Caribbean Governments must remove laws criminalizing homosexuallity

“Public health academia has known for decades that to effectively curb the global crisis of HIV/AIDS we have to remove institutionalized oppression that re-enforces homophobia. It is not a panacea but it is a major part of the solution…

Twelve of the fifteen CARICOM member states still criminalize homosexuality…

Harassment, silence, intimidation and homophobic laws are a major hindrance on the efficacy of HIV outreach and prevention. It compromises the fight against HIV and AIDS.”

by Sean Macleish for Barbados Free Press

The Caribbean is second in the world to Sub-Saharan Africa in the rate of HIV infection. The primary mode of transmission in the region is heterosexual intercourse with high risk groups to include men who have sex with men (MSM) and there is intersection between the two.

Public health academia has known for decades that to effectively curb the global crisis of HIV/AIDS we have to remove institutionalized oppression that re-enforces homophobia. It is not a panacea but it is a major part of the solution.

Countries that criminalize homosexuality marginalize MSM which pushes them underground and helps to fuel the HIV epidemic. Treating people with dignity and respect facilitates effective HIV education and prevention. It reduces the discrimination many Caribbean Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender experience when accessing health services. Studies and the resulting data have consistently demonstrated that homophobia contributes to higher HIV infection rates and that internalized homophobia also increases your risk of HIV infection.

People who place a high discount rate on their lives tend to participate in higher risk behaviours. The decriminalization of homosexuality to reduce the global crisis of HIV/AIDS is a policy endorsed by the United Nations, World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, and many non-governmental organizations. This is the consensual public health approach. Twelve of the fifteen CARICOM member states still criminalize homosexuality as of date.

SVG Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves gets it wrong…  

I was astonished to read recently that the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves is warning against mixing the the fight against HIV and gay rights. He was quoted as saying, “I don’t accept the thesis that to make further advances for HIV and AIDS, that we need to do the decriminalization of homosexual activity among men in private..”.

A report in the Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals concluded from available data that “most global cases of HIV are not due to homosexual transmission” but harassment, silence, intimidation and homophobic laws are a major hindrance on the efficacy of HIV outreach and prevention. It compromises the fight against HIV and AIDS.

The Prime Minister is misinformed and bigotry is the virus’ best friend.

Meanwhile in St. Vincent and the Grenadines this is the data we have from the UNAIDS Youth Data Sheet 2013. In 2005 only 25% of the 15-24 age group had ever received an HIV test, while only 9% of those who were tested in the last twelve months knew their result.Twenty four percent of all HIV cases at the end of 2011 were persons less than 24 years old. In 2010 to 2011 there was a 7% increase in the testing levels in the under 24 population.

President Reagan’s legacy on refusing to deal with HIV/AIDS in the 1980’s allowed the epidemic to flourish with the loss and debilitation of many lives. In 2011 it is estimated that 230,000 people are living with HIV in the Caribbean. There were 13,000 new infections in 2011 and 10,000 people died from AIDS (UNAIDS).

What will be the legacy of our political leaders in the Caribbean?

Sean Macleish
Director
Caribbean Alliance for Equality

23 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Health, Human Rights

23 responses to “Caribbean Governments must remove laws criminalizing homosexuallity

  1. Earnest

    Yes homosexuality must be decriminalized but it must be recognized for what it is, a very confused lifestyle choice that spreads disease and statistically early death among those afflicted. Education is key.

  2. CJB

    Caribbean Governments ‘MUST’ – actually not so. Caribbean Governments COULD – but wont. This is due to the campaigning evangelical pseudo-religious groups lead by bigots many whom are eventually found out as participating in the very activities that they condemn. God put everyone of this earth for a purpose – it is not for us or the self-appointed ‘leaders’ of man-invented religions to question why. But then the discrimination against ‘gays’ – whomsoever they are – pales in comparison to the brutal ISIS in Iraq / Syria forceably cutting out 4 million womens’ genitals with rusty razor blades in the name of Islam. Now that the Caribbean Governments could condemn (but likely wont either).

  3. CJB

    Earnest – “… but it must be recognized for what it is, a very confused lifestyle choice…” – there’s that word ‘must’ again!! Why ‘must’ everyone believe the same as you? You think being ‘gay’ is choice? Its gift from God – no-one has the right to question His creations. You’re the confused one – the rest of us get on with our lives showing compassion to all God’s creations.

  4. robert ross

    CJB

    I agree with everything you say but would enter one caveat.

    Yes, we should show compassion for all. However I feel no compassion at all for gays as a distinct group. I don’t need to. They are a natural part of the order of things and don’t need my compassion. By contrast religious bigots are not and do.

  5. Robert Storey

    I wish they made it illegal in England, its not bloody natural and should be outlawed.

  6. robert ross

    And those who say “its not bloody natural” despite it’s having been around since the dawn of man also need it.

