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The Your Stories section is all about you! Please take a minute to tell visitors of the ILGA website about what LGBTI life is like in reality. Please submit your personal story and share your experience!

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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in JAMAICA...
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GAY BASHING ADVERTISED IN POPULAR MUSIC. This life experience is concerning travel experience that I had while visiting several Caribbean islands in the past twelve years. One of the main form of popular music that plays in the Caribbean is Dancehall music, which originate from Jamaica. Dancehall, for the non-initiate, is derived from ragga music, which is derived from reggae music. I have been a huge fan of Reggae music ever since my first contact with the Bob Marley music, back in 1994. During my trips, I realized that rastafarians and reggae followers were not very receptive to homosexuality. Even though I never made any advances to no one during my stays in the Caribbean, I quickly learned to stay quiet about my sexual preferences. I was never a fan of the newer music scene, I always sticked to the original form of reggae. In early 2002, I lived in Barbados for four months and this is when I really got exposed to dancehall music. I was briefly explained to the fact that dancehall music was quite homophobic. A year later, field with nostalgia, I decided to get a few dancehall CDs in order to found back some of the "vibes" that I got during that trip. White those CDs and by frequenting Montreal reggae bars on a monthly basis, I became more and more exposed to the newer genre of reggae and dancehall music, something I had avoid between 1994 and 2002. In November 2003, while dancing, I heard the term 'Chi Chi Man' which got my attention. It left me cold and sticked in my head. A few days later, I searched the lyrics on the internet to find out the meaning of the song. Although I didn't knew the title of the song, I was amazed to realized how many songs used the pejorative term 'Chi Chi Man' (Jamaican slang for gays) were listed on the Internet. I later found out that the song in question was Frenzy, by Sanchez. The chorus line goes "we don't want no chi chi man'. It was a hugely successful song in 2002. So it was easy to hear it in bars. I tough that the song was directed to me, as I was alone on the dance floor that night. Concerned, I wrote a letter to the DJ telling him how I felt. I ended up explaining myself with the DJ a few weeks later and he excused himself for "offending" me with the song, and said that he was just responding to clients request. The funny thing is that he put the song again two weeks later when he knew that I was there. I was far from knowing that this songs was just the tip of the iceberg. While Frenzy only send a message of intolerance, it doesn't call for violence. Which is far from the rest. The more I was searching the web with 'battyman' and 'chi chi man' the more I was finding songs and the more I was realizing a huge portion of them where calling for violence. At that time, I was busy working on a Bob Marley discography (my main website). I always tough that, eventually, after that project, I would need to make a website that denounce those hateful dancehall songs. It originally was a simple list of songs with lyrics. At the time, I never knew how big the project would become. The Murder Inna Dancehall website saw the day in August 2006. It was an extensive research that mainly occure between 2005 that I continued until late 2008. I still update a few information in the NEWS & HISTORY section, from time to time.

Today, sadly, I lost all my interest to frequent reggae bars, as the DJ's selection are too often filed with singers that advocated the killing of gays and lesbians. I can simply no longer ear the voices of those artists, even if the song played are not advertising gay bashing. What a rude awakening it was to realized that reggae bars, radio stations, magazine, music stores and concert promoters worlwide all promote these singers that call for murder. It is now mostly impossible to find a compilation of actual reggae music that doesn't feature the eight artists boycott by the Stop Murder Music campaing (Launched by OutRaged! in 2004). The whole reggae industry act like if it's a minor thing, as if it was 'acceptable' and excuseable by saying it's a religious debate and try to escape it by the so called "Freedom of speech". When you reply that 'Hate Speech is not Freedom of Speech', the conversation quicly become sterile. They are all responsible for making these artists 'stars'. Dancehall deadly homophobic venom has been spread all across the Caribbean and all over the world, leaving unerasable traces of hatred on the new generations that didn't even understand why they should hate gays, but their musical heros tell them so. But the resistance is strong. Over the years, 'Murder Music' has decrease significantly because of International pressure. Some damages need to be repair, specially in the Caribbean. The original form of reggae was fighting against oppression. Let me tell you, it has lost a great battle by ignoring to address the violence promoted in dancehall lyrics towards gays and lesbians. Today, we are still waiting for a reggae artist with the musical strength of Bob Marley who will promote 'One Love' by addressing equality toward sexual minorities.

To visit my website: www.soulrebels.org/dancehall.htm
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