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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm Happy for Rev Michelle Smith, however...

I have noticed with almost all stories of persons who have left the “homosexual lifestyle”, that their backgrounds are almost the same. However the many stories that are untold are those of persons from functional homes, little to no molestation, God-fearing Christians, educated, and contributing positively to society.

I am a lesbian God-fearing Christian; I was born in wedlock, and my parents still married, I grew up in a stable and functional home, I have always been surrounded by love. I did not grow up in a situation where I was deprived of something I needed, because of poverty.

As far as I can remember I was never molested as a child growing up. I have been attending church from before I was born and still do. I am an educated young lady working towards my Bachelors degree at the moment. I am a business owner, I contribute positively to this society, I am not and have never been involved in drug smuggling or selling, or any other form of illegal activity.

As a normal person growing up, I had my own struggles and had to go through the process of finding myself, everyone goes through that. The outcomes and the particular struggles are unique to the individual.

I didn’t have anyone around me to ‘influence’ my being a lesbian, or anyone who ‘promoted’ the ‘lesbian lifestyle’ to me. Oh contrary to that, if influence was what made someone straight or gay then I would have been straight, I only saw heterosexuality around me, and this ‘lifestyle’ was ‘promoted’ to me.

I have always felt that difference within me that almost all gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons will tell you they felt, for me it was from a very early age. No I didn’t feel like I was a man trapped in a woman’s body (that is, in my opinion more of a transgender issue). I did recognise that I was attracted to females not just on a friendship level but also physically and sexually. I was never introduced to lesbianism. I am not a scientist so I cannot say there is a gay gene, I can only say that from as early as I can remember I had these feelings and close to the end of high school I learnt the name that described my feelings.

My sexual assault didn’t make me a lesbian either. I knew I was a lesbian long before that happened but it is part of my history. I was sexually assaulted because I am a lesbian, yes it happens and there are real people who suffer from violence toward them because of their orientation.

The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is part of society, and the same things that affect the larger society in general also affects us.

There are also heterosexual persons who live a life contrary to that which is natural to them, those persons are lost and those are persons who need help.

I am loved by God as the lesbian I am. No I am not perfect and God’s still working on me.

It is a shame that stories like these are not publicized and that persons like myself cannot appear on television to put a voice and face to the good happening right here, the upright people how are as regular as any heterosexual person and who many of you talk to everyday.

No one should be subjected to accepting another person’s beliefs and no one should be forced to change. I believe persons who have unwanted sexual attractions should be able to get help, but I also believe that persons who do not believe that they need change, should be free to express that and have public places that cater to families and adults who want to know and see that there are positive, spiritual, responsible, and God-fearing Christians in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.

I am happy that Rev. Michelle Smith was able to leave a ‘lifestyle’ that was ‘demonic’ and "unacceptable” to her. No one should remain in such a situation if it is against their nature.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Why Did J-FLAG Use These Brown People?

The below is a letter I sent to the editor, in it's unedited format. This is over the Gleaner's word limit, so if it is published it will be a little less.

J-FLAG’s PSA that basically said “please love and respect your GLBT family members and friends, please allow them to live, do not go out and kill them” has caused quite a stir. Clergy has been offended, the television stations are too afraid, and persons in the general population are incensed.

Among the many reasons for rejection is that the spokes persons are brown skin. Some persons rejected it saying that “cultural imperialism [is] behind [the] gay message”. Why did J-FLAG use this ‘high coloured’ woman and her brother to bring this message across? Why didn’t they use the ‘dutty battyman’ or the ‘black skinned, patois speaking’ parent of a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender child?

Firstly, since when did being brown skin or ‘high colour’ disqualify anyone from being a Jamaican? Does our motto not say “Out of Many One People”?? Why does their skin colour, make Christine Straw and her brother Matthew any less Jamaican? We already say black/African Americans shouldn’t tell us what to do, are we now saying brown skin Jamaicans should not be allowed speak about issues that affect them?

