Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Schoolboys in custody for assault of soft spoken male student







another incident with students from the same school




Two male students from a prominent high school in St Thomas have been taken into custody, after a video surfaced that showed them assaulting another schoolboy.

The incident happened last week and was recorded and posted on several social media sites, including Facebook.





The video shows the students striking another male student with a belt, while other students watched without any rebuke or defending him.

The video caused outrage among many social media viewers, who denounced the boys as bullies and troublemakers. Sadly this is just another example of what students experienced thankfully it was captured and shared. 


There was a previous case without a video however in 2014: 
3 Schoolboys face the court for beating other male student allegedly for calling them "battybois" from sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch and Safety month in schools, bullying, oral sex and such .........


Deputy Superintendent Charmaine Shand of the St Thomas police confirmed that the incident was under investigation. She said officers have also received a statement from the boy who was assaulted.

The St Thomas police also said that they have expanded their support to the school, offering aid in conflict resolution and violence reduction.

Shand is also appealing for the individual who recorded the incident to make a statement to the police to assist with the investigation.

Therein lies my challenge as if they recorder of the video under Jamaican law does not turn up in court with the actual device to verify its authenticity then this matter may just filter away. 

We saw a police beating matter (non LGBT) where a phone was also used to capture the event yet because the operator of the device did not come forward the cops though seen clearly in the video walked free as the Director of public prosecution could not bring an action against the men.

Bullying in schools and indeed outside as this case shows us is a growing monster it seems based on the reports and especially for young soft spoken or effeminate boys in particular. 

My own experience at school in the 80s due to my body size and my then soft spoken demeanour I was teased at some points until I decided to take matters into my own hands, not all persons can or are willing to do that not because they are afraid alone but the effort maybe too painful for them to retaliate or react.

I hope that the case really goes through to trial and phone that was used is presented in court so to make the charges stick.



also click: The Lady’s Not For Bullying from the Gleaner penned by hypocritical journalist George Davis of Nationwide radio. He seeks to reinforce old beliefs of bullying by LGBT advocacy local and abroad.

also see in the meantime:
Zero Tolerance For Homophobic Bullying by Jaevion Nelson of JFLAG.

Peace and tolerance

H

Thursday, March 26, 2015

So Shaggy said 'Jamaicans aren't killing gays' & He is a Lesbian ...... really!


I was not going to waste my time on this one but sadly when local artists especially are desperate for a forward or attention orchestrated interviews are one such method to to use to revive their fledgling careers it does have an impact on the all important credibility of the crisis communication component of LGBT public advocacy.

Seems as if he felt emboldened as rumours spread that Buju Banton would be released and deported to Jamaica as new guidelines on parole were supposed to come into effect. It turns out to be just hot air as technically he is not due for release till November 2018.

Yes there is a major difference between gay on gay violence or non romantic same gender liaisons gone bad with disastrous consequences and forced evictions, attacks and homophobic attacks. Shaggy obviously was playing on the public perceptions over the years of killings being that of jealousy as their causation than hatred and fear (especially of the feminine). 

also see:
Bounty Killer and his B****man comments at Shaggy’s fundraiser 2010

an example of disbelief and rejection of homophobia in 2012: Gay lobby claims not true, says Green ..... or Betty Ann Blaine on Big Gay Lie
Self described gay advocates have not helped either and have only served to erode the well needed credibility in crisis reporting where whether by mistake or deception some matters have been presented as homophobic when it fact they were not thus leading to the backlash advocacy repeatedly faces for example see my post on Gay Jamaica Watch: So Dean Moriah's murder was NOT a homophobic killing ....... ethical issues in advocacy arise yet again some rush to judgement no sooner as someone who is gay is killed without first verifying the issues surrounding the case. Not to mention the feelings of the oppressed becoming the oppressor: Gay Advocates aren't Bullies (Gleaner Letter) and Pro-Gay Bully Ignoring Grave Health Impact (Gleaner) and Perception of Jamaican LGBTQ lobby bullying continues



Dancehall artiste Shaggy says he is a lesbian. According to the artiste, who was addressing a question about homophobia in Jamaica during a recent interview with Sway on US-based radio station Shade 45, Jamaicans are not violent towards homosexuals.

The interviewer asked Shaggy if the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community was making any progress in Jamaica, and he replied: "Sweetheart, let me tell you something, you are talking to the number-one lesbian. Ain't nobody love more women than me, and I am Jamaican so I represent for all the lesbians right there. There has been a movement; I am leading the movement for lesbians," he told the interviewer.

