthy and productive life, they were designed to fulfil human purposes and not to frustrate human happiness.

They needed to be adjusted and fitted to serve human purposes from time to time, to advance the human. Our ethical principles needed to be developed out of experience to serve real needs and not to be accepted simply because they had existed for a very long time or because some old geezer claiming to be a prophet said so.

Our absolutists who want to burn homosexuals and other sinners appear to reject one of the most fundamental arguments advanced by Jesus: that while the law and the prophets were to be taken into account, he was promulgating a new principle in total defiance of Mosaic Law: a new commandment give I unto you, he said, “that ye love one another.”

…The Christian Taliban

 Much of the homophobic plague now disfiguring our society is incited by those I call the Christian Taliban, a gang of prideful know-nothings who come not to call sinners to repentance, but to deliver them into the hands of the vigilantes. Some have acquired their second rate theology for a couple of hundred US dollars from some self-styled Bible college.

What riles me is that, in the heat of their newly bought holiness, they want to crucify the rest of us, or more accurately, to stretch or cut us to fit their own Procrustean beds of sublime ignorance.

They depend on the Old Testament, a collection of some of the oral history of nomadic tribes wandering about the Middle East 4,000 years ago. This accumulated wisdom was life-preserving at that time, surrounded as they were by enemies and eating unreliable food, but as Jesus of Nazareth said, it isn’t what a man consumes that defiles him, but what comes out of him.

Because the Israelite nomads wanted to build up the numerical strength of their tribes they encouraged men to impregnate their sisters-in-law if their brothers died, and buggery — then and now the poorest but surest means of birth control — was an abomination as was, for the same reason, ‘Onanism’ or masturbation.

To their modern-day successors, like the Pharisees and Sadducees with their phylacteries and other tokens of holiness, what is good is not what one does but what one says, forgetting another apothegm from Jesus — that the Devil can quote scripture to his own purpose. As far as they are concerned, the idea that God is Love is nonsense: God is a terrible God, full of wrath, vengefulness and thunderbolts.

These whited sepulchres understand Jesus’ advice that we should be our brother’s keepers to mean that they should be their brother’s jailers. My old friend Peter Walker used to call these hypocrites “God-Botherers” because they seemed to have exclusive hotlines to their divinity.

Now they counsel us based on misinterpretations of 4,000-year-old ‘science’, that abortion is always wrong, that life begins at conception and a host of other nonsense, including the belief that sex education makes children pregnant.

The latest outrage is the idea of raising the age of consent, an idea some would interpret to authorise the jailing of anyone who had sexual intercourse before that age. Just say no, they blather — ignorance is literally bliss. I have news for them: if they really want to protect young people they should promote the raising of the age of consent to 24, because scientists have discovered that the brains of human children do not completely mature until about that age.

As I write this my friend Canute James has shown me a story from The Guardian (London) about a Jamaican who has, for the last 27 years, successfully pretended to be an expert forensic psychologist. This conman even had a motto which must have come straight from Jamaica: ‘Exposing Unrighteousness for the Sake of Righteousness’.

This man, one Gene Morrison, who didn’t even have a ‘genuine mail order’ degree, duped judges, barristers and their clients for almost three decades. He gave “expert evidence” in cases involving armed robbery, rape, death by dangerous driving, unexplained death and drug offences. Police are now having to re-assess about 700 cases looking for miscarriages of justice.

Never underestimate the power of a righteous Jamaican, especially one armed with the Wrath of God.

also see:  John Maxwell’s “The Abomination of Cowardice” from Gay Jamaica Watch

and: Betty Ann Blaine & foreign religious zealots continue to mirespresent male  homosexuality from GLBTQJamaica

 

UNAIDS Director says the PNP offers hope for the repealing of the buggery law …… but some concerns exist

UNAIDS Regional Director of the support team in the Caribbean Dr Ernest Massiah says the return of the Peoples National Party PNP in Jamaica offers hope that the tide will turn where the repealing of the Buggery Law is concerned this he interprets as a pre-election commitment by the then opposition leader now ruling Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to review the legislation which I still see as a suggestion by her in answering the question posed by Dionne Jackson Miller in the leadership debate in 2011 in the run up to the general election in December last. He spoke at one of the sessions at the AIDS 2012 conference in the US.

