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Letter of the Day | Pride gives queers dignity beyond sex

Published:Tuesday | August 6, 2019 | 12:00 AM


There has been mild controversy over the fact that the LGBT community has included a church service during Pride celebrations. Many detractors feel that reverence to God cannot, and should not, be intermingled with the celebration of queer identities. The problem is that many of these detractors only see LGBT Jamaicans in limited ways.

They see us as Clovis and Las May cartoons: men with big feet stuffed in heels, wearing ill-fitting dresses and sporting bad make-up jobs. They see us as thieves living in a gully after being pushed to the margins of society. They see us as opportunistic men trading their sexual morality for financial advancement.

What they have not yet seen us as are regular people. People made up of more than their sexual orientation or gender identity. People who have academic and professional interests, people with a religious upbringing and strong faith in God, people who love sports, and people who just want to have a good time at the beach with their family and friends.

By only seeing us as sexual beings, they force into boxes and they decide that all we can be is promiscuous, angry, and prone to violence. For many LGBT Jamaicans, these stereotypes do profound psychological and emotional harm.

This is exactly why Pride in Jamaica must happen and why there must be events like Out For Jesus. Pride is the only space that seeks to see us in our full complexity. It reminds us that we can be LGBT and still have all the other components of ourselves that are equally important.

Pride restores our love for Jamaican culture, renews our faith in God, and reminds us of the fullness of who we are. Please, just let us have that.