LETTER OF THE DAY - Gay sex isn't inevitably unhealthy
THE EDITOR, Sir: The visceral opposition of Jamaicans to buggery comes as no surprise with the findings of the recent Bill Johnson poll. Make no mistake: This is not a principled opposition to buggery. The poll merely expressed the vitriol many Jamaicans have towards the LGBT population, particularly MSM.
As a health-care professional who has served individuals infected with HIV for many years, I am fully aware of the devastating toll HIV has on sexually active gay men. I am also knowledgeable of the damage and death it has done to women, children and heterosexual men.
The thousands of women in Jamaica infected with HIV/AIDS along with the millions of their sisters in sub-Saharan Africa attest to the fact that it is not a disease of gay men but really of vulnerable people. When poor health care is combined with poverty, ignorance, bigotry, persecution, sexual exploitation and other dehumanising factors, not only will HIV and other STIs flourish, but unwanted pregnancies and risky abortions will coexist.
The disturbing point about Professor Bain's 'expert opinion' is the pernicious manner in which gay male sex is continually viewed in a dangerously homophobic society. The pathological perspective to gay male sex, a normal, natural and healthy human expression like oral sex and passionate kissing, is perhaps the main reason for the violent homophobia gay men in Jamaica and elsewhere experience.
This pathology not only misses the real reason for the spread of HIV and other STIs. Bain and everyone who have a basic understanding of HIV and other STIs know that when anal and other forms of sexual activity are practised in a safe and healthy manner, their infection rate will be greatly reduced, or even eliminated over time.
It is only when adult Jamaicans begin to see each other as equal partners and engage in sexual behaviour that promotes safety, pleasure, respect, trust, and reproductive autonomy will we begin to have a different conversation on buggery, homosexuality, HIV and justice for all.