Thursday, November 28, 2013

J-FLAG report claims little investigation/prosecution in anti-gay cases

The age old problem of the police not investigating or lack of interest in LGBT tinged murder and crime cases is back on the agenda but sometimes when JFLAG itself is offered help it refuses, case in point an old case in 2008 in Manchester where young gay men found their home was invaded and one of the three men was said to have fallen in a cave/natural opening in the earth while running away from his attackers.


CVM TV at the time in 2008 carried the item at the time with the fire department and police saying they searched the cave and found no body yet an exploration group based in Jamaica offered to assist with technical advice and expertise on a pro-bono basis to which JFLAG declined. That is just one in a series of strange decisions from the goodly J over the years that has led me to question what is really going on?

See that story here: 
Brotha Hurt by Homophobic Violence and Recovery Photos of our Post on Brotha who was chopped in Mandeville last year 2008
Now comes this:

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) has published a report claiming little or no thorough investigation or prosecutions in the majority of cases of anti-gay discrimination or violence in Jamaica. 





In its report titled 'Homophobia and Violence in Jamaica' the group noted that between 2009 and last year, it received reports of 231 incidents of anti-gay discrimination and violence.

J-FLAG says it has been receiving increased reports of violence and discrimination against Lesbians, Gays Bisexuals and Transgender people.

However, it says many incidents are still not being reported.

The lobby group says this is because of what it describes as the hostile social and cultural environment, which causes gays to fear further discrimination, persecution or the disclosure of their sexual orientation.

According to J-FLAG, most of the 231 incidents reported between 2009 and last year, related to assaults, physical attacks, and displacement from homes and communities.

It says other incidents include extortion and threats as well as sexual violence, particularly against lesbians and bisexual women.

While acknowledging efforts made by the police, J-FLAG says much more work needs to be done to ensure that all Jamaicans are protected with equal treatment before the law where their rights are infringed.

J-FLAG is also claiming that discriminatory laws and the lack of specific protections continue to contribute to the incidence of discrimination, violence and other forms of abuse against gay people.

J-FLAG says there is little evidence to substantiate claims that members of the gay community are perpetrators of violence themselves.

It has recommended that the Parliament publicly condemns violence against all people regardless of their sexual orientation and invests in initiatives that promote the rights and dignity of all Jamaicans.


ENDS

With the LGBT crisis reporting gone haywire and alarmist how does one or JFLAG expect the cops to work with them if the credibility of such reports are questionable and the truth is not told in some instances. The Dean Moriah case earlier this year proves such that it was not a homophobic murder though widely circulated as such leaving the lobby with a black eye and the police hierarchy concluded there was no gay rage: See MORE HERE: NO GAY RAGE - Homosexuals Are Not Targeted For Violent Crime, Say Experts 

Peace and tolerance

H

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Supreme Court throws out LGBT rights activist's case against 3 TV stations


The Jamaican Supreme Court threw out the case brought against television stations CVM TV, TVJ and PBCJ on November 15th on their refusal to air an ad/PSA (paid ad used in the case) recorded with the claimant Maurice Tomlinson and Yvonne Macallah Sobers of Families Against State Terrorism, FAST asking for tolerance. Radio Jamaica's Dionne Jackson Miller on her show Beyond The Headlines discussed the ruling with the attorneys for the parties involved. Bear in mind that radio Jamaica is the sister station to one of the TV stations that was sued by Mr Tomlinson (audio below) please pay particular attention to the lawyer for Public Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, PBCJ Miss Taverna Chambers comments @ 15:35.....



Attorney for Tomlinson Lord Anthony Gifford says the gay activist is eager to appeal even as the issue of costs is to be determined by the courts. Meanwhile, Tomlinson is also seeking to take legal action against the immigration authorities of Trinidad and Tobago and Belize, saying their laws discriminate against homosexuals seeking entry into those countries. Lord Gifford is representing him in this case as well, see: Caribbean Court of Justice reserves judgement on Maurice Tomlinson case on barred entry due to sexual orientation

here is the video in question:





When I checked for a copy of the judgement online it was not available but I implore you to rely on the reports and the discussion thus far, as soon as it is available it will be shared.


meanwhile Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator of the Gleaner also reported

THE RIGHT of freedom of expression does not give anyone the right to use any other person's property to disseminate his views, the Constitutional Court ruled yesterday when it threw out a claim against three television stations.

Gay rights activist attorney-at-law Maurice Tomlinson had brought the claim against them.

"This is a landmark ruling for freedom of expression," said attorney-at-law Georgia Gibson-Henlin who represented Television Jamaica Ltd, one of the three defendants.

Gibson-Henlin said it was one of the first rulings under the Charter of Rights and Freedom as to whether it applied to private rights.

"I believe it is one of the first rulings that affirm the importance of editorial and journalistic discretion," said Gibson-Henlin.

She said the claimant indicated that he was going to appeal the ruling and she added that media would be vigorously contesting any appeal.

The other defendants in the case were CVM Television Ltd and the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica. The issue of legal costs will be decided by the court at a later date.

Tomlinson, a Jamaican national and an advocate for changing laws and attitudes in favour of homosexuals, had asked the three defendants to broadcast a 30-second video for a fee, speaking to the issue of accepting homosexual men for who they are.

The defendants did not respond and Tomlinson filed a claim in which he contended that the refusal amounted to a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by Chapter Three of the Jamaican Constitution. He asked the court to declare that his rights were breached and also make an order compelling the defendants to broadcast the video.

In its unanimous decision, the court comprising Justice Paulette Williams, Justice Bryan Sykes and Justice Leighton Pusey, held that Tomlinson had sufficient interest in bringing the claim because he was a Jamaican national and the alleged breach took place in Jamaica.

The court pointed out that the Charter was enforceable against the State and by one private citizen against another. It said that Section 13 of the Charter made it possible for one private citizen to enforce the charter rights against another private citizen. The court said the right to freedom of expression was more than just a speech. It included the freedom to express and communicate ideas whether orally or in print or by other means of communication.

