Violence against homosexuals in Jamaica

Jamaica Gay Bashing

Associated Press, in a detailed article by David McFadden, addresses the continuing problem of gay bashing in Jamaica. Among those interviewed for the piece is Brooklyn-based writer Staceyann Chin, a lesbian who fled her Caribbean homeland for New York more than a decade ago, who underscores that “ violence in Jamaica is high — there were 1,611 killings last year, about 10 times more than the U.S. rate relative to population — but that it is ‘extraordinarily’ high against gays.” Here are some excerpts, followed by a link to the article:

Despite the easygoing image propagated by tourist boards, gays and their advocates agree that Jamaica is by far the most hostile island toward homosexuals in the already conservative Caribbean. They say gays, especially those in poor communities, suffer frequent abuse. But they have little recourse because of rampant anti-gay stigma and a sodomy law banning sex between men in Jamaica and 10 other former British colonies in the Caribbean.

It is impossible to say just how common gay bashing attacks like the one against Sherman are in Jamaica — their tormentors are sometimes the police themselves. But many homosexuals in Jamaica say homophobia is pervasive across the sun-soaked island, from the pulpit to the floor of the Parliament.

Hostility toward gays has reached such a level that four months ago, gay advocates in New York City launched a short-lived boycott against Jamaica at the site of the Stonewall Inn, where demonstrations launched the gay-rights movement in 1969. In its 2008 report, the U.S. State Department also notes that gays have faced death and arson threats, and are hesitant to report incidents against them because of fear.

For gays, the reality of this enduring hostility is loneliness and fear, and sometimes even murder.

For the complete article go to http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gm1h6OW1D4PwHL8w4DDmNiTQQ1rAD99HL1CG0

 Photograph: In this June 24, 2009 photo, author, performer and lesbian activist Staceyann Chin, from Jamaica, poses for a portrait at her home in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

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