He also said the organization had received encouraging feedback from three unnamed Caribbean Prime Ministers in private discussions and that when the time is right Mrs Simpson may be named as one of the three then.

I and some others in the community are unclear as to Mrs Simpson Miller’s answer and her real position (see audio below) as at the leadership debate and subsequent followup comments by her along with press releases from the PNP itself denying it promised to repeal any buggery laws. Have I missed something?

also see my post on December 30, 2011:
PNP Wins …………….Hope for LGBT People ???

here is one of the press releases hinted to above where the PNP had denied allegations from the ruling party then turned opposition now the Jamaica Labour Party JLP as they lost the election:

NO REPEAL OF BUGGERY ACT, SAYS PNP

December 27, 2011: The People’s National Party (PNP) has labeled as deliberate mischief making by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), suggestions that it supports a repealing of the Buggery Act. The PNP says that is not its position.
The PNP says the JLP has been circulating the false assertion about the Party’s position on the matter in a desperate bid to make the matter an issue of contention to gain political advantage.

PNP Campaign Director, Dr. Peter Phillips said at a press conference to wrap up the party’s campaign today that the PNP has no position to repeal the Buggery Act, and that the issue arose out of a question posed to party leader Portia Simpson Miller during the recent national debate with prime minister and JLP leader, Andrew Holness.

“This arose out of a question and there is no position taken by us of a repeal. We recognize that there are some persons, who for their own partisan political reasons, would wish to distort the Party’s position as it relates to the Buggery Act,” Dr. Phillips said.
He adds that the Party Leader has proposed a review of the Act, and not a repeal of it.
“During the review, every Member of Parliament will be required to bring to bear on the discussions, the views and the opinion of his or her constituents. At the end of the review, if a vote is to be taken, the vote will be a conscience vote, which means each Member of Parliament will vote according to the directive of his/ her constituents,” Dr. Phillips says.

This is in keeping with the position taken by the PNP President, who indicated at the national debate that the people of Jamaica should let their voices be heard on the matter through consultations spearheaded by Members of Parliament, so that a Parliamentary debate and vote on the issue would not be confined to the views of Parliamentarians alone, but rather, would be reflective of the views and will of the people in constituencies across the country.
Responding to questions posed by journalists about accusations leveled on the campaign trail by Daryl Vaz that the PNP had received funding from overseas-based gay rights groups, Phillips said such accusations were not true and a “total fabrication” as the party had in no way supported “any gay agenda”.

“This is a total fabrication of Mr. Vaz and his very active imagination and speaks to the desperation in that (the JLP’s) campaign,” said Phillips.
The PNP will end its election campaign today with a tour of western parishes and culminate with a meeting in the South West St. Andrew constituency of Party Leader, Portia Simpson Miller, followed by a gospel concert at the party’s 89 Old Hope Road headquarters.

Executive Director of JFLAG Dane Lewis at the time had said that the Prime Minister missed an opportunity to make a bold declaration on securing rights for all Jamaicans, he continued on a telephone interview that “We’re very encouraged by the bold statement from a Jamaican politician the opposition leader Miss Portia Simpson Miller, I am very disappointed that the Prime Minister with an opportunity to make as bold a statement chose the lower road. It is going to take a conscience vote it’s gonna take the leaders of this country to make some bold steps to recognise the rights of all Jamaicans.” He also said he trusts the sincerity of the opposition leader, he doesn’t think it’s a ploy to win the votes of the gay community days before an election.  He said too that it was not about threats on withholding aid by UK and US governments who have now tied aid to LGBT rights.

Here is the other press release that came on December 21st from the PNP denying they made any promises to repeal Buggery.

PNP HAS GIVEN NO COMMITMENT TO REPEALING THE BUGGERY ACT

Kingston, December 22, 2011: The People’s National Party notes that following Tuesday’s leadership debate, some persons have been suggesting that PNP President Portia Simpson Miller, has given a commitment to “repealing” the Buggery Act. The PNP uses this opportunity to state clearly that Mrs. Simpson Miller gave no such commitment.
The PNP President said it was time that the Act be “reviewed” and all members of the House of Representatives provided with an opportunity to vote on the matter based on their conscience.
It would be expected that in such a vote, Members of Parliament on both sides of the House, would take into consideration the views of their constituents.The PNP President remains committed to her pledge to make appointments to a Cabinet led by her on the basis of competence.

