Tolerance is unfortunately still seen as acceptance, homosexuality is seen as a sin not to be forgiven and can only be addressed by some reparative or restorative type psychological therapy which we now know does not work and can and have had not so good outcomes; buggery is seen sadly not only anti gay minded folks as homosexuality but also misguidedly by so called ‘activists’ who need to be informed; other persons struggle with self acceptance after such attempts. Head strong LGBTQ advocates refuse to budge either and it is starting to appear as a battle with no end anytime soon wrapped up in arrogance with seems to be a growing turn off for some. Everyone seems intent on as the French would say pull the blanket to their side instead of listening and some of us as older operatives are becoming a little weary of it, there must come a time when sensible heads have to sit down and face off respectfully of course. It almost appears as if some folks on both sides want this to continue in perpetuity as careers ostensibly have been created and honed out of this struggle; for some folks the only thing they know is opposition ever since the buggery law reform component of the struggle became goal central.
The struggle overall feels stuck I had made similar observations in a post on the recognition of JFLAG co-founder Brian Williamson on June 9 on Gay Jamaica Watch:
I guess having been so long in it directly and indirectly and having had site of the Gay Freedom Movement archives in hours of review it may have left me with some higher expectations than average. The major turn or intersection I was expecting is not forthcoming yet, while several avenues have been missed altogether.
Even in the face of a change in the goal for law reform towards an amendment if not decriminalization which for me came too late but better late than never; anti gay voices simply refuse to budge, despite other religious allies, heterosexual allies who are out to a certain extent we have seen a disturbing caustic resistance grow right before our eyes. Maybe that has something to do with the misguided or mistaken twinning of atheism, secularism with LGBTQ rights considerations and ignorance on sexuality and homosexuality often conflated with abuse. Up to recently on Newstalk 93FM on an afternoon show one female caller claimed the buggery law should go (she is known as a PNP supporter) but went on to say no gay marriage, no adoption of children as she sees adoption elsewhere by male couples of boys in particular as a form of grooming them into gay life; such sentiments though not widespread on the face of it I imagine are well supported in parts, such as the family life component. In other words LGBT folks are not deserving of normative family life. Lest they forget gay marriage and attendant rights and recognition is happening almost everywhere else.
Added to that is the effemophobia and strong resistance to outward displays of affection such as kissing or less than masculine attitudes. It is as if the walls are closing on religiosity as the false dichotomy seems all too real for some that LGBT rights seeking is a threat to Christianity overall, when the argument is not about the existence or non existence of God.
And where oh where are the other traditional denominations especially in the face of the Pope’s adjustment finally on clerical abuse of boys by priests and his non-judgemental stance (real or not) on homosexuality while leaving on said judgement to God. The Jamaica Council of Churches, JCC seems lost in translation as they have been dithering on a specific position on the matter as recent pronouncements showed us. Despite the growing understanding of the holiness codes for the Hebrew people during the temporary time under Moses after, bear in mind in the KJV the preamble is quite clear as it reads in part:
“The book of Leviticus accordingly is a manual for priests detailing the religious rules and procedures which the priests had to observe and enforce for the covenant nation of Israel. Its historical setting is the two years Israel spent encamped at Mount Sinai; it contains no further account of Israel’s journeys from Egypt to Canaan.”
“The fact that Moses, the author of Leviticus devoted an entire book to priestly matters shows the importance that the religious observances were to have ever afterwards for the Israelites. Christians, under the terms of Christ’s new covenant do not regard these Levitical regulations as binding, but they do obey the same God, not in the letter of the law but in the spirit of Christ.”
Yet religious voices who make the rest of the body of Christ appear out of touch and paranoid continue to use the justification in their eyes that Sodom was destroyed because of exclusively homosexuality when we know that is not so. Bearing in mind King James in whose name the most popular English translation of the Bible in 1610 is in was actually bisexual even in the face of a buggery law; pity the goody King would not have foreseen the work put in would be used as a destructive weapon hundreds of years later against LGBT people. Let us put to rest the silliness about “homosexual lifestyle” once and for all; as a phrase it is pure propaganda, a gossipy generalization and completely unworthy of a Christian who, following the counsel in Proverbs seeks understanding and insight into life and people. As Christians some will have to decide if we are going to partake of divisive “party spirit” that racked the church at Corinth or follow Christ as discerning attentive principles – to that still small voice and sharpen concerns for the ostracized instead of creating more strife.
