Situational homosexuality and or “Predatory behaviour” reasons for the closure of Alpha Boys’ Home residential programs?

alpha boys home

So it would seem as the story gains traction, when it first broke on the Jamaica Observer it was a vague little worded piece that left more questions and negative reactions than anything else but since the last twenty four hours with statements from and footage from the Minister of Youth Lisa Hanna seeking to outline some of the issues she is aware of more seems to be coming to light, her use of the term “predatory sexual activity” is a bit troubling to me though, it seems she is busy this year as the cooling down of the Permanent Secretary Sydney Bartley homo-paedophile matter is still in the Supreme Court even though the Minister is no longer named as a party in that matter the other named parties are still being pursued. 120 boys or so will have to find a place to live after June 2014 although the educational components of the work will continue said a spokesperson for the institution.

also see the Observer’s take on it: HERE

SITUATIONAL HOMOSEXUALITY This term refers sociologically to widespread same-sex behaviour in total institutions where no partner of the opposite sex is available. I bring this up as I am afraid the boys may be stigmatised out of all this for being freaks or homosexuals playing into the predatory nature perception held out there especially by the anti gay establishment. In some cases, as in prisons, jails and reformatories, places of safety, half way houses and transitional living facilities the residents/inmates are there involuntarily; in others, as ships at sea, monasteries and nunneries participation has been freely chosen although terms of engagement, strict rules and curtailed socializing activities limit sexual release. The situational homosexuality term is also applied to cultures where adolescents are gender-segregated the assumption behind the notion of psychological situational homosexuality is that the individual’s behaviour is dependent on the heterosexually deprived situation, and that those performing homosexual acts faute , de mieux under these circumstances will revert to heterosexual behavior once they regain access to the opposite sex, while the “true” homosexual prefers his own sex even when the other is freely accessible.

The situation of deprivation does not affect all people equally.

In the case of Alpha Boys like any other such facility experimentation too maybe a factor especially the homo-negative culture that exists here, there is a way in which persons become attracted to taboo practices out there in private circumstances. The Minister’s exact words regarding the same sex activities she said she was told by the Nuns at Alpha (Roman Catholic sisters of Mercy) in February was as follows:

“The sisters of mercy cited the grave anti social behaviour ….. the sexual predatory nature of the boys on one another on a daily basis ……… the incapability of human capital to respond to the many and changing faces of the issues manifested today, the challenge is further compounded by the high cost of care for each child.”

Are the sisters going by their own assessment of the situation from a church standpoint thus interpreting the matter as predatory (not saying it is all together true) there was some denial of the reasons for the discontinued residency component by one PR representative Joshua Chamberlain who said on radio “There is absolutely no truth from those suggesting the home is shutting down partly due to inappropriate behaviour among Alpha Boys, residential care if transitioning to day care……” I guess the goodly PR rep is trying to avoid a generalization that the boys are wholesale perverts as slightly suggested by the Youth Minister.

Even late nineteenth-century authors realized that some individuals never engage in homo- sexual activity no matter how long or how intense the deprivation from heterosexual contact they endure. Similarly, many homosexuals fail to take up heterosexual activity even though homosexuality may be so severely repressed as to be practically unavailable. Nevertheless, cross-cultural evidence abundantly documents higher incidences of homosexual activity in situations of heterosexual deprivation, and markedly so for males in their sexual prime.

SIWA OASIS A town in the Libyan desert of western Egypt, Siwa is the site of an ancient civilization which retained a form of institutionalized homosexuality into the modern era. The oasis was the location of an oracle consulted by Alexander the Great and modern observers have stressed how the Berber population conserved its own language, religious rites, and sexual customs despite the later overlay of Islam and Egyptian administration. Sexual relations among men fell into the ancient pattern of pairing between usually married adult men and adolescent bachelors. In the nineteenth century, families lived within the walls of a town constructed rather like a single large adobe “beehive” while all unmarried men lived together on the edges of town where they made up a warrior class (zaggalah) protecting the oasis from desert marauders. In the twentieth century, as the military function declined and the townspeople have moved out of the walled centre, the zaggalah have become agricultural labourers retaining their customs and clubhouses. The anthropologist Walter Cline, writing in 1936, found “All normal Siwan men and boys practice sodomy. . . .

I am in no way suggesting that sodomy is the only same sex activity found in this case of Alpha as partnered masturbation also is a key way to “gain release” which in such situational circumstances but again the Youth Minister’s wording makes it seems as anal rape when she uses “predatory behaviour” substitutional sex as the experts tell us lacks the more erotic or raunchy elements of sex between innate gay men for example and is not as engaging as two more romantically involved same sex partners. Among themselves the zaggalah natives are not ashamed of this; they talk about it as openly as they talk about love of women, and many if not most of their fights arise from homosexual competition.” Among the zaggalah, man-boy relationships were formally recognized when the man offered the boy’s father a gift (or bride price) as in heterosexual marriage. Abd Allah notes that “Siwan cus- toms allow a man but one boy [vs. four wives] to whom he is bound by a stringent code of obligations.” In the zaggalah club- house “labourers come together on any occasion for communal rejoicing and assemble on moonlight nights for drinking, singing, and dancing to the merry rhythm of flute and drum” (Cline).T his festive and erotic tradition culminates in a three-day bacchanal dedicated to the medieval sheik, Sidi Soliman, following the Islamic fast of Ramadan. The various accounts of Siwa agree on the openness and fluidity of sexuality, in that divorce is casual and serial polygamy common, men having as many as a dozen wives over time. Male and female prostitution was noted and Cline remarked that the role in homosexual relations was variable and voluntary.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Mahmud Mohamrnad 'Abd Allah, "Siwan Customs," Harvard African Studies, 1 (19171, 1-28; C. Dalrymple Belgrave, Siwa: The Oasis of Jupiter Ammon, London: Lane, 1923; Walter Cline, Notes on the People of Siwah and El Garah in the Libyan Desert, Menasha, WI: George Banta Publishing, 1936; Robin Maugham, journey to Siwa, London: Chapman and Hall, 1950. Barry D. Adam

I think we need to examine this case some more far more carefully, JFLAG and the other advocates have not responded to this faux pas of sorts either which has me concerned sometimes as to their relevance as this issue can be made to play into the anti gay establishment as reason to oppose and block the trajectory to LGBT rights and recognition seeing the repeated conflation between abuse and same gender sex when in truth and in fact abuse is abuse no matter the sexual orientation or gender of the perpetrator. Seeing also that the boys are the same age grouping how else are we to deal with this?

The Youth Minister in a follow up discussion this morning on Nationwide radio suggested isolation of the identified abusers with psychological intervention what she did not say or was asked by the interviewers was was this in a view to also push reparative therapy supposedly thinking the boys are gay and need to be changed? Why I raised this is because many of the professionals in the system are trained in Christian run theological colleges often disregarding the diagnostic statistical manual, DSM with regards to homosexuality which is not a disorder yet some professional ignore this and their personal values clash with protocols. I am concerned for the boys as this situation reminds me of the easy way out mentality by administrations for such facilities, The Safe House Project 2009 that was under the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life was closed down by the board due to “bad behaviour” as the given reason then yet we have ended up with grief with displaced/homeless MSM/Trans persons numbers spiralling out of control with a JFLAG silent then and actually moving into the space that was the shelter turning it into their offices. They soon bore the backlash over time with the men attacking the offices of JASL as well intermittently with a notice to quit being the final edict and demolition of the building in 2013.

