Category Archives: Corrective Rape

Gay & Bisexual Intimate Partner Violence, Homophobic Incidents & Crisis Communication

Crisis communications

Crisis communication is not intended to answer all questions or fill all needs it is just a basic outline of options you might consider if and when you are in the midst of a crisis and need help.

Crisis is any situation that threatens the integrity or reputation of your company or NGO, usually brought on by adverse or negative media attention. These situations can be any kind of legal dispute, and misrepresentations that could be attributed to your company. It can also be a situation where in the eyes of the media or general public your company did not react to one of the above situations in the appropriate manner. This definition is not all encompassing but rather is designed to give you an idea for the types of situations where you may need to follow a plan.

For purposes of this post the omission of same gender loving women in large part is not intentional or meant to exclude them but as there are hardly any documented records of such instances but more so on the side of MSM in my archives, men who have sex with men in the broader context. Exploitative same sex relational matters do often result in some injury from an unconfirmed standpoint when the grapevine system gets wind of them but when jealousy is the reason those conflicts tend not to often lead to a murder, it seems that there has been a preoccupation with more powerful or middle class victims whose cases are used to legitimize homophobia as if only such persons suffer same.  A discussion of sorts has carried on in response to a Gleaner letter some days ago where the writer implored LGBT persons to report incidents to predominantly JFLAG while trying to differentiate intimate partner violence from genuine homophobic cases.

There is more than enough evidence to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt homophobia in Jamaica

Here is the letter firstly: Gays Should Report Violent Encounters

THE EDITOR, Sir:

One of the more unnoticed effects of living in a heteronormative society is the lack of information on, and services for, victims and perpetrators of violence in gay relationships.

This issue is almost as taboo in the (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) LGBT community as homosexuality is in the wider society. There are already so many negative stigmas attached to gay couples that no one wants to publicly voice that there are instances of violence in many gay relationships.

In the same way that men and women abuse each other in heterosexual relationships, they abuse each other in gay relationships, too. Such violence has come to be known as intimate partner violence (IPV) and is defined as physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse.

Due to the nature of gay relationships, especially in Jamaica, many victims and perpetrators of such violence are reluctant to seek help or report incidents of violence in their relationships to the police. IPV can have devastating effects on LGBT people who are already prone to other types of violence at the hands of homophobic people, especially in conservative societies. Many are also reluctant to speak out about it because of the lack of shelters for victims, the general negative sentiment towards gay people, and for some, the fear of being ‘outed’ as gay.

counselling

While this fear is understandable, it is important that victims report incidents of violence, and that perpetrators seek help through counselling to reduce and eliminate IPV. I am encouraging all LGBT people to report all incidents of violence, whether as a result of bullying or IPV, to the police as well as to Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG). And I want to use this opportunity to reiterate that J-FLAG does not condone any type of violence against any person regardless of their sexual identity.

The LGBT community and allies need to be a support system for those in need – both victims and perpetrators – and encourage people to speak out against all types of violence, both in and out of relationships.

P. ANDREW, pgjen_13@hotmail.com, St James

Sadly it seems as implied in this letter a fall in reporting from persons affected by homophobic violence or is JFLAG now finally trying to get its act together when it comes to proper data collection and archiving with evidence of same. I have been openly critical of the incident reporting mechanism they had when I went there as Admin Finance Officer doubling as Crisis Intervention and the poor record keeping of files and incomplete reports of some serious incidents at times, I had to do some major overhauling of the forms and files at the time, examples include persons with injuries yet no photos, police station reports (even rejected visits or cop service number and times) or supporting pictures or documents such as receipts from clinics or prescriptions for injury treatment or dressing and drugs added to the file to make it substantive, the follow up visits that the form calls for at the end before the file is closed or handed over to the relevant person is often blank for many cases. This poor recording keeping or data collection has had and seems to continue to have a serious dent on the all important crisis communication when it comes to public advocacy.

Crisis communication is such as important piece for Jamaica LGBTQ advocacy and more details of cases (barring names or use of pseudonyms) must be brought forward. Nearly 80% of the clients I interviewed who came into the JFLAG office to file reports the session(s) were recorded on audio, unfortunately those were lost as my successor I gathered did not monitor the files and the systems crashed with the files lost forever, so much for simple good administration.

The cynicism and disbelief from anti gay groups, religious fanatics and even legislators is clear over the years with support from media, public commentators and even the police high command dismissing prominent cases as lovers’ quarrels and these major cases are used to justify dismissing any others that have a homosexual involved while not taking into account every case on its own merit. The deceptive use of non homophobic cases by some LGBT lobbyists over the life of the struggle has not helped any either as it only seeks to reinforce the resolve by anti gay voices as we are viewed as liars when such public agitation takes place. Uncompleted court cases for example that of the John Terry matter from 2009 though the stalling at the preliminary hearing level has already revealed some familiarity with the accused and the deceased despite a note was left suggesting death for homosexuals, alleged used condoms were also said to have been found in the home, whether they have evidence of the persons therein is still unclear. The Dean Moriah matter as well sadly who was murdered earlier this year yet long before the investigations were completed some overseas based advocates rushed to judgement and paraded the matter as a homophobic incident even as the trial creeps in our court system, by the time the police high command responded the blanket dismissal of homophobic killings was the subtext of the response hence implying dishonesty by LGBT advocates and a feeling that Jamaica has been falsely labelled as homophobic.

see: September 18 for Dean Moriah Matter 

The mistrust of local advocates I fear still seems to exist in some 7 reports I have received by phone, social media and through other groups when persons are asked to engage JFLAG for example persons simply refuse and even go as far as to label the group as classist and not interested in assisting certain types of persons or feeling that their matter won’t be dealt with as they think it should. This mistrust challenge has been a concern from long before my time at the entity as while there I had a serious task gaining the trust of persons to release their inhibitions and make their reports, this leads to gross under-reporting. This is where our same gender loving sisters come in where there is a feeling that JFLAG is only for males and hence many women who are the subject of abuse, violence (corrective rape) and increasing forced evictions do not come forward.

