Saturday, December 28, 2013

Homeless MSM populations treated over the Christmas season

The Christmas season had some relief for some homeless persons in Kingston and St Catherine even in the face of some bad news from western Jamaica and Kingston of displaced persons coming into some fresh challenges and the murder of a senior member of the cruising community which has left some baffled. The persons working on the Dwayne's House issue had a treat of sorts as was carried on 76crimes with the participation on Families Against State Terrorism convenor Yvonne McCallah Sobers and others:

The site carried in part:


Organizers of Christmas dinner for homeless Jamaican LGBT youth chat during the event. For the youths’ safety, their photos are not shown.

Christmas Day brought presents and a special dinner to homeless LGBT youths living in the sewers of New Kingston, Jamaica.

Forced out of everywhere else they have tried to live — their parents’ homes, then abandoned buildings, then an open-air gully — the youths now live in the drainage tunnels of New Kingston, except when police raid and oust them from there.

Concerned citizens who are raising money to provide food, shelter and human services to the youths made an extra effort on their behalf in recognition of the the holiday. In this lightly edited account, Yvonne McCalla-Sobers tells about the event:



Yvonne McCalla-Sobers and the Rev. Sean Major-Campbell chat during the Christmas dinner for homeless LGBT youths.

Yvonne McCalla-Sobers and the Rev. Sean Major-Campbell chat during the Christmas dinner for homeless LGBT youths. 

This is the same Reverend gentleman who was reported in the Observer some time ago and commented on by cartoonist Clovis; see Hypocrisy from the pulpit on homeless MSM in Jamaica? 



meanwhile in St Catherine the mixed faith group that has been helping some four to five men in a weed whacking project also got their treat as well, a third time in a row alongside seven others who were invited to attend and held at a church premises on Christmas day while on Boxing Day in the tradition grocery packages were distributed to the participants:

also see: Interfaith group treats homeless MSM in St Catherine (2012) here are some authorised photos from this year's treat:



Boxing Day Package (BB not included lol, took it by mistake I guess) the men also have been accommodated with temporary shelter as well until February I am told as the informal project continues, the effeminate persons however are still not being fully embraced, it was April of 2013 that the group pledged some assistance, see: Interfaith Group Pledges Continued Support for Homeless MSM in St Catherine



A big thanks to the volunteers from the mixed churches who turned up at my home and that of the soup kitchen to assist with the cooking etc. and also persons from other NGOs as well, their gifts of the groceries, cash and kind as donated annually worked well into making up the packages to contain far more than usual as the monthly or bi monthly arrangements only would have the basics. Thanks also for the continued donations via paypal from loyal readers through the years as always without which it would not be possible for the help rendered and some expenses covered.

I still wish for a long term solution to this even as the numbers increase to staggering amounts in other parishes and some mysterious occurrences in St James as well. Most of this could have been avoided and I am still very skittish about this new Dwayne's House idea, see more HERE there seems to be no proactive measure towards displacements even in the face of years of the mounting evidence of same due to to rampant homo-negativity yet we had to wait until it is at this stage and the men in New Kingston seemed to be used as pawns in a chess game when their real welfare was overlooked or ignored.

Happy Holidays (or what's left of them)

Peace and tolerance

H



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 International Transgender News in Review

Prepared by Monica Roberts:

Just like 2012, the year 2013 on the international front was a good news, bad news one for the international trans community.

Let's start with the fact that we continue to see unacceptable levels of anti-trans violence, discrimination and murder being leveled at our people, with the most egregious levels of it happening in various Latin American nations, Brazil, the United States and Turkey.

There was also the horrific case in Jamaica of 16 year old transteen D. Jones being set upon by a mob during a street party and beaten, shot, stabbed and run over by a car for the crime of being her true self.

We witnessed the disappointing defeat of PLC 122 last week, a bill that would have prohibited gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination in Brazil. We also saw the Gulf States led by Kuwait consider a ban on transpeople entering the area for employment purposes in October, and expressed concern about transpeople in Russia, Nigeria and Uganda being caught in the backlash spawned by the various draconian anti-gay laws in those nations.

