So the religious/biblical fundamentalist anti-homosexuality imperative continues and is now taking a deliberate omission strategy to cast aspersions and impose ostracism that of not recognizing homophobia and what the very word has come to mean over time. Of course not recognizing homosexuality as a sexual orientation has long been an ideological tool used to promote anti gay sentiments hence the use of the term “homosexual lifestyle.” A day after the discussion on straight spouses in Jamaica and three days after a letter published in the Gleaner on the same matter by Dr. Wayne West, the church and how it deals with latent homosexuality within its midst parts 1 & 2 has come an exchange with two leading anti gay voices Reverend Peter Espeut and Dr Wayne West (JCHS, LCF & Love March) on Reverend Clinton Chisholm’s radio program on the religious station LOVE 101FM May 20, 2013 with the captioned post title made I nearly fell off my seat in laughter as I could not believe what I was hearing but it is serious indeed.
The topic of discussion was on whether the word “Homophobia” was used inappropriately and the accompanying poll question dealt with the level of same in Jamaica. Peter Espeut took his version of a moral high ground by chastising the host of the show Rev Chisholm that he should not have used the word in the poll question as it legitimizes the LGBT lobby’s political strategy to belittle Christians, Muslims and other groups who oppose “the homosexual lifestyle” (still waiting to hear his use of the correct word “orientation”) and that he (Chisholm) bought into the campaign unwittingly. In a lengthy dictate he went on about the origin of the word from the Greek, he insisted that word must not be used, “ .....It is an improper word, it is a political word which has been invented for a political purpose ........ and when you use it the way you use it you are arguing the homosexual lobby’s case for them.”.
Rev Chisholm claimed to plea diminished responsibility after the lengthy rebuke from Espeut taking up some several minutes of the show. Dr West agreed and he continued about the effect of the gay lobby’s political propaganda, “......... it is an insult to all persons who disagree with the homosexual lifestyle.” Let us not forget this was also the same man in December 2012 sided with the Russian decision to legislatively ban “homosexual propaganda” in a supposed bid to promote traditional values. On the same show back then he said among other things that the western democracy is pushing a world view of no purpose for life so persons can marry a tree or a car in the long run, in essence moral nihilism.
This fear-mongering and paranoia coming from minds who I thought ought to know better and have a more adept reasoning is astonishing to me. Interestingly the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS of which Dr West is a founder and leader has no qualms concocting its own political agenda with a deceptive tinge to it for example its drive to retain the buggery law, the several full paged ads depicting HIV as a gay disease while using overseas studies to justify same including sexual practices from sub-culture groups under the MSM umbrella without taking into account those territories social practices and mores.
The December 23 2011 Jamaica Observer print ad following the leadership debate where the then Opposition leader (now Prime Minister) Portia Simpson Miller suggested a buggery review with no time line set but the ad headlined “PNP To Legalize Homosexuality!” despite the two press releases from the party and a outdoor meeting speech by Mrs Simpson Miller that flatly rebuffed any such claims the JCHS et al went on to suggest a predatory concept to male homosexuality instilling fear-mongering, paranoia and just plain hysteria in ignorance. They have gone as far as Trinidad to do so as well with ads on World AIDS day in 2012 spending thousands on such campaigns but none of any of the visible issues such as missing children, priorities please? The aligned group Love March group also has adopted this underhanded practice aided and abetted by these theologians and religious zealots, modern day Pharisees and Sadducees?
Let us also not forget the recently concluded seminar hosted by Rev Clinton Chisholm in April on Homosexuality Clinical & Biblical Perspectives that only sought to present a sanitized look at the orientation though they call it a “lifestyle” while using flawed studies including the belief that lesbians are such due to an absent father “figure” in their lives. The US based NARTH, National Association for Reparative Therapy of Homosexuality’s controversial research were used as gospel materials in that seminar and questions were filtered before airing, bearing in mind that some of NARTH’s own researchers have turned on the agency citing intellectual dishonesty by them on misrepresenting the findings on studies of orientation, reparative therapy and related psycho-social issues. Even in the face of those accusations, rapidly diminished credibility and the abject failure of reparative or conversion therapy to work via very public episodes of leading voices and participants in that regard retaining their original orientation anti gay voices locally continue to rely in part on NARTH’s papers.
