Lesbian prisoners in Jamaica are subjected to ‘corrective rape’, a study revealed today (5 February).
Women in prison are raped out of a ploy to ‘cure’ them of their sexuality, according to activists.
Carla Moore, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, has explored LGBTI experiences in prison.
Moore said: ‘The thing that lesbians have to deal with that we often overlook is corrective rape.
‘It is quite prevalent in Jamaica where people think if you rape a lesbian you turn her straight.’
Gay prisoners feel isolated
Moreover, she observed gay and trans males experienced isolation and had limited access to prison resources.
Moore said: ‘Because of the level of homophobia and transphobia, the other prisoners will not touch something that they think a gay prisoner has touched.
‘They would not sit on a seat that they think a gay prisoner has sat on.’
Moore also found one sixth of all prisoners, 300 of the 1,800, identified as LGBTI at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre.
Greater acceptance in Jamaica
While all experienced discrimination, times have also changed.
‘There was a time when it was absolutely impossible for LGBT people to feel that they could exist. Now people are having greater degrees of acceptance,’ she said.
‘We recognize that the critical interventions that have been made by the LGBT organizations.
‘I think people being more willing to be open to people who are not like them is paying off.’
Moore conducted her study of the maximum security prison in Kingston, Jamaica, between April and November 2018.
Her research was also funded by the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights who last year said they would look into a case challenging Jamaica’s anti-buggery laws.