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Gay rights campaigner Tatchell responds to 'straight pride parade' announcement

by Nick Langewis

OutRage! founder and gay human rights activist Peter Tatchell had choice words about the planned "straight pride parade" in New York City.

"It's a free country," Tatchell told PageOneQ. "They are entitled to have their Straight Pride Parade."

On Monday, reggae/dancehall label TCOOO Productions announced its plans to "unite in solidarity," "in love and unity," to defend what it called "pro-family" lyrics by its artists over Labor Day weekend.

"They say it's a celebration of heterosexuality," he added, "but really it's a promotion of straight supremacism."

"I sat quietly and watched as they cancelled artists like Buju Banton, Sizzla Kalonji and Capleton," said TCOOO's president on Monday, "but when the gay community went after TCOOO artists like Vineyard the Rebel Priest, Stapler and Jango Fresh we decided that we must make a show of strength."

"Hit Them Hard," by Stapler, is one such "pro-family" song that TCOOO says has unfairly suffered on the charts as a result of campaigning by the gay community. The chorus of "Hit Them Hard" is as follows:

Jah Jah gonna hit them hard
All the men who visit men backyard
Leaving all the women to starve
One thunder ball and all of them pause

Incitements to violence against gays and lesbians should not be confused with the spirit of reggae, Tatchell countered. "The organisers are semi-literate frauds and liars," he said. "They falsely claim that the Stop Murder Music campaign was an attack on reggae music. Nonsense. It was an attack on a small number of reggae singers who have perverted reggae's message of peace, love and justice. They have betrayed the ideals of the reggae pioneers and are hijacking the genre to turn it into an anthem of homophobic hatred and violence. They are encouraging civil war in the black community."

Tatchell began the Stop Murder Music campaign in the early 1990s, in response to a song by Jamaican artist Buju Banton, "Boom Bye Bye," which graphically advocated the shooting, immolation and murder of "batty men." Throughout the years, Tatchell's campaigning, in conjunction with the Black Gay Men's Advisory Group and JFLAG, has resulted in numerous cancellations of performances, along with new discussions in the music industry and among the general public about homophobia and LGBT rights. Banton, née Mark Myrie, was one of four artists to renounce homophobia and sign the Reggae Compassionate Act in July of 2007.

Some reggae artists "want black straight people to kill black lesbians and gay men," Tatchell charged. "These idiots don't realise that one of Bob Marley's most famous songs contains a coded message that supports black gay men. It's called 'No Woman No Cry.' They play the song in gay clubs and people sing along and add the words that Marley dared not say himself: 'No woman, no cry, when you got gay guy.'"

Earlier: Straight pride parade to hit New York City

Photo credit: UK Gay News


Originally published on Tuesday July 8, 2008.

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