Tomlinson, the court said, was obliged under Section 13 of the Charter to respect and uphold the rights of others, including TVJ and CVM, and their right included the right not to speak out, and so could not be compelled to speak Tomlinson's message.



ENDS


RJR Communications group Manager Gary Allen also said he he was pleased with the ruling and welcomed the judgement as he said media houses reject ads almost on a daily basis, he noted that if the media houses had lost it would have opened a huge chasm in as far as accepting the ad is concerned. "From our perspective the critical issue here was whether or not as an entity that has a license that we are held accountable for and the content that we publish we are solely held accountable for it; whether or not someone could force us to publish something and if we disagreed then we would still be held accountable and the person could publish what they will."

here is how TVJ carried the story:




a question to provoke our minds, how does one strike a balance in this case?

76crimes reported that Mr Tomlinson commented:

So, the TV stations, who operate under a public trust in the form of a broadcast license, have the court-sanctioned right to ignore the lived reality of an entire segment of the population (vulnerable gays) in order to patronize the group campaigning against them! If us gays want equal airtime to counter the hateful falsehoods being spread about us, we should just set up our own TV station! Simple, enough right? Well, not quite. You see, there is the HUGE matter of acquiring a license!

Please note that at no time did we say the stations HAD to air the tolerance ad. We simply said that, in the public interest, the stations should ensure that they acted REASONABLY in making their decision whether or not to air. Was it reasonable for the stations (especially the public broadcaster who has a statutory obligation to promote respect for the rights of citizens, such as gays) to simply refuse to air the ad because they did not want to anger the powerful fundamentalist churches? Is there ANY concept of separation of church and state in Jamaica?

I hope my Jamaican LGBT family and our allies realize just how much work we have to do in order to achieve full equality. I hope this decision makes you MAD enough to actually DO something for the cause of LGBT liberation. All the powerful organs of the state appear to be working against us and in cahoots with the homophobic factions of the church. We need to be LOUD AND PROUD to claim our RIGHTS as no one is going to hand them to us on a silver-platter (or on the silver-screen).


meanwhile here is CVM's report which seemed very balanced



This test case certainly brings a lot it seems forward but was Mr Tomlinson too demanding or are the stations free to refuse any ad as they claimed they do almost daily especially when the ad though of less production value in my eyes has not intimated any untoward act or language that would affect the public. One thing that has been clear to me for some time is that in asking for such a virtuous ideal it must be already demonstrably clear in the requester's camp and how the homeless MSM issue has played out in the last four plus years the lack of interest and the dismissive nature of an ever cynical public must not be over looked.

Let us see where this one goes folks as the appeal looks set in coming from the Tomlinson camp. 

UPDATE Nov 18, Press release on the planned appeal






AIDS-Free World to Appeal Supreme Court Decision in TV Challenge 



Kingston, Jamaica — AIDS-Free World is shocked and disappointed by today’s ruling by Jamaica’s Constitutional Court in favor of three Jamaican television stations that refused to air a paid television ad promoting respect for LGBT people. We fully intend to appeal this judgement, as we feel the decision is wrong in law and wrong in principle. 

The challenge—the first constitutional challenge under Jamaica’s new Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms—resulted from the stations’ refusal to air AIDS-Free World’s 30-second spot promoting dignity and respect for LGBT persons in Jamaica. The stations persisted even after the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica confirmed that the ad did not breach any broadcasting rules. Regrettably, the Court decided that the rights of powerful television broadcasters supercede the rights of citizens to free speech and respect.

The innocuous ad promoting tolerance was created as part of AIDS-Free World’s broader HIV advocacy strategy in the Caribbean, which includes impact litigation, human rights trainings, and communications campaigns. Those efforts address discriminatory anti-gay laws and attitudes that fuel the spread of HIV by driving LGBT underground, away from effective HIV prevention, care and treatment services.

The banned ad starred two Jamaicans, including claimant Maurice Tomlinson, AIDS-Free World’s Legal Advisor, Marginalized Groups. The television stations had argued, illogically, that by allowing an ad that promotes respect for all Jamaicans, regardless of sexual orientation, they would be supporting an illegal activity.

Today’s 100-page decision underscores the critical importance of AIDS-Free World’s upcoming constitutional challenge to Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law. Jamaica’s discriminatory laws are perpetuating a destructive and divisive culture of homophobia and are complicit in sustaining a public health crisis.

###


AIDS-Free World is an international advocacy organization working for more urgent and effective global responses to HIV and AIDS. www.aidsfreeworld.org
ENDS

Blow to gay ad - TVJ rejects J-FLAG’s PSA ....... J-FLAG says rejection of PSA unfortunate that ad/psa (not sure why they were used inter-changeably) was a second ad to a first which also had Mr Tomlinson therein, question is why was that ad discontinued when it was aired for some time?

Here is that very first ad in the tolerance ad thrust via Jamaica AIDS Support et al which I liked and which should have been worked to the core before ramping up the campaign which led to rejection


here was my two cents on the second video at the time with Christine Straw and her brother (see that video/ad below)



The Straws ad that was rejected in 2011


Was it bad timing or overkill in the various campaigns by Tomlinson who seems to want to have his own way versus JFLAG that seems to prefer a sluggish or slower pace for advocacy?

UPDATE November 19 letter to the Gleaner:

Gay Ad Ruling A Travesty

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The court rejection of Maurice Tomlinson's suit against three TV stations for not airing his public service announcement calling for tolerance of gay rights is not a "hallmark ruling for freedom of expression", as the attorney representing one of the defendant TV stations has said, but another hallmark ruling for property rights, and a sad reflection on the deep homophobia which afflicts not only the Jamaican people, but more so the Jamaican State.

No one has been under any illusion that corporate media represent the interests of the rich and powerful (the capitalist class, to be more precise) but now the court, by its ruling against the LGBT community, demonstrates that private property is the yoke of slavery around the necks of ordinary Jamaicans, not just LGBT.

