Published: Sunday | August 21, 2016 | 12:00 AM Kimberley Small
“Since when do we have to agree with people to defend them from injustice?” This quote from Lillian Hellman, serves as the lynchpin for her book to be released today by Jamaica-born, New York based, Audrey Thomas, Esq.
A mother of nine and thrice divorced, Thomas takes on many other roles – one of the most natural, putting pen to paper, and getting her work published. Thomas released her first book called, Your Eyes Can’t See My Heart, 11 years ago. Since then, she has released 14 books, the latest called, Does God Hate Homosexuals? No, God Cannot Hate.
Thomas defines herself as an inspirational speaker, humanitarian, radio and television host, and her other day job, is an Attorney-at-Law.
“I was raised very homophobic, and developed an indifference towards the homosexual community. When I was 35, I had occasion to represent a woman who was a homosexual, and I got to see her heart, as my book would say,” Thomas told The Gleaner. “And it gave me a whole other perspective on just what it means to be a human being,” she continued.
A couple of women had been together for 43 years. “They had mutual wills, mutual health care proxies, joint light and gas accounts, joint credit card accounts,” Thomas told The Gleaner. “They shared essentially everything, essentially a married couple without the marriage license.”
Thomas’ case was based on the fact that a hospital declared that one of the women had no official next of kin, and so they released her into the care of a nursing home, instead of into the care of her partner of 43 years.
“I won!” Thomas told The Gleaner, “but the turning point was, after everything was over with the case, [the client] said ‘God bless you.'” And that became the statement that shocked Thomas’ previously homophobic senses.
“With 28 years of education,” she said astonished at herself, and frustrated with Jamaica’s homophobic culture, “we’re ignorant enough to think that homosexuals can’t believe in God. That’s what shocked me.”
Thomas told The Gleaner, that writing has always been something she turned to, from the moment she was able to pick up a pen.
“I started writing when I was three or four,” she said, as a response to agitation. “When you upset me, I put pen to paper,” she chuckled.
She told The Gleaner, that she too shared the sentiment of many Jamaicans, that homosexuality goes against natural order and the primary religion of the island nation, Christianity. But the quote from Lillian Hellman resounds, and she believes that homosexuals suffer injustices that ought to be highlighted.
Thomas’ action, in this regard, takes the form of a book.
“They all wanted to change it in some way or form,” she said of multiple publishing houses she peddled her work to. Now, she publishes through a Christian publisher called Xulon.
“I’m a follower of the teachings of Christ, because most of my ‘brethren’ don’t seem to believe I’m Christian enough,” she laughed.
“The only requirement with Xulon was that I stop cursing,” she laughed. “I’m a trained professional when it comes to cussing, even though they are a Christian publishing house.”
Today, Thomas will host her 11th book release, a concert and an empowerment seminar at the York College Performing Art Centre in Queens, New York.
“Unless it burns down, for the next 11 years, I will be committed to having my function at York College,” she said.
The event promises to be a day of intellectual empowerment presented in the form of an objective discussion aimed at finding the appropriate balance between religion, law and individual rights, coupled with dynamic performances from various artistes.
The performers include Spanner Banner, Phillip Fraser, Lukie D, Hezron, Bri Butta, Stakk Citi Mayehem, DJ Wild and Dajah.