Unreported World: Jamaica's Underground Gays by Andrew Carter ›› Unreported World: Jamaica's Underground Gays

a documentary by Andrew Carter.

2014 | 25 mins | UK.

Dave says:-

Never afraid to shine light on issues in need of media exposure, here Channel 4's acclaimed Unreported World series travelled to Jamaica to investigate the alarming rise in verbal and physical attacks on its gay and transgendered community. And here, it didn't take long for reporter Ade Adepitan to witness firsthand an environment of sexual hatred; from a Pentecostal street preacher working himself into a frenzy over the "abomination" of homosexuality, to chart hits that call for gay men to be shot, if not burned to death, Jamaica is a country in which and not surprisingly, an estimated 85% of the population think homosexuality is immoral.

Yet homosexuality is universal, with laws and words against it only serving to force it underground. And in this case - literally, as Adepitan came face to face with the reality of life for a group of sexual outcasts, made to live in a storm drain designed to carry flood water and rubbish away from the city. Unwanted and subject to abuse, often all too violent, solely on account of their sexuality, here they survive as best they can, ever trying to avoid the stones and broken bottles being hurled in their direction.

Sexual outcasts in Unreported World: Jamaica's Underground Gays.

Sexual outcasts in Unreported World: Jamaica's Underground Gays.

Rightly appalled by what he saw, furious with the police for turning a blind eye to a series of brutal attacks on the group, and shocked that in the middle of New Kingston, the capital's opulent business district, gay and transgendered men are forced to live like rats in a sewer, Adepitan is however powerless to change the situation. Instead he offers an outstretched hand of compassion, an act of greater human kindness than those in office who vie to move them on. Panic-stricken they retreat, to later return when the coast is clear to the storm drain styled sanctuary that for twenty-five or so young, gay and transgendered Jamaicans, is home.

And so the vicious circle repeats itself, as Jamaica's reputation for sexual intolerance continues to force homosexuality into the closet, else live in fear of bloody attacks on a sexual open lifestyle, forever to be shunned by both family and community. Yet as Channel 4's equally distressing documentary on the widespread Hunted hostility towards gay people in Russia all too poignantly illustrates, Jamaica is not alone in taking a backward step in human rights, supported by a law in which sex between men is punishable by up to ten years' hard labour. All of which makes for a shocking indictment of the intolerant mindset of a country, ever proud to be a member of the Commonwealth.

a Channel 4 premiere

Friday, 23rd May, 2014 / 19:35 to 20:00.
Copyright 2014 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
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