They now more than ever aggressively seek to combine the gay disease imperative to the mix as the reparative therapy strategy crumbles right before our eyes. How is there to be any serious middle ground in the tug or wars between the sides?
The selectivity of the fundamentalist imperative is evident in the response to the sin of adultery. For, on the evidence of the Holy Bible itself, the commandment against the sin of adultery can be seen to be of at least equivalent seriousness to the injunction against the sin of homosexuality. Why then, it might be asked, is it that Jehovah found no space amongst the remaining nine commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai for one that explicitly forbids homosexuality, if this is correctly to be regarded as so fundamental and execrable a sin? The other sexually-related sin there mentioned forbids the coveting of one’s neighbour’s wife. But, depending of course on the sexuality involved, the also forbidden coveting of a neighbour’s man- and maid-servants not to mention that neighbour’s ox and ass may also be to sexual purposes. Furthermore, fundamentalist Christians constantly forget the important biblical injunction that ‘judgement belongs unto God’. (Casting The First Stone, Policing Homosexuality in Jamaica, (ISSN 1369-801X print/1469-929X online) Copyright © 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd DOI: 10.1080/1369801042000185697)
The historical fact as far as I see it on the word “Homophobia” long before the atheist and secularist ambits came into the debate, the homo-paedophile problems via the priesthood and Jamaica’s own record of substantiated homophobic violence cases described the hate or fear of homosexuals to include the violence and verbal abuse etc. While it may be true that the origin of the word based on its Greek link Homo from homoia meaning same and Phobia meaning an irrational fear of originally could be interpreted as a fear of sameness and was used in clinical setting in some sense but the meaning as with many other words over time with varying roots deviate or go away from their original points of origin and evolve. Espeut referred to gay activist George Weinberg’s coining of the word in his book to mean a medical phobia proposing that those who oppose homosexuality are suffering from a psychological malady, he concludes there it meant mentally ill. Meanings and use changes over time and to suggest that the word must not be used is an escapist argument in my view.
To not use the word presupposes violence towards homosexuals does not exist. One could take a single look at how these very voices create fear and paranoia when it comes to homosexuality and linking HIV and paedophilia to the orientation with the “end of the human species” rationale which is arrant nonsense, who had all these gay children in the first place? Aren’t those ideologies in and of themselves irrational fear of something that they do not understand or bother to properly research? Are persons to just dismiss the violence over the years meted out to perceived homosexuals, lesbians and other groups? Or those are lies too in the eyes of Espeut/West?
Instead foreign HIV infection rate studies of sub groups in the MSM umbrella and dangerous faulty reparative therapy suggestions are deceptively relied upon to justify their own political agenda by creating or twisting philosophical reasoning and labelling others. I would not conclude that irrational fear of anything including homosexuality automatically means someone is mentally ill as I nor Reverend Espeut are not qualified to make such a determination when the Psychological and Psychiatric experts via the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, DSM as reference has not deemed homophobia as such yet though Peter Espeut with full support from Dr Wayne West seem to have arrived at their own “diagnosis” simply because they cannot handle certain realities. After listening to the exchange it might be worth considering making homophobia a mental problem indeed after all, if one is sure of oneself why this fear and loathing of someone who is different when all on can do is walk away?
Espeut also claims that the gay lobby gay got the psychologists to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses and by creating the word homophobia are seeing those who oppose such is mentally ill, he said it is a wonderful public relations campaign that captures persons into the web and playing right into the gay lobby’s hand. The Facebook responses were typical as usual with the whole Sodom and Gomorrah bit and so on but one took notice of the camouflage that it also can be when actively or over zealously manifested in verbal or even physical abuse towards others perceived to be gay which was read aloud during the program “True homophobia does exists in Jamaica however on a small scale there is a widespread apparent homophobia persons appear homophobic in order to conceal their own homosexual thoughts or urges and more often than not these are the persons who do and say the most violent things in order to conceal their true identity and in reality Jamaica is not as homophobic as it appears at face value.” Frankly in my view the Sodom and Gomorrah story is more about the abuse of women (daughters) and incest more so homosexuality but the religious imperative over decades based on a hetero-patriarchal construct won’t seek to prop up or support women’s issues that way so it is much easier to condemn supposed homosexuality.