Oh these modern day Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes who think their correctness is the be all and end all. Frankly envy of the apparent freedom of LGBT people could be called ‘freedom envy’ in my view. The role of freedom envy in the anti LGBT crusade is confirmed by the repeated and emphatic reference to “the homosexual lifestyle.” This is left a vague generality, as though it were something everyone already understands. The so called “homosexual lifestyle” is associated with a US view of homosexuality and dates back to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and stories of bath houses in places such as San Francisco; hence folks like Dr Wayne West of JCHS uses it as well to vectorise gays in his antigay advocacy or the deceptive “HIV is a gay disease ploy.” There is no such thing as a ‘homosexual lifestyle’ just as there is no such thing as “heterosexual lifestyle” heterosexual live on a “lifestyle” continuum just as homosexuals do. The continuum includes people in decades long monogamous relationships, people who live in social isolation, people who in into bar scenes etc people who move from relationship to relationship.
How can we change hearts and minds also when poorly informed self declared spokespersons who want their time in the sun grant interviews all over the place and present misinformation? One such recent article had one of the successful asylum seekers now living in the US supposedly speaking on our behalf here in Jamaica that homosexuality is illegal when that is not true. Misinformation such as that just further complicates matters effectively giving more ammunition to the very folks who oppose the push. Then we wonder why the label of LGBT voices as dishonest and liars persist; and there maybe some truth in that when it comes to certain individual advocates. Will hearts and minds on all fronts change with so much smoke in the room? I am weary of that and I am seeing a frustration of sorts coming from even tolerant voices such as Ian Boyne, one of his last well penned pieces made that clear and an earlier piece where he spoke to an intolerant view of intolerance.
Inconsistency on message is also something that concerns me, some say repeal (although the amendment route is the way) of buggery while others say decriminalize while poorly prepared and evidenced court challenges end up with less than favourable judgements.
The Belize case judgement which is due on the 27th of July as to the buggery law there and that outcome is to have some precedence setting effect on other cases if and when they are to be concluded. The local challenge almost stands in abeyance as the public defender has been blocked to be a participant as according to the justices that office can only act when a complaint is made to it and the claimant did not lodge such a complaint. Given the sensitivities involved I would have thought that in preparation of such cases loop holes are found and plugged ever so carefully. The recently released judgement on the immigration matter involving the same claimant against Belize and Trinidad is another such example or poor preparation in layman’s terms; I am not a lawyer. The thinking that the relatively new Caribbean Court of Justice, CCJ would rule on a matter of pure principle regarding the striking down of an old law on jurisdictions not allowing self declared homosexuals via ports of entry was a silly one to me. The claimant as it played out in court did not actually declare that he was gay and was expecting mere notoriety to cause the immigration officers to refuse him entry, which they did not at the time he entered.
That judgement now has concluded among other things that there was no evidence to substantiate the charges by the claimant while the snickering continues in certain quarters including LGBT ones. The claimant never actually experienced direct discrimination upon entering Trinidad so as to have good hard evidence to bring to bear; given the courts are obviously not too keen on just flying the gate as it were so all bases ought to be covered, proper examination of possibly problematic issues should have been foreseen if ever so carefully sought out. With these kinds of flip flopping and bumps how can credibility be honed and maintained so that when some speak they are not almost dismissed by the opposition? And even while the madness continues suck up politicians especially in the present parliamentary opposition who want to use the obvious fake support while they do not have the cohunes to bring to bear the amendments to the articles 76, 77 & 79 of the sexual offences bill that concerns buggery. It is as if we are to forget the fizzled suggested or promised conscience vote which as it turns out was a bait for votes from the LGBT corner given what was happening worldwide and especially in the US with gay marriage. Now comes hypocrites such as Sandrea Falconer former Information minister even as she declared homosexuality as a sin.
Changing the law is one thing but that I think is just the start as the conflation of sexual orientation albeit homosexuality and the law being specific continues to unhinge those connections before and after is a concern to me. Recent pronouncements by George Davis for example just show how regression can set in, in the face of perceived enlightenment, he has once again joined the throng that says or fears futuristic non boundaries foolishly based on one case of a man in Canada charged with bestiality. How can one compare bestiality with homosexual rights is so troubling to me, despite the crime was subsumed into buggery in England. Due to a loophole in Canadian law the man was able to appeal the bestiality component of the case against his own daughters even as he serves a 36 year term in prison and by virtue of his appeal which reduced his sentence Mr Davis thinks the world is going to end due to one single case with its own merits or peculiarities. He gave what could sound as a warning that we need to be careful as what was not normal some years ago will suddenly be so in some measure.
Davis seems to be echoing what other fearmongering voices such as Shirley Richards and company have said that churches or religious voices will be prosecuted thus playing the victimhood card due to individual cases that in essence do not reflect a pattern. Mr Davis seemed to have turned a corner in recent times given his original diving board but now it seems we were fooled all along and could only now be seen as obligatory tolerance for avoidance of criticisms or backlash. There is going to have to be a breaking point at some juncture as hardened positions cannot be the way forward.
Let us see if good sense will prevail in good measure.
Peace & tolerance