Despite that negative news, the international trans human rights picture overall is an increasingly bright one.

In addition to the United Nations holding on September 26 a first ever ministerial level meeting to discuss TBLG human rights issues, several nations have made moves either with favorable court rulings, administrative rule changes, ended forced sterilizations or SRS in order to do name changes, or are considering or passed legislation to streamline their name change process for transgender people like the Netherlands.

The Philippines held congressional hearingsDecember 5 to discuss an inclusive anti-discrimination bill, and a trans inclusive ENDA passed in the United States Senate on a 64-32 vote. 

While the US state of New York's senate frustratingly refused to allow GENDA to come to a vote on the floor after its passage for the sixth consecutive session by the New York state assembly, the state of Delaware showed them how it was done by becoming the 17th US state to pass a trans inclusive human rights law.

In Canada, progress on the passage of C-279, the Trans Rights Bill was stalled by the Conservatives in the Canadian Senate on the verge of its Third Reading vote in June. After summer recess, it was dealt another blow by the prorogation of Parliament, which forced it to start the Senate legislative process from the beginning stages after it was reinstated. C-279 is currently at Second Reading stage in its repeat Senate legislative journey.

C-279 passed the Canadian House on a final 149-137 vote back on March 20 with Prime Minister Stephen Harper being one of the NO votes and current Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau being MIA for it.

The Canadian and the international trans community will be watching to see if the Canadian Senate values its trans citizens and passes this much needed law.


Canadian trans kids are also front and center in current north of the 49th parallel trans rights battles. Mat Asano in Quebec, Harriette Cunningham and Tracey Wilson in British Columbia are fighting for recognition of their identity in addition to battling documentation issues in those two provinces. 

My Canadian trans cousins did have something else to cheer in 2013 as the province of Newfoundland and Labrador became the latest Canadian legal jurisdiction to protect trans human rights and Quebec has introduced legislation that addresses the trans documentation issue.

On the political front, while Polish MP Anna Grodzka continues to blaze trails as only the third elected trans MP in world history, we are still waiting for the first ever elected trans national legislator in the Western Hemisphere to happen. Attempts by Diane Rodriguez in Ecuador in February and Valentina Verbal in Chile to get elected to their respective national legislatures unfortunately fell short.

Verbal's was for an all too frustratingly familiar reason to transpeople around the world, She pulled out because of documentation issues.


Speaking of history making trans politicians, was nice to hear about the combination fundraiser and tribute for Georgina Beyer, the world's first ever elected trans MP who is battling chronic kidney failure and is awaiting a transplant. The well attended tribute event was held in Wellington, NZ on Beyer's 56th birthday on November 14.



As a child of the African Diaspora, one of Monica's blog's missions is to highlight the issues facing my continental trans brothers and sisters on the African continent and across the Diaspora so they get the attention they deserve. 

Despite the recent depressing news from our planet's second largest continent emanating from Uganda and Nigeria, there is positive movement trans human rights wise to report on the African continent.

There's increased regional cooperation and coordination with various indigenous organizations on the African continent concerning trans rights issues.

Kenyan trans activist Audrey Mbugua's lawsuit requesting KNEC change her documentation on her school records to reflect who she is now fostered a wider conversation in her nation about trans people and our human rights issues and concerns.

Titica's continued growing musical popularity in Angola and the southern African region led to her being named as a UNAIDS goodwill ambassador. Continue here

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Human rights in the world: EU Parliament’s annual report points to serious abuse for LGBTI people


Yesterday, the European Parliament voted its annual report on human rights in the world. The report reviews the situation of human rights (including the human rights of LGBTI persons) worldwide, and makes annual recommendations for EU action.


Initially drafted by Eduard Kukan, a Slovak MEP from the EPP group, this year’s annual report was mostly silent on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The S&D and Greens/EFA groups tabled amendments, which were all adopted in plenary today.

