Homo It’s Bloodier in Jamaica
posted by September 10 at 9:54 AMon
Wow, that’s some island paradise you’ve got there.
While governments in a number of Latin American countries and elsewhere begin to recognize the legal rights of same-sex partners, Jamaica is bolstering its image as one of the most virulently anti-gay societies in the Western Hemisphere. Between February and July of this year, 98 gay men and lesbians were targeted in 43 different mob attacks, according to the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays. Four lesbians were raped, four gay men were murdered, and the houses of two gay men were burned down.
Human-rights activists fault gay-baiting recording artists, fundamentalist Christian church groups and mainstream political leaders who dare not antagonize some of the island’s more prominent men of the cloth… Jamaica also has the world’s third-highest per capita murder rate, behind South Africa and Colombia, and the blend of widespread violence and anti-homosexual prejudice creates a ripe climate for hate crimes targeting gays and lesbians….
Even today homophobia is tacitly condoned by some political parties and companies. The Jamaican-owned Sandals chain of resort hotels refused to lodge same-sex couples as recently as three years ago, and the country has retained a colonial-era law that criminalizes anal intercourse long after the former colonial power, Britain, struck down such statutes. During the country’s 2001 election the opposition Jamaican Labour Party adopted as its jingle the song “Chi Chi Man,” which celebrates the burning and killing of gay men.