January 3, 2003 – Barbados Advocate
Time to get rid of bigotry in our country
by Derek Gale
It gives the impression that Tony Jordan wants to challenge me with his disingenuous letter titled “Do not be deceived and this was not part of God’s divine plan” referring to my article “Let’s embrace human rights for homosexuals” which was published in your newspaper.
However, it appears we have another homophobic Christian: Tony Jordan, like Chandra Deonandan and Mark Mahon, who has a tradition of quoting verses from the Holy Bible, which he has every right to do, but in fact takes them out of context too. Mr. Jordan, we are well aware that the world is filled with unrighteousness, fornication, malevolence, greediness, maliciousness, envy, murder, fraudulence, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, and all the transgressions that are in the world. But I shall inform you these sins are committed by heterosexuals who are time and again Christians and from time to time, by heterosexual non-Christians as well with their own beliefs.
Furthermore, I shall inform this naïve and unacquainted Tony Jordan that the biblical quotations you quoted in your communiqué to the press referred to heterosexuals and not to homosexuals. Mr. Jordan, you are without doubt exceedingly fixed in your ways like Chandra Deonandan and Mark Mahon, who claim to be well-educated. I am in no doubt certain that non-homophobic heterosexuals will agree with my comments about people like you. Tony Jordan did you not know that very recently in a news release via the Internet [maybe you don’t have a computer or the Internet], but US scientists had discovered authentication that the brain power structure manipulates sexual preferences into heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual in sheep tested.
I shall say again that while we realise sexuality is more complex in humans, it is part of human nature, and because we know homosexuality has now been proven to exist in the animal kingdom and has existed for centuries, we do not necessarily verbalise disapproval of it in the animals’ behaviour. To those homophobic individuals like you, do you realise that the meat or seafood we eat may be of gay and bisexual origin? Is Tony Jordan going to stop eating meat and seafood of that origin? And besides Mr. Jordan, what we eat does not necessarily provide evidence that we are homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual.
Our island is a democratic country where without a doubt we have freedom of religion, speech, the Press and peaceful assembly and petition, which are guaranteed as in other democratic nations around the world.
But unfortunately, it appears yet again that the Barbados Government and the Press consents to public persecution of gays [homosexuals] and making them the object of derision and mockery by homophobic Christians and conservative Barbadians who write to the Press. What’s more, it seems the Barbados Government and Caribbean governments have not done anything about de-criminalising homosexuality and public harassment of gays.
Finally, I shall say again as a final annotation, what is in actual fact essential is getting rid of the bigotry that manages to survive in Barbados, not promoting prejudice against homosexuals and not allowing discrimination against gay men and women in our island and the Caribbean. De-criminalise homosexuality, allow same sex marriages and gay adoptions, and permit gay rights issues as other countries have done.
March 5, 2003 – Barbados Daily,
P.O. Box 1203 Bridgetown St. Michael Barbados,W.I. (Fax: 246-427-6968)
People & Things: Who is chi chi (gay) man? (Homophobic pop music)
by Peter Wickham
Historically much of Trinbago’ (Trinidad and Barbados) calypso controversy has revolved around the controversial performer, Crazy. That entertainer brought us a series of hits with verses like: “Paul! . . . your mother come,” “if you can ‘t find a woman, take a man” and one in which he described his experience of composing in the toilet and refused to leave until he finished “it”. Ironically in his song this year, Crazy – Cash It.
This year, an Antiguan Shawn Wanskie is causing problems with his More Gyul in which he states: “We don’t what no chi-chi man in ah de band for Carnival;” and in a later verse “bun them” which appears to be encouraging violence against the “chi chi man”. This song has offended several Trinbagonians and already internationally acclaimed Mass Man Peter Minshall and former Miss Universe, Wendy Fitzwilliams, have publicly condemned this tune and as a result it was banned from several carnival parties.
The discussion surrounding this has brought into question the meaning of this phrase “chi chi man“, which is an addition to Caribbean vocabulary that escaped Dr Allsopp’s Dictionary Of Caribbean English. Since this dictionary is the only authoritative source on Caribbean English, substantial confusion has emerged regarding this expression. One source at the Jamaican High Commission to Trinidad is reported to have said that a “chi chi man” is a “termite, or other undesirable” and one immediately wonders under which rock he has been living for the past ten years.
A more contemporary definition has been offered by the Jamaican Gay Rights Group J-FLAG which stated that the term “chi chi man” is a Jamaica slang, most commonly used to refer to “gay men”. The popular dub track by TOK is constructed around this phrase and leaves little doubt as to who the “chi chi man” is, and moreover how such men should be treated. The Honorable Edward Seaga made frequent use of this phrase in his last election campaign and the context within which he made his remarks helps to confirm the definition offered by J-Flag.
