National Survey of Attitudes and Perceptions of Jamaicans towards same sex relationships

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National Survey of Attitudes and Perceptions of Jamaicans towards same sex relationships
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Abstract:
This report examines Jamaican views towards homosexuality and attempts to discover what are some possible determinants of attitudes towards homosexuality in the country. This study uses a mixed method approach driven largely by a nation poll of attitudes and perceptions. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1007 adults from 231 communities across Jamaica was interviewed between October and November 2010. The margin of error is approximately +/- 4%. The survey was supported by a qualitative study based on five focus groups conducted across the country between October 2010 and January 2011.
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Support for the development of the technical infrastructure and partner training provided by the United States Department of Education TICFIA program.

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NATIONAL SURVEY OF ATTITUDES AND PERCEPTIONS OF
JAMAICANS TOWARDS SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS





















Supported in part by a grant from

Foundation Open Society Institute (ZUG)

and additional support from AIDS Free World
















RESEARCH TEAM


IAN BOXILL

JOULENE MARTIN

ROY RUSSELL

LLOYD WALLER

TRACIAN MEIKLE

RASHALEE MITCHELL




DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIAL WORK

UWI, MONA

JANUARY 2011









EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


This report examines Jamaican views towards homosexuality and attempts to discover
what are some possible determinants of attitudes towards homosexuality in the country.
This study uses a mixed method approach driven largely by a nation poll of attitudes and
perceptions. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1007 adults from 231
communities across Jamaica was interviewed between October and November 2010. The
margin of error is approximately +/- 4%. The survey was supported by a qualitative study
based on five focus groups conducted across the country between October 2010 and
January 2011. Following is a summary of findings from the study.

1. It would appear that Jamaicans become aware of homosexuality at an early stage in
their lives as the majority of the respondents (51%) indicated knowing about
homosexuality at 14 years old and under.
2. Most Jamaicans (89%) believe that homosexuality is somewhat or very prevalent
in Jamaica. Respondents also alluded to an association with this orientation and
one's social class, as 66.8% felt that is was more prevalent among some social
classes more than others. A significant 57.7% felt that it was most prevalent among
the upper class, while 9% said it was most among the middle class and another 2%
said it was most among the working class.
3. Most persons (51%) felt that homosexuality was to be found equally among males
and females, however, 32% felt that it was more common among males and 11.2%
stated that it was slightly more common among females.
4. With respect to the causes of homosexuality, opinions varied. Only 10% felt that
persons are born as homosexuals, however 28.6% felt that it was due to
environmental factors social and cultural. The largest proportion felt that it was
due to a combination of factors, suggesting the interaction of nature and nurture.
5. Most Jamaicans (56%) believe that it is not possible to be a homosexual and be
religious at the same time. However, it should be noted that a significant minority
(43%) does not share this view, which perhaps suggest that the public is somewhat
conflicted on the issue of homosexuality and religiosity.









6. When asked if one can be homosexual and also be a Christian, only 30% agreed with
the statement.
7. Most respondents agreed that society was more accepting of female homosexuality
(67.1%) and that this was the case because women can do things men cannot do
whilst suffering few negative consequences. Also, female homosexuality is rarely
considered to be bad or wrong (13%).
8. Most respondents (85.2%) did not think that homosexuality among consenting
adults should be made legal in Jamaica.
9. In relation to male homosexuality, 82.2% deemed it to be morally wrong as opposed
to 3.6% who did not see it as a moral issue. 6.2% of those polled had no opinion on
the matter. As for female homosexuality, the results were similar as 75.2% felt that
homosexuality was morally wrong.
10. Two homophobia scales indicate that Jamaicans have strong negative views of
homosexuality, thereby ranking high on these scales.
11. Negative views of homosexuality tended to be greatest among males, non-
university educated persons, those who listened mostly to dancehall and reggae
music and those in lower socio-economic groups.
12. In general, the most important finding from this study is that strong negative
perceptions and attitudes towards homosexuality cut across all social classes,
gender and social groups in Jamaica.

















NATIONAL SURVEY OF ATTITUDES AND PERCEPTIONS OF
JAMAICANS TOWARDS SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS





















Supported in part by a grant from

Foundation Open Society Institute (ZUG)

and additional support from AIDS Free World
















RESEARCH TEAM


IAN BOXILL

JOULENE MARTIN

ROY RUSSELL

LLOYD WALLER

TRACIAN MEIKLE

RASHALEE MITCHELL




DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIAL WORK

UWI, MONA

JANUARY 2011











EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


This report examines Jamaican views towards homosexuality and attempts to discover
what are some possible determinants of attitudes towards homosexuality in the country.
This study uses a mixed method approach driven largely by a nation poll of attitudes and
perceptions. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1007 adults from 231
communities across Jamaica was interviewed between October and November 2010. The
margin of error is approximately +/- 4%. The survey was supported by a qualitative study
based on five focus groups conducted across the country between October 2010 and
January 2011. Following is a summary of findings from the study.

1. It would appear that Jamaicans become aware of homosexuality at an early stage in
their lives as the majority of the respondents (51%) indicated knowing about
homosexuality at 14 years old and under.
2. Most Jamaicans (89%) believe that homosexuality is somewhat or very prevalent
in Jamaica. Respondents also alluded to an association with this orientation and
one's social class, as 66.8% felt that is was more prevalent among some social
classes more than others. A significant 57.7% felt that it was most prevalent among
the upper class, while 9% said it was most among the middle class and another 2%
said it was most among the working class.
3. Most persons (51%) felt that homosexuality was to be found equally among males
and females, however, 32% felt that it was more common among males and 11.2%
stated that it was slightly more common among females.
4. With respect to the causes of homosexuality, opinions varied. Only 10% felt that
persons are born as homosexuals, however 28.6% felt that it was due to
environmental factors social and cultural. The largest proportion felt that it was
due to a combination of factors, suggesting the interaction of nature and nurture.
5. Most Jamaicans (56%) believe that it is not possible to be a homosexual and be
religious at the same time. However, it should be noted that a significant minority









(43%) does not share this view, which perhaps suggest that the public is somewhat
conflicted on the issue of homosexuality and religiosity.
6. When asked if one can be homosexual and also be a Christian, only 30% agreed with
the statement.
7. Most respondents agreed that society was more accepting of female homosexuality
(67.1%) and that this was the case because women can do things men cannot do
whilst suffering few negative consequences. Also, female homosexuality is rarely
considered to be bad or wrong (13%).
8. Most respondents (85.2%) did not think that homosexuality among consenting
adults should be made legal in Jamaica.
9. In relation to male homosexuality, 82.2% deemed it to be morally wrong as opposed
to 3.6% who did not see it as a moral issue. 6.2% of those polled had no opinion on
the matter. As for female homosexuality, the results were similar as 75.2% felt that
homosexuality was morally wrong.
10. Two homophobia scales indicate that Jamaicans have strong negative views of
homosexuality, thereby ranking high on these scales.
11. Negative views of homosexuality tended to be greatest among males, non-
university educated persons, those who listened mostly to dancehall and reggae
music and those in lower socio-economic groups.
12. In general, the most important finding from this study is that strong negative
perceptions and attitudes towards homosexuality cut across all social classes,
gender and social groups in Jamaica.














TABLE OF CONTENTS




Page

Background ................................................................................................. 5

Objectives ............................................................................................... 8

M ethodology........................................................................................... 8

Findings ................................................................................................. 11

Predictors of Attitudes Towards Homosexuality................................. 33

Conclusions........................................................ .................................. 35

References .............................................................................................. 36

Appendices ................................................................................................. 37

























4











1. Background


Popular opinion within and outside of Jamaica is that Jamaica is a very homophobic society.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines homophobia as the "fear of or contempt for
lesbians and gay men" and behaviorir based on such feelings." "The Offences Against the
Person Act of the Jamaican Criminal Code" contains several sections that deal with male
homosexual acts and non-gender specific anal intercourse. Article 76 stipulates that anyone
committing buggery with man or animal is "liable to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour
for a term not exceeding 10 years." Under Article 79, any male convicted of "any act of
gross indecency with another male person" is liable to receive a maximum sentence not
exceeding 2 years, 'with or without hard labour."' (Carr and White, 2005, p.6). Unlike other
colonial-era legislation that exists without societal support, the "buggery law" is strongly
supported by the Jamaican people. A poll in The Daily Gleaner, conducted in 2001,
showed that 90% of the population was strongly opposed to removing this legislation.
However, there has never been a comprehensive polling of Jamaicans on homosexuality.
Therefore, this study is the first national study to focus on attitudes and perceptions of
Jamaicans toward same sex relationships.

A review of North American literature on attitudes towards same sex relationships reveal
that a number of variables play a critical role. The variables that appear to influence
attitudes towards same sex relationships include: peoples' religious views, social class,
education and gender. Persons who are less religious, of a higher social economic status
and are more educated have more liberal views of homosexuality. In addition, females
generally have more liberal views than males. In Jamaica, given the debate surrounding the
role of music in the determining attitude, we also include 'type of music listened to most' as
an additional variable.

In Jamaica, it may be argued that attitudes towards homosexuality are affected by a
number of additional factors, among them the views of opinion makers and politicians. For
example, during the 2001 general elections, the Jamaican Labour Party used the popular
dancehall song "Chi Chi Man," which celebrates killing gay men as its theme song (Human









Rights Watch, 2004). More recently, the current Prime Minister, Mr. Bruce Golding
responded to the question on whether gays could serve in the government with "Sure, they
can be in the Cabinet but not in my Cabinet" (Luton, 2009, p.1).

Beyond the legal and political discrimination, homosexuals in Jamaica face severe
discrimination that often leads to violence and even death from members of the public. The
United Kingdom based The Observer reported that over the span of five years, over 30 gay
men were killed in Jamaica. Reports of beatings and other kinds of violence have been more
constant. A recent report by Human Rights Watch reports of:

"Violent acts against men who have sex with men are commonplace in Jamaica.
Verbal and physical violence, ranging from beatings to brutal armed attacks to
murder, are widespread. For many, there is no sanctuary from such abuse. Men
who have sex with men and women who have sex with women reported being
driven from their homes and their towns by neighbours who threatened to kill them
if they remained, forcing them to abandon their possessions and leaving many
homeless" (Human Rights Watch, 2004, p.4)

One of the most harrowing cases of homophobic violence was the prison riot of 1997,
which erupted when the head of the Jamaica Correctional Services proposed that condoms
be distributed in the male prisons. In the riot, seventeen male inmates were murdered
because it was alleged that they were homosexual, in full view of wardens who stood close
by (Williams, 2000).

The basis for the strong homophobic attitudes that are displayed in Jamaica have been
explored by different researchers. Gutzmore (2004, p.8) presents the largest number of
what he calls "homophobic ideological imperatives," which he divides into primary and
secondary imperatives. The primary imperatives are "the religious fundamentalist anti-
homosexuality" imperative and "the unnaturalnesss' of homosexuality" and the secondary
imperatives are "the purity and authenticity of a primordially homosexuality-free global
African culture," "the imperative to protect vulnerable youth from homosexuality, as
conflated with paedophilia" and "the imperative of the illegality of homosexuality."









He shows that religious fundamentalists use the Bible to denounce homosexuality by
pointing to the fact that "God, throughout His book, variously declares homosexuality to be
an 'abomination' (Ezekiel 16: 50), a 'vile affection' (Romans 1: 26, 27), 'unseemly' (Romans
1: 27), 'not natural' (Romans 1: 26, 27), a form of ungodliness (Titus 2: 12)" (Gutzmore,
2004, p. 10). Therefore, those who commit this sin have to be punished by God. One of the
terms that is regularly used to describe this violence against homosexuals is "batty
judgments" (Carr and White, 2005). Carr (2003) theorizes that the biblical roots of these
judgments may havetheirroots in 19th century evangelism after emancipation, showing the
pervasive religious influence on homophobia.

The second primary imperative that homosexuality is simply "unnatural" is also a popular
perception in Jamaican society with the foundation that sex is for procreation purposes and
thus sexual acts that could not lead to procreation are perverse. The other imperative that
is commonly used to justify homophobia is the conflation of homosexuality with
paedophilia. Gutzmore (2004, p. 15) explains that "the foundational assumption of this
imperative is that homosexuality, especially in its male form, involves a strongly predatory
paedophile tendency which is put into practice against innocent and powerless young
people at every opportunity." On the other hand, young men are strongly encouraged to
engage in heterosexual sex from a young age to develop their sense of masculinity, to which
homosexuality presents a challenge (Chevannes, 2004).

Anderson et al (2009) discusses homophobic attitudes within Herek's theoretical
framework of heterosexism, which he defines as an 'ideological system that denies,
denigrates and stigmatises any non-heterosexual behaviour, identity, relationship or
community.' Agreeing with two of Gutzmore's imperatives, Anderson posits that
heterosexism is fuelled by religious beliefs and the "belief that the Black identity should
exclude homosexuality" (p.3). She found that even several of her gay research participants
had internalized the argument of religious condemnation and believed that Christianity
and homosexuality were irreconcilable.

King (2006) expands on the perception of homosexuality as racial conflict as presented by
Anderson and Gutzmore, which she terms "homosexuality as cultural imperialism" in her









study on homophobia in Jamaica. She found that in exploring the explanations given for
homophobia, the perception that "homosexuality is a white perversion that has been
imposed upon African people" (p.26) came up repeatedly. Most of her respondents
believed that homosexuality did not exist in pre-colonial Africa and that it was introduced
during slavery and further denigrated people of African descent as it was a reminder of 400
years of sexual exploitation.

The strong homophobia that exists in the country has myriad effects, the most hazardous of
which is its impact on the transmission and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Royes (2003) found
that homophobia leads to denial on the part of some homosexual men who define
themselves as heterosexual, while continuing to have sex with men, often unprotected,
which places the MSM population at high risk to HIV/AIDS. Homophobic attitudes also
pervade the health care system and many HIV positive MSM are discriminated against,
especially in the public health care system. Fear of discrimination deters a large portion of
the population from even seeking health care, which further compounds the problem
(Human Rights Watch, 2004). For all these reasons, it is important to get a greater sense of
how Jamaicans feel about homosexuality, beyond the anecdotal evidence, for it is only by
cataloguing and understanding these views that we are able to contribute to a much more
enlightened discourse on the matter.

2. Objectives

The main objectives of this study are to examine Jamaican views towards homosexuality
and highlight what are some possible determinants of attitudes towards homosexuality in
the country. The study employs two homophobia scales and focus groups in an attempt to
achieve these objectives.

3. Methodology

This study uses a mixed method approach driven largely by the quantitative data that is, a
QUANT-QUAL approach. For the survey, a nationally representative sample 1007 adults
(18 years and over) from 231 communities across Jamaica was interviewed between
October and November 2010 The margin of error is approximately +/- 4%. The survey









was supported by a qualitative study based on five focus groups conducted across the
country between October 2010 and January 2011.

3.1 Demographic profiles ofFGDs

For the first FGD, all of the participant university students were between the ages of 19-22
years. In total there were 8 participants with 5 females and 3 males. Although they all
attended university they hailed from various geographical locations in the country. These
included mainly inner city communities and rural communities.

The second FGD was comprised 10 male participants only. They were from an urban, inner-
city community in Central Kingston. They were between the ages of 18- 31 years. Five of
the participants finished secondary level education while the others did not, most stopping
at the 10th grade (or 4th form) level. One of the participants had a cook shop, 2 had jobs, 1
was enrolled in a post secondary level institution (HEART programme) and the others
were unemployed.

The third FGD comprised 5 participants, all of whom were professionals and included a
teacher, 2 managers, and an administrative assistant. Of the 5 participants, 4 had a first
degree and 3 had Masters level qualifications. They included 2 males and 4 females
between the ages of 28 -40 years.

The fourth FGD was a mixed inner-city group with 6 participants, 3 males and 3 females.
Two female participants were unemployed, the other female participant was employed, 1
male participant was retired, another male participant was employed and the other male
participant depended on seasonal work. The participants ranged from 24 to 60 years.

The fifth FGD was a mixed religious/Christian group. The age range was from 26 to 67
years. Three of the participants (1 male and 2 females) were employed part time and the
other participants were employed full time.









3.2. Measuring Attitudes


An attitude is a construct that reflects how people feel about something. Attitudes exist
along a continuum of positive to negative, although some attitudes may reflect the fact that
a person is conflicted or ambivalent about an issue, person or thing. Attitudes comprise
what a person thinks, what a person does, and what a person feels. Hence we are
concerned with cognition, affect and behavior.

Measuring attitudes is a highly developed area of social sciences and often employs
complex techniques such as scales and indices. This survey draws on two scales that have
been developed for studying attitudes towards homosexuality, the Wright, Adams and
Bernat 1996 homophobia scale and the Riddle 1994 homophobia scale. Dr Henry Adams
and his colleagues at the University of Georgia developed their scale based upon
modifications of other scales. In the study we modified the Wright et al scale and also
triangulated with the Riddle Scale.

3.3 Measuring Perceptions

Perception refers to the process by which people acquire, interpret, select and organize
information. Perceptions depend on the five senses and are based on past experiences and
socialization. They may or may not reflect the reality. In this study, a number of questions
have been asked to elicit respondents' perceptions of a number of issues related to
homosexuality.

3.4 Measuring Knowledge

Part of the objective of this study was to investigate what Jamaicans know about various
aspects of same sex relationships and interrogate how they acquired this knowledge. A
number of questions geared towards ascertaining what people know about various issues
associated with same sex relationships were included in the survey.

3.5 Limitations of survey

Conducting surveys on sensitive topics often results in respondents not revealing their
true feelings on a number of issues. Given the sensitivity of the topic of homosexuality in









the Jamaican society, we anticipated that there might be reluctance in answering various
types of questions and in some cases the tendency to not tell the truth the problem of
social desirability bias. To address the potential problem, in piloting the study, we were
able to make adjustments to compensate for some sources of invalidity. We found that
mature female interviewers with significant interviewing experience elicited better
responses in the field. Consequently, the interviewers were largely experienced, mature
females. While we cannot guarantee the absence of social desirability bias in the results, we
believe that we were able to reduce it significantly.

3.6 Field work Challenges

There were some challenges that sought to impede the process of gathering worthwhile
information for the subject being investigated. It became progressively more difficult to
organize the FGDs not only because of logistical issues as perhaps is a normal functionality,
but more importantly because of the topic that was up for discussion. Many of the potential
participants upon hearing of the topic were less than eager and some very adamant that
they wanted no part of any discussion with homophobia and homosexuality as the
headline. This was especially more pronounced in the attempts to organize the rural
groups as the first few attempts to get the FGDs together were unsuccessful, mainly
because of the topic under investigation.




4. FINDINGS

4.1 The Sample

The data from this study were collected from a representative sample across the island.
These 1007 participants were both male (49%) and female (51%). The ages of the
respondents ranged from 18-84 years old.

As illustrated in Tables 1 & 2 below, most of the respondents attend church or other
religious activities, with the majority attending these activities two to three times a year.









Table 1: Attendance at Church or other religious activities (n=2007)


Attendance Percentages (%)


Yes 81.8
No 18.2



Table 2: Frequency of Church and Religious activity Attendance (n=2007)

Frequency of Attendance Percentages (%)


Every week 27.6
Every Month 29.5
Two to three times a year 32.6
Every year 5.1
Less than Once per year 5.1



Given the debate in Jamaica about the possible impact of musical preference on views
about homosexuality, this variable was included in the survey. As Table 3 below shows, the
majority of the respondents listened to a variety of musical genres with no clear preference
for one type.

Table 3: Music Preferences of Respondents

Musical preferences Percentages (%)


Reggae 19.9
Dancehall 12.0

Hip Hop/Rap 5.3
R&B 15.2

Soca/Calypso .9









Rock/Alternative 1.9
Gospel 15.8
Old hits .8

Jazz .1
Country .1
Listen to all about the same 28.1



In relation to the employment status of those polled, 77.5% were employed, with the
majority of respondents being office/clerical workers. Table 4 gives the distribution of the
types of employment of the respondents.

