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Homophobia’s gotten worse

I am replying to a letter titled Not progressive by Reverend Haynesley Griffith, a family therapist with Family Heartbeat International Network Inc., which appeared in your newspaper on 06/06/2013, in which the author was responding to an article titled A Case of Intellectual Dishonesty by Peter Wickham.

Peter Wickham was making a reference to the US and UK as progressive countries and respective leaders, Barak Obama and David Cameron as possessing progressive positions regarding gay marriage.

Griffith’s main issue in his homophobic letter was gay men who were infected with HIV/AIDS transmissions in the UK which he claims remains a significant public health issue and in the US 63 per cent of gay men who were infected with HIV/AIDS and 78 per cent of US men who were also infected in 2010.

He goes on to add that on February 1, 2013, a science journalist, Asha Tanna, reported that the number of infections in England and Wales with gay men was 2,500 and I am assuming Griffith is referring HIV/AIDS. Griffith fails to realise that the UK also includes Scotland and Northern Ireland. The population of the UK is around 60 million, so to say that 2,500 gay men were infected with HIV/AIDS is comparatively insignificant to the population of 60 million.

Griffith also declines to mention that heterosexual men can contact HIV/AIDS, as well as women and its not only gay men who can contact this sexually transmitted disease. Griffith also fails to mention that they are HIV/AIDS drugs that prolong the life expectancy of individuals infected with this disease, including gay men.

I use to live Barbados and I have always found the island homophobic. But it seems to have gotten worse with a greater amount homophobic letters published in the local newspapers and the current Barbados Government refusing to legalise homosexuality. This is what I call public persecution of the LGBT society in Barbados and utter discrimination.

I now live in the UK and I can say the United Kingdom such as the Tory Party, Labour, the Lib Dems and a majority of the United Kingdom support gay marriage and gay rights in this progressive country. Not to mention, they are laws protecting the UK LGBT society against homophobia and discrimination.

I have returned to Barbados on holiday on two occasions, and found it was like returning to time warp where attitudes towards gays were still homophobic through what my friends had told me and the anti-gay letters that have appeared in the Barbadian newspapers via Facebook and the Internet even before I went to Barbados on holiday.

I can say that I feel more comfortable living in the UK than in Barbados. In short, Reverend Haynesley Griffith has an extreme fear of homosexuals and homosexuality and believes that his philosophy against homosexuals and homosexuality only count, and unfortunately that’s a very distressing state of affairs in Barbados for the LGBT society in Barbados.

— Derek Gale

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