I am thrilled that President Obama is visiting Jamaica on April 9, which by a very happy coincidence is also my birthday! During his one day trip to the island, the President will meet with leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) before they all travel to Panama for the 7th Summit of the Americas. This will be a gathering of all the heads of state and government of the 35 nations in the Americas.
As someone who has actively campaigned for the liberation of LGBTI people in the region, I would like to make a birthday request of the President, and it is simply that he use the occasion of his visit to PUBLICLY:
1) Apologize for the export of anti-gay religiosity by American evangelicals that has whipped up hate, intolerance, & homophobia across the western hemisphere;
2) Acknowledge the terrible harms that anti-gay laws and policies have, and continue to have, on America;
3) Demonstrate how the abolition of these laws and attitudes can be positive for America, as well as the region;
4) Offer increased assistance to eliminate anti-gay laws & attitudes in the Caribbean and the Americas.
As I have said before, finger wagging DOES NOT HELP. Instead, the US should take responsibility for its role in fomenting anti-gay hate globally, and offer to clean up its toxic export.
- Why Obama is coming to Jamaica? (jamaica-gleaner.com)
- Hearings conclude over homosexual travel ban in Caribbean (76crimes.com)
- Jamaican activist: Be a global voice for LGBT liberation (76crimes.com)
- ‘My selfish reasons for fighting Jamaican homophobia’ (76crimes.com)