What’s the matter with the world

With this current deep hairpin curve on my yellow brick road, I have had to re-adjust a few things in my life, the most profound of which has been getting used to public transportation.  I can’t say I have much experience taking public transportation in this ‘new Jamaica’, I bought my first car right out of college at 20 and have been driving ever since, until some bad decisions took a few things away from me including that.

I have learnt and been exposed to so many things on the street, it is a whole different place when you drive, my perceptions and opinions about many things have changed since.  For one, I never supported the notion that Jamaica is extremely homophobic, when you drive, no matter how gay you are or look, it is a whole different world; take the bus or have to walk and a big black cloud seems to creep up on you, if you are not prepared mentally and physically it can be heartbreaking at least, deathly at most.  When I just started taking the bus, I got into quite a few arguments on the issue of homosexuality and homophobia, as well as how easily Jamaican men and women use battyman and sadamite as curse words for every and any one who upsets them.  Eventually I have had to adjust how much attention I pay to such rhetoric, because it seems there is no sense in arguing with them, whilst I have seen my engagements create quite a change in people, I have realised that the effort needs to be on a bigger scale to be sustainable, and also needs to be supported by the gay people that are constantly in the public’s eye.

This leads me to share about my most recent experience on public transportation heading to Half Way Tree and hearing this man express his discontent with Jamaica in very thundering tones, he kept saying ‘I am not proud to be Jamaican’ .  In his tirade he spoke of Jamaican male youth, the hairstyles dressing, unemployment, lack of education and Mugabe’s ‘honest’ pronouncements about Jamaican men.  He went on about politics, the JLP and the procurement of human fertilizer from the great USA for use on our crops and proposed that to the be the cause of our failed agriculture lately and those freakish pests.  He went on about a few things around the lack of leadership and vision in our leaders, I was with him until he touched homosexuality with what seems like genuine fear from his guts.  I listened as he proclaimed that all homosexuals are pedophiles  I contested him on that account to say that the recent surge in reporting of pedophiles preying on young girls demonstrates that heterosexuals are pedophiles too and as such it cannot be that all homosexuals are pedophiles in the same way all heterosexuals aren’t.  He obviously started to get angry and spoke of how the public officials including police are protecting ‘battymen’, mentioning the case of the 2 young boys that drowned, found naked and sodomized.  He complained bitterly that if homosexuality was ever legal in Jamaica, gay people would go around raping and trying to convert people to homosexuality, highlighting that it is because of lack of opportunities why so many young men are getting caught into it and the lack of family and good male role models.

Now, whilst a lot of his fears are baseless, as most fears are, they are REAL fears that many Jamaicans appear to hold, and use to colour how they feel and relate to gay people.  If our advocacy ignores these fears and continues to aggressively push for legislative and behavior change, without trying to find a solution to the behaviours of the gay community which we KNOW TO BE TRUE whether we want to admit it or not, we may have a battle to wage very soon.  As the avid social commentator on the bus said ‘if dem ever mek dat legal, me personally ago start kill battyman and sadamite, mi nuh waa dem rape mi’

At some point, we have to ask ourselves how do we contribute to this irrational fear as a community.  We agree that homophobia exists, people are intolerant of homosexuals. However, are homosexuals preying on young people, using material things to lure them and unemployed persons promising money and swag; Do we know of and support ‘gay for pay’; How many of us entertain people who we  know to be engaged in homosexual behavior but are homophobic when night comes to day; How many of us actually act and present like good contributing citizens; how many of our relationships are sound and empowering, that could suit marriage or long term productive commitment.

 

Sometimes when we ask what is the matter with the world, we need to look at how are we contributing to it, as the songwriter says ‘Nothing is wrong with the world, its just the people that’s in it…YOU and ME and ofcourse Them and US’

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6 thoughts on “What’s the matter with the world

  1. I try and read most of ur blogs because I find them to be deep and extremely interesting. It is true that the world in and of itself is a beautiful its the people the ruin it. Numerous questions were asked most of which am still trying to figure out. One that sticks out is gay for pay. If a study should be done how many homosexxuals are what we would call die hearted homosexuals and how many would be gay for pay. I shudder to think.

  2. Jamaicans have only been exposed to the negative side of the gay community, the marginalized youth on the street, the contribution to the aids epidemic, the side that is struggling with paedophilia, the side that is involved in criminal activities like the lottery scam/prostitution, the violent love affairs etc. I totally agree that if they were to be exposed to the educated upstanding members of the community their phobia would be subdued, they don’t know that gay people are the doctors and nurses that care for them when they are ill, the lawyers that represent them, the politicians that lead them, they are teachers, soldiers, police officers who are in serious relationships, who don’t sleep around or adhere to any of the other negative gay stereotypes that feed their phobia….. However, we cant blame that side for staying underground as they too are scared that if they “come out” they’ll be ridiculed and ostracised by the heterosexual community making their life difficult than it already is as a gay jamaican ……sooo what to do?

    • Ceesha hits nail on head…batters nail actually. What to do is the big big issue. Whilst I agree with attempts at changing legislation, laws are not really what govern people, it is perception/interpretation that controls how people act, laws only help punish wrong acts, when they can be determined, and when the legal systems work…soo…what to do. Focus on building the community from inside out and be honest about what happens, attempting to address them with effective social development and behaviour modification programmes

  3. Changing the law before changing the perception will just cause social chaos, I think the focus should be shifted from that for now……..they can change the law tomorrow but the hate will still be there. The violence against members of the community will still exist, perhaps it will even increase…..and then what??? One step forward and 15 steps back? What is the sense in that?

    • I have thought so myself for years…the advocacy must be informed by the details of the situation you are trying to change. Jamaicans have never been very law abiding, even the law-keepers and makers are open about breaking the law with no real repercussions…so a single focus on changing law in such a situation is in my opinion coward and vision-less, yes, it keeps you in a job, because you will be constantly toiling with law-makers and the church aka Shirley Richards about changing a law which in there perception will allow something that they are in fear of…aka..it will never freaking happen, and if it happens at all, then you will need to be running behind the legal system for the increase in reported cases of violent abuse of LGBT people…any which way the bank books and passports of those advocating solely for legal changes will be fat for a couple of years to come. 🙂 If that is the objective. If however, the objective is a Jamaican society that truly respects diversity then much more has to be done on the people’s perception and fears.

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