With this report, the European Parliament notably:
Underlines that the EU Special Representative for Human Rights must focus on the rights of women and of all minorities;

Expresses its deepest concern at the activities of far-right groups contacting LGBTI persons online to entrap and assault them, and asks “EU delegation and Member State embassies in Russia to increase their support for defenders of the human rights of LGBTI persons;

Expresses “concern at increasing state violence against LGBTI persons in several sub-Saharan countries, especially Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon and Senegal“, condemns the adoption of ever more repressive laws, “points out that 76 countriesstill criminalise homosexuality, including five which provide for the death penalty”, and regrets again that the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific excludes sexual orientation from its political dialogue;

Notes the “regrettable trend to enact laws restricting freedom of expression and assembly ["anti-propaganda laws"] for those who support the human rights of LGBTI persons” in Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine. Similar laws have been proposed inGeorgia, Armenia and Kazakhstan. The Parliament congratulates Moldova forrepealing its “anti-propaganda law”.

The report also welcomes the adoption by the Council of the EU guidelines on the promotion and protection of all Human Rights by LGBTI persons last June.

Finally, the Parliament also regrets the adoption of a resolution on ‘traditional values’ at the United Nations, undermining human rights, and calls on supportive states to follow up on the 2011 Human Rights Council resolution on ‘Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity’.

Barbara Lochbihler MEP, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Member of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted: “This resolution is a comprehensive overview of what the EU has done, and needs to keep doing abroad to safeguard human rights. It is a clear message by MEPs from across the political spectrum to continue and step up efforts to effectively protect all LGBTI persons’ rights.”

Maria Eleni Koppa MEP, Member of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Member of the LGBT Intergroup, also said: “The European Union has a vital role to play in the promotion of human rights of LGBT people in the world.”

“The guidelines adopted by the European Council have been used effectively in a number of countries, but we need to stand firmer in defence of human rights in other countries, like Russia.”

Read more:
Download LGBTI excerpts from the European Parliament Annual Report on Human Rights in the World and the European Union’s policy on the matter (PDF)
Read the report online (available from 13 December 2013)

also see on sister blog GLBTQJA on Wordpress: 

Buy no rings, you won’t wed; religious fear-mongering on gay marriage & the buggery law continues

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

JFLAG at its 15 Anniversary of the Struggle on Human Rights Day..................


Jamaica has a long and complex history of LGBT human rights advocacy from the 1970s with the Gay Freedom Movement.

Back then, there were more pockets of tolerance and gay social spaces in Jamaica; visible gay clubs such as NS, Marshalls, The Closet, and Entourage all based in Kingston. More recently we’ve had The Loft, and Oasis as well as Heaven which is still in operation.

Regrettably, beginning in the late 1980s, things began to change. People were being targeted, beaten and killed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Consequently, the LGBT community became imprisoned by fear, discrimination and violence.

Fifteen years ago, some concerned Jamaicans came together to establish what we now know as J-FLAG. On Human Rights Day - December 10, 1998 - J-FLAG was launched to ‘engage in initiatives that would foster the acceptance and enrichment of the lives of same-gender loving persons who have been, and continue to be an integral part of society’. Jamaica is better because of their vision.

When J-FLAG was launched, the idea of protection from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity seemed foreign, but it was important to confront laws and policies that were, and continue to be detrimental to the dignity of LGBT Jamaicans.

Today, we celebrate fifteen wonderful years of advocacy for LGBT people. I thank everyone, including LGBT community members, our partners, donors, allies and policymakers who have helped in promoting the rights of LGBT Jamaicans. I pay tribute to the founders who so desperately wanted to ensure Jamaicans like me could claim our full citizenship and not be mistreated because of who we love.

