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Discriminating against Brendan Bain

By Peter Espeut

The dismissal of Prof Brendan Bain as director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Network has continued to trigger debate, with each faction pushing their position. But then, that is what freedom of speech means. Commentators like myself have our own personal positions, but that does not stop us from pointing out inconsistencies and blatant falsehoods, no matter who utters them.
Let us get one thing clear at the start: HIV/AIDS is not a homosexual disease; heterosexual persons get it, and people can also contract the disease outside of sexual intercourse (eg, when infected drug users share intravenous needles). But it seems that the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) lobby believes that HIV/AIDS is an LGBT disease, for they have captured the UWI-run CHART project, seeking to turn it to serve their own political ends.
Isn’t it ironic that the LGBT lobby is objecting to Prof Bain stating that homosexual men are most likely to contract HIV/AIDS, while seeking to turn this health-care project into a gay-liberation project? If homosexuals are no more likely to get HIV/AIDS than anyone else, why would it matter whether buggery is criminalised or not? It is because they know that Prof Bain is right, and that homosexual men are more likely to contract HIV/AIDS than anyone else that they want to capture this UWI-administered prevention-and-treatment project.
In Thursday’s Gleaner, Prof Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, dean of the Faculty of Law, UWI, St Augustine, accuses her former colleague of supporting the “retention of a discriminatory regime that excludes persons from enjoying rights of equality on the basis of their sexual orientation”. One must presume the law professor knows the law. Pray tell, professor, which Belizean law or Jamaican law conveys to LGBT people “rights of equality on the basis of their sexual orientation”? This is precisely what the Belizean court case in which Prof Bain testified is seeking to determine, and precisely what the case involving Javed Jaghai and the attorney general of Jamaica is seeking to determine. It seems that the good professor is prejudging the outcome of these cases.

Neither the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights nor the Bill of Rights in the Jamaican Constitution admits “rights of equality on the basis of ... sexual orientation”, and so Prof Bain cannot be successfully accused of attacking rights that do not exist. She and the gay lobby may wish these rights to exist, but they don’t, and it is disingenuous and misleading to speak as if they do.
Discrimination is an emotionally charged word, but the good law professor will also know that not all discrimination is contrary to law. The fire service may discriminate against handicapped persons in their hiring practices. The military may discriminate against obese persons in their recruiting exercises. The Constitution of Jamaica discriminates against convicted criminals, bankrupt persons and foreign nationals running for public office. The church will legitimately choose not to hire satanists and paedophiles in its schools. I certainly am quite discriminating in the restaurants I choose to eat in.
In these days, when the importance of uplifting values and attitudes is recognised, some may feel the need to choose carefully the persons hired as household workers and school workers. The LGBT lobbies have chosen to discriminate against Prof Bain, declaring him unsuitable to be director of the CHART programme because of his personal values. Even the LGBT groups support discrimination; they just don’t want anyone to discriminate against them, however legitimately.
There may be the right to discriminate, but there is no right to commit violence. Violence against LGBT people (or anybody else) is a criminal offence, and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. All persons with diseases —especially infectious diseases—have a right to equal treatment by the country’s health services, and it is illegal to deny treatment to anyone with HIV/AIDS because of LGBT behaviour. It would be a breach of medical confidentiality should a health-care worker reveal a person’s HIV status to anyone.
There is no need for a project like CHART, dedicated to “provide access to quality HIV and AIDS prevention, care, treatment, and support services for all Caribbean people”, to have as one of its goals the removal of buggery laws across the Caribbean. I challenge the LGBT lobby to produce the evidence that there are persons with HIV/AIDS who cannot access treatment because of buggery being illegal. No one has to say how they came to be infected.
Demanding that the buggery laws be repealed because they prevent people from receiving medical treatment is a convenient ruse to get the gay lifestyle normalised. We must not fall for this samfie trick.

—Peter Espeut is a Roman Catholic
deacon. E-mail feedback to
columns@gleanerjm.com.
—Jamaica Gleaner
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