So while PBCJ is supposedly public property, the managers also believe, like private media, that gays be damned because this is the position of private property.

Nearly two years after being elected prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller has done zero to advance the human rights and civil liberties of LGBT Jamaicans. She must be condemned as a coward.

This homophobic culture, which even so-called Justice Minister Mark Golding pays homage to on every occasion that he is called upon to act against it, is an indictment against a backward and ignorant ruling class.

No wonder the society is in the mess it finds itself.

LLOYD D'AGUILAR
Campaign for Social and
Economic Justice


I wonder if Mr D'Aguilar read the judgement and why has the original challenge in 2011 by AIDSFREEWORLD that Mr Tomlinson is employed stopped? see: The First-Ever Legal Challenge to Jamaica's Anti-Gay Laws

The judgement is now available



download HERE

UPDATE March 18.03.14 No costs Awarded to parties


The overall take on this is that the court will check to see the enrichment of the constitution as per case and awarding costs, what was disturbing though in a radio interview on RJR is that Mr Tomlinson denied when asked whether the expected appeal decision has been made to appeal the original decision yet the press release from AIDSFREEWORLD excerpted above is clear as to the action they and Mr Tomlinson had intended to take which once again speaks to clear honesty or lack thereof, his exact words were "The decision has not been made to appeal or to not appeal, no decision has been made on that point yet," although time is also passing as there is a 6 to 8 week limit following the ruling to file an appeal. Also bearing in mind his attorney Lord Anthony Gifford had indicated as well that an appeal was coming, who are we to trust in such sensitive matters?

The court said that cost awarded in these matters (one private citizen suing another in a constitutional matters) will be governed by the overarching principle of not discouraging the pursuit of constitutional claim irrespective of the number of private parties who oppose or seeking to support the state's posture in the litigation this is the first case in the new charter of which the enforcement of the bill of rights was attempted in horizontal litigation meaning that citizen to citizen; there is no doubt that a significant step has been taken in Jamaican constitutional law by this decision they also said this case could not be said that the claim was frivolous or had little chance of success and they concluded the claimant had not acted unreasonably and that the case raised important issues of law and how the constitutional law relates to individuals.   

Peace and tolerance

H

LGBT tourism breaks through US$200 billion in annual spending


Janet Silvera, Hospitality Jamaica Coordinator

Tourism spend by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) will exceed US$200 billion for the first time in 2014.

Statistics released at the just-concluded World Travel Market by Out Now Business Class (ONBC), the world's leading LGBT tourism trade association, said the United States (US) leads the market, followed by Brazil.

US LGBT travellers spent US$56.5 billion and Brazil US$25.3 billion, says Out Now.

The news comes as the organisation announced a major partnership with the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) and GALTA (Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia).

It also comes at a time when Jamaica has come under more pressure from the LGBT community and travel guide books and websites such as Tripadvisor.com, where persons have advised gays and lesbians from visiting the country.

An advisory in the popular Frommers Guide which describes Jamaica as the most homophobic island in the Caribbean, with harsh anti-gay laws, even though there's a large local gay population.

"Many all-inclusive resorts allow same-sex couples, but if you're desiring a gay trip to get some sun, forget Jamaica unless you want to stay deep in the closet," stated Frommers, advising readers to opt for places such as Puerto Rico, notably Old San Juan, which is a friendlier destination.

"Or South Beach (part of Miami Beach) or Key West, but definitely not Jamaica where intolerance of gays is most pronounced. Local gay activists have been killed or had their homes set on fire," said the guide book.

A number of visitors to the renowned Tripadvisor website also cautioned those who may opt for Jamaica, stating that just because the resorts say they are gay friendly doesn't mean all the employees are tolerant.

One person's perspective from their trip read like this, "Our only down side to the resort was that we seemed to have been the only lesbians to have ever graced the resort. We were asked at least 1,000 times if we were sisters, or friends or something, and they were in disbelief when we said we were married. We were asked if they could join, and nonsense like that, but for the most part the staff was very friendly. Again, just not for a lesbian honeymoon. Not that we are looking to be all gay all the time, but just to not be on the spot all the time."

In the meantime, ONBC and ETOA jointly released a new LGBT2020 Report on European Tourism showing the total value of spending on travel by LGBT Europeans will next year account for US$66.1 billion of total tourism spending.

The CEO of Out Now Global, Ian Johnson also said the results presented at WTM had much to keep the industry thinking on about how to best understand and meet the needs of the global LGBT travel market. "It is great that the value of LGBT tourism spending now exceeds USD$202 billion but there are still many challenges the industry needs to address," Johnson said.

"Staff training is essential to help get staff up to speed with what has become an unstoppable LGBT consumer revolution for the travel industry. We are obviously pleased that all ONBC members now receive unlimited online staff training to help deliver better understanding and customer service to LGBT guests."

Johnson also pointed out that the acronym LGBT may soon be replaced by the more inclusive LGBTI - recognising an increasing awareness of intersex issues in society. "Intersex people are becoming more visible and their unique issues are slowly becoming better understood," Johnson said.

"In a number of markets in which Out Now works the acronym LGBT, it is now routinely being superseded by LGBTI and the global tourism industry definitely needs more education on what being intersex means."

Intersex is the condition of being intermediate between male and female or hermaphroditism.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com

Friday, November 15, 2013

Novel microbicide gel for vagina and rectum shows potential for HIV prevention


Research to be presented at world's largest pharmaceutical sciences meeting

Arlington, Va. — Researchers developed a first-of-its-kind microbicide gel formulation that shows promise for safe vaginal and rectal administration to prevent the sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This research is being presented at the 2013 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition, the world's largest pharmaceutical sciences meeting, in San Antonio, Nov. 10-14.

There are 35.3 million people living with HIV worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and the virus is spread most often through both vaginal and anal intercourse.

