Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gays Stalk str8 men says the Star News

So the cruising antics of our homeless, displaced and just plain idle bredrens or friends of theirs in New Kingston makes news again despite the recent police crack down on some of them by the area known as the "gulf" where substance users also hang out as was carried on CVM TV on October 15th see: The toss up between MSM homelessness & public order makes news again, other mishaps have occurred prior to and after this report that are just too tall to tell.



Now comes this:




Some heterosexual men are complaining that they are being 'targeted' and harassed by some members of the homosexual community while walking in the New Kingston business district.

Alphanso Roberts told THE STAR that he has been, 'verbally harassed' by men who dress like women.

He said, "I was walking on the road in the New Kingston area one night and then mi hear smady a call after me, yuh know like how a man woulda call after a woman. When mi look is a bag a man who dress up like woman a call to me."

He told THE STAR that he was shocked by the 'brazen' approach, "mi did surprised because mi always hear bout dem tings deh but mi neva see it before. Mi jus tek weh mi self afta dat."

Meanwhile, taxi operator Leroy Allentold THE STAR that on more than one occasion he has witnessed this display.

"More than once mi affi tell them fi stop dat when dem inna mi vehicle."

call after man

When THE STAR asked Allen what he meant by 'stop that' he elaborated, "when them inna mi vehicle a call after man, it nuh right and it nuh look good."

But Puncy, a cross-dresser (man who dresses like a woman) told THE STAR that the approach only occurs when men are in what he calls their 'zone.'

He said "we are in our zone and if we see someone (a man) walking we are gonna holler at them."

When THE STAR inquired what he meant by 'the zone' Puncy said the zone refers to where he and others ply their wares. "I am in my zone doing my work, my job is to do my work and go home."

Puncy is not only a cross dresser but a sex worker as well in the New Kingston area.

Meanwhile, another cross-dresser, who calls himself Pearl, told THE STAR that he does not make it his duty to go after straight men but instead said, "I do attract straight men, I just can't keep them off me."

Allen along with Roberts, told THE STAR that although they do not have any issues with homosexuals, they both agree that it is immoral for these men to be dressing as women and make unwanted advances at men.

When contacted, the New Kingston police told THE STAR that they have received multiple complaints from men who have been harassed by some cross-dressers in the area.

The officer also told THE STAR that some of these men after making the complaints are afraid to point out the 'men' who made the advances.

"We haven't made any arrests so far in relation to that because the men are usually afraid to point them out because of the stigma of being touched up by a homosexual," he said.

Names changed



The age old practice of MSM in New Kingston proper and the outskirts is not new and my other blogs are replete with run ins with members of the public with some disastrous consequences as well.

Such as: 
Homeless MSM/CSWs in New Kingston rescued by taxi driver trouble is many of the younger displacees nowadays are learning as they go similar to Dwayne Jones in fulfilling their female cisgender imperative, trouble is they have very little room to make mistakes or escape a negative response, the murder of Dwayne is picture proof of such limited window of survival.

Those of us who are avid cruisers or even occasional walkers also know that the very turf is also used by hypermasculine types (gay for pay) or questioning men who also step out of their comfort zone every now and again, I should know I used to walk the turf back in the day for that occasional hunt and as we would say sometimes we "bingo" on a given night. Maybe the "gurlz" have become familiar with the trends over the years and are trying their own hand at success. 

Peace and tolerance

H

Monday, October 28, 2013

Popular "Cash for Gold" lesbian shot by cops, crisis reporting strategy again seems flawed

A popular sister who hangs out in Half Way Tree regularly carrying out the popular and controversial cash for gold trade and who has another case pending in the Half Way Tree court as well for a previous stabbing incident was shot in an altercation with police as carried on CVM TV News some time ago, I always like waiting when the dust settles to get the real truth in cases such as this, Half Way Tree and its environs is known for flair ups for perceived lesbians and gay/bi men.




fast forward to the present matter -The Star News carried this:

A woman is currently nursing a gunshot wound after she was shot by a police officer in Half-Way Tree yesterday morning after stabbing a man.

According to the police, at around 11:30 a.m. the woman was engaged in an argument with a man when a knife was drawn and she reportedly used the instrument to stab the man.

According to reports, after the woman stabbed the man, who was allegedly her spouse, she attempted to stab him for a second time but the injured man fell to the ground when she attempted to stab him again and the police officer intervened.

The woman was reportedly shot in the hand by the lawman.

Head of the St Andrew Central Division, Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey, told THE STAR that the woman, who is still in the hospital, would be charged.

Bailey also told THE STAR that the injured man is also in hospital nursing stab wounds.

ENDS

However if we are to follow the alarmist crisis reporting strategy now being employed by some Jamaican advocates we would have been led to believe that this was a purely lesbophobic matter when in fact it was not as the woman in question was accusing a man of being a battyman when things got out of control.



31-year-old Keshema Tulloch, an openly gay woman and otherwise known as ‘Royal’ was shot by a Police Officer earlier today, October 25, 2013, around 10 a.m. after being bullied and physically attacked by an anti-gay man in Half Way Tree, Kingston.

According to the victim’s father Winston Tulloch, “Royal got into an altercation with a man who called her a ‘sodomite’ (anti-gay slur) and punched her in the face says another blogger who carried the story. She then proceeded to chase her attacker with a knife. The man ran to a police officer at the Texaco Gas station. While running towards the police officer and her attacker, the police officer shot her in her arm and she fell to the ground. The police then opened fire and shot her a second time in her chest.”

He further stated that, “the man who physically attacked her was pressured by the police officer to pursue criminal charges (Attempted Assault) against her.”

