Click on this link for the document version: Jamaica 09.14
September 21, 2014
Minister of Justice, Senator the Honourable Mark Golding
Chair of the Joint-select committee reviewing the Sexual Offences Act
Dear Senator Golding,
On behalf of the North America region of ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association we are writing to you to register our concern about continued homophobic abuses in Jamaica that are not only harming Jamaica’s workers but also negatively impacting your country’s well-respected international reputation.
The elimination of 19th century colonial anti-sodomy laws is a matter of great concern to our organization at the global level and to our more than 1100 member groups in 120 countries.
The members of our federation in Canada and the USA are engaged in frontline work on public education, human rights and HIV prevention in a wide range of communities and across this continent. They know first hand the link between the law, social values, effective education and the prevention of gender-based, homophobic violence against sexual minorities.
Many of our members have deep roots in and have many reasons to visit and holiday in Jamaica. However, too many of us are unable to do so with any sense of security as gay men, lesbians, bisexual and trans persons.
We note that Canada, the US, indeed many countries, have had such anti-gay laws as those still on the books in Jamaica. While it took some time for them to be repealed due often to conservative religious thinking after the repeal those societies have not descended into chaos.
Neither, we are sure, will Jamaica.
In fact the deeply-felt benefits to societies that have repealed these laws are plentiful for all citizens.
We look forward to hearing of the results of your very important deliberations on this matter.
Yours most sincerely,
Haven Herrin & Stephen Seaborn
ILGA North America Board of Directors
185 Carlton St. Toronto ON M5A 2K7 Canada
cc Clerk of the Houses of Parliament
cc Monica Robinson, Clerk of joint select committee
We all must be allowed to love each other with honour. Yet all over the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are persecuted. We treat them as pariahs and push them outside our communities. We make them doubt that they too are children of God. This must be nearly the ultimate blasphemy. -Archbishop Desmond Tutu