It seems there is an impatience to stick with problematic populations (outside of funding woes) in terms of transitional work and the psycho social components is still a problem as the quest for rights via victimhood abounds and takes precedence, this Alpha case has a touch shade of it too but let us see where it leads, the homeless msm/trans individuals in New Kingston for example are obviously being manipulated by powerful advocates and institutions as a recent news item showed where complaints about police abuse were highlighted, yes there is abuse but the same voices complaining are well established entities with robust funding to do something meaningful but instead the foot dragging continues while reclining in the HIV prevention imperative naming the cohort as vulnerable and susceptible to HIV, yes stigma/homo-negativity etc. exists but how it is presented sometimes short changes the very thrust. If the Alpha situation is met with proper responses via the government however to include psycho social/sexual interventions then it stands to reason that government can also address homelessness and displacement in the LGBT populations seeing that some advocates already expect state actors to take care of them while they recline in privilege.

Hypocrisy is a hell of a thing I tell you.

I am also concerned about the re-integration process as the minister spoke to some prior training of parents who with troubled children are exposed to twenty hours of training so as to engage the children when they return home, is LGBT child rearing included in this? I doubt it, such much more developmental issues arise here simply from this news of the closure of noble institution.

also see this previous post from 2011 of a boys’ home incident: SITUATIONAL HOMOSEXUALITY, SUBSTITUTIONAL SEX, EXPERIMENTATION OR WHAT? ……… SENSATIONAL STORY YET AGAIN

also hear this clip as an example of the homo-negative firestorm that has since erupted conflating abuse with some gay agenda and same gender consensual sex:

Walk good

Peace and tolerance

H

Business downturn for the weed-whacking project for former displaced St Catherine MSM

As promised here is another periodical update on an income generating/diligence building project now in effect for some now seven former homeless and displaced MSM in St Catherine, it originally had twelve persons but some have gotten jobs elsewhere, others have simply walked away and one has relocated to another parish, to date their weed whacking earning business capacity has been struggling as previous posts on the subject has brought to bear and although some LGBT persons residing in the parish have been approached by yours truly and others to increase client count for the men costs such as gas and maintenance of the four machines that are rotated between the enrolled men are rising weekly literally while the demand is instead decreasing due to various reasons.

When the initial idea was rolled out at the time in late 2012 via a mixed religion group to include myself and another gay individual there was some resistance to it as the activity was a carry over from a major well funded church project for unemployed youth one of whom still is in this dispensation, several leaders at the time left the revamped project idea claiming they were not supporting the gay lifestyle, the market for landscaping was already saturated with several other players including lawn cutters from Kingston and nearby parishes and Portmore, breaking into the domain was difficult and several attempts were made via flyers, repeated personal visits by myself and the men in walk-a-bouts various housing schemes and so on. The slow rainfall as well added more delays in shrubbery and vegetation growth hence the slow demand for services/repeat visits and cuttings and as costs for the actual weed whacking machines also come down more middle class households purchase their own machines and do their own manicuring of their lawns and fence-hedging. Expansion to other parishes to include Kingston is in the works and also major sites such as office grounds, schools and playgrounds are being considered but a proper marketing/introductory strategy is needed and is being prepared such as an introductory letter and so forth. Due to a spate of robberies generally as well in certain communities that are lonely with no major pedestrian activity during the work hours on weekdays a couple neighbourhood watches have taken a no tolerance approach to “strange faces” in their communities so they refuse to engage new persons seeking business such as cutting lawns, selling newspapers or such peddling and one community actually instituted a gated arrangement with a guard to control movement in and out of the scheme thus limiting potential business for the men, this community though not so new has several wide lawn area that will require tending to and a formal approach is being strategized. The rotation of the machines amongst the project participants has caused some challenges as well as one or more whackers may be out for repairs thus leaving the designated user out of a machine hence no income or shortened time for those who have machines than normal which has caused some riffs and in-fighting between the participants in the project of which I have had to intervene.

No profiling or homo-negative challenges thus far

Thankfully due to the masculine aesthetics of the participants no major profiling has occurred, a concern I had prior to the rollout of the project/machines. The project coordinators outside of myself are still at odds as to the more effeminate counterparts of the men who are presently enrolled and what to develop for them is still a concern, those persons have sought shelter elsewhere with friends for now; the group that were evicted from a house in Sydenham some time ago are also still struggling and some of those persons when contacted on this project in the early days declined the initiation I presume on a premise of mistrust as others have approached the men/transgender persons before with false promises I am told hence their scepticism. An Aphrodite’s PRIDE Jamaica team member had suggested some sort of activity tailored to the female cisgender imperative such as make-up/beauty training and so on but the issue of stereotypical gender role boxing of the group has come up.

Rates as well have been affected due to some of the aforementioned challenges and competition, in order to stay in business average rates have fallen by some 20% average based on my calculations, for e.g. a typical front lawn (hedging not included as scissors are also needed, machetes alone won’t do) probably twenty five feet by thirty feet taking roughly fifteen to twenty minutes to whack could have fetched up to $1,800 now that has come down to $1,200 or less provided the cutter names his price at let’s say $1,500 then negotiates his way down to stay within the ball park. Gas prices have sky rocketed with rates from Petrojam going up weekly for the past eight weeks, a litre of gas now runs at $130/L and it takes 5 litres for the gallon which in turn serves one cutter one or two days depending on the frequency of jobs, the gas itself is also light as feather and burns off faster than normal despite the governing of the machines for maximum delivery per litre of gas. Unfair competition in my eyes as well is hurting business as weedsters from the government’s JEEP temporary employment program who weed-whack parks, medians and public spaces and who also are allowed to take home the govt owned machines are invading the private market as well thus diminishing business and with their more aggressive tactics some have gone as far as to use the local political and parish council representative as muscle to work their way into the market as they tell their people on the ground who in turn tell others. They while earning from their salaried contracts from JEEP are able to price down their services thus affecting market rates tremendously.

Such is the nature of business right now but the men have managed overall to eek out some small profits or break even in some instances. The psycho-social bit is also being examined and elements of the soon to be concluded Enterprise Training that I am apart of are being reviewed with modifications of course for this cohort; the men are also being encouraged to save as best as possible and consolidate on certain things such as food purchases and so on, two of the men are in fact in a long term relationship so their money management issues are a little better off than the others one of whom has a son from a previous opposite gender relationship. Encouragement has come from the mostly mixed Christian heterosexual group although the teething challenges were numerous they have settled and are now seemingly looking past sexual orientation although there is a push by at least one person for some type of reparative work and prayer for change. The Christmas treat held last year is still fresh in the men’s mind as there were new comers in the lot and the grocery packages though small are welcomed by them saving time and money to fetch such items on their own. My concern is to move them from just mere tokenism to more independent thinking and devising their own way to fend for themselves, the necessitated rotation of the machines has become a blessing in disguise as it has come to teach the men sharing and patience major tools in diligence building and the all important life-plan efficacious activity seems more eminent than before as the anger and resentment from being displaced slowly subsides. We are seeking a qualified professional with counselling expertise to do one on one work with them to move to the next step as the project becomes more formalised.

I had an idea to divert a few of them to a program on catering but it soon dawned on me that with independence it would have been difficult to ask them to make such a separation to non income status although the training would make them qualified and also the hours needed to seek business are also the same hours for classes so it would have been a catch 22 situation.