Table 4: Occupations of Respondents

Occupations Percentages (%)


Clerical, Office Worker 13.2
Other type of work 12.9
Tradesman, Skilled Worker 12.4
Business Person 11

Unskilled Worker, Labourer 9.6
Professional 9.3

Higgler, Vendor 5.2
Manager, Supervisor 5.2
Respondent has never been employed 5.2
Teacher 5.1

Shopkeeper 3.5

Juggling, Hustling 3.4
Farmer 3.2
Farm Worker .7









The education of respondents ranged from no formal education to graduate degrees.
However, almost a third of the respondents (31.2%) indicated that they had completed
secondary education and just over 18% had some type of tertiary education.

In terms of social class distribution, more than half (51%) were classified as
lower/working class, and one third said they earned between $20,000 and $70,000 per
month.




4.2 Knowledge, Perceptions and Attitudes

Information on same sex relationships was analyzed under four major categories:
knowledge, perceptions and general and specific attitudes.

4.2.1 Knowledge and Definitions Homosexuality

In relation to knowledge, respondents were asked if they were aware of common terms
associated with same sex relationships. The results revealed that 99.1% were aware of the
term "lesbian", 98.7% the term "gay", 98.1% of the respondents were aware of the term
"homosexual" and 92.6% were aware of the term "bisexual." Respondents were least aware
of the term "transsexual" as 23.5% had no idea what the term meant. When asked how
they became aware of homosexuality, the results revealed that most respondents became
aware of homosexuality largely due to contact with friends and family (32.9 %) as well as
information from the media (31.3%). Other formal agents of socialization such as the
school and the church were also identified as places of primary awareness. Informally,
interaction on the streets was also identified as a medium of how people became aware of
homosexuality. Table 5 and Chart 1 provide the results for each area of awareness.









Table 5: Sources of first awareness of homosexuality


Source of awareness Percentages (%)
Friends/Family 32.9
Media(print/electronic) 31.3
School 11.4
Church 4.3
On the streets 2.1
Bible 1.2



It would appear that Jamaicans become aware of homosexuality at an early stage in their
lives as the majority of the respondents (51%) indicated knowing about homosexuality at
14 years old and under. Regardless of the initial exposure to homosexuality, there were
varying results as to what constituted homosexuality. The majority of the respondents
(73%) said that homosexuality meant sexual intercourse with members of the same







Chart 1: Sources of first awareness of
homosexuality


sex. However, a significant percentage of respondents felt that homosexuality was only in
reference to males, as 21.6% agreed that males who had intercourse with other men solely
were homosexual. Other notable definitions of homosexuality can be seen in Table 6.

Table 6: Definitions of Homosexuality

Definition Percentages (%)
Same sex/gender having sexual intercourse 73.0
Interest/feelings/attraction to the same sex 4.8
Battyman 3.2
Gay persons 2.2
Ungodly 1.2


4.2.2 How prevalent is Homosexuality?

It would seem that most Jamaicans (89%) believe that homosexuality is somewhat or very
prevalent in Jamaica. Respondents also alluded to an association with this lifestyle and


35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%


;tt~









one's social class, as 66.8% felt that it was more prevalent among some social classes than
others. A significant 57.7% felt that it was most prevalent among the upper class, while 9%
said it was most among the middle class and another 2% said it was most among the
working class.

Most persons (51%) felt that it was to be found equally among males and females,
however, 32% felt that it was more common among males and 11.2% stated that it was
slightly more common among females.

Part of the reason for the perception that homosexuality is on the increase in Jamaica may
perhaps be based on the fact that many Jamaicans are exposed to it on cable television. In
other words many appear to be more aware of it or to hear more about it by virtue of
watching the television. In one focus group there seemed to be a consensus regarding the
perception of males wanting to be a part of the 'hype culture'. As a consequence of this
overwhelming need to be a part of the 'hype culture,' the perception is that males will do
anything thing to stay in style. According to the participants, in the quest for the 'hype'
some of the youths mix with the wrong crowd and are re-socialised in this new life style
and culture which comes at a high price. One respondent noted that it is the "media and
globalization.... You turn on the TVyou see male and male having sex together likewise female
and female having sex. Persons are more open with their views now."

The religious group participants pointed to the media as one of the main "perpetrators"
encouraging "the sin" and they noted that the type of programming leaves a lot to be
desired, and is partially responsible for corrupting the minds of the young and
impressionable. Some of the programmes, they argued, occupy prime time slots and are
heavily promoted at various times, which makes it difficult for parents 'to parent'
effectively. Some examples given in this regard include: Frasier (a comedy), Spartacus
(television show) and Brokeback Mountain (movie).

Another reason that emerged based in the focus groups has to do with the perception that
many young men turn to a 'homosexual lifestyle' for economic reasons. The focus groups
revealed that even though a variety of responses were given as to what predisposes
individuals to homosexuality, one of the main responses centered on the notion that









individuals who are homosexuals engage in this practice largely for the financial benefits
that can be derived. Many respondents believe that individuals are not born homosexual
but because of material possessions many young men "sell out" (give up/in) to a large
extent and turn to homosexuality. In other words, because of poverty many youths, "hard
core" included (even the 'shottas' and men that on the surface appear straight), in an effort
to gain social mobility, have access to the finer things in life and in some cases for sheer
survival, will allow older more established men ("di big man") to entrap them into
homosexuality because of the benefits these wealthy men can offer. One of the participants
opined: "People seem to begetting involved because of the benefits. I don't think most people
are attracted to same sex.... And it's the poor guys from the ghetto that do it with men from
uptown. So I don't think there is attraction and remember that you don't have to be aroused
to do some sex..." Furthermore, respondents noted that individuals who are 'gay' were not
properly socialized by parents and others. Therefore, part of the problem of homophobia in
Jamaica is linked to the economics and social class, where many perceive that inequality
leads to the poor being exploited by the rich.

A number of participants noted that they were genuinely fearful of the seemingly increased
levels of homosexuality in the Jamaican society. They noted that some of these persons
were in very influential and prestigious positions and had economic and political power
and could change laws to make homosexuality legal. They were also very fearful of the
external influences that they argue are having a significant impact on the society and the
young men in particular, "leading many to change their sexual orientation." They again
brought up the mass media which they believed is the main conduit through which this
diffusion and change in societal norms and values are occurring.

Additionally, respondents from the all-male group were concerned that homosexuality was
becoming prevalent in inner city communities. They noted that they know that some 'top
shottas'have already 'sold out'. They again reiterated that this unfortunate state of affairs
was due to poverty to some extent, but also laziness. They argued that many did not want
to work hard to gain the material possessions that so many youths desire, instead they look
for the easy way out, which in some respondents' views was homosexuality. Some used
themselves as examples and pointed to livelihood activities that they have developed in an









effort to show that they are willing to work hard for that they want. Some examples include
starting drinks stalls, cook shops, grocery shops and continuing education.




4.2.3 Nature or Nurture

With respect to the causes of homosexuality, opinions were fairly varied (Table 7). Only
10% felt that persons are born as homosexuals, however 28.6% felt that it was due to
environmental factors social and cultural. The largest proportion (35%) felt that it was
due to a combination of factors, suggesting the interaction of nature and nurture.











Table 7: Causes of Homosexuality

Causes of homosexuality %
Born with/Genes 9.8
Upbringing (Socialization) 14.3
Environment (Social and cultural world) 28.6
Combination (All of the above) 35.0



When asked if homosexuals can be made to change their orientation through therapy or
other professional treatment, 47% agreed with the statement while 27% stated that it was
not possible. Why did the 47% think that it was possible to change? Reasons include:
everyone can change, it's was a state of mind, it's natural for a man to be with a woman,
and, 'they need God' (Table 8).

Table 8: Reasons why it is possible for homosexuals to change









Reasons why homosexuals can change %
Everyone can change 30.0
It's a state of mind/ It's within their mind 8.4
It's natural for man to be with woman so 3.0
therapy can help
They need God to help them 2.5
There is evidence to show that it works/ it
will disclose reason for behavior 1.2
Depends on a number of things 1.2



Reasons for disagreeing are equally interesting and include the following:

They cannot change (12.0%)
Their bodies will never be the same again (1.8%)




4.2.4 Religion and Homosexuality

Most Jamaicans (56.4%) believe that it is not possible to be a homosexual and be religious
at the same time (Table 9). However, it should be noted that a significant minority does not
share this view. A large 43% felt otherwise, which perhaps suggest that the public is
somewhat conflicted on the issue of homosexuality and religiosity. However, when asked if
one can be homosexual and also be Christian, only 30% agreed with the statement.

Table 9: Religion and Homosexuality

Can one be a homosexual and be Percentages (%)
religious?
Yes 43.6
No 56.4

Can one be homosexual and Christian ? %









Yes 29.7
No 61.0



The main reason for this stance is that it is considered a sin and contradicts the teaching of
the Bible (41.5%). Other reasons include:

It's just not right / It's just a sin (41.6)
They have to repent (5.7%)
God destroyed a city because of it already (5.2%)
God does not accept it in heaven (5.0%)

Much of research on homophobia shows that there is a positive relationship between
religiosity and homophobia. This relationship was evidenced in the foregoing comments
and was also borne out in the focus groups. In all of the focus groups, the main basis for
opposing homosexuality was because it was seen as sinful or going against the laws of the
Bible.

Participants in the religious/Christian group were extremely concerned about what they
perceived to be the decaying moral fabric of society which in their view is epitomized in the
growth of homosexuality in Jamaica. They believe that this is an indication of the devil
growing stronger and making significant inroads in the Jamaican society and the world at
large. They warned that these are the signs of the times and that any encouragement of this
ungodly and unchristian act should be frowned upon, discouraged and the sinners should
be helped. The agitated body language (including finger pointing), firm (and what seemed
to be disgusted) facial expressions and very serious and (at times) very elevated voices
sought to drive home their personal feelings and biblical teachings. It was that
homosexuality is wrong and is against what God wants for his servants on earth. It is a sin.
They were very clear when expressing their views on homosexuality; they believed that
they were sinners, but not different from any other types of sinners. Therefore, the
collective expressed the view that if these 'sinners' are shown the way they can be 'saved.'









Most of the respondents sought to rationalize their response by positing that
homosexuality was wrong in the eyes of the God. They pointed to the Bible, Christianity and
the fact that it went against the natural reproductive process and order of things. Thus, for
these reasons homosexuality could not itself be rational. They noted that "God did not make
Adam and Steve butAdam and Eve." It is the belief that this is the main rationale for their
very firm and grounded belief on the issue. Some participants opined: "I don't think
homosexual behavior is right, growing up as a Christian. The Bible goes against it. Male in
male cannot reproduce and female and female cannot reproduce so it makes no sense."
Another noted: "I think its wrong ... my belief it's in the Bible that it displeases God." Also, the
Bible says it is wrong and that's the only basis Igo off... personally, I am disgusted. I don't like
it at all." While both the males and females had a high level of contempt towards
homosexuality, the males felt more strongly about the issues. There was negative chanting
of 'no!' and they got very loud and irate in their expressions of how they felt towards
homosexuality. This was especially more pronounced when a scenario was presented to
them. The strong negative response was no different in the professional, mixed inner-city
group and Christian groups. Comments such as: "it cannot continue on its [homosexuality]
own, cannot generate children....gays and the lesbians too should be put on an island by
themselves." Another opined: "ifyou not carrying out the work of the Lord....it is bad.....tell
them about the Bible." Some male members of the professional group expressed similar
sentiments and specific chapters of the Bible were even quoted. One male participant made
the point that it was not just homosexuality alone that he had grave concerns about but
other sexual sins that are also frowned on in society. He opined: "A homosexual who has a
wife and a private (homosexual) life is no worse than a man with many women. However, the
deception will hurt the wife more because the cheating is done with a man. Leviticus Chapter
18 speaks to a variety of sexual sins. It speaks about incest having sex with animals etc. so it
notjust homosexuality that I am against it is all the sexuality itjust the morals."

These results clearly indicate that religion plays a significant role in determining how
people feel about homosexuality. As Table 2 shows almost 60% of Jamaicans say they
attend church at least once per month, and almost 90% two to three times per year. This









situation may in part explain why about 10% (Table 7) of those interviewed see
homosexuality as being caused by nature rather than by nurture.

4.2.5 Gender and Homosexuality

There has long been a debate as to whether there is some gender bias in society in relation
to accepting homosexuality. Is society more accepting of female homosexuality than it is of
male homosexuality? When asked, most respondents agreed that society was more
accepting of female homosexuality (67.1%) and that this was the case because women can
do things men cannot do while suffering little consequences (Chart 2). Also, female
homosexuality is rarely considered to be bad or wrong (13%). Other significant responses
were general such as, people regarded both situations differently (7%) whereas another
alluded to the fact that there is no difference in the reaction towards homosexuals
regardless of gender (7%). A significant percentage (49%) of respondents felt that
homosexuals do experience genuine love and affection in their intimate relationships, while
21% said that they did not. The others did not know or refused to answer the question.






Chart 2: Is society more accepting of female homosexuality than male homosexuality?












70 i


4.2.6 Legalisation and Morality of Homosexuality


Despite the foregoing responses, most respondents (85.2%) did not think that

homosexuality among consenting adults should be made legal in Jamaica (Table 10).




Table 10: Should homosexuality be legal among consenting adults?


Legalization of Homosexuality Percentages (%)

Should be legal 6.2

Should not be legal 85.2

No opinion/no response 8.6




The issue of morality and legality of homosexuality seems to be closely related in the minds

of the respondents. In relation to male homosexuality, 82.2% deemed it to be morally

wrong as opposed to 3.6% who did not see it as a moral issue. 6.2% of those polled had no


60

50

40

30

20

10

0
Accepts more No difference Noopinion


I









opinion on the matter. As for female homosexuality, the results were similar as 75.2% saw
this orientation as morally wrong. However 10.4% argued that it depends on the situation
that caused their homosexuality in order to determine if it was a moral issue. The
percentage of those who had no opinion on the matter was similar to that of male
homosexuality at 6.3%. As for bisexual relationships, 75.3% saw this as morally wrong
with 8.5% saying that it depended on the situation and 5.2% that it was not a moral issue.

Sexual experiences which involve experimentation with homosexual acts were also
examined. The results revealed that people generally disagreed with such actions. 85.0% of
the respondents disagreed with the practice of anal sex between a man and a woman,
78.2% felt it was inappropriate for a woman to be having intercourse with two men at the
same time and 60.3% disagreed with the practice of a man having sex with two women at
the same time.

The objections to legalization of homosexuality were again defended on religious grounds
and the need to protect Jamaica society from changing its cultural practices for the worse.
These sentiments were reflected in the focus groups where participants were asked to be
as objective as possible and take a futuristic look at the issue at hand, considering also that
we currently operate in an era where human rights for all are encouraged and
discrimination against various groups is discouraged. Respondents were generally
adamant that same sex relationships should not be allowed to the have same privileges as
regular people for fear that it may be misconstrued as good or a sign of encouragement. It
was made very clear in a very firm way [with strong emotions e.g. raised tones and the
strong body language] that they were against things such as awarding same sex couples the
same rights as heterosexual couples and allowing them to raise children as a family.
Questions arose such as: who would be called mom and who would be the dad? Wouldn't
that be confusing to the child? Would that be a healthy environment for the child to grow
up in? Wouldn't that be encouraging a young innocent child to become gay? How would the
cycle of procreation continue?

They did note that some tolerance had to be part of the changing society, as they conceded
that homosexuality was bigger than them. One respondent opined: "have to be more









tolerant because dem inna di system, bank, hospital, pharmacy, work wid dem." Noteworthy
was the opinion of a participant from the professional group who stated that
homosexuality has always been a part of society throughout history and meted with
agreement and contempt at varying intervals, thus, this newer dispensation is perhaps a
part of the ongoing cycle, which is underscored by powerful individuals who have
considerable influence in the Jamaican society and the rest of the world who are pushing
for laws that favour homosexuality to suit their own agendas. He stated"..... Wanting to
create laws to facilitate this is only a smoke screen. What appears to be new we have gone
through already at some point in history. The Greeks confronted this and have silently
accepted homosexuality. Romans captured Greece and this still continued."

Most participants lamented that the ordinary citizenry was very concerned about what the
Jamaican society would be like in another 10 to 20 years as it was becoming increasingly
obvious that they were powerless to the ongoing shift in the culture and to who wields the
power and influence. In essence, homosexuals were taking over and there was not much
anyone could do to stop them. The participants were also very firm and clear with their
calls on government to not allow them legitimacy through legalizing same sex relationships
or any sort of homosexual activities One noted: "itgonna get worst in 10 to 20 years without
fear....government should not give them rights." Other participants were very concerned
about the type of societal influence that any legitimate endorsement would have on the
children and the youths that constitute the next generation. One of participants (a mother)
noted, "Mi don't want dem legalise it [homosexuality] cause mi want my grand
[grandchildren] to live a normal life...cause [homosexuality] is not right." It was very clear
from all the participants in the varying groups that they did not see a very positive future
as it related to type of society that Jamaica and by extension the world at large would
evolve into if same sex relationships were to become more pronounced and legitimized.
The inner-city groups expressed these sentiments with the most venom and the religious
group was seemingly disturbed and viewed this as a negative indication that the devil was
making strong in-roads in the country.

4.3 General Attitudes Towards Homosexuality










In this section we examine general attitudes toward same sex relationships/homosexuality.

These questions were adapted from a number of studies that examine attitudes toward

homosexuality. These questions examine attitudes in a variety of situations, including:

work settings, social settings, and interactions with professionals, family members and

friends. Table 11 shows the results of each question with the mean responses, with Likert

scale values: 1= strongly agree, 2= agree, 3=neither agree nor disagree 4= disagree

and 5= strongly disagree, below. These results show strong negative attitudes towards

homosexuality and homosexuals.

Table 11: Attitudes towards homosexuality

Question Mean
n=1007
I would feel comfortable working closely with a 4
male homosexual.
I would enjoy attending social functions at 4
which homosexuals were present
I would feel uncomfortable if I learned that my 3
neighbor was a homosexual
If a member of my sex made a sexual advance 2
toward me, I would feel angry.
I would feel comfortable knowing that I was 4
attractive to members of my sex.
I would feel comfortable being seen in a 4
homosexual bar
I would feel comfortable if a member of my sex 4
made an advance toward me.
I would feel comfortable if I found myself 4
attracted to a member of my sex
I would feel disappointed if I learned that my 2
child was homosexual
I would feel nervous being in a group of 2
homosexuals.










I would feel comfortable knowing that my 4
Pastor was homosexual

I would be upset if I learned that my brother or 2
sister was homosexual

I would feel that I had failed as a parent if I 2
learned that my child was a homosexual.

If I saw two men holding hands in public I would 2
feel disgusted.

If a member of my sex made an advance towards 4
me I would feel offended

I would feel comfortable if I learned that my 2
daughter's teacher was a lesbian.

I would feel uncomfortable if I learned that my 2
spouse or partner was attracted to members of
his or her sex.

I would feel at ease talking to a homosexual 3
person at a party.

I would feel uncomfortable if I learned that my 2
boss was homosexual

It would disturb me to find out that my doctor 2
was homosexual.

I would feel comfortable if I learned that my best 4
friend of my sex was homosexual.

If a member of my sex made an advance toward 4
me I would feel flattered

I would feel uncomfortable knowing that my 2
son's male teacher was homosexual.

I would feel comfortable working closely with a 3
female homosexual









The generally negative attitudes were reflected in the focus groups which showed strong
resentment by males in particular towards relatives who 'come out of the closet'. This
resentment is based on the fact that that relative would reflect on them negatively.

Respondents were given the following scenario and asked to respond: "What if you were to
uncover that a close friend and or family member was a homosexual. What would you do?
Suppose it is your father or someone who you look up to and all of a sudden he/she is
coming out of the closet? Would you treat him or her any differently because of this new
found knowledge, despite the closeness that was there before?"

