Friday, August 30, 2013

Calling for a Tourism Boycott on Jamaica is a dumb idea at this time


Some young advocates as it were with full support from some older ones who seem more interested in attention seeking than seriously thinking what can happen when such poorly thought out agitations are launched. Lest we forget the LGBT population is still reeling from the black eye from the Queen Ifrica fiasco and the fumbling by all parties involved namely JFLAG and JAGLA (Jamaica Association of Gays and Lesbians Abroad) like wherein the hardened positions by the anti gay voices and persons has gotten more so. Now we see the Lovemarch folks planning another march from Hope Gardens to Half Way Tree on September 14th in opposition to the upcoming court cases challenging the buggery law etc.




Lest we also forget for those who were around before in 2008 and for newcomers we have gone down this road before with calls for boycotts by over exuberant foreign activists out of touch with our realities and who in a supposed bid to assist us in the struggle instead we ended up with a near diplomatic nightmare and a major spike in homophobic incident reports that these same voices were not prepared to assist us (I was a JFLAG at the time) to mitigate or engage. The choppings, profilings, beatings and so on were numerous and the narrative that rang out in some of those documented cases was that they were done in retaliation for making our country suffer in the eyes of the attackers.
EGALE - EQUALITY FOR GAYS AND LESBIANS EVERYWHERE Canada for example comes to mind in 2008 where they fervently called for a tourism boycott and the nation turned red with the call those days we did not have a more supportive media as now and it was a public relations nightmare the call ended up causing more problems than they solved, SMMS Stop Murder Music Canada also joined the call but called it off after some persuasion from local advocates on the ground and a response from the then government of Jamaica, also involved was the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto who had demanded that the Jamaican government immediately denounce homophobic violence in the country and begin work on repealing laws criminalizing homosexuality, including sexual orientation in the Charter of Rights and developing education campaigns for the country and for the police. A similar call has been hinted to by JAGLA, individual advocates and supported by Maurice Tomlinson. The supposed call is stop the rising numbers of violence meted out to members of the LGBT populations in recent times, my fear based on experience is that such calls only seek to increase the very abuses that the calls are intended to decrease, boycotts are counter productive, besides travel agents said that a tourist boycott was not likely to have a major impact anyway then and I doubt it would have now, also we must bear in mind that Air Canada recently commenced flights to Kingston again with renewed interest in the destination and given our economic situation, austerity and the mood of the nation on many fronts this is not the time for a boycott. Jobs are scarce, persons are tense we do not need a spark to set the place on fire.



Then came the Red Stripe boycott as well which had us in a frenzy for some time although Red Stripe bounced back easily and capitalized on the unexpected exposure that they could not pay for, their forward thinking however averted trouble when they vowed not to support shows with artists professing violent lyrics overall. Back then I had posted in a response to our friends in San Francisco; "While I appreciate the support in the cause for justice and tolerance towards everyone here despite their sexual orientation, groups planning or who have planned these events must be mindful of the repercussions such actions may have on an already marginalized grouping as we are here.

Members of the public and by extension select public opinion shapers will consider this as interference by foreigners and hence push for more hatred and opposition towards gays. Not to mention the increase in violence that occurs when a situation like this becomes public knowledge. As we have seen before during the planned Canadian group EGALE’s boycott early last year many persons including lesbians suffered attacks, we saw a spike in the numbers that was never so for lesbians especially before. The stories told to us by many victims included hints that we (gays) were getting foreigners to force their nasty lifestyle on Jamaica and other derogatory remarks so the attackers felt justified in their actions.

I ask you our friends to be mindful, JFLAG is slowly working on the ground to reach several objectives which include on going dialogue and other strategies which I am not at liberty to reveal now that I am aware of. Also to consider are the limited resources available for any action that may need to be taken in crisis intervention cases.

Let us remember too that it was Red Stripe, one of the targets of this ban campaign that withdrew financial backing for events and artists who promote violence of any sort against Jamaicans some time ago, we wouldn’t want to erode that small gain now, small as it was it was a step in the right direction.

Thanks to the organizers and participants however for showing concern and for taking the steps to bring the matter(s) to public light but let us communicate before any other drastic actions are taken, I know that there are passionate persons out there to our cause and I am grateful personally and by extension I know the JFLAG team and gays here are thankful too.

One Love

H"


Cordially relations are enjoyed since and in fact it was the members of the same team in essence that met with Buju Banton, Michael Petrelis seated to Buju's left was involved in the Red Stripe boycott call. Boycott calls tend to make the hotel market jittery and with the public still angry at the feeling that the lobby has moved from being the oppressed to the oppressor. 



alarmist LGBT crisis reporting?


