Last edited: January 25, 2005

Pious Tale Wonít Stop AIDS Spread Ė Candidly Speaking

The Nation, October 22, 2004
P.O. Box 1203, Bridgetown, St. Michael, Barbados, W.I.
Tel: 246-430-5400 Fax: 246-427-6968

By Irene Sandiford-Garner

This week I would wish to publicly congratulate Professor Mickey Walrond for his forthright and fearless pursuit of what he believes to be right.

In the face of public, and I am sure private attacks, the professor stands firm in his stance on the position of reforming the laws on anal intercourse. According to last weekís Sunday Sun, he feels the act, ďlike others practiced between consenting adults and in privacy, should no longer carry the threat of imprisonment for lifeĒ.

I have always believed and, at 43, donít see myself changing that belief, that what two people do in the privacy of their bedrooms is their business. We are not here to judge, and a true Christian knows that only God can and will judge.

However, when what you do hurts others, then it becomes everybodyís business and right now AIDS is hurting Barbados.

The high level of hypocrisy and deceit practised in this society make me admire people like the professor and priests like Father Harcourt Blackett (Catholic) and Reverend Dr Marcus Lashley (Anglican). They have studied the sexual practices of Barbadians and they are calling it like it is.

Sociologist Ikael Tafari summed it up thus: ďThe society is masquerading as a Christian society, but yet there is a lot of kinkiness going on which is covered up. I donít know how people manage to cover it up.Ē He too was refreshingly candid.

We have to stop pretending that we donít know that men have sex in jail and come out and resume relationships with their ever-willing partners, unprotected. We have to stop pretending we donít know of the men who claim they are not gay, but sleep with other men, and women.

We have to stop pretending we donít know that young, beautiful men sleep with older gay men for a price, and then pose and sleep with our young, beautiful daughters. Sometimes they are the ones with the loudest voices vilifying and sometimes physically attacking openly gay men.

And let us not forget the prostitution. As Father Harcourt said, it goes on in Bay Street, and we all know about the business run on Pinfold Street, a cricket ball throw away from Central Police Station.

And donít talk about the beach prostitutes. My cousin was here earlier this year, and she said she was harassed on the beach every single morning. Even though she bluffed that her husband was with her and would soon be coming, the guys never gave up. She said some mornings she would look up to the balconies of other rooms and see the men easing out the rooms of tourists.

Self-righteous grandstanding is not going to stop the spread of AIDS. Step one: Pray for change and give the prisoners condoms.

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