The day after a 17-year-old gay boy was chopped to death by a mob in Jamaica for wearing women’s clothes; and the month after a gay couple was savagely attacked in Jamaica for having sex; and in the year where there have been no fewer than nine homophobic and transphobic killings while human rights organisations have described Jamaica as ‘the most homophobic place on earth’, we would like to ask the question: why are gay bars in the UK still serving Red Stripe, the ‘lager beer’ brewed in Jamaica? And why are gays still buying it?
Because it’s not just the mobs that are homophobic maniacs over there in ‘friendly Jamaica’. It is the police and the government too. Well, it is a country where sex between two men is punishable by up to ten years in prison. If you don’t get chopped to death first. Makes you thirsty, doesn’t it?
The new Prime Minister – a woman, long name, you don’t need to know – said that she would get rid of harsh homophobic laws but, after pressure from the religious right, backed down.
Now, we know that Red Stripe is owned by respectable people, probably not even based in Jamaica, but while that beer is a big part of the country’s export portfolio employing Jamaicans, we need to ask, are these the people you want to be giving your beer money to? Should we not, like the mighty Harvey Milk back in 1970s San Francisco, organise a gay beer boycott and exercise some of our gay welly? It is one of the main products of a country that’s chopping up our brothers, after all.
It’s just a talking point but maybe next time you’re in a gay bar and you see the tins of Red Stripe lined up, just say to the bar manager: ‘Do you really think you should be carrying beer manufactured in a country that promotes violent homophobia?’, leave it there and order something more refreshing.
We personally won’t touch the muck *opens bottle of Veuve Clicquot, our day champagne* Oh, and while we’re on the subject, may we recommend Absolut, the non-Russian vodka?
Can anyone tell us why Red Stripe is sold in gay bars while Jamaica has such an appalling record on homophobia? Hmmmm?,