I am feeling a little better seeing some of the displaced and homeless MSM/Transgender persons are being addressed but it is in no way near the answers needed as others elsewhere on the island struggle with a myriad of issues. A community influential in Mandeville has recently taken on a few in his home for a short time while in St Ann an influential who was assisting some men there has given up due to the behavioural challenges and pilfering has caused him to discontinue any further assistance. I nearly got to that place as well after my own experience in July last year when I took in a youngster only to have to put him out three days after as he brought a sex buddy to my home without expressed permission or prior notification, such as the challenges with community based shelter assistance. That is precisely when several more privileged gay/bi persons do not assist separate and apart from the classism and snobbery that obtains in the our “community”

We are thinking of devising an aggressive fund raising activity incorporating various means, donations of cash and kind have been slowly kicking in from persons in the know of the project and I have sent over donations as well thanks to my donors via my blogs through Paypal online and a cheque recently delivered to me by a long time reader residing here of which we are grateful. Each one reach one as Babbie Mason would say in her song.

Peace and tolerance

H

also see:

Interfaith Group Pledges Continued Support for Homeless MSM in St Catherine

GLBTQ Jamaica in conjunction with several individuals and a church group hosted a treat and some words of encouragement for the brothers.

Homeless MSM populations treated over the Christmas season

Young MSM/Transgender want to be treated as citizens not potential HIV/AIDS victims

More and more I seem to be coming across young gay, transgender and bisexual youth who feel weary it seems from the over supply of pinch leave an inch condoms, pamphlets and paraphernalia on safer sex and AIDS and other related materials as multiple agencies jostle to reach what has basically become the same cohort on the face of it of males for the most part in the quest for HIV prevention but where are the more meaningful outreach and interventions for holistic development and nurture?

Some in the know may say that funding is hardly available for those kinds of developmental work (which maybe true in a sense but still sounds more like an apology for slackness and maintaining the old status quo) and indeed the more cynical would go as far as to say it is not the agencies involved best interest to do or offer such meaningful interventions as that will diminish their cohort of potential service users and thus nothing to report hence no need to prepare programs only to seek future funds, after all agencies exist to supposedly help but how many persons are actually being helped or impressive success stories to prove same while old narratives are still being used to suggest that gay/bi men do not have access to safer sex implements which is a lie.

CVM Newscast of the Cargill Avenue eviction where the truckmen/movers found and commented on the condoms they found
CVM Newscast of the Cargill Avenue eviction where the truckmen/movers found and commented on the condoms they found

also see: Homeless MSM/Trans youth draw attention in New Kingston

Homeless MSM having their version of fun recently by the infamous Gully nearing  the Island Car Rentals office
Homeless MSM having their version of fun recently by the infamous Gully nearing the Island Car Rentals office
From the Millsborough Avenue embarrasing eviction of some of the homeless MSM/Trans persons last year, condom wrapper is clearly visible
From the Millsborough Avenue embarrassing eviction of some of the homeless MSM/Trans persons last year, condom wrapper is clearly visible
More condom wrappers indicating that the men are only seen as HIV Prevention targets, what about other developmental work?
More condom wrappers indicating that the men are only seen as HIV Prevention targets, what about other developmental work?

The complaints and reports still come almost on a monthly basis these days of some homo-negative outcome somewhere on the island and the phone calls of requests for money or some form of assistance are growing in frequency too as economic issues abound. There agencies that run and managed by powerful gay persons who have the clout to solves this long standing matter of displacements seeing we have both hard and anecdotal evidence that tells us in no uncertain terms that those are visible consequences of stigma, homophobia and homo-negativity.

Take for example this flashback: UNIMPRESSED WITH THE CVM TV SHOW ON MSM HOMELESSNESS

The September 6th 2012 appearance of representatives from The National Council of Drug Abuse and AIDSFREEWORLD’s Maurice Tomlinson to address the recent public eviction of homeless MSM from Cargill Avenue was at best damage control to another embarrassment regarding the poor response from the relevant LGBT agencies. JFLAG WAS NOT PRESENT AT THIS CVM TV LIVE @ SEVEN Program The attempt to use old programmatic language by Maurice Tomlinson to suggest MSM have no access to condoms while the CVM newscast itself showed the movers holding the condoms in their hands they found on the site and saying the men were practising safer sex should be instructive to ALL in view.

Young gay men as indicated above are also becoming weary of the way they are viewed despite the aforementioned concerns in a group session over the past week some young men some of whom were teetering on homelessness were invited to a meeting called by a community influential who is concerned about the numbers of them on the streets mostly from Kingston, Portmore and Spanish Town (excluding the five who are helped by a church/LGBTQ group in an ongoing weed whacking project) where they aired some issues they had it was instructive that some of them had a barrage of condoms on their person and laughed at the exposure of them as they accidentally fell from a bag of one of the attendees. He joked “All dem do a full mi up wid boots” (all they do is full me up with condoms) “boots” is the colloquial expression for condoms but something happened after the initial laughter died down as it seems the realization that they were having trouble finding permanent shelter or other crisis issues ongoing were real and that “boots” cannot be a solution whenever they are met by the various outreach teams as part of the HIV prevention strategy. The homeless men for example who have been making the news in New Kingston have been receiving food items once a week but is that enough? They too have had loads of condoms thrown at them as we have seen repeatedly on the television newscasts and other videos covering them. What about the deeper issues and personal concerns they have. The men in the meeting of which I was present were asked to fill out a random list of what they require and their lists read as a call for items and things you and I may have probably not considered important as we enjoy those amenities or interactions on a daily basis and indeed take them for granted. The simple lament by the boots carrying man screams far more than just the obvious since they fell in such a great numbers, one could easily count thirty or so. The conversation continued after the list creation exercise and what came out was a stunner to me despite my knowledge of how some persons feel about the whole scenario as older displaced men in time have echoed a similar sentiment with some level of frustration.

The ideal scenario would be a meeting place for group session and support meetings

Steady supply of food cooked or uncooked

Shelter and some sort of transitional living program towards independence

Educational or skills building opportunities

Guidance on developing and executing life plans through self efficacious activity not just limited to HIV prevention

Exploring the arts and possible skills linked to cross dressing aesthetics and affinity to cosmetics (drag culture, forced feminization and female cisgenderistic presentations for male to female transgender persons in the group)

But by the sound of the lament and the subsequent tete a tete the men are not satisfied; theirs is a perception that more privileged homosexuals control tons of money in funding and that the money is being spent on non essential things such as court cases, fat cat salaries and perks while persons who are on the lower socio totem pole are just relegated to being “victims” or service users and nothing more, doomed to get HIV (if they do not have it already) or waiting to die. Such were the tones in the ensuing discourse. Recent history has unfortunately given some credence to these perceptions as feelings of abandonment of the aforementioned homeless men in New Kingston still linger from the repeated news headlines, shenanigans and police interventions of that population and believe me word travels whenever there is any such occurrences. The men in the long and short of it want to be seen as human beings that deserve respect as one older person claims that there is favouritism as well in how interventions are carried out by some agencies and their representatives. Why are some powerful advocates and personalities in HIV/MSM prevention in particular refusing to go this route of real life changing intervention rollouts is still not clear to some, the departure of a Board Chair of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life also has not gone down so comfortably with myself and others as her stance on homelessness was supportive for the most part despite the run-ins with the men and the stoning incidents on their former offices at Upper Musgrave Avenue yet by the soundings out there one particular former chair but who still sits on the bench has been haggling against any such proactive moves to address homelessness which does not surprise me as he was the chair when the Safe House Pilot was closed with no psycho-social interventions allowed to stop the “bad behaviour” that was used a justification to take such final actions on a needed project.