It is an honour for me to be part of such a proud history, and I am hopeful that better days are ahead. Already, there is an unprecedented lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ‘buggery law’ and many LGBT people are boldly confronting homophobia. This year, we witnessed the establishment of three new LGBT organisations, namely Quality of Citizenship Jamaica (QCJ) - a lesbian and bisexual women’s organisation, the Jamaica Association of Gays and Lesbians Abroad (JAGLA), and Dwayne's House - working to create a shelter for homeless LGBT youth.

However, despite these strides by the community, there are still many challenges. Some LGBT people still do not have a place to sleep at nights. Children are still being thrown out of their homes because they are gay or lesbian, while some of them hide from school to avoid being bullied, and others contemplate suicide to end the harassment they face. Transgender Jamaicans are still being treated as outcasts. People are still being beaten for being LGBT and many of us still live in great fear for our lives and that of our loved ones. The murder of 16 year old Dwayne Jones in St James in July 2013, who wanted to become a teacher or entertainment coordinator, is evidence of how difficult it is for many of us.

It is for these reasons that we must all work together to create a peaceful and inclusive society for all Jamaicans. We must provide more opportunities to learn about human rights and foster greater respect among all of us, regardless of our differences.

No Jamaican should feel inferior, powerless or invisible because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is only with respect and embracing our common humanity that Jamaica can be a safe, cohesive and just society. Together, we can put aside the grievances that lead to prejudice, inequality, crime, violence and intolerance, to build Jamaica land we love.


Dane Lewis, Executive Director

(876) 875 2328 /(876) 754 2130



ENDS


Also see a list of top 10 accomplishments: HERE and below is my podcast on the matter, congrats indeed but there is much to do despite the strong differences of opinions as to the way forward. Hopefully the goals will be achieved on a sound ethical foundation of advocacy and not leaving us viewed as oppressors or lying our way to achieving our full rights and recognition.


Peace and tolerance

H

Thursday, December 5, 2013

J-FLAG Disappointed With PM's Unfulfilled Promise, Though She Remains Best Hope

also check out: Promised Conscience Vote on Buggery in Jamaica was a fluke, Sexual Offences Bill to be updated 2014



Jamaica Gleaner Company

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Even as gays frown on Prime Minister Portia Simspon Miller's dawdling in the fulfilment of her promise to review the buggery law, they remain convinced that Jamaica's first female head is still their best hope of legislating the much-needed change for the lesbian, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

It has been two years since Simpson Miller, then the opposition leader, commanded riveting attention from members of the LGBT community, when she boldly promised that she would facilitate a conscience vote in Parliament on the controversial issue. Simpson Miller's response in the 2011 leadership debate appeared to be one up on the then prime minister, Andrew Holness.

But today, the issue remains one of several election promises made on the night of the verbal clash with Holness that is yet to be fulfilled.

Dane Lewis, the executive director of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), acknowledged that the question posed to both leaders had placed Holness at a distinct disadvantage.

"It couldn't have been said by anyone else other than a woman at that time, so she was the best person," he told a Gleaner Editors' Forum yesterday.

Added Lewis: "She (Simpson Miller) is still the best person to lead on it, but it's just unfortunate that she hasn't made any more pronouncements until she is pressed by the media fraternity on the issue."

GLEEFUL

Lewis asserted that in 2011, gays were gleeful, not just because Simpson Miller promised a review of the buggery law, but also because of a promise that she wouldn't bar anyone from her Cabinet on the grounds of sexual orientation.

"If I had felt sufficiently comfortable where I was at the time, I would have jumped and screamed," declared Lewis.

The question on sexual tolerance, asked in the lead-up to the December 2011 general election, was sparked by the controversial "not in my Cabinet" statement of former Prime Minister Bruce Golding in 2008.

A clearly irritated Golding was, on May 20, 2008, responding to a persistent line of questioning from BBC's 'Hardtalk' host Stephen Sackur, with respect to the prospects of homosexuals playing a role within the executive arm that he once led.

But 35 months and numerous parliamentary sittings later, Simpson Miller's promised conscience vote remains an elusive dream to the gay community.

