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Jamaican Gay Murder Advocate Wins Grammy; 28 Gay Jamaicans Win US Asylum

14 Feb

It’s no secret that many Caribbean nations are overwhelmingly homophobic. In fact, just last night, Jamaican Reggae artist, Buju Banton won a Grammy Award – after he advocated burning homosexuals “like an old tire wheel,” and shooting “batty boys” in the head with an Uzi in some of his lyrics.

Gay murder advocate and Grammy Award Winning Jamaican Reggae Artist, Buju Banton

Speaking as someone who also suffered from an anti-gay assault in the Bahamas, it seems that homophobia is deeply rooted in the religious teachings in some Caribbean nations. In recent years, there have been dozens of hate crimes reported in St. Maarten, Jamaica, The Bahamas and others. In fact, in 2006, TIME Magazine dubbed Jamaica “The Most Homophobic Place on Earth.”

The hatred and ignorance is clearly out of control. And considering the recent murder of David Kato in Uganda and the halted deportation of Brenda Namigadde, it’s important to know that you can be safe in countries which don’t criminalize who we are. Immigration Equality is an organization which maintains the largest network of pro-bono attorneys, in addition to its in-house legal staff, dedicated solely to seeking asylum for Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) asylum seekers. So it was good to hear from our friends at Immigration Equality that “An overwhelming number of the victories, 38, were for clients from the Caribbean, with 28 of those for individuals from Jamaica.”

Congratulations to those who won asylum to a place that at least doesn’t criminalize love. Let’s keep hoping for change in those countries where millions more fear their own murders daily.

26 Year-Old Gay Man Stabbed to Death in Jamaica

5 Dec

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, a member of Jamaica’s only LGBT advocacy group was found stabbed to death in Kingston. Kingston has just recently claimed to gain some control over the crime sprees that have been going on for months. 73 civilians and 3 officers were killed in street battles primarily due to a drug war.

The 26 year-old man who has not yet been identified as his relatives have not yet been notified. But Dane Lewis, director of the advocacy group says the young man’s life had been under threat for some time.

Having myself been a victim of violent anti-gay crime in Nassau, Bahamas – it is no secret that the very Christian and conservative islands have long-held negative views of homosexuality. In 2004, Brian Williams, the country’s leading gay rights advocate was murdered in his home – his body was found with multiple knife wounds. Outside the crime scene, citizens cheered the murder. Much of the bigotry stems from the country’s sexist and homophobic laws which imprison sexual relations between two men, but allow for two women to be in a relationship. Gay men can be imprisoned for ten years. And while lesbians don’t face the criminal charges, the anti-gay violence remains for them.