Sat | Feb 17, 2018

Maurice Tomlinson: Try being gay for a day

Published:Tuesday | April 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Tomlinson: It is disingenuous of Dr Taylor to engage in revisionism and to attempt to trivialise the multiple anti-gay attacks reported by several Jamaican media houses as merely reflecting a negative attitude towards gays

As a senior lecturer in sociology at the Caribbean's most prestigious university, Dr Orville Taylor's article 'Increase in gay hatred? Get the fact out!' shows a studied lack of knowledge about the social phenomenon of homophobia, the nature of homosexuality, AND how HIV is spread. Permit me to educate the good doctor.

1. It is disingenuous of Dr Taylor to engage in revisionism and to attempt to trivialise the multiple anti-gay attacks reported by several Jamaican media houses as merely reflecting a negative attitude towards gays. For example, there was the gruesome and still-unsolved murder of 16-year-old trans youth Dwayne Jones by a mob in 2013. Also, there have been multiple mob invasions of the homes of gays in St Catherine, Green Mountain, Jones Town, among others.

Most infamously, kids as young as 10 years old have been thrown out on the streets because their parents think that they are biblical abominations who will cause the wrath of God to fall on their homes. Many of these homeless youth are now squatting all over Kingston, and even the mayor of Kingston has been threatened for suggesting that they be helped.

2. Dr Taylor may also be interested to know that on April 26, I will be in court facing off against nine religious groups who object to my constitutional challenge to the anti-sodomy law as they state, among other things, that the law is necessary to prevent the extinction of mankind! By this 'logic', all Jamaicans are secretly gay and are only 'prevented' from engaging in homosexuality because gay sex is illegal!



Some of the groups have also suggested that the anti-buggery law prevents the spread of HIV, yet even WITH this British colonially imposed edict, Jamaica has the highest HIV prevalence rate among men who have sex with men in the Western Hemisphere, if not the world - 33 per cent. So clearly the law does not work.

One fundamentalist group has claimed that if gay MEN are legally allowed to have sex with each other, they will want to have sex with BOYS. This means that all adult heterosexual males also want to have sex with young girls! All these arguments are patently irrational and homophobic.

3. It is also disingenuous for Dr Taylor to suggest that anal sex is the most efficient way to transmit HIV. The fact is that it is UNPROTECTED anal inter-course with an INFECTIOUS partner that is the most effective way for the virus to pass between humans. So, if a gay couple is non-infectious and has unlimited amounts of anal sex, NO virus will be transmitted. However, if a heterosexual couple has a single instance of unprotected vaginal sex and the male is infectious, then HIV is very likely to pass. Therefore, effort should be placed on ensuring that ALL persons are non-infectious and use protection, but this is stymied when practitioners are driven underground by laws that criminalise their intimacy.

Put another way, cervical cancer is caused by HPV, and the most efficient way to transmit it is through heterosexual sex. However, it would be ridiculous to ban vaginal sex to prevent the spread of HPV. Instead, we should encourage safer straight sex. This is only possible when we can openly talk about such options with heterosexual couples.



4. It is disingenuous for Dr Taylor to claim that homosexuality is a choice when every single reputable psycho-logical and psychiatric association has stated categorically that same-gender attraction is unchangeable. Even the largest 'ex-gay' group in the world closed down when it finally admitted that it could not change anyone's sexual orientation. I would therefore challenge Dr Taylor that if he feels that sexual orientation is a choice, he should try being gay for a day and report on his success. If at the end of this experiment, he cannot find men physically, romantically, emotion-ally, and psycho-logically attractive (the marks of homosexuality, and NOT just the sex act), he must conclude that he cannot change his sexual orientation.

Dr Taylor's suggestion that someone could convince a straight man to engage in gay sex (an act) and thus make that person 'gay' (the attraction) is spurious, at best. The act does not always equate to the attraction. As a gay man, I was married to a woman because I thought that it would cure me. However, in order to be intimate with my wife, I often had to fantasise about men!

I really hope that Dr Taylor moves from his sample size of one and engages in detailed research on homosexuality, homophobia, and HIV before he attempts to pontificate about these subjects, which are clearly out of his ken.

- Maurice Tomlinson is an attorney-at-law and gay-rights advocate. Email feedback to and