Hold Your Corners: Homophobia in Jamaica.

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.


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  • misc1982

    Coming from the Caribbean, I’m not certain where the homophobia stems from. People cite religion and the Bible as their reasons for condemning gay people but I think the misplaced religious zeal is aided and abetted by fear and paranoia.

    People tend to be under the impression that homosexuals (men in particular) are predatory. The idea that homosexuality and pedophilia are intertwined is a huge part of public discussions about it. Religious figures loudly proclaim that homosexuals and their lifestyle are responsible for tearing apart the moral fabric of the society…yadda yadda yadda. Meanwhile, teenage pregnancy is at an all time high, and most of these 14, 15 and 16 year olds are impregnated by grown ass men. But that’s apparently not predatory or immoral.

    All I can do is shake my head at this point. In St. Vincent where I live, and the rest of the Lesser Antilles there tends not to be much outright violence towards gay people. However, I cannot say that the atmosphere is welcoming either.

    There was a big spat here in SVG about 2 years ago because a cruise line that markets specifically to gay couples wanted to stop here as one of the ports of call. The Anglican archbishop “rebuked” the entire idea and many people acted as if we would be inviting criminals into our midst.

    The whole thing is entirely ridiculous. If people invested half as much energy into condom campaigns for teenagers and young adults our HIV infection rates wouldn’t be so high. Hmph.

  • Funny how they cite the bible as the source of their hate for homosexuals, but they seem to have no problem fathering numerous illegitimate children as though the bible says that’s ok.

  • Tasha

    Religion used as a prop for personal fears and hates?
    Nothing new there.

  • Big Word

    Homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle doesn’t get much support from the bible. Therefore it still baffles me that so many homosexuals ascribe to Christianity as their particular brand of faith. However, the entire brouhaha over homosexuality is just another of the many reminders of just how hypocritical people can be. In certain places in the bible homosexuality is classed right along with fornication, adultery, and other rather common sins. Yet, you don’t see too many people arguing that the latter should be denied their civil rights.

  • It just goes to show you. Some people will use the what’s in The Bible when it’s convenient for them. Instead of taking time to try to understand, people will hate beccause a person is different from them.

  • verdeluz

    given the widespread nature of outrageously hypocritical homophobes worldwide, i’m not sure why this is remarkable.

  • LH

    I think that if being free of any contradictions is a criteria to pass judgment on people/their behaviour, the world would be a much quieter place.

  • LH

    a criterion

  • JJ

    Wow! Jamaica needs to do better. Growing up in a country where we have devotions every morning before school starts and pray before we leave school; it is just killin how ignorant and pathetics my fellow Jamaicans are behaving. I love my country to death but there is no way Ican condone what they are doing. Using the bible where it is convenient for them is so wrong. I am pretty sure that they know that sex before marriage is fornication and fornication is sin; having extramarital affairs is adultery and adultery is sin. All I can say is God have mercy on my little country. There are grown men in their thirties and forties exploiting and taking advantage of 13, 14 and 15 year olds. But no all of that is ok. I am fed up and tire of what is going on and every day it seems to be getting worse. GOD PLEASE HAVE MERCY!!!

  • Lady Future

    It’s a difficult subject; but I prefer Jamaica’s Homophobic behavior. America makes everything ok..and it is not, although condeming that behavior and not others is not ideal, some behaviors and lifestyles need to be condemmed. Living in the US homosexuality, permiscuos behavior, drugs, guns, and treating women bad is advertised on radio and TV commercials. None of these lifestyles or behaviors need to be glorified. At least Jamaica stands for something, even though they fall hort on other things…