All of the respondents conceded that this new found knowledge would have taken them by
surprise and admittedly they would be confused especially because it was someone close to
them that they trusted. The overwhelming view was that they would feel 'betrayed' and
hurt as the trust would be shattered and that the relationship would never be the same
again. The somber tones and the horrified and sad facial expressions corroborated the
statements. Many of the respondents noted firmly that they would no longer want to
continue the relationship. One respondent stated: "I would stay away from them big time
because I'm in this house comfortable with this person and all of a sudden I realize that this
person is homosexual and I'm walking around ostracizing people and then my family member
is. Trust me it would hurt."

The males from the all male group, noted that whether family or friend that would be the
end of the relationship. A number of them also made reference to possible violence against
them (mostly the friends). One male respondent noted: "stop deal wid him nuffa dem we
have" [referring to an uncle].

When a similar question was posed to the respondents as it related to the workplace their
responses were mixed. While they were against homosexuality they recognized that
perhaps they could not hold a hard line in the workplace, school and other places in respect
of their personal views. However, some were even more venomous and violent in their
comments, while others noted that they do not care. One respondent noted: "I would go of
course because I am going to work my money I don't care about them, what they do don't
affect me." Another participant noted: "I would go to school or work with a homosexual

29









individual because as I said what they do in their personal lives don't have anything to do with
me just like what I do in mine has nothing to do with them. So working with someone I know
is homosexual wouldn't be different from working with someone I know was heterosexual. I
would even befriends with that person just as long as they don't cross that line." Another
participant noted: "if I knew a colleague of mine is gay, I'll be skeptical around him. [Why?]
for one he is a guy and I won't be comfortable around them. (Interviewer: Why wouldn'tyou
be comfortable?) Because he is attracted to males and I am a guy I don't want him to push his
homosexuality on me, sometimes they try to convert people but if it is my boss now it's another
story Ijust have to tolerate it as long as he doesn't try to pull anything or else I'lljust go
somewhere else."

However, some responses were even more venomous and violent compared to the others
noted earlier. The following were opined by a members of the all-male group. One
respondent noted: "meet him at a particular place den stab him up no matter the
consequences." Another noted: "Probably mi would knock him out. Public him cudda reach."




4.4 The Modified Wright, Adams and Bernat Scale

Drawing on the Wright, Adams and Bernat homophobia scale, an instrument was
developed for Jamaica. Respondents were asked express their thoughts, feelings and
behaviours regarding same sex relationships. Using the Likert Scale response values of 1=
strongly agree, 2= agree, 3=neither agree nor disagree 4= disagree and 5= strongly
disagree, mean sores are presented in Table 12. With an overall mean of 2.3, the results
indicate that, in general, Jamaicans have strong negative views about homosexuality,
although most seem not to have acted on these negative perceptions. These results indicate
a fairly high level of homophobia among Jamaicans.









Table 12: Adapted Homophobia scale items


Question Mean
n=1007

Homosexuals make me nervous. 3

If I discovered a friend was homosexual I 3
would end the friendship
I think homosexuals should not work with 2
children

I make derogatory remarks about 3
homosexuals.

Marriage between homosexual individuals 4*
is acceptable.

I make derogatory remarks like "faggot" or 3
"batty man" to people I suspect are
homosexual.

It matters to me whether my friends are 2
homosexual or not homosexual.

It would upset me if I learned that a close 2
friend was a homosexual

Homosexuality is immoral 2

Homosexuality is a sin. 2

I tease and make jokes about homosexuals. 3

Society should recognize homosexuality as 4*
normal

I feel that you can trust a person who is 3*
homosexual.

I fear homosexual persons will make sexual 3
advances towards me

Organizations which promote homosexual 3









rights are not necessary.

I have damaged property of a homosexual 4

person.

I would feel uncomfortable having a 2
homosexual roommate.

I would hit a homosexual for coming on to 2
me.

Homosexual behavior should be against the 2
law.

I avoid homosexuals. 2

It bothers me to see two homosexual people 2

together in public.

When I see a homosexual I think: "What a 2

waste."

When I meet someone, I try to find out if 3

he/she is a homosexual.



4.5 Riddle Homophobia Scale

Using the Riddle Homophobia scale, respondents were asked to identify a word from a list

provided, that best described their view of homosexuals. 59% chose negatives words,

indicating generally negative attitudes towards homosexuality. Nonetheless it should be

noted that 20% of respondents chose positive words such as tolerance and acceptance. As

Chart 3 shows, the more positive the description the less likely respondents were willing to

choose the word. These results again point to a high degree of homophobia in the Jamaican

society.

It must be noted that despite what appears to be widespread fear of and dislike for

homosexuals in Jamaica, many respondents readily point out that persons who are

homosexual make an important contribution to the society. Most of the respondents did in

fact believe that homosexuals were and can be productive members of society. They









conceded, on some level, that many of the 'guys' were otherwise 'normal' and that they may
be indeed interacting with them every day and not know their sexual orientation. They
pointed out again that many alleged known homosexuals in the Jamaican society are
wealthy, established and affluent individuals that do make a positive contribution to
society.

It should also be noted that while there are strong homophobic attitudes, many Jamaicans
believe that homosexuality can be tolerated as long as it is done in private. The focus
groups revealed that many persons felt that "the 'guys' should keep it in the closet". Failing
that they should always keep their distance from 'normal people'. In essence, homosexuals
should keep their same sex beliefs and relations 'in the dark.' This means that they should
keep themselves to themselves, be very private and do not flaunt it in the public domain, so
as not to make 'regular' people feel uncomfortable in other spaces.

Table 7: Descriptions of feelings for Homosexuals in Jamaica

Description of view Percentages (%)


Repulsion 39.6
Pity 19.2
Tolerance 15.3
Acceptance 3.6
Support 1.1
Admiration .3
Appreciation .3
Nurturance .3













Chart 3: Description of feelings for homosexuals in Jamaica


4.6 Predictors of Attitudes Towards Homosexuality


In this section, we examine some of the factors that most determine attitudes towards

homosexuality. The literature points to a number of variables, including: religion, gender

and education. In the case of Jamaica reference is often made to the role of music, especially

dancehall and reggae in shaping values and attitudes generally. To examine the impact of

these variables, Chi Square tests were conducted focusing on the Riddle homophobia scale -

- the results from can be seen in Appendix 1. The idea here is to determine if there is a

statistically significant difference (p<.05) between the variables and variation on the Riddle

Scale.


45%

40%

35%

30%

25%

20%

15%

10%

5%

0%
pt1.,lI;oi Pity Tolerance Acceptance Support Admiration Appreciation Nurturance









4.6.1 Gender


While the results show that both men and women exhibit strong negative views towards
homosexuality, these negative views are stronger among males and this difference is
statistically significant. In the focus group discussions, males tended to be more vocal than
females in their opposition to homosexuality.

4.6.2 Education

Persons who have university education are more likely to exhibit tolerance towards
homosexuals/homosexuality than non-university educated persons. This difference is
statistically significant.

4.6.2 Music

The results show that those who say that they mostly listen to dancehall and reggae are
more likely to have negative views towards homosexuality than others who mostly listen to
other types of music. It should, however, be noted that while this difference is statistically
significant, strong opposition to homosexuality cuts across all musical preferences, as can
be seen in Appendix 1.

4.6.3 Religion

Based upon the results of the survey and focus groups there can be no doubt that religion
plays a significant role in determining attitudes towards homosexuality. However,
statistically speaking there is no evidence from this survey that attending church or
religious activities drives anti-homosexual attitudes or behaviour. The precise role of
religion in regard to attitudinal formation towards homosexuality is complex and requires
further study.

4.6.4 Social Class

Social class seems to play a peculiar role in determining attitudes towards homosexuality
in Jamaica. Among many persons from poorer sections of the society there is a perception









that among middle and upper classes, homosexuality is practiced as lifestyle, whereas
among the poor it is part of their economic survival. The results indicate that persons of
lower socio-economic statuses are more likely to have negative attitudes towards
homosexuality.

5. CONCLUSIONS

This survey examined attitudes and perceptions of adult Jamaicans towards same sex
relationships/ homosexuality. The findings reveal that Jamaicans have strong negative
views of homosexuality and there is the overwhelming belief that it should not be legalized
among consenting adults. The survey found about half of the adult population believed
that homosexuals experience feelings of love like heterosexuals. Jamaicans are divided over
whether homosexuality is as a result of nature or nurture, although one-third is of the view
that it is the result of both.

The data, however, show that females and university-educated persons tend to be slightly
less homophobic than others. Persons who listen to mostly to reggae and dancehall are also
more likely to hold stronger negative views about homosexuality than those who say they
mostly listen to other types of music. Additionally, lower socio-economic status seems to be
associated with more negative views towards homosexuality. It should be emphasized that
these relationships are weak and are a matter of probability. They do not mean that all
members of those groups behave in the same way. It should be noted that the most
important finding from this study is that strong negative perceptions and attitudes towards
homosexuality cut across all social classes, gender and social groups in Jamaica.









REFERENCES

Anderson, M (2009). Liminal Identities: Caribbean men who have sex with men in London,
UK. Culture Health and Sexuality, Vol.11, No.3, 315-330.

Carr, R. (2003). On "Judgments:" Poverty, Sexuality Based Violence and Human Rights in
21st Century Jamaica. The Caribbean Journal of Social Work, Vol. 2, pp.71-87.

Chevannes, B. (2004). Sexual Practices and Behaviour in Jamaica: A Review of the Literature.
Jamaica: AIDS Public Health Communication (AIDSCOM).

Gutzmore, C. (2004) Casting the first stone: Policing of Homo/Sexuality in Jamaican
Popular Culture. Interventions Vol. 6(1) 118-134

Human Rights Watch. (2004). Hated to Death Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica's
HIV/AIDS Epidemic

King, J. (2006). Outing the Centre: Homophobia in Jamaica. Jamaica: SIT Jamaica: Gender and
Development.

Luton, D., Buggery laws firm PM says life or 15 years for some sex-offence breaches. The
Jamaica Gleaner: March 4, 2009.

Royes, H. (2003). HIV/AIDS risk mapping study of Men who have sex with Men in Jamaica.
Jamaica: Jamaica HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Project, Ministry of Health.

White, R, R. Carr. (2005). Homophobia and HIV/AIDS Stigma in Jamaica. Culture Health and
Sexuality 7(000):1-13.

Williams, L. (March 2000). Homophobia and Gay Rights Activism in Jamaica. Small Axe 7,
106-111.

















APPENDIX 1


Which of the following best describes your view about persons in same sex relationships?* What type of music do you listen to most? Crosstabulation

VWat type of music do you listen to most?
Listen to
Rhythm and Rock/ all about
Reqae Dancehall Hip Hop/Rap Blues (R&B) Soca/Calypso Alternabve the same Gospel Old Hits Jazz Country Total
Which ofthe Repulsion Count 93 54 12 56 1 6 88 54 3 1 0 368
following best % within What type
descrbesyour of musc doyou 650% 628% 308% 475% 167% 353% 454% 429% 429% 100 0% 0% 499%
view about listen to most?
persons in Pity Count 16 12 12 29 2 1 50 45 2 0 0 169
same sex
relationships? % within Wat type
of musc doyou 112% 140% 308% 246% 333% 59% 258% 357% 286% 0% 0% 229%/
listen to most?
Tolerance Count 22 13 9 28 3 6 38 25 2 0 1 147
% within hat type
of musc doyou 154% 15 1% 23 1% 237% 500% 353% 196% 198% 286% 0% 1000% 199%/
listen to most?
Acceptance Count 8 6 5 3 0 2 8 2 0 0 0 34
% within hat type
ofmuscdoyou 56% 70% 128% 25% 0% 118% 41% 16% 0% 0% 0% 46%
listen to most?
Support Count 3 0 1 1 0 1 5 0 0 0 0 11
% within hat type
ofmuscdoyou 21% 0% 26% 8% 0% 59% 26% 0% 0% 0% 0% 15%
listen to most?
Admirabon Count 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 3
% within hat type
ofmusc doyou 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 15% 0% 0% 0% 0% 4%
listen to most?
Appreciation Count 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 3
% within hat type
ofmuscdoyou 7% 0% 0% 0% 0% 59% 5% 0% 0% 0% 0% 4%
listen to most?
Nurturance Count 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3
% within hat type
ofmuc doyou 0% 12% 0% 8% 0% 0% 5% 0% 0% 0% 0% 4%
listen to most?
Total Count 143 86 39 118 6 17 194 126 7 1 1 738
% within What type
ofmuscdoyou 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000%
listen to most?


Chi-Square Tests

Asymp. Sig.
Value df (2-sided)
Pearson Chi-Square 102.596a 70 .007

Likelihood Ratio 97.332 70 .017

Linear-by-Linear
3.052 1 .081
Association

N of Valid Cases 738

a. 65 cells (73.9%) have expected count less than 5. The
minimum expected count is .00.











Symmetric Measures


Value Approx Sig.
Nominal by Phi .373 .007
Nominal Cramer's V .141 .007
N of Valid Cases 738
a. Not assuming the null hypothesis.
b. Using the asymptotic standard error assuming the null
hypothesis.


Crosstabs


Case Processing Summary

Cases
Valid Missing Total
N Percent N Percent N Percent
Which of the following
best describes your view
about persons in same 797 79.1% 210 20.9% 1007 100.0%
sex relationships? *
Respondent's Gender
Which of the following
best describes your view
about persons in same
sex relationships? If yes, 637 63.3% 370 36.7% 1007 100.0%
how often do you attend
church or other religious
activities?
Which of the following
best describes your view
about persons in same
sex relo ps? Wa 773 76.8% 234 23.2% 1007 100.0%
sex relationships? What
is your highest level of
education?











Which of the following best describes your view about persons in
same sex relationships? Respondent's Gender

Crosstab

Respondent's Gender
Male Female Total
Which of the Repulsion Count 224 171 395
following best % within Respondent's
describes your Gender 58.0% 41.6% 49.6%
iew about Pity Count 82 111 193
persons in
% within Respondent's
same sex ws 21.2% 27.0% 24.2%
Gender
relationships?
Tolerance Count 62 91 153
% within Respondent's 16.1% 22.1% 19.2%
Gender
Acceptance Count 11 25 36
% within Respondent's 2.8% 6.1% 4.5%
Gender
Support Count 3 8 11
% within Respondent's .8% 1.9% 1.4%
Gender
Admiration Count 0 3 3
% within Respondent's .0% .7% .4%
Gender
Appreciation Count 2 1 3
% within Respondent's .5% .2% .4%
Gender
Nurturance Count 2 1 3
% within Respondent's .5% .2% .4%
Gender
Total Count 386 411 797
% within Respondent's
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Gender


Chi-Square Tests

Asymp. Sig.
Value df (2-sided)
Pearson Chi-Square 27.592a 7 .000
Likelihood Ratio 29.040 7 .000
Linear-by-Linear 16.420 1 .000
Association
N of Valid Cases 797
a. 6 cells (37.5%) have expected count less than 5. The
minimum expected count is 1.45.













Symmetric Measures


Value Approx Sig.
Nominal by Phi .186 .000
Nominal Cramer's V .186 .000
N of Valid Cases 797
a. Not assuming the null hypothesis.
b. Using the asymptotic standard error assuming the null
hypothesis.













Which of the following best describes your view about persons in

same sex relationships? If yes, how often do you attend church or

other religious activities?

Crosstab
If yes, how often do you attend church or other relqlaous activities?
Two to three Less than
Every week Every month times a year Every year once per year Total
Which of the Repulsion Count 81 92 104 19 17 313
following best % within If yes, how often
describes your do you attend church or 440% 497% 498% 613% 607% 491%
Mew about other religious activtles?
persons in Pity Count 67 43 43 4 6 163
same sex
relationships? % within If yes, how often
do you attend church or 364% 232% 206% 12 9% 21 4% 256%
other religious activtles?
Tolerance Count 31 35 48 7 3 124
% within If yes, how often
do you attend church or 168% 189% 230% 226% 107% 195%
other religious activtles?
Acceptance Count 5 8 8 1 1 23
% within If yes, how often
do you attend church or 27% 4 3% 38% 3 2% 3 6% 3 6%
other religious activtles?
Support Count 0 2 3 0 1 6
% within If yes, how often
do you attend church or 0% 11% 14% 0% 36% 9%
other religious activtles?
Admiration Count 0 1 2 0 0 3
% within If yes, how often
do you attend church or 0% 5% 1 0% 0% 0% 5%
other religious actlvmtles?
Appreciation Count 0 2 1 0 0 3
% within If yes, how often
do you attend church or 0% 1 1% 5% 0% 0% 5%
other religious activtles?
Nurturance Count 0 2 0 0 0 2
% within If yes, how often
do you attend church or 0% 1 1% 0% 0% 0% 3%
other religious activtles?
Total Count 184 185 209 31 28 637
% within If yes, how often
do you attend church or 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000%
other religious activtles? _


Chi-Square Tests

Asymp. Sig.
Value df (2-sided)
Pearson Chi-Square 34.040a 28 .200
Likelihood Ratio 36.562 28 .129
Linear-by-Linear .004 1 .948
Association
N of Valid Cases 637

a. 22 cells (55.0%) have expected count less than 5. The
minimum expected count is .09.











Symmetric Measures


Value Approx Sig.
Nominal by Phi .231 .200
Nominal Cramer's V .116 .200
N of Valid Cases 637
a. Not assuming the null hypothesis.
b. Using the asymptotic standard error assuming the null
hypothesis.















Which of the following best describes your view about persons in

same sex relationships? What is your highest level of education?

Crosstab

What is your highest Bevel of education?
Some
AlkAge Professional
School/Some Completed Training Graduate
Noformal Primary/Prep Secondary Secondary Vocatonal/ beyond Degree
education School Educaton Education Skills Training University University (MSc, PhD) Total
Which of the Repulsion Count 3 19 61 149 57 65 18 14 386
folbwing best % within What is
describes your your highest level 600% 704% 530% 580% 445% 389% 51 4% 359% 499%
view about of education?
persons in Pity Count 1 5 33 51 39 41 7 7 184
same sex
relaonships? % within What is
your highestlevel 200% 185% 287% 198% 305% 246% 200% 179% 238%
of education?
Tolerance Count 1 3 12 43 23 47 7 15 151
% within What is
your highestlevel 200% 11 1% 104% 167% 180% 28 1% 200% 385% 195%
of education?
Acceptance Count 0 0 6 8 5 10 1 2 32
% within What is
your highestlevel 0% 0% 52% 31% 39% 60% 29% 51% 41%
of education?
Support Count 0 0 1 5 0 2 2 1 11
% within What is
your highestlevel 0% 0% 9% 19% 0% 12% 57% 26% 1 4%
of education?
Admiration Count 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 3
% within What is
your highest level 0% 0% 0% 0% 23% 0% 0% 0% 4%
of education?
Appreciaton Count 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 3
% within What is
your highest level 0% 0% 9% 0% 8% 6% 0% 0% 4%
of education?
Nurturance Count 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 3
% within What is
your highest level 0% 0% 9% 4% 0% 6% 0% 0% 4%
of education?
Total Count 5 27 115 257 128 167 35 39 773
% within What is
your highestlevel 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000% 1000%
of education?


Chi-Square Tests


Asymp. Sig.
Value df (2-sided)
Pearson Chi-Square 70.802a 49 .022

Likelihood Ratio 68.603 49 .034

Linear-by-Linear 15.598 1 .000
Association

N of Valid Cases 773

a. 40 cells (62.5%) have expected count less than 5. The

minimum expected count is .02.











Symmetric Measures


Value Approx Sig.
Nominal by Phi .303 .022
Nominal Cramer's V .114 .022
N of Valid Cases 773
a. Not assuming the null hypothesis.
b. Using the asymptotic standard error assuming the null
hypothesis.


Crosstabs


Case Processing Summary

Cases
Valid Missinq Total
N Percent N Percent N Percent
Which of the following
best describes your view
about persons in same
775 77.0% 232 23.0% 1007 100.0%
sex relationships? Do
you go to church or attend
other religious activities












Which of the following best describes your view about persons in same sex relationships? *
Do you go to church or attend other religious activities Crosstabulation

Do you go to church or
attend other religious
activities
Yes No Total


Which of the
following best
describes your
view about
persons in
same sex
relationships?


