Saturday, April 22, 2006
In flowery billboards and endearing television ads, the Jamaicans look so incredibly friendly. On the website www.jamaicans.com
, the slogan is "home away from home." In another ad campaign, the residents plead with benign smiles, "Come Back to Jamaica." But it turns out that Jamaica is not home if you're a homo, and you might come back from Jamaica in a body bag. For whatever reason, the locals have gone loco and gay bashing has replaced Jamaican bobsledding as the national sport.
An article in last week's Time Magazine
calls Jamaica the "most homophobic place on earth." It points out that recently two of the island's leading gay rights advocates, Brian Williamson and Steve Harvey, had been ruthlessly slain. If that was not enough, a crowd essentially danced on Williamson's grave by celebrating over his mutilated body.
In 2004, a father learned his son was gay and went to his school to invite a group of peers to lynch his son. Now that's family values!
Not too long after this sickening episode, witnesses claim police egged on a mob that stabbed and stoned a gay man to death in Montego Bay. Earlier this year, a Kingston man, Nokia Cowan, drowned after a crowd shouting "batty boy" (a Jamaican slur for queer) chased him off a dock.
"Jamaica is the worst any of us has ever seen," Rebecca Schleifer of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch explained to Time.
Despite this record, Americans continue to subsidize this slaughter by boarding ships destined for Jamaica to cruise and booze. This is unconscionable and you can bet there would be a much greater uproar if this abuse were happening to any other minority.
Sadly, Jamaica's curious anti-gay fixation is spreading to other parts of the Caribbean. In St. Maarten, two producers for CBS News were gay bashed
by thugs weilding tire irons. The attack occured outside the nightclub Bamboo Bernie's, where Richard Jefferson, 51, and Ryan Smith, 25, were first harrassesed for being gay earlier in the evening by the assailants. The victims were airlifted for medical treatment to Miami. Jefferson, who has been released, said Smith was being treated for brain damage.
Additionally, Jefferson told the Associated Press that local authorities had not spoken to witnesses the night of the crime, nor had they pursued leads. Instead of St. Maarten's CSI, the police were MIA.
"The people who harmed us are well-known punks," Jefferson told reporters last week, according to the AP. "People in the community know who these guys are. They are not talking to the police. The entire island is watching something bad happening."
Two men were finally arrested this week, (one was already released) but their cowardly actions seemed to win the approval of a local newspaper, Today
, that derisively referred to gay people as "faggots" and "homos." According to the unfathomable April 11, editorial:
"During and after World War II, it was considered common sport for military guys to let themselves be picked up by a faggot in a bar in Los Angeles or San Francisco. The one who was picked up would pretend to go along for the ride, only to turn around and beat up or rob the homo who picked him up, leaving him without wallet and sometimes teeth.
"All that has changed, of course, largely due to American laws that are being spread around the world. Gay bashing is now a no-no. Slurs against homos, a no-no. And beating a person over the head for flagrant public behavior that once was considered criminal misconduct is a no-no."
In a comparatively minor, but no less telling cultural barometer, the Bahamas banned
Brokeback Mountain. It seems Nassau must decide if it is an island chain open to the world or a palm tree-lined prison where its pristine waters are merely a mote to drown tolerance and diversity.
Unlike other homophobic hotbeds in the Middle East, our community can exercise considerable leverage over these human rights abusers. While few Americans are going to spend a holiday in Jeddah or Tehran, we are frequently visiting the Caribbean. Many of our allies would gladly vacation elsewhere if they were aware that their gay friends and family members were being brutally attacked.
It is time for Americans to reassess their relationship with islands such as Jamaica, St. Maarten and the Bahamas. Either they welcome all of us, or none of us. But these "paradises" can no longer be playgrounds for heterosexuals and hunting grounds for homosexuals.
Here is a message that Jamaica might understand: "Aloha, Mon, friend of batty boy going to Hawaii."
Friday, April 21, 2006
(St. Maarten: Beaches of Barbarism)
Police in St. Maarten have arrested a suspect
in a brutal anti-gay attack on two gay American journalists who were vacationing on the Caribbean island.