  7. Robert Storey

    Ignore the comment above Robert Ross, a serious topic has been hijacked by a moron.

  8. CJB

    I would much prefer FGM to be made illegal in the UK – ha – it already is. BTW Mr. Ross – many male nurses are gay – so when you are next seriously ill and in pain in hospital I assume that you will refuse all treatment from all whom you expect to be ‘gay’ (whatever that is.

  9. robert ross

    CJB

    Why would someone’s sexual orientation bother me? Many nurses are gay…many ballet dancers are gay……many students are gay………many priests are gay……many post office workers are gay….many politicos are gay….many lawyers are gay….many bloggers are gay…..a fortiori????.

  10. PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926 TO 2014 , MASSIVE FRAUD ,LAND TAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS OF BARBADOS, BLPand DLP=Massive Fruad

    Gays and the KKK are the most honest people , They both will let you know where they stand, We need to look out more for those say one thing and do another, Being open let us all know up front who we dealing with , It may also remove the race factor for being GAY have no skin or race .Gay man on one side , Gay women to one side , Now we can see who we dealing with , Most of us only need one Person , If you not loving them ,then need now worry who is loving them , As you love who you wish.,;;

    Bizzy, Sir Cow ,Sir Ham DLP , BLP, DBLP MAY NOT BE GAY? BUT THE FFF-ING THE Country of Barbados. Stay out of my bedroom lolol

  11. John

    Tranaparency, Freedom of Information, ITAL …. These are laws that MUST be enacted, this is a way of life that MUST be lived …… but in Barbados we haven’t even come close.

  12. Robert Storey.

    I would refuse to be treated by a gay doctor in case I caught aids. They should be made to disclose their unnatural ways prior to treatment.

  13. CJB

    RS: “I would refuse to be treated by a gay doctor” – what a stupid comment. How would you know? Actually you wouldn’t know.

    BTW HIV / AIDS was brought into human society from the illegal smuggling and eating of bush meat from Africa, Its not a ‘gay’ thing at all. And numerous surveys have found that most anal sex actually takes place – without protection – between married couples; that’s the lifestyle choice to be more worried about – or in poorer countries as a form of contraception.

  14. Anonymous

    ” ….most anal sex actually takes place ….. between married couples” – Is that why so many women are finding problems with their uterus and have to take it out? Is it because the particles of faeces are lining the wall of the uterus and causing those women to have smelly discharges that require suppositories? The men and women of old who were gay did not seek to have themselves in the public’s eye because they were ashamed to do so. Why do you gay people want persons to see and know who you are> Do you realize that persons view you (men) as dirty people who wallow in stink smelling faeces while smoking cigars? Or as persons (women) who uses one single dildo for each of your partners and at times leave condoms in the your partners which must be retrieved by a medical professional? Homosexuality is learned behaviour – someone started each of you on the path and most likely it was done when you were still feeble minded and in a state of confusion. The gifts and the talk that went along with it at that time was etched purposely in your subconscious and you had no choice but to continue on thaat path. Maybe a bit of hypnosis would obliterate the habit from your psyche and cause you to be attracted to the opposite sex. I guess you would rather not engage in such for fear that you would be robbed of the thrill of your habit?

  15. CJB

    Anonymous (hmm why no name?) – but you are a hoot – you haven’t a clue – the filth is in your own mind – stone age view point from a stone age society. Thanks for brightening up my day!!

  16. Earnest

    @ CJB – If ” homosexuality is a gift from God” then God must not like homosexuals very much as he plagues them with a very disproportionate share of disease and emotional problems. Not to mention how confused they are about sex. Which might be homosexual problems alone except that the incidence of disease including AIDS is rising again among gay men especially in large cities like NY and San Francisco which put us all at risk. Laws against homosexuality, though perhaps ill advised, are one way of trying to discourage this behavior. If gay men can’t restrain themselves we need to find ways that restrict them from threatening us all.

  17. Jimmy Hoffa

    Earnest. Wow that’s some logic there. Harvard? I hope it’s decriminalized soon just to annoy the self righteous hypocritical religious nut jobs in this miserable island. No one cares about your fairy tale gods and what he wants you to do. You people only exist to make people’s life miserable. Go live in a theocracy if you want like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. See how much you like it

  18. Anonymous

    Just remember Earnest, Jesus hung out with 12 guys. If he was around today your lot probably would have stoned him to death.

  19. BARBADOSADVISOR ACTUAL

    the beginning of the end.remember always—Leviticus 20:13 (New King James Version)
    Leviticus 20:13
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    13 If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

  20. BARBADOSADVISOR ACTUAL

    in the bible man also means woman it means male and female.the problems america and other countries have are directly stewed from this Sodom and Gomorrah nonsense.
    it leaves no moral values intact. it would be like saying anything is OK. this is why school shootings happen and so on .no bible or god allowed in north american schools.
    because of Muslims .so the children do not know right from wrong.therefore the results can be read in the news everyday.
    evil is OK. heathen is OK,atheist is OK.murder is OK?????????? and so on and so forth.2014 the age of no morals.!!!!!!

