In his book words to our now, Thomas Glave, SUNY Binghamton prof and gay Jamaican-American author, ponders the ?gnawing fear? of the Jamaican LGBT experience.
"How will it happen?" he asks of the all-too-inevitable violence faced by gays and lesbians in Jamaica. "With fire... gasoline... machetes" pickaxes" hammers" guns" knives" simple strangling" or a good old-fashioned stoning?
"Will our father do it to us, or a neighbour? A boyfriend, or a co-worker? Will everyone in our community turn on us?"
Considerable international attention has been given recently to anti-gay violence in Jamaica following a rash of deaths there.
The seeming Jamaican government authorities' reluctance to do anything about it, despite calls from Amnesty International, has Helen Kennedy, the executive director of Egale Canada, the largest gay-lesbian group in this country, openly questioning the Harper government's pledge to dole out $600 million to bolster the infrastructure of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries over the next 10 years.
"Why are we using taxpayers' dollars to support countries that don't observe basic human rights?" Kennedy wonders. Jamaica still has a prohibition against the "abominable crime of buggery" on the books.
And nowhere in recent talk of constitutional reform on the island is the issue of gay rights addressed.
Egale is stopping short of calling for an all-out tourism boycott - the U.S.-based International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association says boycotts do nothing to help the LGBT communities there.
But from Kennedy's perspective, queers should think twice about spending their bucks in the Caribbean country, as well as others with spotty records on gay rights.
The group has joined Stop Murder Music Canada (SMM) in calling on immigration authorities to follow the lead of Britain and the U.S. and bar from entry into Canada reggae dancehall acts known for virulent anti-gay lyrics. So far, there's been a resounding non-response from higher up the political food chain.
In what Kennedy calls "an all-out campaign," Egale and SMM have set their sights on local promoters, bookers and venues, forcing the recent cancellation of shows featuring some of the more notoriously anti-gay dancehall dons - Capleton, Baby Cham and Beenie Man, all skedded for GTA-area gigs.
Show by Sizzla and Elephant Man were called off a few weeks earlier, although it's unclear how much lagging ticket sales had to do with the latter.
Chris Hines, the booker behind the Capleton, Baby Cham and Beenie Man gigs, says Egale and SMM have brought to his attention some lyrics of artists he books.
"They're telling me the song is an example of homophobia, but I translate it as something else. In Jamaica being homophobic is almost a law." Hines is only marginally overstating the reality.
Hundreds of attacks on gays and lesbians, many involving mob violence, and at least three deaths have been reported since the beginning of the year.
In April, Amnesty International called on Jamaican authorities to "send a clear message that discrimination against sexual minorities will not be tolerated" after two incidents involving mob violence against gays in Kingston.
If there's been an official response, Jamaican authorities are loath to share it with NOW. Repeated calls, e-mails and faxes sent to the Jamaican High Commission in Ottawa and the consulate in Toronto went unanswered.
Hines is sympathetic, but at the same time he can't shake a feeling: "It seems that they're just targeting the dancehall community. There are tons of hiphop artists that call people "faggot' in songs. And they're not going after them."
It's a familiar argument, one that was made by local activist Valerie Smith in her efforts last year to have the Ontario Human Rights Commission declare songs with misogynist lyrics "hate rap." The stumbling block there is that women are not an identifiable group under the Criminal Code. Gays are.
Used to be that SMM would get problem acts to sign a declaration known as the Reggae Compassionate Act. The groups would promise to zip it on the homophobic material in return for avoiding SMM's calls for boycotts, handcuffs and visa denials. "One Love" and all that.
Some acts signed, others recoiledProblem is there was nothing keeping the bands honest back home.
In 2004, a sobering blow came to those who thought that agreements like the Reggae Compassionate Act might have lasting traction in Jamaica.
Brian Williamson, a founding member of the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), was found brutally murdered.
While it's still a matter of some debate whether this was in fact a hate crime, this ultra-public gay-positive force died by violence.
Says SMM founder Akim Larcher, "What we've seen is that many of these artists have denied signing, claiming the alleged forgeries are part of the gay agenda."
Listeners and concert-goers are often encouraged to revel in derisive singalongs punctuated by exhortations like:
"Battyman fi dead!"
"Poop man fi drown."
"Hang chi chi gal wid a long piece of rope."
"Tek a bazooka and kill batty-fucker."
"I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come execute all the gays."
Unnecessary translations notwithstanding, the recurring gist of many of these frequently cited tracks is that the "sodomite" at large (including "bowcat" bwoys that go down on females) should beware divine wrath right here on earth.
To lesser extent, says Larcher, "that same homophobic environment exists here in the Caribbean and African communities. These artists remain symbols of hate against the LGBT communities."
In the past, artists like Beenie Man and Buju Banton have tried to play both sides of the pond by issuing denunciations of violence against "any human being." But one would gather from their continually catalogued concert ramblings that gays and lesbians fall outside of that definition.
"Until these artists take a public stand in the Caribbean, specifically denouncing violence against gays and lesbians, we don't think they should be allowed into Canada," says Larcher.
Case in point is Buju Banton, often heralded as a "changed man" after penning the anti-gay anthem Boom Bye Bye in the early 90s at the age of 15.
But just a few weeks ago, despite calls for his performance to get the hook, he busted out lines from that track at the Guyana Music Festival at the urging of the crowd.
Meanwhile, surprise! The offensive material can be accessed online, interestingly enough, on the Jamaica Tourist Board website, boasting that "Jamaica is one of the most special places on earth. Immerse yourself in our culture" as diverse as our people."
And this gem: "Reason with a Rastafarian about life, love or politics."