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10 December, 2008 - Published 16:31 GMT

Forum: Homosexuality

A resolution before the United Nations calls for governments worldwide to decriminalise homosexuality.

Human rights groups say that homosexuality is punishable by law in over 85 countries.

The proposed resolution, put forward by France, is supported by all 27 members of the European Union.

This week's BBC Caribbean Magazine featured a BBC investigation into whether homophobia is being dealt with in Jamaica.

But, in the wider Caribbean, is there still an undercurrent of homophobia?

Listen again to BBC Caribbean Magazine

HAVE YOUR SAY

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

YOUR VIEWS

It bothers me when more and more we seem to lose our way. But then I am comforted with the fact that all of these developments points towards the imminent return of our Lord. What ever our religion it is simple nasty, out of order, deplorable for a man to leave the natural use of a woman to be with another man. The same obtains for women. Whatever we think of the Bible,man didn't create himself and he didn't just happen. It is clear from the body make up that a man was created to serve a woman and vice versa. In the context of the Bible, homosexuality and Leabianism is a sin, an abomination to God, which will not go unpunished. We are taught that "righteousness exalts a Nation but sin is a reproach to any people". When an individual dishonours God and use his/her body outside of its natural use it is terrible, but when the Nation seeks to legitimise such behaviour it is unforgivable and God would bring judgement.
Martin
St Vincent

As one person has said it is erroneous to equate the act of buggery with homosexuality. There are homosexual men who do not engage in anal sex and there are heterosexual couples who do. Will the State prosecute a married heterosexual couple who engages in buggery (i.e., anal sex)?
Buggery may seem revolting to some, but revulsion is not a basis for prosecution or persecution. If that was a general principle of law, then against whose personal prejudices, dislikes and preferences we would legislate? It would not be possible to live in organised societies with any acceptable principles or standards governing conduct.
If buggery is a violation of the Bible's moral precepts, then why don't we criminalise adultery, which is specifically identified as a no-no in the Ten Commandments?
Michael
Dominica

Changing the law is a step in the right direction...it will not however change the attitudes this will happen when people stand up and be counted. At the same time this proposed decriminalising of the buggery laws need to be complimented with equality legislation which will ensure the protection of the community and give them/us a level playing field.
Guy
Kingstown, St Vincent

I really can't see homosexuality being embraced in the Caribbean. It has never really been and will never be. This is against fundamental, Godly principles by which we're guarded and simply unacceptable. I don't think any law would make much of a difference and don't even think it's worth considering. Sadly many lives have been lost through out the Caribbean because of that type of unacceptable behaviour. Its not a matter of discrimination but more, that of maintaining what is righteous. It's about maintaining our values and not being a follower of negative trends as gay seems to be what's in style now a days. Musically, I can't even 'afford' to dream of a song coming from the Caribbean which promotes gay tolerance. It's just too expensive...(laugh)- an abomination. Gay and most of the Caribbean simply don't mix.
M Harry
Toronto, Canada

Homosexuality should remain a crime in the Caribbean cause, that what it is, I am not saying that everyone isn't equal, or God doesn't love everyone, what I am saying is this, homosexuality is the only Sin in the Bible that God destroy a whole city for, need I say More!
Mike Smith
St Vincent

Remember Sodom and Gormorrah, why was it destroyed? Do we want to see the destruction of the Caribbean. If yes go ahead and decriminalise buggery.
Jennifer Herbert
Bridgetown, Barbados

Listen, we in the Caribbean have strong Christian upbringing and many of us find the homosexual behaviour repulsive. We in the Caribbean cannot tell the UN how to govern because of size and power in that organisation we hold. Recently, the UK has stated that they can offer financial aid to Jamaica if we repeal the Buggery Act. The UK can go and keep their aid. Like what our PM Hon.Bruce Golding said on Hardtalk "not in my Cabinet", we say NOT IN OUR ISLAND!!
Dwight Bernard
Kingston, Jamaica

There is absolutely no way we should decriminalise homosexuality, our principles in the Caribbean are based on Christian doctrines therefore if we are to hold up God's law and live in accordance to his word there is no way this should be accepted or embraced. Legalising prostitution and homosexuality is like putting our countries in wrath's way especially now with all the countries in the region crying out about the criminal elements that are terrorising our communities. We need not compromise our Christian beliefs with satanic values.
Randy Caines
Cayon, St Kitts

In my opinion the caribbean should be tolerant towards these people. why? I am a Christian and God is the judge of every man, though we have to abide by the laws of the land.
Many thieves,murderers, adulterers,fornicators etc have committed sinful acts and either they are punished or unnoticed, yet these people have sinned in a less manner than they and they would have them slain. All sin is punishable by whom?
Every man should know the consequence when they have done the act of sinning therefore homosexuals should know their fate and it should not be decided by us humans who are all sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God.
Angella Bonnick
Philisburgh, St Maarten