Anthony Ham, Ph.D., and the microbicide research team at ImQuest BioSciences, along with colleagues from Duke University, Magee-Womens Hospital, and University of Pittsburgh, developed the DuoGel as a task of their Integrated Preclinical and Clinical Program for Topical Microbicides grant from the National Institutes of Health. The primary goal was to create a safe and effective gel for administration of antiviral products to both the vagina and rectum, whereas current gels are only recommended for vaginal application. This DuoGel will deliver ImQuest's antiretroviral compound IQP-0528.

Since the environments of the vagina and rectum are dissimilar and require different conditions for safe and effective drug delivery, ex vivo toxicity, permeability, and efficacy tests were performed in both ectocervical and colorectal tissues. The DuoGel containing IQP-0528 was applied to the tissues, which were then exposed to HIV-1. The gel sufficiently delivered the drug in both in vitro and ex vivo vaginal and rectal environments to prevent HIV-1 infection of these tissues.

"It is recognized that both vaginal and rectal intercourse occur during the same sexual act, so a single product that is safe for both compartments makes sense in terms of convenience, which is likely to result in higher compliance." said Ham. "In addition, these DuoGels will be much safer products for HIV prevention in males practicing receptive anal intercourse."

Currently, user compliance and acceptability are being evaluated with a placebo DuoGel. The research team is preparing the current gel for animal studies and Investigational New Drug submission, and they hope to begin phase 1 of clinical trials in early 2015. The next stage in the research is to enhance the formulation by creating a multidrug DuoGel that also contains tenofovir, a second antiretroviral drug.

###

The 2013 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition aims to improve global health through advances in pharmaceutical sciences, and there will be 480 exhibits and an estimated 8,000 attendees. The meeting features nearly 105 programming sessions, including more than 50 symposia and roundtables. Download the AAPS smartphone application for additional information.

Editor's Note: All press must provide press credentials to attend this meeting and register on-site in the press room #213. To schedule an interview with Dr. Ham or for any other press inquiry, please contact Hillarie Turner or Dana Korsen at aaps@ecius.net or 202-296-2002. For the most up-to-date program information, please click here.

About AAPS:

The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists is a professional, scientific association of approximately 11,000 members employed in academia, industry, government and other research institutes worldwide. Founded in 1986, AAPS provides a dynamic international forum for the exchange of knowledge among scientists to serve the public and enhance their contributions to health. AAPS offers timely scientific programs, on-going education, information resources, opportunities for networking, and professional development. For more information, please visithttp://www.aaps.org. Follow us on Twitter @AAPSComms; official Twitter hashtag for the meeting is: #AAPS2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Transgender Awareness Week 2013: Internalized Transphobia


In the hopefully eye opening series for the time specified above here is another subject I want to highlight as part of the discourse. Also see on sister blog GLBTQJA on blogger 
Transgender Awareness Week 2013 ..........

What is it and how do you get it?

Internalized trans-phobia refers to feelings some people have inside about their being trans that they might not even be aware of. It refers to how some people hate that part of themselves and are ashamed of it. The phrase comes from the similar experiences of gay folk who sometimes have “internalized homo-phobia”.

How does this happen? This happens because of discrimination, ignorance and stigma in society against people who display gender non-conforming behavior. In other words against men and boys who appear feminine or girls and woman who appear masculine or “butch” or people who are more gender-queer and don’t appear to be completely male or female.

Historically, trans-folk have been the butt of jokes, been made fun of, laughed at, been misunderstood and have been the object of derision and violence. Transgendered people have been seen as “less than”.

This attitude has been widespread and so to finally arrive at the idea that this could be you; that you could be a member of this hated group can be very scary. Not only that, but by growing up in a culture and society where this attitude is common, you take it in and part of you believes it whether you want to or not. This can happen because we often learn the attitudes and beliefs of those around us before we become self-aware enough or wise enough to start questioning them. We often learn these things from trusted people around us – parents, teachers, church leaders, etc. so that we tend not to question them. We learn that a certain group of people can be mocked before we know that we are in that group – and then we are stuck in the position of hating something about ourselves.

Sometimes the messages or feedback we get from parents and teachers when we are very young contribute to feeling bad about being gender variant. Like a parent disapproving of acting too “boyish” or “girlish”. These messages can be very quick and subtle, like a Mother telling her young son not to “stand like a ballerina”.

This is what causes internalized trans-phobia.

What are the effects of Internalized Trans-Phobia?

Feelings of hate and shame for yourself which you might not even be aware of can result in low self-esteem and depression. They can cause you to feel uncomfortable, embarrassed and inferior, even unlovable. They can make you feel like hiding a big part of yourself or pretend to be someone else. They can make you to not want to be around people, to withdraw or be a loner. These feelings can certainly make you feel very unhappy and angry. Some people take a long time to come out as trans because they have so much internalized trans-phobia. It can hold you back in life, not only in terms of finding a way to be the gender you are, but in many areas of your life such as forming deep and satisfying connections to others.

Sometimes internalized trans-phobia can keep you from connecting with other trans-folk. When one has a deep hatred of the gender-queer inside it can get confusing to be around other trans-folk. You may see them in the way you learned early on – as freaky, or not good-enough in some way. The negative feelings can get pushed outward in this way.

What can you do about it?


The first thing to do is to try be aware of it. Try and acknowledge it if you have it. This is hard to do because we usually automatically try to avoid things about ourselves that we are embarrassed about. One can feel ashamed of being ashamed! It gets complicated so it really helps to have a therapist who is knowledgeable about gender issues to do this work with, but a supportive friend or a support group can work too. It helps to have lots of people in your life who are supportive and positive about your being trans. It takes time to “undo” deep down beliefs about gender-variant people, just like it took time to get them.

