Celebrations are for gay people too

Letter to the Editor of The Jamaica Observer

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to last Friday’s letter to the editor entitled ‘One flag should be up this week’.

The rainbow flag which was flown with pride during the last week, contrary to what the letter writer claimed, also signifies the triumph over the atrocities of slavery. It might not have been shackles in the physical sense — but then, if Dwayne Jones is anything to go by, I believe it can include that as well — but slavery in the sense of the denial of LGBT people’s right to self-expression and the emotional hardship that ensues from that.

The theme of the inaugural Pride celebrations was ‘Jamaica’s LGBT community: Breaking the rules of oppression’. Jamaica’s LGBT citizens include more than the gay youth that lived in the gully in New Kingston, and more than those who live in spaces where they are constantly being forced into silence by heterosexuals.

What religious fanatics, who believe it is their right to decide who a person should love, and the less-aggressive homophobes who insist “that the gay dem fi keep them nastiness ina dem bedroom” do is blatant bullying. They constantly identify homosexuals and transgendered people only with their sex organs. LGBT people are more than who they have sex with, they are also their brains and talents and hearts, just like every other straight person. That’s what Pride was about; a celebration of the wholeness of LGBT people.

I suppose the letter writer’s religious persuasion will not allow him to see the connection between Pride and the Emancipendence theme: Jamaica 53 Proud and Free! He said it should have been a week to honour our identity as Jamaicans, which I absolutely agree, and so I fail to see how honouring the identity of LGBT Jamaicans is a problem. It seems what he battles with most is accepting that the country’s lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered citizens are Jamaicans too.

-Shantal Pellington

View the letter on the Jamaica Observer website!

 

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