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What we can learn from Jamaican anti-gay ‘Love March’

"Love March" in Jamaica (Photo courtesy of AntiGayFactCheck.org)
“Love March” in Jamaica (Photo courtesy of AntiGayFactCheck.org)

Saturday’s anti-homosexuality “Love March” by several dozen people in Jamaica raised questions about strategies for winning basic human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people there and elsewhere.

At the end of a remarkably detailed report on the march, Anti-Gay Fact Check presented several conclusions about what just happened. Do you agree with them?

Here are some of their comments [with some additional questions from the Erasing 76 Crimes blog].

“Overall, we think the march was ineffective. …”

“The LGBT rights movement is a process … and Jamaica was overdue an anti-gay march. ”

“The LGBT movement shouldn’t be alarmed by the march or feel too upset about it. In fact, AGFC thinks it was a good thing for a couple of reasons:

"Love March" in Jamaica (Photo courtesy of AntiGayFactCheck.org)
Along the route of the “Love March” in Jamaica (Photo courtesy of AntiGayFactCheck.org)

1) It shows how obsessed “The Church” is about homosexuality while being silent on other issues. People will lose their trust in this institution and view them as irrelevant. [Isn’t that a bit of wishful thinking? Many evangelical churches and the Roman Catholic hierarchy have prospered and held onto their huge clout while focusing obsessively on a few issues such as homosexuality and abortion, while ignoring issues of justice and human rights.]

2) It shows that the LGBT movement is becoming a potent force and is no longer insignificant. Backlash from Christian groups will always happen and when it usually does it’s because they feel they are losing their monopoly on government. It’s desperation not arrogance. In their cry for help they came up with their plan, “Compassion without compromise”, which is another way of saying we will win over the homosexuals by being nice to them. [That’s a good analysis, but I’d also give the march organizers credit for pushing the theme of love. The world has more than its share of anti-gay hate. Agree?]

3) The international community will once again put its attention on Jamaica and discussion about homosexuality will take centre stage. Can’t have change without discussion.

4) While the anti-gay Christians continue to waste time and use the religious argument, which has been proven to not work for their agenda anywhere, the LGBT movement can keep them busy and continue to move forward as has happened in other countries. [Isn’t it overly optimistic to say that the religious argument “has been proven not to work … anywhere”? American fundamentalists have been horribly effective in Uganda. Shouldn’t progressive Christians and other gay-friendly faith leaders be included as allies in this struggle, since they should be able to articulate the inclusive religious alternative to anti-gay preachers?]

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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