Category Archives: Homelessness

Reverend Al Miller’s own moral conflict of interest & anti gay campaign

Reverend Al Miller’s own conflict of interest & anti gay campaign

Rev Al Miller a UWI campus demonstration

Has no moral authority as he is still tainted by two matters he is embroiled in. The back and forth in as far as moral authority to condemn or judge has been noted on this blog before via:

CHURCH STANDS RESOLUTE AGAINST BUGGERY BACKERS SAYS AL MILLER ………… LOVE MARCH MOVEMENT LACKS MORAL COMPASS SAYS LGBT VOICE

Secularism, Humanism and Atheism have also helped to cloud the local LGBT debate as I warned about in 2012/3; go HERE

Talk about conflict of interest, shaky integrity and selective morals as Reverend Al Miller has no moral authority to speak to any issue of right or wrong and interestingly homosexuality at that in my view at this time as his own actions that were in heard in court regarding the aiding of a fugitive in Christopher “Dudus” Coke after the authorities moved in on his so called empire in West Kingston in 2010 and he went into hiding only to be caught in the company of the said Reverend Miller in his car using a method of expression and entertainment for drag effeminate culture and transgender women in terms of cross dressing.  He has even gone as far as to rebuff comments of his continued role at Fellowship Tabernacle Church which he pastors in the aftermath where he claimed he would have done the deception of bypassing local police again in assisting Coke. See MORE HERE on that

Coke was dressed in a wig, glasses, light makeup and a dress with reported high heels shoes as the photographs that circulated after the entrapment made clear much to the amusement of the public from some time after and the questions began to fly as to the reasons why a pastor would aid this method of obvious perpetrated deception and in such a public fashion. It seems there are too many conflicts of interest on all sides here now engaged in a shouting match or drawn daggers over the Professor Brendan Bain sacking by the University of the West Indies from a project they managed called CHART as part of the HIV prevention strategy for CARICOM/PANCAP Pan Caribbean AIDS Partnership after the professor gave “expert” testimony in a case involving a gay man in Belize challenging the Buggery legislation there some two years ago.

Previously one of the Jamaican LGBT activist based in New York who has led protests in that state of the US has come into some fire as his delinquency in servicing a student loan prior to his departure was made public as his name and photo appeared in a full page ad of delinquent borrowers earlier this month which has made him a target on sections of social media for ridicule and mistrust and discredit as persons commented that he has no authority to speak or demand rights as his own lack of civil and personal responsibility is tainted thus disqualifying him for demand for any correctness. See more HERE

How is it on one hand Reverend Miller opposes most publicly the so called ills of the land as he describes them on his Word Power show on television while having two most public charges dogging him? His short absence from the aforementioned show and subsequent return may make some persons feel he is cleared but those who have been paying attention and are cognisant of ethical principles are not fooled by this public relations faux pas and why has the other so called “Purity” groups such as the LCF (headed previously by Shirley Richards) and the JCHS (headed by Dr Wayne West) have not called him out or disassociated themselves from him until he is in the clear? Coke was wearing a wig at the time of the nabbing as the Reverend was said to be helping Coke to get passed the local security to a foreign power that being the United States Embassy in a bid to escape the supposed shoot first ask question mentality of the local police used an excuse when confronted, the other matter that has baffled me to this day is the missing gun case where it was reported the Reverend left his firearm in his vehicles and went to pick some mangoes and upon his return his gun just went missing after which it was reported to the authorities and he was charged for not properly securing his weapon and has been in and out of court since.

These two major infractions apart from his outlandish calls that homosexuality is abnormal, reparative therapy is a cure and the Buggery Law must remain on the books makes him unfit to speak until he has cleared his name especially of the Coke matter as to why was he helping a fugitive to escape the law of the land yet it is the same principle of obeying or keeping the laws of the land of which he professes to speak and seek attention to himself. He has been at this struggle at the very stage from the parliamentary submission in 1998 by JFLAG (when they meant something) when he appeared with the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowhip’s Shirley Richards, the Charter of Rights Debate during it on again off again twenty plus years run before passage in 2009/10, abortion debates in and out of the houses of parliament and professes to use psychological references in addressing homosexuality with some authority without referencing any expert referral, study or position paper to do so. I find that ethics, integrity and indeed moral responsibility are dying forms of evidence to back credibility in public advocacy and here we have so much more evidence of those missing pieces which leaves me to wonder if we can use the same moral nihilism criticism levelled at the LGBT lobby overall by anti gay activist Dr Wayne West of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS.