Exploitative same sex relations as hinted above are also of significant import as men who do not identify as “gay” in the Jamaican context as “bad man” feel threatened in some way as the description (fear of feminization of any sort) for some and power differentials that obtain in this unions of sorts played out in violence for purposes of control. A constant in most of the cases over the years is the class issues right before us, there is usually a middle to high income or relatively comfortable gay man who ends up being the deceased versus a hyper-masculine type from the lower socio economic classes who often do not take any personal items of the victim after the fact and sometimes ends up using the gay panic defence strategy to suggest some sort of implied sodomatical attack to justify the self defence response to kill the person. These same hyper-masculine types have a real fear of exposure in their own class or community so the relations with other more powerful or resourced men is crucial which is also pegged on the belief gay men are more resourced and will pay for such sexual relations.

There maybe is some truth to that as to maintain stealth/secrecy some exchange may occur but the misogynistic view pegged to masculinity by Jamaican standards men do not want to feel subservient to another or in a weakened position so when something changes in that union riddled with a constant power struggle (the so called monied or resourced gay man controlling the union or sex versus the masculine prowess of the hyper-masculine brother maintaining his ground) leads to some violence as the lower resourced man responds the way he knows how that is violence as we are well taught in Jamaica so to do. Any form of disrespect is often met with a violent reaction and seeing that gay men aren’t seen as real men by general social standards the aggressor feels justified in carrying out the attack even using homophobic slurs in doing so despite the intimate familiarity between the parties. These types of cases have factored in the public domain more so than others especially owing to the fact that the victims are prominent citizens or foreigners such as UK Consul John Terry or local Ambassador Peter King, Julius Nelson (son of oppositions spokesman on National Security Dwight Nelson),

Philanthropist, community legend and party promoter Michael Melbourne victim of a trick by a hyper-masculine type
Philanthropist, community legend and party promoter Michael Melbourne victim of a trick by a hyper-masculine type

Micheal Melbourne (community influential) murdered at his apartment on Worthington Avenue or Brian Williamson whose killer “Wingee” was a part of the MSM population who also died in his own apartment. The Brian Williamson case though the motive turned out not to be a homophobic one directly the response from the public is where the evidence is strong of the homo-negative feelings that run in the Jamaican psyche, persons literally rejoiced the morning outside the building as the undertakers and police cordoned off the area to collect the body and process the crime scene. Most of those cases above have remained in the public domain for so long while not having direct homophobic causations that they inform how members of the public judge new cases as non homophobic matters.

“Steve” Lenford Harvey matter just ended with sentencing shortly but the motive is still a bit unclear as robbery seems as the original causation but upon discovery of photos on a laptop it morphed into something else with an added homophobic feature. Also see: 2 Found Guilty Of The Murder Of AIDS Activist, Steve Harvey, Sentencing September 26

Gully Queen
Transgender murder victim “Gully Queen” whose case was labelled as a homophobic case …. misdirected homophobia towards a gender non-conformist should be the correct sub-text in describing this one I suggest

also see: Female cisgender imperative thwarted: 17 year old pre-op transgender woman murdered

The Dwayne Jones murder mistmatch in its reporting has not helped either as (s)he was a transwoman but mistakenly took for a gay man crossed dressed in  a public space with a deceptive motive to trick straight males at an outdoor entertainment event in a rural district. Some activists said he was gay and used that to justify the public advocacy while others said the correct gender identity which confused some folks so some Jamaicans and public commentators simply dismissed the whole as a another gay deception with a satisfactory outcome believe or not.  The outrage that was to have been displayed was not evident except by sections of the LGBT populations.  A recent television special one year since the murder shows up the carelessness frankly of Gully Queen herself and friends that faithful night but who is going to say it openly? that in a sense she gave her own life away in a sense as they clearly thought they understood how to “pass” in public which clearly they didn’t.  See that documentary HERE …….. Host Dionne Jackson Miller takes a look at the issues of the murder of Dwayne Jones aka Gully Queen one year ago and some other related issues to do with homelessness, displacements and forced evictions of LGBT youths with guests, issues to do with passing in public, honesty & integrity about one’s real gender scream for attention in this presentation which warrants better programs from LGBTQ advocacies & interventions specific to transgender individuals navigating public life in Jamaica as misdirected homophobic violence can lead to more incidents such as the tragic murder of Gully Queen,

Other genuine cases also having persons of lesser ilk have not been put to good use to prove the active homophobia in Jamaica when it occurs in more meaningful ways, the cross dresser beating in Trelawny have been overplayed that it has no impact anymore in a sense, the JFLAG listing of cases it did some years ago only show numbers, no outcomes in terms of which were solved. There are several other cases that can be made to help the public to differentiate genuine crimes with a homophobic motive versus crimes of passion as the others are called by detractors.  Cases such as the Manchester mobbing in January 2008 comes to mind complete with photos I took of the victim when I took the report, the lesbian picketing matter in St Catherine some years ago also has photos, the stabbing incident of a transman in Half Way Tree in full view of persons is also another with strong evidence. He now resides in Canada.

