In Jamaica, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender citizens – as well as people perceived to be LGBT – are taunted, fired from employment, thrown out of homes, stoned, beaten, raped and accused of breaking, “buggery laws,” according to a Human Rights Watch report, Jamaica: Unchecked Homophobic Violence, released in October 2014.
“Buggery laws,” prohibit anal sex and all homosexual behaviour, making the laws discriminatory. While anti-LGBT hate crimes are being address by police with protocols, the legal prohibitions remain in place.
Cases of LGBT include communities driving LGBT out of their communities, beatings in the streets, and denial of full citizenship rights, ultimately leaving people homeless. Government institutions such as health care facilities also discriminate against LGBT men, women and children.
Reporting these hate crimes draws more fear for the victims, or they do not see the point of reporting the crimes because arrests of perpetrators are unlikely. Others fear that if they report the crime, it will ‘out’ them in society or spark another retaliation attack.
Police have taken steps to help homophobic and transphobic hate crime victims to report cases to police safely, however, police protection remains inadequate and the violence continues.
Reports in mainstream media are unseen. International coverage could result in public scrutiny of these “buggery” laws and help advocate social change and justice in Jamaica.
Surtees, Josh., “As Jamaica Reviews Its Homosexuality Ban, a Top Newspaper Is Waging an Anti-Gay Campaign,” VICE News, Nov. 18, 2014.
Human Rights Watch, “Jamaica Report Release and Discussion,” Sept. 24, 2014. Accessed at: http://www.hrw.org/node/129411
Human Rights Watch, Not Safe at Home: Violence and Discrimination against LGBT People in Jamaica, Oct. 22, 2014. Accessed at: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2014/10/22/not-safe-home-0
Student Researcher: Virginia Wright
Faculty Advisor: Patricia Elliott