Jamaica's Queer Obsession
Is it all that's holding the country together?
By Kelly Cogswell
MARCH 10, 2005. Google the words "gay" or "homosexual" at the daily national Jamaica Observer and you'll find articles like "Help! my man is bi-sexual" or "Emergency! My girlfriend/wife is a lesbian." Letters to the editor regularly claim in graphic, overwrought terms that homosexuals are destroying Jamaica. Even when the concerns of LGBT people are reported, activists are often lampooned.
The relentlessly hostile media reinforces the homophobia on the street, where queers face everything from taunts to machetes. Several gay men and transgendered people die each year in Jamaica at the hands of mobs that beat, stone, and stab them. Lesbians face verbal harassment and rape, and sometimes death. And those are just the known cases.