Secondly, are you crazy? Jamaica is an intolerant society, we’re intolerant of anything or anyone who dare go the other way (not just sexually). Which parent or sibling of a black GLBT Jamaican could do a video PSA, showing their faces and giving the same message? How many can do that, how many are willing to do that? What will happen after that PSA? Will they be able to return to their community, or their job? The security of that person will be greatly undermined.

Yes it would be great if we could have a PSA of a black parent or sibling with their GLBT family member, but until those persons can be safe from Jamaica’s intolerance of differing views, we won’t get a PSA like that.

Paedophilia and homosexuality are not the same.

‘Paedophilia is a psychosexual disorder in which the fantasy or actual act of engaging in sexual activity with prepubescent children is the preferred or exclusive means of achieving sexual excitement and gratification. It may be directed toward children of the same sex or children of the other sex.’ (Encyclopaedia of Mental Disorders).

Tyrone Reid in a January article “Jamaica's Hidden Paedophilia Problem”, stated that Vanessa Paisley, clinical psychologist, stressed that “it was important to recognise that within the society, there were culturally accepted norms of older men having sexual relationships with younger women”, and that “though these relationships are culturally bound, their existence must not be ignored, especially in light of the psychological impact that they can have on the minor involved.”

There are heterosexual paedophiles and there are homosexual paedophiles. Does that mean that all heterosexuals are paedophiles? Obviously not! So why then is it that when the conversation on homosexuality comes up persons draw on paedophilia as a scare factor?

I don’t see concerned citizens flooding the news papers condemning sexual relationships between older heterosexual males and their female teenage ‘lovers’, condemning men who demand that parents bring their underage girls to them. Yet you get into a rage and use fear to prevent homosexuals who want a relationship or to be sexually active with a consenting adult from receiving the rights due to them under the Jamaican constitution and by virtue of them being a citizen of the world. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

J-FLAG TV Advert Angers Clerics

This blog is written in a response to a story on the Jamaica Observer's website titled "Gay TV advert angers clerics". I've sent this to the Observer and the Gleaner let's see if this gets published. 

J-FLAG’s new PSA featuring former Miss Jamaica World and Miss Jamaica Universe Christine Straw and her gay brother Matthew Straw has drawn the ire of clergy and church goers. The cross fire is now between, Christians who believe homosexuality is a sin and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons who view the church as propagators of discrimination.

Christians oppose the removal of the buggery law, the televising of PSAs like the new one done by J-FLAG (mentioned above), and the inclusion of the human rights of GLBT folks in the Charter of Rights. Many Christians oppose these on the basis of their Christian beliefs. I have noticed that much of the opposition is also in fear of Christian beliefs being challenged. I dare say that this same fear that Christians have is the same thing they are currently doing to the GLBT community.

The authority Christians believe they have to dictate how persons should live (lifestyle) or to determine the possibility of an innate orientation, should be held to the confines of that Church, and that Church’s institutions. I do not believe that Christians should be forced to believe and agree that homosexuality is right; I do not believe that Christians should be forced to recognise homosexual relationships and/or unions as morally right. Why is it that the church cannot extend the same to persons of opposing views?

This myth, of the GLBT community wanting to “convert” your children and to force churches to keep quite is just that, a myth. It is the fear that people have that the church is manipulating. Shame on you! I am a lesbian Christian, who was sexually assaulted so that I would “convert” to heterosexuality. I am not saying that some GLBT folk don’t try to “change” heterosexual people, but you also need to know that there are heterosexual people out there trying to “change” GLBT folk, it doesn’t make any of them right, yet I haven’t heard the church speak out about human rights violations of GLBT persons.

The church is vocal in its opposition to human rights for GLBTs but as a democratic, non-church state GLBT persons also have the right to have their views heard and seen. What the GLBT community is advocating for right here in Jamaica is their right to an existence, the right to life, and the right to be.
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