Murder Music

From Guernica:

Ebony_500 “Homophobia is the wrong term for what’s going on in Jamaica because there’s no fear of gays here. The fear is all the other way,” N told me inside an HIV prevention center, one of the few places in Kingston where we could talk without fear of retribution from someone overhearing our conversation. Leaving an upscale Kingston restaurant a few months before, fourteen men had ambushed N and a male colleague in the restaurant’s parking lot. Shouting anti-gay epithets and in clear view of witnesses, the assailants ripped a hole in N’s eye, punched and body-slammed both men, and left them to bleed out on the pavement. “I’m afraid to drive in my own vehicle with another man in the front seat,” said N. “I can pull up to a red light and something can happen. I’m afraid to have any man in my apartment. I’m afraid someone will call me out as gay for using too many hand gestures. Yes, that happens here. Anything can be used to call a man gay, on the street or in the neighborhood.”

This fear of being identified as gay may have even contributed to Jamaica’s rising incidence of colon cancer. Jamaican men often refuse digital rectal examinations out of fear the procedure will result in an allegation of homosexuality, health officials have complained to local media. Until a few years ago, private apartment parties in Kingston were common places for gay Jamaicans to meet, but after mobs attacked several gay parties they are now considered too dangerous. Today, occasional street dance parties with a high security presence and, for those who can afford to travel, chance encounters at gay events abroad comprise the few venues where gay Jamaicans can openly socialize.

More here.