LGBT History - Hated to Death Report 2004, Human Rights Watch
Now deceased man who was chopped in Trelawney in November 2002 and featured in the Human Rights Watch Report “Hated To Death” 2004

There are several points reports can be made:

The Police in some instances do take reports the problem is there are still old feelings of hate and stereotyping in the force that needs removing.

Aphrodite’s P.R.I.D.E Jamaica catering to lesbian, transgender and bisexual persons but does engage MSM via crisis intervention and has aided persons in resolving matters.

GLBTQ Jamaica of which this blog is apart continues to receive, engage persons and make referrals to those who make reports or know of incidents for the past 7 years via yours truly, Tel: 1-876-813-4942

I still recommend JFLAG despite their issues.

Quality Citizenship Jamaica, QCJ which is a lesbian, bisexual women entity more so for advocacy but they do some crisis intervention.

Peace and tolerance

also see more crisis communication related posts from sister blogs:  So Dean Moriah’s murder was NOT a homophobic killing ……. ethical issues in advocacy arise yet again

Gay Lobby May Have Lost Potential Allies (Gleaner Letter) Indeed

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

Gleaner claims new backlash towards the gay lobby due to MSM homelessness in Kingston

Jamaica Observer deliberately aiding the further discrediting of the remaining LGBTQ credibility in public advocacy……

Police crack College of Agriculture, Science and Education lecturer murder

Betty Ann Blaine on the big gay lie ..

Betty Ann Blaine on Poverty, children and the Buggery Law …. and that awful confusion of homosexuality with pedophilia 

Questions on murder/buggery case in court

The failure to address or tweak the crisis communication aspect of public advocacy is what has slowed our progress greatly in public advocacy that could have been made.

H

Brother pleads with UK Government to halt lesbian sister’s deportation …………..

According to the voice in the UK a Jamaican woman is to face deportation but she is a member of the same gender loving community women seem to have had issues in gaining asylum overall although we cannot judge so easily as each case has to be taken on its own merit but seeing that men who have sex with men are more vulnerable to homophobic violence in Jamaica they have far more cases pending, successful and deportations than the women do.

However as I have tried to point out before there has been a sharp increase in lesbophobic violence to include the previously thought African phenomenon of corrective rape, forced evictions and displacements.

Have a read of the item from the Voice first excerpted below:

‘My Sister Will Be Killed If She Is Sent Back To Jamaica’

A WEST YORKSHIRE man says his lesbian sister will be killed if she is sent back to Jamaica and is urging immigration officials to reconsider a decision to deport her.

Home

Nestfield Lopez, 24, from Leeds, told The Voice that homophobia in the Caribbean country is rife and claims that his sibling will be targeted because of her sexuality.

He said: ”We all know what Jamaicans think of gays.”

“We’ve got terrorists here that are making suicide bombs. They’ve been in prison, they come out and they can’t deport them because of human rights. What about her human rights? That’s the frustrating thing about it,” he continued.

His sister, 22-year-old, Coletane Lopez, was detained by the UK Border Agency on March 20 after her human rights application was denied.

Acting on legal advice, she had gone to Lunar House in Croydon, Surrey, where immigration claims are processed, to seek asylum for protection, but was handcuffed and transferred to Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre in Bedfordshire, where she is currently awaiting deportation.

Mr Lopez, who was unaware that his sister was gay until last December, has begun a petition to stop the process but claims her health is deteriorating day by day.

“We had a visit with her and she’s lost loads of weight. She hasn’t been eating.

She’s been worried. At one point she wanted to commit suicide. She said I’m going to kill myself because if I get sent home, I’m going to get killed anyway.”

Her deportation has been placed in the fast track system, which means she can be removed from the country within four to seven days of her case being decided.

The siblings first came to the UK with their family in 2000. Last year their parents were removed and sent back to Jamaica, but Mr Lopez, who is married with two young children, has been granted the right to remain because his partner is a British national.

Mr Lopez says that his sister will have nowhere to go if she is returned to Jamaica because even his parents refuse to accept his sister because of her sexuality.

He said: “Every time I speak to my dad, we have an argument. He says, ‘have you not thrown her out yet? Don’t give her any money and don’t look after her. You should choke her and kill her’. That’s what he’s saying to me. I’m like, ‘that’s your daughter!’ But he says, ‘Oh no. I don’t have no daughter anymore. That’s what I have to deal with!”

The Voice contacted the UK Border Agency for their response. A spokesperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”

ENDS

In continuing on the issue of displacements for SGL women due to lesbophobia women by virtue of being more social creatures in the Jamaican context easily find informal hosting services within the community or with family members as some cases have shown as lesbianism is tolerated locally than male homosexuality. Sadly in this case as excerpted above shows there maybe a serious cause for concerns and as I said above each case has to be taken on its own merit but we must also remember the reputation Jamaica on a whole has in places like the United Kingdom where we have flouted rules, committed crimes and so on.