My part in the whole affair however was to offer some encouragement to the lads in the scheme of things especially owing to the fact that one of the men’s friends was hospitalised recently for a brief illness but how can words heal when the real life toughness abounds and affect their present reality? Then we turn around and wonder why the anti social behaviours are happening when it is obviously clear to those looking that such are only means to an end to forget if only for a fleeting moment the worries of the hour. It is also interesting that as a group the men are indeed “rowdy” (word used by voices in the gay lobby to describe them also “maladjusted miscreants” showing the elitist side to this) but as individuals is it amazing what comes flying out of them in a one on one session discussing real life matters yet they are for all intents and purposes made to become martyrs in a sense for a cause that they might not have subscribed to in ordinary circumstances when asked to do so. Leaving them out in the cold for so long seems unethical on the face of it then allowing the numbers to reach levels where they can be used and paraded as “concerned” advocates make themselves look good in coming to their rescue. We are not fooled by the deception but let us see how long the using will take place and if really any proper productive end will come of the recently announced shelter idea, yet another one.

Some indigenous groups such as the aforementioned St Catherine weed whacking project group, Colour Pink (aligned to the aforementioned JASL) and Aphrodite’s PRIDE Jamaica of which I am performing Outreach and Facilitation duties for their Enterprise Training Project for more stable formerly displaced MSM/Trans and Lesbian individuals are addressing in their own way psycho-social issues and other concerns such as jobs and education development but we know where some of the blame of all this lies at the feet of these same agencies who only do enough to look as if they are addressing some issues but not with a view to adequately address what they take on only for the interventions to last out for experts have jobs it seems. Others seem more interested in media whoring possibly to satisfy a narcissistic complex at the expense of the least amongst us and then we wonder why we are here with an exploding displaced and homeless grouping and advocacy in limbo in the face of steady HIV/AIDS infection rates in the MSM cohort.

The APJ training for example we stay far away as a possible from an over preponderance of HIV messaging and instead go for positive reinforcement in terms of identity, coming out and so on.

Some things to think about but who is brave enough to say it openly when their snouts are in the troughs?

Integrity in advocacy anyone?

Peace and tolerance

H

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

As the rulings in India and Australia makes the rounds worldwide as to their respective losses of gay marriage rights we got some celebratory soundings from the religious right corner on social media as a victory of sorts on supposed wholesome living; as if same gender loving couples outside of exploitive same sex reasons as we know those exist cannot have and enjoy monogamous unions and associated state recognition and rights as privileged heterosexual couples. At not time in Jamaica am I aware of any call by local lobbyists for same sex marriage rights and benefits but the fear-mongering coming from the theocracy one is led to believe that there is some Gestapo at work to suppress free speech although sometimes there is overstep by sections of the lobby and indeed mistakes are made.

JCHS logo

Battle Lines Javed Jaghai versus the state & the Jamaica Buggery Law

Human Rights Day 2013 the anti gay group Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS held an outdoor conference at the Emancipation Park in New Kingston where they for the most part planted fear in the minds of the public claiming the gay lobby and its agenda is to in essence silence the church with future laws to silence clergy and force marriage officers to marry gay persons even if they do not agree. Shirley Richards past president of the Lawyers’Christian Fellowship and co-founder of the JCHS said in a radio interview as the session was in progress that the event was to put human rights within their proper context and to develop a proper perspective of same, she said her group is concerned how human rights is being interpreted and applied and there are some things missing. She continued that the autonomy of the individual cannot be the sum total of human rights she likened the thrust to a right to destroy unborn babies, to destroy oneself sexually and values on a whole so she thinks the church needs to intervene and supposedly stop the madness. Dr Wayne West lead voice for the JCHS also spoke in that same interview and echoed Mrs Richards perspective adding a prophetic role and understanding the philosophical perspective by some and imposing same on society so the JCHS’s role is to interpret same for the Christian community (excluding LGBT ones I imagine). See: Miss Richard’s earlier paranoia here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiIjmj9kJds

Guest speaker one Brian Camenker of a US based anti gay pro straight family group Mass Resistance led the fear-mongering of gay marriage imposition and forced legislation to same while also forcing children to cross dress blatantly showing his ignorance to transgenderism. He repeated plugged his book “What same-sex “marriage” has done to Massachusetts” he claimed that the international lobby is about to impose homosexuality on the nation as done in the United States by massaging our Prime Minister and laws that contradict God’s law is the beginning of a slippery slope; he lamented that the gay pride parade was a way to psychologically impose the lifestyle to include open cross dressing, masochists and so called “other profane acts” (in a gay pride!? really!) then he went on to say that the church will be mocked and the subsequent non discrimination laws and that businesses were forced to accept gay business; he sited a case of a catholic couple who refused business of gays in their hotel and were sued. He then complained of gays must not be allowed to adopt children and that schools were having all day events celebrating gay activities. All this without any proper sitting of the information just pure fear-mongering and to think this was coming from a white foreigner the audience just sat there and accepted this simplistic presentation. He also claimed gay marriage was forced on his home state of Boston.

He claimed that gay marriage has had many disturbing side effects “I’ll mention just one, we were working with a Christian woman a single mother  her son is in the fifth grade, the teacher is a lesbian who constantly tells the class about her wife this has traumatised the boy terribly because it’s against the families beliefs; I went with the mother to meet the school principal to talk about it, the principal told us that because gay marriage is legal that the mother doesn’t have a choice  in that matter.” He then went on to conflate transgenderism with homosexuality by saying that the next item on the agenda is the call for state funding to solve problems caused by homosexuality; he claimed the state and federal governments are being asked in his sate to spend enormous amounts on HIV/AIDS caused by homosexual behaviours, he claimed gay on gay violence is an epidemic as it is gays who are killing gays. He claimed the non discrimination laws on transgenderism is a ploy to allow children to wear opposite sex attire and use mixed bathrooms as well and teachers who do not comply are punished; all this Mr Carmenker pronounced loudly on the stage without any backing information or links to access same while the audience agreed with him in rousing chants at each sentence. Then came the conflation with abuse and same gender sex a mixup that even the JCHS has repeatedly done as covered on this blog as well; he claimed that persons are for the most part introduced to homosexual sex through abuse as if no one is born homosexual. He warned that locals must not allow buggery to be decriminalized as free speech will disappear and gay marriage rights is next to force clergy to marry gay persons. He kept referring to the lobbyists as gay profane mobs. He claimed that a meeting such as the one he was speaking is not possible in Boston which sounds on the surface as a lie. During the one hour event there was no outcry for violence towards persons who are gay or different and obvious non Christian passers-by used their way of showing approval with gun gesticulations, boom bye bye and no batty boi sound offs.

apologies for the glitches but the source feed was tacky …. video for non profit purpose and review only

Just days before CVM TV showed a television special entitled Battle Lines: Javed Jaghai versus the State which also featured the JCHS and others who literally fear the simply decriminalization of buggery to allow consent in private while criminalizing abusers and non consensual perpetrators of whatever gender. I will admit that the leading lobbyists locally have been sloppy in certain respects in the push as they only recently changed their position on buggery from a full repeal to decriminalization which took too long to occur given the opposition over the life of the struggle from their 15 years in operation.

So it’s not us at the altar any time soon if they religious right have their way, we must never have a stable family life albeit I am not into relationships but do support those who choose same. Creating fear and panic in those as if homosexuals are here to force everyone else to be so, poisoned aren’t we?