Dick Jefferson, a senior broadcast producer for the CBS Evening News, suffered a fractured skull when he was hit by a tire iron during an anti-gay attack on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten
Dick Jefferson, 51, and Ryan Smith, 25, both CBS News employees, were beaten with tire irons in the parking lot of a bar in the early morning hours of April 6, according to statements given to St. Maarten police. Both men suffered fractured skulls and were airlifted to a hospital in Miami.
The abuse of gay people in the Caribbean is becoming more disturbing by the day. Led by that poverty-stricken and crime-ridden arm pit, Jamaica
, the rest of the region's new religion seems to be gay bashing.
The economies of these islands run on American tourist dollars. If they do not change their brutal and backwards ways, campaigns will have to be created that shine a light on the true nature of these faux-paradises. Many Americans would not spend their money if they knew they were supporting hatred and murder.
While these islands are blessed with abundant sun, they are surely skating on thin ice. An international boycott of the most homophobic port cities is a reasonable solution to the problem, if it does not improve.
Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, but for gay people, life under the dictator may have been safer. The situation seems to be intolerable and deteriorating as religious militias gain power and attack gay people as sport. Some homosexuals are clamoring to leave Iraq
to save their lives.
This certainly isn't the "freedom" Bush had sold us before America entered the quagmire. And, much of the problem goes back directly to Donald Rumsfeld's tactical and strategic failures. The Mullah-run militias are powerful because America never had enough troops to provide security for Iraqis. Religious Militias formed to fill the vacuum and now gay people are targeted by these barbarians.
What a nightmare.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Rocker Neil Young
is reportedly joining a growing chorus of artists to take on Bush's war in Iraq. His upcoming album, "Living With War," will be a serious musical broadside against the the Vietnam of our generation.
The question is, what took these artists so damn long? Only the Dixie Chicks, Madonna and a few others had the courage to come forward when it was unpopular to do so. Was it necessary to wait until Bush had poll numbers lower than an ants behind to speak up?
Better late than never, I guess.
So, the news media is salivating because Bush has made a few transparently cosmetic changes
in his Cabinet, including shuffling the role of Karl Rove. The fact is, the Bush Administration's house cleaning has been so embarrassingly minor, it has amounted to no more than a dusting. Real change would have been dismissing Rove, Cheney, Condi or Rumsfeld. All the major actors are still there.
How about Rove? Today's phantom move is a poor publicity stunt that changes nothing. Notice, for example, that the political guru keeps the same titles he possessed before the big "change!" Heck, Rove won't even have to buy new business cards!!! So much for bold action by the Bush Administration to shake things up.
If you think about it, the move makes perfect sense. There is no point in Rove officially running the domestic agenda, because Bush has none. The only thing that can save his presidency is keeping Republicans in power after the midterm elections. Bush is now a lame duck...but if the Democrats sweep to sweet victory in November, he will be a dead duck for his final, miserable two years. However, if the GOP does better than expected, Bush will make the claim that he is not as unpopular as polls show he is.
As Rove puts his hand in the elections, expect gay bashing. If it were not for abusing homosexuals in electoral politics, Rove would still be running school board races in Lubbock and Midland Texas. This all he knows, so this is how it goes.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
A week ago, during a school Palm Beach school board meeting, chairman Tom Lynch
called gay people a species. Today he apologized for making an ass of himself.
"Let me start by apologizing to anyone offended by my comments," Lynch stated in an e-mail. "The purpose in my remarks was in no way meant to be demeaning to any person or group. I hope this explanation clears up my statements and my intentions. Again, if anyone was offended by this misunderstanding, I sincerely apologize."
Being called a species? Offended? How could he have known?
When fundamentalists are confronted with evidence that contradicts religious dogma, they like to dismiss the inconvenient facts by saying that God is testing their faith. But in the past few weeks, God has given the faithful so many tests, that President Bush ought to appoint Him to run "No Child Left Behind."
First, the right wing was presented with a crushing $2.5 million study
that said the power of group prayer was ineffective and provided no benefit to patients recovering from cardiac bypass surgery. In fact, 59 percent of patients who knew they were being prayed for had complications, compared to 51 percent of the patients who did not receive prayers. A few more of these studies and patients will pray that no one is praying for them. Of course, prayer can be a positive force, but it should be a humble and reverent matter, not the showy and superstitious domain of the audacious and ostentatious.
