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LETTER OF THE DAY - Expressing disapproval isn't the same as condemnation

Published:Thursday | July 10, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Further to an excellent letter written by Leslie Buckland which was published in The Observer on July 8, 2014, I wish to highlight a grave misconception about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community that has been perpetuated, ironically, by the lobby groups that claim to work against stigma and discrimination of that community.

It is an uncontested medical fact that having multiple sexual partners without using a condom is a risky behaviour that is attributed to the spread of HIV. No well-thinking heterosexual person, including those who insist on practising it, would disagree with that. There has never been an outcry from heterosexual persons engaging in this behaviour that they are being discriminated against, nor has a group emerged stating that that behaviour is intrinsic to who they are. Yet, when Professor Brendan Bain simply stated that anal penetration among men who have sex with men (MSMs) is a risky sexual behaviour, he and like-minded attendants at the Jamaica CAUSE rally were accused of hatred and discrimination.

My question to the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays and other LGBTQ lobby groups is this: just as there are heterosexual people who choose not to engage in risky sexual behaviour despite having a desire to do so, why is there an assumption that homosexual/bisexual men are incapable of exerting the same wisdom and discipline? Since when is gay spelt M-S-M? Why is attraction always irreconcilably conflated with activity for gay men, while the rest of the population is given the benefit of the doubt to balance their health with their hormones?

Expression of disapproval for an activity is not the same as condemnation of an individual. We all know that there is far more to gay men than who some of them have anal penetration with. It's about time their LGBTQ lobbyists realise that, too.

ONYKA THOMPSON

The Love March Movement