Please these previous posts as well from this and sister blogs:

Betty Ann Blaine & foreign religious zealots continue their paranoia & misrepresentations 

Gay Parenting (a view on the ground) (repost from 09) …….. International Family Day

The unofficial practice by churches in using marriage to cure homosexuality

Sexual Reproduction for Same Sex Couples?

Will same-sex marriages ever be accepted in Jamaica? (2009)

Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS continued confusion of paedophilia & consenting homosexuality.

‘Don’t Bow To Gay Pressure’ – Crusaders Urge Jamaicans To Stand By Buggery Law

Dr Wayne West’s continued intellectual dishonesty on fisting felching & chariot racing by homosexuals in Jamaica

also of interest is this discussion on separation of church and state on local TV in November 2013

Peace and tolerance

H

Transgender Day of Rememberance 2013: Gully Queen, Barbie Love & Britney Boudashious gone too soon

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the venue of the gig where the attack took place
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empty room of Dwayne/Gully Queen at the captured house where she once lived with her friends

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Dwayne Jones (Gully Queen) in good times

As news spread of Gully Queen’s death it became apparent to me that another young transwoman had not been allowed the chance to fulfil her female cisgender imperative and was too inexperienced to realise that it was important to choose wisely who one shares certain information with.

Dwayne Jones was relentlessly teased in high school for being effeminate until he dropped out. His father not only kicked him out of the house at the age of 14 but also helped jeering neighbours push the youngster from the rough Jamaican slum where he grew up.

By age 16, the teenager was dead — beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a car when he showed up at a street party dressed as a woman. His mistake: confiding to a friend that he was attending a “straight” party as a girl for the first time in his life.

“When I saw Dwayne’s body, I started shaking and crying,” said Khloe, one of three friends who shared a derelict house with the teenager in the hills above the north coast city of Montego Bay. Like many transgender and gay people in Jamaica, Khloe wouldn’t give a full name out of fear. Pity as well as homelessness which has been ignored for years in the LGBT advocacy structure featured most prominently in this case and to think after the furore and public cynicism the house where the guys remained was firebombed with very little proactive measures taken by JFLAG and the others handling the case file so more victims ended up being made instead of redress and closure. Thankfully no one was badly hurt after that ordeal but the aforementioned agencies failure over the years to properly provide programs and interventions for LGBT youth is telling and many incidents could have been avoided.

Even though some 300 people were at the dance party in the small riverside community of Irwin, police have yet to make a single arrest in Dwayne’s murder. Police say witnesses have said they couldn’t see the attackers’ faces.

Dwayne was the centre of attraction shortly after arriving in a taxi at 2 am with his two 23-year-old housemates, Khloe and Keke. Dwayne’s expert dance moves, long legs and high cheekbones quickly made him the one that the guys were trying to get next to.

Like many Jamaican homosexuals, Dwayne was careful about confiding in others about his sexual orientation. But when he saw a girl he had known from church, he told her he was attending the party in drag.

Minutes later, according to Khloe and Keke, the girl’s male friends gathered around Dwayne in the dimly-lit street asking: “Are you a woman or a man?” One man waved a lighter’s flame near Dwayne’s sneakers, asking whether a girl could have such big feet.

Then, his friends said, another man grabbed a lantern from an outdoor bar and walked over to Dwayne, shining the bright light over him from head to toe. “It’s a man,” he concluded, while the others hissed “batty boy” and other anti-gay epithets.

Khloe says she tried to steer him away from the crowd, whispering in Dwayne’s ear: “Walk with me, walk with me.” But Dwayne pulled away, loudly insisting to partygoers that he was a girl. When someone behind him snapped his bra strap, the teen panicked and raced down the street.

But he couldn’t run fast enough to escape the mob.

The teenager was viciously assaulted and apparently half-conscious for some two hours before another sustained attack finished him off, according to Khloe, who was also beaten and nearly raped. She hid in a nearby church and then the surrounding woods, unable to call for help because she didn’t have her mobile phone.

Dwayne’s father in the Montego Bay slum of North Gully didn’t want to talk about his son’s life or death. The teen’s family wouldn’t even claim the body, according to Dwayne’s friends.

They remembered him as a spirited boy with a contagious laugh who dreamt of becoming a performer like Lady Gaga. He was also a street-smart hustler who resorted to sleeping in the bushes or on beaches when he became homeless. He won a local dancing competition during his time on the streets and was affectionately nicknamed “Gully Queen.”

“He was the youngest of us but he was a diva,” Khloe said. “He was always very feisty and joking around.”

Inside their squatter house, Khloe and Keke said, they still talk to their dead friend.

“I’ll be cooking in the kitchen and I’ll say, ‘Dwayne, you hungry?’ or something like that,” said Keke while sitting on the old mattress in her bedroom, flinching as neighbourhood dogs barked outside. “We just miss him all the time. Sometimes I think I see him.”

But down the hall, Dwayne’s room is empty except for pink window curtains decorated with roses, his favourite flower

Dwayne Jones (Gully Queen) Last Appearance prior to his murder notice the reporter said he was gay hence the other issue with crisis reporting of LGBT matters and this has always affected the credibility of the lobby’s voice

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IgRDhESyc4

also this month we lost Britney Boudashious the reigning Miss LGBT World who was murdered in November, she was to hand over the crown at this year’s gala event but she did not make it, no clear motive has been established for her demise.

Britney’s Crowning in 2012
her glorious moment after such hard work and practice to get there

rest in peace daaaaahlin’

see more here on Gay Jamaica Watch

Barbie making front page news on the now defunct XNEWS

also see: Disturbed by Xnews Story on Drag Queen and Gay Cop or HERE

also flashback to: International Day of Transgender Remembrance 2011

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Good times at Diva Kerry’s Bday bash in 2011
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fierceness

then the other shocker in August as the popular socialite Barbie Love passed after a brief illness, you may remember her public appearances that were not so positive but she brought visibility to the cross dressing and transwoman communities in 2009 as photo shows below when the XNews published a sensationalistic article and the on Television where she was arrested after a cruising hookup went bad then public, subsequently she sealed her fame by granting an exclusive interview on Ragashanti live

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6oxzlXxBH4

see: Ragga Shanti Interviews Jamaican Drag Queen Part 1 & 2 !

To all three ladies REST IN PEACE and we will miss you.

Peace and tolerance

H

World Council of Churches Supports Gay and Intersex People

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by Richard S. Ehrlich | Bangkok, Thailand

A ten-day meeting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) ended in South Korea after expressing support for the world’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community, reunification of the war-torn Korean peninsula, African rape victims and others.

“Some 5,000 Christians, representing more than 300 churches from more than 100 countries” gathered in Busan from October 30 to November 8 at the WCC Assembly which meets every seven years, the organization said on its Facebook page.

In the WCC’s closing prayer, South Africa’s Father Michael Lapsley mentioned his “Facebook friends” and said “God is not limited in the way wisdom is delivered to the human family. For example, I regularly read my NRSV Bible downloaded free on my Samsung phone.”

Lapsley also expressed support for HIV-AIDS sufferers, African rape victims, and honored “the Armenian genocide” of 1915.

“Today I want to say as a Christian, as a priest, to all the LGBTI community, I am deeply sorry for our part as religious people, in the pain you have experienced across the ages,” Lapsley said, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

“I have a dream that in my lifetime, I will hear all the leaders of all our great faith traditions making the same apology,” Lapsley said.

“Whilst we have been here in Busan, it was decided in Germany that children could for the first time be registered as male, female, or the space could be left blank — an historic step towards relieving and acknowledging the pain for those who are born intersexed or find themselves to be transgendered.