Our cases are treated with far more scrutiny based on my limited experience with the border agency in times gone by but how do we assist persons who legitimately need to leave the island due to threats against their person?

We have seen successful cases on the other hand such as a sister who was bipolar some years ago who was brutally raped several times over by thugs (including a cousin allegedly) in her inner city community with what seemed to be tacit support from other thugs in the area at the time, she was successful however in gaining asylum in the UK in 2010, another sister who was threatened with arson of her flat in another area due to her butch mystique as it were as she wore masculine clothes and was clearly a gender non conformist given the scheme of things.

And as for advocacy for same gender loving women in Jamaica well that is much to be desired with groups such as JFLAG and a smaller outfit known as Women for Women (WFW) but since male homosexuality and the attendant issues are engaged far more with a view to repealing the buggery law which is understandable women’s issues get glossed over even in the face of the aforementioned increases in violence and stigma to sgl women especially the members or self identified butches who are seen as a threat to men in Jamaica as they are accused of taking away women from over machismo worshipping men.

We hope there is a follow up on this story so we can know the outcome of this case and how the sister is fearing out.

Additional reading from a previous post on sister blog GLBTQJA on Blogger:
Jamaica lesbians suffer from under-reported violence but whose fault is that ???

here are two pieces of audio commentary I had done in 2011 also expressing concerns about the inequality in the handling of same gender loving women’s issues versus msms and the murder of two lesbians late last year as well:

Lesbian issues left out of the Jamaican advocacy thrust until now? 

plus

2 SGL WOMEN LOST, CORRECTIVE RAPE & VIRTUAL SILENCE FROM THE MALE DOMINATED ADVOCACY STRUCTURE

Peace and tolerance

H

668 women raped 531 suffered from carnal abuse in Jamaica in 2010.

Reports have indicated that 668 women were raped and 531 suffered from carnal abuse in Jamaica in 2010.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, revealed the figures while addressing parliamentarians from across the Caribbean, academics, and United Nations representatives at the Caribbean Regional Consultation of Parliamentarians on gender-based violence prevention on Wednesday at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston.

The two-day meeting, spearheaded by the United Nations Population Fund Caribbean office, in collaboration with UN partners, is one of a number of regional and national events resulting from the official launch of the ‘UNITE to End Violence Against Women’ campaign in October 2010. In 2008, the UN secretary general launched the campaign with the overall objective of raising public awareness and increasing political will and resources for preventing and responding to violence against women and girls.

“The unreported cases would surely increase the figures dramatically. These cases and the unreported ones have placed an added burden on a health-care system that is already struggling to deal with unpreventable health issues,” Grange said.

She pointed to a number of national laws that address the issue of gender-based violence such as the Domestic Violence Act, the Trafficking in Persons Act, and the Sexual Offences Act, and said that several public- education sessions had been conducted to enhance public awareness of these laws.

photo from JIS

Additionally, Grange said the Bureau of Women’s Affairs (BWA), a department of her ministry, had been utilising various mechanisms, including public education and awareness building to gender equality.

In this regard, Grange said the BWA was currently finalising a draft national strategic plan to eliminate gender-based violence in Jamaica. The plan was developed under the implementation of the Strengthening State Accountability Project, which was funded by UNWomen, formerly known as the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

She stated that other Caribbean countries, including Antigua, Belize, and St Kitts, are part of the project, which seeks to highlight six priority areas to address the problem.

According to the minister, the main objectives are to illuminate and bring to the attention of the public the extent of the problem of gender-based violence in Jamaica, to prevent and protect victims of gender-based violence, and to identify ways to aid those who have become victims.

Discussions on day one of the meeting focused on various aspects of gender-based violence in the Caribbean, and capacity building among the judiciary and other outcomes of the UNITE campaign launch. The second day highlighted ways in which parliamentarians could help mobilise political will to end gender-based violence.

In as far as corrective rape is concerned for this last based on previous reports that have reached myself and allies we had four cases and a case that was a carry over from 2009 was ended with the mastermind behind a rape ring in St. Catherine sentenced for 29 years for a series of other incidents. Corrective rape has been making a sharp increase since late 2007 with break ins on suspected lesbians and robbery at gunpoint with the victim severely beaten after while her more masculine partner was forced to watch the ordeal unfold. That matter is still in the courts I am told and the personnel at  CISOCA - THE Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse are aware of the series of incidents, they were especially caring for the St. Catherine matter as the ring led to a popular LGBT social networking site at the time, the trail led to a house near the Linstead area and computers and other equipment were seized, a female was also held as she was as it turned out the instigator in trapping the other female victims.

It is refreshing in a sense to know that the systems in place in some sections of the CISOCA network have been enlightened and are working with the same gender loving victims of the awful scourge to some normalcy. What is required now is a national strengthening of the CISOCA arm to be courteous to victims elsewhere who are same gender attracted. It is unimaginable however that with almost a ratio of four women to one Jamaican man that men find it necessary to rape women with all the bravado in the world while at it and gang rapings seem to be getting extremely popular in the crime. The 17 year old bisexual sister who was brutally abused by 8 men earlier this year in eastern Jamaica is a case in point, her mother has since had her relocated as threats have been messaged to the home of the sister that she must not speak of the incident or report it. The police I was told is looking into it as it is also surmised that a ring exists in the community as well.

