Top 10 hetero/sexist moments in Caribbean Politics REDUX: 2015 edition

Sexism refers to prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination, usually against women, on the basis of sex.

Heterosexism refers to the assumed primacy, supremacy and normalization of heterosexuality and the resulting attitudes, bias and discrimination. 

Hetero/sexism is often used to represent the extent to which heterosexism simultaneously encodes binary gender, unequal relations of gender, naturalised notions of male superiority and female inferiority as well as homophobia.  It calls attention to the interconnections between and among a binary and unequal understanding of gender, heteronormativity, misogyny and homo- and transphobia. 

Since we first published our Top 10 Sexist and Heterosexist moments in Caribbean politics there has been no end to the misogyny, rape shaming, rape jokes, homophobia and support for patriarchal privilege by both women and men in positions of state power.

Number 1

St. Vincent and the Grenadines communications official working in the Prime Minister’s office shames a rape survivor on live radio, reveals her date of birth, new legal name and passport number and suggests she is a liar. Such an egregious abuse of state power seemingly in retaliation for her testimony, at the opposition’s women’s conference, of a lifetime of physical and sexual abuse, chronic homelessness and a failed application for asylum in Canada. Her testimony is available here.

Numbers 2 and 3

via Freedom by any means:

Minster of Human Services and Social Security, Jennifer Webster recently told the women of Guyana that they needed to ‘forgive and forget’ Attorney General Anil Nandlall for his derogatory language towards a young female reporter. Nandlall was heard on tape calling the journalist a ‘thing’ and trying to convince another man to procure her for his uncle to have sex with (what the young woman might have thought or wanted was never considered by the Attorney General). Although there were multiple and sustained calls for his resignation, Nandlall received no sanction from his superiors in government and continues to hold the top post in the judiciary of Guyana. In her most recent defense of Mr. Nandlall, Minister Webster stated that- “In life, many of us do things,” and “If you are a Christian, you have to forgive and forget.

Number 4

Portia Simpson Miller’s doublespeak:

Nobody never hears the Government of Jamaica beating up gays; not one. Let me tell you something; you want to disturb, you can disturb, but this woman come here with the blood of Nanny of the Maroons and the spirit of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and this woman is not afraid of no man, nowhere, anywhere, and I will speak the truth everywhere.

It is reported that she insisted that she would not be bullied by those who told lies about the existence of homophobia in Jamaica.

Emboldened by the PM’s words the Jamaican Coalition for a Healthy Society, using similar homophobic doublespeak, has issued a statement rejecting “attempts to restrict or stigmatise social discrimination against unwholesome behaviours. We reject efforts to encourage or legitimise behaviours that are high risk for HIV/AIDS and other STDs. Behaviours that are socially dysfunctional and have a demonstrably high statistical association with diseases cannot be endorsed.”

Number 5

Trinidad and Tobago parliamentarian Vernella Toppin-Alleyne seeks to shame opposition leader Dr. Keith Rowley by calling him a product of rape who is now arrogant and aggressive as a result.

Let’s hope we make it to December without cause to complete this list! Leave us a comment if there are any other incidents we neglected to mention. 

4 thoughts on “Top 10 hetero/sexist moments in Caribbean Politics REDUX: 2015 edition

  1. Barefoot Contessa says:

    Rowley’s ‘cat’ comment directed at the T&T PM:

    And further accusations of rape directed at Rowley and his family, including a wider conspiracy of bribes being offered to his son’s mother to say she was raped by Rowley:

    It’s a circus out there and any mark could play.


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