Royal is currently hospitalized in intensive care at the Kingston Public Hospital and was formally charged with attempted assault at 5:00 p.m. She is under police guard while being treated.

Deceptive crisis communication here with unclear triggers and linking homophobic abuse to a clear case of a matter where the "victim" was clearly out of order (not to say she deserved it) but if she had not stabbed or attempted to stab the man as alleged while in the presence of the police then this issue would not have occurred in my mind. Fair is fair and truth is truth when dealing with these kinds of issues.

Then it is no wonder the lobby has a credibility problem over the years and now alarms have been raised where maybe none was needed. When two lesbians were killed two years ago there was no alarm when it was needed and when the cases then called for serious attention as our SLG sisters are often overlooked.

Sorry to hear of this one but we MUST tell the people the truth in the zeal for getting international attention on our supposed plight.

Peace and tolerance

H

see: 

2 SGL Women lost, corrective rape & virtual silence from the male dominated advocacy structure

Friday, October 25, 2013

Legal battle brewing - Lawsuit over Trinidad & Tobago anti-gay laws


Legal battle brewing
Lawsuit over TT anti-gay laws
Rachael Espinet, Newsday, October 25, 2013, Page 15

SIR GEORGE Alleyne, former UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS and editor of the book Legal and Policy Perspectives on HIV and Human Rights in the Caribbean, says the book is a serious commentary on HIV and human rights and the legal policy implications of HIV in the Caribbean.

Speaking with Newsday yesterday at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Sports and Physical Education Centre (SPEC) in St Augustine, after its annual graduation ceremony where he is the Chancellor of the university, he said: “What it does is it looks at policy issues; legal issues that have to be addressed and we address that certain approaches need to be taken to address these issues.”

When the book was launched on Tuesday, gay rights activists condemned the United Nations AIDS [sic] (UNAIDS), for having the event in Trinidad. UNAIDS and Pan Caribbean [sic]sponsored the book; however the objection comes from Trinidad having an immigration law that prohibits homosexuals from entering the country.

In Section 8 of the Immigration Act, “prostitutes, homosexuals persons living on the earnings of prostitutes or homosexuals, or persons reasonably suspected as coming to Trinidad and Tobago for these or any other immoral purposes are prohibited from entering the country.”

Thus legally, non-national homosexual persons who were invited to the book launch would not be able to attend or they would be breaking the law. Maurice Tomlinson, a Jamaica lawyer and legal adviser for AIDS Free World, was one such person who would have been legally barred from attending.

Though legally members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community are barred from entering the country, the law is not enforced. In 2007, Members of the public were rallying to stop openly gay performer Elton John from entering the country. However, the government gave a waiver for John to sing in the Tobago Jazz Festival.

Currently, through AIDS Free World, Tomlinson is suing Trinidad and Tobago to remove homosexuality from the prohibited list. On November 12 Tomlinson will challenge Section 8 of the Immigration Act at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Alleyne stated, “Much of what is written has been written by people who have not read the book, and really don’t appreciate what the substance of the discussion is all about.” He added that he and UWI have an “intolerance to all forms of intolerance” and in his graduation address on the Cave Hill campus, “I addressed this issue of intolerance and discrimination pointing out that there is intolerance of intolerance in all forms as part of our university’s policy.”

Colin Robinson, director of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO), said, “The controversy around the event has brought attention to the outrageousness to the immigration law.”

However, Robinson said while CAISO supports the legal actions against the country’s law suit [sic], “The question of wether [sic] there should be a boycott of Trinidad and Tobago for events that would advance the position of the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) community is a matter that AIDS Free World has not discussed with us.”

A release from AIDS Free World stated “It goes without saying that demonstrating indifference to hateful laws as though they were of no consequence is hugely damaging in the iight against HIV and AIDS.

“There is no question that the book will address the issue of high-risk groups, men who have sex with men (MSM) in particular. And with that in mind, many gay men from around the Caribbean would wish to attend, and indeed, some of them have undoubtedly received invitations (Tomlinson included). Neither Maurice nor any of his gay colleagues from outside Trinidad can attend. Why?

Because the immigration law of Trinidad and Tobago explicitly prohibits the entry of homosexuals.” The release continues to say, “Holding the book launch in a country that bars entry to homosexuals is a direct contradiction of the recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law (that UNAIDS co-sponsored), and an equally direct contradiction of the Executive Director of UNAIDS, who has said time and again that UNAIDS has zero tolerance for discriminatory laws.



judges_of_the_caribbean_court
Justices on the leave hearing panel were back row, left Jacob Wit (Netherlands Antilles) and Winston Anderson (Jamaica) and front row: Rolston Nelson (Trinidad & Tobago), CJ Sir Dennis Byron (St. Kitts & Nevis) and Winston Saunders (St. Vincent & the Grenadines)

UPDATE: the CCJ reserved judgement - 

Caribbean Court of Justice reserves judgement on Maurice Tomlinson case on barred entry due to sexual orientation

Asexual awareness week is October 20th – 26th



Asexual awareness week is October 20th – 26th!

Let’s talk about asexuality, the lack of sexual attraction to other people. Have you heard of it before?

Chances are you haven’t, so let’s talk about it now.

“So is that like celibacy, or abstinence?” In short, no. Both of these are active choices, but asexuality is a sexual orientation; and being asexual doesn’t mean someone will never have sex.

“But if someone has sex, surely they’re not asexual?” If a gay man has sex with a woman, does that make him straight? No. Being attracted to someone, being able to feel sexual pleasure and wanting to have sex are three very different things.