Songs of this nature are not new to the Caribbean and I am is pleased to see that individuals in the region have finally castigated this blatant promotion of violence against a section of our population. The fact that such songs become popular is partially the result of the unwillingness of our political directorate in the Caribbean to legislatively prohibit the promotion of “hate”.
Our legislators have therefore not seen the protection of sexual minorities as a priority since they believe that providing such protection is akin to supporting the homosexual lifestyle and not as the human rights matter that it is. Against this background of legislative freedom and a well-known Jamaican intolerance for the homosexual lifestyle, dub artistes have made a healthy industry out of encouraging violence against homosexuals. The charge was led in 1992 when Buju Banton declared: “The world is in trouble anytime Buju Banton come batty boy get up and run, Ah gunshot in a head man.”
This was the introduction to his famous Boom Bye Bye which essentially preaches hate and encourages violence against gays. Interestingly, Buju was banned from performing this song in Britain and the United States at several venues, but its popularity soared in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. Following in Buju’s “distinguished” footsteps has been Capelton who is no less popular. In his Bun Di Chi Chi, he sings: “Blood out ah chi chi/Bun out ah sissy,” and he had support from his Jamaican comrade Elephant Man, whose A Nuh Fi Wi declares: “Battyman fi dead!/Gimme tha Tech 9/Shoot dem like bird!”.
In like manner, a slew of Jamaican artistes have penned songs which articulate their hatred for gays and encourage various forms of violence that suggest that such people should apparently be treated like animals. Certainly, if we think about it for long enough, there is something particularly disturbing about an entertainer suggesting that any human being should be shot at like a “bird” and this is even more unfortunate in this post-slavery society which has suffered so much from other forms of discrimination, which coincidentally also drew similar comparisons.
In all fairness, Caribbean calypsonians, have historically been too busy degrading women to encourage violence against anyone. Wanskie should therefore be seen as the exception and one can only hope that the public reaction to him has impacted enough on his pocket to discourage any other artiste from following in his not-so-distinguished footsteps. .
Peter W. Wickham (Wickham@sunbeach.net) is a UWI political scientist and a director of Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES).
June 27, 2003 – Barbados Advocate
Gay rights debate continues
by Betty Holford
According to recent newspaper reports, Barbados will see its first gay pride parade this evening at Watkins Alley in the city. Public Relations Officer for the United Gays and Lesbians Against Aids Barbados (UGLAAB), Darcy Dear, has promised a spectacular event. This “brazen announcement”, as it was termed by one indignant contributor to a radio call-in programme, has received widespread condemnation, with just a few people pleading for tolerance of people in same-sex relationships.
“Barbados is a Christian nation,” an irate caller contended, “and homosexuality is not right in the sight of God.” Interestingly enough, in what seems like shades of globalisation, the debate on homosexuality is being vigorously waged simultaneously around the world, not only in secular forums, but in the sacred as well. Currently, the “catastrophic” rift which has developed in the Church of England over the appointment of an openly gay priest, Dr. Jeffrey John, as Bishop of Reading, is dominating the news in the United Kingdom. Dr. John, who is due to be ordained on October 9, sees himself as a “symbol of hope for many people”. He has lived with his partner for 27 years but says they are now celibate. According to Anglican doctrine, gay clergy must not express their sexuality, but lay people are permitted to have monogamous relationships.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, in a letter sent to all diocesan and suffragan bishops in England, stated, “It is an appointment that I have sought neither to promote or obstruct.” Dr. Williams, who has argued for tolerance for homosexuals, said that he abides by the traditional teachings of the church, which prohibit the ordination of actively gay priests. The Archbishop of the West Indies, along with the Archbishop of Nigeria, have voiced their disapproval of Dr. John’s appointment. The Nigerian Church head, shepherd to over 17 million out of the 80 million Anglicans worldwide, has threatened to break away if the appointment is not revoked. The Nigerian Church severed ties with the Canadian Diocese of New Westminster after it performed its first same-sex blessing last month with the consent of its bishop, and has also expressed anger at the recent election of a self-declared gay bishop in the American Diocese of New Hampshire.
In the meantime, while the church struggles to reach a consensus on homosexuality, a bill sanctioning same-sex marriages, which was adopted by the Belgium Parliament in January 2003, was voted into law on June 1, 2003. Belgium now joins the Netherlands as the second country in the world to permit same-sex partners to marry. However, some restrictions apply. Belgium’s married same-sex couples will not enjoy full legal equality with married opposite sex partners. They cannot adopt a child jointly and a partner who is the biological mother of a child will not be automatically considered a parent. Foreigners who are not Belgian nationals or residents cannot take advantage of the new law.