Repulsion Count
% within Do you go to
church or attend other
religious activities


48.7%


51.1%


49.2%


Pity Count 166 22 188
% within Do you go to
church or attend other 26.2% 15.6% 24.3%
religious activities
Tolerance Count 121 31 152
% within Do you go to
church or attend other 19.1% 22.0% 19.6%
religious activities
Acceptance Count 24 10 34
% within Do you go to
church or attend other 3.8% 7.1% 4.4%
religious activities
Support Count 6 5 11
% within Do you go to
church or attend other .9% 3.5% 1.4%
religious activities
Admiration Count 3 0 3
% within Do you go to
church or attend other .5% .0% .4%
religious activities
Appreciation Count 3 0 3
% within Do you go to
church or attend other .5% .0% .4%
religious activities
Nurturance Count 2 1 3
% within Do you go to
church or attend other .3% .7% .4%
religious activities


Total Count 634 141 775
% within Do you go to
church or attend other 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
religious activities











Chi-Square Tests

Asymp. Sig.
Value df (2-sided)
Pearson Chi-Square 16.108a 7 .024
Likelihood Ratio 16.162 7 .024
Linear-by-Linear 1.545 1 .214
Association
N of Valid Cases 775_ _
a. 7 cells (43.8%) have expected count less than 5. The
minimum expected count is .55.

Symmetric Measures


Value Approx Sig.
Nominal by Phi .144 .024
Nominal Cramer's V .144 .024
N of Valid Cases 775
a. Not assuming the null hypothesis.
b. Using the asymptotic standard error assuming the null
hypothesis.


Crosstabs


Case Processing Summary

Cases
Valid Missinq Total
N Percent N Percent N Percent
Which of the following
best describes your view
about persons in same
s p744 73.9% 263 26.1% 1007 100.0%
sex relationships? *
Interviewer determination
of social class













Which of the following best describes your view about persons in same sex relationships?* Interviewer determination of social
class Crosstabulation

Interviewer determination of social class
Upper-Middle
Lower Class Middle Class Class Upper Class Total
Which of the Repulsion Count 223 110 29 12 374
following best % within Interviewer
describes your determination of 59.8% 42.3% 42.6% 27.9% 50.3%
vi ew about social class
persons in Pity Count 77 69 17 7 170
same sex
relationships? % within Interviewer
determination of 20.6% 26.5% 25.0% 16.3% 22.8%
social class
Tolerance Count 56 61 15 19 151
% within Interviewer
determination of 15.0% 23.5% 22.1% 44.2% 20.3%
social class
Acceptance Count 10 11 4 5 30
% within Interviewer
determination of 2.7% 4.2% 5.9% 11.6% 4.0%
social class
Support Count 4 3 3 0 10
% within Interviewer
determination of 1.1% 1.2% 4.4% .0% 1.3%
social class
Admiration Count 0 3 0 0 3
% within Interviewer
determination of .0% 1.2% .0% .0% .4%
social class
Appreciation Count 1 2 0 0 3
% within Interviewer
determination of .3% .8% .0% .0% .4%
social class
Nurturance Count 2 1 0 0 3
% within Interviewer
determination of .5% .4% .0% .0% .4%
social class
Total Count 373 260 68 43 744
% within Interviewer
determination of 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
social class


Chi-Square Tests

Asymp. Sig.
Value df (2-sided)
Pearson Chi-Square 58.699a 21 .000
Likelihood Ratio 55.084 21 .000
Linear-by-Linear 23.623 .000
Association
N of Valid Cases 744

a. 17 cells (53.1%) have expected count less than 5. The
minimum expected count is .17.











Symmetric Measures


Value Approx Sig.
Nominal by Phi .281 .000
Nominal Cramer's V .162 .000
N of Valid Cases 744
a. Not assuming the null hypothesis.
b. Using the asymptotic standard error assuming the null
hypothesis.













Which of the following best describes your view about persons in same sex relationships?* Interviewer determination of social
class Crosstabulation

Interviewer determination of social class
Upper-Middle
Lower Class Middle Class Class Upper Class Total
Which of the Repulsion Count 223 110 29 12 374
following best % within Interviewer
describes your determination of 59.8% 42.3% 42.6% 27.9% 50.3%
view about social class
persons in Pity Count 77 69 17 7 170
same sex
relationships? % within Interviewer
determination of 20.6% 26.5% 25.0% 16.3% 22.8%
social class
Tolerance Count 56 61 15 19 151
% within Interviewer
determination of 15.0% 23.5% 22.1% 44.2% 20.3%
social class
Acceptance Count 10 11 4 5 30
% within Interviewer
determination of 2.7% 4.2% 5.9% 11.6% 4.0%
social class
Support Count 4 3 3 0 10
% within Interviewer
determination of 1.1% 1.2% 4.4% .0% 1.3%
social class
Admiration Count 0 3 0 0 3
% within Interviewer
determination of .0% 1.2% .0% .0% .4%
social class
Appreciation Count 1 2 0 0 3
% within Interviewer
determination of .3% .8% .0% .0% .4%
social class
Nurturance Count 2 1 0 0 3
% within Interviewer
determination of .5% .4% .0% .0% .4%
social class
Total Count 373 260 68 43 744
% within Interviewer
determination of 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
social class


Chi-Square Tests


Asymp. Sig.
Value df (2-sided)


Pearson Chi-Square
Likelihood Ratio
Linear-by-Linear
Association
N of Valid Cases


58.699(a)
55.084

23.623


a 17 cells (53.1%) have expected count less than 5. The minimum expected count is .17.









Appendix 2 (Survey Instrument)









Summary of Findings


This study reports on findings from a survey and qualitative analysis of attitudes and
perception Jamaicans towards homosexuality. A nationally representative sample of 1007
adults from 231 communities across Jamaica was interviewed between October and
November 2010. The margin of error is approximately +/- 4%. The survey was supported
by a qualitative study based on five focus groups conducted across the country between
October 2010 and January 2011. The results show that Jamaicans become aware of
homosexuality at an early stage in their lives as the majority of the respondents (51%)
indicated knowing about homosexuality at 14 years old and under. Most Jamaicans (89%)
believe that homosexuality is somewhat or very prevalent in Jamaica. Respondents also
alluded to an association with this orientation and one's social class, as 66.8% felt that is
was more prevalent among some social classes more than others. Most persons (51%) felt
that homosexuality was to be found equally among males and females, however, 32% felt
that it was more common among males and 11.2% stated that it was slightly more common
among females. With respect to the causes of homosexuality, opinions varied. Only 10%
felt that persons are born as homosexuals, however 28.6% felt that it was due to
environmental factors social and cultural. The largest proportion felt that it was due to a
combination of factors, suggesting the interaction of nature and nurture. Most Jamaicans
(56%) believe that it is not possible to be a homosexual and be religious at the same time.
However, it should be noted that a significant minority (43%) does not share this view,
which perhaps suggest that the public is somewhat conflicted on the issue of
homosexuality and religiosity. Most Jamaicans (85.2%) did not think that homosexuality
among consenting adults should be made legal in Jamaica as it was morally wrong. Two
homophobia scales indicate that Jamaicans have strong negative views of homosexuality,
thereby ranking high on these scales for homophobia. Strong negative views and fear of
homosexuals tended to be greatest among males, non-university educated persons, those
who listened mostly to dancehall and reggae music and those in lower socio-economic
groups. In general, the most important finding from this study is that strong negative
perceptions and attitudes towards homosexual cut across all social classes, gender and
social groups in Jamaica.




Full Text

PAGE 1

1 NATIONAL SURVEY OF ATTITUDES AND PERCEPTIONS OF JAMAICAN S TOWARDS SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS S upported in part by a grant from Foundation Open Society Institute (ZUG) and additional support from AIDS Free World

PAGE 2

2 RESEARCH TEAM IAN BOXILL J OULENE MARTIN ROY RUSSELL LLOYD WALLER TRACIAN M EIKLE RASHALEE MITCHELL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY, PSY CH OLOGY AND SOCIAL WORK UWI, MONA JANUARY 2011

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3 E XECUTIVE SUMMARY This report examines Jamaican views towards homosexuality and attempts to d iscover what are some possible determinants of attitudes towards homosexuality in the country. This study uses a mixed method approach driven largely by a nation poll of attitudes and perceptions. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1007 adults f rom 231 communities across Jamaica was interviewed between October and November 2010 The margin of error is approximately +/ 4%. The survey was supported b y a qualitative study based on five focus groups conducted across the country between October 201 0 and January 2011. Following is a summary of findings from the study. 1. It would appear that Jamaicans become aware of homosexuality at an early stage in their lives as the majority of the respondents (51%) indicated knowing about homosexuality at 14 years old and under. 2. M ost Jamaicans (89%) believe that homosexuality is somewhat or very prevalent in Jamaica. Respondents also allud ed to an association with this orientation and classes more than others. A significant 57.7% felt that it was most prevalent among the upper class, while 9% said it was most among the middle class and another 2% said it was most among the working class. 3. Most persons (51%) felt that homosexuality was to be found equally among males and females, however, 32% felt that it was more common among males and 11.2% stated that it was slightly more common among females. 4. With respect to the causes of homosexuality, opinions varied. Only 10% felt that persons are born as homosexuals, however 28.6% felt that it was due to environmental factors social and cultural. The largest proportion felt that it was due to a combination of factors, suggesting the interaction of nature and nurture. 5. Most Jamaicans ( 56%) be lieve that it is not possible to be a homosexual and be religious at the same time. However, it should be noted that a significant minority (43%) does not share this view, which perhaps suggest that the public is somewhat conflicted on the issue of homosex uality and religiosity.

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4 6. W hen asked if one can be homosexual and also be a Christian, only 30% agreed with the statement. 7. M ost respondents agreed that society was more accepting of female homosexuality (67.1%) and that this was the case because women can d o things men cannot do whilst suffering few negative consequences. Also, female homosexuality is rarely considered to be bad or wrong (13%). 8. M ost respondents (85.2%) did not think that homosexuality among consenting adults should be made legal in Jamaica 9. In relation to male homosexuality, 82.2% deemed it to be morally wrong as opposed to 3.6% who did not see it as a moral issue. 6.2% of those polled had no opinion on the matter. As for female homosexuality, the results were similar as 75.2% felt that homo sexuality was morally wrong. 10. Two homophobia scales indicate that Jamaicans have strong negative views of homosexuality, thereby ranking high on the se scales. 11. Negative views of homosexuality tended to be greate st among males, non university educated per sons, those who listened mostly to dancehall and reggae music and those in lower socio economic groups. 12. In general, the most important finding from this study is that strong negative perceptions and attitudes towards homosexuality cut across all social cla sses, gender and social groups in Jamaica.

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0 NATIONAL SURVEY OF ATTITUDES AND PERCEPTIONS OF JAMAICAN S TOWARDS SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS S upported in part by a grant from Foundation Open Society Institute (ZUG) and additional support from AIDS Free World

PAGE 6

1 RESEARCH TEAM IAN BOXILL J OULENE MARTIN ROY RUSSELL LLOYD WALLER TRACIAN M EIKLE RASHALEE MITCHELL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY, PSY CH OLOGY AND SOCIAL WORK UWI, MONA JANUARY 2011

PAGE 7

2 E XECUTIVE SUMMARY This report examines Jamaican views towards homosexuality and attempts to d iscover what are some possible determinants of attitudes towards homosexuality in the country. This study uses a mixed method approach driven largely by a nation poll of attitudes and perceptions. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1007 adults f rom 231 communities across Jamaica was interviewed between October and November 2010 The margin of error is approximately +/ 4%. The survey was supported b y a qualitative study based on five focus groups conducted across the country between October 201 0 and January 2011. Following is a summary of findings from the study. 1. It would appear that Jamaicans become aware of homosexuality at an early stage in their lives as the majority of the respondents (51%) indicated knowing about homosexuality at 14 years old and under. 2. M ost Jamaicans (89%) believe that homosexuality is somewhat or very prevalent in Jamaica. Respondents also allud ed to an association with this orientation and classes more than others. A significant 57.7% felt that it was most prevalent among the upper class, while 9% said it was most among the middle class and another 2% said it was most among the working class. 3. Most persons (51%) felt that homosexuality was to be found equally among males and females, however, 32% felt that it was more common among males and 11.2% stated that it was slightly more common among females. 4. With respect to the causes of homosexuality, opinions varied. Only 10% felt that persons are born as homosexuals, however 28.6% felt that it was due to environmental factors social and cultural. The largest proportion felt that it was due to a combination of factors, suggesting the interaction of nature and nurture. 5. Most Jamaicans ( 56%) be lieve that it is not possible to be a homosexual and be religious at the same time. However, it should be noted that a significant minority

PAGE 8

3 (43%) does not share this view, which perhaps suggest that the public is somewhat conflicted on the issue of homosex uality and religiosity. 6. W hen asked if one can be homosexual and also be a Christian, only 30% agreed with the statement. 7. M ost respondents agreed that society was more accepting of female homosexuality (67.1%) and that this was the case because women can d o things men cannot do whilst suffering few negative consequences. Also, female homosexuality is rarely considered to be bad or wrong (13%). 8. M ost respondents (85.2%) did not think that homosexuality among consenting adults should be made legal in Jamaica 9. In relation to male homosexuality, 82.2% deemed it to be morally wrong as opposed to 3.6% who did not see it as a moral issue. 6.2% of those polled had no opinion on the matter. As for female homosexuality, the results were similar as 75.2% felt that homo sexuality was morally wrong. 10. Two homophobia scales indicate that Jamaicans have strong negative views of homosexuality, thereby ranking high on the se scales. 11. Negative views of homosexuality tended to be greate st among males, non university educated per sons, those who listened mostly to dancehall and reggae music and those in lower socio economic groups. 12. In general, the most important finding from this study is that strong negative perceptions and attitudes towards homosexuality cut across all social cla sses, gender and social groups in Jamaica.

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4 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page 5 8 8 11 Predictors of Attitudes Towards Homosexuality 3 3 3 5 R 3 6

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5 1. Background Popular opinion within and outside of Jamaica is that Jamaica is a very homophobic society. The American Heritage Dictionary defines homophobia as t he "fear of or contempt for homosexual acts and non gender specific anal interc ourse. Article 76 stipulates that anyone for a term not exceeding 1 gross indecency with another male ). Unlike other colonial supported by the Jamaican people. A poll in The Daily Gleaner conducted in 2001, showed that 90% of the population was strongly opposed to removing this legislation However, there has never been a comprehensive polling of Jamaicans on homosexuality. T herefore, this stud y is the first national study to focus on attitudes and perceptions of Jamaicans toward same sex relationships. A review of North American literature on attitudes towards same sex relationships reveal that a number of variables play a critical role The variables that appear to influence education and gender. Persons who are less religious, of a high er social economic status and are more educated have more liberal v iews of homosexuality. In addition, females generally have more liberal views than males. In Jamaica, given the debate surrounding the an additional variable. I n Jamaica, it may be argued that attitudes towards homosexuality are affected by a number of additional factors, among them the views of opinion makers and politicians. For example, during the 2001 general elections, the Jamaican Labour Party used the popu lar

PAGE 11

6 Rights Watch, 2004). More recently, the current Prime Minister, Mr. Bruce Golding e, they p.1 ). Beyond the legal and political discrimination, homosexuals in Jamaica face severe discrimination that often leads to violence and even death from members of the public. The United Kin gdom based The Observer reported that over the span of five years, over 30 gay men were killed in Jamaica. Reports of beatings and other kinds of violence have been more constant. A recent report by Human Rights Watch reports of: who have sex with men are commonplace in Jamaica. Verbal and physical violence, ranging from beatings to brutal armed attacks to murder, are widespread. For many, there is no sanctuary from such abuse. Men who have sex with men and women who have sex w ith women reported being driven from their homes and their towns by neighbours who threatened to kill them if they remained, forcing them to abandon their possessions and leaving many (Human Rights Watch, 2004, p.4) One of the most harrowing case s of homophobic violence was the prison riot of 1997, which erupted when the head of the Jamaica Correctional Services proposed that condoms be distributed in the male prisons. In the riot, seventeen male inmates were murdered because it was alleged that t hey were homosexual, in full view of wardens who stood close by (Williams, 2000). The basis for the strong homophobic attitudes that are displayed in Jamaica have been explored by different researchers. Gutzmore (2004 p.8) presents the largest number o f he divides into primary and dary free global

PAGE 12

7 He shows that religious fundamentalists use the Bible to denounce homosexuality by pointing to His book, variously declares homosexuality to be m of ungodliness (Titus 2: 12 2004, p. 10). Therefore those who commit this sin have to be punished by God. One of the terms that is regularly used to describe this violence a these judgments may have their roots in 19 th century evangelism after emancipation, showing the pervasive religious influence on homophobia. The perception in Jamaican society with the foundation that sex is for procreation purposes and thus sexual acts that could not lead to procreation are perverse. The other im perative that is commonly used to justify homophobia is the conflation of homosexuality with paedophilia. Gutzmore (2004, p 15 ion of this imperative is that homosexuality, especially in its male form, involves a st rongly predatory paedophile tendency which is put into practice against innocent and powerless young engage in heterosexual sex from a young age to develop their sense o f masculinity, to which homosexuality presents a challenge (Chevannes, 2004). denigrate s and stigmatises any non heterosexual behaviour, identity, relationship or y should exclude ho She found that even several of her gay research participants had internalized the argument of religious condemnation and believed that Christianity and homosexuality were irreconcilable. King (2006) expands on the perception of hom osexuality as racial conflict as presented by

PAGE 13

8 study on homophobia in Jamaica. She found that in exploring the explanations given for sexuality is a white perversion that has been i ) came up repeatedly. Most of her respondents believed that homosexuality did not exist in pre colonial Africa and that it was introduced during slavery and further denigrated people of African descent as it was a reminder of 400 years of sexual exploitation. The strong homophobia t hat exists in the country has myriad effects, the most hazardous of which is its impact on the transmission and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Royes (2003) found that homophobia leads to denial on the part of some homosexual men who define themselves as heterosexual, while continuing to have sex with men, often unprotected, which places the MSM population at high risk to HIV/AIDS. Homophobic attitudes also pe rvade the health care system and many HIV positive MSM are discriminated against, especially in the public health care system. Fear of discrimination deters a large portion of the population from even seeking health care, which further compounds the proble m (Human Rights Watch, 2004). For all these reasons, it is important to get a greater sense of how Jamaicans feel about homosexuality, beyond the anecdotal evidence, for it is only by cataloguing and understanding these views that we are able to contribute to a much more enlightened discourse on the matter. 2. Objective s The ma in objectives of this study are to examine Jamaican views towards homosexuality and highlight what are some possible determinants of attitudes towards homosexuality in the country. T he study employs two homophobia scale s and f ocus groups in an attempt to achieve these objectives. 3. Methodology This study uses a mixed method approach driven largely by the quantitative data that is, a QUANT QUAL approach For the survey a nationally rep resentative sample 1007 adults (18 years and over) from 231 communities across Jamaica was interviewed between October and November 2010 The margin of error is approximately +/ 4% The survey

PAGE 14

9 was supported b y a qualitative study based on five focus gr oups conducted across the country between October 2010 and January 2011. 3.1 Demographic profiles of FGDs For the fi rst FGD, all of the participant university students were between the ages of 1 9 22 years In total there were 8 participants with 5 females and 3 males. Although they all attended university they hailed from various geographical locations in the country These included mainly inner city communit ies and rural communities T he second FGD was comprised 10 male participants only. They were from a n urban, inner city community in Central Kingston. They were between the ages of 18 31 years Five of the participants finished secondary level education while the others did not most stopping at the 10 th grade (or 4 th form) level One of the participan ts had a cook shop, 2 had jobs, 1 was enrolled in a post secondary level institution (HEART programme) and the others were unemployed. The third FGD comprised 5 participants all of whom were professionals and included a teacher, 2 managers, and an adminis trative assistant O f the 5 participants 4 had a first degree and 3 had Ma s ters level qualifications. They included 2 males and 4 f emales between the ages of 28 40 years. The fourth FGD was a mixed inner city group with 6 participants, 3 males and 3 fema les. Two female pa rticipants were unemployed, the other female participant was employed, 1 male participant was retired, another male participant was employed and the other male participant depended on seasonal work. The participants ranged from 24 to 60 y ears. The fifth FGD was a mixed religious/Christian group. The age range was from 26 to 67 years. Three of the participants ( 1 male and 2 females ) were employed part time and the other participants were employed full time.

