Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Day to Join the Fight Against Homophobia

Today was International Day Against Homophobia ... a day to join the struggle against the hate that kills...and one that I'm proud to say was started right here in Quebec.

The theme this year is "Homosexuality is NOT a sickness." Unlike the disease ....or raging epidemic ..... called homophobia.

So how ironic that today should also be the day I decided to suspend my long campaign against one of the most homophobic places on earth....the zombie island of Jamaica.

After reading this dispatch.

And discovering that gay activists in Jamaica are against a tourist boycott.

"I personally understand where they're coming from," he says. "But [Egale and SMMC] are in a position where they can't see what's happening day-to-day. They are not facing the realities. If JFLAG had one case [of violence against gay people] a week, since the boycott we have three. They're not seeing the reality. It is essentially bringing more violence on the community."

I hate the idea of not making Blood Island pay for its crimes against humanity. And I'm really going to miss those zombies.

But you can't argue with this horror.

"I went to Portmore to look at a house....I passed two guys on my way in and on my way back out. One of them came up to me and said, 'Oh, you're one of dem batty boys of dem faggots in Canada want to get freedom in Jamaica.' They proceeded to cut me in the face and on the arm.

"Anthony says he needed seven stitches in his face and nine in his forearm. He says he was house-hunting because he was burned out of his previous home in Ocho Rios.

So so more boycott. Although of course I am going to continue to warn Canadians about Jamaica's scary crime problem.

What is for sure is that Jamaica is a violent place and it's getting worse. Incidents of burglary, kidnapping and rape are above the world average and rising.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Jamaica's murder rate was 59.2 per 100,000 in 2007. It hasn't dipped below 35 per 100,000 for the past 10 years, making it a world leader in homicides. It even outpaces Colombia, a country in the grips of a brutal 40-year civil war.

Nor will I hesitate to suggest that if Canadians want to have a much safer and friendlier vacation... in the most beautiful place in the Caribbean.

They should forget about Jamaica. And go to Cuba.

Mariela Castro joined government leaders and hundreds of activists at the one-day conference for the International Day Against Homophobia that featured shows, lectures, panel discussions and book presentations.

In the meantime.... the other bit of good news is that I won't have to hand out these homemade pamphlets anymore.

All I've got to do is show that beach pic and play this song....

Oh yeah. Homophobia is a disease.

Gay is beautiful.

Life is a beach...


P.S. To the people at Fondation Émergence who came up with the idea of this day. Merci beaucoup.

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