Thu | May 28, 2020

Sex not a human right

Published:Tuesday | May 26, 2015 | 12:00 AMDevon Dick

Last week Friday, I attended a meeting hosted by head of Jamaica's USAID, Denise Herbol, with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) envoy Randy Berry and LGBT coordinator Todd Larson present, along with persons of faith. The meeting was cordial and candid.

Most persons saw the LGBT issue revolving around human rights; one person said humans have no rights, only God has rights; and I stated that I have a different understanding of human rights. I stated my position that I do not believe that consensual same sex between adults should be criminalised. I arrived at that position based on tolerance, but not based on genetics, public health or human rights.

What does it mean to claim that a person has a human right to be bisexual? Will we then advocate for such persons to be able to marry two persons. Sexuality is a complex issue which ought to be handled sensitively and humbly. Take, for example, 800m female champion Caster Semenya of South Africa, who is said to be a hermaphrodite with internal testes and no ovary nor womb. This reality challenges our notions of gender and sexual orientation.

What do people mean when they talk about human rights? Human rights are rights which are universal for all persons of all ages without exception or restriction by governments and this right must be necessary to exist as a human life.

Therefore, there is no human right to smoke because persons who smoke are restricted to certain areas, and in addition, smoking is dangerous to one's health. In addition, there is no human right to religious practices and so Rastafarians cannot claim they have a human right to smoke marijuana because it is a sacrament. Furthermore, one does not have to be a Christian to exist.




Additionally, there is also no human right to sex. Recently, there was a lady who was 100 years old and still a virgin, which means, as a human, she did not have sex in order to live long. American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-70) places sex in the physiological needs category along with food and breathing. However, sex cannot be on the same level as air and food. There can be no human right to heterosexual or homosexual sex, because one does not have to have sex to live.

However, there ought to be a human right to air, water, food, security and to be communicated with. These are universal rights with no exception and they are necessary for life. There are also human rights to a nationality and a name, because a person's existence is threatened if he or she is not accepted by a nation or is nameless.

Then there are things which are nice, useful, important, helpful and beneficial, but not human rights - such as being allowed to vote, having a driver's licence, displaying religious practices, having a tertiary education, using a mobile phone, and owning property.

If there is a human right to be an LGBT person, then it means we are saying everybody has a human right to be LGBT and it is necessary in order to be human. If it is a human right, then parents would have to promote, facilitate and encourage that lifestyle to their children and the country to its citizenry.

For Jamaica and the world to be a peaceful and prosperous place, and for persons to experience the abundant life, we must concentrate on the human rights which are for all persons of all ages under all circumstances and which are absolutely integral to human living.

- Reverend Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to