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Homosexuality in the Caribbean



Editor: The issue of homosexuality is by no means insignificant. I have heard informal estimates that put homosexuality within Vincentian population as high as forty per cent. Isaac Newton’s review of and invitation to read Claude Douglas’ new book on homosexuality (in the News newspaper of 13th March) suggests that the book proceeds on certain assumptions, which are not correct.{{more}} Firstly the review suggests that in the book heterosexual orientation is presented as merely a pervasive religious outlook in the Caribbean. As the review goes on, one does not get the sense that faith and its proper and necessary relationship to reason are given due consideration by either of the gentlemen. The review goes on further to say that the book questions the source of Caribbean values. The review also paints the book as stating that the struggle for civil rights, progressive democracy, and personal freedoms is engendered by homosexuality.

I would begin by recommending the encyclical, of the late Pope John Paul the Great Fides et Ratio to both gentlemen, if they have not already read it. In the encyclical the Pope shows how faith elevates reason. The three great monotheistic faiths Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are represented in the Caribbean. Christianity is the predominant faith in SVG, and teaches that every thing that exists comes from God and those who struggle to follow God’s Will are on their way back to God. It is from this vantage point that the Christian views the world. All three of the great faiths teach that homosexual acts represent decisions against God. It is from our faith that we Caribbean people derive many of our values. Specifically, the Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality is clearly stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in Paragraphs 2357 through 2359. To summarize the catechism: homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and cannot be approved under any circumstances. The Catechism also goes on to present homosexuals as members of the human family who are just as much in need of the acceptance and support of the community as anyone else. The catechism notes that like any other disorder those afflicted with homosexuality did not wish it on themselves. What seems to fuel much division on the issue is that many present day advocates of homosexuality seek to present the disorder as an act of free will and right reason rather than an unfortunate condition which places its victims in need of compassion and treatment.

Even without any of the theological constructs from the aforementioned faiths, one can purely by the light of reason arrive at the truth that homosexuality is a disorder. Consider the natural world. Anyone with high school level exposure to biology knows that every living organism on this planet has been conditioned via millions of years of evolution to want to pass its genes on to the next generation of the species. It is obvious in plants as they self and cross-pollinate to produce seeds. It is obvious even in viruses as they infect healthy cells and hijack the cells machinery so as to reproduce their own DNA. This passing on of genes is most certainly obvious in higher animals as they jockey for the right to mate. Both in the animal and in the plant kingdoms new generations are brought forth only when a male gamete and a female gamete are combined. This is the common theme seen all throughout the natural world. How can members of a species acting contrary to the complementarity and species perpetuating impulses bequeathed them via evolution not be disordered? So that even with enquiry which makes use purely of reason one can see that heterosexuality is truly a universal state, and not merely a human, let alone Caribbean outlook.

Finally we come to the proposition that homosexuality engenders the struggle for democracy, personal freedoms, and civil rights. We must never confuse the indulgence of disordered desires with the exercise of free will, and simply because an act involves consenting adults does not make it a protected civil right against which society can raise no objection. As a society, we should be concerned with how decisions taken in public life today will affect public morality tomorrow. Whether or not the “consenting adults” are concerned about it, we as a society should be concerned about how the actions of these individuals will affect them physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Have we become so indifferent as to image the bigotry in a certain developed country that would arm young black men and stand aside as they kill each other?

Homosexuals as the studies have shown have higher rates of STD infection than other groups, and they also have higher rates of domestic violence; can developing countries afford the economic and social costs associated with these entirely avoidable ills? SVG’s population is already declining. What are the implications for our population, economy and way of life if homosexuality becomes even more wide spread? Any society truly concerned about homosexuals would strive to ensure that treatment programs such as reorientation therapy are available to those who wish treatment. Anyone accepting the invitation to read Mr Douglas’ book should be aware that these issues exist. If the issues outlined in this article have not been addressed, then the book does both Caribbean society and homosexuals a great disservice.