Jamaican activist Jay John has started a petition in the international platform Change.org asking for the Jamaican government to ban an anti-LGBTQ pastor from entering the country. U.S.-based pastor Steven Anderson is scheduled to arrive in Jamaica on Jan. 29 for a “missions trip.”
Anderson, of the the Faithful Word Baptist Church, has been previously banned from other countries, including Canada, the U.K., Botswana and South Africa because of his inflammatory and violent speeches against the LGBTQ community in the U.S. and abroad.
In 2016, Anderson praised the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida that resulted in 49 deaths. That same year, in Botswana, Anderson publicly stated that “gay people” should be stoned to death. His message of hate extends beyond the LGBTQ community and goes against women and medical doctors. Anderson claims women shouldn’t read books or vote and calls doctors “sorcerers."
The petition refers to these episodes to demand the Jamaican government “show leadership and stand as an example to fellow Caribbean countries to denounce terrorism and violence against marginalized groups.”
British “buggery” or “sodomy” laws that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations still apply in Jamaica and other Caribbean nations, although the U.K. repealed them in 1967.
Voices against anti-LGBTQ legislation have been gaining strength. According to Blade News, Bishop Howard Gregory, the head of the Anglican Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, has spoken against the colonial-era sodomy laws.
Furthermore, in the past year, prominent LGBTQ activist Maurice Tomlinson filed a constitutional challenge against the country’s “buggery laws.” The proceedings are still in a preliminary stage, but Tomlinson gained an endorsement by Jamaica’s largest newspaper.