here is New Nation Coalition Founder Betty Ann Blaine questioning the PM’s on buggery earlier this year among other audio including my response as well:

Bear this in mind as well, after digging my archives I found the presentation by Mrs Simpson Miller in 2009 (poor audio though) where she sided wholeheartedly with the then Prime Minster Bruce Golding (his speech linked) on the banning of gay marriage, gay marriage rights by the way was never asked for by the LGBT advocacy structure at that time but it was dishonestly pushed on the agenda during the Charter of Rights debate then as a smoke screen to deny us recognition in the Charter. The clause that had discrimination as an infraction then was also removed from the draft prior to this speech after successful lobbying by none other than the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship with support from none other than reverend Al Miller.

She said on October 20th 2009 – Mr Speaker when we accepted the final report from the joint select committee that were looking at the bill we were completely satisfied with their recommendation of a provision to restrict marriage and like relationships to one man and one woman within Jamaica and that the provision should be specifically spelt out so that there could be no ambiguity ………. yes one man one woman (laughter in the house) and if you are Jamaican and go overseas the same applies ………..

Has Prime Minister Simpson Miller changed her mind or is evolving as President Obama did and is moving towards having the review done and will she get the need support as per conscience vote to make the repeal possible or at best decriminalization from her 59 members of parliament especially folks such as A.J. Nicholson and first time MP Lambert Brown who opposed condoms in prisons saying it was homosexuality being snuck through the back door? Mr. Brown said. “Those who are promoting condoms in prison are using the back door to promote homosexuality which is illegal.”

also see these two posts I had done where another first time MP poured cold water on the buggery review suggestion: PNP’s Damion Crawford on Homosexuality’s legality ………. and
PNP’s Damion Crawford says it’s highly unlikely buggery review will happen …….. it’s not important now he concludes

for your review here is the actual debate video below and her answer to Dionne Jackson Miller also click here to see her blog: http://newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/jamaica-and-gays-are-we-homophobic-or-not

here is a follow up video from TVJ where Mrs Miller defended her answer in the debate and the JLP’s accusation of the PNP repealing buggery originally aired December 24, 2011:

Who will assist with any backlash that may occur (if any) especially on the ground in terms of violence and frontline activists not to mention persons perceived to be gay who may be targeted?  we must expect anything I say as previous experience has taught us such as the Canadian group EGALE tourism boycott suggestion which led to some resistance and incidents towards LGBT citizens and a spike in the numbers of homo negative episodes, I am not comforted by the revelation by UNAIDS this should have been kept close to their chests and proceed with the talks.

Time Magazine while naming her as one of the 100 most influential for 2011/2 said on their site: “………Portia is promoting full civil rights for gays and lesbians, a courageous move in a country with a violent history of homophobia”

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Just come clean and done nuh and mek we know what is what Portia. I do not see it as a commitment or a promise as others do but instead just her opinion at the time of being questioned and a good political tool at the time to win the election given the lethargy to politics after the drawn out JLP run with the Manatt Dudus commission of enquiry in particular.

Peace and tolerance

H

The Dance of Difference, The New Frontier of Sexual Orientation part II

In part one we looked at the book below on sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch where a preview of the first chapter can be seen via Kindle, also see the Smile Jamaica interview HERE – See the TVJ interview HEREAuthor Shirley Anderson-Fletcher, is a consultant with more than 30 years’ experience as an applied behavioural scientist, organisation systems analyst, executive coach and group facilitator.

Shirley Anderson Fletcher continued her promotional tour of sorts of her book The Dance of Difference where it was launched in Kingston Jamaica at Bookophilia   Thursday November 17.  She pushed the need for heterosexuals to rethink their stance on homosexuals and the associated stereotypes while speaking to Profile host Ian Boyne on Sunday November 20, 2011. Among other things she commented many of the points already outlined by advocates and independent LGBT voices over these many years.

I have been concerned about the oppression of racism and sexism for most of my adult life. However, I turned a blind eye to the oppression of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals until my fourteen-year-old son confronted me. I was forty-one years old at the time. He had overheard his dad and me laughing at a so-called ‘gay joke.’ He looked us in the eye and asked, “Would you really be laughing if there was someone gay in this room? Do you really think this is funny?” He looked at us long and hard before striding out of the room. I was mortified.

That was twenty-nine years ago. We made a commitment then to monitor our own prejudices and biases regarding gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. We’ve been intentional about building our awareness. And the reality is we still have a long way to go.