And from all appearances, Canada seems set to be the third member of that liberal grouping. On June 10, 2003, the Court of Appeal of the Canadian province of Ontario unanimously declared that the definition of marriage as being a “union of one man and one woman” is anti-constitutional discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and cannot be justified in a free and democratic society. The judgement resulted from a constitutional challenge to the classification of marriage initiated by eight same sex couples. The definition of marriage which is only found in common law, stipulates that marriage be between “one man and one woman”. The couples insisted that their rights to equality as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was breached on grounds of sexual orientation. Prime Minister Jean Chretien says his government will not contest the ruling of the Ontario Court of Appeal. It expected that the draft legislation allowing same-sex marriages would be soon presented to the Supreme Court and then put to a free vote in the Canadian House. However, back in our own backyard, will the local gay pride march actually materialise?
And what implications will international gay rights legislation have for Barbados? The debate continues! .
Betty Holford is a writer and commentator on social issues.
July 1, 2003 – Barbados Advocate
Issue of gay rights raises legal questions (Ignorant, Anti-Gay Commentary)
by Angus Wilkie
Reading in the media of the proposed parade in Bridgetown of persons advocating gay rights, I wish to make a few observations. What exactly is meant by gay rights? Can anyone or group have rights not recognised by the community as a whole?
This proposition raises legal questions, and intriguing moral issues. The constitution of Barbados provides for human rights to be upheld. Broadly, human rights are the basic requirements for good governance e.g. the right to criticise government. Human rights enhance the value of the individual as a human being, and not a mere cog in the machinery of the state. Can the individual or a group resist the state in declaring a supposed right to act contrary to the accepted view of the state representing the majority of citizens?
That is the fundamental baffling problem with respect to the gay rights movement. Can one for instance propagate the smoking of marijuana in defiance of the law? Two situations may arise. First, there is a difference of opinion whether, for instance, the smoking of marijuana is injurious to health and should be unlawful as at present in Barbados.
In such circumstances, the difference of opinion should be permitted to be advocated. There is no firm conclusion that smoking of marijuana is in fact injurious. Secondly, circumstances where what is propagated is clearly wrong or harmful. Homosexuality, in my opinion, falls into that second category. Indeed, the main objection to the practice of homosexuality is that its practice has the potential to destroy the human race.
The fact is that the widespread practice of homosexuality, because of its inability to procreate, would in the course of time render the human race extinct. The creator in His wisdom would not create two genders if one gender had been intended to be only necessary. Sex between two different genders, male and female, is the means by which procreation is effected. For that purpose, nature had made sex in general desirable and gratifying. Similarly, food in general is delectable to induce its desirability.
But sex, just as food, has to be more than desirable; it has to be beneficial. Sex properly should be for procreation; food for existence and good health. Their proper use is as means, not ends. In short, the end has to be desirable, as a good to society as a whole. Homosexuality cannot be considered a good to society since it has the potential to destroy society itself. Hence, homosexuality should be forbidden. In forbidding homosexuality however, the right of individual freedom may appear to be infringed. To limit infringement to individual freedom, apparently some countries, for example the UK, have legalised homosexuality between consenting adults in private.
The compromise appears to prevent blackmail and to protect the right to privacy. Transcending those rights is the right to preserve society, and in fact mankind, from ultimate extinction. The state, therefore, has an overriding duty to discourage the propagation of the practice of homosexuality in particular if it is likely to influence the minds of impressionable youth that homosexuality is a normal lifestyle and may be preferred to heterosexuality, the lifestyle of the majority. For that reason, it is suggested to Government that the proposed parade in Bridgetown of homosexuals should be banned.
November 2003 – Barbados national newspaper
Barbados: Life in Prison for Gay Sex v. Change the Law
Six hundred and sixteen times no!
An overwhelming number of Barbadians – 616 – out of 667 have said resoundingly they are opposed to Government’s wish to decriminalise homosexuality and prostitution. A paltry 51 said they would support a change.
These views were garnered in a telephone poll conducted by this paper. This unscientific attempt to determine the thinking of Barbadians was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday when the WEEKEND NATION invited Barbadians to telephone the newspaper and give their views. The phones rang non-stop all day Tuesday and all day Wednesday. Of those opposed to changes 395 were women and 221 were men. Those who voted yes were broken down as 28 men and 23 women.
