Summer to-do: day 17 – take a stand

Open Letters

Make a step towards progress by getting involved in something you believe in. Raising awareness about the homophobic laws in Jamaica and asking for a review of these antiquated laws is a cause I can get behind (especially since it’s my wife’s home country and I haven’t been there yet). 

British laws from the colonial past target gay men, specifically with buggery laws that criminalize gay-ness or gay ‘acts’ (though I doubt any straight people are being arrested for their participation in anal play); these laws can be widely interpreted to catch any act that alludes to a person being non-heterosexual as ‘obscenity’ or indecency. So, tucking your partner’s hair behind their ear, putting on his or her sunscreen, or living together are cause enough to substantiate a claim of ‘homosexuality’ and the attending violence; the result is that LGBTQ people who are victims of violence are seen as criminals and face discrimination from the officers they report to, and even reporting can put them at increased risk because acknowledging that they have been victimized makes them more vulnerable.   
    
   
   
Jamaica has one hell of a track record. When a recent murder, of two known gay men, occurred – the news paper quoted neighbours sneeringly referring to the homicide as a “fish fry.”  People have been stabbed. Raped. Set on fire. Run over multiple times. And police have treated the  victims as the criminals. 

It’s shameful that violence of any kind is supported, especially when the targets are a marginalized group with no legal recourse. Before meaningful change can happen, legislation has to change… To protect victims of violence from behind labelled as criminals. 

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