Living life in Jamaica has been such an eye opening experience already. Not as vacation or a getaway, but as a trip into a part of our worlds realities and struggles. To many, at first glance Jamaica has this image of paradise, the beaches, resorts, palm trees and the people, but it is so much more than that. Looking beyond the facade local people put up and going further into the heart of Jamaican community, I can see the struggles that plague this society. I see what 1, 912, 234 people who visit Jamaican annually either by cruise ships or plane seem to over look and only see facade’s of beaches and resorts.
Jamaica struggles with HIV&AIDS and homophobia. These two issues seem to run hand in hand, not because HIV is stereotyped as a gay mans diseases but rather the high rate of homophobia and fear of being or thought to be homosexual that it prevents people from even getting tested; which I believe is one of the catalyst’s for the epidemic happening here.
It is crazy for me to imagine back in Canada, to choose or be born of the homosexual lifestyle it is generally accepted by our modern society. I grew up being taught to accept these lifestyles and never to judge unless I judge myself. So its hard for me to grasp that Jamaicans born of that lifestyle cannot be comfortable or feel safe being themselves. I don’t know about anyone else but I want to be able to live in a world accepting of everyone, not just for me but the many generations after me. It’s organizations that I am currently working with such as CVC (Caribbean Vulnerable Communities) and JASL (Jamaica Aids support for Life) that are helping toward that goal here in the Caribbean.