“Can asexuals fall in love?” Yes, they can. Romantic attraction and sexual attraction are two different things. While some people may be aromantic as well as asexual, others still date and seek long-term partners.

“That’s silly. They just need to try it/find the right person.” Sounds just like “she’s not straight, she just hasn’t found the right girl yet.” Most people don’t need to have sex to know to whom they are attracted, so it doesn’t make sense to say that someone can’t know whether they are asexual, too.

“Ok, I’ll accept all that. But why should I care?” Sexuality is a very prominent part of our society, and asexuals make up a very small percentage of the population. This makes it easy for asexuals to believe they are alone in feeling this way, even that they are “broken”. Raising awareness helps asexuals to be comfortable with themselves, and to be open about their feelings without fear of alienation.

-

Additional Asexuality Awareness Resources

“Asexual Awareness Week began in 2010 as a campaign targeting the LGBT community and its leadership for greater awareness. California activist Sara Beth Brooks joined with AVEN founder David Jay to plan the first year which was primarily conducted online through blogs and web visibility.” – AsexualAwarenessWeek.com

Asexual Awareness Week Official Homepage

http://asexualawarenessweek.com

(A)sexual The Movie

Directors’ Description: “Facing a sex obsessed culture, a mountain of stereotypes and misconceptions, and a lack of social or scientific research, asexuals, people who experience no sexual attraction, struggle to claim their identity.”

Available at Netflix. Find other streaming locations at IMDB or visit the film’s official homepage for more information: www.asexualthemovie.com

Videos: Asexuality In the Media at Asexuality.org

The asexual community has grown with a great deal of welcome public exposure. Below are video clips from various television appearances, courtesy of YouTube.http://www.asexuality.org/home/video.html

Acebook

Acebook is a unique dating and social networking site for asexual people. http://www.ace-book.net

The Asexual Lesbians Community

A private community for asexual lesbians. Per the homepage, guests “are limited to certain areas of the board and there are some features you can’t use. If you join our community, you’ll be able to access member-only sections, and use many member-only features such as customizing your profile, sending personal messages, and voting in polls. Registration is simple, fast, and completely free.” http:// z4.invisionfree.com/Asexual_Lesbians/index.php

Resources from Everything’s A-Okay!

People in the YouTube outreach video include asexual bloggers and activists:
Amy (amygdala)
Robin L (http://iamvincentliu.tumblr.com/)
QueerAsCat (http://www.youtube.com/user/QueerAsCat)
Swankivy (http://youtube.com/user/swankivy)

For more information on Asexual Awareness Week, visit http://asexualawarenessweek.com/.

Everything’s A Okay will be continuing their asexuality series soon, with a video on ‘Forming Relationships’.

Everything’s A-Okay is an organization that works to spread visibility and education on LGBTQ+ issues, as well as to provide support to those in the queer community who need it. You can visit the website at http://a-okay.org/ for more information on asexuality.

Asexuality.org encourages you to start a conversation in your community, and if you need support or want to share resources with others, they recommend you call the Trevor Lifeline toll-free at 866-488-7386.

EU adopts historic intersex resolution

Some good news just a day prior to the Intersex Awareness Day normally observed on October 26th annually since 1996.


article Courtesy of Heather Cassell

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe took a historic first step toward protecting intersex children with the adoption of Resolution 1952 (2013), Children's Right to Physical Integrity, October 3.

It is the first time the union has ever addressed the bodily integrity of intersex children.

It is also the first of its kind resolution to address intersex children from a human rights perspective, rather than a medical approach, to maintain the right to bodily integrity. It calls for the "end of cosmetic medical and surgical treatment," according to the joint news release by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and the Organization Intersex International Europe.

The resolution was drafted in partnership by the ILGBTIA and OII-Europe.

ILGBTIA is a non-governmental organization working on behalf of LGBTI rights. OII-Europe is the European branch of the OII, an international organization working for the rights of intersex individuals.

The resolution not only protects intersex children from medically altering their bodies without consent, but also includes other cosmetic procedures, from circumcision to piercing to tattooing.

The resolution also calls upon council members to direct member states to "undertake further research to increase knowledge about the specific situation of intersex people," according to the release.

Garnering more specific details about intersex individuals' lives includes ensuring that no one is subjected to "unnecessary medical or surgical treatment that is cosmetic rather than vital for health during infancy or childhood" and to "guarantee bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination." It also calls for adequate counseling and support for families with intersex children.

Representatives from OII or OII-Europe were unable to respond to a request for comment by press time.

The signing of the resolution is a part of a new ongoing effort of the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union to protect LGBT including intersex individuals' human rights.

In June, the same council published comprehensive and legally binding guidelines to EU institutions and member states outlining progressive ways to advance human rights for LGBT and intersex individuals. The guidelines cover contacts with third countries and with international and civil society organizations.

Debating circumcision rights

Not everyone is happy with the resolution. Leaders of Israeli and European Jewish organizations spoke out harshly against the resolution, which included brit mila, the traditional religious ritual where male children are circumcised.

"This is a sign of anti-Semitism, in my opinion," Benjamin Albalas, president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, told the Jerusalem Post.

Religious ceremonies that require any type of alteration of a child's body for non-medical reasons were included in the resolution, along with female genital mutilation.

Any suggestion to ban circumcision "sends out a terrible message to European Jews that our practices, and therefore our very presence on this continent, is treated with disdain," said Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, reported thePost .

A large majority of the 642 delegates voted to remove a reference to the "religious rights of parents and families" from the measure, reported the Post.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin of the European Jewish Association based in Brussels pointed out that scientific information used in the report wasn't complete, not including opinions from experts from the World Health Organization about the positive health aspects of circumcision, she said.

