Americas / Commentary

‘My selfish reasons for fighting Jamaican homophobia’

Maurice Tomlinson displays the Jamaican flag. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson via Facebook)

Maurice Tomlinson displays the Jamaican flag. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson via Facebook)

LGBTI rights activist Maurice Tomlinson is back in Jamaica this week, preparing for a hearing at the Caribbean Court of Justice in connection with his case challenging the ban against gays entering Belize and Trinidad & Tobago. That case is just one instance of his work combating anti-gay laws and homophobia in the Caribbean, particularly in his native country. Tomlinson has lived in Canada since 2012, because he received multiple death threats after the publication of the news of his marriage to Tom Decker, a pastor in the Metropolitan Community Church.

Here he explains his activism:

I admit it. My reasons for fighting homophobia in Jamaica are not entirely altruistic. Some of them are downright selfish.

You see, I have property and family in Jamaica and I hope, someday, to retire or spend a portion of my retirement in my warm, sunny homeland. And I want to do so with my husband, Tom. And we want to be safe. And neither of us is getting any younger. So, there is some urgency to this.

To those who think that I am pushing too hard, and am too impatient, I crave your indulgence. You may have time on your side. However, I can’t and won’t wait a lifetime for my equality and humanity to be recognized.

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