Wednesday, July 3, 2013

More forced evictions reported for 2013

With regret I find myself having to pen another post on matters such as these the trouble is often times when scenarios are presented to me or other influentials in the community circle they are hard to verify especially given the mobility issues attached and the refusal at times also by the alleged victims involved to either formally report their cases to the relevant authorities or discuss their challenges with someone towards some networking or solution somehow or provide proof that what has been reported is actually so. The under reporting of such matters creates the impression that there are lesser incidents occurring in the end which may lead to a false sense of security yet older more experienced parties and advocates indeed community influentials know that when there is high visibility of LGBT matters or the agitation strategy becomes more aggressive there is usually a corresponding spike in the homo-negative and homophobic cases on the ground and that includes same gender loving women facing previously lesser backlash then doing meeting those. The other side of under reporting is the same gender loving female challenge where women especially those who face sexual assault or corrective rape (several of those this year thus far) deliberate under reporting is needed in some sense as the sensitivities involved with the clients a public report or blog entry too close to the time of the trauma may be deemed inappropriate and a victim may also see such report and relive the ghastly episode mentally all over again so care must be taken in sharing such data and the timing in such. But under reporting from a client perspective due to mistrust of the systems involved and a male dominated advocacy where abused women do not necessarily want to retell their story to a man.

With the increase mobilizing efforts of the sections of the anti gay religious communities in response to several legal challenges in the courts pending and the messages of martyrdom as if those are to somehow scare the agitators into silence secular or non Christian populations have been also taking the Leviticus line of course in their condemnatory biblical wisdom to pass judgements on suspected LGBT persons, what is also becoming apparent is the class divide that the homo-negative streak is taking one such forced eviction matter was brought to my attention via Facebook in a detailed account by a young man whose family is quite well off but his father suddenly decided to take an investigative approach towards his son’s apparent lack of a female romantic interest and his mode of dress as well. Aesthetic components as markers seem to be making a comeback despite the “metrosexual revolution” as seen in masculine dress as the taboos once so rigidly enforced were broken down, case in point sagging or pants at the hips complete with boxers or buttocks exposed and what appearing to be unisexual shirts and T-shirts. So despite all those general changes and a relaxation of taboos persons are still being judged by certain markers as part and parcel for justification for stigma and discrimination.

What does this reflect?

I think that the false sense of tolerance we have aided and abetted by studies endorsed by LGBT groups is in some way a misnomer, on one hand we have some tolerance in terms of visibility and more affluent individuals being open and coming out thanks especially to social media and exposure sometimes in real time to matters surrounding LGBT life but on the other hand pressure is still being brought to bear on some LGBTians not so fortunate to be insulated by class and privilege, that does not exclude such persons however to be victims of stigma as well but it tends to present itself in loss of material wealth, standing and privileges seeing those are the markers for acceptance and supposed love. For instance a forced eviction scenario maybe limited to boundaries set on a property or the family home, removal from a will, reduced trust fund or other financial instruments by one or both parents or family members, subtle ostracism in the home which can have disastrous consequences psychologically. Those not so harsh in their initial feel when enacted can be most egregious for the parties involved and hence reports of attempted suicides (wrist slitting or pill overdose) depression and so on come through. Others are fortunate to migrate to other lands.

Do not for one minute feel all is well the problem is the under reporting either from embarrassment, shock and or helplessness and ignorance to the few avenues available for redress.

The conditional tolerance that abounds is only such until some public matter stir up emotions and that hidden, suppressed or buried homophobic or homo-negative construct is stoked and reawakened from the subconscious by the campaigns or public discourse on the matter of homosexuality or as in recent times the possible repeal of the buggery law. Homosexuals especially men have been viewed as weak, unable to defend themselves thus are a point of least resistance in society hence we are prime targets for abuse and stigma and despite high visibility of certain types of more privileged homosexuals the abuse and perceptions seem intact none the less added to that is the already negative conclusion that it is some privileged homosexuals who are operating on a predatory construct in a supposed bid to recruit or change others including prepubescent individuals in what seems the never ending conflation between same gender sex and abuse; the paedophile problem.

St Catherine my resident parish has been seeing a such a spike and my ability to get direct information is easier as my proximity to some of them reveals at least three such forced evictions have been confirmed thought it took some time and digging to find and contact the parties involved, thanks to the crisis intervention interviewing skills perfected over some years myself and others are able to at least talk to some of the these victims and if at least offer some words of encouragement. A suspected lesbian was given the boot by her relatives in a not so hostile manner as has happened with others but she has an ultimatum to meet and is considering her options. There has been some profiling taking place with her siblings as they would repeatedly question her mode of dress and style (tattoos and piercings) and her apparent lack of a regular male partner, heated arguments over time and a tense situation developing has climaxed in the ultimatum given to separate from her long time family home.

Another forced eviction report that has been confirmed occurred in March of this year where a man who also resides in the family home which is usual these days so as to save money and consolidate household expenses was also asked by his parents to leave similarly to the aforementioned case he too was profiled for some time, the constant questions and curiosity about the missing female life partner among other things has led to the call for the separation. In this case I was able to glean that the whole public campaign on tolerance and so on has been used against him as one of the tag lines in the argument that gays are becoming too brazen or open in their assertion of themselves and ideas to that effect.

What is uncertain is if these displacements may eventually go on to homelessness for the persons involved and as those numbers increase disturbingly nationally and no serious sustained response at this time what are such displacees to go or do in the meantime? It was some time ago for example that a tabloid newspaper carried an eviction story thankfully devoid of the usually sensationalistic style of writing where a more humanitarian look was given to the circumstance.

This just gives us an idea of some of the challenges persons face across the island that self identify as LGBT. What about the umpteen other similar cases that go unheard of or unreported and those lives involved?

A lot to ponder on

Peace and tolerance



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