Two Gay Jamaicans Contest The Island’s Homophobic Laws

0


Two gay Jamaicans have launched a legal fight to challenge the island’s homophobic laws in a hopeful step towards progress.

Having long promoted homophobia, its colonial-era laws are being challenged with support from the UK-based Human Dignity Trust. Aiming to remove three clauses from the Offences Against Persons Act of 1984, the legal challenge is to be taken to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, of which Jamaica is not a full member. However, it may produce an advisory ruling to change legislation.

Jonathan Cooper, London barrister and chief executive of the Human Dignity Trust, said:

“We want to ensure that Jamaica satisfies its international human rights treaty obligations. We are supporting J-Flag in this case. These, and two accompanying cases supported by Aids-Free World, are the first cases before the Inter-American Commission but the issue is clear in international human rights law.”

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has not yet fulfilled her promise to hire a gay person for a cabinet role, despite claiming to condemn discrimination against LGBTs, since being elected in December 2011.

Described as the most homophobic place on Earth by Time magazine, the Caribbean island has a strong anti-gay rhetoric, with police often known to overlook anti-gay hate crimes. With the world’s highest murder rate, the environment is a dangerous one for the LGBT community. Diana King, a famous singer from the island, recently said in an interview with G3: “the culture I loved so much also displayed intolerance for LGBT people like me. I have not been back since coming out.”

According to the executive director of the Jamaican Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-Flag), Dane Lewis, murders of gay men are on the rise. He said:

“This year alone there have been nine [murders]. The violence in Jamaica is having a spillover effect on other parts of the Caribbean: St Lucia now has a murder or so every year.”

One recent victim, John Terry, who was found dead in 2009 having been beaten and strangled, was left with the note on his body: “This is what will happen to all gays.”

Clause 76 of The Offences Against Persons Act states anyone convicted of ‘abominable crime of debuggery committed either with mankind or any animal’ could face up to ten years imprisonment, with or without hard labour. Two further clauses outlaw buggery and gross indecency between two men, with sex between women not even recognised by law.

More articles in LGBT
  1. Here’s (Nearly) Everything You Need to Know About the Australian Equal Marriage Vote
  2. Why Asexual Awareness Week Is Important
  3. LGBT Network gains public presence on Facebook & plans LGBT History Month
  4. Malaysian Government Performing Seminars to Teach Parents and Teachers How to Spot Gay Kids
  5. Kill the Gays – A Fight Against Ugandan Oppression
  6. Brighton Pride Review
  7. Campaign started for a Southampton Pride event
  8. Two Gay Jamaicans Contest The Island’s Homophobic Laws
  9. Media Highlights Worrying Trend Of Gay Conversion Therapy
  10. Obama’s Promise for LGBT Equality Rivals Mitt Romney’s Shocking Policies
  11. Outraged Cardinal Keith O’Brien Wins Bigot Of The Year Award
  12. Homophobia in the UK?
  13. Shocking “Call Me Kuchu” Tells Ugandan LGBT’s Tragic Struggle For Safety
  14. Cameron gets his foot stuck in it, again
  15. America Approves of the LGBT Community
  16. Kill The Gays Bill to pass as ‘Christmas gift’ to Ugandans
  17. Sir Ian McKellen Stands Up Against Homophobic Bullying
  18. Uganda Drops Death Penalty From “Kill The Gays” Bill
  19. First Gay Mosque Of Europe Opens In Paris
  20. Same-sex Marriage To Become Legal In 2013
  21. Iowa Becomes The First Public University To Ask Applicants If They Are Gay
  22. BBC Report Shows Gay TV Characters Are Under Represented
  23. Amsterdam Celebrates Drag Queen Winter Olympics 2012
  24. 10 Overlooked LGBT News Stories of 2012
  25. Berlusconi Says Yes To Gay Marriage – But Will He Keep His Word?
  26. ‘Sugar Rush’ Writer’s Bigoted Transphobia Published
  27. Hampshire ‘Top Police Force 2013’ for LGB
  28. Gay Marriage Is A ‘Category Error’
  29. Private: The Gay Agenda Marches On
  30. Private: Same Sex Marriage Legalised for England and Wales
  31. Private: The Gay Best Friend Myth
  32. MPs in Uganda Pass Anti-Homosexual Bill
  33. The LGBT Pride Flag – Do we really need to include Black and Brown stripes for POC?
avatar

Leave A Reply