|1st International Day of Action Against Jamaica's Anti-gay Laws
in Canada on August 6, 2014 at the Jamaican Consulate.
Like modern Jamaicans, Britons of Victorian days had trouble being honest about sex and sexuality. In the arrogance of their “civilizing” mission, they gave their colonies laws that reflected their absurd views, and today’s Jamaica desperately clings to the most absurd of these: the buggery law. The retention of this odious law has empowered the most retrograde elements of Jamaican society. These elements use the buggery law and “Christianity” to create a toxic atmosphere of hatred in which a particular group is singled out for appalling levels of discrimination and violence. What passes for Christianity on the island is in no way reflected in the teachings of Jesus. Many who prophesizes, whether true or false, in the name of God especially Christians, have to yet to learn or accept that all judgment belongs to God alone, and discrimination is the face of human condemnation. Even Pope Francis of the conservative Roman Catholic Church, asked, “Who am I to judge a gay person?”
Almost as shocking as the perpetrators’ attitude toward Dwayne’s life was the reaction of the Jamaican public: save for a few scattered voices, an expression of outrage. No candlelight vigils. No mass rallies. No outpouring of support for Dwayne and his community.
|1st International Day of Action Against Jamaica's Anti-gay Laws||in London on August 6, 2014 at the Jamaican High Commission.|
Despite the gruesome death of Dwayne and many others, the utter contempt many Jamaicans have for each other, and the inertia that touches all areas of society, I see faint glimmers of hope. At great risk to their lives, many individuals within Jamaica, who will someday be hailed as national heroes, work to protect our LGBT brothers and sisters. Many others work from adopted countries to shed light on the crisis. Prominent straight allies, such as, Yvonne McCalla Sobbers have recorded public service announcements calling for respect for all. Most promising is the growing national support for repeal of the buggery law. All of these ripples are gathering into a tidal wave of change.
As the South African anti-apartheid anthem proudly proclaims, “Freedom is coming…oh, yes I know!” My dream, as well as, many other LGBT Jamaican refugees scattered around the world, is to return to a truly free Jamaica, free from fear, oppression, discrimination and persecution, and free to celebrate Dwayne’s life for the bold expression of love that it was.