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Sunday, May 6, 2012

UN Envoy for HIV in the Caribbean Suggests Gays Are Pedophiles

Homosexuals "have to behave" Says UN Envoy to the Caribbean

Dr. David Greene
Dr. Edward Greene is the "United Nations Special Envoy for HIV in the Caribbean.."  Given that the Caribbean has among the highest rates of HIV infection in the world  --   with as many as 30% of the gay male population being affected  --   his position is an important one.  Given, too, that the Caribbean is perhaps the most homophobic region on the planet and that the social and cultural stigma surrounding homosexuality is the chief reason for the high rate of HIV infection, one would expect the UN envoy to be particularly sensitive to the need for attention to human rights violations regularly suffered by LGBT people there.

Bearing in mind that Jamaica is a notoriously homophobic country in which gay sex is illegal and may incur sentences of up to ten years in prison.  Also bearing in mind that violence agaist LGBT folks there is quite common and that there is essentially a separate sub-genre of reggae music based upon the theme of killing homosexuals,  it is surprising to find a UN envoy making statements in Jamaica suggesting that gay men are targeting juveniles for sex.

While there recently Dr. Greene said this (according to the Jamaica Gleaner):

"If I put the accent on reducing stigma and discrimination and human rights, I am ensuring that there is no overt discrimination for PLHIV (People living with HIV) in the workplace and in the school. This is because I don't want to exclude one per cent of the population, or 30 per cent of men who have sex with men (MSM), from having access to those things that other people have. Just like how I would not exclude people from certain services because of their race, gender or where they live - as happens to job applicants living in inner-city communities."

According to the UN envoy, it is important that PLHIV have certain responsibilities - to go and get tested, to adhere to their regime of treatment, to ensure that they educate their family and friends.
"So homosexuals have the right to health care," Greene argues, "but they also have to behave in particular ways to conform to the norms of the communities. If they expect to be treated a certain way, they can't behave in ways that are subversive to the community." For example, he notes, members of the homosexual community should not "prey on young, vulnerable boys". They must act responsibly, thus balancing the human rights structure."

Dr. Greene's statements are shocking in many ways  First he is treacherously close to peddling the homophobe's favorite canard -- that all gay men are pedophiles.  We know that this is far from true.  Secondly he seems to suggest that adequate health care services should be based upon some sort of twisted quid pro quo  - "yes PLHIV, you can have health care and access the 'human rights' structure, but ONLY if you behave yourselves."  

More than this, the suggestion that gays should "conform to the norms of the communities" who's so-called "buggery" laws make being gay a criminal activity, and who offer no protection from homophobia driven violence is both pathetically sad and laughable. 

I plan to contact the appropriate UN department and the office of the Secretary General of the UN for clarification of Dr. Greene's remarks.  A man in his position should certainly not be speaking in contradiction of the UN's recently stated policy for the promotion of LGBT human rights around the world.

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