The homophobia often associated with Jamaica and dancehall music in particular is a mess of contradictions.
“In Jamaica we grew up in a homophobic society and the Bible is what we go by,” explains Vincent Nap, a Britain-based reggae artist. “You can’t expect us to turn around like our religion doesn’t matter.” [TIME]
The Times reports that Jamaica is a dire place for homosexuals who fear for their safety and so party in underground nightclubs and worship in secret church services that move around the island.
Disapproval of gays is an entrenched part of island life, rooted, Jamaicans say, in the country’s Christian tradition. The Bible condemns homosexuality, they say. But critics say islanders are selective in the verses they cite, and the rage at gay sex contrasts sharply with Jamaicans’ embrace of casual sex among heterosexuals, which is considered part of the Caribbean way.
While some other Caribbean tourist destinations have made a point of marketing to gay travelers, Jamaica has notably not joined the trend.