PAGE 15

10 3.2 Measuring Attitudes An at titude is a construct that reflects how people feel about something. Attitudes exist along a con tinuum of positive to negative, although some attitudes may reflect the fact that a person is conflicted or ambivalent about an issue, person or thing. Attitude s comp rise what a person thinks, what a person does, and what a person feels. Hence we are concerned with cognition, affect and behavior. Measuring attitudes is a highly developed area of social sciences and often employs complex techniques such as s cales and indices. This survey draws on two scales that have been developed for studying attitudes towards homosexuality, t he Wright, Adams and Bernat 1996 homophobia scale and the Riddle 1994 homophobia scale. Dr Henry Adams and his colleagues at the Universit y of Georgia developed their scale based upon modifications of other scales. In the study we modified the Wright et al scale and also triangulated with the Riddle S cale. 3. 3 Measuring Perceptions P erception refers to the process by which people acquire, in terpret, select and organize information. Perceptions depend on the five senses and are based on past experiences and socialization They ma y or may not reflect the reality. In this study, a number of questions have b een asked to elicit respondents percep tions of a number of issues rel a t e d to homosexuality. 3. 4 Measuring Knowledge Part of the obj ective of this study was to investigate what Jamaicans know about various aspects of same sex relationships and interrogate how they acquired this knowledge. A nu mber of questio ns geared towards ascertaining what people know about various issues associated with same sex relationships were included in the survey. 3.5 Limitations of survey Conducting surveys on sensitive topics often result s in respondents not revea ling their true feelings on a number of issues. Given the sensitivity of the topic of homosexuality in

PAGE 16

11 the Jamaican society, we anticipated that there might be reluctance in answering various types of questions and in some cases the tendency to not tell th e truth the problem of social desirability bias. To address the potential problem, in piloting the study, we were able to make adjustments to compensate for some sources of invalidity. We found that mature female interv iewers with significant interviewin g experience elicited better responses in the field Consequently the interviewers were largely experience d mature females. While we cannot guarantee the absence o f social desirability bias in the results, we believe that we we re able to reduce it signif icantly 3.6 Field work Challenges There were some challenges that sought to impede the process of gathering worthwhile information for the subject being investigated. It became progressively more difficult to organize the FGDs not only because of logistic al issues as perhaps is a normal functionality, but more importantly because of the topic that was up for discussion. Many of the potential participants upon hearing of the topic were less than eager and some very adamant that they wanted no part of any di scussion with homophobia and homosexuality as the headline. This was especially more pronounced in the attempts to organize the rural groups as the first few attempts to get the FGDs together were unsuccessful, mainly because o f the topic under investigati on. 4. FINDINGS 4 .1 The Sample The data from this study w ere collected from a representative sample across the island. These 1007 participants were both male (49%) and female (51%). The ages of the responde nts ranged from 18 84 years old. As illustrated i n Tables 1 & 2 below, most of the respondents attend church or other religious activities, with the majority attending these activities two to three times a year.

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12 Table 1: Attendance at Church or other religious activities (n=2007) Attendance Percentages (%) Yes 81.8 No 18.2 Table 2: Frequency of Church and Religious activity Attendance (n=2007) Frequency of Attendance Percentages (%) Every week 27.6 Every Month 29.5 Two to three times a year 32.6 Every year 5.1 Less than Once per year 5.1 Giv en the debate in Jamaica about the possible impact of musical preference on views about homosexuality, this variable was included in the survey. As Table 3 below shows, the majority of the respondents listened to a variety of musical genres with no clear p reference for one type. T able 3: Music Preferences of R espondents Musical preferences Percentages (%) Reggae 19.9 Dancehall 12.0 Hip Hop/Rap 5.3 R&B 15.2 Soca/Calypso .9

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13 Rock/Alternative 1.9 Gospel 15.8 Old hits .8 Jazz .1 Country .1 Listen to all about the same 28.1 In relation to the employment status of tho se polled, 77.5% were employed, with the majori ty of respondents being office/c lerical workers. Table 4 gives the distribution of the types of employment of the respondents. Table 4: Oc cupations of Respondents Occupations Percentages (%) Clerical, Office Worker 13.2 Other type of work 12.9 Tradesman, Skilled Worker 12.4 Business Person 11 Unskilled Worker, Labourer 9.6 Professional 9.3 Higgler, Vendor 5.2 Manager, Supervisor 5. 2 Respondent has never been employed 5.2 Teacher 5.1 Shopkeeper 3.5 Juggling, Hustling 3.4 Farmer 3.2 Farm Worker .7

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14 The education of respondents ranged from no formal education to graduate degrees. However, almost a third of the respondents (31.2% ) indicated that they had completed secondary education and just over 18% had some type of tertiary education. In terms of social class distribution, more than half (51%) were classified as lower/working class, and one third said they earned between $20,00 0 and $ 70,000 per month 4.2 Knowledge, Perceptions and Attitudes Information on same sex relationships was analyzed under four major categories: knowledge, perceptions and general and specific attitudes 4.2.1 Knowledge and Definitions Homosexuality In relation to knowledge, respondents were asked if they were aware of common terms associated with same sex relationships. The results revealed that 99.1% were aware of the m homosexual and 92.6% were aware of the term bisexual Respondents were least aware of the term transsexual as 23.5% had n o idea what the term meant. When asked how they became aware of homosexuality, the results revealed that most respondents bec ame aware of homosexuality largely due to contact with friends and family ( 32.9 %) as well as information from the media (31.3%). Other formal agents of socialization such as the school and the church were also identified as places of primary awareness I nformally interaction on the streets was also identified as a medium of how people bec a me aware of homosexuality Table 5 and Chart 1 provide the results for each area of awareness.

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15 Table 5 : Sources of first awareness of homosexuality Source of aware ness Percentages (%) Friends/Family 32.9 Media(print/electronic) 31.3 School 11.4 Church 4.3 On the streets 2.1 Bible 1.2 It would appear that Jamaicans bec o me aware of homosexuality at an early stage in their lives as the majority of the responden ts (51%) indicated knowing about homosexuality at 1 4 years old and under Regardless of the initial exposure to homosexuality, there were varying results as to what constituted homosexuality. The m ajority of the respondents ( 73 % ) said that homosexuality me ant sexual intercourse with members of the same

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16 Chart 1: Sources of fir st awareness of h omosexuality sex However, a significant percentage of respondents fe lt that homosexuality was only in reference to males as 21.6% agreed that males who had interco urse with other me n solely were homosexual. Other notable definitions of homosexuality can be seen in Table 6 Table 6 : Definitions of Homosexuality Definition Percentages (%) Same sex/gender having sexual intercourse 73.0 Interest/feelings/attracti on to the same sex 4.8 Battyman 3.2 Gay persons 2 2 Ungodly 1.2 4.2.2 How prevalent is Homosexuality? It would seem that m ost Jamaican s (89%) believe that homosexuality is somewhat or very prevalent in Jamaica. Respondents also alluded to an associat ion with this lifestyle and

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17 as 66.8 % felt that i t was more prevalent among some social classes than others A significant 57.7% felt that it was most prevalent among the upper class, while 9% said it was most among the mid d le class and another 2% said it was most among the working class. Most persons (51%) felt that it was to be found e q ually among males and females, however, 32% felt that it was more common among males and 11.2% stated that it was slightly m ore common among females. Part o f the reason for the perception that homose xualit y is on the increase in Jamaica may perhaps be based on the f act that many Jamaicans are exposed to it on cable television. In other words many appear to be more aware of it or to hear more about it b y virtue of watching the television. In one focus group t here seemed t o be a consensus regarding the perception of males wanting to be a part of the hype culture As a consequence of t his overwhelming need to be a part of the ion is that males will do anything thing to stay in style. some of the youths mix with the wrong crowd and are re socialised in this new life style and culture which comes at a high price. One res pondent noted that it is the You turn on the TV you see male an d male having sex together like wise female The religious group participants pointed to the media as one of the main encouragi the sin and they noted that the type of programming leaves a lot to be desired and is partially responsible for corrupting the minds of the young and impressionable. Some of th e programmes, they argued, occu py prime time slots and are heavily effectively. Some examples given in this regard include: Frasier (a comedy), Spartacus (telev ision show) and Brokeb ack Mountain (movie). Ano the r reason that emerged based i n th e focus groups has to do with the perception that revealed that even though a variety of responses were given as to what predisposes in dividuals to homosexuality, one of the main responses centered on the notion that

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18 individuals who are homosexuals engage in this practice largely for the financial benefits that can be derived. Many respondents believe that individuals are not born homose xual but because of material possessions many young men to a large extent and turn to homosexuality. In other words, because of poverty many youths and men that on the surface appear straigh t) in an effort to gain social mobility have access to the finer things in life and in some cases for sheer survival, will allow older more established men ) to entrap them into homosexuality because of the benefits these wealthy men can off er. One of the participants opined: Furthermore, respondents no properly socialized by parents and others. Therefore, part of the problem of homophobia in Jamaica is linked to the e conomics and social class, where many perceive that inequality leads to the poor being exploited by the rich. A number of participants noted that they were genuinely fearful of the seemingly increased levels of homosexuality in the Jamaican society. They noted that some of these persons were in very influential and prestigious positions and had economic and political power and could change laws to make homosexuality legal They were also very fearful of the ex ternal influences that they argu e are having a significant impact on the society and the young men in particular, many They again brought up the mass media which they believed is the main conduit through which this diffusion and change in societal norms and values are occurring. Additio nally, respondents from the all male group were concerned that homosexuality was becoming prevalent in inner city communities top have already They again reiterated th at this unfortunate state of affairs was due to poverty to some extent, but also laziness. They argued that many did not want to work hard t o gain the material possessions that so many youths desire, instead they look for the easy way out, which in some re spondents view s was homosexuality. Some used themselves as examples and pointed to livelihood activities that they have developed in an

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19 effort to show that they are willing to work hard for that they want. Some examples include starting drinks stall s coo k shop s grocery shop s and continuing education. 4.2.3 Nature or Nurture With respect to the causes of homosexuality, o pinions were fairly varied (Table 7 ). Only 10% felt that persons ar e born as homosexuals, however 28.6 % felt that it was due to environ mental factors social and cultural. The largest proportion (35%) felt that it was due to a combination of factors suggesting the interaction of nature and nurture. Table 7 : C ause s of H omosexual ity Causes of homosexuality % Born with/Genes 9.8 Upb ringing (Socialization) 14.3 Environment (Social and cultural world) 28.6 Combination (All of the above) 35.0 When asked if homosexuals can be made to change their orientation through therapy or other professional treatment, 47% agreed with the statem ent while 27% stated that it was not possible. Why did the 47% think that it was possible to change? Reasons include : e veryone can change i was a state of mind i and t hey need God ) Table 8 : Reason s why it is possible for homosexuals to change

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20 Reasons why homosexuals can change % Everyone can change 30.0 s within their mind 8.4 t herapy can help 3.0 They need God to help them 2.5 There is evidence to show that it works/ it will disclose reason for behavior 1 .2 Depends on a number of things 1.2 Reasons for disagreeing are equally interesting and include the fol lowing : They cannot change (1 2.0%) Their bodies will never be the sam e again (1.8%) 4.2.4 R eligion and Homosexuality M ost Jamaica n s ( 56 .4 % ) believe that it is not possible to be a homosexual and be religious at the same time (Table 9 ). However, it should be noted that a significant minority does not share this view. A larg e 43% felt otherwise, which perhaps suggest that the public is somew h at conflicted on the issue of homosexuality and religiosity However, when asked if one can be homosexual and also be Christi an, only 30% agreed with the statement. Table 9 : Religion and Homosexuality Can one be a homosexual and be religious ? Percentages (%) Yes 43.6 No 56.4 Can one be homosexual and Christian ? %

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21 Yes 29.7 No 61.0 The main reason for this stance is that it is considered a sin and contradicts the teaching of the Bible ( 41.5 %). Other reasons include: It They have to repent (5.7%) God destroy ed a city because o f it already (5.2%) God does not accept it in heaven (5.0%) Much of research on homophobia shows that there is a positive relationship between religiosity and homophobia. This relationship was evidenced in the foregoing comments and was also borne out in t he focus groups. In all of the focus groups, the main basis for opposing homosexuality was because it was seen as sinful or going against the laws of the Bible. Participants in the religious/Christian group were extremely concerned about what they perceive d to be the decaying moral fabric of society which in their view is epitomized in the growth of homosexuality in Jamaica. They believe that this is an indication of the devil growing stronger and making significant inroads in the Jamaican society and the w orld at large. They warned that these are the signs of the times and that any encouragement of this ungodly and unchristian act should be frowned upon, discouraged and the sinners should be helped. The agitated body language (including finger pointing), fi rm (and what seemed to be disgusted) facial expressions and very serious and (at times) very elevated voices sought to drive home their personal feelings and biblical teachings It was that homosexuality is wrong and is against what God wants for his serva nts on earth. It is a sin. They were very clear when expre ssing their views on homosexuality ; they believed that they were sinners but n ot different from any other types of sin ners Therefore, the collective expressed the view that shown the way the

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22 Most of the respondents sought to rationalize their response by positing that homosexuality was wrong in the ey es of the God. They pointed to t he B ible, Christianity and the fact that it went against the natural reproduct ive process and order of things T hus for these reasons homosexuality could not itsel f be rational. They noted that G od did not make Adam and Steve but Adam and Eve. It is the belief that this is the main rationale for their very firm and grounded belie f on the issue. Some participants opined: homosexual behavior is righ t, growing up as a Christian. The B ible goes against it. Male in Another noted its w he B the B ible says it is wrong and Whil e both the males and females had a high level of contempt tow ards homosexuality, the males felt more strongly about the issues There was negative chanting n o homosexuality. This was especially more pronounced when a scenario was p resented to them. The strong negative response was no different in the professional, mixed inner city group and Christian groups. Comments such as: e put on an island by Another opined: them about the B Some male members of the professional group expressed similar sentiments and specific chapters of the Bible were even quoted. One male participant made the point that it was not just homosexuality alone that he had grave concerns about but A homosexual who has a wife and a private (homosexual) life is no worse than a man with many women. However, t he deception will hurt the wife more because the cheating is done with a man. Leviticus Chapter 18 speaks to a variety of sexual sins. It speaks about incest having sex with animals etc. so it not just homosexual ity that I am against it is all the sexuality it just the morals These results clearly indicate that religion plays a significant role in determining how people feel about homosexuality. As Table 2 shows almost 60% of Jamaicans say they attend church at least once per month, and almost 90% two to three times per year. This

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23 situation may in par t explain why about 10% (Table 7 ) of those interviewed see homosexuality as being caused by nature rather than by nurture. 4.2.5 Gender and Homosexuality There ha s long been a debate as to whether there is some gender bi as in society in relation to accepting homosexuality Is society more accepting of female homosexual ity than it is of male homosexuality? When asked, most respondents agreed that society was more ac cepting of female homosexuality ( 67.1 %) and that this was the case because women can do things men cannot do whil e suffering little consequences (Chart 2) Also, female homosexuality is rarely considered to be bad or wrong ( 13 %). Other significant response s were general such as people regarded both situation s differently ( 7 %) whereas another alluded to the fact that there is no difference in the reaction towards homosexuals regardless of gender ( 7 %). A significant percentage (49%) of respondents felt that homosexuals do experience genuine love and affection in th eir intimate relationship s, while 21% said that they did not. The others did not know or refused to answer the question. Chart 2: Is society more accepting of female homosexuality than male homose xuality ?

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24 4.2.6 Legalisation and Morality of Homosexuality Despite th e foregoing response s most respondents (85.2%) did not think that homosexuality among consenting adults should be made legal in Jamaica (Table 10 ). Table 10 : Should homosexuality be legal among consenting adults? Legalization of Homosexuality Percentages (%) Should be legal 6. 2 Should not be legal 85.2 No opinion/no response 8.6 The issue of morality and legality of homosexuality seems to be closely related in the minds of the respondents. In relation to male homosexuality, 8 2 .2% deemed it to be morally wrong as opposed to 3.6% who did not see it as a moral issue. 6. 2 % of those polled had no

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25 opinion on the matter. As for female homosexuality, the results were similar as 7 5.2 % saw this orientation as morally wrong. However 10.4 % argued that it de pends on the situation that caused their homosexuality in order to determine if it was a moral issue. The percentage of t hose who had no opinion on the matter was similar to that of male homosexuality at 6.3%. A s for bisexual relationships, 7 5 .3% saw this as morally wrong with 8.5% saying that it depend ed on the situation and 5.2% that it was not a moral issue. Sexual experiences which involve experimentation with homosexual acts were als o examined The results revealed that people generally disagree d with such actions. 8 5 .0 % of the respondents disagreed with the practice of anal sex between a man and a woman, 78 .2 % felt it was inappropriate for a woman to be having intercourse with two me n at the same time and 6 0 .3 % disagreed with the practice of a man having sex with two women at the same time. The objections to legalization of homosexuality were again defended on religious ground s and the need to protect Jamaica society from changing i ts cultural practices for the worse. These sentiments were reflected in the focus groups where participants were asked to be as objective as possible and take a futuristic look at the issue at hand, considering also that we currently operate in an era wher e human rights for all are encouraged and discrimination against various groups is discouraged. Respondents were generally adamant that same sex relationships should not be allowed to the have same privileges as regular people for fear that it may be mis construed as good or a sign of encouragement. It was made very clear in a very firm way [with strong emotions e.g. raised tones and the strong body language] that they were against things such as awarding same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual co uples and allowing them to raise children as a family. Questions arose such as: w that be confusing to the child? Would that be a healthy environment for the child to grow ouraging a young innocent child to become gay? How would the cycle of procreation continue? They did note that some tolerance had to be part of the changing society, as they conceded that homosexuality was bigger than them. One respondent opined: to be more

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26 tolerant because dem inna di system, bank hospital Noteworthy was the opinion of a participant from the professional group who stated that homosexuality has always been a part of society throughout history and meted wi th agreement and contempt at varying intervals, thus, this newer dispensation is perhaps a part of the ongoing cycle, which is underscored by powerful individuals who have considerable influence in the Jamaican society and the rest of the world who are pus hing for laws that favour homosexuality to suit the ir own agendas. He stated create laws to facilitate this is only a smoke screen. What appears to be new we have gone through already at some point in history. The Greeks confronted this and ha ve silently Most participants lamented th at the ordinary citizenry was very concerned about what the Jamaican society would be like in another 10 to 20 years as it was becoming in creasingly obvious that they were powerless to the ongoing shift in the culture and to who wields the power and influence. In essence, homosexuals were taking over and there was not much anyone could do to stop them. The participants were also very firm an d clear with their calls on government to not allow them legitimacy through legalizing same sex relationships or any sort of homosexual activities One noted Other participants were very concerned about the type of societal influence that any legitimate endorsement would have on t he children and the youths that constitute the next generation. One of participant s (a mother) not ed, [hom osexuality] cause mi want my grand It was very clear from all the participants in the varying groups that they did not see a very positive future as it related to type of society th at Jamaica and by extension the world at large would evolve in to if same sex relationships were to become more pronounced and legitimized. The inner city groups expressed these sentiments with the most venom and the religious group was seemingly disturbed and viewed this as a negative indication that the devil was making strong in roads in the country. 4.3 General Attitudes Towards Homose x uality