One wonders if the calls are genuine when the same persons making such calls do not reside here and seem oblivious to the real conditions on the ground such as the long standing issue of homelessness which none of these fly by night groups have once spoken to fully yet but are loud on limelight placing demonstrations and homophobic or transphobic violence reactions, case in point the Dwayne Jones murder in July, Jones was indeed homeless and resided illegally in a captured house in western Jamaica while alive he got very little assistance but in death became wonderful public relations material for some persons to project themselves yet they do not directly get involved in frontline work, one wonders. 

The fundamental concern for me is when the boycott is launched as persons seem head strong to do impervious of the opinions of influentials and previous Programs Managers of JFLAG will these groups and individuals provide assistance in whatever forms (outside of asylum seeking avenues) for local folks who may fall as involuntary martyrs for a cause they may not necessarily subscribe to? Such persons are in the comfort of other lands and can say anything what about the least amongst us especially who are far more exposed to the likelihood of being attacked or killed?

Knee jerk reactions to an obvious spike in homo-negative incidents is not the way to go about it, careful thought has to be done and strategizing but with recent outcomes in the lobby as well as outside of it leaves me wondering and indeed concerned on many fronts.





'I SPOKE FOR WHAT I BELIEVED IN' - Queen Ifrica defends Grand Gala performance after JFLAG backlash

We muss tek sleep and mark death and learn from previous mistakes instead of going headstrong inna more mess creating more unneeded obstacles.

Peace and tolerance

H
  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

London protest against LGBT murders in Jamaica



Outrage over brutal killing of Dwayne Jones & Dean Moriah

Rally outside Jamaican High Commission in London
Jamaican authorities urged to protect LGBTs against hate crime

London, UK – 29 August 2013

Thirty protesters picketed the Jamaican High Commission in London yesterday (28 August) in protest at the brutal murders of 16 year old cross-dresser Dwayne Jones and a 41-year old gay man, Dean Moriah.

They demanded justice for both men, and urged tougher Jamaican government action against homophobic and transphobic hate crime.

The protest was organised by Out & Proud African LGBTI and Justice for Dwayne Jones, with the support of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

PHOTOS of the protest: http://bit.ly/15m5Qeo

“We demand justice for Dwayne and Dean. Jamaican authorities need to send an unequivocal message that there will be zero tolerance of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Additionally, the police should prosecute the killers and witnesses should be offered anonymity and police protection,” said Edwin Sesange, Co-founder and Director, Out & Proud African LGBTI.

“Like Senator Golding, Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and other government officials and religious leaders must publicly condemn the killings. We call on them to end the criminalisation of homosexuality and to protect the human rights of all Jamaicans.

“We urge the Commonwealth to condemn homophobia in Jamaica and ask the Jamaican government to take action to prevent the persecution LGBT people,” said Sesange.

“The Jamaican Prime Minister, Justice Minister, Education Minister and police chief must work together to educate the public about LGBT issues, promote tolerance, prosecute homophobic hate crime and ensure that LGBT Jamaicans are able to live in peace, without fear,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights advocacy organisation the Peter Tatchell Foundation. He attended and spoke at the Wednesday protest.

“Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law is a violation of the country’s commitment to equal rights and non-discrimination. It menaces law-abiding LGBT citizens with arrest and imprisonment, as well as giving homophobic attitudes the underpinning of law and official legitimacy. It also discourages LGBT people from coming forward for HIV education and testing, which is contributing to the spread of HIV and placing a burden on the Jamaican health service. Repealing the ban on gay relationships is in the wider public interest,” said Mr Tatchell.

Dwayne Jones was brutally murdered in Jamaica on 22 July 2013. He was dressed as a woman. His sexuality and gender identity are unconfirmed.

Relentlessly teased at school, at 14 Dwayne was kicked out of home by a father who joined in with neighbours homophobic jeers as Dwayne left. A few weeks ago, aged 16, Dwayne was beaten, stabbed, shot and deliberately run over by a car as he tried escape after being attacked at a party where he had dressed in women’s clothing. According to reports, someone at the party identified Dwayne as 'male' and then a mob chased and murdered him. Police have yet to make a single arrest.

READ MORE about Dwayne Jone’s killing: http://bit.ly/19BHB0L

READ about the murder of Dean Moriah: http://bit.ly/19XjoWe


Further information:

Edwin Sesange
Out & Proud African LGBTI
0744 806 3053

Peter Tatchell
Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
Email: Peter@PeterTatchellFoundation.org
Web: www.PeterTatchellFoundation.org

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Anti Gay Distortions (Gleaner Letter)

QCJ co founder penned this letter as published in today's Gleaner:

Jamaica Gleaner Company

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In a letter to the editor on August 24, 2013, S. Richards insinuated that the LGBT agenda was anti-free speech and thus called on Jamaicans to rise up.