If you think about it, this study makes a lot of sense, with prayer often leading to the law of unintended consequences. For example, in the past two decades countless teams of Neo-Puritans have prayed for homosexuals to be delivered out of "bondage." In that same time period, however, the number of gay men and women who are just plain out has increased dramatically.
In another divine test, a 375 million year old fossil was found
that scientists say is a long-sought missing link in the evolution from fish to walking life forms. Before the discovery, advocates of Intelligent Design
had claimed that the fact such a link was missing undermined the theory of Evolution. I guess medieval minds
will go back to the drawing board
to dream up their next Creationist scheme
Meanwhile, we have learned that Judas may not have been a betrayer of Jesus, but his best friend. The Gospel of Judas
is particularly devastating to fundamentalism because it shows their religion is not as absolute as they suggest. The idea of preaching God's "word" becomes questionable when we keep digging up new words.
Who is to say that we won't stumble upon a hidden text buried in a Vatican vault where Paul comes out of the closet and goes to a circuit party in Babylon? Or maybe we will come to find that Sodom was not actually destroyed, but gentrified by gays and the writers of the Old Testament were simply bitter because they were priced out of their apartments.
Neo-Puritans might want to escape the modern world by retreating to the comfortable confines of Wal-Mart
. But inside the Big Box are little boxes stuffed with DVDs of Brokeback Mountain. And coming soon to the Big Screen is the Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks, which will have religious conservatives reeling.
When all else fails, the right wing will return to gay bashing, which is what it intends to do as midterm elections approach. However, there is even bad news on this front. A new Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll shows
that only 51 percent of people oppose allowing gay people the freedom to marry, compared to a whopping 63 percent in 2004. At this rate, Pat Robertson will be performing gay weddings by 2010.
In search of a new scapegoat, conservatives thought they had a sure winner in Mexican-bashing. What they did not expect was that the people who cleaned their houses, would clean their clocks in the battle over public opinion. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants attended boisterous protest rallies across America, causing angst among GOP political operatives who are afraid this issue might cost the party Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada in future elections.
If this isn't bad enough, George W. Bush, the man the fundamentalists catapulted into the Oval Office as the "Chosen One" is plummeting in the polls. At the same time, key former Generals
are no longer playing ball with Donald Rumsfeld, while Dick Cheney is getting rancorously booed
at that great bastion of liberalism - the major league baseball park.
Finally, a new study reported in the Journal of Research Into Personality reveals that
confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grow up to be liberals, while whiney, habitual complainers grow up to be conservatives. The existence of Robert Novak, Bill O Reilly and Tucker Carlson seem to back the study's conclusions.
God has tested Neo-Puritans and they have received a report card pockmarked with Fs. A group that anoints itself moral and then chooses Tom DeLay
as its prophet and Bush as its savior, can't be surprised when they encounter disasters of biblical proportions.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Militant Muslim fundamentalists are working overtime
to destroy Indonesia, like they have so many other countries. They attacked the offices of Playboy, even though the Indonesian version of the magazine has no naughty pictures.
A draft law before the Indonesian Parliament would impose Islamic strictures. It mandates large fines and jail terms for buying and distributing pornography, and makes homosexuality an offense. It also prohibits provocative dancing and requires women to cover pretty much every part of their bodies below the neck. It sounds very much like it was written by the Taliban.
Like most fundamentalist nations, the oppression and repression does not create a "pure" country, but a sexually dysfunctional one where people are pious in public and perverted behind closed doors. Indeed, a Web site with explicit sexual content that claims to have received more than 46 million hits last month lists Indonesia as its No. 1 source of viewers. Malaysia, another majority Muslim country, was listed at No. 4. It seems that militant Islam is the greatest thing to happen to the pornography industry since the invention of the motion picture.
A Palestinian suicide bomber struck a packed fast-food restaurant during Passover on Monday, killing nine people and wounding dozens in the deadliest bombing in more than a year. Sadly, the Hamas government
in Palestine is essentially applauding the hideous attack.