To listen to sections of the report and presentation, visit http://www.lgbt-ep.eu/intergroup-documents/summary-trans-and-intersex-people-challenges-for-eu-law/.

New LGBT general rapporteur appointed to EU

Robert Biedron was appointed as the new general rapporteur on the rights of LGBT people of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The appointment was made unanimously by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination on September 17 in Madrid, but news of Biedron's new post wasn't publicly announced until October 2.

Biedron, a 37-year-old gay politician, replaces Hakon Haugli, who was the first holder of this mandate, according to the assembly's website.

Biedron was elected to the Polish Parliament in 2011 and has served in the EU and on the committee. He is also the vice-chairperson of the Committee of Justice and Human Rights and was the first openly gay member of the Committee of Foreign Affairs at the Sejm.

Biedron's responsibilities in his new role include intervening, protecting, and promoting LGBT rights, particularly related to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, Biedron will report periodically to the committee on information collected and actions taken related to violations of LGBT rights, which remain a problem, he said in an interview on the committee's website.

Biedron believes that continuing to relay the message that LGBT rights are basic human rights is "crucial" throughout Europe, he said.

Other top issues on his mind are protecting transgender individuals and focusing more attention on the needs and rights of LBT women in the EU.

"Violations of the rights of LGBT people are indeed a major problem in Europe," said Biedron, pointing out that the EU has adopted several resolutions and recommendations on LGBT human rights. "I will follow up on their implementation. My roadmap will be the recent report by Mr. Hakon Haugli, former general rapporteur, on 'tackling discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.' I will do my best to continue his excellent work."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sexual diversity conference focuses on advocacy


The first Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity conference organised by the St Lucia human rights organisation United and Strong Inc (U&S) and Fundashon Orguyo Korsou/Curacao Pride Foundation (FOKO) brought together 35 women from 14 countries for a week-long conference in Curacao that dealt with advocacy around LBT women.


In a release, U&S Co-Executive Director Kenita Placide said the gathering sought to educate and empower women to stimulate and strengthen the movement.

“Human rights are challenged by authorities, institutions and establishments that seek to suppress our right to express ourselves and articulate our opinions. LBT people should not be left behind in the growth of Caribbean society. This conference is about our duty to self, our duty to fight against the injustices and prejudices subjected to this minority group. The road to social justice is not an easy one and requires revolutionary change. It is still not without passion and great sacrifices.”

Under the theme Strengthening the invisible woman and empowering her to leadership, activists identified critical issues affecting LBT women in the Caribbean and defined action to address them. Facilitators covered topics that include self-defence, activism and movement building, proposal writing, media, law and history.

Essential to the CWSDC was the contribution of funding partners. The Caribbean Forum for the Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS), Arcus Foundation, ARC International, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), Global Equality, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice and Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, gave invaluable support and advice.


CariFLAGS Co-Chair Tieneke Sumter highlighted the network’s support. “CariFLAGS was happy to support the CWSDC. Giving support to LB&T initiatives is one of our priorities. As participant and facilitator at the CWSDC I took with me how important it is that L&B leaders and activist from the region have a space where they can share knowledge, learn from each other best practices but also empower each other. In many Caribbean countries the issues L&B women face are invisible and some leaders have to pioneer alone with no resources. The CWSDC created a space where we just could BE, make new friends and load up our energy to continue to strive for equal rights for all.”

The event was staged alongside Curacao Pride celebration and incorporated several pride activities. Among these was the award ceremony recognising individuals who have contributed to the LGBT movement. Placide was recognised along with Mario Kleinmodig and Dudley Ferdinandus of FOKO and Faye Ferdinandus of CariFLAGS.

In acknowledging the award Placide notes, “This is a tribute to everyone who has worked and supported the movement and me. Thank you to deceased Robert Carr, Egbert Felix, Joan Didier for identifying and giving the opportunity for my leadership to shine.”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On Being a "Good Gay"

ON BEING A "GOOD GAY."

Maurice Tomlinson gay lawyer shared this recently:


 

Last night after a screening of "The Abominable Crime" at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, an older Jamaican gentleman declared that the recent attacks against Jamaican LGBT are a result of the new generation of gays "flaunting" their sexuality. Basically, he intimated that we should be more like (in his words) the 4 current gay Ministers of government in Portia's cabinet, as well as the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Rex Nettelford whom he claims to have known personally and whose homosexuality was universally known. If homosexual Jamaicans were "good gays" like these people, we would be fine! This naive statement ignores the anti-gay hostility being whipped up by the churches in response to the legal challenges to the anti-sodomy law. This year we have seen island-wide anti-gay religious marches, church petitions calling for the retention of the anti-buggery law, and a pastor used a public platform to trumpet that religious leaders are willing to die rather than "allow" human rights for gays being recognized in the country.

Perhaps the most troubling statement this man made was that because Jamaica is a hyper-masculine society which celebrates "cocksmen" or male heterosexual prowess, gays who transgress this cultural norm should not be surprised at the backlash.

I tried to explain that gay Jamaicans have the SAME CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS to freedom of expression as all citizens and therefore it is unreasonable to demand that we should be invisible, just to make heterosexuals comfortable. Certainly 16 -ear-old Dwayne Jones did not deserve the horrible mob-execution simply for wearing a dress to a street-dance. I also asked this gentleman if he would attack gays in Florida who "flaunted" (whatever that means) their homosexuality, to which he declared that he certainly would not, solely because he has been in the US for 46 years. I guess its ok to demand gay invisibility in Jamaica but not overseas.

