Violence against gay men has become a part of everyday society in Jamaica. Over the last several decades, with a growing intensity, hate has been promoted against homosexuals and justified by many community and national leader “not in my cabinet”.
This hatred is often expressed in music. Many dancehall entertainers have used the medium of music to incite attacks on persons believed to be homosexual. By releasing songs such as, -BUM bye bye inna batty bwoy head- Me nah mingle wid nuh man-From dem a par inna chi chi man car bring the fire mek we bun dem- among many others.
These dancehall calls to violence are answered by real violence on the streets. These attacks are known as “judgements” and are a part of life in Jamaica. Judgements can be verbal abuse, but in their stronger form “Batty bwoy fi dead” “Me woulda never put my dick inna another man bottom” how them bwoy deh so nasty FIRE and LIGTHENING f idem”. Judgements are also physical attacks on men designed to put the victim in the hospital or even to kill him.
These judgements are not limited to the streets of Jamaica. Jamaica exports its homophobic violence. One report describes a judgement on the streets of London where a group of human rights activist was protesting an awards ceremony that honored among other genres and artist, some of dancehall’s most homophobic songs and singers. These protestors, themselves UK citizens exercising their civil liberties, were attacked by supporters of theses homophobic DJs, to the point where British police told the protestors their safety could not be guaranteed.
When violence is sanctioned against one element of the community it puts everyone at risk.
EVERYONE PAYS THE PRICE!
1. Because of actual violence or fear of violent attack, some people rumoured to be gay or bisexual (MSM=Men who have sex with men) are forced to flee their homes and communities
2. Violence against MSMS adds to the burden on the already overstretched health and security services.
3. The fear and threat of violence prevents and threat of violence prevents people from developing their full potential as productive members of society
4. Sanctioning violence against sexual minorities confirms Jamaica’s reputation as a violent society to travelers, to investors and to development agencies
5. Sanctioning violence against ANY GROUP sends the message to our children and to the wider society that violence is acceptable.