Sex belongs on the beach

Textbook accepting of homosexuality is taken out of Jamaican schools.

By Jack Boulware
Published August 23, 2000 7:36PM (EDT)

Each year, thousands flock to Jamaica hoping to act out their sexual fantasies at uninhibited adult resorts with frisky names like Hedonism. But once out of range of clothing-optional tourists frolicking in the sand, the country's sexual perspective is much more strict. The education minister recently ordered all schools to remove a sexuality textbook that promotes the acceptance of homosexuality.

The book in question is titled "Preparing for the Vibes in the World Sexuality," and is used in about 40 schools throughout Jamaica. By including the sentence, "We need to accept our sexual orientation whether heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual," author Joseph Robinson has managed to enrage both politicians and religious groups, including leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. The book also describes specific sexual acts, but it's the gay stuff that's got everyone's panties in a bunch. According to a century-old law, homosexuality is still illegal in Jamaica.

One Catholic priest recently made Robinson's book the centerpiece of a sermon at St. Peter and Paul Church in Kingston. "They are saying that homosexuality is on the same level with heterosexuality," said Rev. Kenneth Mock Yen. "We cannot put this in schools."

Education Minister Burchell Whiteman buckled under pressure from religious groups and opposition lawmakers, and last week ordered the removal of the book from schools.

"Notwithstanding it being a teachers' guide, the ministry finds its presence in the system with those explicit statements contrary to what we consider sound and helpful information to students," Whiteman told reporters.

Hedonism and the other adult resorts, meanwhile, allow naked tourists to run rampant along the beaches, spending their dollars to help prop up the country's fragile economy.

Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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