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 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.
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.