THE EDITOR, Sir:
Dr Michael Abrahams' columns have been refreshing, insightful, even at times controversial. I enjoyed his recent article suggesting some gay-rights activists are the new schoolyard bullies (March 31, 2014). I have to completely disagree, however.
People who make anti-gay sentiments are entitled to their opinions. Yes, it is how they make them, where they make them, and the implications therein which most gays and activists have issues with. Many would be surprised at the level of hate some gays have to endure daily in places like Jamaica, just trying to exist, live, work and go to school. They are the ones being bullied.
Consider the online hate Dr Abrahams received for merely stating some liberal views in a previous column. You can, therefore, imagine the hate (often acted on) that gays in Jamaica must face. Gays are being stabbed, beaten, stoned, even murdered. Others are ridiculed.
I will never understand how one's sexuality can impact another person's life to the point they can't simply learn to ignore them, if they prefer no form of social interaction. One may not like gays or want them around, but to make vile threats or act on these threats is another matter.
As for Queen Ifrica, if her visa was revoked, it was the right thing to happen. She was not bullied into changing her views. She is free to form her opinion(s) as an individual and artiste on whatever topic, and free to express it. However, when you take this message and infuse it in your performance in a public space, at a public event, stating 'no gays around here', it becomes another matter.
She was out of line and out of order, and many of her past performances also had anti-gay messages. In this case, Ifrica planned to visit Canada to perform (work) at a public event, endorsed by public entities and sponsors, in a public space and she was prevented from doing so.
Moral of the story: You are free to hate and express it as individuals, but be careful of making threats or encouraging hate against anyone where it could impact their rights to coexist as fellow human beings.
If activists come out swinging in defence, by no means is this bullying. In fact, it is principled, respectful and very much humane.
It is this perception why we seem to be stuck in a rut as headstrong narcissism in some respects seems to have taken over the communication aspects of the struggle more so than sensible discourse with transparent action to boot, what we have seen instead is mistake after mistake and sometimes plain lies in the crisis communication thrust dotted with shaky narratives that are simply not credible, then we wonder why we are still at it with too slow progress.
'I SPOKE FOR WHAT I BELIEVED IN' - Queen Ifrica defends Grand Gala performance after JFLAG backlash
also flashback to
Recorded Aug 24, 2013 - My two cents on the mishandling of the Queen Ifrica affiar by overseas Jamaican LGBT advocates and the loss of ownership of the Stop Murder Music Campaign b JFLAG leaving the lobby in total being labelled oppressors of freedom of speech.
Would Decriminalisation of the Buggery Law Restrict Religious Freedom in Jamaica and the Caribbean? by Dionne Jackson Miller Journalist (RJR) and Attorney.
Peace and tolerance