The youngest person calling was 13 years old and opposed the changes, while the oldest calling was 87 years old and supported more liberal laws on the top issues.
By far the majority opposed to the changes were Pentecostal Christians: 295. The next highest number gave their religion as Christian – 123. Almost all those opposed said both prostitution and homosexuality were an abomination. All of these respondents saw both as equally wrong. Denouncing any consideration to take these two laws off the statute books of Barbados, those who said the law should stand, based their views on the principles of the Bible and God’s teaching.
However, the few who were in favour of decriminalisation were passionately protective of the rights of individuals, saying what consenting adults did in private was no one else’s business. The law on homosexuality (buggery) states that any person who commits buggery is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life. Prostitution is also an offence and those guilty are liable on summary conviction to a fine of $5 000 or to imprisonment for five years, or both.
Last month, Attorney-General Mia Mottley said that in the interest of “high risk groups” Government may have to consider decriminalisation of homosexuality and prostitution. However, many disagreed that any attempt to decriminalise would help reduce the scourge of HIV/AIDS. A 56-year-old male who listed his religion as Pentecostal, said if homosexuality and prostitution were legal, there would be no greater control of HIV/AIDS. “In fact the reverse will occur,” he said. People were also vocal on the Scriptures in the Bible, pointing to the example of Sodom and Gomorrah. “ If we do this we will be going against God’s Word. It’s not clean and it’s not natural,” said one Christian in her 40s. One 25-year-old Pentecostal said Barbados professes to be a Christian society, so it should base its values on the Bible and not even consider decriminalisation.
Some suggested that if the law was changed, the Bible would have to be rewritten as the book of Genesis states that God made Eve for Adam. Respondents also believed that decriminalisation of these two laws would result in a devaluation of morals and would spell disaster for future generations. Some individuals even went further. They believed that not only should the law stand, but it should be enforced. Two of the older respondents – 76 years and 80 years – were in favour of decriminalisation. “What consenting adults do in private is nobody’s business. It is time to update the law,” said one of the senior citizens.
One 30-something male described the current law as “ridiculous”.
“ Right now the law is not enforced so just take it off the statute books. What people do is a matter for them,” he said.
Another respondent said she believed life in prison was too harsh a penalty for buggery. One female who said her husband died from HIV/AIDS called for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, and also said the law as it related to prostitution should be more effective.
A self-proclaimed homosexual said Barbados was a hypocritical society and said “there is no need for this debate”. Some callers believed the law as it related to prostitution should be more effective or completely taken off the law books. “The penalty should be community work, or learning a talent or craft to help them develop themselves more and get off the streets,” said one female. One male, however, said decriminalisation of prostitution would make it safer for women. He said a spin-off would be health benefits for sex workers as they would get frequent checks and be free from diseases.
22 March 2005 – Barbados Daily Nation
More Slander Against Gays
Magistrate Barbara Cooke-Alleyne shocked her audience yesterday with graphic stories from the bench:
• A teenaged boy being seduced every evening by a ZR van conductor;
• A 13-year-old living in a house with six homosexuals; and
• An 11-year-old boy watching his mother engage in lesbian acts.
Now Juvenile Court Magistrate Cooke-Alleyne is calling for stiffer legislation to deal with people who corrupt the morals of children.
The magistrate, who was speaking on Patterns In Juvenile Crime at the Caribbee Hotel yesterday, said many of the cases came from low-income homes.
A charge of wandering, she explained, was brought when a child was out for days or overnight without permission from a parent.
It was there, she added, to protect children from themselves or from adults. In 2003, three boys and three girls were each charged with wandering, while last year saw four boys and 19 girls appearing before the court.
Cooke-Alleyne said so far this year the cases she had seen included a 14-year-old boy who, every evening, was seduced by the conductor of his van; and a 13-year-old who was living in a house with six homosexuals. “The mother is not mentally stable there,” she explained. “The boy, 13, would leave home without the permission of his mother and would go to this house. One day his father followed him and was so upset to learn about this homosexual behaviour that he actually beat him. “He then told the mother: ‘Don’t let my son go back there’, but the mother ignored him.”
Also, there was the case of the 11-year-old, still at primary school, who felt he had to leave home because his mother was involved in lesbian acts.
In terms of girls, the magistrate said a few wandering cases resulted from sexual abuse in the home, but the majority stemmed from sexual activity. “Once girls engage in sexual activity, they just like to continue it. They would skip school to be with that older man,” she said.
Cooke-Alleyne blamed parents for either encouraging or turning a blind eye to this behaviour.
