Gay rights and Jamaica

Friday, November 09, 2012

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Dear Editor,

There has been much mention of gay rights and gay relationships, and it seems a worldwide trend that gays, lesbians and bisexuals are all striving for human rights, legal rights and social recognition.

Most popular are the gay rights - to be married, living together as a normal couple and often adopting children. It is a question that is prominent in the minds of all people, and Jamaicans have to consider whether this is possible in Jamaica.

The gay community is becoming more organised, influencing others to accept and recognise their behaviour. I suppose every legal organisation has the right to organise; their name is now LGBT, meaning Lesbian, Gay,

Bisexual, and Transgender, and there is a version of Caribbean LGBT which is gaining attention in Jamaica. For those who don't know, they are mentioned on Facebook. However, they seem reluctant to provide information, particularly names and places. This is understandable considering the level of intolerance in some places, including Jamaica.

For me, another problem is their manifesto, available via Google. I find the language aggressive, even violent; this has done much damage to their perception by the public.

Are the desires and wishes of gays or heterosexuals caused by environmental conditions or genetic influences? At this time with whatever sexual biological research has been done and presented, conclusions indicate some answers.

There is scientific support for both genetic and environmental factors. However, the genetic component is weak to moderate, compared to natural sexual preferences. We cannot experiment on people, and there is so much influence from parents that it confuses environmental effects with those caused by genetic influence. But there is some genetic pre-disposition, according to scientists and geneticists, which indicate a possible two per cent in women and three per cent in men who may have a greater tendency towards gay behaviour.

When President Obama made his decision to recognise gays, it did seem unjust to deny some people the right to live together, and having lived together, it would not have been fair to deny any couple the right to get married. However, the term "married' is regrettable, and it should be changed. For centuries it has been understood that marriage was a union between two members of the opposite sex, with the intent to procreate.

Perhaps a new word or words are needed to define the fact that two responsible people have a serious commitment to be together in a relationship similar to conventional matrimony. A set of words could be used: communal bond, affiliation, friendship or correlation. We could say "marital correlation" (MC) for gay marriage, or any other combination of the acceptable words, which must be universally accepted and legally defined.

The question is really how tolerant are Jamaicans to gays, gay rights and proposed gay marriages? Not sympathetic, it would seem, as Christian theology has denied acceptance.

It really should be the right of any gay person to live by the same laws as everyone else, and not be subject to violence, as they are not personally responsible for their genetic or social influence.

Ramesh Sujanani

Kingston 8




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