An openly gay man and a supporter of the People’s National Party (PNP) says he hopes to return to Jamaica to enter representational politics.
Norman McKenzie caught up with Loop News to share his political aspirations and his views on the recently concluded anti-gay rally held in Half-Way Tree.
According to McKenzie the general attitude towards the LGBTQ community is changing for the better, and he says Jamaica will get to the point where two men are allowed to get married if theydesire.
“It will take a while but it will happen eventually, once more people get educated and tolerant,” said McKenzie .
When asked about the large opposition to gay rights in the country, particularly the hundreds of Jamaicans who turned out to the anti-gay rally, he responded, “most of the people who attended were from the LGBTQ community, they are just trying to cover it up.”
“Furthermore, nothing substantial will come from that,” added McKenzie.
According to McKenzie, “Jamaica needs more images and examples of loving local same-gender relationships to explode the myths of the fear-mongering evangelicals”.
McKenzie, who is married and hails from East Portland, told Loop’s Denieca Alexia that he ’is ready to change the world’s view of Jamaica as a homophobic place, which forms part of the reason why he wants to enter politics.
“I was just in Jamaica, I returned back to the UK last Sunday. I felt very safe, and I received an overwhelmingly warm welcome even from straight people,” said McKenzie.
However, McKenzie admitted that his experience is not that of every gay person, as he understands that, external factors such as social class, wealth and whether you’re perceived as foreign or not,all affect how people treat you as a member of the LGBTQ community in Jamaica.
McKenzie said that through politics he believes he can help to secure rights for the LGBTQ community and improve attitudes towards the group.
When asked whether PNP leader, Simpson-Miller broke promises as it relates to the removal of the buggery law, McKenzie fired back “she has not left office yet”.
“The promise is not broken, they haven’t gotten to the bottom of the issues just yet but consultations are still pending,” assured McKenzie.
However, McKenzie expressed disappointment on the oppositions party’s , JLP, views on the matter but remains hopeful that they too will ‘get up to the times’ and take a more liberal stance of the issue of gay rights.
McKenzie added that there are really no laws against homosexuals in Jamaica; he said the laws "are just interpreted incorrectly".
Regarding his feelings on the possibility of an election, he thinks it will happen soon, as “ party membership has increased in the last two months and based on the PM’s performance and the party's performance; there is no doubt she will win. It will be a sweep”.
“I am on the edge of my seat, I can’t wait for the PM to fly the gate and blow the trumpet” said McKenzie, as he chuckled.
Norman McKenzie is a solicitor and radio-co-host; he currently resides in the UK.