God created a man,then a woman for companionship. Had God almighty wished any other way, then two men would have been created. Accepting homosexuality as a norm is absolutely ludicrous.
V Sookram
Vreed-en-hoop, Guyana

It's so shocking seeing all these people's strong opinions..it makes me wonder..why they have such strong views on this particular topic...sin is SIN..leave all judgement to GOD...I don't know if being gay is a sin...stealing, judging, envying, lying are all sin with the same consequence. So I think people should shut up and let God sort this all out...Not me...Jamaica politicians should not criminalise it...but instead say...people should do what they want and make their own choices....and all these people on here with their strong views should look into their own lives and check if they are liars, thieves...fornicators and do they love all their neighbours as themselves....they are all SINSSSS....so read the bible all through and not just read the part that you feel strongly about...a close friend of mine was the most homophobic person I know....he is now married for 6 years to another man...those years of homophobia was like a shield for him...
Marley
UK

I agree with the remarks of Martin Meade.
The inflammatory comments of Prime Minister Golding and other, anti homosexuality Caribbean leaders would lead one to conclude that homosexuality is the main factor in the huge economic and social problems plaguing much of the Caribbean region.
But is this true?
Is homosexuality a cause of the region's growing and spreading crime wave? Can Golding attribute Jamaica's horrific murder rate to homosexuality? Are homosexuals complicit in the political corruption and private sector greed that contributes to poverty and gross socioeconomic inequalities? And, does homosexuality play a part in the historical, significant, Caribbean phenomenon of children growing up without the benefit of the religious ideal of married parents?
Joel Banks
Toronto, Canada

We also need to address homophobia on a community level. It is part of Caribbean culture to riducule homosexuals at best and beat them to death (Jamaica) at worst. There are a number of groups both here in Trinidad and regionally that are looking at having the buggery laws decriminalised which is different from having homosexuality legalised but would basically ensure that you cannot get arrested for buggery.
Sharon Ayounge, Trinidad

I was brought up without religion, I was taught that in life I will find my own path, without being forced into a religion that has ideals that cause all this mess we are discussing here. I am not gay, but I have a lot of friends that are, in the end, no matter how high and mighty we feel we are, we are all human beings, and we have free right to our own emotions and feelings, I do not feel that homosexuality should be banned, or otherwise, criminilising sexuality based on religious beliefs is silly.
Lucas, Canada

To answer your questions:
1. No, a change in the country's law would not change the attitude towards homosexuals 2. The Caribbean should be more tolerant towards homosexuals 3. Buggery shouldn't remain illegal 4. And the Caribbean music should reflect a more tolerant viewpoint
Crystal Ghany, Trinidad

Frankly, I believe homosexuality should remain a crime on our law books. The notion that decriminalising it will help to control AIDS is not proven. We should encourage our men to practice and have good safe relationships.
Loxley John
Sauteurs, Grenada

Power to the gays !! Wooo!
Samantha Swindles
Merseyside, Wirral

The hysterical homophobic rhetoric from Caribbean pastors and politicians, is simply a powerful distraction that allows political and social leaders to avoid addressing the root causes of the real injuries, inequities, and injustices in their societies.
The same is true of African countries, where the issue of concern for religious leaders should be economic and political corruption, not homosexuality.
It is rather strange that Caribbean religious leaders and politicians have little to say about the scourge of children born out of marriage relationships, an outcome of a heterosexual, macho culture, in which men take pride in sexual conquest of women: the more women a man can boast of having possessed, the more masculine he is deemed to be.
Many children have paid, and are paying a terrible price for this kinky culture.
Martin Meade
Toronto, Canada

Changed laws would change attitudes? Definitely not! Any change in legislation needs to backed with support from moral stakeholders in order to change the culture of society.
Should the Caribbean be more tolerant? I have personally heard of kids being beaten to almost death by their parent, ridiculed in the streets, even arrested!!! While not all Caribbean states are like Guyana, this culture is driven by the fact that it is still illegal. (So too should) hate music and so-called churches that teach hate instead of love.
Buggery remaining illegal? This is a very very interesting question because I know of some gay men who do not have penetrative sex. I believe people should be free to decide how and with whom they want to have sex, once the sex is consensual and not coerced in any way.
Caribbean Music: This is a direct reflection of the culture of Caribbean people. The artist sing what will be a hit, what they think the population want to hear. Similarly when Beenie Man went to Europe, he could not sing this kind of music as the population did not want to hear that.
Mark Hernandez
Paramaribo, Suriname

