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10 comments | Sunday, July 15, 2007

Most people would be excited about a trip to Jamaica but I guess I'm not most people. Like other tourists I was attracted to the beautiful beaches, duty free shopping, and the exciting nightlife of the islands before I became aware of the hostile and often deadly environment for gays and lesbians in Jamaica.

As the plane I was on began to make it's final descent , I looked out of the window and all I could see for miles was the most beautiful crystal blue water that I've ever seen, I was definitely not in Atlanta anymore. I remember going to the movies to see Taye Diggs in How Stella Got Her Groove Back and vowing that I would one day make the journey to Jamaica to find my own "Winston", little did I know my chances of finding him on the island of Jamaica was slim to none and could actually cost me my life . It's so true that you appreciate being an American so much more when you travel outside of the country. We may have a President that promotes inequality for LGBT people and an overall homophobic climate in many parts of the country, but you can guarantee that an entire community would never hunt down and stone someone because of their sexual orientation.

As I stepped off the plane and began to take in the beauty of Kingston, it was almost hard to believe that the people who occupied such a beautiful place could be filled with so much hate. I rarely give a second thought about how I'm being perceived because I always make sure that I carry myself in a dignified and professional manner, unless I'm around friends and then I'm liable to queen out (I know that's hard to believe...lol !). But I found myself monitoring everything that I did, from the way I walked (and ya'll know I have a fierce walk...I can't help it!) to the way I talked, fearing that I would be "clocked" and possibly harrased or worse. My heart started to pound when the eyes of a handsome young man with the skin the color of a melted Hershey's bar met mine. I noticed a sly grin on his face and I honestly couldn't tell if he was flirting( I doubt it) or if he was thinking, "dat dere is a batty man" ! Regardless, I kept it pushing.

I promised myself that I would not contribute financially to a country that demeans, murders, and surpress the true identity of it's LGBT residents with threats of violence. Jamaica didn't get a dime of my tourist money and they never will. The rainbow flags of the "gayborhood" in midtown Atlanta never looked so good to me before. I pray for the strength and safety of all of my LGBT brothers and sisters living in Jamaica.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Just by flying in and out you paid the government of Jamaica both arrival and departure taxes. If you stayed in a hotel.. you paid lodging taxes as well.

How is it you think you did not give them any of your tourist dollars?????

July 16, 2007 9:36 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I always wanted to go to Jamaica, but I guess I didn't realize how much hate there is... sigh. Is there any other gay friendly islands to go to? Is Hawaii the same? Maybe u cand do a post on that since u travel so much.

July 16, 2007 9:57 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I was only there for a short time on business and did not stay in a hotel. Any money they received came from my company and not outof my pocket. I didn' even buy a bottled water while I was there.

July 16, 2007 10:20 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 16, 2007 10:29 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I totally agree with you, babe. My friends have been trying to plan a trip there for years and I have refused their offers. That nation's economy is built on the tourist dollar and i REFUSE to give them a cent. I will instead visit other countries nearby and in the carribean who are tolerant or accepting of homosexuals.

It's a damn shame how they treat same gender loving people and how they don't punish those that bash or kill our brothers and sisters. I read over and over how they attack us, stone us or murder us and we never get justice. I even remember seeing a video, which you posted as well, and I was disgusted at the treatment that was captured on video of a man who was mobbed into a bush by his fellow countrymen and women. It was absolutely disgusting.

I will never travel to any country who outright says that the will not protect us or give us the right to be who we are.

July 16, 2007 10:33 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I don't feel these people are "full of hate", they just frown upon a vile lifestyle and do not want any part of it within their community. True beauty of the island could be the reason of displacing immorality.

Again, I don't condone violence, murder, beatings or senseless killings and their attacks on gay people IS WRONG. However, we cannot say their belief that homosexuality is wrong is a crime either, actually it is honorable belief I wish America will share as well.

July 16, 2007 12:13 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

First, I don't know what it is, but whenever I come to your site, my computer starts running sluggishly.

It is interesting that you would write about Jamaica. I visited the island about 5 years ago. I stayed in Negril. It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. Granted, those were in my "straight" days. I was there with my, then, girlfriend (poor thing).

I had an instructor, who is now a great friend of mine, who is Jamaican. She knows that I am gay and we have discussed the issue of gay bashing in Jamaica. I told her of my experience there, but due to what I know about the lack of tolerance for homosexuality, I am leery of returning. She told me somehting that I did not know. She told me that the country is so dependent on tourism that I most likely would not have to worry about a hate crime because I was a tourist. It made sense, but I must admit... I did not run to the travel agent to make any trip arrangements!!!

I don't blame you for being scared... you were in Kingston. That place was once the murder capital of the world. If you were to travel there I would just suggest that you stay to the tourist circuit.

It was much like that in the Bahamas as well, but you know what? My partner and I were very out when we went. The local gays even took us to a gay club.

Do you, Darian... but I do hear you for being on the cautious tip!

July 16, 2007 1:57 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

i went to Montego Bay in 2004 and had an amazing time, but i have no plans to go back after everything that is going on. So i agree about not supporting them through tourist dollars. Such a beautiful place with so much hate.

July 16, 2007 2:23 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

@Captain: There is no such thing as a "vile" lifesyle. Everyone does Not live and do the same thing. Sexual orientation and lifestyle are two separate things. Sexual orientation is a part of you, and lifestyle is the way a person lives, which everyone lives differently. Keep your moral code to yourself.

Yes Captain, I can say their belief that homosexuality is somehow wrong is a crime. it's abmoniable and anti-christ.

There is NOTHING honorable about sharing a belief people cannot love who they innately/inclined to love rather than who their expected to love.

Again, you contraict yourself. You say you wish America held their beliefs about homosexuality. That includes violence against gays. You claim you don't condone violence. You are truly sick inside, and need to come to peace with your own sexual orientation. Realtionships that express should never be frown upon, especially same-sex realtionships.

Jamaica will one day accept the diversity of their people and the freedom to love!

July 17, 2007 1:55 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

To answer shawnqt, Hawaii is pretty friendly toward Gays, especially the island of Maui. I have been there, and to Oahu and Kauai, and the Aloha spirit does prevail. Unfortunately it is being slowly spoiled by intolerant people who have moved there from the Mainland and bring there narrow-minded views with them.
However, I remember speaking to many locals on the streets of Maui, and many of them had a very "live-and-let-live" attitude about Gays and Lesbians.
Hawaii is well worth visiting. Too bad about Jamaica, as both of the great loves of my life came from there. My boyfriend of 21 years was born in Ocho Rios, and still owns property there, and his whole family has tried to get me to come down, but after seeing the video you posted, I'm with you. None of my money will go there. I'll stick with the Aloha spirit of Hawaii.

July 21, 2007 2:07 PM


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