07 January 2006

The full story

The Gleaner was quick to report that a Jamaican, Kenneth Errol Reeves, has been elected mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the third time. What the article left out was that Reeves is openly gay, celebrating with his partner, Greg Johnson, their 36th anniversary this week. I don't know if the information was not available to the contributor, one Wilmot Max Ramsay, whether he considered it not of interest to include it, or if he did include it, whether the editors blue-lined it. Whatever the circumstances, the net result is that once again the full story of LGBT persons as upstanding contributors to society and as sources of pride is not told.

Photo shows Ken Reeves, newly re-elected mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, with supporter and City of Cambridge employee, Zelma Evelyn. The contender beaten by Reeves, E. Denise Simmons, is lesbian. See full story.

For too long LGBTs have been written out of history by the prevailing heterosexist, Judeo-Christian moralists in their attempt to create a false "purity." Similarly, the chauvinists are trying to defend "Jamaican masculinity," claiming that homosexuality is un-Jamaican, un-black, white man's corruption, etc. When there are no countervailing images or messages in the popular media, then people, critically impressionable young LGBTs, get a warped view of themselves.

Blacks are quick to claim their own achievers throughout history; Jamaicans claim with pride their nationals who excel all over the diaspora. As LGBT Jamaicans, we can do the same. Information is now readily available so it will become increasingly difficult not to know, unless one chooses to be deaf and blind. It does require, though, that we become vigilant and act promptly to correct media distortions and abuses.