Gay crime

The artiste also made an attempt to clear up misconceptions about Jamaica's approach to homosexuality.

"There are a lot of gays I see in Jamaica who are openly affectionate. You see, Jamaica has a stigma where people feel like we are the greatest gay bashers in the world; that is not the case. 


I live in Kingston, and there are a lot of gay people in Jamaica, and nobody is walking around killing gays. If you look at the statistics, there has not been any killing of gays in Jamaica. 

The only killings you hear is gay-on-gay crime, which is crime of passion. So don't listen to the propaganda and be misled ... have you been to Jamaica? You should visit," Shaggy said.

Sadly similar sentiments have been expressed by others such as Joan Williams of Power 106FM where 2 years ago she said to her broad listenership:






more disbelief about the veracity of homophobic attacks/killings versus gay on gay incidents


Shaggy was on Shade 45 promoting the single I Need Your Love, which already has over 21 million views on YouTube. The veteran, who was certified six times platinum in the US for his Hot Shot album, also advised other artistes to spend their money wisely.

Your chic

"What the f%$@ are you doing with a 13-bedroom house when you know half of the time you are touring? You are paying for the house, you have five maids and about six other caretakers who are eating your food, driving your car, swimming in your pool or even sleeping with your chic. You are not creating wealth, you are creating a liability," he said.

The artiste admitted that he wasted money in the past and owned over 15 cars at once. But, he highlighted that he learned from his mistakes.



Dancehall artiste Shabba Ranks faced a similar question from an interviewer in the '90s during the peak of his career.

However, his answer led to his own slow demise after he was branded as a homophobic artiste by the gay community and lost several endorsements and record sales plummeted sharply as he was signed to Epic Records then. Some radio stations also simply stopped playing his releases in protest of his comments.




The queen of dancehall Lady Saw had also hinted that persons are now afraid of gays as it were referring to the problematic homeless MSM/Transgender group in New Kingston.

LGBT advocates who are genuinely concerned about matters have their work cut out for them in overcoming the disbelief and presenting truths be they homophobic incidents properly verified or gay on gay relational matters gone bad with disastrous ends.

Some historical posts/podcasts on the subject:
Bounty Killer and his B****man comments at Shaggy’s fundraiser 2010



Inviting an unverified third party for a hook-up can be dangerous




Longtimer "BeBe" Murdered in Western Jamaica

NO GAY RAGE - Homosexuals Are Not Targeted For Violent Crime, Say Experts


from 2012 

JASL Receives US$99,738 grant from the Embassy of Japan for HIV Prevention




Persons living with HIV are set to benefit from improved facilities for treatment, care and support, at the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL), through a US$99,738 grant from the Embassy of Japan, under its 'Grassroots Human Security Project'. The funds will facilitate an expansion in medical services and increased counselling support for persons living with HIV.

"The value of being able to increase the number of clients who receive treatment and counselling here, based on the renovations and expansion, cannot be captured in monetary terms. That more persons living with HIV will have accessible, available and affordable services, in a friendly and comfortable environment, is priceless," stated Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson in his address at the contract signing and handover ceremony held at JASL on Friday.

The Kiwanis Club of Constant Spring, which will provide contribution, in terms of volunteer labour, was lauded by the minister for the selflessness of its members and continued commitment and support to JASL for the past seven years.

improvement

In expressing his thanks to Japanese ambassador, His Excellency Yasuo Takase, Dr Ferguson said, "we trust that you will be heartened by the significant improvement you will see in our health services due to your kind contribution."

"the strengthening of the multi-sectoral response will be the key to how readily we will be able to advance towards the very ambitious but inspiring UNAIDS targets of zero discrimination, zero transmission and zero AIDS related death."

This event came within 24 hours of the Japanese Embassy providing funding for six ambulances worth US$73,350 to the St John National Council.

Dr Ferguson also thanked the government of Japan for its continued support of the health sector in Jamaica.


