A Jamaican activist responds here to criticism by Christian leaders over the decision to fire retired Prof. Brendan Bain as director of a Caribbean anti-AIDS training program after he testified against the legalization of same-sex intercourse in Belize, which Bain argued would increase the risk of AIDS. Most AIDS activists understand that anti-gay laws limit the access of LGBT people to health care and therefore increase HIV infection rates by pushing the HIV epidemic underground.
The activist (whose name unfortunately cannot be disclosed here) wrote:
I AM BAIN DISGUSTED:
…that Jamaican churches and supposed intellectuals would rather protest the termination of a cushy post-retirement contract for a wealthy university professor, THAN the fact of homeless LGBT youth being forced to live in the sewers of the capital by a callous and uncaring government!
Where is the public march to demand just an abandoned government building to house these youngsters? Where is the outrage that a government that claims to “put people first” refuses to lift a finger to help these kids? How come there are no petitions to prevent the spread of HIV as these youth are paid extra for condomless sex with their often married male clients? What will it TAKE for us as a people to get our priorities straight?
There is a reason Jamaica has failed to deliver on its tremendous promise: we the people like seemingly quick fixes. In this case, the contention is that if the [University of the West Indies] re-hires Bain then all will be right on the HIV front and the supreme order of religious fundamentalists domination will be restored.
Such fallacious thinking partly explains why Jamaica has the highest HIV prevalence rate among men who have sex with men in the western hemisphere, and a significant bridging of the epidemic between the straight and gay populations!
We trust an antiquated anti-sodomy law and moral disapproval to discourage “risky” behavior. What we fail to realize is that the truly risky behavior is stigma and discrimination which drives vulnerable persons quite literally underground, away from any form of effective anti-HIV interventions.
Bring back Bain, some demand. I say, do that and watch our HIV epidemic spiral out of our ability to afford it. The ensuing fire may well consume us all.
See the Web page of Dwayne’s House for more information or to contribute to help LGBT youth in Jamaica (for contributors from the United States or Canada).
- AIDS program ousts leader who embraces anti-gay laws (76crimes.com)
- Jamaica Folding Under Pressure of Powerful Gay-Rights Lobby, Former Prime Minister Says (atlantablackstar.com)
- Backlash over Bain: more heat than light (jamaica-gleaner.com)
- How to help shelter Jamaica’s persecuted LGBT youths (76crimes.com)
- Judge rules for LGBT youths living in Jamaican sewers (76crimes.com)
- ‘Spineless’ UWI – Protestors say leaders muting free speech under external pressure (jamaica-gleaner.com)
- Bain supporters: UWI ‘spineless, sold out for 30 pieces of silver’ (jamaica-gleaner.com)
- UWI professor in hot water over anti-gay sex testimony (stabroeknews.com)
- New efforts to halt spread of HIV among gay Jamaica men (jamaica-gleaner.com)