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Jamaicans won't kiss up to gays

Published:Thursday | March 17, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Kemesha Kelly, youth advocate and youth development practitioner, in a guest column titled 'Put youth issues on front burner' (Gleaner, February 26, 2016), made a truly astounding claim. According to her, "Millennials are really and truly less concerned about a person's sexual orientation."

Now, Ms Kelly was writing specifically about Jamaican millennials. I don't know which country this beautiful young lady lives in, but her statement is certainly not true or reflective of Jamaican youth. Young Jamaicans are every bit as illiberal in their attitudes towards gay people as older Jamaicans. In the West, by contrast, for example, in a country like the United States of America, the younger the demographic, the more liberal the attitude towards gays. Not so in Jamaica.

Last year, a scientific survey was done by the University of the West Indies, Mona, into values and attitudes among young Jamaicans. The researchers found that the overwhelming majority of Jamaican youth had very negative and contemptuous attitudes towards gays.

The idea that Jamaican young people have liberal attitudes towards gays is patently absurd. In fact, one would have a very difficult time finding 100 Jamaican heterosexual young men who would have no problem having a male friend who is openly gay.

I would advise Ms Kelly to stop burying her head in the sand.