Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Letter of the day: Sex behaviour not a human right!

Published:Saturday | May 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Like many others, the Rev Devon Dick does not recognise the five distinctly different, but never separate, elements of what he calls 'sex', and which is better labelled sexuality. He is confusing 'sex' with sexual behaviour. And this is clearly not a human right.

Our sexuality is everything about us as male and female, and is very complex. First is our biological sex, which a person is given at birth. We then discover, and NOT choose, our gender identity, which is the psychological sense of being male or female. A person may have the biological sex of a male, but identifies oneself as a female, or vice versa. This is discovered early, and when both do not correspond in a 'traditional' manner, one is considered transgendered.

There is then gender role behaviour that society creates and which one decides to adhere, or not, to the cultural norms associated as feminine or masculine behaviour. It is society and culture that indicate how a male and female should act according to their understanding.

Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to another person. Sexual orientation is usually discussed in terms of three categories: heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. However, asexual now refers to a person who has no attraction to either the same or opposite sex. Sexual orientation is not chosen. It is discovered.




Sexual orientation is different from sexual behaviour, which is how a person chooses to live out his or her sexuality. It is our sexual behaviour which is the moral issue that needs to be addressed and critically, objectively evaluated. It is the sexual behaviour of all types of orientation which are what we, as a society, must confront morally.

A person discovers his or her biological sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. We cannot change a person's sexuality in these elements and, therefore, these are not ethical issues in that a choice is not present.

However, gender role behaviour and sexual behaviour are creations and choices of humans, and these are the areas of sexuality that we should be socially concerned. Rev Dick is correct: "Sex is not a human right." But being the full human person in whom we are born is a human right, regardless of skin colour, biological sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

My hope is that we Jamaicans can become more critical in our attitudes and understanding of our complex sexuality.