“Even though what we have we work with, our legislation needs to have some amendments to bring these people before the court who are corrupting morals.” She also called on parents to “safeguard our national treasure”. “The same way we insist that you learn to drive a car, I feel we should insist that certain steps be put in place to safeguard the children.”
Gayness in the Caribbean- a personal observation
I was doing an online search about gay Jamaica and came acrosss your website. i am a gay man from Jamaica but I live in Barbados at the moment. I am always apprehensive about articles written by foreigners about gay life in Jamaica (Gay Jamaica) but on the whole yours seemed quite balanced.
I agree that there is a strong anti-homosexual streak in most Jamaicans but I also know that at least in middle class Jamaica there is some level of tolerance and violent attacks are almost non-existant.
I am not out, although my mother knows and my father suspects. I have also broached the topic on occasion with my straight friends. While most disagree with it, they often work with gay people and are generally indifferent.
In addition I have many gay friends who lead quite happy persecution free lives and are out. I have found that Jamaicans will be more tolerant of a masculine gay man than one who displays feminine traits. Also as long as your sexuality is not thrust upon them they are fine.
I have no doubt we will see changes to the laws in Jamaica. It will take time but it will require a gradualist approach. The brash in-your-face appproach is likely to only make the situation less secure.
Regarding Barbados, the laws are essentially the same here. The difference is that the society is more educated, more polite and less aggressive than Jamaica. Homosexuality is not accepted for the most part but people will generally not attack gays and the issue is not dicussed generally in the popular culture. I have seen guys in drag walking through downtown Bridgetown hassle free and there are a few gay friendly establishments around. Generally, from my perspective, Barbados is a more tolerant society and its is only a matter of the laws reflecting people’s attitudes. Still don’t count on a change soon as the majority is still somewhat against removing the laws and no politician wants to be the “one”
There is a common misconception that homosexuality is illegal among the English-speaking Caribbean territories, however what is illegal is the anal sex (buggery), be it between males or male and female.
In order to secure convictions there has to be a witness to the act who is willing to testify. Therefore although the act is illegal it is difficult to prosecute an act that transpired behind closed doors on private property. That is why the convictions for buggery that have come to the fore in the Caribbean have essential been the non-consensual kind, often paedophilia. This serves to reinforce in the eyes of the public that gay men molest children.
Barbados and Jamaica share a similar cultural heritage. Those similarities have diverged somewhat over the last 40 years but are still close thanks to the dominance of Jamaican music within the region. Having lived in Jamaica for most of my life and now in Barbados for a year, I think it is useful for me to examine some of the issues facing the gay community on both islands as seen from my perspective.
I was born in Kingston and spent all my life in one of Kingston’s volatile inner city communities. I was however fortunate because of my education and career to have an insight into how middle class Jamaica operates.
Gay Jamaica is divided along much the same line as the country in general. There are those who have and the have-nots. I don’t think that it is a deliberate attempt at segregation, but rather affirmation that in a closeted society already segregated along economic lines people are more likely to associate with their own social group. This has in effect created two gay societies: one which is less persecuted and more affluent and a more vulnerable poorer group. The one commonality is that they are operating in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” system.
Middle class gay Jamaica is more tolerated and there is little risk of anyone attacking you. People will suspect you are gay or even know but they will be polite and not comment. Gay couples live together comfortably, shop together at the supermarket, have parties at their homes for gay friends hassle-free. You are also at significantly less risk of losing your job should your status be known. Overt masculinity is not even a requirement. Sure you will get the mumbled comment when you walk among some persons (especially if you deviate from their image of a man), but it is always just words. Guys will even openly cruise you if they think you are gay.
On the other side are the gay men who are living in less affluent neighbourhoods and in lower paid blue collar jobs. Their lives are not as easy. I know persons who have been evicted after their land lord found out they were gay; people who have been chased out of areas; homes have been attacked; at least one home set on fire; persons have been beaten or stoned. I have not personally known anyone who I can say was killed for being gay though. Gay men in Jamaica’s poorer communities are more likely to lead bisexual lives on the down-low. A lot of them marry and have children because it helps to dispel rumours about their sexuality. The more “manly” you are the less likely you are to have anything said or done.
I have spoken to “straight” men from the middle class and they generally hold the view that as long as gay man does not “bring the gay thing to them” , he can do whatever he likes. The poorer inner city guys tend to be more aggressive at the thought of dealing with gay men. The responses typically range from “beat them” to “kill them”.
