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Are voters less swayed by homophobia?

Submitted by unaidsadmin on Thu, 2012-01-19 06:40 - 0 Comments

Political analysts in the mainstream media have offered their laundry lists of reasons for Portia Simpson Miller and the People’s National Party’s landslide election victory in Jamaica last month. They’ve cited everything from job losses to the Jamaica Labour Party’s defence of “Dudus”.

But the blogosphere has been buzzing about something else.

Do you agree with journalist and blogger Ross Sheil that Jamaicans are either softening their stance or becoming more practical about the issue of homosexuality? What about the position taken by Colin Robinson of the Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) based in Trinidad and Tobago? He thinks that the victory is a lesson to regional politicians that supporting the rights of gay people doesn’t lose elections.

Let’s rewind a bit. Notwithstanding the other matters at stake in the election, the issue of homosexuality was central to both the Jamaica campaign and its leadership debate.

Ahead of the polls defeated JLP candidate Rev. Al Miller pointedly urged voters to reject what he called "the homosexual agenda".

And Maurice Tomlinson, the advocate behind an unprecedented legal challenge at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to the Jamaican anti-sodomy law, didn't seem optimistic about the PNP's chances in the face of the JLP's "appeals for homophobia".

Jamaica Observer cartoonist, Clovis, guessed at the way Portia Simpson Miller’s stance would be interpreted by JA voters. (left)

The premise of all these diverse, yet home-grown commentators was that homophobia will win out. They were all proven wrong. Or were they? Tell us: is gay-bashing becoming less attractive to voters in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean?



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The UNAIDS team offers the Caribbean the broad expertise of cosponsors and other UN organisations in areas such as program development and management, women and child health, education, legal networking, community care initiatives and resource mobilisation. The goal is an expanded response to HIV in the region with the world’s second highest HIV prevalence.