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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gays Protest Against Censorship by Jamaica’s Television Stations in New York, USA.


A group of LGBT Jamaicans and Allies protested against Jamaica’s major television stations CVM, PBCJ and TVJ’s refusal to air a paid public service announcement advocating dignity and respect for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people living in Jamaica in front of the Consulate General of Jamaica office in Manhattan New York.

Maurice Tomlinson, a gay Jamaican who appears in the latest ad, is taking the stations to court this week (May 27-31, 2013) for breaching his constitutional rights. Today was the third day of court hearing on the law suit in Jamaica's Supreme Court.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, Jamaica’s Constitution guarantees the unique right to “seek, receive, distribute, or disseminate information, opinions and ideas through any medium and requires everyone, including corporations, to respect this right

The 30-second video called on Jamaicans to respect human rights of gays and was recorded in light of a series of savage attacks against gay Jamaicans last year. The stations’ refusal to air the “Love and Respect” ad is totally arbitrary and reflects the growing dominant role in which the Jamaican media re-enforces intolerance and homophobia.

Visibility is liberty. Freedom of Expression is the right of every Jamaican. We will not be censored or silenced. It is time for CVM TV and TVJ to respect, protect and preserve the human rights of LGBT Jamaicans and END discrimination. We the people will continue to stand and speak out against homophobia until the inalienable rights of LGBT Jamaicans are protected.



IMAGES
A proud lesbian Jamaican standing up for freedom








fighting for change


Miss Gay Jamaica 'Chanel' posed for the camera














Thursday, May 16, 2013

Minister Ronald G Thwaites Hypocrisy: Jamaica’s Ministry Of Education Anti-Gay Agenda. (video)



At what point in Jamaica’s history, where schools and teachers, cultured and groomed students into same sex unions, using school materials which acknowledge the existence of homosexuals and same-sex families?

The notion that students are cultured into homosexual relations through school materials which educate students about the different types of family structures, including a family whereby both parents are homosexuals, is simply preposterous and anti-gay.

Since Rev. Ronald G Thwaites became the Minister of Education in 2011, it was cleared that his primary agenda was to rid Jamaica's society, particularly the education system, of school materials which contain informations about homosexuality, gays and gay families. His agenda became evident when in 2012; he withdrew a controversial textbook from the education system, which mentioned the existence of homosexual families. Rev. Thwaites predecessor Andrew Holness, during in tenure in the previous administration banned a text book which listed same-sex family as normal.

On May 15, 2013, speaking in the House of Representatives sectoral debate, Minister Thwaites said this Government lifts up to our children the ideal of faithful love and marriage between a man and a woman as the basis of a family even as we insist on tolerance and love for those who are disposed towards homosexuality. Let it be clear, we will not be grooming children towards same sex unions.”

This type of anti-gay sentiment and policy being promoted by elected officials helps to promote homophobic behavior and bullying of gay students in our schools.  In other words, he suggested that the ideals of faithful love and unions between same sex couples are not the basis of a family and one in which our children should be aware of.


Hypocrite?

In a  (2011) documentary on homophobia in Jamaica, Minister Thwaites expressed that “there is no principle of acceptable behavior that can accommodate violence with those whom we disagree, as to their personal conduct, political or religious belief, and where there are persons who are homosexuals largely by virtue of how they have been made up, there is no reason and there is no right in prejudicing them, either in terms of their, their employment, their rights and least of all by violation of their person.”

He further went on to say that “to think of how a society could turn away from the poison of prejudice, of hate and discrimination and simply accept people as they are. It doesn't mean everything that every one of us does is right, but it means that we do not exercise divine judgment against them for our imputation of their purported sins usually without reference to our own. I come to forward to a day when you we put that away from us where we guarantee the rights of every person that we don’t discriminate on the basis of gender or sexual orientation or religion or religion or any of those things should be protected by the charter of rights.”

On the other hand, Individuals from the gay community, including students were outraged at the Minister's stance on homosexual materials in school texts. This sort of policy is contrary to what he preached prior to his government position.  It is understandable that, since his enrollment in office, his acceptance and lack of judgment towards homosexuals has changed significantly. However it is unfortunate and hypocritical of him.

“Censorship is an abrogation of the right to know,” (Giddens, 1997). Minister Thwaites’s policy infringes on the intellectual freedom of individuals and the right of students to receive information. It also infringes on teachers academic freedom to teach. What is next? Will students be told to dress and act in a manner which confines to the norms and perceptions of heterosexuality? This anti-gay agenda and censorship by the Minister of Education must be challenge and stop.

How conceivable is it that the Minister urges tolerance and love towards homosexuals, when at the same time, his actions and polices promote censorship, discrimination and prejudice towards gay and lesbian relationships and unions? Regrettably, members of the governments, including Minister Thwaites take pride in upholding anti-gay educational policies and do not live up to his beliefs in order to gain political points.

Same-sex relationships are normal. And whether or not the Ministry of Education acknowledge such relations or unions, straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered students, as well as teachers should not be deny the right access such information in order form his or her own perception of homosexuality, a key lesson on  human sexuality. We should “simply accept people as they are,” Rev. Ronald Thwaites once said and believed in the rights of gays and lesbians. 




References:
http://www.japarliament.gov.jm/attachments/956_Sectoral-Presentation-2013.pdf
http://vimeo.com/32624804 documentary 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Belize Sodomy Law: Caleb Orozco vs the Government



                                                                                Caleb Orozco Interview with Dwayne Brown (2011)


Belize's Supreme Court, for the past three days, carried out hearings on whether or not to strike down a law criminalizing gay sex.

Section 53 of Belize’s Constitution states: “Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.”

The plaintiff in this case (Caleb Orozco) seeks a judicial repeal of the Law which violates his constitutional rights to privacy and freedom of expression.

Along with the government, the Catholic and Anglican Church as well as other interested parties in the case supports the government’s defence of the law.



Orozco, 39, president of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) is openly gay. Base on several credible media reports, he has repeatedly received death threats and in February 2012, he suffered a violent physical assault that required extensive dental surgery.

In an interview on the 15th of August 2011, Orozo urged the government of Belize and Council of Churches to:


1.      “ Not let biblical language replace the constitutions in individual countries;”
2.      “ Remember that the constitution is arbitrated to individual countries, not the Bible;”
3.      “Enforce the rights of lgbt citizen’s population which exist within the country.”

In a direct appeal to the court justices and politicians, he further stated that “the issue sexual minority groups are concerned with is fear treatment, not fearful treatment. If you can do that there should not be a problem. In fact, you were elected to serve all people, not just some people.”

Undoubtedly, anti-gay laws, such as section (53) of Belize’s constitution foster the perpetuation of hate and violence towards homosexuals. Similarly, we have seen such manifestation hate towards gay and lesbian Jamaicans, attributable to the existence of sections 76, 77 & 79, in Jamaica’s
Offences Against the Person Act (1864).

According to UNIBAM report (2009) on homophobia in Belize, “the state indifference and reluctance to address the issue of homophobia head on is what sustains prevailing cultural attitudes in the country. Laws on the books not only remains unequal, it prevent the recognition of the gender identity change for transgender persons and does not protect a person from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These are just examples of sustained discrimination by the state.”

On the third day of hearing, Deputy Solicitor General Nigel Hawke, representing the government argued that “there is no fundamental right to dignity or privacy in Belize and it is the right of Belize as a sovereign nation to keep Section 53 on the books as long as the people the people want.” On the contrary, Belize’s constitution offers equal protection and rights to privacy to all of its citizens regardless of one’s sex, gender, race, color or creed.