Queerness in the Transnational Caribbean-Canadian Diaspora
January 29, 2008—A mob of 20 men broke into the home of three young men in Kingston, Jamaica. According to reports, the machete-wielding attackers badly beat and severed limbs of one man who is in critical condition in hospital. A third victim is still missing. Witnesses say he jumped off a cliff to his death (Gleaner January 30, 2008).
May 12, 2008—Under pressure from gay rights groups and a sponsorship boycott of live dancehall shows by local beer giant Red Stripe, some Jamaican dancehall stars are offering free performances to events at which no Red Stripe products are sold or consumed. …Last month, title sponsor Red Stripe pulled its financing from the major live shows Sting and Sumfest, which it has sponsored for six and seven years respectively, in what it says is a response to the continued use of violent and anti-social lyrics during performances… «We have noticed that there
is a negative trend that has been creeping into some of the music…This is very damaging to our culture, the music and to our country as a whole,» corporate relations director Maxine Whittingham told reporters. Red Stripe’s initiative comes on the heels of an ultimatum issued to the Jamaican government by Canadian human rights group Egale Canada. The organization has successfully lobbied for the removal of some popular reggae songs from iTunes’ North American store. The group has also given the Bruce Golding-led administration until May 17 to announce plans to repeal the country’s anti-homosexual legislation. If its demands are not met, Egale Canada says it will launch a campaign to ban Jamaican goods in the international marketplace as well as promote a boycott of its tourism. Not all gay rights groups are agreed on the strategy that should be used. The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) has rejected Egale Canada’s ultimatum and says it does not support a boycott—although it has criticized
the new prime minister for refusing to take up the issue of anti-gay violence (Neufville, 2008).
Amar Wahab and Dwaine Plaza
Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, University of the West Indies
Trinidad y Tobago
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