20100628-clovis

Reverend Miller must recluse himself from any outrage as it were until his name and reputation are cleared just as how these church folk make demands of conflicted politicians and public persons when they err and rightfully so.

I find hypocrisy and a feeling that persons are not tracking these valuable tenets for public life or advocacy so persons depend on the nine day wonder mentality we tend to have on matters on interest in the news constant recurrences. The same declining values in a sense as complained about by the church seems to have also affected the very loudest voices of the same group, we saw said hypocrisy play out with the call for tolerance by the former Prime Minister P. J. Patterson days go in light of the Bain matter I find that politicians tend to be so clear on values when outside of state power as also evidenced in Bruce Golding labour day opinion piece in the Gleaner fear mongering on gay marriage which he invented as a reason to deny rights in the Charter of Rights debate in 2009/10 to which the present PM sided with him as a matter of convenience and or pandering to religious groups as oppositions seem to always do, only weeks ago the JLP called for a referendum on buggery echoing a call from side protesting religious groups. Where was PJ Patterson when he was PM over the 16 of the 18 year run the PNP had in power when his own sexuality was brought under scrutiny and he demanded they stop as he was not gay.

See: Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson’s call for tolerance not genuine & sheer hypocrisy

In conclusion Reverend Al Miller is conflicted and cannot be seen as a credible voice in opposition to any moral matter until he clears his name likewise any LGBT activists also who are or seem tainted. The Jamaica Council of Churches, JCC stance in part is as follows “The church affirms its pastoral role and so appeals to the church as well as the wider religious community not to speak or act in ways that ostracise or incite violence or any other treatment of indignity towards persons who are homosexual as they too bearers of the image of God and for whom Christ died”

MUST SEE previous post:

REV AL MILLER SAYS GAY LOBBY IS USING THE GUISE OF TOLERANCE TO GET THE NATION TO ACCEPT THE “GAY LIFESTYLE”

and

Peace and tolerance

H

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

Transweek-header-web-l-625x333

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.

Rev Al Miller’s late response to Dwayne Jones’ Murder & Respect heterosexuals demand

So Reverend Al Miller apart from using his weekend tele-evangelist airtime to suggest reparative therapy as if it works in his church Fellowship Tabernacle has finally come clean with respects to the awful murder of transgender teen Dwayne Jones in Montego Bay earlier this year. In an interview on Newstalk 93FM radio similar to other pastors who have been getting far more airtime than normal since the Queen Ifrica Freedom of Speech fiasco has and is still playing out Reverend Miller tried to bring some semblance of tolerance to the mix. Let us not forget this is the same man some time ago openly said persons must not buy into the tolerance call from the gay lobby as it was a guise to sneak in homosexuality on the nation. In September 2011 on this blog I posted Rev Al Miller says gay lobby is using the guise of tolerance to get the nation to accept the “gay lifestyle” where he said among other things

 

“Nothing is wrong with loving someone but disagreeing or disliking their lifestyle and the issue is the lifestyle we are not against, the Christians the word of god is not against the individual cause we are all sinners but we must recognize sin as sin, wrong is wrong and so although we may accept and embrace the person but we must say that the conduct is not right  and what the gay agenda is about is wanting the society to accept the lifestyle as being right but they are using the guise of tolerance, of course we can be tolerant with the individual but we must have the right to be intolerant to a practice that is not right it is in the same vein as anyone who practices a lifestyle that is inconsistent with correct behaviour or good for a society, if it is stealing if it is murder or any other kind of crime that is not good for society.