More

Internalized transphobia is quite common in the transgender community. That is why even transgender people are more comfortable with “passable” than “non-passable” individuals. Until we can accept our own transgender feelings, we will not be able to accept others with transgender attributes.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jamaica Council of Churches still not clear on the buggery law but resolute in opposing gay marriage

a follow up from: The Jamaica Council of Churches on Homosexuality thus far

Since the last radio interview on Love 101FM on homosexuality alongside the Executive Director of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, J-FLAG which I posted on sister blog GLBTQJA on WordPress. It read it part: JCC’s General Secretary Gary Harriot

Exactly one month ago May 28th after a previous interview alongside the Executive Director of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG Dane Lewis on George Davis Live on Nationwide where a clear position was not really established by the JCC a follow-up report came in print media suggesting the Jamaica Council of Churches, JCC had not put a formal position on homosexuality given the hotly debated issue with court challenges in full effect. General Secretary of the JCC Gary Harriot in that interview said the conversations need to continue as other Caribbean church leaders expressed the pressure that their societies are under to repeal laws supposedly against the “homosexual lifestyle.” Gen Sec Harriot seems unaware or a slip of the tongue that homosexuality is not illegal and buggery is not synonymous with gay men only.

The issue of church members being homosexuals came up for mention as well to which the Gen Sec said the council is yet to finalize an official position although they have a draft in place as a work in progress document, he said whichever church one may go one is bound to find someone struggling with homosexual tendencies or relationship matters not in keeping with the teachings of the church. Dane Lewis at the time spoke to the questions posed to him on the opposition from the anti gay groups. For the most part it was a slow interview and lacked a more robust feel to peak the public’s interest. Reverend Harriot spoke to the possible changes on the law following the court cases filed and that of those awaiting deliberations (tolerance advert). He said “I can express two basic points, there is a side of the church that sees homosexuality as a moral issue …… legalizing such action may not be the way to deal with it but to deal with it from a moral perspective, the other side of the coin when you look what is happening elsewhere it looks like a strategic political move and that if you were to remove the law then what you are doing is that you are opening a flood gate that you are going into directions where your whole social fabric would be changed”

He said also that there is some tension and that the JCC has not come to a formal position which they hope to do in a few weeks if they are able to arrive at a consensus.

On Love 101FM again in October since the release of the JCC's position paper and circulated to the public and the church branches and was carried in the Jamaica Observer. The Reverend Gary Harriot General Secretary of the JCC commented that the JCC is strongly opposed to gay marriage also the present in the interview was the president also Reverend Everald Galbraith who reiterated the points. He lamented that the church community on a whole hardly responded but JFLAG did respond that the dialogue should continue. 

The main points in the paper looked at:

A Socio-Political Appeal


But the council said that those with a homosexual political agenda were placing much pressure on societies like Jamaica to change their cultural norms, values and mores.

"As a politically independent and sovereign state, we must resist such imposition and allow for our own people to determine what is in the best interest of Jamaica," the JCC said.

It added that as a non-negotiable, the JCC strongly believed that the practice of homosexuality must never be promoted as a normal and natural way of life and on par with heterosexual lifestyle; and that every effort must be made to protect children from being lured or forced into sexual activities, whether homosexual or heterosexual.

"The right to disagree with the homosexual lifestyle must be preserved, while treating individuals who are homosexuals with respect," the council said.
Reaffirming the theological perspective of marriage as between a man and woman and not negotiable.

Gays should find refuge in the church

No violence should come to persons simply because they identify as homosexuals

In response to criticisms that the JCC is too "soft" on issues of homosexuals or a back handed concession towards the forceful advocacy of the LGBT lobby Reverend Gailbrath responded that every human being is created in God's image and Christians should understand that gays are struggling and should be helped, a tacit way to suggest reparative therapy. Irrespective of persons lifestyle the church must be accommodating. In as far as family members who support gay marriage or attend such weddings the JCC the union would not be considered a marriage here as the law would not recognise it here. Pastors as marriage officers have vowed not to obey such a law if it were implemented as it cuts into the core of their belief systems. 

The Methodist church policy follows this line closely as no minister can perform said marriages in Methodist church properties.


As for the buggery law the General Secretary said the groups have no consensus and the dialogue continues as there are different perspectives as to how persons should be treated under the law. For those who believe that the law should be maintained think that if the law is totally removed then all other kinds of implications could occur. Here was where the false dichotomy of the silencing of the church presented itself again as the Gen Sec repeated the concern as expressed by persons such as Shirley Richards of the Lawyers' Christians Fellowship and a "domino effect" while on the other hand others say homosexuality is not the design of God there is a concern about a person being brought before the court maybe unneeded similar to adultery or fornication. 

The JCC can be reached at adminthejcc.org.jm for your thoughts on the paper and the follow-up on their position paper.

Also see:
Dr Wayne West’s continued intellectual dishonesty ...

Jamaican Pastor says the LGBT issue is not about rights but acceptance of lifestyle

Peace and tolerance

H

Peter Tatchell's organized London protest against Commonwealth homophobia

also see: Promised Conscience Vote on Buggery in Jamaica was a fluke, Sexual Offences Bill to be updated 2014 and  The Jamaican Government schizophrenic on human rights ?





Gay campaigners and allies rallied today outside the Commonwealth’s London HQ to protest against “Commonwealth collusion with homophobia.”

Commonwealth leaders from around the world meet in Sri Lanka on Friday. Yet again they plan to ignore the criminalisation of lesbian and gay people in 80% of Commonwealth member states, including the current wave of homophobic persecution in Ghana, Cameroon, Zambia, Uganda and Nigeria.

The theme of the protest was:

“Commonwealth member states must stop persecuting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.”

The protesters chanted: “2-4-6-8. Commonwealth stop the hate. 3-5-7-9. Gay love is not a crime” and “Common rights in the Commonwealth. Stop persecuting gays.”

Today’s protest took place just two days before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) opens in Sri Lanka.

The protest was jointly sponsored by the Kaleidoscope Trust, the Peter Tatchell Foundation and the African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group.