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27 In this s ection we examine general attitud es toward same sex relationships/homosexuality. These questions were adapted from a number of studies that examine attitudes toward homosexuality. These questions examin e attitudes in a variety of situations, including: work settings, social settings and interactions with professionals, family members and friends. Tab le 11 shows the results of each question with the mean responses with Likert scale values : 1= strongly agree, 2= agree, 3=neither agree nor disagree 4= disagree and 5= strongly disagree below The se results show strong negative attitudes towards homosex uality and homosexuals. Table 11 : Attitudes towards homosexuality Question Mean n=1007 I would feel comfortable working closely with a male homosexual. 4 I would enjoy attending social functions at which homosexuals were present. 4 I would feel uncom fortable if I learned that my neighbor was a homosexual 3 If a member of my sex made a sexual advance toward me, I would feel angry. 2 I would feel comfortable knowing that I was attractive to members of my sex. 4 I would feel comfortable being seen in a homosexual bar 4 I would feel comfortable if a member of my sex made an advance toward me. 4 I would feel comfortable if I found myself attracted to a member of my sex 4 I would feel disappointed if I learned that my child was homosexual 2 I would fe el nervous being in a group of homosexuals. 2

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28 I would feel comfortable knowing that my Pastor was homosexual 4 I would be upset if I learned that my brother or sister was homosexual 2 I would feel that I had failed as a parent if I learned that my child was a homosexual. 2 If I saw two men holding hands in public I would feel disgusted. 2 If a member of my sex made an advance towards me I would feel offended 4 I would feel comfortable if I learned that my 2 I would f eel uncomfortable if I learned that my spouse or partner was attracted to members of his or her sex. 2 I would feel at ease talking to a homosexual person at a party. 3 I would feel uncomfortable if I learned that my boss was homosexual 2 It would distu rb me to find out that my doctor was homosexual. 2 I would feel comfortable if I learned that my best friend of my sex was homosexual. 4 If a member of my sex made an advance toward me I would feel flattered 4 I would feel uncomfortable knowing that my 2 I would feel comfortable working closely w ith a female homosexual 3

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29 The generally negative attitudes were reflected in the focus groups which showed strong resentment is based on the fact that that relative would reflect on them negatively. uncover that a close friend and or family member was a homosexual. What would you do? Suppose it is your father or someone who you look up to and all of a sudden he/she is coming out of the closet? Would you treat him or her any differently because of this new found knowledge, despite the closeness that was t All of the respondents conceded that this new found knowledge would have taken them by surprise and admittedly they would be confused especially because it was someone close to them that they trusted. The overwhelming view was that they would feel and hurt as the trust would be shattered and that the relationship would never be the same again. The somber tones and the horrified and sad facial expressions corroborated the statements. M any of the respondents noted firmly that they wou ld no longer want to continue the relationship. One respondent stated : ing people and then my family member The males from the all male group, noted that whether family or friend that would be the end of the relationship. A number of them also made reference to possible violence against them (most ly the friends). One male respondent noted: [referring to an uncle]. When a similar question was posed to the respon dents as it related to the work place their responses were mixed. Whil e they were against homosexuali ty they recognized that perhaps they could not hold a hard l ine in the workplace, school and other places in respect of their personal views. However, some were even more venomous and violent in their comments, while o thers noted that they do not care. One I would go of Another participant noted : I would go to school or work with a homosexual

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30 individual because as I said what they do in the me just like what I do in mine has nothing to do with them. So working with someone I know would even be friends with Another ? ] t be comfortable around them. ( Interviewer: W be co mfortabl e ? ) B y to pull anyt However, some responses were even more venomous and violent compared to the others noted earlier. The f ollowing were opined by a members of the all male group. One respondent noted: den stab him up no matter the Another noted : Probably mi woulda knock him out. Public him cudda reach. 4.4 The Modified Wright, Adams and Bernat Scale Drawing on the Wright, Adams and Bernat homophobia scale, a n instrument was developed for Jamaica. Respondents were asked express their thoughts, feelings and behaviours regarding same sex relationships. Using the Likert Scale response values of 1 = strongly agree, 2= agree, 3=neither agree nor disagree 4= disagree and 5= strongly disagree, mean sores are presented in Table 12 With an overall mean of 2.3, t he results indicate that in general, Jamaicans have strong negative views about homosexuality although most seem not to have acted on these negative perceptions. These results indicate a fairly high level of homophobia among Jamaicans.

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31 Table 12 : Adapted Homophobia scale items Question Mean n=1007 Homosexuals make me nervous. 3 If I discovered a friend was homosexual I would end the friendship 3 I think homosexual s should not wo rk with children 2 I make derogatory remarks about homosexuals 3 Marriage between homosexual individuals is acceptable. 4 homosexual 3 It matters to me whether my friends are homosexual or not homosexual. 2 It would upset me if I learned that a close friend was a homosexual 2 Homosexuality is immoral 2 Homosexuality is a sin. 2 I tease and make jokes about homosexuals. 3 Society should recognize homosexuality as norma l 4 I feel that you can trust a person who is homosexual. 3 I fear homosexual persons will make sexual advances towards me 3 Organizations which promote homosexual 3

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32 rights are not necessary. I have damaged property of a homosexual person. 4 I would feel uncomfortable having a homosexual roommate. 2 I would hit a homosexual for coming on to me. 2 Homosexual behavior should be against the law. 2 I avoid homosexuals. 2 It bothers me to see two homosexual people together in public. 2 When I see a h 2 When I meet someone, I try to find out if he/she is a homosexual. 3 4.5 Riddle Homophobia Scale Using the Riddle Homophobia scale, respondents were asked to identify a word from a list provided, that best descr ibed their view of homos exuals. 59% chose negatives words, indicating generally negative attitudes towards homosexuality. Nonetheless it should be noted that 20 % of respondents chose positive words such as toler ance and acceptance. As Chart 3 shows the more p ositive the description the less likely respondents were willing to choose the word. These results again point to a high degree of homoph ob ia in the Jamaican society. It must be noted that despite what appears to be wide spread fear of and dislike for h om osexuals in Jamaica, many re spondents readily point out that persons who are homosexual make an important contribut ion to the society. Most of the respondents did in fact believe that homosexuals were and can be producti ve members of society They

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33 concede d on some level be indeed interacting with them every day a nd not know their sex ual orientation. They pointed out again that many alleged known homosexuals in the Jamaican society are wea lthy, established and aff luent individuals that do make a positive contribution to society. It should also be noted that while there are strong homophobic attitudes, many Jamaicans believe that homose x uality can be tolerated as long as it is done in priva te. The focus should keep their same sex beliefs and relations in the dark. This means that they should keep themselves to themselves, be very private and do not flaunt it in the public domain, so Table 7: Descriptions of feelings for Homosexuals in Jamaic a Description of view Percentages (%) Repulsion 3 9. 6 Pity 19.2 Tolerance 15.3 Acceptance 3.6 Support 1.1 Admiration 3 Appreciation 3 Nurturance 3

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34 Chart 3 : Description of feelings for h omosexuals in Jamaica 4.6 Predictors of Attitudes T owards Ho mosexuality In this section we examine some of the factors that most determine attitudes towards homosexuality. The literature point s to a number of variables, including : religio n gender and education In the case of Jamaica reference is often m ade to the role of music, especially dancehall and reggae in shaping values and attitudes generally. To examine the impact of these variables, Chi Square tests were conducted focusing on the Riddle homophobia scale the results from can be seen in Appen dix 1 The idea here is to determine if there is a stati stically significant difference (p< .05) between the variables and variation on the Riddle S cale.

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35 4.6.1 G ender While the results show that both men and women ex h ibit strong negative views toward s homosexuality, these negative views are stronger among males and this difference is statistically significant In the focus group discussions, males tended to be more voc al than fe males in their opposition to homosexuality. 4.6.2 Education P ersons who have university education are more likely to exhibit tolerance t owards homosexuals/ homosexuality than non university educated persons. This difference is statistically significant. 4.6.2 M usic The results show that those who say that they mostly list en t o dancehall and reggae are more likely to have negative views towards homosexuality tha n others who mostly listen to other types of music It should however be noted that while this difference is statistically significant, strong opposition to homosexu ality cuts across all musical preferences as can be seen in Appendix 1 4.6.3 R eligion Based upon the results of the survey and focus groups t here can be no doubt that religion plays a significant role in determining attitudes towards homosexuality. H owever, statistically speaking there is no evide nce from this survey that attending church or religious activities drives anti homosexual attitudes or behaviour. The precise role of religion in r egard to attitud inal formation towards homosexuality is comp lex and requi res further study. 4.6. 4 Social C lass Social class seem s to play a peculiar role in determ ining attitudes to w ards homos exuality in Jamaica. Among many persons from po o rer sections of the society there is a perception

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36 that among middle and upper classes, homose xuality is practiced as lifestyle, whereas among the poor it is part of their economic survival. The results indicate that persons of lower socio economic status es are more likely to have negative attitudes towards homosexuality. 5. CONCLUSIONS This s urvey examined attitudes and perceptions of adult Jamaicans towards same sex relationships/ homosexuality. The findings reveal that Jamaican s have strong negative views of homosexuality and there is the overwhelming belief that it shoul d not be leg a li z ed among consenting adults. The survey found about half of the adult population believe d that homosexuals experience feelings of love like heterosexuals. Jamaicans are divided over whethe r homosexuality is as a result of nature or nurture, although one third is o f the view that it is the result of both. The data however show that females and university educated person s tend to be slightly less homophobic than others P ersons who listen to mostly to reggae and dancehall are also more like l y to hold stronger negative views about homosexuality than those who say they mostly listen to other types of music. Additionally, lower socio economic status seems to be associated with more negative views towards homosexuality. It should be emphasized th at these relationships are weak and are a matter of probability They do not mean that all members of those groups behave in the same way. It should be noted that t he most important finding from this study is that strong negative perceptions and attitudes towards homosexuality cut across all social classes, gender and social groups in Jamaica.

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37 REFERENCES Anderson, M (2009). Liminal Identities: Caribbean men who have sex with men in London, UK. Culture Health and Sexuality Vol.11, No.3, 315 330. Carr, R. (2003). On Judgments :" Poverty, Sexuality Based Violence and Human Rights in 21st Century Jamaica. The Caribbean Journal of Social Work Vol. 2, pp.71 87. Chevannes, B. (2004). Sexual Practices and Behaviour in Jamaica: A Review of the Literature. Jamaic a: AIDS Public Health Communication (AIDSCOM). Gutzmore, C. (2004) Casting the first stone: Policing of Homo/Sexuality in Jamaican Popular Culture. Interventions Vol. 6(1) 118 134 Human Rights Watch. (2004). Hated to Death Homophobia, Violence, a nd Jamaica's HIV/AIDS Epidemic King, J. (2006). Outing the Centre: Homophobia in Jamaica. Jamaica: SIT Jamaica: Gender and Development. Luton, D., Buggery laws firm PM says life or 15 years for some sex offence breaches The Jamaica Gleaner : March 4, 200 9. Royes, H. (2003). HIV/AIDS risk mapping study of Men who have sex with Men in Jamaica. Jamaica: Jamaica HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Project, Ministry of Health. White, R, R. Carr. (2005). Homophobia and HIV/AIDS Stigma in Jamaica. Culture Health an d Sexuality 7(000):1 13. Williams, L. (March 2000). Homophobia and Gay Rights Activism in Jamaica. Small Axe 7 106 111.

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38 APPENDIX 1

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39 Crosstabs

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40 Which of the following best describes your view about persons in same sex relationships? Respondent's Gender

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41

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42 Which of the following best describes your view about persons in same sex relationships? If yes, how often do you attend church or other religious activities?

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43

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44 Which of the following best describes your view about persons in same sex relationships? What is your highest level of education?

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45 Crosstabs

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46

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47 Crosstabs

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48

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49

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50 Chi Square Tests Value df Asymp. Sig. (2 sided) Pearson Chi Square 5 8.699(a) 21 .000 Likelihood Ratio 55.084 21 .000 Linear by Linear Association 23.623 1 .000 N of Valid Cases 744 a 17 cells (53.1%) have expected count less than 5. The minimum expected count is .17.

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51 Appendix 2 ( Survey Instrument)

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Summary of Findings This study reports on findings from a survey and qualitative analysis of attitudes and perception Jamaicans towards homosexuality. A nationally representative sample of 1007 adults from 231 communities across Jamaica was interviewed be tween October and November 2010. The margin of error is approximately +/ 4%. The survey was supported by a qualitative study based on five focus groups conducted across the country between October 2010 and January 2011. The results show that Jamaicans b ecome aware of homosexuality at an early stage in their lives as the majority of the respondents (51%) indicated knowing about homosexuality at 14 years old and under. Most Jamaicans (89%) believe that homosexuality is somewhat or very prevalent in Jamai ca. Respondents also was more prevalent among some social classes more than others. Most persons (51%) felt that homosexuality was to be found equally among male s and females, however, 32% felt that it was more common among males and 11.2% stated that it was slightly more common among females. With respect to the causes of homosexuality, opinions varied. Only 10% felt that persons are born as homosexuals, howev er 28.6% felt that it was due to environmental factors social and cultural. The largest proportion felt that it was due to a combination of factors, suggesting the interaction of nature and nurture. Most Jamaicans (56%) believe that it is not possible to be a homosexual and be religious at the same time. However, it should be noted that a significant minority (43%) does not share this view, which perhaps suggest that the public is somewhat conflicted on the issue of homosexuality and religiosity M ost Jam aicans (85.2%) did not think that homosexuality among consenting adults should be made legal in Jamaica as it was morally wrong. Two homophobia scales indicate that Jamaicans have strong negative views of homosexuality, thereby ranking high on these scales for homophobia. Strong negative views and fear of homosexuals tended to be greate st among males, non university educated persons, those who listened mostly to dancehall and reggae music and those in lower socio economic groups. In general, the most impor tant finding from this study is that strong negative perceptions and attitudes towards homosexual cut across all social classes, gender and social groups in Jamaica.



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0 NATIONAL SURVEY OF ATTITUDES AND PERCEPTIONS OF JAMAICAN S TOWARDS SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS S upported in part by a grant from Foundation Open Society Institute (ZUG) and additional support from AIDS Free World

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1 RESEARCH TEAM IAN BOXILL J OULENE MARTIN ROY RUSSELL LLOYD WALLER TRACIAN M EIKLE RASHALEE MITCHELL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY, PSY CH OLOGY AND SOCIAL WORK UWI, MONA JANUARY 2011

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2 E XECUTIVE SUMMARY This report examines Jamaican views towards homosexuality and attempts to d iscover what are some possible determinants of attitudes towards homosexuality in the country. This study uses a mixed method approach driven largely by a nation poll of attitudes and perceptions. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1007 adults f rom 231 communities across Jamaica was interviewed between October and November 2010 The margin of error is approximately +/ 4%. The survey was supported b y a qualitative study based on five focus groups conducted across the country between October 201 0 and January 2011. Following is a summary of findings from the study. 1. It would appear that Jamaicans become aware of homosexuality at an early stage in their lives as the majority of the respondents (51%) indicated knowing about homosexuality at 14 years old and under. 2. M ost Jamaicans (89%) believe that homosexuality is somewhat or very prevalent in Jamaica. Respondents also allud ed to an association with this orientation and classes more than others. A significant 57.7% felt that it was most prevalent among the upper class, while 9% said it was most among the middle class and another 2% said it was most among the working class. 3. Most persons (51%) felt that homosexuality was to be found equally among males and females, however, 32% felt that it was more common among males and 11.2% stated that it was slightly more common among females. 4. With respect to the causes of homosexuality, opinions varied. Only 10% felt that persons are born as homosexuals, however 28.6% felt that it was due to environmental factors social and cultural. The largest proportion felt that it was due to a combination of factors, suggesting the interaction of nature and nurture. 5. Most Jamaicans ( 56%) be lieve that it is not possible to be a homosexual and be religious at the same time. However, it should be noted that a significant minority

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3 (43%) does not share this view, which perhaps suggest that the public is somewhat conflicted on the issue of homosex uality and religiosity. 6. W hen asked if one can be homosexual and also be a Christian, only 30% agreed with the statement. 7. M ost respondents agreed that society was more accepting of female homosexuality (67.1%) and that this was the case because women can d o things men cannot do whilst suffering few negative consequences. Also, female homosexuality is rarely considered to be bad or wrong (13%). 8. M ost respondents (85.2%) did not think that homosexuality among consenting adults should be made legal in Jamaica 9. In relation to male homosexuality, 82.2% deemed it to be morally wrong as opposed to 3.6% who did not see it as a moral issue. 6.2% of those polled had no opinion on the matter. As for female homosexuality, the results were similar as 75.2% felt that homo sexuality was morally wrong. 10. Two homophobia scales indicate that Jamaicans have strong negative views of homosexuality, thereby ranking high on the se scales. 11. Negative views of homosexuality tended to be greate st among males, non university educated per sons, those who listened mostly to dancehall and reggae music and those in lower socio economic groups. 12. In general, the most important finding from this study is that strong negative perceptions and attitudes towards homosexuality cut across all social cla sses, gender and social groups in Jamaica.

