Relatives spreading rumours that I am gay

January 27, 2022

Dear Pastor,

I have been silently dealing with unspeakable hurt for the past six years, solely because of my jealous relatives.

It started in 2015, when I moved to my father's community during my divorce to start over. I was called 'gay' by a young woman with whom I went to high school. God knows why.

That October, one of my relatives approached my uncle, trying to convince him to sell some of our land. We decided not to sell the land, and I later planted tobacco on it for my uncle. Relatives verbally assaulted me about not selling. My cousin was managing a construction site during the same time. I started hearing the workmen talking about gays daily.

My mother later called me to say that a construction man told her that I have enemies in the community. I confronted my cousin, but he denied everything. However, the following day, I heard him with my own ears telling the workmen that I was gay. I stopped calling to him, then everything changed.

These relatives are people who I respect, but it became clear that they blamed me for not selling the land. One of the brothers owns a tourist attraction, which gives them social status and power to do wrongs. My name started to spread and I became isolated.

There is a social wall in my life as we speak, and even though most people in the community now know the truth, they remain silent. My cousins are still spreading my name. I went to work in America in 2020 for eight months and since my return, I have received threats and increased disrespect. I now hear threats from one of the younger relatives and his teenage friends. Last Mother's Day, the brother that owned the tourist attraction came to my gate and said, "You will dead, leave, you a hide." I am not a gay, I am not hiding, and I have to do something even though it will not repair my reputation. They will just keep finding things to keep their rumour alive. I didn't act before because I know my reputation is already damaged, and nothing can change that. I went to the police station several times, but never took anyone to court.

Everything that I have built over the past six years is here. I don't bring my children to the community any more, because of the things the teenager and his friends are saying. I have to do something, Pastor. I know their objective is to see me leave, but I will not allow them to use lies and deception to run me from my grandmother's land. What can I do? I refuse to be bullied and threatened. They're not above the law, and what they are doing is wrong and inhumane.

G.

Dear G.,

Your relatives have branded you as a homosexual and they have not kept that among themselves as relatives; they have said it to many others.

Whether you are a homosexual or not, there are some people who would believe and some who would not. However, you know yourself; and if you are not a homosexual, you should be able to deal with your relatives and to cope with what people are saying. If they know that you are a homosexual, they should also say who is your partner, or partners.

I want you to understand that when people hate you, it is the easiest accusation to be made against you. If two men are friends, people are likely to say they are homosexuals. If a girl has a female friend and they go out together, people say they are lesbians. Sometimes nothing could be further from the truth.

Jamaica can be said to be a homophobic country and when people try to live decent lives, some folks try to pull them down to the gutter. So I repeat, you know yourself, and if you allow what they say about you to affect you, you may become seriously ill. It would affect you physiologically, emotionally, and even physically.

I am going to suggest that you try to meet with a psychologist, who would tell you how to cope with these accusations. But you also need to meet with a lawyer, and he or she might suggest that these people be taken before the court and to desist from scandalising your good name and reputation.

Pastor

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