At the end of the last academic year, Dominica News Online (DNO) reported that the Minister of Education, Petter Saint-Jean, in an address, stated that he was going to carry out an investigation with the intention of curbing the spread of homosexuality in the Dominica schools. We were pleased when CHAP Dominica Chapter responded to his statement appropriately, and asked for his reason for having this as a primary concern, to which, to our knowledge, there has been no response.
At the beginning of this academic school year we heard the minister of Education, in the media stating that he is going to carry out further investigations into deviant behaviour and anti social behaviour in particular homosexuality in the schools in Dominica. Minority Rights Dominica (MiRiDom) repeats CHAP’s question to the Minister of Education, what is the reason for having homosexuality among minors as a primary concern?
Task Force: When the Minister of Education states that he is going to put together a task force to investigate ‘anti social behaviour and in particular homosexuality’, this is where we have a problem. Is the Minister picking on a minority and vulnerable population because he considers them to be ‘low picking Fruit’ – there fences are low? What he is in fact doing is psychologically bullying the students who may have homosexual tendencies and by extension encouraging others to physically bully them, by making the majority of the society who are not homosexual think that they could act out on homosexuals. Please note Mr. minister that all Lesbian, Gay, Bi Sexual people are somebody’s children and they have brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and friends that are prepared to protect their own, and that whatever you do to the least of your brothers, that you do unto the others and yourself. In short the Minister is setting the stage for deviant behaviour. Justice Mr. Minister, Justice. You cannot have peace if you are not just.
Sexual Activity at an Earlier Age: Surveys done here in Dominica and overseas have shown that humans are getting involved in sexual activity at an earlier age than the generations before. It should be the concern of the school administrators to deal with the stated situation, and to build and improve on the knowledge that is imparted in their Family Life/Sex education programs. Just as was done before, when they had to deal with the concern of teenage pregnancy and even with the prevention of STDs such as HIV, where a realistic view of the situation had to be embraced.
Public Opinion: It was interesting that the DNO report on the minister’s recent statements received at least 90% condemnation, and the others who were trying to support it had little modern day reasoning on the matter.
Equal to Others in the Society: Homosexuals, Lesbians and bi sexual people exist in every society, and that is a reality that we have to deal with – You have meet it there and you will leave it there. The Minister of Education should be forward thinking as to how to deal with the reality of homosexuality, and to make homosexuals feel like they are equal to others in the society, no less and no more. The Minister of Education is to ensure that at this point of our development that the students are awarded a learning environment where they feel safe, secure and comfortable not only to learn but to be encouraged to be creative. The students are to be granted the full extent of their Human Rights for the realization of the full extent of their potential at that stage of their lives. What is important is to encourage them to learn & achieve regardless of their sexual orientation, carrying out a ‘witch hunt’ on these young people is of no benefit to our educational progress.
Encouraging Achievement inspite of sexuality regardless of sexual orientation: In our education system we aspire to create a product that could understand the teachings of Plato & Socrates, appreciate the works Michel Angelo, read the works of Rex Nettleford. They all made invaluable contributions to human development in the areas where they lived and beyond; they all became famous; they are all respected and it is said that they were all homosexuals. Even here in Dominica we have men of high repute and standing who make a valuable contricution in the society and they are gay.
What is your concern about homosexuality Mr. Minister of Education? Please let us know.
MiRiDom (Minority Rights Dominica)
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