Much is being made of an apparently innocuous ad which members of the gay community are seeking to promote via the electronic media, television in particular.
Two of your In Focus columnists, Dr Glenda Simms and Ian Boyne, waxed warm on the subject on Sunday. Both seemed to be crying shame on the television stations and members of the clergy for not embracing a message of love and tolerance (although the point in Boyne's piece was very much obscured by his attempt to play to all sections of the theatre at the same time).
I am in total agreement with the media houses for the non-broadcast for two reasons. First, unconditional love for family is, indeed, a laudable quest by any standard. As a nation, we should resist any attempt to have it pursued on a narrow, partisan basis. Let us therefore widen the conversation to recommend it to the family members of all persons who are ending up on our streets for one reason or another.
Like some homosexuals, some have been abandoned to the streets (and worse) to escape parental abuse, to grapple by themselves with teen pregnancy, with mental-health problems, with progressive drug-abuse issues. To isolate the homosexuals for special consideration smacks of opportunism, perhaps even collusion, coming so soon after the recent media exposé of their carryings-on in New Kingston.
White isn't always right
The second difficulty I am having with this ad is far more objectionable. It is its insidious attempt to secure a desired culture change by the trusted, colour-coded formula which the colonial experience has bequeathed to us. The formula presumes that Jamaicans believe that the measure of whether anything is good or bad is the extent to which white or near-white people indulge in it. That, in fact, is how carnival came to our shores with a vengeance, instantly upstaging the Trinidad version for sexual vulgarity and our own street dancing for pride of place as the premier Caribbean cultural exhibition of gay (no pun intended) abandonment.
Now it's time for another culture change - a more tolerant, less homophobic society - so who better to carry the message than a high-profile, near-white 'browning'? Before dismissing this as nonsense, the unbelievers should try to get the J-Flaggers to replace Christine Straw's picture and voice with those of a black, 'faceless' member of the masses - an indulgent, Patois-speaking mother of a homosexual son.
This is not just about the promotion of love and tolerance. It has a lot to do with undermining the resistance to the full endorsement of a lifestyle which many Jamaicans find repulsive.
The television stations should hold firm on this one.
click the "Homeless MSM in Jamaica" tab immediately below for previous entries on the subject