Shirley then employs a model called “Dialogue with Difference” for exploring this prejudice by presenting a transcript of a discussion about sexual orientation with a gay African American colleague, the Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington. That transcript comprises the middle section of the book, and it is revealing in many ways. This particular technique is based on the societal construct of dominance and subordination, but it turns that relationship on its head by permitting the subordinated group member in the dialogue to have the opportunity and authority to decide the focus of the discussion.

I was skeptical about this type of presentation but found myself drawn into the discussion and learning a lot about the issue and, like Shirley, my own preconceptions and prejudices.

This is the first of a series of books on prejudice by Shirley, collectively entitled The Dance of Difference. If you want a break from traditional fluffy summer beach reading, it is well worth your time.

Publication Date: April 15, 2011
It is rare for heterosexuals to acknowledge, much less write about, their own homophobia. This black grandmother who grew up in the homophobic culture of Jamaica in the 40’s and 50’s offers a moving look into the challenges faced daily by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) because of the learned biases, attitudes and behavior of heterosexuals. The author, a behavioral scientist, who migrated to the United States 30 years ago, shares examples from her early life experiences as well as examples from her long career as an organizational consultant in the United States and Europe. The centerpiece of the book is a spontaneous dialogue between the author and a gay pastor about the realities of life for members of the gay community.

On the matter of rights to gays such as marriage she commented that she does not see a reason why homosexuals shouldn’t have them just as heterosexuals. She asked “Would Christ be hostile towards a group of people created by the father?” when pressed on the Leviticusal arguments presented by mainly religious personalities, she continued that “…the Bible has been used to justify slavery, it has been used to justify racism and it has been used to justify the oppression of women so in a way I’m not surprised that the Bible is now being used to justify the oppression of people who are gay lesbian etc…….. I am also aware of the fact that Christ never said a word about homosexuality” 

” ……. I can certainly understand this can be a challenging issue for people who are religious for people who are Christian and I would just say I want to encourage my Christian brothers and sisters to go back to the teachings of Christ and ask yourself, Would Christ be hostile towards a group of people created by the father?”

She continued “There is no evidence that I can name that would um you know that would describe homosexuality as a lifestyle, I believe homosexuals are by nature who they are in the same way that heterosexuals are by nature, they didn’t make that choice, a moment for me, right, a lightbulb moment, a lightbulb went off in my head when I thought did I choose my sexual orientation? and I know I never did any such thing all of a sudden at about age 12/13 the same boys who I thought were horrible all of a sudden were looking very very cute there was no choice it just was my evolution and I believe that gays and lesbians evolve in similar ways.”

In an interview with the Gleaner’s Flair, Anderson-Fletcher pointed out that growing up in Jamaica, she learnt to be homophobic at an early age, something that most Jamaicans learn from their elders and parents. In contrast, Jamaicans are always described as the most loving set of people on the earth, and as told through music, Jamaica is synonymous with love, an irony, considering we are also one of the most homophobic people on the planet.

She hopes that after reading the book, parents will be able to use it to look at themselves and the negative behaviours they have learnt and taught. “It is a useful resource that organisations and others can use in the development of programmes geared at avoiding discrimination against gays at the workplace and elsewhere,” the author said. She noted that it can also be used by psychologists and psychiatrists with their patients who are grappling with the issue.

Discrimination against the lesbian and gay community is everywhere, particularly because homophobic people do not stop to ponder why someone would deliberately choose a lifestyle that sees them being constantly vilified, hated, stigmatised and shunned as outcasts.

Her wishes

Anderson-Fletcher would like Jamaicans to read the book and if they are interested in changing their behaviour, to look at themselves and the subtle ways in which they learnt to be homophobic, understanding that they were not born with prejudices. They should also reflect on those prejudices in relation to race and gender. Finally, look at what happens to the gay community in society, take the bold step to talk to them, find out what their life is about, who are they beyond the sexual orientation?

