LGBT rights in Jamaica

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LGBT rights in Jamaica
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Male illegal,
female legal
Up to 10 years imprisonment
Gender identity/expression -

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in Jamaica are dominated by the prohibition of sexual acts between men. Sexual acts between women are legal, by virtue of the absence of any reference to them in law. Sexual acts between men are punishable with up to ten years jail.[1] Jamaica has been called by human-rights groups as the most homophobic place on earth.[2]

Social leaders in Jamaica accuse international groups of meddling in domestic affairs. They defend laws against homosexuality as upholding Christian values.

Criminal Code

Jamaican criminal code prohibits sex between men, as is the case in much of the English-speaking Caribbean. Article 76 of the Offences Against the Person Act states:

Whosoever shall be convicted of the abominable crime of buggery, committed either with mankind or with any animal, shall be liable to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for a term not exceeding ten years.
Article 77 adds:
Whosoever shall attempt to commit the said abominable crime, or shall be guilty of any assault with intent to commit the same, or of any indecent assault upon any male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof, shall be liable to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding seven years, with or without hard labour.
Article 79 further states:
Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof shall be liable at the discretion of the court to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding two years, with or without hard labour.

"Gross indecency" is not defined, but has been interpreted to include male homosexual conduct between consenting adults in private.[3]

According to the Human Rights Activist Peter Tatchell, homophobia is not authentic Jamaican culture. It was imposed on the people of Jamaica in the nineteenth century by British colonisers and their Christian missionary allies.[4]

Political parties

Neither one of the two major political parties in Jamaica have expressed any official support for gay rights. The People's National Party views international criticism of its human rights record as meddling, and either claims that homophobia is not a serious problem or that gay rights violate the conservative social values of the Jamaican people. In fact the parties are more willing to accept an embargo on nations that criticize the LGBT rights in Jamaica than change their ways to appeal to the international community. The Jamaican Labour Party has likewise avoided the issue, although in 2004, the former Jamaican Attorney General and Justice Minister, Dr. Oswald Harding, stated that he felt that Jamaica law should follow the advice of the Wolfenden Committee in Britain and decriminalize homosexuality and prostitution when it occurred between consenting adults in private. None of the other minor political parties have endorsed gay rights.

In April 2006, the Sunday Herald ran a front page headline "No homos!" in which then opposition leader and current Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding vowed that "homosexuals would find no solace in any cabinet formed by him".[5] The statement was supported by several clergymen and a trade union leader. During the 2001 elections Golding's party used as its theme song "Chi Chi Man" by T.O.K.,[6] which celebrates the burning and killing of gay men. The purpose of the use of this song was an attack on the then Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, who at the time, was the subject of a whispering campaign on his sexuality, with some critics referring to him as "P.J. Battyson." (Batty boy or man, with a variety of spellings, is an extremely insulting Jamaican epithet for a gay or bisexual male.)

Violence against homosexuals

According to Human Rights Watch (2004),
Verbal and physical violence, ranging from beatings to brutal armed attacks to murder, are widespread. For many, there is no sanctuary from such abuse. Men who have sex with men and women who have sex with women reported being driven from their homes and their towns by neighbors who threatened to kill them if they remained, forcing them to abandon their possessions and leaving many homeless.
In addition,
police actively support homophobic violence, fail to investigate complaints of abuse, and arrest and detain men based on their alleged homosexual conduct.[7]
In one gay-hate murder,
several witnesses [said] that police participated in the abuse that ultimately led to his mob killing, first beating the man with batons and then urging others to beat him because he was homosexual.[8]

Amnesty International agrees: "Gay men and lesbian women have been beaten, cut, burned, raped and shot on account of their sexuality";[9] and gays and lesbians constitute one of the "most marginalized and persecuted communities in Jamaica".[10] Amnesty gave an example of a recent incident reported in a national newspaper, where a father encouraged a mob to beat up his son, who he suspected was gay, while he looked on smiling. No charges were laid.