This notion that one can rape away the lesbian traits of a woman in ridiculous and is a huge problem in parts of Africa where it is highly regarded by some males. Our advocacy has been playing step and fetch it with this issue hardly any serious concerns have been shown by the mostly male dominated representative structure who seem aloof to these women issues, the smaller arm of JFLAG Jamaica For Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, WFW Women for Women is strapped for resources and since the departure of two very powerful voices to greener pastures and the Crisis Interventions Officer of JFLAG to Amsterdam not much has come out of the structures on the issue. This particular meeting at the Terra Nova we had no LGBT representative I was told.

Sad

Peace and tolerance

H

Governments Have Failed To Mitigate Risks Of Homophobia says JFLAG

Corbin Gordon

Successive governments have failed to promote the human rights of our people, including the poor and most vulnerable and marginalised groups in society. Unfortunately, legislative reform has not been short on guaranteeing that, as a secular society (not a theocracy), our laws are designed to “engender a sense of belonging in our citizens [and] ensure equality of opportunity and equal rights for all” (PIOJ, 2009:13-14).

Despite our motto, ‘Out of Many One People’, Parliament has neglected to provide any guarantee for non-discrimination based on health status, whether you are HIV-positive or mentally ill, for example, disabled, or of a non-heterosexual orientation. The recently passed Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms provides the perfect lens through which we can determine how biased we are as a people.

Within this context, I wish to respond to a news article titled ‘Lesbianism a concern for educators’ and a letter ‘Gay campaign must be spurned’ that were both published in The Gleaner on May 25. According to the article, “There is the growing challenge of lesbianism in the education system.”

The article exposes the reality that far too many persons, including our guidance counsellors, are incapable of separating their religious and personal beliefs from their professional roles. Additionally, there seems to be a gap in the training of counsellors to sensitise them about sexuality, including sexual orientation, from a scientific and human rights-based perspective. It is necessary that we all understand that everyone has some kind of sexual orientation, which is the sexual or emotional attraction to others.

‘Unchristian-like behaviour’

According to the American Psychological Association: “Sexual orientation exists along a continuum that ranges from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality and includes various forms of bisexuality.” Contextual factors such as homophobia or teachers warning students they will be punished for “unchristian-like” behaviour incapacitate an individual from actively participating in his or her community or utilising services provided by the State.

Such an outlook can also ostracise persons and the groups to which they belong, result in antisocial behaviours, poor academic and work performance, force homosexuals into heterosexual marriages, among other things.

The writer of the letter, which was published in The Gleaner, argues that homophobia is not prevalent in Jamaica and that it is a medical term. Homophobia is an irrational hatred, intolerance, and fear, which has religious, legal and medical underpinnings. In our case, antipathy is expected of every Jamaican by an engrained cultural sanction. Furthermore, with more than 200 reggae and dancehall songs promoting social exclusion, hatred, harassment and violence against gays and lesbians, there is no doubt that Jamaicans are homophobic.

In a recently published study on attitudes and perceptions of Jamaicans towards same-sex relationship, Professor Ian Boxill, using two homophobia scales to develop an instrument for Jamaica, found there is a high level of homophobia among Jamaicans. Furthermore, the incidents of violence meted out to homosexual and bisexual men and women are evidence of the pervasive bigotry which exists. Since January 2011, there have been more than 20 reports of abuse on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender expression. Last year, more than 40 were reported.

It is clear that we have far to go in understanding issues of gender and sexuality, particularly within the context of our laws, religiosity and morality. Nonetheless, it is critical that Parliament, with the support of organisations like The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays, create a space for dialogue so Jamaicans can recognise that homophobia does exist, is affecting the lives of many, most of whom suffer in silence, and, most important, appreciate the principles of human rights for all.

Corbin Gordon is the programme and advocacy coordinator at the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays

J-Flag Gets meeting with the Pegasus ………… priorities please!!!

From the desk of Dane Lewis

JFLAG’s Executive Director

(November 25, 2010) J-FLAG was invited to a meeting with the General Manager, Hotel Manager and the Director of Sales and Marketing of The Jamaica Pegasus. This meeting was called in response to the issue of J-FLAG being denied the rental of meeting space on November 18.

In sifting through the issues, Eldon Bremmer, the General Manger stated that the reservation had in fact come to his attention and that he knew that access was being denied. He also stated that the decision was based on an unfortunate experience from a private party with members of the community.

The Management admitted that they handled the situation badly and recognised that a different approach was needed to address any concerns they had.

There was an error in judgment and action but this was not out of any mal-intent. They are committed to facilitating engagement with J-FLAG and have agreed on some ways forward. It was underscored by the management that J-FLAG would not in the future be prevented from booking the facilities.

The General Manager has promised to respond to us in writing, copying the partners indicated in our correspondence. We look forward to receiving same and sharing this with you if you do not receive it directly.

Sincerely,
Dane Lewis
Executive Director
Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays – J-FLAG
Tel/ Fax: (876)978-8988
Website: http://www.jflag.org
email: admin@jflag.org

ENDS

Pink Report Jamaica carried the piece as “Pegasus Bows JFLAG issues Letter”

My notes:

Get Equal vs HRC or vice versa in the USA? …… so it looks here as well in a manner of speaking.