The author is happy with Jamaica’s progress to date, she is pleased that the organisation Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays is now affirming itself and speaking out about prejudice. “Unless the subordinated group rises up against its opponent, nothing will happen, it’s like the American civil rights movement, nothing was achieved until the brave stood up and said ‘no more’,” she noted. She further said she was fully aware of what it takes to live in a society that sees your behaviour as sinful and deviant, but if you are not speaking out, you are willingly giving up your freedom. “The question gays need to ask is: ‘am I going to hide or be self-actualised and speak out for justice and human rights?’

http://danceofdifference.com/index.html

She said she remains passionate about her work because she finds it gratifying. she hopes that Jamaicans will move out of their comfort zone and begin to accept all minority groups in the society.

her sister said:

“Anderson Fletcher’s voice is authentic as it is courageous. Her decades of work as an Applied Behavioral Scientist specializing in Diversity – facilitates the process whereby the reader experiences the trauma of homophobia and the way it seeps into our Being and impacts our world. More importantly, because of the methodology of the book, she shares powerfully not only her own experience with us, but invites us to share ours through reflection and enquiry. The methodology of the book is critical for discussing not only sexual orientation but is applicable to any area of discrimination. Anderson Fletcher points out all are inextricably linked.”

– Beverley Anderson Manley, Broadcaster, Political Scientist, former First Lady of Jamaica

Here is a piece of the audio from the Profile Interview as at post time the video was not uploaded to the Television Jamaica (TVJ) site:

 Shirley Fletcher’s Dance of Difference on Profile 20.11.11

Peace and tolerance

H

Not Ready For Gays ……. Gay Marriage smoke screen reintroduced ……………. political dodging

Jamaica is making positive steps towards securing and meeting its human-rights and civil-rights obligations says new Prime Minister Holness.

Why is the new Prime Minister made to look as if he is resorting to The Gay Marriage smoke screen as his predecessor did, did we ever ask for gay marriage rights in Jamaica? I don’t think so, when we can’t even get pass just being seen as citizens of this country? is the Gleaner glibly adding this issue of gay marriage to murk the waters? Is the new Prime Minister stalling for time? See the Gleaner’s headline first and the other materials and decide for yourselves:

Not Ready For Gays

Jamaica Gleaner Company

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Despite renewed pressure from Britain for Jamaica to repeal its anti-buggery law, Prime Minister Andrew Holness says it will be up to Jamaicans to signal such a desire.

Holness, who described himself as a “liberal in many things” and “a fiscal conservative on the economic side”, said the Government recognises that homosexuality offends many Jamaicans.

“What the international community must be aware of in the Jamaican context is that we are a democracy, and this democracy is opening up more; people are talking; there are discussions, and I think they should support the evolving discussion. Over time, our democracy will settle at a position,” Holness said, in an interview with The Sunday Gleaner.

Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to withhold aid from governments that did not repeal existing laws that criminalise homosexuality.

un request

On Friday, gay-rights group Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (JFLAG) claimed that Jamaica has been requested by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee to take specific actions to protect and promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jamaicans and to report on the steps taken by next year.

“The committee has requested that the Government take steps to amend the buggery law and provide protection for LGBT persons and human-rights defenders. Specifically, they recommended that the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms be reviewed to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, and provide an update in one year,” a release from JFLAG said.

For his part, Holness stressed that Jamaica has done much to protect individual rights and liberty.

He said governments have to pay attention to defending human rights and protecting civil rights.

While conceding that the country needs to do more in the area of human rights – for example, including that of protecting children, Holness said Jamaica has been honouring its obligations under international conventions.

He told The Sunday Gleaner that civil-rights provisions in the Constitution continue to be a work in progress.

“We spent almost 12 years debating what those civil rights should be, and those civil rights are now enshrined in a Charter of Rights,” Holness said.

“And so, Jamaica is making positive steps to securing and meeting its human-rights and civil-rights obligations. Jamaica will continue (to do so) as it is a good global citizen, to meet these obligations.

“We pay attention, as we are global citizens, to what people have said, including what our own people are saying, and it is a conversation that is evolving,” he added.

consider public impact

Holness argued that while it is important to protect the liberty of the person and the private space of the individual, the law must take into consideration the public impact of behaviours.

“People’s private actions have public effect. In the Jamaican context, there is a public effect and governments have to pay close attention to that,” he said.

Jamaica’s Charter of Rights, which was passed by Parliament this year, does not recognise same-sex marriages.

When the Charter of Rights was being debated, then Prime Minister Bruce Golding made it clear his administration was not in support of gay marriages.

“There is the possibility that, some time in the future, Parliament could pass a law that says same-sex unions are legal, but it won’t be done in this Parliament – not as long as I sit here,” Golding said.

