Dear President Obama, Before You Go to Jamaica

This is a photo of a young man who lived in Jamaica named Denlyn who was reportedly killed because of his sexuality. Dear President Obama: Good day. My name is Dr. Rhone Fraser. On behalf of the Caribbean Alliance For Equality (CAFE) and in light of your upcoming visit to Jamaica tomorrow, I am writing to ask that in order to stop the egregious human rights abuses that the government of Jamaica is condoning against its LGBTQI citizens, that you evaluate the need for an economic boycott of the tourist economy in Jamaica. You are the very first president to acknowledge and legitimize gay rights, and you mentioned the struggle at Stonewall in your second inauguration speech. I am writing to ask that you put your vocal support of LGBTQI rights to practice by holding leaders who ignore human rights abuses against LGBTQI citizens accountable. The government of Jamaica for centuries has completely ignored the murders of its LGBTQI citizens. It still follows outdated buggery laws that criminalize sex between same gender loving individuals. The government still condones the oppressive practice of corrective rape against lesbians. President Portia Simpson-Miller said she will review the buggery laws but to this day, has made no effort to discourage or prosecute murders of LGBTQI individuals. On July 21, 2013, Dwayne Jones, a transgender citizen was murdered in a fashion similar to the way that Emmett Till was murdered in 1955. On August 18, 2011, O’Shane Gordon was murdered by machete for his sexuality. Despite repeated lobbying attempts, the Jamaican government will only respond to a boycott of their most lucrative industry which is the tourist industry. As you visit Jamaica, please think about the murdered LGBTQI citizens who were denied their right to life that so many citizens are allowed in the United States. You made clear that the United States is a partner in creating a healthy democracy. Please arrest Jamaica from taking tourist dollars and refusing to prosecute or discourage murders of its LGBTQI citizens. Sincerely, Rhone Fraser, Ph.D. General Secretary Caribbean Alliance For Equality

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Author: Dr. Rhone Fraser

Dr. Rhone Fraser is an independent writer and journalist born of Jamaican immigrants in Brooklyn, New York, on October 12, 1979. He moved to Florida in 1989 and graduated from Zephyrhills (FL) High School in 1997. He graduated from Yale University in 2001, after which time he taught in the public school systems in New Haven (CT) and the Bronx for three years. He then began writing independently and finished a documentary play on the life of Fannie Lou Hamer entitled, "Living Sacrifice," for which he still seeks publication. He earned his Ph.D. in African American Studies from Temple as of August 31, 2012. His dissertation was a literary and historical analysis of Pauline Hopkins, A. Philip Randolph and Paul Robeson. He also is a freelance editor and radio producer, and is currently producer of WPEB's Freedom Readers on 88.1 FM in Philadelphia.