Careful what you set your sights on while the real culprits escape!

Congratulations to Joanna Smith, who came out spectacularly in Wednesday’s STAR as “Not Born That Way,” for providing the latest in an increasing number of terror-inciting public outcries against the gay-ification of our beloved Helen, whomsoever she may be.

Ms. Smith sounds like an acolyte of the former Gender Minister I took to task (to quote Rick Wayne’s headline) for spouting the same ignorance and bigotry a while aback, given as her archaic sources and sense of self-gratified outrage were pretty much along the same lines.

I don’t know Joanna Smith any better than I know Sarah Flood-Beaubrun. But I assume they went to the same school of research, since they both chose some scary anti-gay bumph from the 1970s to illustrate their real points, quoted from the Good Book as is de rigueur in these bodice-ripping, over-dramatised and emotionally immature op-eds by god-fearing Christians of both, or should I say all, genders.

In terms of the rather graphic science quoted in Ms Smith’s piece, I’ll reiterate the point that it is shameful (and shoddy reasoning) to quote statistics on the sex habits of gay men in 1972, before what was characterised by similarly vociferous religious zealots as the “gay plague” known as AIDS wiped out thousands, then millions across the world. I know I’m throwing these homophobes a big bone here, but hey, let’s talk about now instead of 40 years ago, because the gays are still around (as they have been since Old Testament days), even if the issues are very different. If we’re really going to have a conversation, let’s talk with less voyeuristic fascination about the act of buggery, and look instead at the human rights and health implications of continuing to criminalise consensual sex between same sex couples. Tell you what, I’ll rustle up some of my own statistics for next week!

At least Ms. Smith had the decency to quote the Corinthians verse in its entirety, thereby simultaneously calling out beloved Helen’s idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers.

Now there’s something to get our teeth into, if we are going to discuss the downfall of St Lucian society and disintegration of the family as we know it. Let’s do a little math. Add up the number of gays, then add up the Bible-fingered heterosexual miscreants infesting the nation, and compare, then tell me which demographic is more likely to result in the inevitable carnage of a society which has lost its humanity.

Here’s darling Helen, up to her cute butt in political corruption, guns, drugs, gang warfare, domestic violence, rampant sexual permissiveness that would embarrass even the hippiest of 1970 swingers, incest, child abuse, teenage pregnancy and burgeoning HIV infection rates (do I really have to go on with the list of real, in-progress threats to the fabric of our country?). You would expect a morally upstanding, right-minded citizen to be screaming for action in the face of all those wolves at our door.

Nope, in Ms. Smith’s world we have a scenario where poor Helen’s offspring have two options: to become ladies of the night or “batty boys.” Girls, sell your wares to the tourists or local fellas who don’t feel to sleep with their half sister; guys, if you’re a crappy father you might as well be a bullah. At least that’s how it reads to me! Apparently it is this horrific evolution to a nation of whores and queers that will unhinge our idyllic island society, not the pothole-encrusted highway to hell we have been on for the past ten years, despite droning, ineffectual lip service paid by governments of every t-shirt colour to the very issues that could make or break St Lucia.

As much as I’m happy to talk about gay issues every hour of every day, I am not fooled into thinking there’s a real conversation going on in this country; not yet. The smokescreen provided by well-meaning Christians like Ms. Smith doesn’t fool me either—those op-eds serve every government well by taking the electorate’s eye off the fact that we have much, much bigger problems in St. Lucia than some imagined pink conspiracy or gay mafia. Note the deafening silence on LGBT issues in general and the current wave of action on both sides of the debate in Jamaica—it would be nice to hear some response at least.

All I can say after 20 years living here is that for a country full of churches and devoutly religious folk, we have missed the mark on living the Christian life as a nation, and we are paying the price.

Reading between the lines of this op-ed, it’s clear that storm clouds are gathering for this supposedly vibrant and happy nation, but I would suggest there are easier problems to fix and other places to look for solutions rather than scape-goating the tiny gay community of St Lucia.

Not that I condemn Joanna Smith for her passion and energy in writing such an emotive piece. I just wish she would throw some of that same fervour into the cause of abused children, domestic violence or teenage illiteracy, because the results of such efforts might have a really meaningful impact on the way forward for fair Helen.

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