Jamaica: What I want from Obama on my birthday

President Barack Obama (Photo by Elizabeth Cromwell via WIkimedia Commons)
President Barack Obama (Photo by Elizabeth Cromwell via WIkimedia Commons)

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.

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, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]


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  1. We need persons within the LGBT community and allies in Jamaica to come out in their forces and protest while the President is in Jamaica. If people try to attack us while we protest, imagine how that would look on the world stage? Imagine if the President stops ‘The Beast’, comes out and engages with protesters, imagine how powerful a message that would send. I am going to try and meet him while he is here and if I do, I will definitely bring up the struggles of the LGBT community.

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