“I make no apology in saying decisively and emphatically that the Government of Jamaica remains irrevocably opposed to the recognition, legitimisation or acceptance of same-sex marriages or same-sex unions,” Golding declared.

The former prime minister, who had declared he would not appoint gays to his Cabinet, said that while he accepts that Government “should not interfere in what two consenting adults choose to do within their own protected privacy, I will not accept that homosexuality must be accepted as a legitimate form of behaviour or the equivalent of marriage”.
daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com

ENDS

My two cents continued


The particular tranche of aid that maybe affected is a bilateral one known as general support,the aid was vital as it was used to rehabilitation programs for deportees who are helped to rejoin society, training and support. National Security Minister Dwight Nelson said on a radio interview that if aid was cut Jamaica could not afford to run such a program at this time.

Let us also not forget we got some $327 million debt relief earlier this year.

This issue has not been properly ventilated from day one, I still contend that the UK Prime Minister never named the countries although implied he was suggesting but one would imagine it would be the African states as they have been far more active in as far as anti gay legislation and subtle support of violence sanctioned by their complicity. We could have been more cautious before coming down on it. Also the suggestion by some American rights activists such as Truth Wins Out and In The Life Media who say Christian right movements and conservatives are supporting financially the religious anti gay lobbyists in Uganda in particular in the push for that country’s anti gay bill presented being debated in their parliament.

also see:  Intersections of Church and State where the connections are shown in a documentary on the issue

No Jamaican government and indeed the opposition are going to support this political dynamite that can make or break the life of a politician given the emotional sentiments of many ill-informed Jamaicans on the ground coupled with the dangerous down low community who in a desperate attempt to remain so join the public anti gay throng and their sentiments. The opposition by the way (People’s National Party PNP) has a far more larger LGBT support than the JLP does and even though they conveniently sided the ruling JLP on the invented gay marriage trope thrown in the Charter of Rights debate in 2009/10 has been extremely silent on this issue since it broke.

Here is former Prime Minister Bruce Golding on his feet in October 2009 on gay marriage during The Charter of Rights Debate:

also see:  Gay Marriage – An Invented Issue by the christian right movement

here is my two cents further in audio: On The UK Aid Removal and Holness’s Response …….. 06.11.11  –

and an archived discussion on the issue on nationwide with the PM in October 2009 declaring his opposition to supposed Gay Marriage –

Nationwide on the PMs speech on same sex marriage October 14, 2009

also see more from my sister blogs:

Why the British PM can wield a big ‘homosexuality’ stick (Observer) …… smoke in the room buggery vs homosexuality confusion

Reactions continue to come in on the UK’s stance on AID to anti gay laws hosting nations

PNP: Homosexuality, death penalty serious issues ……….. Dealing with cultural diversity a major task for the PNP

Ghana refuses to grant gays’ rights despite aid threat

CVM TV’s Live @ 7 on the UK AID Withdrawal threat & responses …….

from the BBC

 Cameron threat to dock some UK aid to anti-gay nations

 

and a press release from 

Government to Report on the state of “Buggery” Laws in 2012

here is a sense of some of the amounts we have recieved over the years 1968 – 2008 more HERE

nov 7, 2011 –  a letter in reponse to the Gleaner piece was published in the same paper as penned by AIDSFREEWORLD consultant and lawyer Maurice Tomlinson in a sense welcoming the PM’s stance ….. Liberate Gays

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In the lead story of The Sunday Gleaner of November 6, 2011 titled ‘Not ready for gays’, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said, “People’s private actions have public effect. In the Jamaican context, there is a public effect, and governments have to pay close attention to that.”

This is a most rational and commendable acknowledgment by the new PM. Pity he didn’t, or wasn’t allowed to, expound on the public effect of continued criminalisation of private, consensual, adult male same-sex intimacy.

In this regard, I would like to highlight that many heterosexual women have approached me urging that I increase the level of advocacy around decriminalisation of adult male same-sex intimacy, simply because they are not sure who they are in bed with.

If gay men (estimated at seven to 10 per cent of the population) were able to engage in their own sexual relations unmolested by the law, they would be less likely to expose their female partners (and resulting children) to untold physical and psychological harm.

Failure to decriminalise homosexual activity is condemning the Jamaican public to many more years of unnecessary misery.