While police do not compile statistics on attacks against homosexuals,[11], J-FLAG, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, report that they know of 30 gay men who have been murdered in Jamaica between 1997 and 2004.[12]

The violence has prompted hundreds of LGBT Jamaicans to seek asylum in nations such as Great Britain, Canada and the United States,[13] and several have been successful.[14] In 2005, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on Jamaica to repeal their sodomy laws and to actively combat widespread homophobia.[15]

Recent reported incidents of violence include:

  • In February 2007, three men were accosted by a large mob in a shopping area in Kingston and accused of being homosexual. Riot police were called, and they eventually carried the men to safety. There are allegations, however, that the men were also abused by the police. [2] [3].
  • In January 2006, Nokia Cowan, a young Jamaican man, plunged to his death off a pier in Kingston after reportedly being chased through the streets by a mob yelling homophobic epithets.[16]
  • In April 2006, students at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies rioted as police attempted to protect a man who had been chased across the campus because another student had claimed the man had propositioned him in a bathroom. The mob demanded that the man be turned over to them. It only dispersed when riot police were called in and one officer fired a shot in the air. If the claim of a sexual advance is substantiated, the chased man could face charges.[17]

In addition to the prevalence of homophobic violence, Jamaica has the highest murder rate of any country in the world (Padgett 2006). The high incidence of violence in Jamaica presents a huge problem to securing better health outcomes. The WHO has labeled violence a public health priority because of the “serious immediate and future long-term implications for health and psychological and social development that violence represents for individuals, families, communities, and countries” (Krug 2002). In their 2002 World Report on Violence and Health, the WHO discusses violence in an ecological model, occurring at the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels. This model is moving from a criminological approach to violence that only examines the individual level. It recognizes that individual acts of violence are part of a systematic culture. The nature of homophobic violence in Jamaica certainly fits into this model. Men do not commit violence due purely to personal malevolence, but are part of a larger social structure that does not view violence against homosexuals as wrong.

However, the influences on violence against homosexuals are not limited to the societal level. Global forces also have a tremendous impact on local violence. The high levels of violence in Jamaica can be understood in terms of globalization. As Richard Falk wrote, “Democracy must be deepened at the level of the state and extended effectively to cover international institutions and transnational market forces.” In essence, he is arguing that a strong democratic government and provisions for human rights must be in place before economies participate in the global economy. The forces of globalization have caused the Jamaican economy to develop in ways that they did not have the cultural or governmental mechanisms to support. Increasing wealth disparities caused by globalization have created a climate ripe for social violence. The expansion international markets had a number of effects on Jamaica, the growth of an illegal drug trade chief among them. The inherent violence of the drug world can easily have made an impact on the average person’s likelihood to use violence against another. The restructuring of economy, even without such vast wealth disparities, can cause violence. As was noted in the WHO World Report on Violence and Health, “rapid social change in a country in response to strong global pressures can overwhelm existing social controls over behavior and create conditions for a higher level of violence” (Krug 2002).

Political activism

The first gay organization in Jamaica was the Gay Freedom Movement (GFM), founded around 1974 by five Jamaicans and an American Jesuit then working in the island. It focused on consciousness-raising within the LGBT community and professional organizations, issued a newsletter, Jamaica Gaily News, and ran a Gay Youth Program, Prison Outreach Program and a free STD clinic. General Secretary, Larry Chang, who was also publisher and editor of JGN, was the first Jamaican to come out publicly, being interviewed on radio and JBC-TV and through his letters to the press. Before he fled to the US in 2000 where he was granted political asylum in 2004, he had helped found Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), which is today the only LGBT rights organization in Jamaica.

The organization was created in 1998, and operates underground and anonymously. In June 2004 founding member and the public face of J-FLAG and Jamaica's leading gay-rights activist, Brian Williamson, was stabbed to death in his home. Police ruled that the murder was the result of a robbery, but J-FLAG believes his murder was a hate crime.[18] Human Rights Watch researcher Rebecca Schleifer had a meeting with Williamson that day, and arrived at his home not long after his body had been discovered:
She found a small crowd singing and dancing. One man called out, "Battyman he get killed." Others were celebrating, laughing and shouting "Let's get them one at a time", "That's what you get for sin". Others sang "Boom bye bye", a line from a well-known dancehall song by Jamaican star Buju Banton about shooting and burning gay men. "It was like a parade", says Schleifer. "They were basically partying."[19]

Human Rights Watch also reports that police helped a suspect evade identification, and consistently refused to consider the possibility of a homophobic motive for the killing, with the senior officer responsible for the investigation claiming “most of the violence against homosexuals is internal. We never have cases of gay men being beaten up [by heterosexuals].”[20]

A friend of Williamson's, Lenford "Steve" Harvey, who worked in Targeted Interventions at Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, was shot to death on the eve of World AIDS Day the following year. Gunmen reportedly burst into his home and demanded money, demanding to know "Are you battymen?" "I think his silence, his refusal to answer that question sealed it", said Yvonne McCalla Sobers, the head of Families Against State Terrorism. "Then they opened his laptop and saw a photograph of him with his partner in some kind of embrace that showed they were together. So they took him out and killed him."[21] Four people have been charged with the killing.

