Picture of two teenage boys being executes in Iran for being gay
(picture obtained from http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2008/03/30/issue-torture)
I have not written much in a while. Perhaps I became dry. Perhaps I was reflective. Pensive. Blank. Why does this issue matter to me so much? Why am I so concerned? Everybody wants to be safe: nestled away from the criticisms; the jeering; shielded from the religious tyranny of fire and brimestone; ensconced in a bubble that heteronormative hegemony affords; invincible to the Chains, Whips and Machetes. But... somewhere deep within stirs a revolt - a resistance to the hegemonic establishment that mans the borders of society, protecting what they consider to be "acceptable" sexual behaviour & orientation and absolute gender expressions/expressiveness. This reality saddens me... quickly, the sadness turns into anger and the anger turns into a noise - a thunderous VOICE on the inside of me that I can no longer silence or pretend not to hear.
Jamaica is not a "homophobic" at all! Though very hostile towards homosexuals (gays and lesbians), I see no fear of "sameness" in the Jamaican context. The hegemonic powers that control sexual expressions want exactly that - SAMENESS! They want everyone to identify by the gender and sexual identity that they prescribe. Society's prescriptions and proscriptions exist for the exact purpose of creating an oppressive "homeostasis" (state of sameness). The result is a heterophobic society; a society deathly afraid of difference. Difference is a serious threat to the harmony; the uniformity; the homeostasis that hegemony thrives on. And, anything which threatens such faces the possibility of annihilation of-course justified by the bible, God's Holy Word! What society does not realise is that hegemony is the thief of freedom and that is it setting up itself to become its own prisoner.
"Effeminate" (mama) men and "masculine" (man royal)women; homosexual males (battyman) and lesbian women (dyke); cross-dressing men and women and transgendered fe/males, intersex (hermaphrodite) persons and those questioning or queer folks all have one label in this very Christian nation - Sodomites. Their options? Change or die!!! "A no mi se so. A Gad se so iina Livitikos dat dem de piipl fi ded!" (I am not the one saying this. God is the one who said so in the book of Leviticus that those kinds of persons should be put to death). This is the kind of Christian ethos that particularly Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgenders, Queer and Inter-sex (GLBTQI)struggle against for their space on the page called society. But struggling beyond the margins to where they were pushed and are constantly being pushed can mean a violent death!
"As long as you keep your difference silent within the margins we are ok with you because you do not challenge our sameness," also referred to as, "the rest of us". But I have seen that even expressions of self within the margins can be dangerous for there are those who pursue the 'aberrations' even without the page and within the margins to carry out their "God-given" mandate with their chains and whips and machete in hand. Like Saul, these are the zealots whose calling it is to uphold the righteousness (morality) of Church and State (often an emissary of the church). A recent Facebbok update on popular grassroots news group, On the Ground News Report, captured some (365 at the time of this post) of the sentiments shared by members of the public about a recent stand, by members of civil society, against discrimination based on sexual orientation. The stand, of-course, was sensationally reported to have been a "protest" by a groups of gays. Here are some of the impassioned sentiments: click HERE to read the rest if you wish
1. Jermaine Jayjay Johnson: *checking stair case for fish-gun*
· Like · 7 people
2. Morningstar Fortis Leslie: Listen to mi OGNR, if mi did ina di area u would be reporting that a massacre has occurred
· Like · 7 people
3. Menselita Lewis: What dem a protest fa? Dem shud fraid to show dem face! (Buju voice) boom boom bye....
· Like · 10 people
4. Meikah EvaFresh Braham: Hope police shot and KILL di ole a dem.....BOOM BYE BYE INNA BATTY BOWY HEAD (in Buju's voice)
5.Shev Morgan Medz: Same Way Jamaica Fi stay..bout too Homophobic.........Mi respect evry Cow ,Goat,Pig..etc...cause mi neva see Dem go luuu..Dem Chi Chi man yah a get to bright.....People start pick up fi dem bout hate crime..hate crime mi claaat..mi see ow Jah bun dem done inna di bible...and now Dem deh pan a loose...a fire fi dem claaaaat!!!!!''..#
· Like · 13 people
6.Vipa Justmoney Green: we need to start shoot some batty bwoy mek them lef ya rite now...bullit
· Like · 5 people
There are many more comments made in support of violence towards gays and lesbians and many of those, like in the case of number 5, were bold to declare that theirs are views supported and motivated by the bible. [Effeminate or Flamboyant] Gays and Transgendered people are often mercilessly beaten, tortured and lynched, while lesbian women endure rape (some even contracting HIV)as a means of correcting them (bringing them back into society's much demanded homeostasis). The chains, whips and Machetes are part of the reality of the GLBTQI community in Jamaica. The sardist is Jamaica's Christian population but who is the masochist? The sodomites and dykes and freaks? There is no pleasure in being hunted and unceremoniously expunged from society. Only our silence makes us masochists!
This unjust, oppressive religious hegemony in Jamaica has to be resisted. Jamaicans who believe in justice and righteousness can no longer be silent! Members of of the GLBTQI community can no longer afford to exiled to the margins as dis-placed (dissed and displaced) citizens and not claim their space and place in the place of their birth. This Jamaica, land we love is founded on resistance and revolts: Nanny of the maroons, tacky, bogle fought for their space in what would become their vision of the new Jamaica. Passivity did not give birth to the "New Jamaica" that they envisaged.
It is time for an all out revolution! A resistance of rules that deny the personhood of some, whilst it celebrates the beast in others at the peril of those non-persons. It is time for a strategic, deliberate and intentional revolt! Blood, sweat and tears; erasing the margins and extending the page where WE rewrite history. Unashamed and unapologetic. Proudly wearing the labels we have been given. Embracing difference, embracing freedom! I rather die free with a people that are mocked. YES!!! ...Than to live in caged within this body!