Press release from JASL read as follows:
PRESS RELEASE
The Jamaica AIDS Support for Life receives JMD $11,000,000 to expand clinic from the Embassy of Japan in Jamaica The National Health Sector stands to benefit from the $11 Million grant received by JASL to expand its clinic. Jamaica AIDS Support for Life is the only non Government treatment site in the island and since its relocation to its new home, the organisation has seen a 419 % increase in clinic attendance without an expansion of the clinic space.. In light of this JASL was able to secure a grant to assist with the cost for the much needed expansion, with the kind assistance of The Kiwanis Club of Constant Spring.
The Embassy of Japan in Jamaica through its Grassroots and Human Security Grant Project has donated $11,000,000 to assist with the renovation and expansion of the clinic space. The Ambassador of Japan in Jamaica, His Excellency Yasuo Takase, said he would like to leave a legacy in Jamaica and JASL’s clinic expansion is one of his final projects before his diplomatic tour of duty ends.
The clinic which serves members of key populations (persons living with HIV, men who have sex with men and sex workers) will be expanded to include: counselling/ VCT (testing) room; a pharmacy dispensary to provide anti-retroviral and drugs for opportunistic infections; phlebotomist station; and an extending waiting area.
Through this expansion, JASL has estimated that the clinic will be able to serve almost 1,000 additional persons.
The Grant details were as follows:



A) Grassroots Human Security Project

Grassroots Human Security Project provides non-refundable financial assistance for development projects designed to meet the diverse needs in Jamaica. The project does not offer direct government-to-government grant assistance. However this project aims to provide flexible and timely support to development projects at the grassroots levels such as NGOs, hospitals, schools, local authorities and other non-profit organizations. The following are priority areas for the project:


Poverty Reduction

Primary Health

Education

Environment

Natural disaster response

Other global issues within the local context

Since 1995 Japan has provided a total of US$ 5 million to 80 local projects through the project. To see more details on the project, please click here for the guideline. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Women Accused of Assaulting Teen with Bottle to be Tried in September


In May 2012 this awful matter came to public attention via several news outlets including the Star News then where it was reported that two of seven women accused of sexually assaulting a teenager with a bottle in Linstead, St Catherine, were remanded until June 11 when they appeared in the Linstead Resident Magistrate's Court back then.



Unfortunately stories such as these only seek to reinforce old deep seated feelings of predatory behaviour by LGBT persons thus further pushing the conflation of same gender sex and abuse. So homophobes and the religious right movements seek to justify their anti gay stance by saying repealing or decriminalizing such laws that have an impact on same gender intimacy will lead to more teens and children being abused.

The comments elsewhere on various media prove same as persons with homo-negative comments and reiterating that not only male homosexuals are to be killed or beaten but also lesbians too as the perception is more and more of them are luring school girls into same gender sexual activity or are paedophiles.

It was revealed that there was no legal representation for the women, who are charged with grievous sexual assault. The women were told that until there is an attorney, the matter would have to be put off.

Allegations are that the complainant was accused of stealing clothing, jewellery and money from the two accused.

private area

She was reportedly held and beaten and a bottle used to insert in her private area, which resulted in injuries.

The complainant subsequently made a report to the Linstead police and an investigation launched.

This resulted in the two accused being arrested and charge
d. Police are reportedly searching for the other five women.

It seems they have not been found as the only two who were held before are to go on trial for the matter, 

The two St Catherine women still unnamed accused of inserting a bottle inside a teenager's private area two years ago will stand trial in the St Catherine Circuit Court.

The matter was decided in the Spanish Town Resident Magistrate's Court on Friday. This was after Resident Magistrate Llyle Armstrong ruled that a prima facie case has been made out against the women.

They are scheduled to appear in the Michel Mass Session of the St Catherine Circuit Court in September 2015.

It is alleged that in 2013 the two accused lured the 17-year-old complainant to a house in Linstead, St Catherine. They then held her down and used a bottle to sexually assault her. The complainant had to seek medical attention.

A subsequent report was made to the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse.

Both women were later charged with gross sexual assault.


It is indeed worrying the number of case we are told by the Ministry of Youth and Culture and CISOCA where victims are below the age of consent and the circumstances surrounding such matters are bizarre to say the least but they do not reflect a generalization of LGBT persons as wanting to get into the pants or panties of children. Something however must be done to address the persons who are paedophiles or abusers so that their actions and public disgust does not continue to block the aims of the struggle in terms of LGBT rights and recognition.

It was only earlier this month that Nationwide radio carried this: INCEST & MOLESTATION OF YOUNG BOYS ON THE RISE – HANNA

also see:
Youth Minister Lisa Hanna's conflation of same gender sex & abuse responded to part 2




Lesbians fondle 1st formers at school - Older students carry out attack in bathroom says The Star 2011

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Caroyln Cooper on Unwelcome same gender advances 'I Don’t Want Women To Proposition Me!'