Since 2008, a political news/blog site, Gay Jamaica Watch, with its related social network, has moved to the forefront of day to day civil rights commentary in Jamaica, whilst J-FLAG is involved with other activities.[22]

The current UN Declaration on Human Rights does not have any language pertaining to the protection of sexual orientation. When it was written after World War II, no countries had a gay rights movement (Donnelly 2003), so its inclusion was not even a point of contention. Over the past century, LGBTQ advocates worldwide have begun the struggle for equal protection using the framework of human rights, but there is currently no international consensus. Many countries have extended the same rights and protection from discrimination, but many others, like Jamaica, feel that acceptance of homosexuality is not socially acceptable, nor something that should be protected by the state (Donnelly 2003). In his discussion on the nature of human rights laws as they concern sexual minorities, Jack Donnelly begins by saying that it is impossible to be completely protected from discrimination, but it is a right to be protected from discrimination that “tends to ill will or causes unjustifiable harm” (Donnelly 2003; 225). He argues that excluding people of alternative sexual orientation from “equal rights for all” contradicts central ideas on the nature of human rights. This relates back to his idea on the indivisibility of human rights; in order for any rights to be completely enacted, they must all be extended to their fullest potential (Donnelly 2003). This requirements an acknowledgement of the effect that economic and social rights have on the ability of citizens to enact their political rights. In the face of state sanctioned violence against homosexuals, the very foundation of human rights in Jamaica is threatened.

A discussion on human rights, as they concern sexual orientation, could facilitate the prevention of AIDS and homophobic violence in Jamaica. However, many see the inclusion of sexual orientation as a human right to be a form of cultural imperialism (Norman, Carr, Jiminez 2006). Acceptance of homosexuality is seen as against the conservative Christian values that most citizens hold. In Jamaica, not only is there is no legal protection for people of alternative sexual orientation, but there also are many laws that prohibit and condemn homosexual acts. Legally, anal sex is defined as an “abominable act of buggery” and is punishable with up to ten years hard labor (Fink 2009). Violence against gay and positive people is commonplace, but legal repercussions for the aggressor are rare. UNAIDS representatives for Jamaica, describe these laws and repeated blind-eye towards homophobic violence as “legalized discrimination” and points out how they have driven the epidemic further underground, making access to treatment and outreach more difficult (Fink 2009).

Public attitudes toward LGBT people

In late July 2008, a poll was conducted amongst various Jamaicans that read "Whether or not you agree with their "lifestyle," do you think homosexuals are entitled to the same basic rights and privileges as other people in Jamaica?" Of the respondents, only 26% said "yes," with 70% saying "no" and 4% undecided.[23]

In 2004, Human Rights Watch issued a report on the status of LGBT people in Jamaica. The report documented widespread homophobia and argued that the high level of intolerance was harming public efforts to combat violence and the AIDS-HIV pandemic.[7] The Caribbean has by far the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the Americas, with heterosexual contact the predominant route of HIV transmission.[24]

A recent poll showed that 96% of Jamaicans were opposed to any move that would seek to legalise homosexual relations.[25] Many Jamaicans are devoutly Christian and claim that their anti-gay stance is based on religious grounds.[26] In February 2006, a coalition of church leaders and members of the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship declared their opposition to the privacy provisions of a proposed Charter of Rights that would form the basis of an amended Jamaican Constitution. Chief among the concerns was that homosexuality could be made legal, although the Justice Minister AJ Nicholson and the Leader of the Opposition Bruce Golding have denied this; both oppose decriminalizing buggery[27] which although not a gay specific crime, is most often used against gay men.