MAURICE TOMLINSON

maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com

I have a major issue with this as it smacks on a tacit support that HIV is gay disease and the links in the bisexual population which also smacks of biphobia from the adovcacy structure that is more pro gay than bi or transgender concerned. Here is my audio response as well – Liberate Gays Letter by Tomlinson Biphobia by default 07.11.11

Peace and tolerance

H

Redefine Buggery Law And Promote Tolerance (Gleaner Letter)

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Here’s a suggestion to settle some critical basic issues concerning homosexuals and the practice of homosexuality in Jamaica.

(1) Facilitate publication of a modified version of the public service announcement about loving affected family members that local television stations have refused to publish, so far.

Modification would involve including reference to family members withother conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, mental illnesses, as well as homosexual orientation.

(2) In order to deal with the legal issues concerning the difference between homosexuality or homosexual orientation, and buggery, without further confusing both the religious and non-religious among us, we should also do the following:

Let us NOT change or revoke the law we have on the books against buggery. But let us define (redefine, if necessary) buggery as being or including forced or involuntary involvement of anyone – man, woman or child – in any same-sex act or activity involving penetration or thecommingling of bodies or sexual organs – against their will and/or without their explicit consent, whether privately or in public.

Also, let us recognise, understand and appreciate the value of extending tolerance, unconditional love, understanding, and compassion to all family members, whether they are affected by HIV/AIDS, mental illness, homosexual orientation, or any other ailment or condition that is beyond their control – without necessarily endorsing or approving particular lifestyles or behaviours.

In the circumstances, it would also appear to be prudent for us to state, specifically, that there will be no legal intervention in private sexual issues and/or activities where mutually consenting adults are voluntarily involved.

At the same time, and because of ‘going that far’ and, especially, in order NOT to encourage the illegal, species-endangering practice of gay sex, we would need to strengthen our resolve to confidently counter all subtle or open promotion or encouragement of buggery in schools and everywhere else in Jamaica.

C. ANTHONY

carltongor@gmail.com

Kingston 10

Letter to the Gleaner Editor – MP’s views on gays backward

THE EDITOR, Sir:
I FIND IT really disgusting that a member of parliament in today’s world could make such comments about J-FLAG. He should be made to apologise to the Jamaican people for his bigoted views.

A member of parliament should speak for the Jamaican People – gay or straight, black and white – no matter what, he should not condemn anyone.

Because of outdated laws, we Jamaicans are known around the world for our violent behaviour and our intolerance. It is about time our leaders showed the world that Jamaicans are not just a proud people, but as well tolerant and peaceful

We are not just mind-blowing thugs with hate for others who are different from us. I believe there may come a time when Jamaica will be respected around the world, not just for its comedy and Bob Marley, but for its motto ‘Out of many, one people’.

I am, etc.,

J Windsor
henry_j_winsor@hotmail.co.uk
Luton , Bedfordshire
England

Gay Str8 Alliance Outlook

With the present climate hot again by MP Ernest Smith’s comments and the discussion in the public domain ensuing (see posts following) a disussion question was posted on our NING page with an interesting response.

Question:
How feasible do you think it is to have a possible Gay/Str8 alliance to include families and supportive friends of ours???

Answer by a straight Jamaican male student living in the US
I’d say it’s pretty necessary. One more voice heard is one extra bit of pressure for change, and for society to take a good look at itself and see that plenty of heteros can and do support and lifestyle choices that are different from their own, other at the very least the rights of others.


Support or lack thereof for LGBT persons is a fickle subject, we have seen many a case where families have outrightly rejected their own and even one case several years ago where a father gave his son up to a bunch of students at his school to be beaten because he found out he was gay, fortunately he was rescued by janitorial staff at the school who themselves endured blows to save him from the mob.

We have had a report only last week that a 19 year old male was outed in his community by a friend and his mother and siblings demanded he leave the home with immediate effect.

  • How can we form alliances with straight friends and family members without putting them at personal danger and risk in our hostile climate?
  • How can we get tolerance levels with close friends up and functional to every one’s benefit.
  • How can we enlist more participation from this group in LGBT rights and tolerance issues?

We must thank the (male) respondent to the discussion question for showing us that there are thinking persons around and that all is not lost. To get more persons like this to voice there opinions is crucial if we are to create a balance on the discussion of homosexuality and achieve tolerance.

Howie seh so