Jamaica commentary: Anti-gay letter is ‘incredibly dangerous’

In Jamaica’s latest debate over LGBT rights, anti-gay crusader Daniel Thomas opposes “the LGBT agenda” in a letter to the editor that gay-rights activist Maurice Tomlinson says is “incredibly dangerous, if not deadly.”

Daniel Thomas, founder of the anti-gay Love March Movement in Jamaica.

In his letter to the Jamaica Observer, Thomas said:

“The culture war is on, and the prime aggressors are LGBT activists who see no limits to their destructive and intolerant agenda. …

Every western society is at risk for complete invasion and submission as the LGBT agenda never voluntarily stops. … When it comes to these LGBT conquistadors, the nice guys, no matter how polite and caring, finish last.”

Tomlinson responded:

I initially read Dr. Daniel Thomas’ letter  “Tomlinson’s Pride-Filled Conquest” in the Jamaica Observer newspaper with humour.

Among other things, Thomas hysterically claimed that I was some sort of “super don” LGBT conquistador invading and forcing Caribbean states to submit to the “LGBT agenda”. He also asserts that Montego Bay Pride’s request to use the publicly funded Cultural Centre for a series of events was another attempt to push our dreaded agenda down people’s throats.

While I thank Dr. Thomas for the vaunted assessment of my work, it is amazing that he thinks me so powerful as to compare to the church-supported tragic decimation of native cultures that followed the Spanish conquest of the New World. Hardly! But contrary to his statement, I have NO LGBT cases in Trinidad or St. Vincent, as these are being pursued by other brave activists.

I also assure Dr. Thomas that, as a lawyer, I have no delusions about the challenges associated with bringing legal cases and I would have much preferred to negotiate settlements. However, this is often not the case in the area of LGBT human rights in Jamaica, thanks to the stranglehold that anti-LGBT religious groups such as Thomas’ ironically named “Love March Movement” have on all levels of our democracy/theocracy.

What Dr. Thomas is unaware of (or simply being disingenuous in not mentioning since it was clearly stated in the article about my lawsuit)
is that NO OTHER venue would host Montego Bay Pride after the mayor’s statement whipped up so much homophobia in the city. And those venues that had confirmed actually cancelled on us because of what the mayor said.

So, no, it wasn’t about Montego Bay Pride “humbly seeking another venue.” There was simply NONE available! And for his information, LGBT people are tax-paying citizens who have the right of full access to the SECULAR public space, which is the Montego Bay Cultural Centre.

Thomas’ reference to Jamaican national hero Sam Sharpe is also ironic since, as a Montegoian I can assure him that I know the history of that national hero quite well. Sharpe fought for the liberation of his people from church-supported slavery and the Cultural Centre was singular in that history as it was previously the court house where Sharpe was judged and convicted. I am sure that Thomas sees the similarities to our present case.

After some reflection I realized that Thomas’ article was not funny but incredibly dangerous, if not deadly.

As the article that announced my case against the mayor pointed out, and of which Thomas is aware, I was mobbed by angry vendors in front of the Montego Bay Cultural Centre because of the homophobic violence whipped up by the mayor’s statement. That incident triggered suicidal thoughts in me. Even the police stated that they could not protect Montego Bay Pride because of what the mayor said. Dr. Thomas of course must accept that this often-violent homophobia is directly fed by the sort of intolerant religious extremism that he and his group practice.

He is going to get people killed with his fearmongering and I daresay that his type of hate-filled rhetoric has contributed to that already. Sixteen year-old trans youth Dwayne Jones was brutally stabbed, shot, run over with a car and dumped in nearby bushes after a woman member of Dwayne’s church outed Dwayne to a blood-thirsty mob at a public street dance in Montego Bay. No one was ever arrested for Dwayne’s barbaric murder.

So, while Thomas claims that I am violating the rights of persons like him who hate the fact of LGBT people and that I am “forcing” him and his sect to respect our existence, the truth is that Dr. Thomas and his ilk are literally violating our right to life. I really don’t know how, as a medical doctor, Thomas sleeps at night.

I know that Thomas is singularly focused on fighting against the recognition of human rights for LGBT people. That is his right. I would however hope that as a purported Christian and medical professional, Dr. Thomas would employ SOME ethics in how he goes about doing this. Does the phrase “Do no harm?”, which is part of a doctor’s Hippocratic (or in Dr. Thomas’s case hypocritic) oath mean NOTHING to him?

Yours truly,
Maurice Tomlinson
Founder and Development Coordinator
Montego Bay Pride

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

    Leave a Reply

    Newly available: Film on LGBT Ugandans’ problems getting health care

    Uganda: Push for new Anti-Homosexuality Bill gets bizarre