16 December 2005

Re: Some thoughts on Philip's and Ingrid's comments

The reality is the huge responsibility and attendant dangers involved in coming out publicly, using your name and your face is Jamaica are overwhelming and intimidating. The fact of the matter is there is safety in distance...in places where there are laws, organizations and groups to help protect and advocate for the rights and lives of GLBT folks......this remains chillingly lacking in Jamaica. Nobody knows who or what J-FLAG is really about because the people or person who becomes the face of the organization will be stepping in a vortex of exposure and a very real danger!! Gareth is now being pointed out by police in street, signatories on the J-FLAG account were outed and exposed by bank employees.....where is the recourse? Notice how much impact Brian's murder had abroad, we'd be hard-pressed to find similar effect in Jamaica.

On a personal note, after taping a pilot programme which explored Jamaica's homophobia, on which I was 'the openly gay man'.....I really thought about what this being broadcast in Jamaica would mean. To me, my safety, peace of mind, my family ....I unashamedly and unapologetically asked the producers to edit out the sections of the show that featured me talking about being gay. The writing, directing, activism I'd like to do are definitely adversely affected by the fact that I currently live in Jamaica.....while doing a consultancy in Trinidad I was struck with delight and sadness at how much more comfortable, safe and relaxed I was there than in Jamaica......Relocation is becoming an increasingly seductive, comforting and life-affirming thought, course of action.


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