Also see the patois version HERE, ever since her support for LGBT issues was made known by the goodly professor aka the Patois Doctor and her about face on sexual orientation issues in some respects it would seem she has been approached by females identifying as same gender loving, I wonder if it's due to her balled head and her strong personality that causes the attraction to her? 

humph, let me not be factitious.


also see Dr Leachim Semaj's response: 



Truth is the LGBT population or some parts of it need to recognise that support from prominent persons in particular does not necessarily means they are LGBT and frankly such inappropriate advances my have us loose said support or whither away tolerance as persons may walk away feeling all LGBT persons are interested in is getting into their clothes for sex. The predatory construct or perception held by some is also what drives some homophobes as they feel justified in their anti gay position but then again Miss Cooper's image does have that stereotypical lesbian look that of a mow-hawk hairdo sadly associated with more middle class lesbian or gay men coupled with her personality as mentioned above. Yes there is a look!


Professor Carolyn Cooper


sorry girls no luck with Miss Cooper lol

Ms Cooper's previous blog entry Coming Out In Jamaica – Dead Or Alive seems to have triggered off the approaches as well, have a read of her latest entry/Gleaner piece excerpted below:

At every turn, I’m under attack. I’ve been trying so hard to emancipate myself from mental slavery. I’ve been defending gay rights in Jamaica. But it seems as if I might have to stop and start minding my own business. I can’t take on other people’s troubles.
All of us in Jamaica were raised on the Bible. As children, we were told by adults that sex was not for minors. As we grew older, we were taught that heterosexuality was the norm. Homosexuality was condemned by God: that’s what the Bible says.
I can still remember the first gay man I became aware of. He worked in a beauty parlour on the same road where I lived. 
I was about eight or nine years old at the time. And I came to realise he wasn’t ‘normal’. He walked with a swing in his hips and his hair was straightened. And he was a hairdresser! Those days, that was women’s work.
I can’t remember the first gay woman I became aware of. It seems as if we’re not so obsessed about them in Jamaica. It’s gay men who are constantly scrutinised. And since women are open about friendship and love to embrace each other, they could be gay and no one would be any the wiser.
‘BRAZEN PROPOSITION’
All that to say, I did get another email from ‘Jordan’ last week. It was funny. But I wan’t amused.Now I know how men feel when a man tries to have sex with them and they don’t want it. I’m an adult. I can make up my own mind. I’m not going to uncritically accept any interpretation of the Bible that claims we should call down hellfire on gay people. I have friends who are lesbian. But I’m not having sex with them. I’m not gay and I don’t want to be propositioned by women.
Here’s the email: “Good day Prof Cooper, how are you? I took a look at your blog it’s nicely set up. The articles are interesting.The patois makes me dizzy though as we read only english during my time at UWI. I know you don’t remember me but we ‘met’ briefly on the jogging trail a few mornings. I’ve always hoped you were gay but i never had the courage as a student to make such a brazen proposition!
“It would be good to have intelligent gay role models for homosexual youth in Jamaica, however i don’t think our society is ready for this.The PM seems to share the same sentiment as evidenced by her apparent avoidance of the issue which i believe to be a wise decision at this time. Developing a thriving economy and minimising corruption should be top priority …. well things may change unexpectedly … look what happened in Brazil a few years ago! Anyhow take care and keep up the exercise …. you look good girl !”
People take liberties with you if you’re not careful. It looks as if I’m going to have to stop writing for the Gleaner and reclaim my privacy. If it’s not abuse, it’s unwelcome advances. The only person I want to proposition me is a suitable gentleman of an appropriate age. No young boy. No old man. No married man. No man who is having sex with men and woman. You have to be literate.
You must have teeth. If you qualify, you can make an offer.  
Otherwise, please leave me in peace!


ENDS

also see from sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch: Inmate attacks alleged gay prisoner of challenges with what can be deemed inappropriate advances.

New Kingston Shoemaker Gully Homeless Gays Accused of Inappropriate Advance Towards Teen .......


WANNABE TIVOLI DON KILLED - Was warned to reconsider his desires 


Peace and tolerance

H

Friday, March 20, 2015

"'Curing Intersex Is Damaging and Common": Great Piece by OII-Australia Member, Morgan Carpenter

One of the key human rights issues for intersex people is not the existence of binary genders, but what is done medically to make them conform to those norms, writes Morgan Carpenter.

Intersex, the I in LGBTI, is often invisible, assumed to be about sexual orientation or gender identity. In fact, intersex has more to do with the body.

Intersex people are born with sex characteristics that don’t fit stereotypical expectations for males or females. There are at least 40 known intersex variations, each different, with no homogenous intersex body or identity. Some intersex variations can result in visibly ambiguous genitalia, others don’t. Diagnosis can happen any time from prenatal testing through to adulthood.