Richards cited several occurrences in which the victim's freedom of speech was purportedly violated in an attempt to bring the message home. However, Richards' representation of each of the selected events shows either a lack of knowledge of the instances themselves or a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the truth to advance an agenda.

Below, I have shared more details of each instance to which the writer referred.

Crystal Dixon - Ms Dixon was the hiring chief at the University of Toledo whose policies specifically reference inclusion of, and protection for, all sexual orientations. These are reflected in their strategic and diversity plans, as well as their equal hiring and anti-harassment policies.

A three-judge panel of the Cincinnati-based 6th US District Court of Appeals expressed that it was, in their opinion, deciding a very narrow question of whether public speech and writings are constitutionally protected when they oppose "the very policies that her government employer charges her with creating, promoting and enforcing". - Carrie Ghose, Business First.

The judges stated, "In writing her op-ed column, Dixon not only spoke on policy issues, but also spoke on policy issues related directly to her position at the university."

PROMOTING HARMONY

Donnie McClurkin: He was indeed pulled from performing at the concert Reflections on Peace: From Gandhi to King. However, the following reason was given by the organisers: "The Arts and Humanities Commission and Donnie McClurkin's management decided that it would be best for him to withdraw because the purpose of the event is to bring people together ... . Mayor Gray said the purpose of the event is to promote peace and harmony. That is what King was all about," said Doxie McCoy, spokeswoman for Mayor Vincent C. Gray.

Adrian Smith: His employers, Trafford Housing Trust, argued that he broke their code of conduct by expressing religious or political views which might upset co-workers. Shortly after Mr Smith's demotion, Peter Tatchell, a prominent LGBT rights activist, described the action of the employees as excessive. Mr Smith subsequently won a breach-of-contract action against his employers.

There is a balancing act that must be played in this grand circle of life where so many different ideas, beliefs and people must coexist. There are indeed times when, in an attempt to protect one vulnerable group, laws and institutional policies overextend their authority. However, those instances, though never many to begin with, will gradually decrease as we learn to respect each other and live harmoniously.

ANGELINE JACKSON

ajackson@qcjm.org

Kingston


also see: Government Hush on Queen Ifrica matter since work permit cancellation

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Anti gay Facebook group pops up after the Queen Ifrica fiasco


A new group one of many has popped up on Facebook since the Queen Ifrica public debate on freedom of speech and so on and now the moralists have been coming forth. The overall feeling since the euphoria post the cancellation of the work permit of the female singjay is that the gay lobby has over reached and is becoming oppressive instead of showing the tolerance it is agitating for. 

The airwaves have been on fire since this week and persons vowing all kinds of action including a planned march word has it on the street in opposition to the supposed choking of the performance by Queen Ifrica.

The group named Jamaicans' Fight Against Slackness Immorality Nastiness & Homosexuality

Closed Group 
Jamaicans' Fight Against Slackness Immorality Nastiness Corruption & Homosexuality (JFASINCH) is a group on a mission to boldly and fearlessly stand up against ALL forms of persons, entities, groups, and governments that continue to use their wealth and power to brutally force our Jamaican people into accepting, encouraging, and subjecting themselves to their sordid ways of life.

I, Sub-Zero, WILL NOT be accommodating any individual in this group who is not 100% in support of my cause to stand up at ALL cost against the powers of darkness, greed, and immorality. I will not be under the modus operandi of persuading persons to believe in my cause; but will be seeking to find persons who are already of the same faith and conviction to do whatever is necessary to bring Jamaica back to some semblance of morality.

Finally, it is my sincere intention of physically launching this group as a Non-Profit Organization in Jamaica as soon as the Facebook membership reaches a satisfactory total. It is now full time for the Moral side of Jamaica to start making their voices be heard in LARGE numbers; because if we don't, our little island called Jamaica will be a figment of our imagination--a place that would be completely demoralized, demonized, and perfect for Satan to establish his New One World Order domain, similar to that in places like America now.

THE NEW WORLD ORDER IS SURE IF WE DON'T FIGHT!!

the Admin:


The group though young has only managed to get only 16 members as at the preparation of this post but other LGBTians have been insisting on reporting the group, are we taking an intolerant view of intolerance here in some respects? After examining the group there was no indication the more egregious death wish for us seems not present at this time so should we rush to judgement. Of note Delano Sevright of the opposition party the JLP, Jamaica Labour Party is a member which suggests the general view of that party on homosexuality for all intents and purposes. He views may not be those of the group as he has been some what fair on some issues before so I do not want to pre-judge his intentions.



