Caribbean nations are abuzz with LGBT news

The LGBT-focused International Resource Network published a useful compilation of LGBT news from the Caribbean last week, including these items from Guyana, Belize, Jamaica and Trinidad.

An editorial in the Kaieteur News of Guyana speaks to “The Plight of the Homosexuals”

Recently, a local group, SASOD [the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination], published the findings on the treatment of gays in the Caribbean. Guyana is featured prominently. Indeed, policemen have been known to take a course of action when the matter involves gays, sometimes in a manner that would make the most ardent jurist blush.

But it is the action of the church that must come under scrutiny. To discriminate against gays is to do exactly what the Lord does not advocate. Church members believe that homosexuality is a new phenomenon when in fact it is as old as mankind. The church believes that homosexuals are wicked when scientists say that they are just another group of people in the human chain.

… while a BBC documentary (first aired 9 November, 2013) addresses Jamaica’s Gay Divide.

BBC report on homophobia in Jamaica is illustrated with this AP photo of the riverside bar where Dwayne Jones danced and was murdered.
BBC report on homophobia in Jamaica is illustrated with this AP photo of the riverside bar where Dwayne Jones danced and was murdered.

Across Jamaica’s Gay Divide – Part One
(Audio, 55 minutes)

The social psychologist Dr Keon West returns to his native Jamaica to assess the state of the country’s gay rights and anti-homosexuality movements. Gay rights activists made the first legal challenge in Jamaica’s history earlier this year, appealing for the so-called ‘Buggery Law’ to be re-assessed. The law, which is a colonial legacy prohibiting certain sexual acts, is the focus of much controversy in Jamaica and at its heart is the question of whether or not homosexuality is culturally or even morally acceptable.

From a group of activists standing silently promoting gay tolerance, to a march that calls for sexual purity, including maintaining of the Buggery Law, West speaks to both sides, asking if attitudes are now inexorably changing. The Christian tradition of Jamaica is central to this debate, where Biblical interpretation underpins many of the arguments against homosexual behaviour.

Maurice Tomlinson (Photo courtesy of International Planned Parenthood Federation)
Maurice Tomlinson (Photo courtesy of International Planned Parenthood Federation)

With contributions from the pastor Reverend Lenworth Anglin, the prominent Jamaican gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson and Rastafarian poet Mutabaruka, West considers what it is like to be a gay person in Jamaica from day-to-day, when many consider this ‘lifestyle’ to be un-Jamaican by its very nature.

Earlier in October, the police conducted a raid in Jamaica on some of the homeless gay youth as reported in this news item. Their belongings were burnt and no alternative accommodation was found for the youth..

SASOD launches a video with the Envisioning Project entitled Homophobia in Guyana  which tells the story of Jessica and Maeve . …

Former Chief Justice of Trinidad & Tobago, Satnarine Sharma said he personally does not find the idea of two men living together repugnant

In Belize, the parliament has started to discuss amendments to their sexual offences legislation to include further protections for children.

For more information, read the full article on the Caribbean IRN Blog: “Plight and Pride of the Caribbean homosexuals.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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