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Jamaica Boycott Kicks Off In San Francisco

Jim Burroway

March 28th, 2009

There will be a rally today at noon on San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Plaza in the heart of The Castro to kick off a boycott of Jamaican products and travel:

But starting this weekend, at Harvey Milk Plaza, site of many actions by Milk in his crusade against Coors beer, a coalition of activists will gather to launch the boycott of Myers’s rum and Red Stripe beer.

The time has come to ask all gay bars and restaurants in San Francisco to boycott Jamaican rum and beer. Switch to serving rums from Puerto Rico and beers produced in countries with enlightened gay laws and social acceptance.

The Jamaican boycott encompasses not only Myers’s rum and Red Stripe beer; we are also asking travelers to avoid cruises to the country. There is no justifiable reason for gays and our allies who value the lives of LGBT and persons with AIDS in Jamaica to vacation there, or consume their alcoholic drinks.

Several bars and restaurants in San Fransisco have pulled Jamaican beverages from their shelves.

Oh yeah, I’m in there somewhere:

In Brooklyn, Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out is developing a Web site to provide background information. He’s working closely with Jim Burroway of Arizona, researcher and editor of the Box Turtle Bulletin blog. Besen and Burroway have both written extensively on the need to flex gay economic muscle and not spend our dollars in a country that explicitly hates us.

Actually, BTB’s Timothy Kincaid has done the lion’s share of reporting on events in Jamaica. Earlier this month, he called on Americans to avoid traveling to Jamaica after that island nation’s Prime Minister announced that “we are not going to yield to the pressure … to liberalize the laws as it relates to buggery.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Jamaica, where it carries a ten year prison sentence. According to the U.S. State Department, Jamaican LGBT people are subject to “arbitrary detention, mob attacks, stabbings, harassment of homosexual patients by hospital and prison staff, and targeted shootings of homosexuals. Police often did not investigate such incidents.”

After much debate and with some reluctance, I too join the call for a boycott. My reluctance stems from concerns about the impact this boycott may have on LGBT Jamaicans. But in the end, I cannot recommend that American dollars be spent in such a hostile environment. I believe consumers have a right to know what’s happening there and make their spending decisions accordingly.

The goals of the boycott are modest and easily achievable:

  1. Jamaican officials to publicly commit to end gay bashing on the island and improve the human rights
  2. A statement from the Prime Minister clearly and unequivocally condemning violence against GLBT people and expressing regret for past violence.

These modest goals aren’t difficult for anyone who values basic human rights. They shouldn’t be difficult for Jamaica’s policy makers. You can learn more at the Boycott Jamaica web site.

Comments

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Wayne Besen
March 28th, 2009 | LINK

http://www.boycottjamaica.org/news/boycott-endorsed-by-the-south-african-gay-and-lesbian-alliance-against-defamation/

A South African GLBT organization has just endorsed the boycott

Leonardo Ricardo
March 28th, 2009 | LINK

Oh, friends, there is SOOO much more to the Jamaican Anti-Gay Campaign (extends to the entire Anglican Province of the West Indies)…the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, is going there in early May…the recently retired Anglican Archbishop Gomez has been a deadly source of troubles for LGBT citizens in those Provinces and he is still chairing the ¨Anglican Covenant Design¨ Committee which is a conservative movement to exclude LGBT Christians at all levels of Churchlife.

Honest, I never ¨cross link¨ but please read my story on Jamaica (that is heavily linked to Box Turtle Bulletin) too.

http://leonardoricardosanto.blogspot.com/2009/03/make-sunbath-out-of-bloodbath-attention.html

Thanks for all that you do here!

Leonardo Ricardo

Jeff
March 28th, 2009 | LINK

I would never visit such a backwards place!

Screw Jamaica!

Tavdy
March 29th, 2009 | LINK

a coalition of activists will gather to launch the boycott of Myers’s rum and Red Stripe beer.

I’m just wondering about the logic of boycotting a beer that’s brewed round the corner from where I live – in Bedford, England.

(that said I think the Eagle Brewery only actually brews Red Stripe for the UK market)

Mark F.
March 29th, 2009 | LINK

I wonder if a coalition of activists will call for the boycott of gasoline? After all, the Saudi government (where a good percentage of our gas comes from) is rabidly anti-gay.

People can spend their money as they want, but I wonder about the logic of punishing businesses because they do business in a country where the government persues anti-gay policies.

And perhaps we ought to urge foreigners not to visit the United States as long as gays are considered second class citizens here?

Yeek
March 30th, 2009 | LINK

I just visited Curacao and it was a great experience. The people there are likely cut from the same religious cloth as the Jamaicans, yet they remain calm and respectful of gay couples – and vice versa. Do they approve? Do they disapprove? You can’t tell, and that’s the key. It’s just nice to see how Jamaica could have been, in a different reality.

As for the boycott, I don’t think it will work. Likely, it will provoke more resentment against homosexuals, but I still think it sends a personal message of repudiation that Jamaica deserves to hear.

Attmay
March 30th, 2009 | LINK

I’d say overthrowing the Jamaican government and putting a gay military strongman in its place would be what they deserve. Whether it would work is another thing.