Local LGBT-rights group J-FLAG acknowledges that anti-LGBT sentiment is influenced by certain passages from the Bible, but counters that
the appropriation by legislatures of the Christian condemnation of homosexuals is a purely arbitrary process, guided largely by individual biases and collective prejudices. In the case of adultery, of which much more mention is made in Biblical text, Jamaica has no law pertaining to its condemnation or prosecution. The same applies to the act of fornication.[28]

The Rastafari movement, is in many ways even more intensely anti-homosexual. According to a Rasta elder:

The real reason why the average 'Jah D' in Jamaica has this extreme, rational aversion to male homosexuality is not... because of 'fear of the other', it is not because of Biblical injunction; it is not because of its supposed 'un-Africanness' nor the fact that Jamaica is nominally a 'Christian country'. It is simply that he cannot condone the abandonment of the clean 'nip and tuck' of normal heterosexual relations for the unhygienic foray amid waste matter, unfriendly bacteria and toxic germs... 'Jah D' cannot see how it can be considered normal to forgo the natural, preordained creative union of male and female; to disdain the mix of complimentary fluids whether premarital, marital or extramarital and willingly embrace a process which leads to rooting amongst waste which anal penetration necessarily involves.[29]

The focus remains heavily on homosexuality as representing anal intercourse, above virtually all other aspects associated with gay culture in society. Linked to this is Jamaica's pre-eminence as a country with male-dominant social values.[30] Consequently, adultery and fornication are praised as signs of male virility in the lyrics of popular songs, particularly in Jamaican Dancehall. Homosexuality (i.e. buggery) in this context is seen as a potential affront to the male 'ideal'.[28]

The Western perception of Jamaica as a carefree “island” society is in sharp contrast with its widespread social conservatism and high incidence of violence. There is a strong Christian attitude in Jamaica that condemns homosexual acts as abominations. Heightened masculinity is also seen as an important, definitive aspect of being a man. An accusation of homosexuality is seen as the worst insult someone could give a man (Fink 2009). Anthropologist Kingsley Stewart of the University of the West Indies said, “Homophobia influences almost every aspect of life. It has even come to shape the everyday language of ghetto youth” (Fink 2009). Masculinity in Jamaica is defined in opposition of homosexuality. This is similar to the narrative offered by Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks, where the author asserts that blackness can only be understood in its comparison to whiteness. Traditional masculinity in Jamaica is defined as the antithesis of homosexuality. It is impossible to understand masculinity outside of its guarded relationship to homosexuality. This heightens the seriousness to which an accusation of homosexuality affects a man’s reputation and the drastic measures he will go to avoid being indicted.

Prevailing understandings of homosexuality limit public discussions to recycled misinformation and prejudices, which make it difficult for LGBT Jamaicans to comes to terms with their sexualities. The organization Gay Jamaicans United, which seeks to provide a web-resource for LGBTQ Jamaicans who have questions about sexuality and gender identity, was launched in April, 2010.[31]

Female homosexuality

For lesbians in Jamaica, the situation is considerably more ambiguous. In common with many countries where homosexual acts are or were illegal, legislation refers specifically to acts between males, making female homosexuality legal by omission. Views of female homosexuality from a heterosexual perspective, expressed in terms of male superiority and difference, are common. Jamaica Gleaner columnist Morris Cargill wrote in 1999:

There seems to be a certain logic in female homosexuality. For if it is true, broadly speaking, we acquire our first sexual proclivities in infancy, girl children who are petted and fondled by their mothers, nurses and female relatives acquire what might be said to be a "normal" sexual affection for their own sex. But this is not true of male children, so it seems to me that there is a very fundamental difference between male and female homosexuality.[32]
As a consequence, Jamaican lesbians experience less persecution than gay men, but have nonetheless cited examples of hate crimes.
Amnesty has received reports of specific acts of violence against lesbians, namely rape and other forms of sexual violence. There are reports of lesbians being attacked on the grounds of ‘mannish’ physical appearance or other visible ‘signs’ of sexuality. Some reports of abduction and rape emanate from inner-city communities, where local NGOs have already expressed concerns about high incidences of violence against women.[33]

Although lesbian civil ceremonies have taken place, Jamaica does not recognise any legal basis for partnerships between women.

Portrayal of LGBT people in popular music

Jamaica's popular culture has a strong tradition of music, particularly reggae and dancehall. As a consequence performers are high profile, either (depending on perspective) seen as influencing popular opinion or reflecting it. Artists such as Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Vybz Kartel, Movado, Elephant Man, Sizzla, Capleton, T.O.K., Anthony B and Shabba Ranks, write and perform songs that advocate attacking or killing gays and lesbians.