This senior gentleman also fails to realize that many gays are attacked IN THE PRIVACY OF THEIR HOMES, where they are certainly NOT visible. And many gays who think they are not "flaunting" are attacked. This was my reality.

Finally, this individual declared that I was like our former Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Michael Manley, who tried to SHOCK Jamaicans into going leftist too quickly, hence his policies were rejected. I hardly think that advocating for a 1864 British colonially imposed law to be "read-down" to simply allow for private acts of intimacy between consenting adults is being particularly radical! At least, not when all over the world gays are getting the right to marry!

Although I doubt I made much of an impact on this gentleman, I was happy he came to the event.

An question from the audience was whether a boycott would be useful to force the Jamaican government to take gay rights seriously. There were some strong opinions on either side. One gentleman reminded the audience that Florida had the tragic Trayvon Martin situation which could also warrant a boycott of that state. While I hear his point, I disagree that Florida and Jamaica are similar. At least in Florida there is the possibility of justice (though sometimes delayed/denied) for marginalized groups. On the other hand, homeless Jamaican MSM are having a very difficult time getting justice as police refuse to investigate their attacks unless they can provide the NAMES and ADDRESSES of their attackers!

I am still wrestling with the idea of a boycott, but I did remind persons that if they find it unethical to spend their tourist dollars in Jamaica because of the recent upsurge in homophobic assaults, then they should LET THE GOVERNMENT KNOW. They should look online for the official email addresses of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Justice and send them a message! It is far more helpful to SPEAK UP and condemn the abuse rather than to reman silent and simply go elsewhere for a vacation.

Congratulations to the Faculty of Law at Nova Southeastern University, Sunshine Cathedral MCC, and all the other sponsors and supporters who facilitated this screening. It was yet another invaluable teaching opportunity.


ENDS

The class issues in Jamaica even affects the way advocacy is done and my criticisms of some spoke persons over the years including that of Tomlinson is quite open however it is refreshing to see some redemption taking place, it is left to be seen whether it is genuine or just for show. 

also see: The toss up between MSM homelessness & public order makes news again

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia 2014: Freedom of Expression ......................

I received this release via email today and it struck me how ironic that next year's theme for IDAHO is Freedom of Expression but yet only in this year observance on May 17th our leading advocates JFLAG decided not include our homeless gay and bisexual youths so their voices could carry on such an important day, experts decided to speak supposedly on their behalf, have a read of the release firstly from IDAHO's website and also see the following: 


More MSM Homelessness Issues while agencies shift responsibilities

And MSM continue to be ready material for data collection ..... what about the interventions for the recurring issues

IDAHO PRESS RELEASE:

IDAHO – International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia – May 17
After months of outreach and consultation with LGBTI rights activists and allies around the world, as to what to focus on for the 10th Anniversary edition of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, 2014, we found that the most popular campaign call, in diverse country-settings, was Freedom of Expression.

Activists in countries including Turkey, Russia and Armenia highlighted a need to challenge anti-’propaganda’, ‘obscenity’ and ‘public morality’ laws which, in practice, are being used to close down spaces for public assembly, shut down LGBTI community websites, justify police actions targeting vulnerable communities, and to silence journalists and human rights defenders who speak out in favour of LGBTI rights.

In countries including Brazil and the United States, activists highlighted the use of right-wing religious arguments to curb diversity eduction and anti-bullying campaigns in schools, with the excuse of prohibiting the ‘promotion of homosexuality‘, providing ‘age-appropriate’ material, or ‘respecting the curriculum‘.

In countries such as Uganda and Kenya, LGBTI activists have highlighted the use of arguments that ‘homosexuality is not in our culture‘ to repress public expressions of LGBTI rights, in already very hostile contexts. Meanwhile, in the Philippines and Thailand, LGBTI rights advocates pointed to the absence of specific legal provisions targeting hate crimes and hate speech which, they argued, reflects the power of opponents of LGBTI rights to set the terms of debate.

Various activists, from all over the world, also highlighted freedom of expression as an effective way to promote trans* and gender non-conforming people’s rights to self-determine their gender identities and expressions, push for more accurate and positive representations of trans* people in the media, and to appeal for much-needed improvements in the scope, quality and human rights credentials of gender-identity recognition laws worldwide.

We have also received positive feedback from artists, performers, writers and educators who have highlighted the use of these laws not just to restrict LGBTI community voices, but to limit freedom of expression for all.

Activists in a number of countries also pointed out that, although these laws might be targeted at LGBTI communities on paper, in practice, they also interlock with the policing, and stigmatisation, of all different kinds of communities including sex workers, migrants, ethnic minorities, the socio-economically at risk, and women.

And even in countries where freedom of expression is legally guaranteed, and politically defended, LGBTI people encounter everyday limits on what they can, or feel able to express about who they really are, or to articulate their visions for social change.

In short, whilst freedom of expression might be articulated in different ways in different cultures, it is also – in part – a universal issue which sits in dialogue with many questions, across countless cultural and community contexts.

Issues such as LGBTI Aslyum and Migration, LGBTI-related Stigma in the Fight against HIV/AIDS, Biphobia and Mobilising City Spaces were also popular this year. The IDAHO Committee team will be producing campaign packs and other material on each of these themes, and emphasising them in our communications in the lead-up to, and on, May 17. We will also be maintaining some focus – as in previous years – on fighting LGBTI discrimination in and through education, and creating alliances with progressive faith voices.

This year is also going to be particularly special, because it’s the 10th Anniversary edition of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia !

Get involved !

