Homophobia in Jamaica: A Study of Cultural Heterosexism in Praxis
45 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2012
Date Written: June 30, 2012
In Jamaica, the persecution of LGBTQ people is ubiquitous to a degree that is hard for a non-Jamaican to understand. They are oppressed politically, socially, and economically; they are widely and publicly referred to through disparaging slurs; and Dancehall DJs and preachers scapegoat and call for the violent death of all LGBTQ people as a way of purging the country of its misfortunes and bringing about a social and spiritual rebirth. Further, while men suspected of being gay are primarily targeted for violence, lesbians live in fear of “corrective rape,” a crime virtually ignored by law enforcement. In this Paper, I examine the historical, social, and cultural construction of homophobia in Jamaica and, through interviews with Jamaican men, its widespread effects on Jamaican society today. Using a theoretical framework of cultural heterosexism to understand the role of popular music and gender ideologies in Jamaica, this Paper presents a novel analysis of the root causes of the violent and pervasive forms of homophobia that pervade Jamaica today.
Keywords: homophobia, Jamaica, LGBT, heterosexism, queer
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