This has not gone down well with Lewis, who said Simpson Miller still has a chance of redeeming herself.

"Now, in 2013, the clock is ticking on what's next … . We keep getting this goalpost that is moving," the he said. "The latest we heard is that it's going to be in 2014, so we anxiously await."

also see:PNP’s Bobby Pickersgill differs on Conscience Vote route to decide on Buggery Law

MoBay Church Fraternity Says No To Buggery Review

PNP's Damion Crawford says it's highly unlikely buggery review will happen ........ it's not important now

PNP's Damion Crawford on Homosexuality's legality ...............

CVM TV @ Sunrise on the Buggery review & JFLAG's 100 days hope for meeting with PM

PNP Wins ................Hope for LGBT People ???

No to buggery! - Young candidates oppose relaxing laws, but want more education on subject (including PNP members)

Opposition sides with Govt on No to same sex marriage (when the PNP was in opposition)

Mark Wignall on Buggery law review promise was a political sham



AJ Nicholson now the foreign affairs Minister was strongly opposed to homosexuality and the removal of the buggery law as captioned in the cartoon and the PNP also was clear on their opposition to gay marriage although no one asked for said rights. See also: In the closet we must stay it seems ........ 

Gleaner cartoonist Lasmay weighed in as well with this clip:


Monday, December 2, 2013

Homeless MSM in New Kingston arrested in raid for stolen goods

THIS POST IS SUBJECT TO UPDATES

Here we are again this old familiar place as the homeless MSM in New Kingston makes news again for all the wrong reasons as they continue to be left out in the cold by uncaring agencies and those who choose tokenism over serious interventions to help the men recover to some semblance of regularity in their lives. A day after Homeless Awareness Month come to think of it and now this.

We also see some deceptive crisis reporting by some in advocacy on this as it was shown as a breaking news item some time ago yet it turned out to be a lie.





Some of the men had to be jerked awake by the police team. (PHOTOS: JOSEPH WELLINGTON , the bit about describing the men as gay by the media is small crumbs compared to the egregious hypocrisy we see before us.


The Observer reported:

THE men, exhausted from partying all night, lay on makeshift beds in the gully that cuts beneath Trafalgar Road in New Kingston — dead to the police officers around them.

Commanding officer Christopher Murdoch lowered a ladder in the gully and led three of his men in. The stench overpowering.

A high-heeled boot lay at the edge of the gully, inches from a make-up kit and a piece of silver costume jewellery.

Inside the gully, curtains served as a temporary wall on one side. As eyes adjusted to the dark, men clad in women's clothing, blonde wigs, eyelids heavy with false lashes, acrylic fingernails and 'bleached' faces could be seen sprawled, fast asleep.

Murdoch shouted instructions for the men to get up, but they didn't budge and had to be jerked awake.

At the end of the one-hour operation, which started at midday, eight homosexuals believed to be involved in a series of robberies in the New Kingston area were taken into custody and transported to the Half-Way-Tree Police Station.

A number of stolen items were recovered, the police said in a release hours after the raid.

Additionally, the release listed five homosexual men — who the police said frequent New Kingston — as persons of interest in a number of robberies.

The men are known only by the aliases: 'Marlene Malaboo-Forte', 'Michelle', 'Pebbles', 'Goodas', and 'Bat Man'.

The operation was conducted by a police team from the New Kingston Police Post, the St Andrew Central Division, and Delta Special Operations on Antigua and Trafalgar roads — across from the NCB Atrium — and culminated on Dumfries and Ruthven roads.

The raids were met with howls of approval from passing motorists and pedestrians, who said that the men had been a nuisance and should have been long been removed.

"Dem rob people like wow out here a night time," said one onlooker, obviously annoyed.

As the police took the men out of the gully, which runs along Trafalgar Road, a man came asking the police if his brother was among the lot of gay men. He was not.

Another man, who said he was a teacher, queried whether one of his former students was among the alleged offenders.

