Kingston, Jamaica

Sunday, November 4, 2012

University Beating: The Ever-Growing Problem of Homophobia and Hate in Jamaica

By: Dwayne Brown

The rights and dignity of young gay and lesbian students continue to be trampled in Jamaica. On November 1, 2012, a gay student was attacked by a mob of students and then beaten by Marksman security guards at the University of Technology (UTech). It was alleged that the victim and another young man, were caught expressing sexual gestures, and as a result, one of the accused was caught and beaten, while the other flee for his life.

The disheartening attack was captured on a students cell phone. The video revealed students storming, breaking windows and stoning the building where the victim was being held by security guards. The students chanted, “Kill the BattyMan/Gay”, “Beat him”, while at the same time, the victim received several punches, kicks and slaps by two enraged campus security guards, while another stood and watched.

Honestly, I was not surprised by the actions of the students and security guards. Far too often, one too many incidents where gay students were beaten and bullied, continue to be ignored by staff members. Many school administrators failed to reprimand the aggressors and implement proactive policies to protect the rights and safety of all students (Straight or Gay). A matter a fact, the constitutional stance on homosexuality encourages intolerance and homophobia to strive within the fabric of our society, and UTech is no exception.  

Based on my observations, UTech is not an institution of higher learning; it is an institution of vigilantism. In fact, it is a mini garrison, with thugs and gang members called students. Its mob culture and history of vigilantism speaks highly of the quality and decorum of the type students UTech pour into our broken society on an annually basis. For instance, in the year 2003, a young man, part of a gang breaking into cars at night on the grounds of the university was caught and killed by students; and in May 2011 an angry mob of students inflicted several wounds on a man who was allegedly caught attempting to steal a laptop computer from a dormitory.  These kinds of acts are reprehensible, and are reflective of the moral decay in the society.

Moreover, the promotion of homophobia is very profound in every institutional structure within Jamaica, which fosters intolerance towards the homosexual lifestyle. The promotion of intolerance is very subtle and distinct, for instance, the Minister of Education Rev. Ronald Thwaites in response to Jamaica’s Health and Family Life Curriculum which mentioned homosexuality as part of the human sexuality spectrum, he posits, “I wish to make it quite clear that in the rewrite of that particular aspect of it, however it came to be, we are not going to be promoting homosexuality in this country. We're just not going to do it." Minister Thwaites then suggested that “the homosexual lifestyle is inappropriate and schools will only promote healthy heterosexual relationship.” Sorry Rev. Thwaites, the function of our schools is not to promote and advance a particular sexual orientation inferior to another.

What does this kind of rhetoric from the head of our education system say to the thousands of gay and lesbian students in our school system? You are not welcome, is that it? “Someone like Rev. Thwaites who have raised more than one gay son, should promote nothing less than equality and tolerance in schools. Human sexuality should not be censored,” said a anonymous source, a science teacher at a local school in Kingston. I find this to be very disturbing.

The Minister of Education and the University of Technology have not yet condemned the violence and intolerance towards gay and lesbian students, because in retrospect such utterance would indicate the promotion of homosexuality to the wider society. Furthermore, the two television stations, CVMTV and Television Jamaica (TVJ) refused to air a paid advertisement promoting tolerance for homosexuals in Jamaica and are currently being sued by Maurice Tomlinson, an attorney-at-law.

According to Professor Ian Boxil 2012 study “persons 35 years old and under are more likely to be tolerant, accepting, supportive, admiring and appreciative of LGBT persons.” I strongly disagree with his assumption. I believe his findings were based on hypothetical interpretations and perceptions of Jamaica’s modernized society, rather than employing a wider range of methodologies and sampling methods, as well as adding the views of common Jamaicans’. Clearly, a vast majority of the students from UTech who were involved in the attack do not concede with the findings from Professor Boxil study.

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) daily incident reports from victims of homophobia undermined the credibility of Boxil’s research. Since January 2011, J-FLAG reported that Fifty-one incidents, including mob attacks, physical abuse, home evictions, and discrimination were reported with forty-seven of these meted out to males, and in June 2012, members of the LGBT community have reported to J-FLAG that eight gay men have been murdered within the prior three months. This current incident at UTech unequivocally indicates that tolerance is a mere myth for many gay Jamaicans’.

Therefore, Jamaican leaders’ futile attempt to implement reforms or lack thereof to curve the violence towards homosexuals is a serious concern shared by the United Nations. The government should be held accountable for failing to protect the fundamental human rights of gay and lesbian Jamaicans. However, while many may condemn the attack shown in the video, more intervention remains to be done. A few concerned parents questioned why university students, who should be the most educated students and the next generation of leaders, are perpetuating "acts of barbarism". Jamaicans’ attitude towards  homosexuals need to be changed.


  1. Well said Dwayne.

    did you watch this video? I agree with her 100%.

    1. Thank you. I did. I know her. Very compelling arguments she suggests that homosexuality was introduced to slaves by the white man. I am not sure about that.

    2. the holy bible says that any man who lay with another man or an animal must be put to death. too much nastines and we as jamaicans are not going to tolerate it.

    3. It's unfortunate that Jamaicans' have to beat and kill to cure such so-called "nastiness". I would not be surprised if Christians support such actions.

    4. Too much hypocrisy and wickedness among Jamaicans! Homophobias, too, will have their part in hell for their hatred and hypocrisy!

      There are those..."develop a deep-rooted hatred for gays because they are insecure about their own sexual identity. Research shows that males who express homophobic attitudes are also likely to become aroused by erotic images of homosexual behavior. Homophobia, then, may be associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobe is either unaware of or denies."
      Ref. Siegel, L.J (2006), Criminology, 268

  • Beating and killing our children because of who they and who they chose to love, is not the Christian way.

  • KMT. I wonder why homosexuals feel they have the right to do their thing in public. They are provoking the wrath that is inflicted on them. In the privacy of their homes they would not necessarily have been caught and beaten. Whether homosexuals like it or not the lifestyle is intolerable in Jamaica and it will remain rightfully that way for some time to come. While I condemn the beating of them by the security guards (who I believe were stupid as hell to compromise their jobs like that), homosexuals must know that they must not promote their lifestyle in an environment hostile to it or else there are consequences.

  • For a country which depends on foreign aide and IMF money to operate, should resist from treating their own citizens with such hostility. Jamaicans need to respect the rights of gay Jamaicans, it's for their own interest, if they wish to continue to seek monetary support from countries like USA, Canada, and UK, as well as agencies like the UN and IMF . The world is watching Jamaica. If impoverished Jamaica knows what's best for its people, they would stop beat and kill homosexuals or they will be forced to by international pressure.

  • This is rubbish. Love is ove and how dare someone write that they should only express who a person truly is behind closed doors. That's a slaves mentality, and it's no wonder why Jamaica is still filled with ignorant people living in poverty. Who wants to visit a country, and spend money in a place where bigotry is preached. The bible also says love your fellow man, and judge not or ye to will be judged. No sin is greater than the next sin, and god is the only person who should be judging. Let people live there lives and if it meant for the wrath of god to strike them then god will do it , as he will judge all of us on judgement day

  • I live in america and was recently called a homophobe because im jamaican. People in jamaica need to realize its 2013, and people are going to be with who they want to be with. We should love each other as God loves us, only he can and should judge. Please stop the violence, its uncall for and it makes it so hard for other jamaicans who lives in other parts of the world.

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