Rastas make it clear that homosexuality is forbiden and is subject to death. Dancehall artists like Elephant Man and T.O.K. have songs that blatantly diss homosexuals. You might ask, why is there so much anger and hate against homosexuals?
Jamaican lesbian activist Staceyann Chin believes the following explains why homosexuality is so taboo in Jamaica.
The macho ideal is celebrated, praised in Jamaica, while homosexuality is paralleled with pedophilia, rapists,” Chin said. “Markers that other people perceive as gay — they walk a certain way, wear tight pants, or are overly friendly with a male friend — make them targets. It’s a little pressure cooker waiting to pop.
Even though many of the other caribbean islands are very conservative, Chin goes on to say,
(But) what stands out about Jamaica is how absolutely, head-in-the-sand unwilling the authorities have been for years to acknowledge or address homophobic violence,” he said. “Most notably, three successive governments have completely, utterly, publicly refused even to talk about changing the buggery law — which expressly consigns gay people to second-class citizens and paintstargets on their backs.
The other thing that is not brought up by Chin is the African influence in Jamaica. Most African communities in the African Diaspora are very homophobic. For example, The Source magazine ran a piece on trying to find out who the gay rapper was. Even though, there are gay rappers, none that are openly gay are in the mainstream. Many believe being a homosexual rapper or athlete goes against the idea of being a thug or being tough. Additionally, Rastas and others continue to support the argument that it is not natural.
Although this is a much deeper issue worth exploring in depth, I think it is important that people new to Jamaican Patois and Jamaican Slang get familiar with some of the words typically used to refer to gays.
Chi Chi Man
To read more about being gay in Jamaica, click here. And here is the song that cause Elephant to get banned from Caribana.
Elephant Man - Log On