  21. Murder IS ok. The bible says so

    Have you stopped to think that the perpetrators of US school shootings are just doing obeying God’s will?

    You seem to forget that according to your beloved bible, murder is ok. So while we’re busy murdering people for god, let’s not forget that we must also kill strangers (numbers 1:51 3:10 3:38 18:7), and that we can also show our devotion to God by killing lots of people at once, just as Elijah did. He killed 102 people to prove he was a man of God (2 kings 1:9-12) – rather similar to a school shooting don’t you think?

    The bible also shows that God likes a bit of killing himself, God personally kills many thousands of people in the bible (and that’s not counting murdering everyone in the entire world with his flood). God killed Ahaziah for simply consulting another God (how many Gods were there again?) (2 kings 1:16-17). The bible clearly shows that Killing is encouraged and is a sport in which God (one of them at least) likes to partake whether the victim is homosexual or not. God even tried to kill Moses because his son wasn’t circumcised (Exodus 4:24) which is the greater sin, being gay, or not having had your genitals mutilated? Both will get you killed it seems, but God will do it personally if you aren’t circumcised.

    I think while looking for sound morals, turning to an institution with a long and rich history of sexually abusing and sodomising young boys would be a mistake. In fact I would suggest condemning it, and the leaders who have allowed this to go on for so long. According to your “faith,” consenting homosexuality is wrong….. unless you’re a church leader or priest, in which case non-consensual homosexual contact is allowed, even with a minor.

    How depraved has your institution become?

  22. BARBADOSADVISOR ACTUAL

    that makes no sense what so never .
    i am not roman catholic.i quote from king James version.
    where it is perfectly clear .the bible was not written by roman Catholics or any specific church.it was written by god himself using humans to do the actual writing.example ,Mathew and so on.now if you can not see the lowering of morals to get more tourist-like all gay hotels and so on
    then go ahead and let it be done .the reputations will show later.just as they have in u s a and canada where Christmas is just for eating and materialism and consumerism and the name of Jesus is not even mentioned.Christmas without Christ.
    schools without any god .should we allow separate gay classes or schools.the university for gays Yale division.
    how about gay bars in barbados,men with thongs,women with licking lips and clit piercing establishments.
    would bring the tourist perhaps and the aids and the lowering of barbados morals .which are already at a all time low in my opinion.do you understand what morals are?
    look it up.Google it.how about nude beaches? how about beaches where you can have sex on and buy sex on the beach.now that would bring the slime out wouldent it.
    and then Sodom and Gomorrah would be again.
    we all know what happened to that place.
    do wunna thing. for the money.the money.the love of money is the root of all evil.as i see it the devil is hard at work worldwide.why not welcome him in to barbados fully now.

  23. A Man in a thong

    It makes perfect sense. You tried to suggest that the lack of religion in schools is why we have murder, and specifically school shootings. I pointed out (using your beloved Bible as a reference) that murder is quite acceptable in your faith, and that your God is the worst perpetrator.

    To have a religious person preach morality is always a good laugh, and to attempt to separate yourself from Catholics even funnier. The Judaeo-Christian religions all have the same roots, even your hated Muslims are just another warring offshoot of the same religion. You argue and fight amongst your selves and attempt to preach morality while killing each other over who has the better God. Take a step back and look at it objectively, it really is farcical.

    As for Christmas? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Christmas was never about Jesus, it was the winter solstice. Christians just overlaid their festival on an existing one in an effort to stamp out competing religions. The Romans called it ‘Dies Natalie Invictus’ – The Birthday of the Unconquered. Most religions of the time were based on worship of the sun and Sun God, and the festivals likewise. Look up Mithra/Mithras. He was the Sun God, born Dec 25 to a virgin mother, sometimes depicted carrying a lamb over his shoulder, had 12 satellites, and predates your Jesus by over 1500 years. This religion was absorbed into Roman religion over centuries, and finally was overlaid by Christianity when Emperor Constantine was converted…. And it all went downhill from there. Learning, culture and the progress of the human race was replaced by religious dogma, book burning, witch burning, and the dark age of humanity from which we are only now finally emerging – back into the light of science, education and culture. The last thing humanity needs is to have religious dogma taught in schools again. How many centuries and murdered scholars did it take before the church finally admitted the earth wasn’t the centre of the universe? Do you think we would have had men on the moon if we were still taught your fairy tales in schools?

    Your distaste for gay people will never change, and that isn’t really a problem, but your diatribe about gay people is quite telling. They are not asking for nude beaches, gay bars, and public sex – that’s all in your head. They just are asking to no longer be classed as criminals, nothing more.