Even now, about three years after a near-fatal gay bashing, Sherman gets jittery at dusk. On bad days, his blood quickens, his eyes dart, and he seeks refuge indoors.The BTB comments:
A group of men kicked him and slashed him with knives for being a "batty boy" — a slang term for gay men — after he left a party before dawn in October 2006. They sliced his throat, torso, and back, hissed anti-gay epithets, and left him for dead on a Kingston corner. [...]
Many in this highly Christian nation perceive homosexuality as a sin, and insist violence against gays is blown out of proportion by gay activists. Some say Jamaica tolerates homosexuality as long as it is not advertised — a tropical version of former President Bill Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for the U.S. military.
Jamaica's most prominent evangelical pastor, Bishop Herro Blair, said he sympathizes with those who face intolerance, but that homosexuals themselves are actually behind most of the attacks reported against them. [...]
Perhaps playing to anti-gay constituents, politicians routinely rail against homosexuals. During a parliamentary session in February, lawmaker Ernest Smith of the ruling Jamaica Labor Party stressed that gays were "brazen," "abusive," and "violent," and expressed anxiety that the police force was "overrun by homosexuals."
A few weeks later, Prime Minister Bruce Golding described gay advocates as "perhaps the most organized lobby in the world" and vowed to keep Jamaica's "buggery law" — punishable by 10 years — on the books. During a BBC interview last year, Golding vowed to never allow gays in his Cabinet.
The dread of homosexuality is so all-encompassing that many Jamaican men refuse to get digital rectal examinations for prostate cancer, even those whose disease is advanced, said Dr. Trevor Tulloch of St. Andrews Hospital.
"Because it is a homophobic society, there's such a fear of the sexual implications of having the exam that men won't seek out help," said Tulloch, adding Jamaica has a soaring rate of prostate cancer because men won't be screened. [...]
Sherman, meanwhile, is simply trying to move on with his life. But he said he will always remember how, after his attack, patrolmen roughly lifted his bloodied body out of their squad car when a man admonished them for aiding a "batty boy." A woman shamed them into driving him to a hospital; they stuffed him in the car's trunk.
So predominant is hatred of gay people there that it outweighs basic decency - simple compassion you’d show a dog.Shameful. And even more shameful, of course, is the fact that the churches seem to endorse this behaviour. At least, by not speaking out against it.