By now any and every resident of our beautiful mother Earth has heard of Jamaica and its issue with homosexuality. These issues are often present in the strong anti-homosexual themes in Dancehall(different genre from Reggae) lyrics. So one may ask where is the love? why are so many Jamaicans like that? how can the international community “help”? Homosexuality in Jamaica, the Caribbean and the world has always been put in this singular frame with little attention paid to how we got to this point.
Factors that have affected the Jamaican perception of homosexuality are Christianity, the Jamaican government, the British and colonialism.
Leviticus 20:13 “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” These are words coming from the Good Book or The Holy Bible and there isn’t a doubt in my mind as to exactly what that verse is saying. It is a truly horrible excerpt with regards to human rights but its what is there. Despite heavy crime rates, Jamaica is a country which takes religion in particular the Christian faith very seriously. It is estimate that Jamaica has the most churches per square mile anywhere in the world. And with that comes the potent preaching of the gospel and in a Jamaican church nothing is sugar coated; the story is told as it is in the rawest of forms and many young Jamaicans grow up paranoid and afraid of gays, even ‘in-the-closet’ homosexuals. With the combination of poverty, political divides and people socially ostracized there is bound to be violent conflicts between various groups.
The Jamaican government has long been wary of supporting homosexuality as it doesn’t under normal circumstances win votes. Unlike countries in Europe and North America which were allowed to have society run its course and move from the state ordering lynching of suspected gays(which the Jamaican state has never done) to more progressive and procreative ideals over time; often centuries. And they were not forced to modify or speed up societal change just to satisfy a particular group.
An example of the fact that Europe had an hand to play in the spreading of homophobic rhetoric is colonialism and the implementation of European law on the newly captured lands( through the extermination of indigenous people such as the Taino). Its was the British who implemented the Buggery Law which many Dancehall artists use as their first line of defense when being accused of homophobia ironically by the same countries who brought laws condemning a chosen lifestyle to the island in the first place. One important point from this is that lesbians have rarely come under fire in the music, in fact in recent times they have been embraced in the music by ‘freaky’ artiste such as Vybz Kartel and Khago. Furthermore demonstrating the power of the a Buggery law on peoples perceptions.
One also has to remember laws were enforced in a colonial society different from how they were in the motherland (Africa for the enslaved, Europe for the slave drivers) It was a very cruel and oppressive place to be and very hypocritical because when enslaved men were raped by the masters and released in the fields he was expected to behave as if it never happens or face certain death.
In Jamaica you have a lot of gay men who are one hundred percent sure they are gay who go around making trouble with other gay men, why? I’m not sure but I would guess they want to look macho and as straight as possible. What many foreign news outlets don’t report is many of the homosexual disputes in Jamaica(not all) are crimes of passion. For Jamaica I would suggest that the international community give them time and stop “pressuring” to behave in accordance with their beliefs. This resembles the colonial mentality which means the lesser people must adhere to what we say or else.
Les Green an English police sent to investigate hate crimes targeted at gay Jamaicans in which he came to the conclusion, “It’s just the hype from some who claim Jamaica is very anti-homosexual, but the reality is far from that. There are many homosexuals who live and work freely in Jamaica.” (Surprise, surprise)
Stay tuned in Part 2 we will be looking at homosexuality in the 21st century in Jamaica and we will be taking a keen look at popular acts such as Shebada and how he/she is pioneering being open to who you are in a society like Jamaica i.e. Christian.
In the video above featuring hit singles from Tanbad and Ms. Ting you can clearly see the artist kissing and caressing another woman. (O yea Jamaica is really homophobic, we are killing lesbians and gays, yea right)
I’ve always been skeptical of foreign media and I will always be. Poor countries are used as scape goats to push agenda’s. You never hear about Saudi Arabia and the public stoning of gays, why? Saudi Arabia has the world’s oil, so they can do whatever they want to gays.
The point of all this, don’t jump on the bandwagon, when your favorite sitcom has had its finale and you have nothing else to do.