Historically, intersex people have been regarded as something “other”, sideshow freaks or medical curiosities, objects for stigmatisation and discrimination. In more recent times, people with intersex bodies have been regarded as “disordered”.

One of our key human rights issues is not really the existence of binary genders, but what is done medically to make us conform to those norms. Over the last 60 years, diagnosis has led to surgical and hormonal interventions, often in infancy or childhood. For much of that time, a diagnosis was thought so shameful it often wasn’t disclosed.

It would be easy to imagine these issues are all in the past, a legacy of previous practices. We heard Dr. Shubha Srinivasan say how practices in the past were harmful, and how she hopes things have changed. She’s right, but there’s been no attempt at reparations.

As intersex advocates and peer support workers, we hear from adults with long histories of sexual and intimacy issues caused by “obsolete” surgical methods. We hear of attempts to recover childhood medical information, and even discrimination due to overt physical differences.

Not only do people with intersex variations suffer a legacy of clinical secrecy, of shame and stigma, we also suffer trauma due to medical intervention. And even so, this is not the full story.

The Australian parliament recognised our existence in 2013, with the inclusion of “intersex status” in anti-discrimination law, and a world-first parliamentary report into intersex health, and coerced sterilisation. We’re still waiting for a government response to that report, but we know a lot about current practices because of it.

Today, the testes of women like Bonnie are no longer routinely removed before puberty. Clinicians are better at diagnosis, and more likely to recommend a sex assignment based on “likely” future gender identity than surgical ease. There’s no longer a culture of secrecy around diagnosis itself. But much hasn’t changed.

The clinical language of “disorders of sex development”, rejected by community-led organisations, ensures that an intersex pregnancy and birth is still a problem to be “fixed”.

A Senate committee heard from clinicians that infants and children with ambiguous genitalia still face early surgeries. These happen when a clitoris is deemed “too big”, or a boy can’t stand to pee.

We regularly hear from parents with newborn infants. We hear how their child might be described as healthy - except for their intersex characteristics. Parents get a prompt referral to a surgeon, and maybe a late referral to a counsellor or psych. They might get a referral to a Toronto hospital website for background information, but no referral to an Australian support group.

We’ve seen medical papers that talk of the “pros and cons” of surgery, but only detail its necessity. That necessity is often based on stigma towards intersex people. Surgeries have the dubious aims of helping parents to love their children, preventing issues with baby-sitters or bullying in the changing room, and even improving marriage prospects. Genital surgeries aim narrowly to ensure heterosexual sexual performance.

Maybe surgeries do prevent some of those problems, some of the time, but there’s no firm evidence they do. Most often, treating a healthy body as a surgical problem is itself stigmatising. I know from my own experience that it’s not a good feeling to know that your body had to be modified to be acceptable to your family, and to society.

The science supporting current medical practice is contradictory and inadequate. Australian doctors themselves told the Senate they have “particular concern” about sexual function and sensation after cosmetic genital surgeries. One Australian hospital says that outcomes from current surgeries “remain to be established”, and yet there is no long term follow-up in this country.

Our National Health and Medical Research Council has heard that intersex variations are abnormal, disordered, defects, and people with them suffer psychological trauma. $5.5 million in public funds has just been invested in genetic research and testing - but no money goes to fund peer and family support.

We can’t keep removing the stigma of cosmetic differences with a surgical knife. It comes at the cost of future sexual function and choice. The Senate report said the status quo must change, and international human rights bodies are beginning to pay attention. Non-essential surgeries must be delayed until an individual can consent for themselves. Peer support must be integrated into clinical practice.

It’s ok to be intersex. The diversity of our bodies and identities are good things. We add to the richness of human existence. As the parent in The Feed’s interview said about us, “Let them enjoy their bodies, celebrate that difference”.

Morgan Carpenter is the president of organisation Intersex International Australia, a community organisation that promotes human rights and bodily autonomy for intersex people.

CCJ Reserves Judgement In Maurice Tomlinson Immigration Case ....... No restrictions on Caricom gays, TT officials say


The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has reserved judgement in the application filed by human rights and gay rights advocate, Maurice Tomlinson, who is challenging the immigration laws of Trinidad and Tobago and Belize.

See the latest video of the actual proceedings HERE, HERE and HERE

Tomlinson is contending that the immigration laws of both countries violate his right to freedom of movement and his right not to be discriminated against on the basis of his nationality.

Tomlinson wants the CCJ to grant a declaration that the laws should be amended to remove the barring of homosexuals from entering Trinidad and Belize.

The human rights and gay rights advocate is also seeking damages.