Question is should we watch first before action or report them for closure?

I say wait a little then if any infraction of refusal to admit LGBT persons then we can act.

Peace and tolerance

H

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lobbyists split on Queen Ifrica’s Canada performance

Source

There are diverging views this Thursday morning from the gay community about the attempt to deny a permit for Queen Ifrica to work in Canada, because of her comments at the recent Independence Day grand gala. The attempt is being made by the Canadian-based Jamaica Association of Gays and Lesbians Abroad (JAGLA). The group feels her comments were anti-gay and she should not be allowed to perform in Canada.

However, doctoral candidate in Sociology at Yale University, Javed Jaghai, who is also a claimant in the case challenging Jamaica's buggery laws, does not believe that differing views should prevent artistes from travelling.

“I don’t think anyone has a right to violate someone’s right to travel and share their art just because they share different world views. But at the end of the day, this is a very complex issue, and it really irks me every time we reduce it to the gays trying to force their lifestyle on us, because that is what it really turns into,” said Mr. Jaghai.

He said as a nation we often communicate by inflicting pain on each other and said it is time we start acting like the adults we are.

However, member of JAGLA, Ralston Chamberlain, insisted that the group should at least get an apology.

“Let me declare; our aim and our mission is not to have Queen Ifrica’s travel documents revoked. Our aim is for her to either apologise to the gay community about the anti-gay remarks, or not be allowed to perform at the event,” said Mr. Chamberlain. He was speaking on Wednesday on RJR’s Beyond the Headlines.

And, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters, along with Amnesty International and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, on Wednesday demonstrated in front of the Jamaican High Commissioner's office in Ontario. The demonstration was aimed at bringing attention to the July 22 murder of 16-year-old cross-dresser Dwayne Jones in Montego Bay. The teenager was beaten, shot, stabbed, run over and thrown into bushes after appearing at a party dressed as a woman. A peaceful protest will also take place in London on August 28 to demand justice for the death of the teenager.

Organized by African Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans-genders Out and Proud Diamond Group, the protest is to be held outside the Jamaican High Commission.


also see from Gay Jamaica Watch: Queen Ifrica's "Freedom of Speech" & advocacy found wanting 

UPDATE: August 23 Queen Ifrica's work permit was cancelled so she could not perform.

also see: Shirley Richards breaks silence on the Queen Ifrica fiasco

There is some talk now of launching a boycott from Canada of all places lest we forget or learn for the uniformed we have gone down that road before, we had a near diplomatic nightmare and a major spike in homo-negative incidents at the time between 2008-9 then I was full time at JFLAG doing ADMIN/FINANCE/Crisis intervention:

1) JFLAG did not support a tourism boycott as suggested by EGALE formerly Equality for Gays And Lesbians Everywhere Canada in 2008: CLICK HERE

2) Jamaican hotels fear boycott: CLICK HERE

3) Canadian Boycott called off: CLICK HERE

4) Posts from the Canadian and San Francisco boycotts in 2008 on GLBTQJA Wordpress: CLICK HERE

5) Gay rights activists clash over tackling Jamaican homophobia

6) Gays won't boycott Jamaica ..... EGALE cancels push

7) Gay rights activists clash over tackling Jamaican homophobia

also see: Gov’t Hush Hush On Gay Pressure …As Promoters Forced To Pull Queen Ifrica From Canada Show 




The Jamaica's Observer cartoonist Clovis penned this cartoon, a balance must be struck I say with second tiered homo-negative artists versus more really vitriolic ones such as Buju Banton, all artists who express anti gay sentiments cannot be treated the same in terms of boycotts or cancellations of work permits, each infraction MUST be carefully examined and the appropriate response given. Overseas folks need to take their cue from locals on the ground as there are consequences for agitations as serious as previous cases have shown.

UPDATE - August 26, 2013

Nationwide radio's Emily Crooks during her What's On My Mind segment of her show gave her two cents alongside Naomi Francis co-host, I am total agreement with her, JAGLA over reached in this case:




Update August 24, 2013

Sexual Orientation Beyond Athletes (Gleaner Editorial)

Jamaica Gleaner Company

On the face of it, the Jamaican Government cares naught about the sexual orientation of the country's athletes and feels there is no need for any special policy to protect gays in sports.

