HEAD of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Victim Support Unit, Margaret Sampson-Browne, said yesterday she cannot validate statements by artist LeRoy Clarke that homosexuality is fuelling crime locally.
Sampson-Browne said while it is common that abused children grow into troubled and sometimes violent adults, she was not aware of research to show that young men are being indoctrinated into gangs with gay sex, leaving them angry and violent.
Clarke made the statements at the launch of his book and this week told a newspaper that homosexuality and feminisation of local men were also causing the demise of local culture, including Carnival.
Sampson-Browne said in a telephone interview yesterday that Clarke has perhaps conducted his own research and found basis for his statements but she was not able to make a connection between crime and homosexuality.
“Anger comes in many forms and there are a lot of angry people out there,” Sampson-Browne said.
“I cannot make the connection myself that Mr Clarke has made but maybe he has done his research.
“I can say, however, that the Victim Support Unit responds no matter what the person’s sexual orientation.”
Also in disagreement with Clarke was chair of the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) Leela Ramdeen.
“This idea being put forth by Mr Clarke will serve only to distract from the real social ills that are affecting our young men—poverty, social exclusion, the failure of the education system.”
Ramdeen said she disagreed that homosexuality was fuelling crime and it was “unfair” to place that level of blame on the gay community.
“Perhaps Mr Clarke knows of that but I have not seen any evidence,” Ramdeen said.
“We have to be very careful with what we say...look at what is happening in Uganda,” she added, referring to a rise in violence against gays and the passing of anti-gay laws.
“It is very wrong and deflects from the issues.”
Ramdeen said Clarke may be closer to reality in his statements that the feminisation of men is becoming commonplace.
She cited a lack of male role models in most homes.
“Who are the men in their lives?,” Ramdeen said.
She said, however, that the arts are not necessarily threatened by homosexuality, as Clarke has suggested, but that there are simply more women than men who are willing to dress skimpily and “behave badly” in the streets for Carnival.
The media focuses on women more during these times, she said.
Contacted yesterday on whether he stood by his statements, Clarke said he would prefer to speak on the matter today.