While I am not seeking to excuse violent behaviour towards gays, it should be noted that the poorer urban areas in Jamaica have higher rates of violent crimes. Persons are angrier, more aggressive and less tolerant in general, not just towards gays. I have however noticed a significant curiosity in the attitude of inner city Kingston to certain gay men. I have seen guys who are very feminine but who were born and raised with these other rough guys, live relatively peacefully in these neighbourhoods. They get called names but they are generally not physically attacked or harmed.
I am relatively new to Barbados so my analysis of what gay men encounter here will be limited and may not reflect the true picture.
In Jamaica, Barbados has a reputation of being a country that is filled with gay men, and at first glance, to the Jamaican eye it may seem to be true. The reality, however, is probably that because of a more tolerant society gay men are more visible in Barbados. Wider access to information technology also allows for greater interaction among gays. Barbados is a generally more educated and less aggressive society than Jamaica. It also has a noticeable smaller gap between rich and poor.
Gay life in Barbados appears to be generally in line with that of middle class Jamaica. Many guys live with their partners and lead normal lives as any heterosexual couple. There is virtually no harassment at all. There is at least one guy who dresses in drag and works in downtown Bridgetown. It seems in some instances that some employers may have a policy to hire gay men judging from the numbers on their staff. There is at least one known gay club and several other regular establishments have big gay clientele.
The lack of venomous attacks however does not mean that it is not opposed. I have heard men in the city complaining about gay men “over-running” the country. I have also heard guys shout “batty bwoy” or “Buller” when a “less masculine” guy goes by.
The overall picture however is one of significantly more tolerance than what exist in Jamaica on the whole. There has also been more positive discussion here about providing legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Still any changes seem to be several years away, although I have no doubt Barbados will get there long before Jamaica does.
One glaring example of the difference in attitudes is the upcoming gay cruise that will be leaving from Barbados in March 2006. So far there has been no public outcry over the issue. When Jamaica was suggested as a stop for a similar cruise a few years ago, the uproar it created killed that idea even before it was born.
The reality is that in the English speaking Caribbean territories most gay men lead comfortable hassle free lives even in fiercely anti gay Jamaica. True, most of us are still somewhat closeted, but even if we could I don’t think most of us would be any more out than we are now. We want to have our private lives private and go about life as everyone else.
November 25, 2007 – The Nation Newspaper
Gay man: I’m a target
by Katrina Bend
The Founder of the United Gays And Lesbians Against AIDS In Barbados feels he is being targeted. Darcy Dear was the victim of a recent stone-throwing incident that left two windows in the upper level of his home broken. The confessed homosexual and gay rights activist, who is on break from his restaurant in New York, said it would cost $900 to replace the sash windows and pay for labour. Dear, who is in the process of completing his apartment complex and home, said he was in his room on Wednesday night watching television when he had to dodge two large stones thrown through his windows. He said the response from police at District “A” was swift and officers took away the stones and brushed the area for fingerprints. As he pointed to the shattered glass in the room, he told the Sunday Sun team that was the second time in a week his home had been attacked.
“Last week Thursday, someone broke in here and stole jewellery, a lap top computer and a digital camera which is worth thousands of dollars.”
Dear admitted that for the past two weeks, one man had been making disparaging remarks to him whenever he pasts by his home, which is located on a private road in Cutting Road, Haggatt Hall, St Michael. Although private, the road is used as a short cut for some people. Dear, who has been in Barbados for nearly six weeks, said he did not want to have to spend more money in repairing damages, having already spent more than $450 000 on the building, which was started in 2003.
He said it would cost about $150 000 to complete the 12-apartment complex and his living quarters. “As a gay person, why am I not allowed to enjoy my earnings as well? I think it is a hate crime and an attack against gay people in Barbados.” Dear complained that the incidents had left two of his seven clients who live in the upper level feeling unsafe and they might leave. “They think it will happen again. One was a lady with an eight-and nine-year-old,” he said, adding that all of his tenants were branded as gay. Bajans are going mad . . . . Bajans still need to wake up because they are hiding.”
Dear fears someone will try to burn down his house again, just as they did five years ago with his three-bedroom house in Brittons Hill, St Michael. “That was another hate crime against gays because gay guys were renting there. I don’t want police to let this [new] incident rest,” he said. Dear is also going to take some precautions. He has paid a deposit to have burglar bars installed in his home, to have some plywood placed on a glass door, and plans to have thick bush cleared from in front of his home.
