Any heterosexual discussion of gays in Jamaica is taken as anti-gay
The Republican party in the USA has been dubbed the 'stupid' party, especially in matters relating to its pro-war stance, its views on women's rights and on homosexuality.
Many of those hyperventilating on religion believe in 'reparative therapy' or praying away the gay. It is my view, and those of a few other commentators in Jamaica, that to be homosexual is not exactly the best position to be in Jamaica, although the country's level of homophobia has severely tapered off when compared with 30 years ago.
In 1965, a group of boys were returning from a street dance at Red Hills Road. It was about four in the morning. They saw a car at a spot in Arlene Gardens that used to be called 'hotel' because the odd car would always be there in the glow of a street light with a pair of lovers doing what lovers do at that time of the day.
As the boys, about 12 of them, walked past the car a few of the braver ones banged on the car and whooped it up almost in celebration of what they imagined was happening inside. Many of the boys were virgins, but schoolboys never admit to any such thing. As they walked away and turned to look back they saw that it was two men in the car. The foolish boys shouted and made 'war noises' as they raced away to a nearby construction site. They returned with stones and peppered the car!
The men ran out and into the bushes. How do I know this? It is to my utter shame that I was 15 years old at the time and I was one of those boys. Any forgiveness I should solicit now would be meaningless. My mother and father did not raise me to become an animal.
The point had to be made now because my own cultural evolution on gays has shifted radically from the days when I was a foolish boy ready to stone gays. One is gay because that is what one is. That is my belief, plus Jamaica is not yet culturally open to seeing homosexual men openly embracing in our public spaces.
It is foolish to believe that people 'turn' themselves gay. Why would they do so in a country that is not accepting of that way of living? It they could 'turn' into gay, could they not simply turn back into heterosexual and make everyone happy?
I know in Jamaica that there are still some religious people who are of the view that prayer can change a homosexual into a heterosexual. And, I suppose, prayer can make pigs fly.
Of late, the right the homosexual community has to express its views on matters which it believes deprives it of the natural rights of it members to be who they are has been strongly defended, even as some of the more vociferous ones believe that the heterosexual community must shut its 'homophobic' mouth.
This new 'heterophobia' among the gay community has dramatically increased since the Jamaica Observer dared to report the gang rape of a male jogger last week. In response to my Thursday column, 'A bold, brazen buggering', one person wrote:
'Rapes of males have been going on for a long time but the vast majority of them go unreported. Over 20 years ago my brother, who is a doctor, went to court to give expert testimony in relation to two boys who were regularly taken to school by a taxi man. One day he diverted and drove into the bushes, tied up the children and sodomised both repeatedly. Most people involved do not go the full way to court but the mother of those two children stuck to her guns.
'Would you believe the taxi man only got eight years.'
Another person from a rural area called to tell me that her 23-year-old son was abducted last Tuesday by a group of men who repeatedly sodomised him. Her son has begged her not to report it to the police or tell the neighbours.
Now, for me to write about this must, to certain members of the gay community, mean that I am inciting hate against gays. I have written many articles about the rape of women in Jamaica and the extent to which it is kept under the radar, but somehow, according to the new 'heterophobia' among the gay community, I must stay away from writing about male-on-male rape.
The mood I have picked up at street level will certainly not make it any easier for our legislators to have that much-touted conscience vote on the buggery law.
Even if we should take a cursory examination of the law, it is hardly ever policed. In fact, the law speaks to anal sex, a disgusting act carried out by many heterosexuals. I can remember in the late 1950s a famous Jamaican singer was arrested under the Act for buggering another man, but I cannot recall any other person being held and convicted.
So if we have an Act that is not being policed and is directed at heterosexuals and homosexuals, how does keeping the Act on the books specifically single out gays for discrimination? Simple. Heterosexuals have options, gays do not.
I will say it again, any political party that overturns the specific Act will suffer at the polls because the general public associates the Act in terms of it strictly giving rights to homosexuals. That political party will be known as the gay party and will be out of power for a very long time.
As much as the members of the highly agitated gay lobby who are living in the USA believe that we Jamaicans ought to keep our traps shut, it would suit them to take note of the rubbish spouted by those closer to them in the Republican Party. Those Republicans are really in the dark ages.
In Jamaica we are simply opening up the conversation, but this time the heterosexual community is saying that they have the same rights to express their views as the powerful gay lobby has to purchase head space in civil society groups and among those silent ones with the big stick approach.