JAMAICA: TO BOYCOTT OR NOT?

Discussion in 'LGBT News and Events' started by Ockydub, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Ockydub

    Ockydub
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    Saw this on social media. Agree or disagree?
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    JAMAICA: TO BOYCOTT OR NOT?

    Last night a wonderfully generous LGBT ally in Canada asked me if there should be a tourism boycott of Jamaica because of our anti-gay laws and homophobic violence. This is a reasonable question as economic boycotts have been effective in ending many human rights abuses, and tourism is Jamaica's second highest foreign-exchange earner after remittances. I get this question a fair bit and so I thought that I would once again share my top three reasons why I DO NOT support a boycott, and what I think are more constructive ways to support the LGBT liberation struggle on the island. Some of these may apply in other contexts but I urge you to consult with locals from those jurisdictions before taking any action.

    1) A boycott would make the LGBT community a target for a backlash. It is true that this would be the case for any type of boycott, but the difference with Jamaica is that the country is a small micro-state in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. It is therefore very hard to hide or get off the island to escape retaliation. The LGBT community would become sitting ducks. Jamaicans need visas to travel to most global north countries and these are difficult to come by. Asylum is only an option for a very limited number of persons. You almost have to be rich to be a refugee. Visas are only granted if you can prove that you have assets in country that you have "ties" that will cause you to return.

    2) Many LGBT people can only find work in the tourism or service sectors. So, a boycott would be devastating to them and their families. This is already a very vulnerable population and until the global north implements concrete measures to protect or rescue them, a boycott is unhelpful.

    3) A boycott may largely be ignored and thus seem ineffective. The bulk of Jamaican tourism comes from middle-America who make their vacation decisions based on price and not the human rights situation for locals in their destination.

    SO, what I suggest:

    1) Stay at inclusive properties. I complied a list (by no means exhaustive) of resorts and hotels that have strict diversity policies 22 truly inclusive Jamaican hotels and resorts. I encourage you to stay at these and similar properties both as a reward for their work for/with the LGBT community, but also to encourage others to join them. The profit margins in tourism can be thin and anything that sets your property apart and brings in business is seized upon. Let's show that inclusion is good for business.

    2) Visit and dialogue. Jamaicans are like other humans. We fear what we don't know. So, share your stories about the positives of inclusion with locals. This has been very effective in dispelling the homophobic myths that are whipped up by powerful evangelical pastors on the island.

    3) Make a point to seek out LGBT groups and allies on the island before you go and then try and visit or support them in some way. Even a telephone call or an email would help. Some persons have donated their leftover $$$. Some have taken part in Pride: Montego Bay Pride 2017. Some have brought office equipment upon request. There are many ways to help. Just ask.

    IF YOU STILL CAN'T GO, then PLEASE let the government of Jamaica know! They are listening and your emails or calls feed into their tourism policy. One good contact is the Ministry of Tourism: Contact Jamaica Tourist Board | Ministry of Tourism

    I hope that this is useful.
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  2. Cyrus-Brooks

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    I think people should vote with their feet or their wallets. I have no plans on taking any vacations outside the US but if I did Jamaica would be one of the last places I would go. Hell, I won't even eat food from Chick-fil-A or give money to the Salvation Army because of their record of hostility towards gay people. Money talks and bullshit walks that's the world we live in. That's why NC had to try to get rid of parts of their "bathroom bill" it generated alot of bad publicity which is bad for business.
     
  3. BlackguyExecutive

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    Cosign!!!

    I would never in an official or unofficial capacity go to Jamaica until they demonstrate a reversal on their homophobic views and the laws that support them.

    I will never understand why gay tourist would go to a place and spend their gay money that ultimately supports a government that actively works against the right of LGBT people. There are so many other places in the Carribean that you can spend your money and enjoy the safety and freedom to live.
     
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