Trinidad and Belize have opposed the application.


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (Trinidad Express) — Despite there being legislation in place under local immigration laws to prevent members of the gay community from entering Trinidad and Tobago, acting Chief Immigration Officer Gerry Downes yesterday said there is policy in place to allow those individuals who are members of Caricom nations free movement in and out of this country.

There are no restrictions on those individuals simply because of their sexual orientation, but restrictions are placed on people who are not members of Caricom states and are seeking to enter Trinidad and Tobago, he said.

Downes made the statement yesterday while testifying during a hearing at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in Port of Spain, in which Jamaican gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson is challenging local immigration laws, which he contends are homophobic and inconsistent with Caricom policy on free movement between citizens of member states.

Questioned by Tomlinson’s attorney Douglas Mendes SC on how immigration officials may treat with the matter should his client seek to enter this country, Downes said: “If he were to come back to Trinidad we would treat him as any other Caricom national because he is a Caricom national.”

Tomlinson is challenging Section 8 of the Immigration Act, which allows immigration officials to refuse entry to homosexuals, prostitutes and other people who may benefit from the proceeds of either. He also brought action against the Government of Belize whose immigration legislation is similarly worded.

The action was brought under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established both the CCJ and the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME).

As an activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community, Tomlinson, who is also an attorney, had travelled to both countries previously, but after discovering the existence of the prohibitions he refused invitations from both countries to avoid violating their immigration laws “and he claims to have suffered prejudice thereby”.

The case of openly gay singer Elton John, who was allowed into this country to perform at a concert in Tobago in 2007, was also raised during the hearing.

Downes explained that if John was “a skilled Caricom national” he would have been allowed into this country and “that would not have been a problem”, but given he was not, John had to be granted special permission to do so.

Belize’s acting Director of Immigration, Maria Marin, also testified during the hearing. Like Downes, Marin said no members of Caricom nations are prevented from entering the country based on their sexual orientation.

She said, in 1998, a cruise ship with approximately 700 gays came to Belize and all the individuals were allowed into the country.

Presiding over the matter are CCJ president Sir Dennis Byron, Rolston Nelson, Charles Anderson, Adrian Saunders and Jacob Wit.

Attorney Imran Ali appears alongside Mendes for Tomlinson, while senior counsel Seenath Jairam, Wayne Sturge and Gerald Ramdeen are representing the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mendes: Ban on gays ‘bad for T&T’

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

EU Parliament human rights report addresses LGBTI criminalisation, trans rights and same-sex unions worldwide



Last week, the European Parliament voted its annual report on human rights in the world. The report takes account of the situation of human rights, including of LGBTI people, and makes recommendations accordingly.



The report contains strong language on the rights of LGBTI people. Particularly, the Parliament Expresses concern that “78 countries still criminalise homosexuality, including 10 which provide for the death penalty . . . and that 20 countries still criminalise transgender identities.” 

It calls to continue raising this in dialogues with third countries, and to support organisations defending LGBTI rights;

Addresses anti-propaganda laws by welcoming the annulment of the Moldovan law, and calling on other countries to follow their example;

Calls on the Commission and WHO to act towards ending listing of trans identities as mental illnesses and to introduce quick, transparent and accessible legal gender recognition procedures based on the person’s self-determination;

Highlights that sterilisation requirements for legal gender recognition should be treated and persecuted as a breach of the right to bodily integrity and of sexual and reproductive health and rights;

Encourages the EU and Member States to “reflect on the recognition of same-sex marriage or same-sex civil union as a political, social and human and civil rights issue”

A paragraph condemning referendums limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples and highlighting negative developments in Croatia, Slovakia, Macedonia, Lithuania and Russia, was watered down from the initial draft through an amendment by the centre-right European People’s Party.



Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, reacted: “The EU has a key role to play in promoting and protecting human rights, which includes the rights of LGBTI people. In the debate about the report High Representative Mogherini emphasised this again, saying human rights are not a priority, but the priority of external relations of the EU.”

“The adoption of this report by a wide majority sends a clear message from MEPs to step up efforts to effectively protect all LGBTI persons’ rights.”


Isabella Adinolfi MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, added: “I strongly welcome this report, which confirms that LGBTI rights are human rights.”

“Now it is key to be consistent in applying this both within the EU as well as in our outside relations.”

Read more
Read the Annual Human Rights in the World Report (particularly par. 159-165)

Pills before and after sex can help prevent HIV, another study finds


A study shows that a drug used to treat HIV infection also can help prevent it when taken before and after risky sex by gay men.