We must embrace the individual but we must reject the lifestyle the behaviour and it is the same, it is the behaviour, when we talk about the protection of rights the protection of rights if gays already exists because all their natural rights are there but what they are crying for is not protection of rights against harm in as much as crying for the acceptance of the lifestyle so that we will legitimize a lifestyle which is contrary to moral law to natural law to social order and all that certainly is good and decent and wholesome and will ensure our fulfillment of the mandate that we were given by our creator.”

Yesterday however he called for everyone to respect the norms and values of society and that accepted norms must not be overlooked “There is no question that that whole incident is unfortunate and is not the kind of thing that should happen we need justice and acting justly and rightly is the way that we must operate and as a society with values must operate and be consistent in upholding of its values and the welfare and rights of individuals are critical in that process but it is equally true that in any society that standards of behaviour and accepted norms must also be respected by all, it can’t be good for some and not for others.”

He further stated that while members of the gay community are calling for the rights of such persons to be respected we must also respect the rights of the heterosexual community, “Unfortunately in recent times that an incident like the one that happened there that created the ire of the citizens who have reacted at wrongly but it is speaking however to citizen that is saying that is not the accepted norm that we want. Equally we must respect the rights of all it has to be both sides, I am hearing a lot in recent times that the gay rights lobby for instance is primarily promoting what they consider their rights must be protected but yet be ignoring the rights of others, you cannot do unjustly to do justly so if we are going to talk about justice and wisdom we must be equitable so that they also must respect the rights and beliefs and the norms of the rest of society.” Meanwhile a British Gay rights group stages a protest in the UK as headed by Peter Tatchell and a Justice for Dwayne Jones at the Jamaican Consulate yesterday in London. They called for the government to protect the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender communities against hate crimes. Pity that the realities still escape our friends overseas here as this was not a homophobic killing directly but has variables that either at the programmatic and intervention levels have yet to be properly discussed and understood.

More Rev Al Miller anti gay positions:

Rev Al Miller on the Abnormality of Homosexuality & the invented gay marriage rights ploy

also see Anti gay pastor and restorative therapy advocate in trouble with the law again from sister blog GLBTQJA on blogger

Church Stands Resolute Against Buggery Backers says Al Miller ………… Love March Movement Lacks Moral Compass says LGBT voice

It seems the goodly Reverend’s view on respecting the rights of others is to stay quiet and be subject to condemnation biblically and otherwise but when one of our members is maimed or killed the half hearted conditional tolerance and pity comes forth, really!? The gentleman needs to remember his track record speaks to his true position from his active appearances in the Charter of Rights passage where he alongside Shirley Richards of the Lawywers’ Christian Fellowship made sure whatever coverage of discrimination due to sexual orientation was removed yet he comes with this position, who does he think he is fooling here?

Check out the video: Dwayne Jones (Gully Queen) Last Appearance prior to his murder 

Residents say gays take over Barbican house …………………

Just days after JFLAG is accused of excluding the homeless populations from a recent IDAHO symposium on homelessness and the subsequent fallout between advocates comes this news.

see more here for that: JFLAG excludes homeless MSM from IDAHO Symposium

Meanwhile RESIDENTS of Millsborough Avenue in St Andrew say their neighborhood has gone to the dogs.

The residents complain that a group of more than a dozen homeless gay men have taken over an unoccupied premises and have been behaving in a manner that churns their collective stomachs.

The house at Millsborough Avenue that has been occupied by a band of unruly gays. (PHOTO: GARFIELD ROBINSON)

“I was taking my grandchildren to school and I saw one of them bathing naked in the driveway using water from a bottle. They have taken over the house and are destroying our decent neighbourhood. I have my young grandchildren and this is not the environment I want them to be growing up in,” a female resident told the Jamaica Observer.

The residents say they have made reports to the Matilda’s Corner police, but no serious action has yet been taken to curtail the activities of the men who are now squatting in the upscale community.

They accuse the men of gyrating against each other in full view of the public and behaving boisterously when they are spoken to.