Sport, says Natalie Neita-Headley, the minister with responsibility for that portfolio, "is a right and privilege" of all Jamaicans.

"We have not been in the business of seeking to find out who is this and who is not and what is your sexual preference," she told this newspaper.

We agree with the principle.

Indeed, no one, we can recall, asks about the sexual orientation of our athletes or rejects the glory they bring to sport.

But this fact, and the non-discriminatory sports policy highlighted by Mrs Neita-Headley, masks the crisis of discrimination faced by gays in Jamaica, which the State has done too little to tackle.

The greatest metaphor for Jamaica's anti-gay discrimination is the maintenance of the law against buggery, which makes anal sex an offence.

STATE AS PEEPING TOM

Despite its potential for trapping heterosexual couples, this legislation is primarily aimed at homosexual males, presuming their relationship to be criminal. Further, it casts the State as a voyeur and, in a sense, helps to give credence to Jamaica's thick overlay of homophobia.

So, it is good of an athlete to run fast and jump high and win medals for Jamaica, for which he or she is likely to receive great adulation.

Yet, if that athlete, say, a male, were to cross-dress and attend a dance, he could well be beaten, stabbed, shot, his body dumped in bushes, then have people rationalise his murder. It would be hardly surprising to anyone if the investigative authorities were lethargic in pursuing such a case, especially if the victim was not socially high-placed and of renown.

Attitudes towards gays in Jamaica have indeed improved in recent years, but real transformation and full acceptance of their rights as individuals in accordance with the Constitution demands leadership. That, primarily, is the responsibility of the Government, from which it has been lacking.

DELAYED VOTE

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller made a small, but politically courageous step in this direction during the campaign for the last election with her declaration that sexual orientation would not be an issue in determining her Cabinet.

She also promised a parliamentary conscience vote on the buggery law. But the prime minister has caused her administration to do little about arguing the logic, morality, in terms of human rights, and other merits of the law's repeal. In this respect, it is perhaps a good thing that the vote has been delayed.

Additionally, there is the matter of the Government's Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) being joined in a constitutional-rights case for having refused to broadcast an advertisement promoting tolerance and respect for gays. It may be by statute that the PBCJ is barred from accepting paid advertisements.

However, it would seem to us that a policy directive could be for such a programme to be aired as a free, public-service broadcast. In any event, the Government, as a signal of its moral leadership, could direct PBCJ to, if not concede the legal issue, negotiate settlement of the matter.

The opinions on their page, except for the above, do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gleaner. To respond to a Gleaner editorial, email them: editor@gleanerjm.com or fax: 922-6223. Responses should be no longer than 400 words. Not all responses will be published.

Friday, August 16, 2013

St Kitts PM says same-sex debate goes beyond Parliament

St. Kitts and Nevis' Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, AUGUST 14TH 2013 (CUOPM) – The introduction of legislation allowing same sex marriage in St. Kitts and Nevis is for national debate, especially among stakeholders and not just legislators.

“I believe the church will want to have its say upon this particular matter. I believe the various groups that are pursuing the human rights of people in a vigorous way in the fundamentals of what people can do or what people cannot do and also looking at what governments can do to lend support to the debate,” said Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas in response to a caller during the weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”

“I believe it will generate quite a bit of national debate. I believe we would be guided not only with what is happening in North America and in Europe, but to some extent what have been cultural norms in our own Caribbean Society and in our own St. Kitts and Nevis society. This is a fundamental question I believe that will definitely need to be brought to national debate at some time, Dr. Douglas said.

The St. Kitts and Nevis leader has been one of the leading advocates in the Caribbean Region on the human rights of people, “especially those who are homosexuals, those who are gays, lesbians, I believe that they have a right.”

“In fact, because of my own position with regard to the leadership role that I play in advocacy with regard to HIV/AIDS and the fact that when a society continues to openly condemn those persons who are gays, lesbians and who therefore maybe driven underground and may not want to come into testing to know their status with regards to HIV; that is something that I condemn,” Dr. Douglas added.

He is of the view that the stigmatization and the discrimination against homosexuals, those persons who are sex workers are matters of human rights that have to be discussed in the open at some stage.

“As a country, we have been called upon to look at some of the existing laws that we have on our law books. The buggery law for example, we believe that the time has come for debate to take place in our country with regard to whether these laws which continue to perpetuate discrimination and stigmatization against certain people; whether this should not be brought to a debate for discussion so that a national position can be taken within the context of human rights and within the context of allowing people who may have the HIV Virus to come to the fore to get tested and thus receive the management, treatment and the care that is available to them,” Dr. Douglas told listeners.
Powered by Blogger.