It’s seems to be from the outside all about friends in the business impressing and praising each other than really getting down to business of working towards better solutions for the community at large, our situation here is just like a Human Rights Campaign vs The Get Equal group or vice versa in the United States with the war of words where the HRC is accused of hugging up politicians and more interested in  paper matters and cocktail parties with all the perks and Presidential access more than the real LGBTQI issues on the ground that require attention while the HRC defends its position by saying it’s doing the right thing for the community in the face of problems on the ground, problems show up and reveal the true nature of the situation but it is glossed or kept quiet to avoid embarrassment. The impression is they exist to defend the President and not gay people.

See more on the HRC/Get Equal issues with US gay rights and DADT here: http://www.inthelifetv.org/html/episodes/121.html

“………serving in the suites of power while the streets of activism are getting tired and fed up?

Again we see the zeal at which things are done by JFLAG on matters of this nature while lives are still yet displaced, well who cares? it was more important to go after a hotel that didn’t take their business by which case they have a right not to take business even if it looks discriminatory, so what? choices are out there, leave them and their ignorance & hypocrisy. We can’t force persons or businesses to accept us or our money they also have a right to choose, it’s their loss all we need to do is put the Pink Dollar where it is accepted.

Be it resolved I am not against the J but it’s how they do business fortunately I have some inside knowledge having volunteered and worked there for over the life of the group until 2009 and having been a victim of homophobia and going through a prejudicial justice system in 1996 I understand all too well some of the issues involved. As we seh inna yard “he who feels it knows it”

There are many other properties that offer just as good amenities for the business client searching for space for meetings, it’s just beyond me how we, Yes I say we, as advocates (sadly I am still perceived to be associated with the group after leaving, scarred eh? lol) find time for small things when the lives interrupted stay interrupted. This reminds me of how the office space of the J was more important than keeping a homeless shelter opened so they moved into it. Interpret my comments as beef or whatever the bigger picture is what counts in my book, for e,g. for the past weeks we have a section of the community in literal panic and still in that frame of mind as more unconfirmed bad news of violence against women comes forth even in the face of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, though unconfirmed the worry amongst some persons is real and evidenced in comments and phone calls and conversations among peers and friends some persons have opted to literally become hermits in their own homes and are seeking to relocate from certain areas where a series of awful incidents against women in general have been happening. But our advocates choose to go after a rich hotel as that is more important. The other really disappointing thing about happenings in general is that no one is calling the flaws out. The establishment if you will, then we complain to the rest of the world of stigma and discrimination at all levels when here we are selectively going through with contempt for persons who are either not as educated or from lower socio economic classes.

We have a group that clearly doesn’t represent the bigger picture and views of the increasing communities it serves.

SAD indeed.

Personal interventions are good but not nearly enough …. 13yo structure not that good either.

One would have expected JFLAG given its access to resources and funds however small would have been doing the things myself and a growing number of community members are pointing out, individual interventions are limited as we don’t have the skills (social) and funds etc to do what is really needed but it helps in a small way. We must not rest until the lives who really need the interventions and representations are happening the growing frustration in sections of the community when you look to the very group that is to serve as a light for everyone is real, for too long programmatic fluff and political correctness seems far more important than real work on the ground. Some do what and when they can but what’s the point of having millions of dollars in funding coming to one official organization for 13 years plus only for it to almost stop at the payroll and expense departments with little trickling to programs and social services for the community with successive persons beating their chests, most of whom now reside overseas leaving us to face the music.

An ever-increasing number of unruly homeless and nomadic MSMs, a worried, dazed and confused lesbian and bisexual community and a disillusioned transgendered set of persons and a refusal by the J to listen to all views contending even dissenting voices is not a good image for an advocacy group on the ground but the problem is these issues are glossed over with fanciful letters and press releases to look good to an ignorant international community who readily believe based what they have been fed or made to understand all these years.

The moment JFLAG or any more formally arranged structure develops meaningful interventions and conversations towards solving the real problems affecting LGBTQI people I am all ears and hands and make myself available no matter how small, we have to do something to curve where sections of the community is heading.

As we say in Jamaica … it look sticky.

Peace and tolerance

H

View JFLAG’s letter to the Pegasus HERE

Protect lesbian and gay population (Observer Letter)

Dear Editor,

“Corrective rape” is the barbaric practice where men rape lesbian women to “make them straight”. This heinous practice is alive and well in Jamaica but goes largely unreported.

Nevertheless, last year there were six reported cases, and this month two lesbians were raped within days of each other.

The first young lady was walking home when she was brutally set upon and gang-raped by a group of four men from her community.

The men had complained about and seemingly had had enough of her “butch” or manly attire and were also upset that she had all the good-looking women.

They therefore “cut her” so she can better “tek man”.

Two days later the second young lady, a known friend of the first, was driven away in a taxi, held at knife-point and brutally raped after being forced to perform oral sex on her assailant.

She was then dumped partially clothed and told that the next time her rapist would use a condom.

Both rapes were reported to the police. However, it is doubtful the women will follow through with the prosecutions as the stigma and discrimination faced by raped lesbians in Jamaica is much worse than regular rape victims: in the eyes of most Jamaicans, lesbians have dared to challenge the hetero-normative status quo and have therefore somehow caused their attacks.

As a people we should have a national revulsion to such often violent abuse of the rights of Jamaica’s lesbian and gay population. Instead, encouraged by our leaders and laws, many of us wear our homophobia like a badge of national pride.