We now have to think about how to structure the campaign, what protest tactics we could use, and what specific policy goals we should aim for. Everything is still very open, so now is a great time to get involved, and to help shape the campaign !
Should we launch global petition or statement and, if so, with what specific goal?
What sort of protest tactics should we call for and provide toolkits on?
Would you like to see new research appear for May 17, for example, a World Index on LGBTI Freedom of Expression?
What could be some great ways to involve artists, writers and musicians?
Could we organise a video campaign, competition or online film festival for May 17?

If you have any suggestions for what we could do on the day, no matter how unusual, wacky, adventurous or obscene (!), please send us them at our usual email address (contact@dayagainsthomophobia.org), where someone from the team will respond asap. Don’t censor yourself !

If you would like to be involved – as a partner organisation, as a group taking action, or as a volunteer – please also just drop us a line. We would love to hear from you !

You could also…

Tell us about freedom of expression where you are !

We are currently reaching out to activists, researchers etc. in various different countries to try and understand more about how freedom of expression restrictions, related to sexual orientation and gender identity, play out in different national, cultural and political contexts. If you have information or analysis which you would like to share with us please also feel free to drop us a line at the address at : contact@dayagainsthomophobia.org
Recommended reading :
European Parliament Intergroup on LGBT Rights: “Anti-propaganda laws”, the new criminalisation of homosexuality
Article 19: Traditional values? Attempts to censor sexuality: Homosexual propaganda bans, freedom of expression and equality.
Human Rights Watch: The Trouble With Tradition
PEN International: Resolution – The Russian Federation (79th World Congress in Reykjavik, Iceland, Sept 9-12, 2013)
Index on Censorship/Mathew Brown: Shut the Duck Up
American Civil Liberties Union: Banned Books Week 2013 – Books about LGBT Families Remain Targets of Censorship 


ENDS


Yvonne McCallah Sobers of Families Against State Terrorism makes a point during the symposium, apparently she was the one who asked the all important question as to the absence of the homeless men and Larry Chang whose legacy the symposium was held spoke to the presence of the men via Skype. We also see pretentious concerns being banded about by some privileged activists who are more concerned about image than about the welfare of the men even as a report came that last evening the police once again took action regarding some homeless men in New Kingston for the umpteenth time. Let us see how the spin doctoring will be done to report this one as there seems an urgency to deceptively carry out a skewed crisis reporting based on a feeling that Jamaica is the most homophobic place on earth oldie more so than commensurately assist in providing some meaningful redress even as JFLAG and others dither and try to pass responsibility on this on government by lumping general homelessness in their rhetoric but were glaringly silent during very public issues to do with same, anyone remember the street people dumping in Montego Bay some years ago? to name a few.

Where will it end? when some of us including myself watch almost helplessly in some respects as this plays out before our eyes our local efforts can even go very far as opening homes to assist can only go so far and even that comes with its own set of challenges.

Think on these things

Peace and tolerance

H

Friday, October 11, 2013

Coming Out Day - Coming out transgender ......

Parts of this post with suggestions are taken from leading trans ally and African American activist/blogger Monica Roberts' blog and from my other blog on Wordpress from previous years but still worth revisiting

here is my short two cents on coming out:





also see from Gay Jamaica Watch: Coming out (or outed)  and Coming out tips and suggestions posted this year: HERE



With today being Coming Out Day, you'll see ceremonies and events all over the country that will be primarily focused on the LGB end of the community rainbow.  For the trans end of the spectrum, coming out has a different twist to it.  

When people come out as lesbian, bi or gay, they are still the son or daughter that their parents brought home from the hospital that day.   But when you come out as trans, it means that's akin to a death in the family.

The child they once knew will eventually be morphing into an outward gender presentation different from the one they brought home from the hospital.  Those parents will have to get used to that morphed body over time just as it took the trans person involved a certain amount of years to come to grips with the reality they are trans.

.

From the moment of that declaration that we are trans, we are going from zero to femininity or masculinity and begin the process of having to navigate all the societal baggage that particular desired gender role comes with while unlearning it from the birth gender role.  

We trans people are the only part of the rainbow community that have to pay for the privilege of being ourselves. In addition to having to go through medical and surgical intervention, there's also wading through the paper trail we have piled up and changing those identity documents to reflect who we are now.

I don't want to underestimate how liberating it is for a trans person to come out to family, friends and allies.  It does wonders to lift the burden of carrying that tremendous secret off our psyches so we can begin to openly and honestly live our lives.  

But a dose of reality as you make this life changing decision, especially if you're planning to do so under the euphoric environment of National Coming Out Day.    

If you're a trans person of color, it's even tougher to come out and I understand that reticence to do so.  When we average two transwomen of color killed every month, 70% of the names we read during every  Transgender Day of Remembrance are Black and Latina, and we have the unwoman meme and disrespect hurled at us on a regular basis, it's enough to make you pause.

   

Unlike our white counterparts, we transpeople of color don't have the long established support groups or organizations that are fluent in our culture, backgrounds and needs.

We've only started getting the attention we deserved in the tail end of the last decade.  The Trans Persons of Color Coalition was founded in 2010, and we still have to fight tooth and nail just to get any kind of positive visibility or media attention for our role models and our issues.

Coming out for trans people of all ethnicities is tempered with the knowledge that we still have a long way to go to achieve trans human rights in this country   We still have a lot of education we have to do even with recalcitrant hardheads in our rainbow family and within trans circles about what being trans is. 


But as I've discovered ever since I began my own transition in 1993, my life not only began when I did so and got comfortable in my own skin, my family expanded.  We have a proud history that is still unfolding every day.  I have out and proud trans brothers and sisters all over the world now.  I have trans elders who are eager to pass down their hard won knowledge to me so I can do the same for you.   I love the fascinating journey of discovery I've been on.

