Jamaica’s Leading Gay Rights Activist Killed
Gay.com U.K., June 10, 2004
By Ben Townley
SUMMARY: After Jamaica’s leading gay rights activist
was stabbed and killed in his home, local gay groups blamed his death on
After Jamaica’s leading gay rights activist was stabbed
and killed in his home, local gay groups blamed his death on homophobia.
Brian Williamson was found with multiple stab wounds to
his neck yesterday morning.
So far, local police are denying the murder was a
homophobic attack, claiming that a missing safe suggests it was a robbery that
went wrong. Two men reported to be at Williamson’s apartment prior to the
murder are wanted in connection with the killing.
However, a spokesperson for the Jamaican Forum for
Lesbians, All Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) said that because Williamson was one
of the country’s most visible gay men, they were considering the stabbing a
The group told the Jamaican Observer that Williamson was
“one of Jamaica’s most courageous human rights activists.”
Williamson was one of the founders of J-FLAG, Jamaica’s
only group of its kind, started in 1998 in an attempt to overturn the
country’s sodomy law. The effort failed, but J-FLAG stayed together, with
Williamson a visible spokesperson who used his real name and appeared on
television to raise awareness of gay rights.
The murder comes just days after Amnesty International
published a report slamming Jamaica over its stance on sexual diversity.
The human rights group called for international action
against the country, which is fast becoming notorious for its homophobic
attitude. Amnesty International also demanded that the country’s prime
minister immediately decriminalize homosexuality.
“We have talked to people who were forced to leave
their communities after being publicly vilified, threatened or attacked on
suspicion of being gay. They face homelessness, isolation or worse,” said
Amnesty U.K. Media Director Lesley Warner.
“We are concerned that these reports are just the tip
of the iceberg. Many gay men and women in Jamaica are too afraid to go to the
authorities and seek help.”
Musicians who have recorded anti-gay songs have faced
boycotts in the United States and Britain.
[Home] [World] [Jamaica]