Homophobia in Jamaica is much more prevalent than substance abuse, and the earlier we come to the realisation that it can isolate us internationally, the closer we will get to equality and justice.
In 2004, the self-proclaimed 'King of Dancehall', Beenie Man, came to his senses and apologised because gay-rights groups pressured MTV VMAs executives to dump him because of the hateful lyrics in his music.
The 'Doctor' apologised. Since then, he has ceased performing music which perpetuates homophobia.
One would think that others would become more sensitive, even to the point of desisting, but there seems to be very little change.
Jamaica is out of step with other countries. This is not only problematic, it is embarrassing to those of us who provide counselling and other forms of support services to people in same-sex relationships or those outside non-traditional families.
It should come as no surprise that a significant number of Jamaicans in the process of being deported are seeking political asylum because they are concerned that their safety is not guaranteed in the Jamaican society, primarily caused by the prevailing violent homophobic atmosphere. There is also a small percentage of these people in same-sex relationships who worry that their partners might not be allowed to visit them if they are incarcerated.
I am, etc.,
G. GEORGE WILSON (Dr)
Springfield, St Elizabeth