LGBT History on Tuesday September 18 was made with the above interview on TVJ's Religious Hardtalk when two activists who happen to also be atheists or secularist supporters appeared there. A pre-LGBT history month post of sorts however in days following one of the guests Javed Jaghai posted on his blog that Television Jamaica, TVJ erred and censored his comments on buggery.
TVJ Censors Atheism Episode of Religious Hardtalk
The Jamaican media is not as free and fair as we would like to believe. A few weeks ago, I agreed to speak about atheism on Religions Hardtalk alongside Angeline Jackson. The host, Ian Boyne, had read a letter to the editor of The Gleaner in which I stated that I am gay and he asked whether I’d be comfortable speaking about my sexuality. We agreed that it wouldn’t be a talking point, but that if it became relevant I would not skirt around it.
In response to a question about the buggery law, I stated that as a gay Jamaican it is offensive to my being. Ian exclaimed that I was both an atheist AND gay in Jamaica, and we laughed then moved on. The next day I emailed him asking for his assurance that our exchange concerning my sexuality would not be cut from the program. He said he did not intend to do so. In fact, he had instructed the editors to make it the promo.
Two hours before the program aired, I received an email from Ian informing me that the program was sanitized of my acknowledgement of my sexuality. I was told the editors were concerned for my safety, as he was initially, and that he did not fight for transparency. I was furious! Silence and invisibility does not protect minority groups from violence. It allows ignorance and prejudice to go unchallenged. How dare they insult me by telling me I’m being silenced for my own good. Tell that to someone with a less sophisticated understanding of social oppression.
TVJ has no qualms about inviting so-called “ex-gays” to speak about their turn from homosexuality through prayer and counseling. They eagerly obscure your face and distort your voice when you are speaking about molestation by (predatory) homosexuals and about your constant struggle to reject perverse sexuality.
You are to remain faceless! Furthermore, the station recklessly sensationalizes news stories dealing with homosexuals and homosexuality (HFLE anyone?).
Last summer, TVJ refused to air a PSA aimed at promoting tolerance for LGBT people. Kay Osbourne, the general manager at the time, justified the decision of the station by explaining their responsibility to respect the views and wishes of the majority. Editors there have NO understanding of how (by commission and by omission) they promote discourse that marginalizes homosexuals and makes violence against us permissible.
But I am to believe they are genuinely concerned about my safety. Because a yessideh mi bawn outa fimi madda woom.
The next day I received a tweet from a friend who lamented that he woke up to see the rebroadcast of the program at 10am but it did not air. I immediately emailed Ian, because I imagined my friend must have tuned in at the wrong time. Ian told me TVJ decided they would not show a repeat of the program. Since the most offensive bit of the interview was expunged by the editors, one can only assume the rest of the segment was also deemed objectionable.
On a program that seeks to explore diverse perspectives on religion, some views are obviously not welcome. TVJ allows you to use their platform if they can make a spectacle of your beliefs while affirming the supremacy of Christian theology. How dare someone not show reverence to God while unambiguously advocating for the subversion of Christian hegemony! What I find stunning about TVJ’s decision is that it illustrates a point I made during the show that the voices of atheists and secularists are actively suppressed in Jamaica.
I am now convinced TVJ is more interested in further institutionalizing Christianity than facilitating progressive dialogue about secularism, diversity and inclusion.
That said, I am surprised the station posted the episode on their website and I would not be surprised if it was pulled abruptly.
Here is my two cents some days before via another post