Apologists argue that these artists are simply championing Rastafarian values in contemporary reggae music by recording material which is concerned primarily with exploring Rastafarian themes, such as Babylon's corrupting influence, the disenfranchisement of ghetto youth, oppression of the black nation and their abiding faith in Jah and resistance against perceived agents of oppression. Homosexuality is enmeshed with these themes.

One of Beenie Man's songs contains the lyrics: "I'm a dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays."[34] Lyrics from Sizzla's songs include: “Shot batty boy, my big gun boom” (Shoot queers, my big gun goes boom).[35] "A Nuh Fi Wi Fault" by Elephant Man boasts: "Battyman fi dead!/Please mark we word/Gimme tha tech-nine/Shoot dem like bird".[36]

Shabba Ranks's reputation was badly damaged by his explicitly homophobic views and lyrics. This was evidenced by a notorious incident on the Channel 4 programme 'The Word' where he advocated the crucifixion of homosexuals[37]. This view was also aired, for example, on his track "No Mama Man", where the following lyrics can be heard: "If Jamaica would a legalize gun / to kill battyboy would be the greatest fun".

An international campaign against homophobia by reggae singers has been launched by OutRage!, UK-based gay activism group.[34], the UK-based Stop Murder Music Coalition (SMM) and others. An agreement to stop anti-gay lyrics during live performances and not to produce any new anti-gay material or re-release offending songs was reached in February 2005 between dancehall record labels and organizations opposed to anti-gay murder lyrics. As of July 2006 this agreement seems to have been revoked.[38]

The Canadian High Commission in Jamaica is also requiring performers who wish to tour in Canada to sign an Entertainer Declaration that states that they have read and fully understand excerpts from the Criminal Code of Canada, Charter of Rights and Human Rights Act and "will not engage in or advocate hatred against persons because of their... sexual orientation."[39]

Homophobia and HIV

There are many factors perpetuating the AIDS epidemic in Jamaica, but the high stigma surrounding homosexuality is certainly one of the most difficult to overcome. Jamaican men, in particular, are so concerned about being associated with homosexuality that they are hesitant to seek out HIV treatment and prevention services (Fink 2009). The spread of HIV also encourages a cycle of blame and violence, which marginalizes and encourages violence against a gay lifestyle. This cycle takes on further meaning under Jamaican law, which criminalizes anal sex and often turns a blind eye to violence against homosexuals (Fink 2009). Few are willing to take up the language of human rights against what is currently happening to homosexuals and positive individuals because they are considered responsible for the spread of HIV. An understanding of the Jamaican AIDS epidemic must acknowledge the role that stigma and homophobic violence play in perpetuating its spread (Norman, Carr, Jiminez 2006). Additionally, this stigma and violence must be analyzed within the context of structural violence and the forces of globalization. Homophobic violence and the spread of HIV must be viewed as a product of these transnational forces.

It is estimated that approximately 1.6% of the entire population of Jamaica is HIV positive and rates of infection have been gradually climbing over the past decade (Norman, Carr, Jiminez 2006). Almost 25% of Jamaicans, including mostly gay men and sex workers, are identified, as “at risk” for infection (Norman, Carr, Jiminez 2006). The epidemic is certainly more concentrated within the gay community. Current statistics estimate that as high as 32% of all gay men in Jamaica are HIV positive (Fink 2009). The way Jamaicans associate HIV with homosexual anal sex has been partly shaped by the international media coverage at the beginning of the epidemic. AIDS researcher Robert Carr said, “AIDS was seen as a disease of gay, White, North American men” (Fink 2009). The initial terror from the beginning of the epidemic, before there were any treatments, incited already pervasive homophobia to violent action (Fink 2009). While the past few decades have shown how the spread of HIV is not confined to any singular social category, the association has held strong in Jamaica.

A study conducted by AIDS researchers found that half of surveyed university students in Jamaica felt sympathetic towards heterosexual men and non-sex workers who were HIV positive, but did not reciprocate the feelings for homosexual men and female sex workers (Norman, Carr, Jiminez 2006). Essentially this study showed that less blame is attached to people who became positive through “less controllable” acts such as voluntary heterosexual intercourse or drug use. Many Jamaicans felt that sex workers and homosexuals are not to be pitied because they were acting in a way that put themselves knowingly more at risk (Norman, Carr, Jiminez 2006). Stigma and homophobia have affected the lives and the spread of HIV in many ways. Men who are both gay and positive face innumerable obstacles and acts of violence over the course of their lives. AIDS researchers Carr and White found that the association of HIV with generally stigmatized social groups has a halo effect that impacts all persons living with HIV (White and Carr 2005). The association of AIDS with homosexuals has increased the discrimination towards all homosexuals and others living with HIV. Victim blaming over infection has left positive individuals, especially gay men and sex workers, with few resources and even fewer public advocates.

