Target: Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpsons-Miller
Goal: Repeal anti-homosexuality laws in the Caribbean
An antiquated, colonial-era law outlawing homosexual activity in the Caribbean is withstanding attempts at eradication due to rampant homophobia. The Jamaican Prime Minister originally advocated the repeal of so-called buggery laws, but mass protest has prevented any reform. Perhaps even more alarming is that intolerance seems to be on the rise in several Caribbean nations. Already one of the world’s murder capitals, Jamaica has seen a steep rise in its murder rate, including hate crimes against homosexuals. Some authorities attribute a rise in the murder rate on neighboring islands to a “spillover effect.”
In 2011, Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller advocated on behalf of the LGBT community, saying she wanted to revisit the legality of the buggery laws. However, protests erupted when the laws came up for review, including a rally that drew over 25,000 Jamaicans. Eighty-two percent of Jamaicans see homosexuality as morally wrong. Severe homophobia has led to heavy emigration of gay Jamaicans, including two men who were granted asylum in the U.K. after fleeing an untenable situation in their home country.
Urge the repeal of buggery laws to allow all Jamaicans an equal opportunity at happiness in their beautiful island kingdom.
Dear Prime Minister Portia Simpsons-Miller,
Authorities believe a rise in murder rates and violence across the Caribbean can be attributed to rampant homophobia. Much of this can be attributed to the enculturation of social mores from antiquated laws, such as Jamaica’s buggery laws. While the repeal of such laws will not end rampant discrimination among the population, it will serve notice that the government itself promotes respect and tolerance.
Jamaica stands to lose a significant portion of its population due to intolerance. Violence has already struck the LGBT community with ruthless force. In 2009, British honorary consul John Terry was found beaten and strangled to death. With the body was a note that read, “This is what will happen to all gays.”
Same-sex relations are criminalized in 42 of the 54 nations of the British Commonwealth. Consensual, adult sexual activity is protected under the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Jamaica is a signatory.
I implore you to repeal all laws that discriminate against Jamaican members of the LGBT community and promote prejudice and abuse.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ludovic Bertron via Flickr