“We know, as St. Paul taught us, that in Christ there is neither male nor female,” Lapsley said.

The WCC also broadcast messages on an Internet-linked video “news program” including interviews with the Archbishop of Canterbury and others, plus a report on the gigantic “Smoky Mountain” garbage dump where impoverished people pick among trash to find items to recycle on the outskirts of Manila, capital of the predominantly Catholic Philippines.

“The Assembly took action by adopting statements and minutes on issues including peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula,” the WCC said.

“The WCC brings together churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 500 million Christians and including most of the world’s Orthodox churches, scores of Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, as well as many United and Independent churches,” the WCC said.

“At the end of 2012, there were 345 member churches. While the bulk of the WCC’s founding churches were European and North American, today most member churches are in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific,” it said.

 

*************Richard S. Ehrlich is a Bangkok-based journalist from San Francisco, California, reporting news from Asia since 1978, and recipient of Columbia University’s Foreign Correspondent’s Award. He is a co-author of three non-fiction books about Thailand, including “Hello My Big Big Honey!” Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews60 Stories of Royal Lineage; and Chronicle of Thailand: Headline News Since 1946. Mr. Ehrlich also contributed to the final chapter, Ceremonies and Regalia, in a new book titled King Bhumibol Adulyadej, A Life’s Work: Thailand’s Monarchy in Perspective.

His websites are:
http://asia-correspondent.tumblr.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/animists/sets
https://gumroad.com/l/RHwa

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Former Miss LGBT World on being Transgender in Jamaica

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The following is a post done earlier this year with Miss LGBT World 2009 and dancehall queen winner Tiana Miller who granted an interview. Also see other posts for the week:

Transgender Awareness Week 2013

Transgender Awareness Week 2013: Internalized Transphobia

Tiana Miller. (Photos courtesy of Tiana Miller)

Last week, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, 16-year-old Dwayne Jones was shot and stabbed multiple times for turning up to a party in women’s clothing. Jones was reportedly transgender and the murder has once again highlighted the awful reality of life for Jamaica’s LGBT community. And it really is fucking awful.

In 2006, TIME magazine called Jamaica “the most homophobic place on Earth,” and the anti-gay sentiment prevalent in the country’s media and most popular musical genre, dancehall, has been well-documented. The Jamaica Gleaner, one of the country’s largest newspapers, regularly publishes stories about the gay community with a homophobic slant. Last month, it referred to a group of men who were evicted from an abandoned house as a “gay clan” and ran an op-ed (in the year 2013) that rubbished the idea of being born gay, saying people who are attracted to the same sex actively decide to do so, in much the same way that they decide to “eat snails (like the French)” or “like the taste of jackfruit.”

In the wake of Jones’ death, I got in touch with Tiana Miller, a transgender Jamaican, who hopes that her openness about her gender and sexuality will inspire others to display similar levels of bravery.

VICE: Hi Tiana. So, back to the start—at what age did you first realize that you were transgender?
Tiana Miller: It was at around age five when I first started thinking like a female. Then I gradually came to the realization that I felt more comfortable in a female skin. It was difficult. Because of the social norms of my country, I really felt as if I was doing something wrong.

Were your family and friends supportive?
Yes, they were, especially my dad.

That’s good. What about Jamaican society as a whole? Do you agree with the description of the country as, “the most homophobic place on Earth”?
Yes, I do. The challenges that we face are difficulties in surviving, as they relate to jobs, education, and housing. High school was OK for me because I hadn’t transformed yet, but it’s hard now education-wise because I would love to get a college degree, but can’t because they won’t allow me in college.

That’s awful. I’d imagine gay people in Jamaica are quite economically disadvantaged if they are unable to get a decent education or find work.
Yes, they are forced to be poor. The lucky ones are those who find rich partners and dedicate their lives to them.

There have been a few high-profile cases of police brutality towards gay people in Jamaica. Do you feel that the police give transgender people the protection they deserve?
No, they definitely don’t. Homeless transgenders are on the street, and the police—who should be their protectors—have literally run them down and chased them because of their lifestyle.

Is homelessness a common problem for transgender people?
Yes, and they are homeless because they have difficulties in sourcing income to rent houses or locate safe houses to live in.

Have you been physically attacked due to your gender?
Yes, I have been attacked before. I ran, so I didn’t suffer much harm. But naturally this had a traumatising effect on me.

So I take it there are a lot of areas that are out of bounds for gay and transgender people.
Naturally there are. This applies to anywhere where there are slums.

Some of the homophobic attacks over there have been horrific. I remember hearing about a gay rights activist who was killed before people celebrated over his body. Doesn’t stuff like that make you fear for your safety?
Yes, it does. I put myself out there, but I’m still aware of how vicious these homophobic homosapiens are.

Are there many people who dare to be open about their sexuality?
The gay and transgender communities aren’t united, as people fear for their lives, so not many people actually identify themselves with the communities.

So do you consider yourself brave for being so open about your gender and sexuality?
Yes, I am brave. If I wish to see a change, I myself have to inspire it. I had to put myself out there and make myself seen so that people know that transgenders do exist and see that we are normal people trying to live our everyday lives like human beings. We need people like myself who are willing to challenge this country and its government.

The media often hold dancehall culture responsible for the homophobia in Jamaica—what’s your view on that?
I think the main contribution comes from the church and their social ethics concerning what is right and wrong. It puzzles me how cruel human beings can be and how biased they are because the church claims that we are demons and bashes us instead of trying to counsel us.

Yeah, it seems a little illogical.
I know, right? But, like, seriously—I care zero.

So I take it there isn’t much of an LGBT nightlife scene where you are? 
Well, there was, but there’s nothing now—just regular venues that they rent to us.

Do you think Jamaica will ever get round to changing its anti-sodomy laws and modernizing its stance on homosexuality?
Well, it actually seems to be on the verge of doing this.

Because gay culture is growing or because of pressure from other countries?
Both. But time will tell, and I don’t wish to make predictions.

Where do you see yourself in that battle?
I see myself as being the first transgender to be an ambassador for the country. I want to advocate for human rights, be a feminist choreographer and also be a whole lot of other things.

Great. Thanks, Tiana.

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

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

HEAR THE AUDIO OF THE SESSION HERE and HERE

Welcome to the Caribbean Court of Justice

MAURICE TOMLINSON & TOM DECKER

The Caribbean Court of Justice heard on November 12th an application against the governments of Belize and Trinidad in which Maurice Tomlinson is challenging the immigration laws of both countries. The hearing was scheduled for two days, but it concluded today, shortly after noon. Tomlinson is Jamaica’s prominent supporter of the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. His challenge is premised on the notion that the existing legislations infringe on his right to free movement, dignity and equality within the region, as preserved in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, signed in 2001.  The application for special leave to commence proceedings in the matter was held via teleconference inside the chamber of Justice Michelle Arana.  Tomlinson, the former husband of Acting Solicitor General of Belize, Michele Daly, who has left Belize, has visited the country on two occasions without any problems and has visited Trinidad and Tobago four times with no one aware of his homosexuality. He recently refused invitations by organizations to speak at their conferences and events because he discovered that the laws in both states appear to directly prohibit homosexuals from landing in each country. In Belize’s case he was to visit at the request of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) last January for a training session.