A Shadow Report
This shadow report on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in Barbados was coordinated by Global Rights and the International Human Rights Advocacy Seminar at the University of Virginia School of Law. In preparing this report, contributions were provided by: Global Rights International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Barbados ratified the ICCPR on March 23, 1976 and will present their regular report to the UN Committee that monitors the ICCPR on March 21, 2007. The University of Virginia Human Rights Advocacy Seminar is honored to have the opportunity to participate in the production of this shadow report on the status of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBT) individuals in Barbados. Working in cooperation with Global Rights and their contacts in Barbados, we gathered information in this report and now present it as a starting point for advocacy of greater protection and promotion of the rights of LGBT persons in Barbados. We hope that the findings in this report will be useful to the Human Rights Committee and serve as a catalyst for future advocacy efforts.
Dania Davy (J.D. expected ’08)
Kathryn Finley (J.D. expected ’09)
Jeremy Merkelson (J.D. expected ’09)
Professor Deena Hurwitz
Professor, Human Rights Advocacy
Director of External Relations and Policy, Global Rights
Director, LGBTI Initiative, Global Rights
Section 23 of the Barbados Constitution provides that “no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect” and that “no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person by virtue of any written law or in performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.”1 Despite such a resounding proclamation against discrimination, LGBT individuals in Barbados face an ongoing battle for basic human rights which are denied on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
The central, most egregious violation of LGBT rights in Barbados is the state’s criminalization of same sex sexual activity. The buggery laws, as they are known, typically apply in an arbitrary fashion only to homosexuals, reflecting a wider cultural consensus regarding the immorality of non-heterosexual human relationships. These discriminatory state sanctioned provisions serve as the foci around which other substantive violations of the ICCPR occur in Barbados. Such violations include the arbitrary detention and imprisonment of LGBT persons, degrading treatment and punishment, deprivation of liberty, and capricious withholding of benefits to de facto same-sex couples.
Despite numerous instances of discrimination against LGBT individuals in Barbados, such as those chronicled in this report, and the fact that the ICCPR clearly prohibits such conduct, the Government of Barbados did not see fit to mention the need to protect LGBT rights among its priorities in its most recent periodic report to the Human Rights Committee.2 Despite such lack of attention, Barbados continues to have an obligation under the ICCPR to guarantee fundamental human rights to all persons, including LGBT individuals. This shadow report is designed to highlight a variety of substantive violations of the Convention, followed by a series of questions geared towards helping the Committee better understand the steps the state government is taking to ensure that LGBT human rights are protected in Barbados.
November 28, 2009 – Fridae
Letter from Trinidad 2: Barbados
by Alex Au
Barbados Minister for Family, Youth and Sports recently announced that gays, lesbians, and transgenders will be protected under legislation against domestic violence. Writing from Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago where the Commonwealth People’s Forum was recently held, Alex Au meets with Elizabeth, a MTF transgender from Barbados and finds out more about her country.
Barbados Minister for Family, Youth and Sports, Esther Byer-Suckoo, condemned homophobic violence in speech where she announced that gays, lesbians, and transgenders will be protected under legislation against domestic violence. Gays, lesbians, and transgenders will be protected under legislation against domestic violence, said Barbados Minister for Family, Youth and Sports, Esther Byer-Suckoo. In a completely unexpected announcement made in the course of a speech, the minister told her country that “We realise there is not only violence against women, but violence against men; and then also those persons who are transgender are also subjected to serious violence.
“Regardless of our personal views towards transgenders, it’s about respect for a persons’s life,” she said. “We have to take into account the realities of the situation. Right now, we have seen violence, with men against men, in homosexual relationships, women against women [and other] transgender issues. The law has to protect all its citizens. If we’re amending legislation or drafting new legislation, we have to take into consideration the nuances of the environment in which we live today,” Byer-Suckoo explained, condemning homophobic violence.
Homosexual sex is illegal in Barbados, a former British colony. I met with Elizabeth, a 1.8-metre tall, broad-shouldered male-to-female transgender from Barbados, asking her if there was any recent scandal that brought about the minister’s decision. There was none that she could think of. Barbados is not a place where violence is particularly commonplace. It’s a small island country in the Caribbean, with about 300,000 people. It’s one of the more prosperous islands in the region, with tourism, financial and call centre services as the backbone of the economy. Traditional industries such as fishing are still doing well.
Elizabeth herself faces no serious threat. She goes to work, goes shopping, walks down the street with little more than surprised turning of heads. “It’s how you behave,” she said “and how you conduct yourself. Society will respect you if you behave nicely.” Christianity is the major religion in Barbados, and like in so many places, there is a fundamentalist strand that uses gay people as metaphorical punching bags. So it’s not as if Barbados is a completely gay-friendly place.