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4 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page 5 8 8 11 Predictors of Attitudes Towards Homosexuality 3 3 3 5 R 3 6

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5 1. Background Popular opinion within and outside of Jamaica is that Jamaica is a very homophobic society. The American Heritage Dictionary defines homophobia as t he "fear of or contempt for homosexual acts and non gender specific anal interc ourse. Article 76 stipulates that anyone for a term not exceeding 1 gross indecency with another male ). Unlike other colonial supported by the Jamaican people. A poll in The Daily Gleaner conducted in 2001, showed that 90% of the population was strongly opposed to removing this legislation However, there has never been a comprehensive polling of Jamaicans on homosexuality. T herefore, this stud y is the first national study to focus on attitudes and perceptions of Jamaicans toward same sex relationships. A review of North American literature on attitudes towards same sex relationships reveal that a number of variables play a critical role The variables that appear to influence education and gender. Persons who are less religious, of a high er social economic status and are more educated have more liberal v iews of homosexuality. In addition, females generally have more liberal views than males. In Jamaica, given the debate surrounding the an additional variable. I n Jamaica, it may be argued that attitudes towards homosexuality are affected by a number of additional factors, among them the views of opinion makers and politicians. For example, during the 2001 general elections, the Jamaican Labour Party used the popu lar

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6 Rights Watch, 2004). More recently, the current Prime Minister, Mr. Bruce Golding e, they p.1 ). Beyond the legal and political discrimination, homosexuals in Jamaica face severe discrimination that often leads to violence and even death from members of the public. The United Kin gdom based The Observer reported that over the span of five years, over 30 gay men were killed in Jamaica. Reports of beatings and other kinds of violence have been more constant. A recent report by Human Rights Watch reports of: who have sex with men are commonplace in Jamaica. Verbal and physical violence, ranging from beatings to brutal armed attacks to murder, are widespread. For many, there is no sanctuary from such abuse. Men who have sex with men and women who have sex w ith women reported being driven from their homes and their towns by neighbours who threatened to kill them if they remained, forcing them to abandon their possessions and leaving many (Human Rights Watch, 2004, p.4) One of the most harrowing case s of homophobic violence was the prison riot of 1997, which erupted when the head of the Jamaica Correctional Services proposed that condoms be distributed in the male prisons. In the riot, seventeen male inmates were murdered because it was alleged that t hey were homosexual, in full view of wardens who stood close by (Williams, 2000). The basis for the strong homophobic attitudes that are displayed in Jamaica have been explored by different researchers. Gutzmore (2004 p.8) presents the largest number o f he divides into primary and dary free global

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7 He shows that religious fundamentalists use the Bible to denounce homosexuality by pointing to His book, variously declares homosexuality to be m of ungodliness (Titus 2: 12 2004, p. 10). Therefore those who commit this sin have to be punished by God. One of the terms that is regularly used to describe this violence a these judgments may have their roots in 19 th century evangelism after emancipation, showing the pervasive religious influence on homophobia. The perception in Jamaican society with the foundation that sex is for procreation purposes and thus sexual acts that could not lead to procreation are perverse. The other im perative that is commonly used to justify homophobia is the conflation of homosexuality with paedophilia. Gutzmore (2004, p 15 ion of this imperative is that homosexuality, especially in its male form, involves a st rongly predatory paedophile tendency which is put into practice against innocent and powerless young engage in heterosexual sex from a young age to develop their sense o f masculinity, to which homosexuality presents a challenge (Chevannes, 2004). denigrate s and stigmatises any non heterosexual behaviour, identity, relationship or y should exclude ho She found that even several of her gay research participants had internalized the argument of religious condemnation and believed that Christianity and homosexuality were irreconcilable. King (2006) expands on the perception of hom osexuality as racial conflict as presented by

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8 study on homophobia in Jamaica. She found that in exploring the explanations given for sexuality is a white perversion that has been i ) came up repeatedly. Most of her respondents believed that homosexuality did not exist in pre colonial Africa and that it was introduced during slavery and further denigrated people of African descent as it was a reminder of 400 years of sexual exploitation. The strong homophobia t hat exists in the country has myriad effects, the most hazardous of which is its impact on the transmission and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Royes (2003) found that homophobia leads to denial on the part of some homosexual men who define themselves as heterosexual, while continuing to have sex with men, often unprotected, which places the MSM population at high risk to HIV/AIDS. Homophobic attitudes also pe rvade the health care system and many HIV positive MSM are discriminated against, especially in the public health care system. Fear of discrimination deters a large portion of the population from even seeking health care, which further compounds the proble m (Human Rights Watch, 2004). For all these reasons, it is important to get a greater sense of how Jamaicans feel about homosexuality, beyond the anecdotal evidence, for it is only by cataloguing and understanding these views that we are able to contribute to a much more enlightened discourse on the matter. 2. Objective s The ma in objectives of this study are to examine Jamaican views towards homosexuality and highlight what are some possible determinants of attitudes towards homosexuality in the country. T he study employs two homophobia scale s and f ocus groups in an attempt to achieve these objectives. 3. Methodology This study uses a mixed method approach driven largely by the quantitative data that is, a QUANT QUAL approach For the survey a nationally rep resentative sample 1007 adults (18 years and over) from 231 communities across Jamaica was interviewed between October and November 2010 The margin of error is approximately +/ 4% The survey

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9 was supported b y a qualitative study based on five focus gr oups conducted across the country between October 2010 and January 2011. 3.1 Demographic profiles of FGDs For the fi rst FGD, all of the participant university students were between the ages of 1 9 22 years In total there were 8 participants with 5 females and 3 males. Although they all attended university they hailed from various geographical locations in the country These included mainly inner city communit ies and rural communities T he second FGD was comprised 10 male participants only. They were from a n urban, inner city community in Central Kingston. They were between the ages of 18 31 years Five of the participants finished secondary level education while the others did not most stopping at the 10 th grade (or 4 th form) level One of the participan ts had a cook shop, 2 had jobs, 1 was enrolled in a post secondary level institution (HEART programme) and the others were unemployed. The third FGD comprised 5 participants all of whom were professionals and included a teacher, 2 managers, and an adminis trative assistant O f the 5 participants 4 had a first degree and 3 had Ma s ters level qualifications. They included 2 males and 4 f emales between the ages of 28 40 years. The fourth FGD was a mixed inner city group with 6 participants, 3 males and 3 fema les. Two female pa rticipants were unemployed, the other female participant was employed, 1 male participant was retired, another male participant was employed and the other male participant depended on seasonal work. The participants ranged from 24 to 60 y ears. The fifth FGD was a mixed religious/Christian group. The age range was from 26 to 67 years. Three of the participants ( 1 male and 2 females ) were employed part time and the other participants were employed full time.

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10 3.2 Measuring Attitudes An at titude is a construct that reflects how people feel about something. Attitudes exist along a con tinuum of positive to negative, although some attitudes may reflect the fact that a person is conflicted or ambivalent about an issue, person or thing. Attitude s comp rise what a person thinks, what a person does, and what a person feels. Hence we are concerned with cognition, affect and behavior. Measuring attitudes is a highly developed area of social sciences and often employs complex techniques such as s cales and indices. This survey draws on two scales that have been developed for studying attitudes towards homosexuality, t he Wright, Adams and Bernat 1996 homophobia scale and the Riddle 1994 homophobia scale. Dr Henry Adams and his colleagues at the Universit y of Georgia developed their scale based upon modifications of other scales. In the study we modified the Wright et al scale and also triangulated with the Riddle S cale. 3. 3 Measuring Perceptions P erception refers to the process by which people acquire, in terpret, select and organize information. Perceptions depend on the five senses and are based on past experiences and socialization They ma y or may not reflect the reality. In this study, a number of questions have b een asked to elicit respondents percep tions of a number of issues rel a t e d to homosexuality. 3. 4 Measuring Knowledge Part of the obj ective of this study was to investigate what Jamaicans know about various aspects of same sex relationships and interrogate how they acquired this knowledge. A nu mber of questio ns geared towards ascertaining what people know about various issues associated with same sex relationships were included in the survey. 3.5 Limitations of survey Conducting surveys on sensitive topics often result s in respondents not revea ling their true feelings on a number of issues. Given the sensitivity of the topic of homosexuality in

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11 the Jamaican society, we anticipated that there might be reluctance in answering various types of questions and in some cases the tendency to not tell th e truth the problem of social desirability bias. To address the potential problem, in piloting the study, we were able to make adjustments to compensate for some sources of invalidity. We found that mature female interv iewers with significant interviewin g experience elicited better responses in the field Consequently the interviewers were largely experience d mature females. While we cannot guarantee the absence o f social desirability bias in the results, we believe that we we re able to reduce it signif icantly 3.6 Field work Challenges There were some challenges that sought to impede the process of gathering worthwhile information for the subject being investigated. It became progressively more difficult to organize the FGDs not only because of logistic al issues as perhaps is a normal functionality, but more importantly because of the topic that was up for discussion. Many of the potential participants upon hearing of the topic were less than eager and some very adamant that they wanted no part of any di scussion with homophobia and homosexuality as the headline. This was especially more pronounced in the attempts to organize the rural groups as the first few attempts to get the FGDs together were unsuccessful, mainly because o f the topic under investigati on. 4. FINDINGS 4 .1 The Sample The data from this study w ere collected from a representative sample across the island. These 1007 participants were both male (49%) and female (51%). The ages of the responde nts ranged from 18 84 years old. As illustrated i n Tables 1 & 2 below, most of the respondents attend church or other religious activities, with the majority attending these activities two to three times a year.

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12 Table 1: Attendance at Church or other religious activities (n=2007) Attendance Percentages (%) Yes 81.8 No 18.2 Table 2: Frequency of Church and Religious activity Attendance (n=2007) Frequency of Attendance Percentages (%) Every week 27.6 Every Month 29.5 Two to three times a year 32.6 Every year 5.1 Less than Once per year 5.1 Giv en the debate in Jamaica about the possible impact of musical preference on views about homosexuality, this variable was included in the survey. As Table 3 below shows, the majority of the respondents listened to a variety of musical genres with no clear p reference for one type. T able 3: Music Preferences of R espondents Musical preferences Percentages (%) Reggae 19.9 Dancehall 12.0 Hip Hop/Rap 5.3 R&B 15.2 Soca/Calypso .9

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13 Rock/Alternative 1.9 Gospel 15.8 Old hits .8 Jazz .1 Country .1 Listen to all about the same 28.1 In relation to the employment status of tho se polled, 77.5% were employed, with the majori ty of respondents being office/c lerical workers. Table 4 gives the distribution of the types of employment of the respondents. Table 4: Oc cupations of Respondents Occupations Percentages (%) Clerical, Office Worker 13.2 Other type of work 12.9 Tradesman, Skilled Worker 12.4 Business Person 11 Unskilled Worker, Labourer 9.6 Professional 9.3 Higgler, Vendor 5.2 Manager, Supervisor 5. 2 Respondent has never been employed 5.2 Teacher 5.1 Shopkeeper 3.5 Juggling, Hustling 3.4 Farmer 3.2 Farm Worker .7

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14 The education of respondents ranged from no formal education to graduate degrees. However, almost a third of the respondents (31.2% ) indicated that they had completed secondary education and just over 18% had some type of tertiary education. In terms of social class distribution, more than half (51%) were classified as lower/working class, and one third said they earned between $20,00 0 and $ 70,000 per month 4.2 Knowledge, Perceptions and Attitudes Information on same sex relationships was analyzed under four major categories: knowledge, perceptions and general and specific attitudes 4.2.1 Knowledge and Definitions Homosexuality In relation to knowledge, respondents were asked if they were aware of common terms associated with same sex relationships. The results revealed that 99.1% were aware of the m homosexual and 92.6% were aware of the term bisexual Respondents were least aware of the term transsexual as 23.5% had n o idea what the term meant. When asked how they became aware of homosexuality, the results revealed that most respondents bec ame aware of homosexuality largely due to contact with friends and family ( 32.9 %) as well as information from the media (31.3%). Other formal agents of socialization such as the school and the church were also identified as places of primary awareness I nformally interaction on the streets was also identified as a medium of how people bec a me aware of homosexuality Table 5 and Chart 1 provide the results for each area of awareness.

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15 Table 5 : Sources of first awareness of homosexuality Source of aware ness Percentages (%) Friends/Family 32.9 Media(print/electronic) 31.3 School 11.4 Church 4.3 On the streets 2.1 Bible 1.2 It would appear that Jamaicans bec o me aware of homosexuality at an early stage in their lives as the majority of the responden ts (51%) indicated knowing about homosexuality at 1 4 years old and under Regardless of the initial exposure to homosexuality, there were varying results as to what constituted homosexuality. The m ajority of the respondents ( 73 % ) said that homosexuality me ant sexual intercourse with members of the same

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16 Chart 1: Sources of fir st awareness of h omosexuality sex However, a significant percentage of respondents fe lt that homosexuality was only in reference to males as 21.6% agreed that males who had interco urse with other me n solely were homosexual. Other notable definitions of homosexuality can be seen in Table 6 Table 6 : Definitions of Homosexuality Definition Percentages (%) Same sex/gender having sexual intercourse 73.0 Interest/feelings/attracti on to the same sex 4.8 Battyman 3.2 Gay persons 2 2 Ungodly 1.2 4.2.2 How prevalent is Homosexuality? It would seem that m ost Jamaican s (89%) believe that homosexuality is somewhat or very prevalent in Jamaica. Respondents also alluded to an associat ion with this lifestyle and

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17 as 66.8 % felt that i t was more prevalent among some social classes than others A significant 57.7% felt that it was most prevalent among the upper class, while 9% said it was most among the mid d le class and another 2% said it was most among the working class. Most persons (51%) felt that it was to be found e q ually among males and females, however, 32% felt that it was more common among males and 11.2% stated that it was slightly m ore common among females. Part o f the reason for the perception that homose xualit y is on the increase in Jamaica may perhaps be based on the f act that many Jamaicans are exposed to it on cable television. In other words many appear to be more aware of it or to hear more about it b y virtue of watching the television. In one focus group t here seemed t o be a consensus regarding the perception of males wanting to be a part of the hype culture As a consequence of t his overwhelming need to be a part of the ion is that males will do anything thing to stay in style. some of the youths mix with the wrong crowd and are re socialised in this new life style and culture which comes at a high price. One res pondent noted that it is the You turn on the TV you see male an d male having sex together like wise female The religious group participants pointed to the media as one of the main encouragi the sin and they noted that the type of programming leaves a lot to be desired and is partially responsible for corrupting the minds of the young and impressionable. Some of th e programmes, they argued, occu py prime time slots and are heavily effectively. Some examples given in this regard include: Frasier (a comedy), Spartacus (telev ision show) and Brokeb ack Mountain (movie). Ano the r reason that emerged based i n th e focus groups has to do with the perception that revealed that even though a variety of responses were given as to what predisposes in dividuals to homosexuality, one of the main responses centered on the notion that

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18 individuals who are homosexuals engage in this practice largely for the financial benefits that can be derived. Many respondents believe that individuals are not born homose xual but because of material possessions many young men to a large extent and turn to homosexuality. In other words, because of poverty many youths and men that on the surface appear straigh t) in an effort to gain social mobility have access to the finer things in life and in some cases for sheer survival, will allow older more established men ) to entrap them into homosexuality because of the benefits these wealthy men can off er. One of the participants opined: Furthermore, respondents no properly socialized by parents and others. Therefore, part of the problem of homophobia in Jamaica is linked to the e conomics and social class, where many perceive that inequality leads to the poor being exploited by the rich. A number of participants noted that they were genuinely fearful of the seemingly increased levels of homosexuality in the Jamaican society. They noted that some of these persons were in very influential and prestigious positions and had economic and political power and could change laws to make homosexuality legal They were also very fearful of the ex ternal influences that they argu e are having a significant impact on the society and the young men in particular, many They again brought up the mass media which they believed is the main conduit through which this diffusion and change in societal norms and values are occurring. Additio nally, respondents from the all male group were concerned that homosexuality was becoming prevalent in inner city communities top have already They again reiterated th at this unfortunate state of affairs was due to poverty to some extent, but also laziness. They argued that many did not want to work hard t o gain the material possessions that so many youths desire, instead they look for the easy way out, which in some re spondents view s was homosexuality. Some used themselves as examples and pointed to livelihood activities that they have developed in an

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19 effort to show that they are willing to work hard for that they want. Some examples include starting drinks stall s coo k shop s grocery shop s and continuing education. 4.2.3 Nature or Nurture With respect to the causes of homosexuality, o pinions were fairly varied (Table 7 ). Only 10% felt that persons ar e born as homosexuals, however 28.6 % felt that it was due to environ mental factors social and cultural. The largest proportion (35%) felt that it was due to a combination of factors suggesting the interaction of nature and nurture. Table 7 : C ause s of H omosexual ity Causes of homosexuality % Born with/Genes 9.8 Upb ringing (Socialization) 14.3 Environment (Social and cultural world) 28.6 Combination (All of the above) 35.0 When asked if homosexuals can be made to change their orientation through therapy or other professional treatment, 47% agreed with the statem ent while 27% stated that it was not possible. Why did the 47% think that it was possible to change? Reasons include : e veryone can change i was a state of mind i and t hey need God ) Table 8 : Reason s why it is possible for homosexuals to change

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20 Reasons why homosexuals can change % Everyone can change 30.0 s within their mind 8.4 t herapy can help 3.0 They need God to help them 2.5 There is evidence to show that it works/ it will disclose reason for behavior 1 .2 Depends on a number of things 1.2 Reasons for disagreeing are equally interesting and include the fol lowing : They cannot change (1 2.0%) Their bodies will never be the sam e again (1.8%) 4.2.4 R eligion and Homosexuality M ost Jamaica n s ( 56 .4 % ) believe that it is not possible to be a homosexual and be religious at the same time (Table 9 ). However, it should be noted that a significant minority does not share this view. A larg e 43% felt otherwise, which perhaps suggest that the public is somew h at conflicted on the issue of homosexuality and religiosity However, when asked if one can be homosexual and also be Christi an, only 30% agreed with the statement. Table 9 : Religion and Homosexuality Can one be a homosexual and be religious ? Percentages (%) Yes 43.6 No 56.4 Can one be homosexual and Christian ? %

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21 Yes 29.7 No 61.0 The main reason for this stance is that it is considered a sin and contradicts the teaching of the Bible ( 41.5 %). Other reasons include: It They have to repent (5.7%) God destroy ed a city because o f it already (5.2%) God does not accept it in heaven (5.0%) Much of research on homophobia shows that there is a positive relationship between religiosity and homophobia. This relationship was evidenced in the foregoing comments and was also borne out in t he focus groups. In all of the focus groups, the main basis for opposing homosexuality was because it was seen as sinful or going against the laws of the Bible. Participants in the religious/Christian group were extremely concerned about what they perceive d to be the decaying moral fabric of society which in their view is epitomized in the growth of homosexuality in Jamaica. They believe that this is an indication of the devil growing stronger and making significant inroads in the Jamaican society and the w orld at large. They warned that these are the signs of the times and that any encouragement of this ungodly and unchristian act should be frowned upon, discouraged and the sinners should be helped. The agitated body language (including finger pointing), fi rm (and what seemed to be disgusted) facial expressions and very serious and (at times) very elevated voices sought to drive home their personal feelings and biblical teachings It was that homosexuality is wrong and is against what God wants for his serva nts on earth. It is a sin. They were very clear when expre ssing their views on homosexuality ; they believed that they were sinners but n ot different from any other types of sin ners Therefore, the collective expressed the view that shown the way the

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22 Most of the respondents sought to rationalize their response by positing that homosexuality was wrong in the ey es of the God. They pointed to t he B ible, Christianity and the fact that it went against the natural reproduct ive process and order of things T hus for these reasons homosexuality could not itsel f be rational. They noted that G od did not make Adam and Steve but Adam and Eve. It is the belief that this is the main rationale for their very firm and grounded belie f on the issue. Some participants opined: homosexual behavior is righ t, growing up as a Christian. The B ible goes against it. Male in Another noted its w he B the B ible says it is wrong and Whil e both the males and females had a high level of contempt tow ards homosexuality, the males felt more strongly about the issues There was negative chanting n o homosexuality. This was especially more pronounced when a scenario was p resented to them. The strong negative response was no different in the professional, mixed inner city group and Christian groups. Comments such as: e put on an island by Another opined: them about the B Some male members of the professional group expressed similar sentiments and specific chapters of the Bible were even quoted. One male participant made the point that it was not just homosexuality alone that he had grave concerns about but A homosexual who has a wife and a private (homosexual) life is no worse than a man with many women. However, t he deception will hurt the wife more because the cheating is done with a man. Leviticus Chapter 18 speaks to a variety of sexual sins. It speaks about incest having sex with animals etc. so it not just homosexual ity that I am against it is all the sexuality it just the morals These results clearly indicate that religion plays a significant role in determining how people feel about homosexuality. As Table 2 shows almost 60% of Jamaicans say they attend church at least once per month, and almost 90% two to three times per year. This

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23 situation may in par t explain why about 10% (Table 7 ) of those interviewed see homosexuality as being caused by nature rather than by nurture. 4.2.5 Gender and Homosexuality There ha s long been a debate as to whether there is some gender bi as in society in relation to accepting homosexuality Is society more accepting of female homosexual ity than it is of male homosexuality? When asked, most respondents agreed that society was more ac cepting of female homosexuality ( 67.1 %) and that this was the case because women can do things men cannot do whil e suffering little consequences (Chart 2) Also, female homosexuality is rarely considered to be bad or wrong ( 13 %). Other significant response s were general such as people regarded both situation s differently ( 7 %) whereas another alluded to the fact that there is no difference in the reaction towards homosexuals regardless of gender ( 7 %). A significant percentage (49%) of respondents felt that homosexuals do experience genuine love and affection in th eir intimate relationship s, while 21% said that they did not. The others did not know or refused to answer the question. Chart 2: Is society more accepting of female homosexuality than male homose xuality ?