Take for example Dr Wayne West’s continued trope of anal sex where he lumps or tries to universalize MSM sub culture group practices from other jurisdictions such as Europe to say fisting, felching, scat and chariot racing make out MSM as in his own words “Diseased, Dunce and Depraved” tying in the general ideology that HIV/AIDS is a homosexual disease, then isn’t the very accusation of coining phrases and words as he puts it to denigrate Christians who oppose the homosexual by the LGBT political agenda a hypocritical one when he himself is also using the supposed twisted strategy as well to his own end?
Homophobia for the most part from what I can recall was used to describe anti gay views and incidents that directly targeted mostly male homosexuals especially in territories where such violence was and are manifestly rampant, if both voices want to argue that Jamaica is not as homophobic as was paraded there maybe some truth to that as the crisis communication aspect of the LGBT lobby locally has been faulty but it is not lost to many Jamaicans that we have a problem that needs urgent attention and escapist logic will help none, bearing in mind Dr Wayne West’s own son Dr Keon West is openly gay and an atheist.
Mention was made of the Associated Press apparent decision to discontinue using the word “Homophobia” by Dr Wayne West where he spoke to a “Stylebook” that offers guidelines to what words should be used by reporters and the style they should be in, he said last year in September the AP allegedly removed the word on the grounds of its accuracy and making a claim of mental illness which cannot be substantiated, he claims it is an insult and that persons who present the real issues in his view “the consequences of the lifestyle” and labelled as homophobes again raising the HIV gay disease imperative.
Frankly speaking if one were not so fearful of the unknown of the effeminate and having a false perception of homosexuals as predatory, depraved, dunce and diseased (Wayne West’s favourite descriptions via his blog) then the “label” would not have stuck, would it? The homophobic description and whatever meanings for homophobia that have evolved over time would not have been applied in the first place, simply put, one can be opposed to homosexuality even with misplaced aggression about aspects linked to same sex intimacy but to be opposed in a vacuum without seeking to understand clearly what one is opposed to for clarification is just sheer ignorance and a refusal to be open and is more egregious when done on a religious platform in the name of God when God as we know it by the word came for the supposed outcasts and down trodden yet the very representative group is further made such by virtue of how these anti gay voices operate and the flawed ideologies they subscribe to. Yes there may be those who use homosexuality’s lifestyle perceptions to make money (gay for pay) and who may not be even innately so but the vast majority of same gender attracted or bisexual attracted persons are innately so in as far as we culturally know it, just ask someone who is and they will tell you their experiences.
Deliberate conflation of same gender sex issues with abuse is intellectual dishonesty and more and more I am seeing it parade itself as truth or moral correctness and as a pillar of credibility. The very discussion if I may go as far as that to distort or redefine a word that has become culturally accepted to mean what we now know it as is also deceptive in and of itself and smacks of a kind of deviant mentality and culture in the theological sphere whilst at the same time accusing the mixed religion gay lobby of moral nihilism.
Our main argument here in Jamaica as I have said before is about privacy and freedom of choice in as far as same sex intimacy is concerned by two consenting adults plus the problematic savings law clause, let God be the judge of that when the time comes but the LGBT agitation has been watered down and mostly by the local lobby’s failure to properly address our scenario instead the religious right movement has hijacked (or been allowed to) the discourse on one hand while other gay lobby voices in a short space of time append atheism and secularism to the struggle and now what a smoke filled room we all stand in. What about gay Christians as well, where are they in the middle of all this? Going on a secularist agenda parallel to the LGBT one has only sought to inflame the religious penny section.
