Sat | Dec 4, 2021

Protect the young and gay!

Published:Thursday | May 9, 2019 | 12:28 AM

The EDITOR, Sir:

Any nation on the path to progress must willingly embrace practical measures to protect vulnerable groups. The nation with its recent IMF 4.5 star rating must ensure that properly assimilated in its economic plans are efforts, yes, robust interventions, to protect vulnerable groups, specifically children, but those children who are gay. Occupying the front page of The Gleaner, dated May 6, 2019, are two items of news: ‘Where are they?’ and ‘J-FLAG: Schools not taking bullying of LGBT children seriously’. These two articles, however, share one overlapping theme: children.

It takes a nation to raise a child!

This is not the first time that the nation is being overrun by frightening news of children missing in hordes. If one missing child is one missing child too many, surely, 517 for the first four months, as often as we hear this type of news and figures, is still shocking, to say the least. It was just yesterday when many of us were young. Now, we are contributing to nation building in one form or the other. This 517, or annually over 1,500 – if projected figures are anything to go by – is a massive dent to potential GDP and brainpower.

A gay child is still a child.

It is one thing to be a child, with its attendant complexities and challenges; it is another to be a child/teen and at the same time being a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered. Further, it is even quite another to be a gay child or a child in one of these groups in Jamaica. But to call a spade a spade, bullying in any shape or form is wrong, and not only should schools stymie bullying, they and the Government should provide and strengthen counselling and therapy services for vulnerable children who are victims of such treatment. These children, as much as they stand out as different, are still human beings and by virtue of that have human rights.

MATTHEW BAKER

Lecturer

University of Technology,

Jamaica

mb0080339@gmail.com