The northern nations are always to eager to impose their way of life on us too often. The northern nations did not get where they are presently by having anything imposed upon them; they experienced and developed. We the lesser southern nations, notably the Caribbean, ought to be allowed to develop and move on according to our inclination. It's no good simply decriminalising homosexualilty or banning execution by hanging if our society hasn't achieved an advanced civility.
JA
Mayaro, Trinidad

I believe that persons should be allowed the preference of a mate be it same sex or heterosexual and I believe that the rights of all persons should be protected by the law.
Georgette Heaven
Montego Bay, Jamaica

That's four different questions. Let's choose the most interesting:
* Would a change in a country's laws mean a change in attitudes towards gay people?
No - in fact, in the West the opposite seems to have been the case. Generally, in the West, changes in the law have FOLLOWED rather than led changes in social attitudes towards sexuality. It is possible that a change in the law would reduce violence against LGBT people in Caribbean nations, but the focus should be on changing attitudes, not on changing the law. If you change the law while Jamaicans still violently hate gays, the law-change will make no difference whatsoever.
*Yes. I think it's time for juridical prohibition of homosexuality to be globally lifted, and the UN should certainly advise all member nations to do so and create a treaty for it. This doesn't mean that dancehall music will suddenly stop singing about (homosexuals) nor does it mean that policemen will stop clubbing (homosexual) people, but it's definitely a reasonable thing that secular democratic steps should take in the name of civil liberties.
Tony Mark Ramjewan
Maraval, Trinidad and Tobago

If we turn to the pages of the Bible we find that these things were not tolerated. The Caribbean is caught between a rock and a hard place and there is not black or white answer for this question. There only remain shades of grey.
Beam King
St. Johns, Antigua

I am tired of people acting like they are holier that thou! Men condemn homosexuality but turn around and commit adultery. Give me a break. Against gay marriage? Then don't get one. Not too long ago very similar laws took these same rights away from minorities. How hypocritical to turn around and do the same to another group.
Natasha Henry
New York City, USA

All over the Caribbean there are lots of gay people, even people in power. It is just a double standard. It is not about religion, GOD is love. It is about power!
Alba
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

As a gay Jamaican expatriate, I think that it will be difficult for many Caribbean societies to change their attitudes about homosexuality. Religious conservatism, inadequate education, and poverty have created an epidemic of fear, ignorance and intolerance. Politicians and religious leaders exploit that phenomenon because it reinforces the hold they have over their constituents. When people start to think for themselves, instead of being told what to believe, then maybe at that time attitudes will change. Jamaican dance hall-style hate music should be banned until the producers and artistes learn to become more tolerant.
Reginald Dwight
New York, USA

A car was made to be fuelled by gasolene or diesel. Reason and commonsense tells us that if we put anything else in its tank, there will be consequences because you break the rules governing the vehicle. Homosexuality is a breach of God's rules concerning man's sexuality; and there will be consequences.
Having said that, we are to love those people because they are God's creation and Jesus died for them.
G S
St. Peters, St. Kitts

Homosexuality must be criminalised. It’s against God’s law and must take precedence over man’s law always and forever.
Tim Lukkas
Toronto, Canada

Christ loved the sinner and hated the act. I will never change my views towards homosexuality. It’s wrong, and I am a little tired of others trying to dictate to us how we should feel about homosexuality!
Camilla Richards
Jamaica

As a youth I say if God wanted Adam and Steve he would have done it from the beginning. But he made Adam and Eve. It’s not right, that’s why so many things are going on the world today. This should be stopped.
Greenzdiva
Sans Souci, Grenada

NO.
Gladstone Greene
Georgetown, Guyana

There's God’s law and man's law. There's Heaven and hell, FOR SURE you won't find any (homosexuals) in Heaven. Homosexuality is all about freaky and kinky sex, that's it. How DISGUSTING!!! Just the thought brings sheer repulsion. Homosexuality is a great displeasure in God's eyes and will never be acceptable in his Kingdom. Congratulations to ANY civilized country that outlaws homosexuality! How would mankind multiply with (homosexuals) in charge?
Andrew
New York City, USA

Yes, buggery should remain a crime in the Caribbean. It can be freed up in the West, especially in Europe...but not in the isles of the Caribbean.
C Hall
Captan, Malta

They are humans. They are humans, therefore we are the same. Leave them alone. Stop hating. Remember, one love
Jose Ricado Wilson
San Nicolas, Aruba

Jamaica should not be looking at the West for its social ideals but look East when it comes to homosexuality problems. YES!! Problems.
Damion Smith
Jamaica

The question of homosexuality is not just a simple one the Caribbean is largely a religious region, and what you are asking is for people to forsake God and do what man says is right and this is not as easy as it seems.
Eddie, Ipswich, England

It is time for the politicians and preachers to face up and talk out about this scourge that is permeating our tiny islands.
Anita, St Vincent

As a Jamaican. I say not today, not tomorrow and never ever.
Yardman, Boston, US

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