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Beyond Homophobia: How Do Jamaican Men Who Have Sex with Men Build Communities, Affirm Identity, and Mitigate Homophobia?

  • Author(s): Harris, Orlando O;
  • Jarrett, Sharlene
  • et al.

Jamaican men who have sex with men (MSM) have experienced widespread stigma and discrimination. Much of the research on Jamaican MSM has focused on HIV risk behaviors. We examined the social and romantic relationships of Jamaican MSM and how these factors fostered a sense of community in an antihomosexual environment. Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with 30 MSM ages 18 to 29 years. Women and familial matriarchal figures were more likely to accept someone identified as homosexual and provide protection against homophobia. Jamaican MSM affirmed their identity by providing emotional support and safe spaces, which aided in building a sense of community. Relationships with friends and intimate partners were a source of love and validation as opposed to simply sexual gratification. The social and romantic relationships of Jamaican MSM transcended the social boundaries of homophobia, affirmed sexual identity and orientation, and served as facilitators across most general societal and cultural interactions.

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