Friday, March 14, 2014

Homeless MSM/Trans youth draw attention in New Kingston

As the public march progressed for the Endometriosis awareness day activities in New Kingston yesterday this was what was captured by a passer-by of some of our homeless/displaced gay/bi and transgender youths by the gully adjacent the old Super Plus Store next to Island Car Rentals, as you may have realised on this and on sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch, GJW the coverage on this particular group and their predecessors has been extensive for the past five years.

Of course the more privileged gay persons and snobs in our community may turn their noses and say the men are an embarrassment to the LGBT community while on the other hand some others (hypocritically so) may say they serve a purpose as they remind every day Jamaicans that gays exist but certainly this would not be the ideal image one would want to go out there. The toss up between public order, decency and survival has been a challenging one for this group as their numbers increase and while myself and others have not forgotten than more powerful advocates and agencies (namely Jamaica AIDS Support and JFLAG) turned their backs on this set of persons for many years (the closure of the Safe House pilot 2009 comes to mind) more could have been done if there was real interest in seeing a solution enacted to address this, instead we are left with images like this repeatedly.

It was earlier this month I blogged on GJW the following: New Kingston homeless MSM raided again by police a story that almost went unreported if it weren't for vigilant persons, the announced Dwayne's House homeless idea is still in the works as the men continue to occupy the gully.

The actual gully some years ago prior to its occupation now fully by the men as before it had the occasional substance users and female commercial sex workers therein.

Some of the comments from Facebook about the initial photo above make for disturbing feelings such as:

Suffice it to say that this issue needs to be addressed fully not by some half hearted half way house or nice public relations from guilty privileged gay advocates who do not want to get their hands dirty but are more about telling the world what they are doing than actually helping.

the previous Jamaica AIDS Support for Life office site (Upper Musgrave Avenue) where the Safe House pilot sat and was closed: Homeless MSM to feel the pinch as JASL issues ultimatum December 2009 where it all started downhill.

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

Shelter Coming For Homeless Gays reports the Gleaner

Kingston’s Homeless MSM challenges scream for proper attention

Unruly gays worry store owners ...........................

Homeless MSM in New Kingston arrested in raid for stolen goods

'Don't come back here' - Maxfield residents warn gay man after publicized eviction

The Safe House Background

Homeless impatient with agencies over slow progress of promised shelter

As for government shelters the previous Jamaica Labour Party, JLP administration had designated the old health centre on Upper King Street nearing the York Park fire station as a future shelter but is still unoccupied, I took some photos recently of the building now over grown with shrubbery and used by animals from nearby Flethcer's Land and possibly other persons as a garbage dump.

As this post was being prepared there was an all day session for general homeless persons at the Marie Atkins shelter on Hanover Street where food, blood sugar tests and other personal grooming stuff were being offered, some of the guys were encouraged to attend to make use of that event by the National Council on Drug Abuse, NCDA, I hope they did, their counterparts in St Catherine who are in the weed whacking project are still there rotating the machines and trying to earn some income from landscaping in certain communities. 

Others who are not there in the gully by on the mend while still displaced somewhat have benefited from a scholarship program by a group named Colour Pink where they are pursuing a catering course while also earning valuable information via my group Aphrodite's PRIDE Jamaica in the soon to be concluded phase one Entrepreneurship Training which commenced in August of last year funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office, FCO.

More solutions are being formulated on my and that of the APJ's part while we seek funding and some work is also being done on GLBTQ Jamaica's part but we need funding support. The numbers reached by these efforts by small groups is a drop in the bucket compared to the magnitude of the problem which is islandwide.

Peace and tolerance



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