A new Kaleidoscope Trust report on the persecution of LGBT people in Commonwealth countries has been published to coincide with CHOGM:

“Commonwealth member states should honour the principles of the Commonwealth Charter. This means: 1) Decriminalisation of homosexuality; 2) Laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; 3) Enforcement of legislation against threats and violence, to protect LGBTI people from hate crimes; and 4) Government consultation and dialogue with LGBTI organisations,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, who coordinated today’s protest.

“Over 40 Commonwealth nations still criminalise homosexuality. They account for more than half of the world’s countries where same-sex relations are illegal. Six of these Commonwealth countries stipulate life imprisonment: Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Pakistan, Uganda, Bangladesh and Guyana.

“This massive scale of anti-LGBT persecution makes a mockery of the Commonwealth Charter that was agreed earlier this year. It supposedly commits the member states to respect universal human rights, including the human rights of millions of LGBT Commonwealth citizens. Despite most member countries having failed to meet this commitment, the Commonwealth Secretariat says and does nothing. Silence is collusion.

“The Commonwealth should have never agreed to hold CHOGM in Sri Lanka, given the country’s appalling human rights record. Around 40,000 Tamil civilians were massacred by government forces in the closing stages of the civil war in 2009. In addition, the Sri Lankan LGBT movement has been forced to go underground after threats against it,” said Mr Tatchell.

Alistair Stewart, Assistant Director of the Kaleidoscope Trust, added:

“The Commonwealth has consistently refused to address the issue of human rights for LGBT people and the forthcoming Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka will be no different. More than half of all the countries in the world that still make being gay a crime are in the Commonwealth. This is a stain on an organisation supposedly committed to equal rights for all.”

Edwin Sesange, Director of the African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group, said:

“Although the Secretary General of the Commonwealth continues to condemn homophobia, we are calling for action. Countries that persecute LGBT people - such as Uganda, Cameroon and Nigeria - should be suspended from the Commonwealth. Homophobia and transphobia are violations of human rights and should be raised at the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka by the Secretary General, Prime Minister David Cameron and other national leaders. No future Commonwealth meeting should be held in a country that persecutes LGBT people or violates other human rights.”

Sunday, November 10, 2013

From the pen of Mandeville's Custos Sally Porteous on hate crimes

Thanks to Emily Crooks for this.

SAFETY & SECURITY FORUM
THURSDAY AUGUST 15TH 2013
GOLF VIEW HOTEL
6 P.M.
SALLY PORTEOUS


HATE CRIMES:

Another matter that we have to be careful of is the question of minorities being targeted for hate crimes.

Just a few weeks ago, a 17 year old boy, a cross dresser was murdered in Montego Bay. He was killed by a group of people at a dance who found out that while he was dressed as a woman, he really was a man.

They seemed to think that because he was different from them that it would be perfectly all right for him to suffer the ultimate consequence. So they killed him.

After all, who would care? His very father had thrown him out of his house! So the people stabbed him and shot him and dumped his body in the bush! That, in their minds, got rid of a nasty problem.

Little was said about his murder. It was as if this boy’s life meant nothing! It took a few people like Mark Shields, Emily Crooks and Jamaicans for Justice to persistently keep the issue alive before any attention was given.

I am also told that this year, 2 men have been killed and 36 others have suffered violent attack because of their sexual preference. Why? What has caused us to be so violent to people who are different from us?

Jamaica is known internationally as the third “coolest country in the world” but we are also known as a country that has one of the highest murder rates in the world and the country which is the worst for our violent hatred of gay people.

Our international image is going south because of our behavior. This is impacting negatively on our International Human Rights ranking and our inability to land overseas investment. All at a time when this country is looking for every dollar that it can in investment. Are we not aware that investors look at these things before putting their money into a country like ours?

So let me say this, I have no problem with people who have a personal bias regarding homosexuality, we all have our biases, but I do have a problem with anyone publicly inciting hatred, violence or discrimination against any minority group and I frankly will not tolerate it amoung the Justices of the Peace. For you cannot be a Peace maker and a hater at the same time!

WE, we the people cannot allow ANYONE to be murdered because they are different!

Ladies and Gentlemen, it was not so long ago that millions of people were enslaved in this country, in what became one of the world’s greatest atrocities! Africans were brutalized and murdered on the sugar plantations because they were different! Yes, seen as less than human!

It was not so long ago that 8 million people of the Jewish faith were put to death in the gas chambers because they were different!

It was not so long ago that a man by the name of Nelson Mandela was imprisoned when he fought to end apartheid in South Africa! He stood strong for those who were different!

It was not so long ago that Martin Luther King was murdered because he fought for the Rights of black people in America!

It was not so long ago that women were considered to be so inferior that we couldn’t vote! (Look at us now!)

Personally I have a great regard for the President of the United States. As a black man, he has had to face some challenges that are so tough, but he carries on with courage and distinction.

President Obama has risen to great heights and continues to rise because he has become President of ALL of the people! He has shown the courage and the guts to stand up for minorities because he not only believes in the Rights of all people, he is showing by example, how all Americans should think and behave. That’s leadership!

I believe that we in Jamaica have such a shining example in him and if we try to learn from him, we will all live a much more respectful, peaceful and democratic life.

Leadership is not easy. It requires that you stand up and be counted. It requires that you speak up and be ready to take the criticism! It requires that you be not afraid to stand-alone!

WE, we in this room are leaders and we need to take back our country and be prepared to lead it!

Lead it one by one if necessary, for every time we keep quiet, every time we say nothing, every time we do nothing, we send a message that says, “it’s O.K.” It’s O.K. to do what you are doing. It’s O.K. to push that boy, beat that youth, terrorize those people, kill that gay person!

And before you know it, the message has been released and like germs in the air it spreads and an epidemic takes place in the minds of those who didn’t need much to topple them over the edge!

They allow terrible acts to be carried out because we, the leaders, failed to stop it! And before you know it, you have a nation full of violent people, all disregarding God’s holy law, “THOU SHALT NOT KILL”.

Dwayne Jones was doomed when his father flung him out of the house because he was different. Dwayne Jones was doomed when his father failed to stand up for him, his precious son!