And I'm proud to be an African descended #girllikeus. That outweighs whatever negatives connected with our coming out decision.

But to get to the point where I, Janet Mock, Isis King, Kylar Broadus and countless other trans brothers and transsisters are, the first step is coming out and living your life openly and honestly.   You need to not only do so for yourself when you feel comfortable and confident in yourself to do so, frankly the trans community needs you to do so as well.

The rest of being trans we can deal with one day at a time..

ENDS 

Before you come out:

I think it’s important to start with thinking about the purpose of your communication, and that is just to come out to them, to come out of hiding and let them know who you are and what you’ve been struggling with. I’m making the assumption that you also wish to remain as close as possible to your family, and be accepted and hopefully supported by them in the future.

There’s also the question of if you should come out at all. If you are dependent on your parents/family (under 18, or if they are paying for college, etc…) then you need to think of the very real possibility of their cutting you out or off. The last thing you want to be is a homeless transgendered youth. If this is the case, then it may be wiser to spend some time finding and getting support before proceeding.

If you decide that the time is right and it’s safe to come out to them then…

The Vehicle:

My experience has been with Transgendered clients, that a letter works best. The letter has several advantages over face to face communications.

You get to take your time and think about what to say and word it perfectly.

You can have a friend, therapist or supportive person read it over first and give you feedback.

You can’t be interrupted.

The recipient can go back and read it again and take their time with it.

Why a letter and not an email? Well, it’s more personal, email can be a little cold.

What to say:

I’m of the school of thought that you should just say it in your own words as clearly and plainly as possible. I think it can be good to also include the following:

Reassurance that you love them and want to remain connected and hope that they will be supportive.

Reassurance that this is not their “fault”.

A little bit about your struggle with gender over the years, your experience, coping, isolation, etc… (be specific! It will help them empathize with you)

A few recommendations of books, articles or support groups in their area and I recommend to ask them specifically not to respond right away, but to take some time (a week) before they respond. Let them sit with it. This will weed out any immediate bad response and let them cool down.

Just as you would tailor a cover letter for a job you may need to tailor your coming out letter for different family members. Your parents are two (or maybe more than two) separate people, invite them to respond individually.

What not to say:

No need to talk about specific long term plans/timetables or surgeries in your coming-out letter. Remember, the purpose of the letter is to let your family know that you are transgendered. Period. Future plans are better left for future communications. Why? Because just digesting the fact that one has a trans son/daughter/brother/sister is enough to begin with. Remember, you’ve had a lot of time to think about this and are ready to move ahead. They are just learning of this for the first time and need to absorb it. I think its ok to gently allude to the fact that changes might be coming in the future, but I wouldn’t go father than that in your first communication on this topic.

There is no need to go into the etiology of transsexualism here. There are too many conflicting theories biological and otherwise, and even if you knew the origin of your being transgender, it wouldn’t change it.

Afterwards:

If you get a positive response that’s great! Otherwise stay calm, even if you get a negative first response. Give them time.

Don’t be reactive to a negative response. Be the adult (or if you don’t feel it, just pretend). Remember the long term goal is to have them be connected to you and supportive. Keep the long term goal in mind in all your communications with them.

It does happen sometimes that parents have a very negative response and even reject you outright. This can be very hurtful and disappointing. When this happens, again, don’t be reactive no matter how you feel. Keep the long term goal in mind. It’s easy to “write them off”, but ultimately unsatisfying if you want to have your family.

A few things to do with a negative reaction:

Communicate that you are open and ready to talk when they are,

Be empathic with their difficulty in accepting/understanding/assimilating this information. Understand that they need time and may have a religious/cultural basis of understanding that can’t be overcome quickly.

Express your wish and hope that it will change over time.

Ask what you can do to help them accept this?

Other Approaches:

You know your family best, so keep that in mind when crafting your coming out communication.

Here are some other perspectives on how to come out to your family:
coming out, hormone, surgery, and other letters
http://www.videojug.com/interview/how-to-come-out-to-your-family-and-friends-as-transgender video ‘How To Come Out To Your Family And Friends As Transgender’
http://www.hrc.org/issues/3455.htm
Article ‘Coming Out to Family as Transgender’ from The Human Rights Campaign
http://www.tsroadmap.com/family/index.html
Transsexual Road Map – Family issues








How To Come Out To Your Family And Friends As Transgender

Check out the "Coming Out" tab immediately below this post for previous entries on the subject.

Peace and tolerance and a safe and cathartic coming out!!!!!!!!!!

H

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Long-acting antiretrovirals may improve survival for people with poor adherence

Produced in collaboration with hivandhepatitis.com

Long-acting antiretroviral formulations taken once-monthly or less have the potential to improve survival and quality of life for people with HIV, especially those who have difficulty achieving good adherence, but cost may be a barrier, according to a presentation at the Second IDWeek conference taking place this week in San Francisco.

Long-acting antiretroviral therapy (ART) administered as monthly or quarterly injections may be a more convenient way for some people to receive treatment, which could lead to improved adherence and in turn better viral suppression. Two such formulations, a long-acting version of rilpivirine known as TMC278-LA and the experimental HIV integrase inhibitor GSK1265744, have shown promising pharmacokinetics, safety and antiviral activity in early studies.

Eric Ross from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and colleagues used mathematical modelling to predict the impact of long-acting ART on survival and cost-effectiveness for people who have not taken ART before (treatment naive) in four scenarios:
Current standard of care using daily oral antiretrovirals, starting with a regimen based on an NNRTI (non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor), moving on to protease inhibitors and finally to integrase inhibitors and salvage regimens.