Maurice Tomlinson

maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com

ENDS

Good to see that some are finally catching up with the correct terminologies and issues but this issue of corrective rape has been a sore point from late 2007 when several cases came to light especially during my tenure at Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG the problem is it is not a JFLAG representative writing these letters but a paid consultant from AIDSFREEWORLD, why is JFLAG not able to speak on the issues definitively instead of having a quasi spokesperson from another entity?

These are the things that make sections of the community so cynical and wonder what are our advocates as they say they are doing really?

It has taken far too long for this to reach the lexicon of the organization and worse yet to properly engage and address women’s issues and lesbian issues and not leave them entirely to the affiliate WomenforWomen who are not funded or equipped to deal with matters effectively. Let us not forget that Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays was formed out of its parent Jamaica AIDS Support for Life to deal with advocacy issues that they were not equipped to deal with at the time as JASL focuses on HIV/AIDS interventions. The shifting or passing of direct responsibility to subgroups with volunteers is insufficient to address frontline and psycho-social needs of the victims in particular and the greater LGBT body politic. Both JASL and JFLAG to date have no resident Psychologist or Social Worker and have to outsource or refer to paid private practices in most instances if one is fortunate to get that in their case.

Peace and tolerance

H

 

Lesbians becoming increasingly nervous

Lesbian rights in Jamaica several years ago was hardly discussed or just casually glanced at as most targets of homophobic violence and stigma were directed at gay males. With the increase in the temperature of the venom towards the homosexual lifestyles and the more outward displays by lesbians in general since females can and are allowed some room to express themselves more openly seems to have riled some enough to launch attacks at our sisters, specifically our “butch” brethrens.

With the news of instances of corrective rapes cases across the nation comes to the fore many ladies are becoming circumspect with their actions and male encounters that they come across on a daily basis. As word on the latest installment in the string of incidents hit the streets this further compounds the issue. Many women in general who find themselves in jobs predominantly filled by men are nervous as well as the instances of rape nationally has increased by several percentage points according to the authorities, of course these are cases that have been reported and a criminal prosecution case filed. Imagine all the others that have gone under the radar.
The latest corrective rape incident involved a lesbian couple in western Jamaica several weeks ago, unfortunately these ladies were also victims of homophobic or lesbophobic attacks early 2008. They had rebuilt their lives after suffering threats and an attack on their home. They relocated to western Jamaica, St. James to follow up on job opportunities they had heard of. The women were reportedly tricked by a man who had an intense crush on one of the women and they were attacked at gunpoint and the disgusting act carried out. The term corrective rape was invented in 2000 by human rights groups to describe the seuxal attacks and assaults on South African women since then there have been several cases in that country, I use the term here with the clear understanding of it’s history but the similarities between what our African sisters are going through and now our local sisters are indeed close.

Since then the news of the latest victims’ plight has been making the rounds and many are nervous and saddened by it. They have been assisted so far by private hands and are recouping gracefully. Please pray for them too if you do that activity. Crime in general is a problem but women in general by virtue of deemed the weaker sex are victims of rape and battery and all should be concerned. The police have their hands tied and the gay community here is still not given equal treatment in terms of police interactions and stigma and sexual harassment are also problems as well in these same interactions as we have seen male police officers handling female members of the public with suggestive overtones which must not be.
Let us begin to galvanize support for our sisters as well and help each other, look out for each other.

Peace
H

Lesbian overview in Jamaica

Lesbians in Jamaica have an easier existence than gay men, obvious to everyone these days as most of the venom towards gay life is directed at gay men. Our sisters enjoy much more overt freedoms than we do and across the landscape of the exotic nightclub arenas and massage parlors (also known as sex shops) patrons can readily find lesbian entertainment reasonably priced. Things seem to be changing though as in recent times it is noticeable that our lesbian sisters are feeling the pinch of homophobic violence across the island.

There are no laws presently on the books that directly speak to lesbian behaviour as illegal except for the gross indecency clause where one may be charged if caught in a public or private place conducting that specific sexual activity, the alleged perpetrators consenting or not. The new Sexual Offences Bill 2009 speaks of penetration with an object vaginally or anally gender neutral and as we know many lesbian couples do use sex toys for pleasure, that’s the closest they may come to legal woes here.

There have been several “corrective rape” crimes carried out in Portmore and Kingston and most recently in St. Thomas where an attempt was made on a 19 year old woman and in upper St. Andrew on a visiting Jamaican student studying in the United States who was followed and set upon by 2 men who she had resisted there advances in the hometown of her birth while she was shopping at a local grocery store. Corrective Rape in the paragraphed is used to describe the sometimes despicable sexual assaults of lesbian and bisexual women with the intent to punish and correct their same sex attraction or choice. There are several other types of rapes as well such as date, war, prison and gang rape.

Lesbians like the gay male community also have their fair share of problems within each sub group and they have developed ways of dealing with them, of note the forumatic activity which seems lacking in the gay community in general as the two groups socialise differently and many lesbians openly refuse to be seen at parties, events or forums where certain types of gay men would be present. Lesbophobia is also a pressing problem for some lesbians, the now defunct GLABCOM meetings usually held by Jamaica AIDS Support for Life which was an outreach arm of their targeted intervention program for Gay Lesbian Allsexual and Bisexual Community as the acronym spells out. Many lesbians complained of gays overtaking the meetings and not allowing fulsome discussions and exchange of ideas while many of the men wanted a meeting for themselves to deal with issues.

