Lessons from Calabar High School
THE EDITOR, Sir:
As we collectively clutch our pearls at the video that has surfaced of Calabar High School students chanting homophobic slurs at Kingston College, we should pay close attention to one of the larger issues here.
Our society has made it possible for adolescent boys to weaponise homosexuality so as to devalue a person or group’s achievements. These male adolescent students, raised by Jamaican parents within the Jamaican society, have been socialised to believe that the worst thing a person can be is gay, and as such, they can use homosexuality as a weapon to discredit their colleague or sporting rival. As we raise our voices in indignation, we should not lose sight of this bigger issue.
Don’t get me wrong. The chant of the students was reprehensible, and I am happy to see the swift response of both the Ministry of Education and the Calabar High School Board, however, there is an underlying message that we must pay attention to. In whatever apologies given or corrective action taken, there needs to be the understanding that being gay doesn’t make you less valuable, doesn’t make your achievements less worthy of celebration, and doesn’t make you any less capable of achieving greatness.
It is never okay to use homophobic slurs, particularly in the way they were used by those students. But we have to start by stop making homosexuality a weapon, and that step will have to be taken not just by Calabar and Kingston College, but by all of us as a society.