Steve Harvey's death has stirred mixed responses within me. First because I see his death being politicized by local and international gay activists with agendas fueled by one sided reporting of information or just plain ignorance. Secondly, because his death and that of Brian Williamson, another internationally known gay rights activist last year, comes now - when a mini renaissance in how gay and lesbian Jamaicans live here is brewing.
Without question Steve Harvey's murder can be classified unequivocally as a murder. Nothing new here, since we Jamaicans have already killed over 1,500 people since the beginning of this year, a new record as we all know. So Steve's death is unfortunately not shocking and given the shoddy crime solving reputation of the police here, his murder is likely to go unsolved too and not because he's gay and that it may be a hate crime, but simply because he's Jamaican.
And so it remains to be proven as to whether he was killed because he was gay or simply because he was Jamaican. It could be that the murderers simply killed another Jamaican, who happened to have been a gay and AIDS activist here. I sometimes think that we Jamaicans gay and straight,are all at greater risk of being killed here generally, than being killed specifically because we're gay.
Yet amid all the bacchanal of blood here, the Jamaican gay community has charged themselves it seems with mantras for living. In 2004, after Brian Williamson's death, the mantra was "It's 2004, we nah hide no more." And for this year, it's been "It's 2005, we're alive it's time to thrive." And in that vein something has been happening here - a mini renaissance I'd like to call it and it's showing itself in how we're living now.
There are now two clubs - on one the touristy north coast and one in Kingston, the city capital. We have over five gay friendly and gay run resorts. We have quite a few known gay own businesses. We have an online newsletter jamaicanoutpost.com. We have many online groups. On average there are at least 3 parties (commercial and house-based) being held here, especially in Kingston and those are the ones that I know about. We have another gay hangout in the hills of Kingston. All are thriving and there's more to come.
And better yet, there is a community spirit brewing, a changing mindset - a coming together of the men and women, guys and girls who live gay and lesbian here. I'd like to see more reporting about that, as it will help to strengthen it and help it grow faster. Believe it or not television shows such as The L Word, Queer as Folk, Will & Grace and The Ellen Degeneres Show has also influenced the way we live here. You know what I see in Jamaican gays and lesbians who are in their 20s - they are more bold and out than those live myself in our 30s and I love that!
So as these two worlds coexist and in a number of respects collide, I don't like the idea of the kind of political agenda and pressure on the Jamaican government that seeks to show only the one side of a situation. Without question I believe and want to see Jamaica repeal the sodomy laws and amend the discrimination ones too. But I also want Jamaicans and the world to know that while we live unprotected by law, publicly unsupported yet privately encouraged by Jamaican society - we have a rich and amazing history, we have heroes and heroines, we have contributed much to the development of this country and still do and that we are living as loudly and proudly as we can here.
And I'd like to answer to the question - who murdered Steve Harvey? That's easy. Jamaica killed Steve Harvey. Gay, bisexual and straight Jamaica. Hypocritical and sexually oppressed Jamaica. The most churches per square mile in the world Jamaica. The most bars per square mile in the Caribbean Jamaica. The murder capital of the west Jamaica. The 50% of all murders go unsolved Jamaica.
Brief Reportback From My Healthy Masculinity / Bystander Intervention training with Men Can Stop Rape (aka "Why Should Men Stop Rape?"). - (Feb. 17th, 2015, NYC) view from my early morning two-block walk from the midtown Holiday Inn to the MCSR training. It was very cold. But I felt...
2 years ago