Late long-acting ART starting after multiple treatment failures.
Second-line long-acting ART starting after first-line NNRTI failure.
First-line long-acting ART used as an initial regimen.

The model assumed a hypothetical cohort of previously untreated people with HIV based on demographic, CD4 cell count and adherence data from published studies. Most (84%) were men, the mean age was 43 years, the baseline CD4 count was 320 cells/mm3 and they maintained 89% adherence on average. The analysis assumed that viral suppression rose linearly with increasing adherence when using daily ART, but that both adherence and suppression remained consistently high when using long-acting injections.

The researchers projected changes in CD4 count, viral load and retention in care over a lifetime. They looked at life expectancy, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and cost estimates based on 2012 US price data:

Average first-line regimen: USD$24,000/year.
Boosted protease inhibitor regimen: USD$28,000/year.
Integrase inhibitor regimen: USD$39,000/year.
Integrase inhibitor salvage regimen: USD$40,000/year.
Long-acting ART regimen: USD$53,000/year.

Importantly, they estimated that long-acting ART would cost 85% more than boosted protease inhibitor regimens, based on historical information about relative costs of novel long-acting formulations of drugs for other diseases.

Cost-effectiveness was determined by calculating whether the incremental cost per QALY gained was above or below USD$100,000, a commonly used threshold in the US.

Compared with a life expectancy of 23.0 years after ART initiation for people taking daily therapy, the model predicted that those using long-acting formulations would increase their survival by several months: 23.5 years with late long-acting ART, 23.6 with second-line long-acting ART and 23.7 with first-line long-acting ART.

Lifetime costs for long-acting ART under the late, second-line, and first-line scenarios were USD$420,000, USD$490,000 and USD$670,000, respectively, compared with USD$400,000 for current daily regimens.

Late long-acting ART after multiple treatment failures was found to be cost-effective, coming in under the threshold at USD$90,000 per QALY. Second-line long-acting ART was ten-fold more expensive at USD$980,000 per QALY. The cost of starting long-acting ART as first-line therapy was an exorbitant USD$6,190,000 per QALY.

But the cost picture improved when the model took into account adherence. Amongst individuals with very high adherence to daily regimens (as seen in some clinical trial populations), long-acting ART did not significantly improve survival, so it was not cost-effective under any scenario. People with poor adherence to daily therapy, however, could see enough improvement in life expectancy that long-acting ART became feasible.

The researchers calculated that the cost of long-acting ART would have to drop into the $27,000 to $34,000 per year range to become cost-effective for second-line therapy – close to the current price of boosted protease inhibitor regimens.

"Long-acting ART has the potential to improve survival of HIV patients, especially those with barriers to adherence," the investigators concluded. "With a high cost, long-acting ART will be good value when used selectively in poorly adherent patients with multiple failures. With a cost near that of currently available regimens, long-acting ART could be cost-effective as second-line therapy."

The researchers stressed that because survival benefits of long-acting ART could be negligible for highly adherent patient groups, future studies of this strategy "may underestimate its value" if they do not include individuals with barriers to adherence.

They also noted that this model did not incorporate the potential impact of long-acting ART on reducing the risk of HIV transmission, which would likely improve its value.

The historical 85% cost increase for novel long-acting drug formulations is perhaps the most flexible factor in this model. If advocates succeed in demanding lower prices, or if national health programs refuse to pay such a high premium, long-acting ART could become cost-effective for more people.

MORE HERE



Background:

Long-acting antiretroviral formulations (LA-ART), currently in development, aim to achieve monthly or quarterly ART dosing; this could improve health benefits of ART for HIV-infected individuals who have difficulty maintaining daily adherence. We sought to identify the clinical and economic circumstances under which differing clinical roles of LA-ART might be cost-effective in the US.

Methods:

We used a microsimulation model of HIV disease progression (CEPAC-US) to project the impact of 3 potential roles of LA-ART (compared to daily ART only): 1) initial therapy for all ART-na├»ve patients, 2) 2nd-line therapy for those failing 1st-line, and 3) use for patients with multiple prior failures on NNRTI- and PI-based regimens. Model outcomes include quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), lifetime cost, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER); strategies with ICER < $100,000/QALY are designated “cost-effective”. We simulate a cohort with mean adherence (medication possession ratio) of 89% (SD = 22%). Depending on adherence, HIV RNA < 400c/mL at 48 weeks on daily ART ranges from 0 to 91%, and loss to follow-up ranges from 41 to 4/100PY. We assume LA-ART's efficacy is 91% regardless of adherence to daily ART, and that LA-ART costs $60,000/patient-year (vs. $28,000 for daily PI-based regimens). In sensitivity analysis, we vary LA-ART's cost, efficacy, and quality of life (QOL) impact (due to benefits of reduced pill burden or detrimental side effects).

Results:

In the base case, LA-ART increases overall life expectancy (LE) compared to daily ART by 0.5-0.6 years, and LE of patients with the lowest adherence by 2.3-3.0 years, depending on clinical role; only LA-ART for patients with multiple failures is cost-effective ($86,000/QALY, Table). With a cost of $30,000/year and a favorable QOL impact, 2nd-line LA-ART is cost-effective ($94,000/QALY); varying efficacy of LA-ART has minimal impact on cost-effectiveness results.

Conclusion:

LA-ART could improve survival of US HIV patients, especially those with barriers to adherence and poor outcomes on daily ART. With a high cost, it will be a good value for use in patients with multiple prior failures; a cost close to current regimens combined with demonstrable QOL benefit would support broader use.
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