Part of the disbelief, cynicism and refusal to entertain the gay lobby’s push for recognition presented constantly by anti gay voices such as these two is the fact that over the years the faulty crisis communication on homo/lesbo/biphobic abuse and actually giving the religious right some of the ammunition and hardened positions they now have as I hinted above, for example after the homeless MSM double June 13 2012 murder in New Kingston by one of their own which was almost paraded as a homophobic killing without any proper investigation by the gay lobby/allies and if it were not for the scrutiny by a section of the media such a slip up was what led to the damning article by another leading anti gay voice Betty Ann Blaine in that infamous “The Big Gay Lie” published in the Jamaica Observer, also came the parting shot from the then outgoing UK origin Assistant Police Commissioner Les Green who also sought to discredit the JFLAG cry of gay murders dismissing them as internal romantic matters and not as presented as homophobic killings based on his work with the UK Consul murder in 2010 John Terry etc. It was also in May 17 that same year a major figure formerly linked to a number of NGO groups as well was found in his apartment days after he was missing and his murder was also suspected as a hook up gone bad, then came another major socialite murder in Liguanea area but on the crime scene the JFLAG representative who spoke on camera (face hidden) made sure to tread very carefully that time as the police etc were present and speculation had no place there.
There needs to be a proper streamlined crisis communication strategy with investigative strengths so as to clearly present the issues surrounding public cases if not the disbelief, snubbing and cynicism will continue leading to more hard lined positions on homosexuality and become much harder to have the needed conversations on LGBT issues and tolerance for that matter. There needs to be a separation of homophobic versus non homophobic issues, the associated internalized homophobia, hyper-masculinity, effeminacy/phobia, socio-anthropological, psycho-sexual/social and other hetero-patriarchal links. Multiply this faulty crisis communication problem over the several decades and one can understand why we have an uphill task with the high levels of cynicism from John Public and the religious hetero-privileged voices so this dismissal of the use of the word “Homophobia” is not surprising in the end as it is a way to avoid the discussion as to the realities surrounding the levels of hate, ignorance, misunderstanding and violence towards LGBTQ issues and persons.
I guess they may soon start calling us heterophobes.
also see: Dr Wayne West’s continued intellectual dishonesty on fisting felching & chariot racing by homosexuals in Jamaica
My answer to Peter Espeut's rubbish on Homophobia Exposed from December 2012
Peace and tolerance
The Gleaner carried:
[A] phobia about homosexuals.... It was a fear of homosexuals which seemed to be associated with a fear of contagion, a fear of reducing the things one fought for — home and family. It was a religious fear and it had led to great brutality as fear always does.
In 1982, homophobia was used for the first time in The New York Times to report that the General Synod of the Church of England voted to refuse to condemn homosexuality.
Homophobia has never been listed as part of a clinical taxonomy of phobias, neither in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD); homophobia is usually used in a non-clinical sense. But after seeing the story maybe someone ought to persuade the APA to really study this irrational fear more deeply with a view to adding it once and for all.
In 1992, the American Psychiatric Association, recognizing the power of the stigma against homosexuality, issued the following statement, reaffirmed by the Board of Trustees, July 2011: "Whereas homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgement stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) calls on all international health organizations, psychiatric organizations, and individual psychiatrists in other countries to urge the repeal in their own countries of legislation that penalizes homosexual acts by consenting adults in private. Further, APA calls on these organizations and individuals to do all that is possible to decrease the stigma related to homosexuality wherever and whenever it may occur."
also see: Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS continued confusion of paedophilia & consenting homosexuality.
UPDATE May 28.05.13
a radio discussion with Dr West and Carol Narcisse
UPDATE June 4, 2013
Church says it won't bow to gays as reported in the Gleaner
Anglin, who was addressing a crusade put on by the Errol Rattray Evangelistic Association on Sunday night, declared in the presence of a number of other high-ranking clergymen that "some of us" were prepared to die in their efforts to ensure that the gay lifestyle is not accepted in Jamaica. Interesting use of the pulpit to raise the discussion to a level the LGBT lobby did while imputing violence ever so neatly, a strategy used by the political directorate over the many years hence our polarized society. I wonder how the collection plates looked after that rant?