If we could breathe for a moment and also be careful we do not become the very things we despise or seen as the oppressed becoming the oppressor; a perception problem the struggle has encountered for years.
It’s just amazing to me how some things that are of or should be no major consequence in terms of seriousness when compared to others are blown out of proportions by some groups and individuals. One tweet by of all people the Attorney General the lead adviser to the government and we go into a (inter)national frenzy and for this to come in the middle of Pride month is even more distressing to me. The AG does not see or recall the abysmal state of the very justice systems she was once a part of as a resident magistrate? Where are these opposing voices who are in support of the AG on daily atrocities we can all see including murders of our own? I am surprised that the Andrews Seventh Day Hospital theocratic bordering and possibly illegal employment rules fiasco has not caught these antigay voices attention fully yet. Only yesterday in the height of the flag melee four men were shot in Old Harbour Bay in circumstances that are unclear, was it birds that are being shot that it does not require the equal zeal and energy devoted to one simple flag on in principle foreign soil? Earlier in the week we lost some 10 persons alone in Western Jamaica with one shot in a drive by shooting even as the previous mayor of Montego Bay was on an interview on Nationwide radio where his session was interrupted and he announced it live on air.
The present rainbow flag impasse is showing us just that as the stridency that is now obtained by antigay groups such as Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS and their predecessor Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, LCF namely are in full offense mode following the rainbow flag flown alongside or below the US flag at the Embassy’s Hope Road location. The corruption under successive Jamaican governments known or suspected where is these groups on such concerns?
The figures thus far are troubling as the bloodletting continue especially in Western Jamaica; not to mention the creaking justice system and state agencies starved of some resources but such anti gay groups are deafeningly silent in some instances especially when one of the men of the cloth is alleged to be involved in inappropriate activity, clerical abuse as in the case of the Catholic church or other pastors every now and again we see news of se abuse of either vulnerable church sisters and or brothers too and children. And what about the pending Reverend Al Miller matter in court where the judgement was delayed until July on charges as egregious as aiding a fugitive in the form of Christopher Dudus Coke post the Tivoli incursion matter to of all places the very US Embassy as he (Miller) had Dudus dressing partially as a woman in a wig and glasses; now his allies now have a problem with the very embassy! How hypocritical that they were not so loud in the years following his arrest and charge and court mention dates. Miller knew full well that once he and Dudus entered the gates of the embassy then the police could not touch him. So equally the flag that is flown is on what is considered US soil and we cannot dictate however some may feel to the raising or flying of a flag.
The rainbow flag is a symbol coming from the early years of the LGBT struggle (LGBT acronym was not so popular yet so gay rights was the more used term) and the struggle became even more important when the Stonewall Riots occurred in New York in June 29, 1969; some mostly homeless gay and transgender persons who were just simply tired of the police abuse they had to endure for years in the city simply snapped which led to some two days of clashes, arrests, beatings and finally some change came forth in the aftermath. The rainbow flag already seen as a symbol of hope and struggle was further adopted by the movement and the riots came to signify the thrust of the struggle and moving out of the shadows into visibility. The flag has had several versions over the years and we now see the version as raised at half mast at the US Embassy. Designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978, the design has undergone several revisions to first remove then re-add colors due to widely available fabrics. As of 2008, the most common variant consists of six stripes, with the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The flag is commonly flown horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as it would be in a natural rainbow.
The unfortunate Florida shooting as some such as Shirley Richards of the LCF and Dr Wayne West would like their paranoiac supporters and just non thinking folks to belief that it was not gay folks who were targeted and we should just leave it open to say persons were killed without qualifying the identity of those who were impacted. In a near tearful plea Shirley Richards speaking on Nationwide radio claimed that the Embassy officials were using a tragic matter to politicize and capitalize on same; frankly that is pious nonsense in my eyes. While commiseration is expected we must qualify the fact that this shooting often described as the worse mass shooting in US history of such had a LGBT ting to it and must not be overlooked. Other shootings prior did not have a comprehensive LGBT population as impacted persons; while not devaluing the sanctity of life there was no need for any special flag as those general populations.
So we continue to see the selectivity on issues and praying on the national homo-negative environment to stigmatize LGBT persons and opposing law reform, reform by the way which is not the full repeal of buggery but an amendment which to me is the sensible option though late in coming on the part of JFLAG et al; yet the LCF, JCHS, Jamaica CAUSE, Lovemarch and others would like us to belief they want to middle ground and the old 483 piece of legislation must stay at all costs including deceptive ones framed a pious intent. The origin of that legislation termed today as the ‘buggery law’ was devised not to supposedly purge society of sexual sins namely homosexuality but to smear the Catholic church under King Henry VIII to push the reformist agenda to suit the monarch whilst launching the replacement church of England.
Very little in terms of the disapproval of homophobic violence comes from these very same antigay voices and the occasional obligatory condemnation is so hypocritical it stinks. As Reverend Marvia Laws so rightly ask how in one breath the rhetoric by JCHS, LCF et al is condemnatory and spewing hate then these same groups claim they are going to pray? Conflicted principles in other words, we are trouble on many fronts with these now dangerous groups in my eyes as moral panic is far more important to them than true humanity. As for the tying in of the touted stifling of freedom of speech of religious groups has and still is a false dichotomy; if such stifling were in effect then marches in Half Way Tree promoting hate would have been blocked, the company’s registration of such groups as NGOs would not have been allowed or even the citizenship of Trinidadian born Dr Wayne West may have been disallowed. Appearances in prime time would have been blocked or requests for same ignored as used to happen with LGBT voices back in the day.
What about the issue to do with gun control in the US and or the subsequent flow legally or illegal to developing states as ours? The need to discuss human sexuality nationally and even more so in the religious sphere is urgent and the pre-occupation with homosexuality by some religious groups makes it problematic for the church as a whole; not very many allied religious movement or more liberal thinking person’s of faith are adding their voices in the conversation; and as for conversation it is turning yet again into a shouting match. Although we have come a far way in the national visibility and in discourse on media when in days gone by press releases by LGBT groups were ignored or edited to suit the occasion now online posts, videos, blogs/vlogs and prime time appearances seems not to have penetrated deep enough to really attain the bigger goal, that of changing hearts and minds with law reform the immediate second. However, when the Jamaica Observer contacted the attorney general she insisted that her post had been misinterpreted.
The bleeding of lives almost on a daily basis is far more important to me right now than misguided uproar on a rainbow flag as a symbol for those who lost their lives and we have had rainbow flags in public spaces before.
Peace & tolerance #IstandwithOrlando
though dated (3 years) some of the tenets still stand
Another St Thomas Pastor Accused of Rape ........... Where are Anti Gay Religious Groups? 2014
Jamaica CAUSE issues Veiled threat to Govt to not Repeal The Buggery Law
Very good letter to the Observer critiquing church's selectiveness on issues 2009
Anti gay religious voices where are they? .... Pastor charged with sexual assault
More Pastoral Inappropriateness & Under-aged Victims... Silence from The Selective Religious Anti Gay Groups
Dr Wayne West’s continued intellectual dishonesty on fisting felching & chariot racing by homosexuals in Ja 2013