Jamaica: Government-Enforced LGBT Discrimination Must End

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Target: Jamaican Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller

Goal: Repeal discriminatory laws that allow for the persecution of LGBT people

In Jamaica, discrimination against the LGBT community is not only widespread, it is also legal. Jamaica’s 148-year-old anti-buggery law (anti-sodomy) enforces discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and continues to dictate the homophobic mindset of many of its citizens. Jamaica must repeal this law and provide equal protection for all Jamaicans.

Jamaica’s anti-buggery law is little more than government-enforced discrimination. It also engenders a sense of entitlement and power amongst many of Jamaica’s citizens to impose those federally-endorsed values on others. As a result, Jamaica’s local law officers must increasingly respond to threats, violence, and other acts of ill will towards LGBT individuals. Recently, police were called to a home occupied by five suspected homosexuals who feared for their life because a large, angry mob had gathered outside their door.

However, for a Jamaican LGBT individual, seeking security in the local police force is many times a fruitless endeavor. According to Human Rights Watch, a prominent LGBT activist in Jamaica fled the country earlier this year, fearing for his life after receiving harshly homophobic letters and death threats. Before leaving, he had asked the police to protect him, but was met with more homophobic insults from those officers. These incidents suggest that an LGBT individual living in Jamaica is surrounded by hate and protected by no one.

This embedded bigotry is, however, only one side of the coin. For many years, non-governmental organizations have brought attention to this issue and pressed Jamaica’s political leaders to address the appalling situation. Even Jamaica’s Prime Minister herself issued statements before taking office demonstrating support for the LGBT community. Still, nothing has been done on a federal level to curb the trend of discrimination and prejudice that is commonplace within Jamaica’s borders.

LGBT individuals deserve unequivocal equality under the law. Sign this petition to demand that it become so.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Prime Minister Miller,

Before you took office in January, you declared support for the LGBT community in your country. Since that time, no effort has been made at the federal level to back up these statements. Incidents of homophobic threats and violence continue to be widespread, rampant even in the local police forces. Such blatant discrimination on the local and national level must end.

I want to adamantly remind you that Jamaica is privy to numerous international human rights covenants which specifically denounce discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These include the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Organization of American States, and others. Jamaica cannot pick and choose the resolutions it wants to follow; it is obligated to uphold the values to which it endorsed in ratifying these agreements.

All Jamaican citizens deserve equal footing in the rights granted to them by the state. A hierarchy of equality exists only the most oppressed countries and in the archaic history of the world. I urge you, as executive leader with the most legislative authority, to stand with your LGBT citizens and strike down the anti-buggery laws that contribute to so much hate and discrimination.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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70 Signatures

  • Marianne Oelman
  • Hermann Kastner
  • Eric von Borstel
  • Mal Gaff
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Holly Hall
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