Moreover, domestic violence is something that tends to be invisible, taking place mostly in the home, and until people come forward to report it, it is hard to say how bad the situation really is. As far as attacks against LGBTs in public spaces go, there is only one from recent memory. A couple of years ago, three transvestites who had just finished a lip-sync performance at a show, were at a gas station, refilling their car when shots were fired at them. Fortunately, none were hurt. The shots came from one of three guys who were loitering at the gas station, probably intoxicated. The police arrested the perpetrators who were charged in court and jailed.
However, there could well be more such instances that are not reported, and this is where the very public announcement by the minister will go a long way to giving LGBTs more confidence to come forward if they are abused or attacked. Director of the Barbados Bureau of Gender Affairs, John Hollingsworth, acknowledged that few LGBTs have to date come forward to report incidents of domestic violence, as they were doubly stignmatised as being gay and battered. Hopefully, this unequivocal announcement by the minister will mark a major change in attitudes, both among LGBTs and society at large.
Alex Au has been a gay activist and social commentator for over 10 years and is the co-founder of People Like Us, Singapore. Alex is the author of the well-known Yawning Bread web site.
February 26, 2011 – The Nation News
Gay backlash worry
by Tony Best
Barbados is on the list of countries whose nationals are seeking asylum in the United States, claiming they are being persecuted because of their sexual orientation. And while Barbados’ Ambassador to the United States, John Beale, said the State Department had not raised the issue with him officially, he is concerned about it because of the damage which the claims can cause to the country’s image. “We certainly haven’t had any discussion on this with the State Department,” Beale told the Saturday Sun. “We haven’t been approached by any Barbadian on this matter.”
Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, the Bahamas and St Lucia are among the countries whose nationals consider the atmosphere at home so hostile to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans-gender (LGBT) people that they are seeking asylum in the United States.
“The atmosphere in many English-speaking Caribbean nations is absolutely oppressive,” said Victoria Neilson, legal director of Washington-based gay rights organization Immigration Equality. “Especially in the case of Jamaica, the hatred of gay people is beyond comprehension to me.” Of the 101 asylum cases handled successfully by Immigration Equality last year, 39 involved Caribbean nationals. Twenty-nine gays and lesbians who were from Jamaica won the right to stay in the United States.
Other success cases were: Grenada, four; Trinidad and Tobago, two; and one each from Dominica, Guyana, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent & the Grenadians.
October 31, 2011 – Barbados Underground
Accept Homosexuality Or Else
In the harsh economic times prevailing there is an understandable focus on the need to make every dollar count. In an environment where there is the perception of rising crime, demon possessed children and groups labelled evil because they dare to question the cost benefit of a government delegation journeying Down Under; should we not encourage equal focus on the direction the moral campus of Barbados is pointing? Given the agenda of this government to build out a society first and foremost, a holistic concern about the kind of society we want to build should be par for the course. Why therefore do we allow the narrative to be led mostly by economic considerations?
A benefit to Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart networking with his Commonwealth colleagues last week is that he heard from British Prime Minister David Cameron first hand, if Barbados expects to get financial aid from Britain in the near future – discrimination against homosexuals will have to cease. To quote theGuardian: Britain has threatened countries that ban homosexuality with losing aid payments unless they reform, David Cameron has said. But he conceded that “deep prejudices” in some countries meant the problem would persist for years. In Barbados we are known to be tolerant of homosexuals although our laws say otherwise.
It is fair to say given the leadership position of Great Britain in the world’s leading financial institutions that in the not too distant future lending agencies like the International Monetary Fund, Inter-american Development Bank and World Bank will be adopting a similar position. Other countries will obviously follow Great Britain which will affect bilateral arrangements with those countries. Over the years the homosexual debate has moved from the affected parties being thought to be afflicted by genetic flaws to a civil rights issue. Despite how some would want to describe individuals who speak out against the homosexual lifestyle or what is aesthetically referred to as an alternative lifestyle, the world remains divided on the issue. In the land of the free the battle continues to rage between the Gay Movement and the Courts. What makes the issue more complex is that the Church, Christians especially, remain divided on the issue.
In the absence of conclusive studies homosexual behaviour must clearly be identified as a lifestyle. The question raised is what next? Bottom line, this is not a Black or White issue as some social commentators would make out. It speaks to how as small societies like ours have weaved a value systems over time upon which we have raised our families. BU read an article recently titled Gays—No Easy Answers; A Christian Response . After reading the article non-Christians are forced to ask the question – why would God create a homosexual? In other words, why did God create murderers or for that matter human beings with all the imperfections which we see manifested everyday. Frankly the article has created more questions than answers.
The threat by Prime Minister David Cameron – no doubt other so called first world countries will follow – means that the financial dependent countries of the world will have no choice but to fall in line. Nothing else matters.