Young people are influenced by these singers

Dear Editor,

I have been following the letters about Mr Buju Banton singing in Guyana this weekend and read about the plans Minister Rohee has in store to prevent him from spreading his homophobic incitement at the reggae show. I am so happy to hear that the Guyana Government has come a long way to recognise gay rights. I live in Canada where gays are treated with respect but I was born in Prashad Nagar, Georgetown in 1964. In the early 90’s when the boom bye bye song came out, I was living in GT and I was beaten severely by a group of young guys who found out that I was gay. While they were beating me they kept using the lyrics of that same song to justify their abuse. Persons saw when I was being assaulted but didn’t come to my rescue because my attackers told them I was an embarrassment to society. After that beating I attempted suicide to escape the daily verbal abuse I got from persons and felt I had brought great shame on my family for being gay.

Then my parents set up an arranged marriage for me to a girl in Canada and I was sent abroad. I am now in my early 40’s, well educated and have a stable life. I ended up sending for my parents and other siblings to live here as well. I eventually divorced because I am gay and it was not fair to myself or my wife to continue a lie. She was very understanding when I told her and we are now best friends.

Mr Rohee, the reason I told you my personal story is to let you know that words hurt mentally and furthermore they can inspire physical hurt. Young persons look up to those singers and idolize them. This is evident by how they love to go in the buses that only play the boom boom sounds. The singers have the ability to brainwash the youths with their hateful messages because the kids look up to them.

When I lived in Guyana it was a different Government back then but I am glad the PPP is taking the advice of human rights activists like Berkeley Van Bowen to make sure that gay people are not abused. Three of my gay friends were killed in Jamaica in the last 4 years and their only crime was that they were born gays. Don’t let these singers export homophobia to our country.

Yours faithfully,

Rajendra Persaud

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