The results offer hope of a more appealing way to help prevent the disease beyond taking daily pills and using condoms, although those methods are still considered best.

The study, done in France and Canada, is the first to test "on demand" use of Truvada, a pill combining two AIDS drugs, by people planning to have risky sex. The uninfected men who took it were 86 per cent less likely to get HIV compared to men given dummy pills.

"That impressed me," Dr Scott Hammer said of the size of the benefit. He is an AIDS specialist at Columbia University in New York and heads the Retrovirus Conference going on in Seattle, where the results were discussed Tuesday.

Daily Truvada pills are used now to prevent HIV infection in people at high risk for it, and studies show the drug helps even when some doses are skipped. Health officials have been leery of billing it as a "chemical condom" out of fear that people will not use the best prevention methods, but many won't use condoms all the time or take daily pills.

The study of Gilead Science's Truvada was led by the French national HIV research agency.

Men were given fake or real Truvada and told to take two pills from two to 24 hours before sex, a third pill 24 hours later, and a fourth pill 48 hours after the first dose. The men also were given condoms and disease prevention counselling.

The study was stopped early, in November, after 400 men were enrolled and researchers saw that the drug was working; there were two new HIV infections among those on Truvada and 14 in those on dummy pills. The two infections in the Truvada group were in men who stopped using the pills after more than a year in the study.

The drug was safe, but nausea and diarrhoea were more frequent among men who used it. Only one stopped using it because of side effects.

Dr Susan Buchbinder, an AIDS specialist at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, called the results exciting but warned that it can't be assumed they would apply to male-female sex, because different types of sex expose partners to differing amounts of virus.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends daily Truvada pills for prevention, and many men in the French study ended up taking them nearly that often because of how frequently they had sex, said the CDC's HIV prevention chief, Dr Jonathan Mermin.

"We need all the options we can get" for preventing HIV infection, Mermin said. "People choose different prevention methods. What we want is for them to choose effective ones and to use them regularly."

One advocate for wider use of prevention pills -- Damon Jacobs, a New York City psychotherapist -- agreed.

For years, the public health message was "condoms only, condoms only, condoms only," he said in a speech at the conference. "People are having sex for pleasure" and need alternate ways to reduce their risk, Jacobs said.

A second study presented at the conference by the UK Medical Research Council found that daily use of Truvada cut the risk of infection by 86 per cent in a "real world" test of gay men aware they were taking Truvada for HIV prevention.

Researchers assigned 545 gay men to get Truvada right away or a year later. The study was stopped in October after HIV infections occurred in only three men given Truvada but in 19 of those assigned to get it after a year.

As in the French study, rates of other sexually spread diseases were similar in both groups, leading researchers to conclude that use of the prevention pills was not increasing risky behaviour.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Health Ministry To Reach MSM, Commercial Sex Workers Through Church

In light of the recent results of the Baseline Survey: Knowledge, Attitude & Practices Regarding Child Maltreatment in Jamaica and a Gleaner report on March 10th - Church Rape Cover-Up - Sex-Abuse Victims Intimidated By Predator Pastors and the strong homophobic sentiments of which the church is loud news has come that faith based organizations will be engaged by the Ministry of Health's HIV programs. Sad that the report excerpted below from the Gleaner chose to use outdated words such as 'prostitutes' and 'gays' it shows that some media folks also need some sort of engagement with the use of the proper terms.

also see: Another St Thomas Pastor Accused of Rape ........... Where are Anti Gay Religious Groups?



here is the Gleaner report:

The Church and other faith-based organisations have been targeted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) as part of a campaign to improve attitudes and behaviours among vulnerable high-risk groups such as homosexuals and prostitutes, and to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Under a programme dubbed the Surveillance, Prevention and Control of Diseases, the ministry is to dole out $22 million in the 2015/2016 fiscal year to faith-based organisations to develop and implement discrimination-reduction strategies.

In addition, $16 million is to be spent on supporting the capacity building of people living with HIV/AIDS and community-based organisations.

Approximately $298 million is to be spent next year on the programme, which is funded by grants from the United States Agency for International Development. At least 4,535 homosexuals are to be targeted for small-group level HIV preventable interventions.

Additionally, 6,537 prostitutes will be targeted for similar interventions during the course of the fiscal year.

The Surveillance, Prevention and Control of Diseases has among its objectives the reduction of HIV transmission by delaying initiation, promoting abstinence, and increasing condom use among sexually active adolescents. It also seeks to reduce the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV/AIDS.

