Sexing up Things

By Orville W. Taylor
Jamaica Gleaner
July 16, 2006

THERE IS a relatively new expression that describes any attempt to embellish or 'pretty up' the truth as 'sexing up' something. Of course, in Jamaica this does not translate very well into patois because we have an equivalent phrase which means quite the opposite. However, in the past week, a D-con and his colleagues have done both at the same time.

By now, everyone in this country, except perhaps the president of the North Trelawny Ministers' Fraternal, is familiar with the repugnant incident where several youths violated a teenage girl, with the full complicity of a 46-year-old "rusty back" deacon. All of Jamaica, with the possible exception of senior members of the Church Dayton Diamond Ridge, are revolted by the occurrence. However, I am not surprised.

Given the historical evidence, it is naive, if not downright hypocritical, to expect that persons would suddenly become more pious because they wear a pastoral collar. There have been far too many cases of sexual indiscretion in the Church since its early years for me to think that churchmen and women should be above scrutiny or have a monopoly on probity. Popes have fathered children, including their own nieces and nephews. This includes Alexander VI in the late 1400s and Rasputin, the famous Russian monk of the late 19th century, was a wanton lover of the Tsar's court and we know about Jimmy Swaggart. Even our beloved Reverend Jesse Jackson has been dragged through the sexual mud.


What irks me is not simply the dastardly deed of the wolf in sheep clothing. Perverts exist in all places. Neither am I overly appalled at the apparent failure of the Dayton Church to protect the child. Rather, more important is its nonchalance and delay in bringing the matter to the police. Even more reprehensible, is its attack on the media since it obviously was more concerned with its image rather than the welfare of the child or the need to chastise the deacon.

Yet, the response of the church reflects a deep-seated disrespect and misunderstanding of sexual propriety. It is disturbing that carnal abuse has increased 38 per cent over last year even as homicides declined. Learn this! Rape and carnal abuse are "murder" because they kill the victims' psyche and virtually end the lives of many of them. Unfortunately, there has been a history of lewdness and disregard for females and their bodies long before dance hall. Sometimes, unfortunately, women themselves don't recognise that unwanted access to their bodies is never their fault and oftentimes take the blame.

We have a history of sexual abuse especially among black women. This, initially, was perpetrated by the white slave owners and later learnt with great enthusiasm by the African descendants who had lost the original respect for tradition during the seasoning process. Cudjoe, great as he was, was excluded from the heroes' list because he was a violator of women.

Did you know that in Nigeria sex crimes are far less frequent than in Jamaica because of the curse of "Magun?" When Magun is applied, persons in illicit sex cannot detach and add a different dimension to Lionel Richie's song Stuck On You.

On another note, we notice that two concerts were cancelled in the U.K. and U.S. because of the presence of Buju Banton and Beenie Man, respectively. What has amazed me about this saga between Jamaican dance hall artistes and the international gay community is that the latter seems "bent" on destroying the industry.

In a country where gays have been in parliament, industry, including dancehall music, academia and the media, it is dishonest to suggest that they have been relegated to the back benches. Furthermore, many of them have had the law enforcers turn their backs on their sexual indiscretions. In fact, many prominent gay men have a "King-size" appetite for young boys. Indeed, there are even many "top shotters" who have been known to "walk on the dark side."

Our local gay advocates hypocritically behave as if Jamaica were a hell for homosexuals who, in living in mortal fear, have constantly to watch their backs. Yet, the reports of violence against gay people are not proportionally more frequent than the other acts of violence committed at random on individuals. On top of that, almost all of the cases of known gay men being murdered have been at the hands of their friends and lovers. Yet, in the one case where one was killed during the course of a robbery, it suddenly became a hate crime.

The truth is, if you are a straight "vaginophile" who comes from the type of communities where Buju and Beenie originate, you are far more likely to have experienced violence. If one wishes to single out a group of people who are imperilled in this country it would have to be young heterosexual males who come from ghetto communities.

Furthermore, if one is an inner-city resident who behaves like a "tugs," one will experience far more discrimination in employment and occupation than if one shows androgynous mannerisms or an effeminate demeanour. Think about it! How well do gay men typically present themselves?

As I have said ad nauseam, young Jamaican men between the ages of 18 and 24 are more likely to be unemployed; murdered; murderers; in prison; undereducated; absent from tertiary education; motor vehicle fatalities and dependent on dance hall artistes for economic assistance.

Here is where the Jamaican gay community needs to "tikkya." Many dance hall artistes are feeding these youths and keeping them from turning into monsters. The international gay community does not live here in Jamrock.

Dr. Orville Taylor is senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work at the University of the West Indies, Mona.


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