Harsh social stigmas against homosexuality and the criminalization of sodomy by the Jamaican government have forced men to pursue increasingly risky encounters. The secretive nature of gay culture in Jamaica makes outreach nearly impossible. Men are so fearful of being associated with homosexuality that they refuse to learn prevention techniques or seek out treatment. Fear of being identified as gay has also forced many men into early marriages in the hopes of avoiding future accusations. Miriam Maluwa, the UNAIDS country representative for Jamaica, said, “[Gay men] marry fairly rapidly, they have children fairly rapidly to regularize themselves, and that is really a ticking bomb” (Fink 2009). Gay men forced into heterosexual marriage are bound to have extramarital affairs. These affairs put their wives at high risk for infection as well.

In his book, Pathologies of Power, Paul Farmer briefly discusses the relationship between homophobia and HIV. “Homophobia may be said to lead to adverse outcomes if it “drives underground” people who would otherwise stand to benefit from preventive campaigns” (Farmer 2005). This is certainly the case in Jamaica. The fear of stigma has crippled the agency of prevention and treatment programs. Farmer acknowledges the effect homophobia can have on treatment and prevention, but in line with his consistent views, argues that crimes against women and gay men are disproportionately felt by the poor as a product of structural violence (Farmer 2005). Structural violence, according to Farmer is driven by “neither culture nor pure individual will…rather, historically given (and often economically driven) processes and forces conspire to constrain individual agency” (Farmer 2005). Homophobia is simply a symptom of larger issues of structural violence. Their already stigmatized existence is further compounded by the practical limitations of the extreme poverty in Jamaica. Farmer later writes, “None of this is to deny the ill effects of homophobia… The point is rather to call for more fine-grained, more systemic analyses of power and privilege in discussions about who is likely to have their rights violated and in what ways” (Farmer 2005). Analysis of the larger cultural, economic, and legal issues surrounding the state of homophobic violence and the spread of HIV under this idea of structural violence display their complex origins and solutions.

Wealth disparities and government sanctioning of gay rights abuses have created a culture of cyclical violence. Currently, Jamaica is trapped in a cycle: fear of HIV increases homophobia and violence towards homosexuals, which forces men to be secretive and avoid prevention, which leads to an increase in infections, which contributes to increased stigma. It is a cycle that must be broken by publicly advocating for the rights of gay men and easing social attitudes towards alternative masculinity. In order to control the spread of HIV in Jamaica, the government must protect the rights of homosexuals to live free from discrimination and violence. Unless their rights are honored, Jamaica will be thrust even farther into this cycle of violence that perpetuates the AIDS epidemic. Eliminating the stigma surrounding homosexuality will require a thorough acknowledgment of the structural violence excited by the forces of globalization in addition to local advocacy efforts.

