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I have been pondering this for a while. Then I stumble across this article today. When i was googling to response to someone post about homophobia in Jamacia.
Does homophobia exist in Jamaica? Of course homophobia exists in Jamaica just like it does in Canada, United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the rest of the world. However, the current trend is suddenly the western media have taken it upon themselves to “denounce” homophobia in Jamaican Dancehall music. Make no mistake the western media does not “care” about black gays and lesbians that are being attacked and murdered in Jamaica due to homophobia. The mainstream media are only interested in pathologizing Jamaican culture trying to treat Jamaican people as though we are backwards and uncivilized. So once again we have this paternalistic approach of the “white gay saviours” GLAAD and EGALE that jump at the chance for some free press claiming to “save the day”. In the process GLAAD and EGALE are only demonstrating their true racist colours. The truth is GLAAD and EGALE ignores the cultural differences between Jamaica and the western world.
You can read the Full article here [url=http://orvillelloyddouglas.wordpress.com/2007/12/01/homophobia-is-a-glob... is a Global issue- Not limited to race[/url]
I think this writer makes some interesting and very strong points. Racism exists everywhere, and the gay community is no exception. I read a journal article last year by David Churchill about a debate that went on in the pages of The Body Politic in the 80s. A gay white man placed a personal add for a black house boy. There was a huge debate about whether the fetishization of blacks was acceptable if it was a part of another gay man's sexual liberation. It was a really interesting read.
I do take issue with a couple of this writer's points though. Treating the mainstream media as monoltihic and stating that 'they' don't care about the deaths of Jamaican gays is too strong a statement. No doubt there are many elements of the MSM that could care less, but as a former journalist I'm well aware of the passion that many journalists bring to their work and of groups like Journalists for Human Rights that don't think you must necessary be 'objective' or personally removed from the story.
Also, although it looks like this was published last year, there's a recent story about a gay Jamaican activist who is seeking refugee status in Canada after threats were made on his life. He said he lost 13(?) friends to homophobic attacks in the last number of years. While I'm not in possession of statistics to compare the number of hate crimes that result in death in Canada versus Jamaica, I think the media tends to pick up these stories because 1) Some Jamaican gays have decided that they are not safe in that country and have opted to seek refugee status here. Although Canada isn't a nirvana with no homophobic attacks, these people have decided they will have a greater degree of personal safety and freedom of expression here. 2) In this latest case an article in the most recent issue of Xtra contains an interview with the refugee claimant who claims the police in Jamaica are basically complicit in some of these attacks. Although homophobia exists in Canada's police forces, I personally have never heard that police actions have allowed a crowd or group of homophobe attackers to kill someone. And if that did happen, I'm postive it would be frontpage news for some time.
Also, about the Stop Murder Music campaign. I'm not sure how I feel about these types of campaigns. I tend to side on freedom of expression whenever possible, but lyrics that actually incite or condone killing gay men pretty clearly fall under Canada's hate speech laws. I've read stories in which some of the lyrics of Beenie Man and others have been republished and they pretty clearly decribe bashing the 'batty man.' Conversely, I'm not a fan of Eminem or Marlyn Manson so I don't know what types of lyrics they include in their songs. But do they have similar lyrics? I know Eminem is terribly sexist and has said homophobic things and I think has some homophobic lyrics, but do they advocate or incite bashings or murders? In fact, didn't a group of people, including Egale, try to stop an Eminem concert in Toronto a few years ago?
And just recently, a very touching statement made by Ellen DeGeneres on her show about a hate crime in America made similar points to campaigns against what happens in places like Jamaica. It received a lot of coverage.
[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcMEL3_YsVI]Ellen gets political[/url]
Although I accept this author's argument that racism is prevalent in the MSM and gay community in Canada, I think he overstates his case a bit. Homophobia is a global issue, but there are some real differences in how the state and government officials treat gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people, queering and questioning people. Stephen Harper may be a homophobe and bigot, but he does govern a country when a majority of the population supports same-sex marriage (according to most recent polls), supports same-sex spousal benefits, has numerous well-attended gay pride parades, has laws against workplace discrimination, etc. Harper may not like some of these things, but they have broad-based support. I don't think the same can be said about Jamaica.
And, one last point. Although some elements of the media may try to make homophobia something that's predominently a black phenomen, I can think of numerous recent reports that brought to light support for gay rights from members of the black community (from South Africans Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, to Kanye West, to a sports star I just read about but forgot his name). I think on balance he makes an excellent argument for how racism figures into gay rights campaigns, but he overstates his case a bit.
This is the first I've heard Manson's lyrics described as homophobic. He most certainly has sexist elements in his lyrics, but to my knowledge he hasn't engaged in any noticeable homophobia (he does use the word "faggot" but most often in reference to himself).
Of course there are homophobes everywhere but I would think that countries, states, cities which allow gay marriage and hold gay pride parades, embrace openly gay entertainers in the popular culture, ect. - might be just a little less homophobic than some other places in the world.