The fact that he wasn’t prohibited from entering Belize forms the basis of government’s argument that Tomlinson should not be granted leave by the appellate court to seek legal action.  Section Five of Belize’s Immigration Act forbids, among other listed groups, “any prostitute or homosexual or any person who may be living on or receiving or may have been living on or receiving the proceeds of prostitution or homosexual behavior.” Tomlinson, since ending his relationship with Daly, has remarried Tom Decker, a Canadian pastor in New York.  Following today’s proceedings, Acting Solicitor General Nigel Hawke contended that the law in practice is not so narrowly interpreted and in any case Tomlinson has not come here to challenge the law. If he did, Hawke said, he would find that he was welcome here both in the ordinary sense and as a skilled national.

Section 5 of Belize’s Immigration Act – Chapter 156 of the Laws of Belize – lists among the categories of prohibited immigrants “any prostitute or homosexual or any person who may be living on or receiving or may have been living on or receiving the proceeds of prostitution or homosexual behavior…”

Tomlinson’s case was featured in a press release last December from AIDS Free World, an organization of which he is a leading member. That organization called Section 5 of Belize’s Immigration Act “offensive and overbroad.”

It furthermore said that, “Only two countries in the Western Hemisphere, Belize and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, arbitrarily ban the entry of homosexuals as a ‘prohibited class’.”

Belize contends, though, that the law is not a blanket prohibition against homosexuals – but there is a clear commercial dimension to it, where the prohibition is directed at the earning of proceeds from such activities – as would be the case for prostitution and commercial sexual exploitation.

Tomlinson said that the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) had invited him to Belize to conduct training and sensitization sessions in January 2013, and after having learned of the provisions of the Immigration Act, he declined the invitation because he is unwilling to break the law to conduct these sessions.

Nigel Hawke, Acting Solicitor General, Belize

NIGEL HAWKE

“Basically the court heard arguments from the applicant, heard arguments from Belize and Trinidad, remember this is an application for special leave.  We made our arguments basically saying that we have a certain interpretation of the Immigration Act, our Immigration Act.  Trinidad made their application and the court has reserved its ruling on the issue of application for special leave.  Our position is that the law is interpreted a certain way, our provision is interpreted a certain way.  It is in relation to persons who profit or earn from either prostitution or homosexuality.  That is our position.”

Reporter

“I notice that you said that that won’t change and our position has been when Mr. Tomlinson was here in Belize that he got free entry and exit into the country.”

Nigel Hawke

“That’s from the standpoint that he is saying that we are saying first that there was no actual prejudice and that is clear.  Nobody is disputing that.  The question here is whether there is a potential prejudice because he says the law there is an impediment to his free movement, in particular to Belize.  We are saying no.  We are saying, based on our interpretation, it is not.  So even if that particular provision remains there our submission, our formal submission is that it remains a provision that only applies to a particular situation.  That is basically it.”

Reporter

“Could you address the comment made in court that the laws that were made were promulgated in a time when society was more homophobic and also that in this day and age with the Caribbean Community Single Market and Economy that there are laws in countries such as Belize that need to be aligned with community laws?”

Nigel Hawke

“Bear in mind that that comment was made by Mr. Senior Counsel Jairam.  I think that is his understanding or opinion in respect of that law.  Yes, you concede see the fact that there are some laws in our book that are outdated but we maintain even with respect to this particular aspect of our law, it has been repeated in our Free Movement National Act and I think parliament must have meant something why they put it there.  This was a law to deal with the persons who come into Belize for employment purposes and we submit that that also gives some kind of clarity as to what meaning the legislation attaches to that particular provision in our Immigration Act.”

Reporter

“Sir, the attorney for the other side said that this particular case has no reference to that skilled labor so it shouldn’t be considered.”

Nigel Hawke

“That’s his submission; he has a right to make his submission.  That is his submission and we respect that but we’ve made our submission.”

The judges of the Caribbean Court of Justice have reserved judgment in the matter. See more HERE  and HERE

Trinidad & Tobago through its lawyer, Law Association President Seenath Jairam, SC, appearing with Wayne Sturge and three other attorneys, argued that what is relevant in determining whether a treaty had been violated was the impeached state’s practice. He argued that Trinidad and Tobago had a policy of non enforcement of the law, which he interpreted to refer to homosexuals and not homosexual prostitutes as Belize argued. The allegedly offending provisions in both laws (primarily sections 5(1)(e) of the Belize Immigration Act and 8(1) (e)of the Trinidad and Tobago Act) are almost identical. Jairam supported his arguments with such cases as the recent Shanique Myrie decision, which was repeatedly referenced in the proceedings.

Jairam argued that because Trinidad and Tobago’s state practice was such that it didn’t prevent homosexuals from entering and that because Tomlinson was not prevented from entering before, the application was “an academic exercise”. Tomlinson will not ever be denied entry simply by virtue of being a homosexual, he declared. He drew a comparison to hanging, saying that Trinidad and Tobago had laws on its books which allowed hanging but that they nonetheless did not hang. When asked by the court whether that meant that hanging was illegal, he responded that that was a matter for the constitutional court. He alluded to the fact that governments had financial constraints and that there were costs involved in repealing laws. (Incidentally that has not prevented Trinidad and Tobago from repealing other laws it wished to repeal.)

Jairam argued further that Tomlinson could have applied for a special permit from the Minister responsible for immigration as Sir Elton John did back in 2007. Gifford had earlier stated there is no waiver available to homosexuals of the prohibition in the law, and pointed the court to the section of the Trinidad and Tobago Immigration Act which permits the Minister responsible for Immigration to grant such a  permit. While Gifford argued the permit is limited to two classes of prohibited immigrants specifically mentioned in a subsection of the law, who not include homosexuals, Jairam stated the law confers broader powers and the subsection merely qualifies entry conditions for those two classes.

Justice Nelson expressed concern over whether a policy was sufficient protection of the rights guaranteed to nationals of CARICOM countries, asking rhetorically, “what happens when government changes?” He also asked Jairam non rhetorically whether the court should strike out the allegedly offending sections since they weren’t enforced. Jairam responded, to the bemusement of many in the court, that the court should not strike out the sections because that might allow terrorists to enter the country. In back and forth questioning with the justices, he conceded that both the Belize and Trinidad and Tobago laws were likely enacted “when people were  homophobic”, and that has changed.

The Justices asked all parties whether there was case law on the homosexual provisions of the immigration laws, but none had any to offer. Both states argued that their statutes on freedom of movement for skilled nationals allow their entry notwithstanding other laws, such as the homosexual prohibition, and Tomlinson as a lawyer could have availed himself of such a provision for entry. But the Court was clear that the case was not about entry of a skilled national and that such entry was in the specific context of employment and skill certification. This prompted a series of questions as to whether a prostitute could enter to deliver a lecture instead of to acquire earnings through his/her trade.

Both Belize and Trinidad and Tobago argue that Tomlinson’s rights have not been breached as he has not been denied entry and that is the Treaty has therefore not been engaged. Gifford  responded to the State’s arguments by reiterating that a policy was just a policy and was subject to change with any given government. He also reiterated that the mere existence of the laws, whether they were enforced or not, was sufficient to restrict a person’s rights. It’s like putting up a sign that says “No homosexuals”, regardless to what your actual practice is.

Putting LGBT on Caribbean Sexual Violence Agenda

The exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) persons in the discussion and planning to address sexual violence, was brought into focus by United and Strong as the organization added its voice to a regional workshop staged in Saint Lucia by the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA).