See also


  1. Crimes against gays are mounting in Jamaica and across the Caribbean By Tim Padgett. Wednesday, April 12, 2006
  2. TIME: The Most Homophobic Place on Earth? By Tim Padgett. Wednesday, April 12, 2006
  3. Offenses Against the Person Act, 1864, revised 1969, Articles 76, 77, 79
    J-FLAG, “Know Your Rights,” online
  4. Peter Tatchell (2004). Homophobia as a weapon of war. Retrieved on 2010-01-12.
  5. Sunday Herald, Jamaica, April 8, 2006: No Homos! Opposition to gays in the cabinet.
  6. The Guardian, Troubled Island, by Gary Younge, Thursday April 27, 2006
  7. 7.0 7.1 Human Rights Watch, Hated to Death: Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica's HIV/AIDS Epidemic, November 2004. Report online.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Amnesty International media release: Battybwoys affi dead ("Faggots have to die"): Action against Homophobia in Jamaica, 17 May 04.
  10. Amnesty International, 10 June 2004. (AMR 38/010/2004). Press Release. Jamaica: Amnesty International Mourns Loss of Leading Human Rights Defender.
  11. "Rights-Jamaica: Gays Living in Fear.", by Dionne Jackson Miller. Inter Press Service, 16 June 2004.
  12. The Guardian, If You’re Gay in Jamaica, You’re Dead, by Diane Taylor, August 2, 2004. Article online
  13. Thompson, Tony, “Jamaican gays flee to save their lives: Homophobia runs so deep in society that asylum can be the only chance of survival,” The Jamaica Observer, 20 October 2002, 25.
    See also: [1].
  14. BBC news, Growing up gay in Jamaica, Wednesday, 15 September 2004.
  15. Amendment 25: Human rights in the world and the EU's policy. "Paragraph 79 calls on the Government of Jamaica to take effective action to stop the extra-judicial killing of people by security forces; also calls on the Government of Jamaica to repeal sections 76, 77 and 79 of the Offences Against the Person Act, which criminalise sex between consenting adult men and are used as justification for unacceptable harassment, notably against HIV/AIDS educators; asks the Government of Jamaica to actively fight widespread homophobia." Report online.
  16., Anti-Gay Violence Claims Another Life In Jamaica, by Newscenter Staff, January 4, 2006.
  17. Jamaica Gleaner, Alleged homosexual attacked at UWI, by Andrew Wildes. Wednesday, April 5, 2006. Article online.
    See also:, Jamaican Students Riot, Try To Kill Gay Student, by Newscenter Staff, January 4, 2006.
  18. BBC news, Jamaican gay activist murdered, Thursday, 10 June 2004.
  19. Reported in The Guardian, Troubled Island, by Gary Younge, Thursday April 27, 2006
  20. Letter Urging Jamaican Government to Protect Rights Defenders and Address Violence and Abuse Based on Sexual Orientation and HIV Status, November 30, 2004. Human Rights Watch
  21. Ibid.
  23. Jamaicans Reject Basic Rights for Homosexuals
  24. Caribbean HIV/AIDS statistics
  25. Reported in Amnesty International media release: Battybwoys affi dead ("Faggots have to die"): Action against Homophobia in Jamaica, 17 May 2004.
    Also reported in: The Guardian [London]. 26 June 2004. Gary Younge. "Chilling Call to Murder as Music Attacks Gays."
  26. Wockner, Rex, “Bishops denounce gay sex,” International News #400, 24 December 2001
  27., Wed February 15, 2006. Homosexuality won’t be legalised, says Justice Minister
  28. 28.0 28.1 J-FLAG, “Parliamentary Submission: The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) with regard To ‘An Act to Amend the Constitution of Jamaica to Provide for a Charter of Rights and for Connected Matters’,” 2001. Submission online. [Accessed 22 June 2006].
  31. Gay Jamaicans United
  32. Cargill, Morris. "Heigh-ho for 1999!", Jamaica Gleaner, 21 January 1999. Retrieved on 2 March 2006. 
  33. No Woman No Cry: Lesbians in Jamaica, Diva Magazine
  34. 34.0 34.1 Gay News From
  35. Gay News From
  36. Sorry
  37., record of Shabba Ranks in The World (starts at 1:41)
  38. Homophobia Bad - Sexism Good in Music Biz
  39. Ibid.

Donnelly, Jack. 2003. Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. 2nd Ed. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Falk, Richard. 2002. “Interpreting the Interaction of Global Markets and Human Rights.” Globalization and Human Rights. University of California Press.

Fanon, Franz. “The Fact of Blackness” Black Skin, White Masks, Chptr 5.

Farmer, Paul. 2005. Pathologies of Power: health, human rights, and the new war on the poor. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Fink, Micah. “How AIDS Became a Caribbean Crisis.” The Atlantic, September 22, 2009.

Krug, Etienne G. et al., eds. World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2002.

Norman, Lisa R., Carr, Robert, and Jiminez, Julio. “Sexual stigma and sympathy: Attitudes toward persons living with HIV in Jamaica.” Culture, Health, & Sexuality, September-October 2006; 8(5): 423-433.

Padgett, Tim. “The Most Homophobic Place on Earth?” Time Magazine, 12 Apr 2006.

White, Ruth C. and Carr, Robert. “Homosexuality and HIV/AIDS stigma in Jamaica.” Culture, Health, & Sexuality, July-August 2005; 7(4): 347-359.

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