George Graham

“The State Has No Business in the Bedrooms of the Nation”

Do you remember Pierre Trudeau (who in my opinion was the best prime minister any country ever had) telling the prudes in Canada that the state “has no business in the bedrooms of the nation”?

Obviously Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding doesn’t subscribe to that oh-so-sane doctrine.

Golding branded Jamaica as a backward Third World country by telling a BBC interviewer that there is no place for homosexuals in his cabinet. He went on to defend Jamaica’s ancient law against “buggery.”

Now, what on earth does someone’s sexual preference have to do with his or her ability to run a country? I have read that Benjamin Franklin was … ah … sexually unconventional. But even if the article I read was true, that would not diminish my admiration for Benjamin Franklin’s many achievements.

Believe me, I personally find the notion of “buggery” quite distasteful. But just as I would defend a fellow-citizen’s right to express an opinion with which I disagree, I would defend his or her right to privacy in the bedroom.

I find the subject of homosexuality – male and female – complicated and a little baffling. It becomes quite scary when minors are involved, and I agree completely with laws that protect children from sexual predators. But when it comes to consenting adults, my inclination is to let them be.

When I first went to Canada, I heard it was illegal for a husband to see his wife naked (and vice versa). I also heard there was a Canadian law that banned any sexual activity except “the missionary position.” And I know of cases in the Southern United States where women have been jailed and branded for life as “sex offenders” because they practiced oral sex.

There even used to be laws in several American states that made inter-racial sex (and marriage) a crime.

In today’s (western) world, these laws are universally regarded as absurd. I doubt that Jamaica’s prime minister would propose enacting any of them.

In addition to challenging the right of citizens to enjoy privacy in their bed chambers, Golding’s attitude smacks of hypocrisy. Homosexuality has been quite common in Jamaica for as long as I can remember. It was so prevalent in Montego Bay that the term “Mo Bay man” was used to describe homosexuals.

It is quite disingenuous for Golding to go on the BBC and act as if Jamaicans are too innocent to be exposed to the horrors of homosexuality.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for