Friday, February 20, 2009

Silence = DEATH

Never once have I woken up without being conscious of my sexuality. It isn't important to me, for it refers only to who I'm attracted to, not who I am. But everyone else perceives it as being essential to my identity...

In speaking out against the injustices faced by queer individuals, I must adopt a gay identity, for otherwise the impetus to act against intolerance is hard to come by; it is so easy to cower in silence, when entire societies are vehemently opposed to one's sexuality.

I recently watched the movie, "It's My Party", and was touched by the experience of the protagonist. He contracted HIV and was soon after dumped by the love of his life. Within a year, his body was deteriorating rapidly, and he decided to commit suicide and shorten what would otherwise be a painful, and long journey to death.

I cried throughout the entire movie, because I empathized greatly with his experiences. Homosexuality and HIV/ AIDS are both stigmatized considerably, yet this man smiled in the face of disenfranchisement. His travails were made bearable by a close group of friends and his family.

I don't have this. I can't have this. My family would surely disown me if I was to ever pronounce myself to be homosexual. (For what reasons?) Even more far fetched is the possibility of having a homosexual community in Jamaica, where queers rightfully hide, fearful of their own looming execution at the hands of the masses.

How I long to be a part of an inclusive community. Not a gay community, but a pluralistic, cosmopolitan community, which can accommodate people of all persuasions. Till then, what shall I do? I will speak out! I am no less Jamaican that any heterosexual, and I refuse to be treated as such.

We need to stake our claim to Jamaican citizenship before the illiberal society degenerates further into social anarchy, and denies us other fundamental rights. Vigilante killings of queer individuals must no longer go unnoticed, for if we don't speak out now, we might very well be next.


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