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There’s evidence to support homophobia


There’s evidence to support homophobia

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THERE IS SO much wrong with the NATION’S editorial of Monday, September 26, titled Don’t Force LGBT position On Society. 

Start with the numerous unsupported claims, with no attempt to produce even a single piece of evidence.

Apparently, we should just take the author’s word for it that Barbados isn’t a homophobic society; that the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people aren’t under threat; that they face no greater danger or harm than anyone else; that hatred and mistrust towards LGBT people is neither condoned nor institutionalised, and that most of them have kept their sexuality a secret “simply because [it] was not in keeping with the accepted customs.”

A study in 2014 by Barbados Gays, Lesbians and All-Sexuals Against Discrimination found that the LGBT community still faced deep-rooted oppression,” in the form of “property damage, ostracism and verbal abuse from strangers and family alike, unjustified denial of employment, denial of housing, [and] rejection and abandonment [by] family, friends and the wider society at large”.

Never mind the public statements by a current minister, vowing never to support gender-neutral domestic violence legislation. Never mind the anecdotal evidence, including one transgender woman’s recent allegation that she was humiliated by the police, or another’s claim – supported by some members of the local LGBT community – that deportation to Barbados could put her life in danger.

Never mind that our DJs still play music advocating killing gay men, and partygoers happily make gunshot noises. Never mind that consensual sex between men is still illegal here in Barbados, and that no laws exist to protect gay people from hate-crimes.

The author says that Barbados is a society of “traditional family values”, that LGBT people shouldn’t try to “force their position on society”,

I wonder if the author remembers it used to be conventional to keep black people in chains, until it was conventional to bar them from certain buildings. It was by convention that we denied women the vote, and expected them to give up all economic independence when they got married. The brutal beatings children suffered decades ago were rooted in convention and our “traditional family values.” 

Our values evolve, as we learn more about what makes human beings  thrive. And our traditions and conventions can, do, and must change. It’s our duty to force new ones on society as soon as we realise that the old ones are violating people’s rights.