As his father he should have sheltered him and protected him from the storm. Poor Dwayne Jones, his life was ending from the moment that he began to show that he was different.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this country aims to become a first world country by the year 2030. We have stated that we will become the place of choice to “work, raise families and do business.”

Most people believe that we achieve this by how much money we have in the Bank, or what the Gross Domestic Product is. It is not!

It is how we think and how we obey God’s laws!

I thank you all for coming. I hope that I have given you some food for thought and that you will try to put some time aside to assist in this great effort to make our Parish one that we can all be proud.

God Bless you and God Bless Jamaica.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Lesbian construction worker profiled told not to return to worksite

As we do not have enough on our hands already here comes another confirmed report this time in Kingston of a same gender loving sister who hails from my home parish St Catherine and who happens to work on a house construction site in Upper St Andrew who was told nicely by the foreman for the site that to avoid any trouble she should just leave her job as threats and verbal assaults increases, strangely not from her original colleagues who she had become used to but from new persons joining the team as the site building proceeded. 


There are also two other women on the site but they on their part do not supposedly mix concrete or act like one of the guys, in other words "manroyal" (butch acting or identified) they are situated in the cook area carrying out traditional roles. I thought that with the increasing presence of women in non traditional female occupied jobs that this kind of thing would be dying or died out by now. 

Often times same gender loving women in Jamaica do not face the kinds of opposition as their male counterparts do and in fact lesbianism is more tolerated that male homosexuality so much so that some strip clubs openly offer such adult entertainment so much so that a popular dancehall act released a song entitled "I Love Girls Who Love Girls" in the form of the artists Busy Signal, whilst at the same time he has in his repertoire that condemns male homosexuals.


 

Butch Identified women or colloquially known as "manroyals" are usually accepted as one of the boys so to speak and blend in well in Jamaica strange homosocial construct despite high homo-negativity and homophobia but every now and again there is a parting of the ways if you will with outcomes such as this one facing more butch women than soft femme or studs in the scheme of things. The new male employees on the site who lead the appeal to have the woman removed arr reported to be boasting that they chased away a "dutty lesbian" (dirty lesbian) and this is also bearing in mind that she has a child to maintain. The other workers as hinted to above were quite OK at first with her but every since the anti lesbian sentiments became clearer some of the workers joined the call and pressured the foreman who reluctantly asked her to leave as he claimed he wanted no trouble on his site and the work must go on uninterrupted.

It is also subsequently revealed that one of the intolerant men who joined the team is aware of the woman from a neighbouring rival community of the woman so in essence that opposition was the reason to use lesbophobia to show bravado in this case, thankfully it did not turn out to be a violent episode and she can recover as best as she can.

Fortunately the foreman has promised that he would try to find another site for her as she has a reputation in his eyes according to her when we last spoke on the issue then with a fairly large marijuana spliff in her mouth, "....Me cool man" she retorted, as she feels comforted by the foreman's promise. Thanks also to that foreman for forging such an alliance but I wonder had it been a man involved here if the outcome would have been so peacefully resolved?

Women who however break the gender norms and roles in society often as labelled as lesbian especially when they meet the stereotypical benchmarks that are used for profiling persons sexuality. My present garbage collection crew for my housing scheme have two females on board and they are very fortright and no nonsense and handle their male counterparts (if one should stand and observe) as equals. 

Also have a listen to the only known anti butch lesbian song recorded by Beenieman some years back as it seeks to dismiss women who supposedly display masculine aesthetics and behaviour.

also see when you can: The Butch Dynamic/mystique becoming a problem? and Ragashanti suggests JFLAG for job seeking "Butch" lesbian


The Lyrics says it all:
Songwriters: MARSDEN, STEVEN MICHAEL / ROBERTS, PATRICK / JACKSON, GARY / DAVIS, MOSES
Intro: 
Yeh man, mi know she mek yu sick man 
Yu see how she a mek yu a vomit, laugh... 
Yu see it a das why mi tell yu nuh Brethren 
Yu see me Beenie Man mi a go tell yu something 
Hear mi 

Chorus: 
Mi nuh wha nuh Man Royal gal, gal 
Gimmi di gal dem wid di real born serial 
Gal come a dance dress up in a man material 
All in a dress like she a go funeral-al 
Mi nuh wha no Man Royal, gal, gal 
Gimme di gal dem wid di real born serial 
Gal come a dance dress up in a man material 
All in a dress like, wol on 

Repeat 

Verse 1: 
Gal come in a dance an all a walk an al a push 
Call har patel that's exactly how she look 
Gal can't even cook, she all a read out a book 
Every night she an a gal gwan in a bush 
Eeh, cause she a husband crook, wol on 
Gal come in a dance an all a stand up an pose 
A wiggle an a wine up ina people ole clothes 
Yuh draw fi a lighter, an she draw fi a hose 
Cause she no wha bun di clothes 
So sing along 

Chorus 2x 

Verse 2: 
A how she walk, a how she talk, a how she flex 
A just di way mi hear she stay 
Bout she wha look di D.J. 
A itch up an a wine up wid har friend dem 
An di ole a dem a guy 
And mi hear she stay di same way 
Reason why mi hate di Man Royal gal dem 
All ways end up wid nuff ole bwoy friend 
All six, seven, eight, nine, fifteen a dem 
Eeh, wid all a one gal friend, so sing again 

Chorus 2x 

Wol on, wol on, wol on 

Verse 3: 
Anytime mi see dem pon di street affi laugh 
Some gal weh a walk wid all dem head bawl off 
Strong like a samson, like a weight dem pop off 
Mi haffi drw fi mi mask, wol on deh 
Mi know a Man Royal gal name Jone 
Feminine creature full a man harmones 
Last week mi hear Patsy in har love zone, muh 
Mi tell har leave mi alone, an fling a stone 

Chorus 2x 

Mix up, mix up, mix up, time again man 

Also see:
Concerns about labels & abuse towards same gender loving women

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Homeless Awareness Month: Flashback to New Kingston's Displaced MSM






A detailed look at some of the older populations of displaced and homeless MSM and their challenges from as early as New Kingston's business district came to being.
recorded November 7th

November is seen as homeless awareness month in some parts of the world and parenting month here in Jamaica but parenting ideology that seems to ignore LGBT youth at varying levels; case in point the recent comments by the Family Planning Board albeit they have merged with national HIV program. MSM homelessness is an ISLANDWIDE problem not just limited to the New Kingston business district that now is the target of a new kind of LGBT crisis reporting to use them to collect data in light of the upcoming buggery case in the Supreme court slated for November 2014, where were the present so called concerned all this time?