"I hope you are not in there!" shouted the man, as he called out the boy's name.

"He's a former student who left high school with subjects and come get involved in this," the man explained.

Commandant Murdoch, in turn, asked whether the student was present.

The student, too, was not there.

The men were led, one after the othe,r up the ladder, handcuffed, and placed in the back of a waiting police van.

"Come 'Goodie'," said a female police officer as she helped one of the men out of the gully.

"Weh you a draw mi so fah?" asked the young man as the female officer held him by his filthy-looking shirt.

"You're quicker than me," the policewoman responded.

The men hid their faces as they were taken out of the gully and placed in the van. One warned the police against burning his personal items, which included female clothing.

The pointing of a television camera at the men in the police van sparked a protest. "Turn off the camera now, nuh!" one of the detained men shouted.

Another started wagging his tongue while being recorded. "Why you nuh come closer mek me spit ina de camera?" he taunted the cameraman.

"Why you nuh do it from there?" the cameraman shot back. "Please, mi a beg yuh!"

"The cold (spit) nah go get fi damage it," the remanded man said, before the cameraman walked off.

The men were then whisked away to the police station.

Commandant Murdoch promised that more operations would follow.

"We will continue to carry out these snap operations to find those who are robbing people in the New Kingston area," Murdoch told the Jamaica Observer.

ENDS

TVJ carried the raid:


notice that it is the same Superintendent who has been in fairness trying to also get involved in finding some solution when he appeared in the discussion program All Angles alongside business interests from New Kingston, see below:



here are two other videos from the last eviction from the upscale Millsborough Avenue house earlier in 2013 that repeatedly made news thus leaving some of the men to live in the gully/drain that they were removed from on December 1st, how many more stories like this must we continue to see while big LGBT agencies and advocates do not care? Also the same gully known as "The gulf" is also used by substance abusers.




see this other video recently shot by a supposed member of the group who are seeking donations to a church site captioned below:



the details of the project is missing, the target amount(s) as most campaigns ought to have is not there, the essence of the project is not shown so what are persons being asked to donate to and those who do not have a paypal account how do they donate?

You decide readers if we are seeing a genuine concern or another farce parading as concern when the persons behind the thrust such as Maurice Tomlinson say they have been around in advocacy for over twelve years yet they never saw homelessness in the MSM community until now? especially owing to the fact that they sat on the Board of the very agency that insisted on the closure of the safe house pilot project and chose not to intervene then but what for now to do so! .............. how opportunistic. It is deception like this over the years that has ate into the credibility of the lobby and we wonder why no campaigns seem to resonate with the ever cynical public or they simply do not accept the constant hue and cry of "homophobia" with alarmist crisis reporting instead of balanced objective analysis and advocacy. It is becoming a little sickening now as to note that the relevant changes to our laws could have been well closer to fruition or even happened (decriminalization) if it weren't for some serious mistakes and individuals with big egos in the way.

UPDATE from 76crimes site more deceptive crisis reporting but some members of the public have caught on to the trick, case in point this comment:



see the article here: Jamaican police seize, burn donations to LGBT youths

My comment I added which I doubt would be published was as follows:

More deceptive crisis reporting to get attention on a matter that has been around for so many years when these same opportunists were consulted they turned their backs yet it is now some activists who turned up their noses at the very group see them? 

what a convenient distraction from the tolerance ad case and the fact that it was thrown out of the supreme court revealing some issues that some do not want the scrutiny searchlight to be turned on to, case in point the amendment of the plead in the middle of the trial knowing fully well that the PBCJ in particular does not take paid ads by virtue of section 4 of the act that brought it into being and also the fact that the lawyers for all three stations intend to apply for costs to be awarded to them and paid by the claimant photographed above.


Not all of us can be fooled or diverted.

Check out this flashback podcast/commentary to 2012 where a television interview with persons from the NGO claiming to help homeless MSM was poorly executed:



Peace and tolerance

H
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