JFLAG has not had any forumatic activity in a while which begs the question what does forum in the name and acronym stands for? There was a lesbian group which was a spin off from early JFLAG days called Lesbians in Action which later changed to Women for Women. Their primary concern is social intervention within the Jamaican lesbian and bisexual female communities. They have bi-weekly meetings at selected locations and often have excursions with friends and family members. They can be reached via email at: womenforwomen1999@gmail.com. I think though that because women in general are naturally social creatures they are able to come together to handle issues.

Straight men attracted?
Jamaican men in general seem titillated by lesbian action, I say this because of my observation at some of the exotic nightclubs I mentioned before and even the bootleg DVD business, sales on the streets of Kingston and other areas where lesbian xrated porn is openly sold. One of the ways to test the temperature of sexuality and lifestyle I have seen is to check these two spots as mentioned.

In a poll I started some time now on here I asked whether lesbians could use their tolerance advantage to assist with the fight for equality in Jamaica, yes seems to be the majority answer so far as at the time of this post it was 93%. it has been suggested that they could speak on certain issues definitively and may not get rebuffed as easily as the gay male voices over the years in GLBT agitation.

To track issues relating to lesbian posts on here just click on the labels section “lesbian issues” or type in the search bar on top to list all articles.

GLTBQ Jamaica hopes to work together with all the groups and gender variants to arrive at a cohesive working relationship and tolerance.

Peace

H

"Corrective Rape" in Jamaica? ….. Yes

Yet again another lesbian has suffered at the hands of men who think they can rape away lesbianism out of a woman. The sick act took place in a rural community in upper St. Andrew hills. The woman who is a visiting Jamaican student from a University on study leave resided in her family home and was scheduled to return to the Unites States this September for continued studies. According to my source she returned from a house a few chains away where she had gone to ask a favour about 7pm on July 31, 2009.

She was met at her gate’s entrance which was dark by two men who tried the usual improper Jamaica male advances with suggestive remarks. Other family members had gone out, apparently she has been eyed by the men in the area since her arrival. It was mentioned that she went to the local shop where men heckled her after she ignored their verbal advances again laced with suggestive remarks. The accusation of her lesbianism began there actually but she ignored the remarks thinking her family’s name and reputation in the community would be a buffer for her. Jamaican men are notorious for accusing a woman of being a lesbian if she ignores his public utterances usually laced with sexual overtones.

The men as it turns out where apart of that group who heckled her before and they reminded her before and while committing the gruesome act. The men took turns assaulting the woman before threatening her not to say anything or they would get other men to kill her. The family is stunned. Unfortunately this is the third major case of Corrective Rape this year to my knowledge, the other two involved lesbian couples living together and were committed in Kingston and Portmore communities.

So as it stands our sisters in South Africa aren’t the only victims of this awful practice and we must now face yet another ugly reality of homophobic violence towards lesbians. There has been a steady increase in homophobia resulting in violence towards lesbians since my time at a GLBT organisation to present, from stabbings to illegal evictions and beatings.
Just earlier this year a “butch” was beaten as she was told to leave her community of her birth as she was nasty. The men couldn’t physically handle her to rape her so they treated her as a man based on some of the comments that came to my attention as the act was committed. Cases like this leave many women scared and they don’t even bother to report these issues to the police as mistrust is a primary reason and the slow pace of the justice system is another.

I haven’t been able to contact the woman in question and I wouldn’t want to rehash the event with her either, she has since removed from the town but her father is livid and has vowed that it is not over. One of the men in question has been seen leaving the area with a large bag. Wonder where is he going?
I am praying for her speedy recovery so she can return to building her life, sad that in the land of her birth this is the gift she receives for a coming home visit.

Stay strong people, why can’t we be tolerant for god’s sake.

H

Lesbians Raped! ….now confirmed

An alleged rape of a lesbian couple in Kingston has been brought to our attention, according to our sources and ongoing investigations since, anecdotal evidence has unearthed that sometime in May the couple who reside in a middle class neighbourhood near to the Kingston business district were attacked by a group of men who hang out by the entrance to their avenue from the main thoroughfare.

It is alleged that the men for some time now have been making verbal remarks especially when the girls drive in and out of the community. It is also alleged that one of the girls is a licensed firearm holder and that the men were aware of this and also verbalized their intentions to take the gun from her. The girls were said to be “open” with their relationship at times much to the concern of their friends and a neighbour who advised otherwise.

On the weekday morning in question of the attack the girls were in bed on around 6am when a door to the home was kicked in after the grills were cut, 2 masked men with knives entered but spoke in muttered tones so as to disguise their voices and proceeded to “straighten out” the girls, this a common belief among homophobes here that a rape sequence or straight sex under duress will make a lesbian woman straight.

The ordeal was said to have lasted for two hours before the men left on foot, without the firearm but other items were removed from the house. The girls have since relocated with the assistance of friends and are seeking medical advice as well.

We are not sure of any action to apprehend the culprits has been undertaken by the police. The girls however were hospitalized for a short time and taken to the rape unit for examination.
We are tracking this matter very carefully and will update this post as soon as new information comes to light, as you can appreciate we cannot ask the girls to rehash the ordeal at this time as traumatic as it was for them, our sympathies and prayers go out them.

As we can see this is worldwide phenomenon to use rape to “cure” lesbians:
S.African Gangs Use Rape To `Cure` Lesbians

Awful just awful.