Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Slow Moving Travesty

I was reading the following link from the Alien in the Caribbean blog, and could only feel sad at what is happening to the new Charter of Rights proposal that is before a joint select committee of parliament.

The Alien blog entry is a thoughtful analysis of what it means to be homosexual and to be a Caribbean person. Given that in our region, male homosexual sex is still outlawed, there exists significant anti-homosexual feelings fueled by bible quotes promising a long roast in hell, and the fact that many gay people have migrated because of fear, it is hard to see how anyone in their right mind would choose to pick such a lifestyle just because... the sex itself was so sweet.

I mean, you would have to be very, very stupid to "choose" to be gay in our region, and risk being convicted for a crime (which actually happened to two men last year who were convicted for buggery.)

She makes this point better than I can, from a Trinidadian perspective that looks a lot like it could apply here in Jamaica.

Incidentally, we now have our first organized anti-gay groups, in the form of 2 groups called the Lawyers Christian Fellowship and the National Church Alliance.

From all appearances, they seem intent on doing a couple of things:
-- ensuring that the current buggery laws are never overturned
-- ensuring that marriage between same-sex couples is never legalized

Their way of supporting these two ends is to lobby for changes to the proposed Charter of Rights to explicitly prevent these two possibilities from ever occurring.

According to the Observer: The church groups' proposed the insertion of the words, "and in keeping with the aspirations and norms of the Jamaican people" as a qualification to the phrase "free and democratic society" in the Charter.


I personally struggle to see how Christ's love is demonstrated by attempting to remove rights from an innocent and already persecuted group of people, before the contemplation required for these rights to be granted has even begun.

Will these groups also press for the law to be vigorously prosecuted, and that gay men who are thought to be committing buggery crimes should be investigated the way thieves and murders are? Actually, the law as written says nothing about men, which makes anyone who engages in anal sex guilty, including anyone who... (I will leave to rest to your imagination.) Will we be asked to turn in men and women suspected of breaking this arcane and supposedly rarely used law?

I side with Senator Trevor Munroe, who expressed the called the proposals "retrograde." I imagine that as a former communist, he would have found himself on the wrong side of these rights, as certainly communism is not "in keeping with the aspirations and norms of the Jamaican people."

I visited the Holocaust museum in Washington DC once, and it made for a very disturbing day. I remain haunted to this day by the following quote:

First They Came for the Jews

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller


At 7/21/2006 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, how are you planning to contribute to the debate? Are you willing to leave it up to these two rabid groups, with many, many unthinking individuals to support them, to decide what a "democratic society" should look like?

At 7/27/2006 7:05 AM, Blogger fwade said...

Stay tuned...


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