Gays Seek Asylum Outside Jamaica

Anti-gay graffiti on a Jamaican wall.

Gays seek asylum outside Jamaica

Gays living in Jamaica face difficulty reconciling two parts of themselves—being gay and being Jamaican.

Homosexuality is illegal in Jamaica, and considered a sin by church-going Jamaicans. Pastors rail against homosexuality from the pulpit, reggae lyrics glamorize gay killings and sodomy laws make homosexuality punishable by a 10-year prison sentence of hard labor.

A video captures the story of a gay Jamaican police officer and his search for asylum in Canada.

The “Jamaica Views blog” questions whether discrimination is getting worse and suggests that the situation can only improve when churches, schools and society as a whole reform their teachings.

Last May, Jamaica’s prime minister said he would not allow homosexuals into his cabinet. Jamaicans reacted to the prime minister’s public anti-gay declaration.

According to Immigration Equality, a New York-based national organization that works to seek asylum for persecuted gays, each month brings new stories and different versions of the same crimes — murder, attacks, beatings — against gays by Jamaican citizens and police. There has also been little effort by the government to outlaw the “buggery” or sodomy laws.

Jamaica’s intolerance for homosexuals and severe anti-gay record have proven to be grounds for gays to seek asylum in Britain, Canada and the U.S. Gays make up a small percentage of 12,000 asylum cases won in the U.S. every year.

October is LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] month in the U.S. To celebrate, “Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica: LGBT Blog” remembers Brian Williamson, a gay activist and J-FLAG founder, who was murdered in 2004.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Chrysaora under a Creative Commons license.


  1. kayoia nde quadri giwa

    Im kayode giwa a Nigerian im a gay im facing a lot in of death and discrimination among my Nigeria homosexual is forbidden i would like .to seek an asylum in france and leave my life.

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