THE EDITOR, Sir:
In his article in the Observer on Monday, February 4, 2013, Javed Jaghai appealed to the public to "stop demonising gays". While we should not treat persons as inferior and unacceptable, it is wisdom - and in some cases, a matter of survival - to perceive certain behaviours as such.
Strategically devoid of statistics, the author fails to mention the ways in which gays do harm to their own bodies. Indeed, he is correct in highlighting the significant social and emotional harm suffered by gays and lesbians because of what they do with their bodies.
However, one must also note the significant physical and medical harm that is self-inflicted as a result of these same activities.
To the dismay of the factophobic among us, in The Gleaner on February 12, 2012, the Ministry of Health reported men who have sex with men (MSMs) as being 20 times more likely to be infected with HIV (32 per cent) than the average Jamaican (1.6 per cent).
Surely, there is no one more demonised in our society than prostitutes, whose occupational behaviour put them in the line of fire for HIV infection. Yet MSMs are more than six times as likely to have HIV than the average prostitute (4.9 per cent). It is, therefore, obvious that demonisation and stereotyping are not the greatest threats to the welfare of gays and lesbians in Jamaica.
Stereotyping and verbally and emotionally abusing gays is base and inhumane, and severely infringes on their collective and individual welfare. But let us not forget that their own behaviours (for example, anal penetration) have a profound negative impact on their welfare as well.
In short, all people are equal, but not all beha-viours are equal.
If one truly wanted to love members of the LGBT community, one would warn them of the extremely dangerous consequence of their actions, namely, the alarmingly high chance of contracting an incurable and potentially fatal disease.
Loving and accepting an individual is not same as endorsing all of his or her behaviours; in fact, it is unloving to encourage behaviours that have already been proven to be medically unsafe.
Instead, let us respectfully and humbly learn about the temptations, struggles and unique personal stories of our gay and lesbian neighbours, as we lovingly encourage them to live lives of sexual purity and, subsequently, sexual health.
Love March Movement