From GLBTQ Jamaica
PRESIDENT and founder of the United Independents’ Congress (UIC), Joseph Patterson says Jamaicans should be allowed to vote on major issues such as retaining the Privy Council as the final appellate court and repealing of the buggery law.
“We believe that when there are core fundamental issues that come before the people it should always be put to a vote,” said Patterson who is seeking to represent the St Elizabeth North Eastern constituency as an independent candidate in the next general election. He was addressing reporters and editors at the Jamaica Observer weekly Monday Exchange at the newspaper’s head office in Kingston.
From GLBTQ Jamaica
So the Minister had joined the latest drama on homosexuality and the education system, sadly the goodly JAGCE President like JFLAG subsequently have reacquired foot in mouth syndrome. Obviously we know that the MOE cannot deal with such matters but to try to avoid discussion sensible policies directed at openness and such giving the impression of not condoning homosexuality is a little disingenuous to me.
From GLBTQ JAMAICA
IT is not uncommon for people still closeted to be in heterosexual relationships while hiding their attraction to people of the same sex.
In the case of Leah S, it is not a situation that rests well with her, and it proves to be a constant struggle as she has been married for 10 years, but is attracted to women, and even maintained a relationship with one during her marriage.
When Leah, who’s 35, spoke with All Woman, she shared that from as early as age 13 she felt different, but because of her religious upbringing she learnt to bottle up and ignore her liking for women and centre her attention on what was deemed right in the eyes of God.
Jamaica’s general election is fast approaching and while there are many matters Jamaicans have to consider, LGBTI Jamaicans have an additional issue when deciding who is deserving of their vote. Many LGBTI Jamaicans experience verbal and physical attacks, limited access to justice, and indirect state-sponsored discrimination through the existence of the buggery law. For example, their limited access to justice is visible from the most mundane cases of fear of reporting violence to the police, unsolved attacks against LGBTI people, to the withdrawal of Javed Jaghai’s case in the Supreme Court challenging the buggery law because of threats of harm to himself and his family.
The economy, employment opportunities, the IMF, human rights and corruption are all things Jamaicans are concerned with. As a lesbian and a Jamaican, I am also concerned with the human rights situation for LGBTI people. All people want to be treated with respect and to be equal in the eyes of the law. As a lesbian, I want to be able to experience Jamaica without fear of discrimination, without fear of physical violence, without the threat of sexual violence, all because of my sexual orientation. Jamaica is my home and I should be free to have a full life here.
In the debates leading up to the 2012 General Elections, the then opposition leader Portia Simpson-Miller promised a review of the buggery law within her first 100 days in office. Election promises are nothing more than promises, as the PNP so aptly illustrated. This year in its manifesto the PNP has no mention of human rights while the JLP promises to “protect the rights and freedoms of the people of Jamaica”. It will be interesting to see what each party will offer with regards to human rights to Jamaicans generally and specifically to LGBTI Jamaicans. With just a few days left before the general election, LGBTI Jamaicans, our friends and family members are asking the candidates, what will they be doing for us?
Both political parties are working for the realisation of the Jamaica Vision 2030, however, this vision will be incomplete if all Jamaicans do not experience the same quality of citizenship. It is my firm belief that all Jamaicans regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or other status, must be included and valued as equal citizens to be able to make Jamaica their place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business.
Written by Angeline C. Jackson
February 22, 2016