This is a big strategic mistake, since Hamas is now in control of an actual government. This will allow Israel to rightfully defend itself and declare war on such an official entity. If Hamas was smart, which it is not, it would recognize Israel and make peace. On the destructive course it is now on, the terrorist organization will never accomplish anything for its people except more poverty and death.
Democratic pollster Geoff Garin said GOP House candidates have reason to worry
. His surveys find that 82 percent of Americans who say they voted for Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004 plan to vote for a Democrat for the House this year. But only 65 percent who voted for Bush say they will vote for a Republican House nominee, Garin said. The remaining 35 percent say they are open to voting for a Democrat or staying home.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Any tourist who has traveled a few blocks from Jamaica's gaudy tourist traps, knows that the country is a notorious crime and poverty-ridden shitbox. Indeed, the island nation has the world's highest murder rate. Much of this wanton violence is fueled by Jamaica's dance hall music scene, where mostly untalented and stoned artists warble about death, murder and other anti-social behaviors. Gay bashing, however, is what this "music" is most notorious for promoting. It has led Jamaica down a psychotic path of mob violence against gay and lesbian people. According to Time Magazine
In the past two years, two of the island's most prominent gay activists, Brian Williamson and Steve Harvey, have been murdered and a crowd even celebrated over Williamson's mutilated body. Perhaps most disturbing, many anti-gay assaults have been acts of mob violence. In 2004, a teen was almost killed when his father learned his son was gay and invited a group to lynch the boy at his school. Months later, witnesses say, police egged on another mob that stabbed and stoned a gay man to death in Montego Bay. And this year a Kingston man, Nokia Cowan, drowned after a crowd shouting "batty boy" (a Jamaican epithet for homosexual) chased him off a pier. "Jamaica is the worst any of us has ever seen," says Rebecca Schleifer of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch and author of a scathing report on the island's anti-gay hostility.
Anyone who visits Jamaica or buys goods from this hellhole should be ashamed and is an accomplice to this ongoing bloody witchhunt against homosexuals. I call for a total boycott of the country and international protests wherever these thugs perform this hideous music.
After waiting outside overnight to be among the first to enter this year's White House Easter Egg Roll
, families in line were surprised to learn that the White House had changed the ticketing policy for the annual event, PageOneQ
The unannounced change means that the families who waited in line the longest, in one case for twenty-four hours, will not be among the visitors at the event's opening ceremonies. The first families in line, who were not part of the LGBT family group, received tickets with an 11:00am entrance time, two hours later than the opening time listed in the White House press release
used to be an ex-gay poster boy until he came out of the closet. With backing from the religious right, ex-gay groups are now launching a national campaign to allow gay teens to be bullied in schools. Wade Richards took these groups to task for their campaign of misinformation and intolerance:
"In my experience with the 'ex-gay' movement I have seen the damage and psychological turmoil that taunts an individual trying to deny the very nature of who they are. In many instances these individuals, like myself, live in an inner hell of depression and guilt. Never coming to peace with the person who they have tried earnestly to become. After months of struggling with my own sexual orientation, I realized that I was healed of all the emotional turmoil from my past that the 'ex-gay' movement claimed to be the cause of my same-sex attractions. However, I was still Gay.
I find it unfortunate and grievous that a religious institution would invite or condone a conference like Focus on the Family's 'Love Won Out' to speak deception to their people. Organizations and ministries like Focus on the Family, Love In Action's Refuge, and Exodus Youth give young adolescents a false hope. These organizations target those who have a stake in youth, such as pastors, youth leaders, school administrative workers, counselors, and medical professionals."
Wade Richards is a graduate of Exodus residential "ex-gay" ministry Love In Action (LIA) and also attended Critchon Bible College, both in Memphis, TN. After graduating from LIA, he was hired on as the Outreach Coordinator for a national Christian youth organization called The SALT (Savior's Alliance for lifting the Truth). Following his departure from The SALT, Wade founded StandOut!, a national gay and lesbian youth advocacy organization.
Wade has been featured in the international teen magazine Seventeen, national gay and lesbian newsmagazine The Advocate, as well as the Human Rights Campaign publication Finally Free
. He also has been featured on programs such as ABC's 20/20, Alan Colmes Talk Radio in New York City, Tom Murray's compelling "ex-gay" documentary Fish Can't Fly, and numerous other media outlets.