Wed | May 25, 2022

Sloppy logic re gays, HIV/AIDS

Published:Sunday | April 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

In the Gleaner of April 24, letter writer Maurice Tomlinson chided Wayne West for his use of certain statistics pertaining to the legal status of buggery and the high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among Jamaican men who have sex with men (MSM).

In the course of Mr Tomlinson's letter, he said: "The fact is decriminalising buggery is a crucial step in reducing the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among MSM and the population at large. It will take years for a traditionally marginalised and oppressed group, such as MSM, to effect the behaviour change needed to reduce their HIV/AIDS prevalence rate."

It would have been helpful to me if Mr Tomlinson had taken the time to establish the logical and necessary link between a law and someone's behaviour. Ponder this: even if every single murderer for the past 10 years were caught and punished by law in Jamaica, that reality would not in and of itself make it certain or even likely that no one or even fewer persons would ever commit murder in Jamaica in future.

No clear link

There is no necessary link between the legal status of a behaviour and the incidence of that behaviour in society, and that is why we have legal sanctions or penalties for unlawful behaviour.

While I support the rights of homosexuals or MSM to exist, freely associate and verbally advocate their lifestyle, I maintain that all behaviours are not equally valid or wholesome, and so the risks of certain behaviours have to be faced, societally.

The male homosexual or the MSM lifestyle, in particular, poses very serious public-health risks and concerns. We gloss over this reality at our societal peril.

So then the rights of persons have to be respected but the risks of their behaviour have to be factored in as well.

I am, etc.,