HIV Statuses

Among the targets set for the programme is to increase the number of gay men who know their HIV status; increasing the number of prostitutes who use condoms, and to increase the percentage of registered businesses and public-sector institutions which have HIV and AIDS workplace policies and programmes.

Up to February, 2,853 gay men have been reached for small-group level HIV preventable interventions and 4,557 prostitutes reached for similar intervention. More than 71,700 persons who received testing and counselling services for HIV received their results.

The 2015/2015 fiscal year will see $148 million being expended on reaching the 4,535 homosexuals and the 6,537 prostitutes.

Meanwhile, another programme - the Transitional Funding Mechanism - is providing $114 million in the 2015-2016 fiscal year to deal with HIV-related issues.

A $65-million programme is to be implemented includes the counselling and testing of 563 men who have sex with men, to make them aware of their HIV status. In addition, there is to be the testing of 1,320 female sex workers to make them aware of their status.

Up to December, the ministry reached 833 gay men, counselled and tested them, and made them aware of their HIV results. Some 1,534 female prostitutes were also counselled and tested and made aware of their status, and 2,994 gay men from the targeted audience were reached with HIV prevention activities.


also see: 
Health Minister Says Boldness Needed to Change Buggery Laws for HIV Prevention Work to be Effective

ENDS

Will these FBOs who are so discriminatory in large part be welcoming of this or be accommodating? given their hypocrisy over the years as they are so loud against homosexuality yet quiet when their own is accused of inappropriate sexual contact with minors and condemnation for LGBT rights. The few FBOs and pastors who openly show tolerance and support are sometimes shunned by the rest of the church community.

Today's cartoon also reflects some of the sentiments as of late since the horrible murders and sexual abuse reports of children yet the religious right groups who marched in Half Way Tree are deafeningly silent.




JFLAG in association with PANCAP also launched - 


“Mitigating Risks and Enabling Safe Public Health Spaces for LGBT Jamaicans” in February to foster the development of an enabling environment where LGBT people’s right to health are promoted and respected in order to increase access among the population. J-FLAG is contracting the services of a consultant to develop information, education and communication (IEC) materials to promote the right to health, understanding health facilities and avenues for reporting discrimination perpetrated in healthcare facilities.

Objectives of the Project 

1. To create/expand population friendly health services in five health facilities 

2. To develop the capacity of NGOs to advocate for tailored programmes in healthcare facilities for LGBT population 

3. To reduce stigma and discrimination against LGBT persons , including LGBT people living with HIV at five healthcare facilities Relevant Technical Interventions & Project Activities Reduced Stigma and Discrimination within the Health Sector The health care sector is critical to the management and control of HIV as it is the central point of access to HIV testing, treatment, care and support including prevention services. 

It is therefore critical that the health care sector, particularly public health, is one in which PLHIV and key populations perceive and experience an environment that is free from stigmatisation and discrimination. 

The following strategies seek to address this problem: 
i. Conduct ongoing orientation, sensitisation and training in medical ethics, stigma and discrimination and other HIV related matters including sexual and reproductive rights. 

ii. Health policy development to require health institutions to conduct ongoing orientation, sensitisation and training in medical ethics, stigma and discrimination, sexual and reproductive rights and other HIV related matters. 

iii. Seek amendment of legislation that governs health professionals and other health staff to specifically include the requirement for patient confidentiality and enforce disciplinary action for breaches. 

iv. Examine policies, practices, systems and enforcement mechanisms across the health sector to determine if and how these may undermine patient confidentiality with a view to addressing gaps and adjusting structures and procedures to maintain and strengthen confidentiality. 

v. Strengthen disciplinary and accountability structures within the health sector to effectively address breaches of standards including patient confidentiality. These structures will be promoted widely for increased use by clients of health care facilities.

Scope of Baseline Assessment 
In order to meet objective 3, J-FLAG is contracting the services of a consultant to develop information, education and communication (IEC) materials to promote the right to health, understanding health facilities and avenues for reporting discrimination perpetrated in healthcare facilities. 

Specific Objectives of the Consultancy 
1) To review the existing IEC materials at the following health facilities: 
i) Montego Bay Type 5 Health Centre 
ii) May Pen Health Centre 
iii) Maxfield Park Health Centre 
iv) St. Ann’s Bay Health Centre 
v) Alexandria Health Centre 
vi) Port Maria Health Centre 

2) Engage the major stakeholders to identify the type of IEC materials and content needed. 

3) Review the applicable national and regional policies in order to develop IEC materials that speak to clients’ and workers’ rights and responsibilities 

4) Develop and/or update the IEC materials and relevant lessons learnt
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