The Caribbean Regional Gender Workshop on Sexual Violence in the Caribbean, Status and Needs Including in Humanitarian Situations, saw thirty-four government and NGO representatives from twelve countries attending. The three-day workshop reviewed a strategy, initiated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to reduce gender-based sexual violence and provide a framework for action and guidance in regional and in-country gender-related activities.

The three-day workshop heard country and NGO reports that detailed actions by national institutions and civil society organizations to address and prevent gender-based violence. Among the presentations however only Belize, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago included LGBT persons in national plans to combat sexual violence.

“I believe it is important to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons in programs dealing with gender-based and sexual violence” states Edma Pierre, who represented U&S along with Media Consultant Maria Fontenelle. She adds, “The fact that they are also victims is often ignored and they are treated with a lack of sensitivity within the system.”

United and Strong representatives took the opportunity to highlight the risks inherent in not considering LGBT when designing responses to sexual violence, particularly in disaster and humanitarian situations. They stressed that LGBT should be given consideration across the board from the design of training; selection of staff; services provided for at risk persons; how these services are advertised; the structure of facilities, including toilets; the policies that govern safe spaces for victims of abuse and the legal challenges that can affect all of these.

The legal barrier of the Buggery law was stated as one of the chief reasons that reports from Saint Lucia did not mention LGBT in plans to reduce gender-based sexual violence and in-country gender-related activities. The meeting included representatives from PROSAF, the Massade Boys Training Centre, Voluntary Women, Saint Lucia Planned Parenthood Association, Women’s Shelter, Saint Lucia Crisis Centre, Saint Lucia CARIMAN, Gender Relations, CAFRA Saint Lucia, Family Court and Human Services.

Representatives of PROSAF, the Women’s Shelter, Gender Relations, Family Court and Human Services took the opportunity to stress that their doors were open to every victim of sexual violence. However it was recognised that reluctance to openly identify as LGBT due to fears of stigma, and the reluctance on the part of men generally, and gay men in particular, to admit to being sexually violated was a deterrent in acquiring data that would support the need for inclusion of LGBT in national planning.

Funding was also touted as a constraint. “What is being done sometimes is limited by our resources both at the international level and at the national level”, notes UNFPA gender specialist Jewell Quallo Rosberg. She states however that there is determination to tackle the wide-ranging issue of gender-based violence, “by uniting and using all our resources, not just financial but community resources, and focussing on prevention rather than trying to address the problem after it happens.”

By the conclusion of the conference, at least one country rep, Elaine Henry-McQueen of Grenada, undertook to push for the consideration of the needs of LGBT in national policy planning. Saint Lucia based government and civil society representatives also committed to continue to work in partnership going forward. There was general-consensus among regional partners to advocate for greater collaboration between the community and government to address sexual and gender-based violence as highlighted during the workshop.

- END –

U&S’ Edma Pierre (seated – first left) and Maria Fontenelle (standing – far right), with participants at Caribbean Regional Gender Workshop on Sexual Violence in the Caribbean

October 26/13 is the 17th Intersex Awareness Day

by Howie Fiedhior and Gina (of OII Australia) edited for 2013
also see:

Intersex people are people who have physical differences of sex anatomy other than brain sex alone. Their anatomical differences might include genetic, hormonal or genital differences or differences in our reproductive parts.

Happy Intersex Awareness Day to the small number of persons here in Jamaica, however here is a post I hope both intersex and non intersex persons will find informative as we do not forget to include the “I” in LGBTI agitation wordwide.

The first Intersex Awareness Day (IAD) came about when the American intersex group named Hermaphrodites with Attitude (HWA) teamed up with American Trans group Trans Menace to picket an American Association of Paediatrics (AAP) conference in Boston on 26th October 1996.

Those picketing this event were outraged that the doctors attending the conference were recommending and conducting infant genital surgery on intersex kids in order to make them more “normal”. Some of those protesting had been subjected to those kinds of surgery when they were infants.

The central message of Intersex Awareness Day (IAD) is the de-medicalisation of natural variations in a person’s sex anatomy. Intersex is not a disease, a disorder, a medical “condition”. The use of stigmatising language such as this has led to poor mental health, marginalisation even invisibilisation, and exclusion from social institutions for Intersex people.

On this day we hope to make as many people as possible aware of what intersex is and that intersex people everywhere lack those most fundamental human rights, the right to autonomy over our own bodies, the right to a life without discrimination, the right to a life without shame and secrecy.

In short it is a call for our right to an equal place in society.
Intersex is difference in the same way that eye colour or right- or left-handedness are differences or human biological variations. As with handedness or sexual orientation, societies have, in the past, looked upon human variations through the lens of prejudice and then sought ways to “cure” or eliminate that variation.

At a fundamental level homophobic bigotry, intolerance and ancient superstitions underpin contemporary mistreatment of intersex people.

Intersex people are subjected to forced gendering and surgical alterations to our bodies to “disappear” our differences in a society that regards difference in sex anatomy as deeply suspicious.

More on What is intersex?

Intersex refers to a series of medical conditions in which a child’s genetic sex (chromosomes) and phenotypic sex (genital appearance) do not match, or are somehow different from the “standard” male or female. About one in 2,000 babies are born visibly intersexed, while some others are detected later. The current medical protocol calls for the surgical “reconstruction” of these different but healthy bodies to make them “normal,” but this practice has become increasingly controversial as adults who went through the treatment report being physically, emotionally, and sexually harmed by such procedures.

Beside stopping cosmetic genital surgeries, what are intersex activists working toward?

Surgery is just part of a larger pattern of how intersex children are treated; it is also important to stop shame, secrecy and isolation that are socially and medically imposed on children born with intersex conditions under the theory that the child is better off it they didn’t hear anything about it. Therefore, it’s not enough to simply stop the surgery; we need to replace it with social and psychological support as well as open and honest communication.

What’s so significant about October 26?

On October 26, 1996, intersex activists from Intersex Society of North America (carrying the sign “Hermaphrodites With Attitude”) and our allies from Transexual Menace held the first public intersex demonstration in Boston, where American Academy of Pediatrics was holding its annual conference. The action generated a lot of press coverage, and made it difficult for the medical community to continue to neglect our growing movement. That said, events related to Intersex Awareness Day can take place throughout October and does not necessarily have to be on the 26th.

Important to Remember:
INTERSEX is not a part of transgender because intersex is not about gender. Intersex is about anatomical differences in sex.
Below are some of the differences in the experience of trans and intersex individuals
Trans:
Self-identified gender does not match apparent sex at birth.
Some human rights protection. In NSW this is limited to “recognised transgender” or people thought to be “transgendered” – 36B Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 in Australia.
Can change cardinal documents, but usually requires irreversible surgeries usually involving sterilization and applicants must not be married.
The right to marry someone of the opposite legal gender.
A full and functional reproductive system.
Physical differences limited to brain anatomy.
Transsexual people have an effective medical protocol that produces a 98% effective outcome with long-term studies and follow-ups.
The right to choose the time of surgery with extensive peer support.
The ability to participate fully and in an informed manner in their surgical and hormonal options.
Transsexual people generally have a strongly defined sense of gender – man or woman.
Can compete in sport up to and including Olympic level through established protocols.
Many effective and extensive organizations worldwide, with some NGOs attracting government funding (e.g. NSW Gender
Centre).
also see:

This blog is a combination of posts from Gay Jamaica Watch and GLBTQJA on Blogger with Exclusives as well covering LGBTQIQ2S issues in Jamaica with a no holes barred look at advocacy, political, outreach, ethical & social issues. Some crisis interventions are also covered & carried out where resources are available

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