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24 4.2.6 Legalisation and Morality of Homosexuality Despite th e foregoing response s most respondents (85.2%) did not think that homosexuality among consenting adults should be made legal in Jamaica (Table 10 ). Table 10 : Should homosexuality be legal among consenting adults? Legalization of Homosexuality Percentages (%) Should be legal 6. 2 Should not be legal 85.2 No opinion/no response 8.6 The issue of morality and legality of homosexuality seems to be closely related in the minds of the respondents. In relation to male homosexuality, 8 2 .2% deemed it to be morally wrong as opposed to 3.6% who did not see it as a moral issue. 6. 2 % of those polled had no

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25 opinion on the matter. As for female homosexuality, the results were similar as 7 5.2 % saw this orientation as morally wrong. However 10.4 % argued that it de pends on the situation that caused their homosexuality in order to determine if it was a moral issue. The percentage of t hose who had no opinion on the matter was similar to that of male homosexuality at 6.3%. A s for bisexual relationships, 7 5 .3% saw this as morally wrong with 8.5% saying that it depend ed on the situation and 5.2% that it was not a moral issue. Sexual experiences which involve experimentation with homosexual acts were als o examined The results revealed that people generally disagree d with such actions. 8 5 .0 % of the respondents disagreed with the practice of anal sex between a man and a woman, 78 .2 % felt it was inappropriate for a woman to be having intercourse with two me n at the same time and 6 0 .3 % disagreed with the practice of a man having sex with two women at the same time. The objections to legalization of homosexuality were again defended on religious ground s and the need to protect Jamaica society from changing i ts cultural practices for the worse. These sentiments were reflected in the focus groups where participants were asked to be as objective as possible and take a futuristic look at the issue at hand, considering also that we currently operate in an era wher e human rights for all are encouraged and discrimination against various groups is discouraged. Respondents were generally adamant that same sex relationships should not be allowed to the have same privileges as regular people for fear that it may be mis construed as good or a sign of encouragement. It was made very clear in a very firm way [with strong emotions e.g. raised tones and the strong body language] that they were against things such as awarding same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual co uples and allowing them to raise children as a family. Questions arose such as: w that be confusing to the child? Would that be a healthy environment for the child to grow ouraging a young innocent child to become gay? How would the cycle of procreation continue? They did note that some tolerance had to be part of the changing society, as they conceded that homosexuality was bigger than them. One respondent opined: to be more

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26 tolerant because dem inna di system, bank hospital Noteworthy was the opinion of a participant from the professional group who stated that homosexuality has always been a part of society throughout history and meted wi th agreement and contempt at varying intervals, thus, this newer dispensation is perhaps a part of the ongoing cycle, which is underscored by powerful individuals who have considerable influence in the Jamaican society and the rest of the world who are pus hing for laws that favour homosexuality to suit the ir own agendas. He stated create laws to facilitate this is only a smoke screen. What appears to be new we have gone through already at some point in history. The Greeks confronted this and ha ve silently Most participants lamented th at the ordinary citizenry was very concerned about what the Jamaican society would be like in another 10 to 20 years as it was becoming in creasingly obvious that they were powerless to the ongoing shift in the culture and to who wields the power and influence. In essence, homosexuals were taking over and there was not much anyone could do to stop them. The participants were also very firm an d clear with their calls on government to not allow them legitimacy through legalizing same sex relationships or any sort of homosexual activities One noted Other participants were very concerned about the type of societal influence that any legitimate endorsement would have on t he children and the youths that constitute the next generation. One of participant s (a mother) not ed, [hom osexuality] cause mi want my grand It was very clear from all the participants in the varying groups that they did not see a very positive future as it related to type of society th at Jamaica and by extension the world at large would evolve in to if same sex relationships were to become more pronounced and legitimized. The inner city groups expressed these sentiments with the most venom and the religious group was seemingly disturbed and viewed this as a negative indication that the devil was making strong in roads in the country. 4.3 General Attitudes Towards Homose x uality

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27 In this s ection we examine general attitud es toward same sex relationships/homosexuality. These questions were adapted from a number of studies that examine attitudes toward homosexuality. These questions examin e attitudes in a variety of situations, including: work settings, social settings and interactions with professionals, family members and friends. Tab le 11 shows the results of each question with the mean responses with Likert scale values : 1= strongly agree, 2= agree, 3=neither agree nor disagree 4= disagree and 5= strongly disagree below The se results show strong negative attitudes towards homosex uality and homosexuals. Table 11 : Attitudes towards homosexuality Question Mean n=1007 I would feel comfortable working closely with a male homosexual. 4 I would enjoy attending social functions at which homosexuals were present. 4 I would feel uncom fortable if I learned that my neighbor was a homosexual 3 If a member of my sex made a sexual advance toward me, I would feel angry. 2 I would feel comfortable knowing that I was attractive to members of my sex. 4 I would feel comfortable being seen in a homosexual bar 4 I would feel comfortable if a member of my sex made an advance toward me. 4 I would feel comfortable if I found myself attracted to a member of my sex 4 I would feel disappointed if I learned that my child was homosexual 2 I would fe el nervous being in a group of homosexuals. 2

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28 I would feel comfortable knowing that my Pastor was homosexual 4 I would be upset if I learned that my brother or sister was homosexual 2 I would feel that I had failed as a parent if I learned that my child was a homosexual. 2 If I saw two men holding hands in public I would feel disgusted. 2 If a member of my sex made an advance towards me I would feel offended 4 I would feel comfortable if I learned that my 2 I would f eel uncomfortable if I learned that my spouse or partner was attracted to members of his or her sex. 2 I would feel at ease talking to a homosexual person at a party. 3 I would feel uncomfortable if I learned that my boss was homosexual 2 It would distu rb me to find out that my doctor was homosexual. 2 I would feel comfortable if I learned that my best friend of my sex was homosexual. 4 If a member of my sex made an advance toward me I would feel flattered 4 I would feel uncomfortable knowing that my 2 I would feel comfortable working closely w ith a female homosexual 3

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29 The generally negative attitudes were reflected in the focus groups which showed strong resentment is based on the fact that that relative would reflect on them negatively. uncover that a close friend and or family member was a homosexual. What would you do? Suppose it is your father or someone who you look up to and all of a sudden he/she is coming out of the closet? Would you treat him or her any differently because of this new found knowledge, despite the closeness that was t All of the respondents conceded that this new found knowledge would have taken them by surprise and admittedly they would be confused especially because it was someone close to them that they trusted. The overwhelming view was that they would feel and hurt as the trust would be shattered and that the relationship would never be the same again. The somber tones and the horrified and sad facial expressions corroborated the statements. M any of the respondents noted firmly that they wou ld no longer want to continue the relationship. One respondent stated : ing people and then my family member The males from the all male group, noted that whether family or friend that would be the end of the relationship. A number of them also made reference to possible violence against them (most ly the friends). One male respondent noted: [referring to an uncle]. When a similar question was posed to the respon dents as it related to the work place their responses were mixed. Whil e they were against homosexuali ty they recognized that perhaps they could not hold a hard l ine in the workplace, school and other places in respect of their personal views. However, some were even more venomous and violent in their comments, while o thers noted that they do not care. One I would go of Another participant noted : I would go to school or work with a homosexual

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30 individual because as I said what they do in the me just like what I do in mine has nothing to do with them. So working with someone I know would even be friends with Another ? ] t be comfortable around them. ( Interviewer: W be co mfortabl e ? ) B y to pull anyt However, some responses were even more venomous and violent compared to the others noted earlier. The f ollowing were opined by a members of the all male group. One respondent noted: den stab him up no matter the Another noted : Probably mi woulda knock him out. Public him cudda reach. 4.4 The Modified Wright, Adams and Bernat Scale Drawing on the Wright, Adams and Bernat homophobia scale, a n instrument was developed for Jamaica. Respondents were asked express their thoughts, feelings and behaviours regarding same sex relationships. Using the Likert Scale response values of 1 = strongly agree, 2= agree, 3=neither agree nor disagree 4= disagree and 5= strongly disagree, mean sores are presented in Table 12 With an overall mean of 2.3, t he results indicate that in general, Jamaicans have strong negative views about homosexuality although most seem not to have acted on these negative perceptions. These results indicate a fairly high level of homophobia among Jamaicans.

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31 Table 12 : Adapted Homophobia scale items Question Mean n=1007 Homosexuals make me nervous. 3 If I discovered a friend was homosexual I would end the friendship 3 I think homosexual s should not wo rk with children 2 I make derogatory remarks about homosexuals 3 Marriage between homosexual individuals is acceptable. 4 homosexual 3 It matters to me whether my friends are homosexual or not homosexual. 2 It would upset me if I learned that a close friend was a homosexual 2 Homosexuality is immoral 2 Homosexuality is a sin. 2 I tease and make jokes about homosexuals. 3 Society should recognize homosexuality as norma l 4 I feel that you can trust a person who is homosexual. 3 I fear homosexual persons will make sexual advances towards me 3 Organizations which promote homosexual 3

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32 rights are not necessary. I have damaged property of a homosexual person. 4 I would feel uncomfortable having a homosexual roommate. 2 I would hit a homosexual for coming on to me. 2 Homosexual behavior should be against the law. 2 I avoid homosexuals. 2 It bothers me to see two homosexual people together in public. 2 When I see a h 2 When I meet someone, I try to find out if he/she is a homosexual. 3 4.5 Riddle Homophobia Scale Using the Riddle Homophobia scale, respondents were asked to identify a word from a list provided, that best descr ibed their view of homos exuals. 59% chose negatives words, indicating generally negative attitudes towards homosexuality. Nonetheless it should be noted that 20 % of respondents chose positive words such as toler ance and acceptance. As Chart 3 shows the more p ositive the description the less likely respondents were willing to choose the word. These results again point to a high degree of homoph ob ia in the Jamaican society. It must be noted that despite what appears to be wide spread fear of and dislike for h om osexuals in Jamaica, many re spondents readily point out that persons who are homosexual make an important contribut ion to the society. Most of the respondents did in fact believe that homosexuals were and can be producti ve members of society They

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33 concede d on some level be indeed interacting with them every day a nd not know their sex ual orientation. They pointed out again that many alleged known homosexuals in the Jamaican society are wea lthy, established and aff luent individuals that do make a positive contribution to society. It should also be noted that while there are strong homophobic attitudes, many Jamaicans believe that homose x uality can be tolerated as long as it is done in priva te. The focus should keep their same sex beliefs and relations in the dark. This means that they should keep themselves to themselves, be very private and do not flaunt it in the public domain, so Table 7: Descriptions of feelings for Homosexuals in Jamaic a Description of view Percentages (%) Repulsion 3 9. 6 Pity 19.2 Tolerance 15.3 Acceptance 3.6 Support 1.1 Admiration 3 Appreciation 3 Nurturance 3

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34 Chart 3 : Description of feelings for h omosexuals in Jamaica 4.6 Predictors of Attitudes T owards Ho mosexuality In this section we examine some of the factors that most determine attitudes towards homosexuality. The literature point s to a number of variables, including : religio n gender and education In the case of Jamaica reference is often m ade to the role of music, especially dancehall and reggae in shaping values and attitudes generally. To examine the impact of these variables, Chi Square tests were conducted focusing on the Riddle homophobia scale the results from can be seen in Appen dix 1 The idea here is to determine if there is a stati stically significant difference (p< .05) between the variables and variation on the Riddle S cale.

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35 4.6.1 G ender While the results show that both men and women ex h ibit strong negative views toward s homosexuality, these negative views are stronger among males and this difference is statistically significant In the focus group discussions, males tended to be more voc al than fe males in their opposition to homosexuality. 4.6.2 Education P ersons who have university education are more likely to exhibit tolerance t owards homosexuals/ homosexuality than non university educated persons. This difference is statistically significant. 4.6.2 M usic The results show that those who say that they mostly list en t o dancehall and reggae are more likely to have negative views towards homosexuality tha n others who mostly listen to other types of music It should however be noted that while this difference is statistically significant, strong opposition to homosexu ality cuts across all musical preferences as can be seen in Appendix 1 4.6.3 R eligion Based upon the results of the survey and focus groups t here can be no doubt that religion plays a significant role in determining attitudes towards homosexuality. H owever, statistically speaking there is no evide nce from this survey that attending church or religious activities drives anti homosexual attitudes or behaviour. The precise role of religion in r egard to attitud inal formation towards homosexuality is comp lex and requi res further study. 4.6. 4 Social C lass Social class seem s to play a peculiar role in determ ining attitudes to w ards homos exuality in Jamaica. Among many persons from po o rer sections of the society there is a perception

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36 that among middle and upper classes, homose xuality is practiced as lifestyle, whereas among the poor it is part of their economic survival. The results indicate that persons of lower socio economic status es are more likely to have negative attitudes towards homosexuality. 5. CONCLUSIONS This s urvey examined attitudes and perceptions of adult Jamaicans towards same sex relationships/ homosexuality. The findings reveal that Jamaican s have strong negative views of homosexuality and there is the overwhelming belief that it shoul d not be leg a li z ed among consenting adults. The survey found about half of the adult population believe d that homosexuals experience feelings of love like heterosexuals. Jamaicans are divided over whethe r homosexuality is as a result of nature or nurture, although one third is o f the view that it is the result of both. The data however show that females and university educated person s tend to be slightly less homophobic than others P ersons who listen to mostly to reggae and dancehall are also more like l y to hold stronger negative views about homosexuality than those who say they mostly listen to other types of music. Additionally, lower socio economic status seems to be associated with more negative views towards homosexuality. It should be emphasized th at these relationships are weak and are a matter of probability They do not mean that all members of those groups behave in the same way. It should be noted that t he most important finding from this study is that strong negative perceptions and attitudes towards homosexuality cut across all social classes, gender and social groups in Jamaica.

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37 REFERENCES Anderson, M (2009). Liminal Identities: Caribbean men who have sex with men in London, UK. Culture Health and Sexuality Vol.11, No.3, 315 330. Carr, R. (2003). On Judgments :" Poverty, Sexuality Based Violence and Human Rights in 21st Century Jamaica. The Caribbean Journal of Social Work Vol. 2, pp.71 87. Chevannes, B. (2004). Sexual Practices and Behaviour in Jamaica: A Review of the Literature. Jamaic a: AIDS Public Health Communication (AIDSCOM). Gutzmore, C. (2004) Casting the first stone: Policing of Homo/Sexuality in Jamaican Popular Culture. Interventions Vol. 6(1) 118 134 Human Rights Watch. (2004). Hated to Death Homophobia, Violence, a nd Jamaica's HIV/AIDS Epidemic King, J. (2006). Outing the Centre: Homophobia in Jamaica. Jamaica: SIT Jamaica: Gender and Development. Luton, D., Buggery laws firm PM says life or 15 years for some sex offence breaches The Jamaica Gleaner : March 4, 200 9. Royes, H. (2003). HIV/AIDS risk mapping study of Men who have sex with Men in Jamaica. Jamaica: Jamaica HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Project, Ministry of Health. White, R, R. Carr. (2005). Homophobia and HIV/AIDS Stigma in Jamaica. Culture Health an d Sexuality 7(000):1 13. Williams, L. (March 2000). Homophobia and Gay Rights Activism in Jamaica. Small Axe 7 106 111.

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38 APPENDIX 1

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39 Crosstabs

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40 Which of the following best describes your view about persons in same sex relationships? Respondent's Gender

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41

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42 Which of the following best describes your view about persons in same sex relationships? If yes, how often do you attend church or other religious activities?

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43

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44 Which of the following best describes your view about persons in same sex relationships? What is your highest level of education?

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45 Crosstabs

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46

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47 Crosstabs

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48

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49

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50 Chi Square Tests Value df Asymp. Sig. (2 sided) Pearson Chi Square 5 8.699(a) 21 .000 Likelihood Ratio 55.084 21 .000 Linear by Linear Association 23.623 1 .000 N of Valid Cases 744 a 17 cells (53.1%) have expected count less than 5. The minimum expected count is .17.

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51 Appendix 2 ( Survey Instrument)



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1 NATIONAL SURVEY OF ATTITUDES AND PERCEPTIONS OF JAMAICAN S TOWARDS SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS S upported in part by a grant from Foundation Open Society Institute (ZUG) and additional support from AIDS Free World

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2 RESEARCH TEAM IAN BOXILL J OULENE MARTIN ROY RUSSELL LLOYD WALLER TRACIAN M EIKLE RASHALEE MITCHELL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY, PSY CH OLOGY AND SOCIAL WORK UWI, MONA JANUARY 2011

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3 E XECUTIVE SUMMARY This report examines Jamaican views towards homosexuality and attempts to d iscover what are some possible determinants of attitudes towards homosexuality in the country. This study uses a mixed method approach driven largely by a nation poll of attitudes and perceptions. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1007 adults f rom 231 communities across Jamaica was interviewed between October and November 2010 The margin of error is approximately +/ 4%. The survey was supported b y a qualitative study based on five focus groups conducted across the country between October 201 0 and January 2011. Following is a summary of findings from the study. 1. It would appear that Jamaicans become aware of homosexuality at an early stage in their lives as the majority of the respondents (51%) indicated knowing about homosexuality at 14 years old and under. 2. M ost Jamaicans (89%) believe that homosexuality is somewhat or very prevalent in Jamaica. Respondents also allud ed to an association with this orientation and classes more than others. A significant 57.7% felt that it was most prevalent among the upper class, while 9% said it was most among the middle class and another 2% said it was most among the working class. 3. Most persons (51%) felt that homosexuality was to be found equally among males and females, however, 32% felt that it was more common among males and 11.2% stated that it was slightly more common among females. 4. With respect to the causes of homosexuality, opinions varied. Only 10% felt that persons are born as homosexuals, however 28.6% felt that it was due to environmental factors social and cultural. The largest proportion felt that it was due to a combination of factors, suggesting the interaction of nature and nurture. 5. Most Jamaicans ( 56%) be lieve that it is not possible to be a homosexual and be religious at the same time. However, it should be noted that a significant minority (43%) does not share this view, which perhaps suggest that the public is somewhat conflicted on the issue of homosex uality and religiosity.

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4 6. W hen asked if one can be homosexual and also be a Christian, only 30% agreed with the statement. 7. M ost respondents agreed that society was more accepting of female homosexuality (67.1%) and that this was the case because women can d o things men cannot do whilst suffering few negative consequences. Also, female homosexuality is rarely considered to be bad or wrong (13%). 8. M ost respondents (85.2%) did not think that homosexuality among consenting adults should be made legal in Jamaica 9. In relation to male homosexuality, 82.2% deemed it to be morally wrong as opposed to 3.6% who did not see it as a moral issue. 6.2% of those polled had no opinion on the matter. As for female homosexuality, the results were similar as 75.2% felt that homo sexuality was morally wrong. 10. Two homophobia scales indicate that Jamaicans have strong negative views of homosexuality, thereby ranking high on the se scales. 11. Negative views of homosexuality tended to be greate st among males, non university educated per sons, those who listened mostly to dancehall and reggae music and those in lower socio economic groups. 12. In general, the most important finding from this study is that strong negative perceptions and attitudes towards homosexuality cut across all social cla sses, gender and social groups in Jamaica.



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Summary of Findings This study reports on findings from a survey and qualitative analysis of attitudes and perception Jamaicans towards homosexuality. A nationally representative sample of 1007 adults from 231 communities across Jamaica was interviewed be tween October and November 2010. The margin of error is approximately +/ 4%. The survey was supported by a qualitative study based on five focus groups conducted across the country between October 2010 and January 2011. The results show that Jamaicans b ecome aware of homosexuality at an early stage in their lives as the majority of the respondents (51%) indicated knowing about homosexuality at 14 years old and under. Most Jamaicans (89%) believe that homosexuality is somewhat or very prevalent in Jamai ca. Respondents also was more prevalent among some social classes more than others. Most persons (51%) felt that homosexuality was to be found equally among male s and females, however, 32% felt that it was more common among males and 11.2% stated that it was slightly more common among females. With respect to the causes of homosexuality, opinions varied. Only 10% felt that persons are born as homosexuals, howev er 28.6% felt that it was due to environmental factors social and cultural. The largest proportion felt that it was due to a combination of factors, suggesting the interaction of nature and nurture. Most Jamaicans (56%) believe that it is not possible to be a homosexual and be religious at the same time. However, it should be noted that a significant minority (43%) does not share this view, which perhaps suggest that the public is somewhat conflicted on the issue of homosexuality and religiosity M ost Jam aicans (85.2%) did not think that homosexuality among consenting adults should be made legal in Jamaica as it was morally wrong. Two homophobia scales indicate that Jamaicans have strong negative views of homosexuality, thereby ranking high on these scales for homophobia. Strong negative views and fear of homosexuals tended to be greate st among males, non university educated persons, those who listened mostly to dancehall and reggae music and those in lower socio economic groups. In general, the most impor tant finding from this study is that strong negative perceptions and attitudes towards homosexual cut across all social classes, gender and social groups in Jamaica.