Seriously, there need to be economic sanctions against countries where homosexuality is illegal.

Jamaican
March 30th, 2009 | LINK

As a closeted homosexual living in Jamaica, I fully support this decision. Here is the problem, the officials and the government may apologize, but the vast majority of Jamaican citizens remain a problem. The society and culture are very indifferent to the views and freedoms of persons who are homosexual. They don’t see it as being the way you were born, but more of a deviant choice and lifestyle.

The church which many people look up to in Jamaica endorse hatred against homosexuals. The fact that homosexuality is considered worst than murder and even prostitution, puts you in a situation where you just have to remain invisible and pretend. If I ever get the chance to leave this place I would – really sick and tired of it. Lets hope the boycott and the current state of the economy breaks the ignorance and misunderstanding of different persons living here.

Larry in Miami
March 30th, 2009 | LINK

I wish I could afford to travel so I could BOYCOTT JAMAICA!

cowboy
March 30th, 2009 | LINK

Jamaican,

I empathize with you. However, I doubt any boycott will “break” any of the deep-seated, engrained social mores there. The “break” will come from within the citizens of Jamaica…when they so choose to embrace truth. It’s a daunting task. It won’t happen with a proclamation from Secretaries of States. It won’t happen with every gay person leaving the country, either. I find economic sanctions are not generally known to change the hearts of man but, rather, it only makes people begrudgingly comply.

However, the more publicity about how homophobic Jamaica is and is reported by the main-stream-media the more likely this might be a catalyst to bringing about the “break”. But until then…

———————————————
A few years ago were not there a boycott of Sandals Resorts when they were not too gay friendly? How did that go?

IntellgenceWorks
March 31st, 2009 | LINK

This isnt a very well thought out idea.

How is a “boycott” of an entire nation going to help the gays in it?
Jamaicans, gay or not, are very proud of their country and heritage, and wouldnt appreciate that. And on top of that, when this news reaches Jamaica, do you think the people there are going to say “hey, lets suddenly be nice to gays since san franciscans dont buy my beer” or are is it going to incite more attacks against gays?

And for the most part, throughtout the carribeans many countries arent very gay friendly.

And Jamica’s anti gay attitude isnt even their fault. It stems from the anti-buggery laws left by the British.

Jamaica is a very beautiful but conflicted country and culture, and if you really want to help Jamaica’s gays, find a SMART way to do it. Because Bashing someone’s homecountry gets you NO WHERE.

Priya Lynn
March 31st, 2009 | LINK

IntelligenceWorks, you oppose the boycott but you don’t offer any alternative for changing this situation. Simply sitting back and hoping things will change isn’t going to work.

The boycott is a good idea in that it will raise the idea in people’s minds that maybe its wrong to harm gays whereas if you do nothing that idea is never challenged, never reconsidered. Sure you won’t change the hard core homophobe’s mind but to the average person for whom the idea that its wrong to oppress gays never crossed their mind this starts the process of questioning which is a necessary step to change minds.

GaySolomon
April 1st, 2009 | LINK

IntelligenceWorks

In Canada duing the 1970’s, rights for LGBT people were not given – they were taken.

In our experience, it is only when you threaten to deprive the controlling elite of something that they desire, will those elites even listen to you.

The most important legal industry in Jamaica is tourism. Believe me – if you threaten that industry you will get the attention of Jamaica’s ruling elite. Until the Jamaican elite starts to listen to the legitimate aspirations of LGBT people there will be no real change.

It is not pretty, and it is often messy – but economic or social disruption, or the threat of economic or social disruption, really do work.

JJQR
April 4th, 2009 | LINK

Stop blaming Europeans and their churches for instilling the homophobia in Jamaicans. That wouldn’t account for Rastafarian homophobia (and anti-Catholicism). Also, I think those supposed Jamaican “adults” would be able to make up their own minds about how they treat their own minorities (unless you think they’re so dumb that they just take on whatever white people tell them), without listening to colonialists all those years ago.

leslie reid
April 9th, 2009 | LINK

I welcome the boycott globally over jamaica homophobia general violence murder rate,and torture united nation shouid lift sanctions for breach of human rights abuses. and economic inequality.

Steve
April 9th, 2009 | LINK

As a much closeted homosexual that resides in Jamaica. I must express my gratitude and wholehearted support for your stance to encourage the boycotting of Jamaica. I know we may all suffer, gays and straight alike. But this is a price that I am willing to pay just like all other groups in the past that fought to have their rights respected. I hope as many persons as possible will come onboard.
I recall during the nineteen eighties the great pride many of us Jamaicans felt as we boycotted and encouraged others to boycott South Africa when that country was proud of its system of oppression and ill-treatment of blacks.
The violence reported against Gays in Jamaica is very real. Most of us gays have either been affected directly or know someone that has been. Anyone who dares to be open about their sexuality is inviting violence or possible death. The State and the Religious leaders provides no protection as they view this as a moral matter in which Gays through there immoral choice of living justly invites the wrath of the society’s righteous cultural guardians.

Birdzilla
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

San Franstinkhole has become a blight in america we should het them where it hurts their bank account

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