Taken from a recent Observer article:
Dr Sharlene Jarrett of the National Family Planning Board said the constraints in providing direct sexual and reproductive health service to gay teens is the same as reaching the wider adolescent population because of the clash between existing policies and the law.

"There is a serious barrier in terms of what we can provide to MSMs," she told the Sunday Observer.
As such, she said these gay teens have to be reached at the treatment sites, albeit that this is usually after they have become infected with a sexually transmitted disease.

"For MSMs our national HIV programme doesn't have data in terms of the age range of these teens coming to the workshops which we have been having for the past three years to link them to support services," she said, noting however, that what is being done to reach these gay teens is just not enough.
"There are limits to where you can carry a group of young men to give them a service which will help them," she said.

Chief executive officer of the Jamaica Family Planning Association, St Rachel Ustanny, also agreed that services for gay teens are limited.

With the conflict between law and policy preventing the wider youth population from accessing contraceptive services such as condoms, Ustanny said the problem must be large within the sub-population group of MSMs.

Ruth Chisholm, country programme manager for Population Services International/Caribbean, said the current environment makes it very difficult to provide information and counselling to these gay teens.

"There would be less demonisation if dialogue started in the home as this is a key solution to some of the challenges," she said.

But this dialogue has not started in the home for gay teens, as the Jamaica Forum for all Sexuals Lesbians and Gays (J-FLAG) Executive Director Dane Lewis said it is becoming an increasingly common practice for some parents to turn out their children when they self-affirm or are suspected of being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).


JFLAG in the meantime continues to pass the buck on the issue by demanding that government get involved when we know fully well that they are in no way interested or want to see directly addressing this in fear of loss of votes, simply put while no direct programs are being developed within the last four plus years of the very public challenges with the ever changing populations. Homeless MSM have always been in New Kingston mostly migrating from downtown from parks or old buildings. 




The very former JFLAG office and parent NGO Jamaica AIDS Support for Life Office on 4 Upper Musgrave Avenue (above now demolished) was squatted on long before both groups moved in the nineties as the building was empty for some time. The men at that time shared the house with female commercial sex workers while charging them fees as well to use the room while the younger men would use the water supply to shower and cook. Other former open spaces turned buildings and parks such as Emancipation Park had men staying over night on many occasions, other spots now turned town houses also had this occupation problem.

The sudden interest by some in this population especially post the Safe House Pilot project closure in 2009 is interesting to say the least even as the men themselves hung around the old office prior to the landlord taking action by an eviction notice. 

There are three major waves I can recall the main one had both the causation becoming the very thing that diminished the numbers that being HIV/AIDS and related infections, many persons in that 80s era were evicted due to discrimination as AIDS related diseases then were far more visible than today with less sophisticated antiretrovirals around. Then came the second major wave of younger displacees who in turn were distracted by other not so legal activities where some of the men got themselves involved. However since the down turn in the economy, the not so legal activities losing grip and the increase in forced evictions over time caused the present third major wave to include the dubious closure of the Safe House opened under Jamaica AIDS Support, JAS in 2009 which sent the men into New Kingston itself joining others who were already on the road and the subsequent police crack downs and public clashes. 

Other spaces in the business district to name a few that housed or were illegally occupied by displaced MSM include:


emancipation park under construction was used when it was an open lot 


the old Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation building when it was closed was occupied by a myriad of homeless persons including MSM now turned the Ministry of Works office.

The new UK visa/document pick up once an old unoccupied house

An old hotel on Trafalgar now turned Scotiabank's Card Center and so on

Unfortunately homelessness has not risen to the level of importance as decriminalizing buggery has so the men are just data collection material and recipients of tokenism by more privileged advocates. Why has this not gotten the attention it deserves folks your guess is as good as mine as HIV prevention and MSM advocacy trumps the welfare issues. We keep hearing of upcoming shelter ideas, donation drives that die as soon as they are born and just side-lining of this group for so long.

also see some previous post from as early as 2009:

On homelessness, evictions, hypocrisy & now JFLAG's own displacement ...............

The Safe House Project background from the conceptualizer …………………

The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes

The Ultimatum on December 30, 2009

And MSM continue to be ready material for data collection


Street MSM Stone J-FLAG – After Being Cleared From Gov’t Property

Kingston’s Homeless MSM challenges scream for proper attention

And we continue to reap the world-wind for not addressing homelessness when it was manageable

Utmost hypocrisy , J-FLAG


A claim on How to help homeless LGBT Jamaicans ..... let us not forget it was the same Jamaica Observer who accused JFLAG of abandoning the homeless MSM specifically in New Kingston in an older editorial:

Marauding homosexuals and J-FLAG (Observer Editorial) ……………………


Homelessness, rape and HIV (Observer)

Think on these things people, lots of our lessers have fallen through the cracks right under the very noses of the ones who shift responsibility and just basic concern and well funded agencies who simply do not care. All this happenings when exactly a year ago in a town-hall meeting JFLAG's Executive Director said a space was identified yet no follow up to actually tell the community the deal fell through due to legal challenges.

also see: Homeless impatient with agencies over slow progress of promised shelter (with a podcast included)

Interfaith group treats homeless MSM in St Catherine

Peace and tolerance

H
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