Homophobia in the Caribbean Explored at Symposium at NSU

Social, cultural and religious aspects of the issue to be examined April 8-10

A symposium exploring homophobia in the Caribbean will be held at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) on April 8-10. The three-day symposium, featuring presentations, speakers and debates, will be held on NSU’s campus in the Health Professions Division’s Assembly Building at 3200 South University Drive. The event is free and open to the public.

“Homophobia is a multifaceted phenomena that touches upon varying perceptions of nationalism, independence and civil rights,” said Jane Cross, director of the Caribbean law programs at NSU’s Shepard Broad Law Center and one of the organizers of the symposium.

“Several Commonwealth Caribbean coun­tries retain pre-independence sodomy laws, which remain in effect due to both constitutional provisions and social, cultural and religious attitudes. Over the last decade, discrimination and violence against gays have increasingly become a focus of human rights efforts in the region.”

The schedule for the symposium is:

Thursday, April 8 (7 to 9 p.m.):

Issue Identification

Presentation and discussion on Caribbean history and attitudes toward homosexuals in the region. Panelists include:

• Charlene Smith, executive director of the Inter-American Center for Human Rights

• Jason Campbell, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at NSU

• Jane Cross, program director of the IACHR, director of Caribbean law programs and associate professor of law at NSU

• Kathy Gonzalez, an attorney from Trinidad and Tobago

Friday, April 9 (7 to 9 p.m.):

Lyrical Assault

Camille Nelson, a visiting professor of law at Hofstra University, will give a presentation titled “Dancehall Music’s Role in Perpetuating Homophobia.” Nelson has written on Jamaican Dancehall music, which is similar to American hip-hop music and often includes homophobic lyrics.

Saturday, April 10 (11 a.m.):

Panel Discussion

A panel discussion on homophobia in the Caribbean. Panelists include:

• Rev. Robert Griffin, Minister at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale

• Maurice Tomlinson and Jason McFaralane, Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG)

• Camille Nelson, visiting professor of law at Hofstra University

• Shahabudeen Khan, critical skills instructor at NSU’s Shepard Broad Law Center

• William Adams, dean of the Western University College of Law (moderator)

More information on the symposium is available by calling 954-262-6329.


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