A recent article in a Jamaican newspaper says that the sodomising of Jamaican men during the nation’s era of slavery is at the root of its widely reported homophobia.
Titled, Don’t push from the back, it’s a painful act, the article was written by the Rev John Hardy, a minister of the New Testament Church of God in Kingston, and published in The Jamaica Observer.
Hardy writes that, “Indeed, Jamaica can be considered a homophobic society, that is, a society that has a very low tolerance for homosexual activities.”
He goes on to say that, “The black slaves and most of their descendants developed this hatred for homosexual activities because of the painful experiences that their forefathers endured during slavery.”
He specifically refers to historical claims that slaves were punished by being forcibly sodomised by their British masters, other slaves or implements.
“It is just about 170-odd years since the blacks in Jamaica have been freed from slavery, and the painful memory of the colonial masters’ sodomisation still lingers. It may take another 400 to 500 years before Jamaicans become more tolerant to homosexual activities,” writes Hardy.
While Hardy adds that “the church community should not join with the rest of the society and physically or verbally abuse homosexuals,” he affirms his belief of “the wrongness of homosexuality”, and promotes the notion of reforming gays and lesbians.
There have been a number of incidents of mob violence against gays or people suspected of being gay in Jamaica over the years. In February this year, three gay men were narrowly saved by police from a stone-throwing crowd.