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Monday, April 11, 2011

My Response to Peter Espeut's column ‘The Right To Discriminate’

The following is my response to Peter Espeut's column ‘The Right To Discriminate’ (April 8,2011). I had to edit and shorten it to send it to the editor. The letter that follows is the complete unedited letter. If my letter is published then I will repost it here for you as well.

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Mr. Peter Espeut in his column ‘The Right To Discriminate’ (April 8,2011) began his defense against the non-inclusion of a non-discrimination clause against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Jamaican population, with the fear factor of the Church being forced to admit gays into clergy and schools being forced to admit openly LGBT persons as guidance counselors.

Mr. Espeut and fellow thinkers (including Shirley Richards) draw upon the fear of Jamaicans in furthering their (at times) baseless arguments. A church that does not condone homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism, cannot by any account be forced to admit these persons into their clergy that would be an infringement on their rights. The church is a private body governed by its own rules; the rules of the state (so long as there is separation) cannot be forced onto them. The same goes, as it regards schools employing openly LGBT persons. A private school, not funded by the government can set their own rules and chose whether to accept such persons or not. For example, if a school is operated by Seventh-day Adventists, then non-Adventists or even non-Christians will be required to abide by the rules of that school. If however, the school is funded by the government of the land then the laws of the government will also govern how such an institution is run.

“I do not believe that two consenting adults, of whatever gender, should be criminalised for having sexual intercourse with each other in the privacy of their homes”, why then Mr. Espeut should you not support even the very basic call of the removal of Sections 76, 77 and 79 of the Offences Against the Person Act? Those sections can allow persons to be targeted, dragged out of their homes and beaten, and/or jailed. “Personally, I do not think that homosexual relations are wholesome”, I partially agree with you Sir, however I must say that there are many heterosexual relationships out there that are not wholesome; no single side of the fence has completely wholesome relationships.

You say Mr. Espeut, that by including a clause of non-discrimination, it may cause “young people not yet self-actualised, who are still developing a consciousness of themselves and their sexual identity… [to believe] that homosexuality and heterosexuality are equally acceptable 'alternative lifestyles’”. I personally believe that due to music culture many young persons, experiment with sex in all forms (it has always happened), do not confuse that (experimentation) Mr. Espeut with identity/orientation. Why, Mr. Espeut would anyone chose to live a life that they have heard over and over will lead them to hell, a life that would endanger their life? Why Mr. Espeut, would I chose to live a life that has caused me to be the target of a sexual crime? No Mr. Espeut, you need to stop and think it over.

Bestiality and homosexuality are two different things Mr. Espeut. I do not condone bestiality. Homosexuality concerns a same-sex, human to human relationship, not human-animal relationship. Though you have not said both are the same, persons reading your article and persons who despise homosexuals usually love to equate the two, this is the clarification. The same goes for pedophilia; pedophilia “is a psychological disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a sexual preference for prepubescent children” (World Health Organization, Section F65.4). There are pedophiles who are attracted to young girls and pedophiles who are attracted to young boys. Those are different from adults who are attracted to adults of the same sex.

“We can decriminalise homosexuality”, then make the call Mr. Espeut, or is this just talk? Make the call to remove sections 76, 77, and 79.

“Modernist, neoliberal people reject even the idea of having norms and values - and anything goes”, I do not know Mr. Espeut if you are saying that this is the characteristic of LGBT persons, I am not sure, Mr. Espeut, if you are saying that we are amoral. If that is what you are saying, then may I ask you how many LGBT persons have you met outside of the stereotypical profile many have of LGBT people? Let me introduce you to a lesbian who has a moral compass; me. I am a lesbian, a Christian, an over-comer of a sexual crime. I am not amoral, I have values, I have a concept of right and wrong, I have moral principles. Get it right Mr. Espeut, all heterosexuals aren’t party animals and promiscuous beings, neither are all lesbians, bisexuals, gays, and transgenders.
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