“The boys behave outlandish and flaunt their lifestyle in your face. This is a blotch on the face of what up to now was a decent community whose residents lead upstanding lives. We are not condemning anyone’s sexual preference, but why do they have to trample on our privacy and invade our space with their lifestyle,” one resident said.

The disgusted residents complain that at nights the activities at the premises take on a different shade and say the men are practising prostitution. The house in question is almost opposite the official residence of Cuban Ambassador Yuri Gala López.

“At nights when you pass, there are a lot of high-end vehicles parked on the road and inside the yard. The police need to find out who the owners of these high-end vehicles are, because some high-profile people from high society seem to be their patrons,” the resident complained.

In recent times, residents of the Golden Triangle in St Andrew have complained that homeless gay men occupied an empty premises on Lady Musgrave Road close to Vale Royal, the official residence of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

The men have since been removed by the police and security guards have been posted there to prevent them from returning.

At nights the commercial district of New Kingston is overrun with gay prostitutes who openly solicit customers and heckle those who voice their disgust at their presence.

The residents of Millsborough Avenue say they are now the ones behind the eighth ball.

“There is garbage strewn all about the yard and many times they get into fights with each other. This situation cannot continue and we are calling on the police to forcibly remove them from among our midst. They are always talking about gay rights, but do we have any rights to live without this evil? Where is J-Flag (The Jamaica Forum for Gays, Lesbians and All-sexuals) now? They should come out and condemn this dastardly, uncouth behaviour by these gays,” one man said.

A police officer at the Matilda’s Corner police station confirmed that reports have been made concerning the activities of the men.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Residents-say-gays-take-over-Barbican-house_14327913#ixzz2UVtj6JzG

and also see this letter in the Observer as well on homelessness and the feeling that JFLAG abandoned the men in New Kingston.

Dear Editor,

The Sunday Observer reported in yesterday edition that homeless gays have now taken over a residence on Millsborough Avene much to the dismay of neighbouring residents within this largely upscale community. These homeless gays once wrecked havoc in “the golden triangle” and parts of New Kingston for years with their boisterous, “out of control” behaviour.

Having been chased out of these areas by police, they’ve now relocated, moving on ‘up’ so to speak. Did we really expect them to just vanish?

The problem is complex. There are many marginalised persons, neglected and hated for whatever reasons. What you’re seeing here is the end result of hate, discrimination and uncaring attitudes which for years and decades pushed some to the outskirts and fringes of society. They are now reacting the only way they know how. Can we really blame these homeless youngsters who have nowhere to live, no support financially?

Is there a likelihood that they probably aren’t even squatting, but are being supported by someone who at least showed compassion by offering an empty house in Barbican?

Many of these youths had to flee their families, homes, communities, and at a very young age they were forced to fend for themselves, as grown adults do, even as they live in the wilderness out on the streets. Without social skills and education, they remain out of control as expected. No one cares; not Government, not people.

Many of these youths had to flee their families, homes, communities, and at a very young age they were forced to fend for themselves, as grown adults do, even as they live in the wilderness out on the streets. Without social skills and education, they remain out of control as expected. No one cares; not Government, not people.

Many of these youths have been subject to homophobic violence, attacks, and are now fighting back through anti-social behaviour — all learnt — not singularly, but collectively as a group. Isn’t this exactly the same treatment they got from mainstream heterosexual society which pushed them to the edge in the first place?

Even the police now seem helpless. Violence cannot be condoned, there is absolutely no excuse, but fighting hate and discrimination is another issue completely. Activist groups, like J-FLAG, have also abandoned them; they are out of control youth, and most likely these groups fear they may tarnish the little reputation and advances they’ve made, so far, in a society where culture and attitudes are still largely homophobic.

As a society, we cannot ignore homelessness forever, especially youth with years ahead of them. If we do, the results could be catastrophic. Unless we start caring, we will only get more of this. Authorities need to step in and help to find a a safe shelter for homeless youths; where rehabilitative services, counselling and education and health services, along with food, shelter, can be provided in order to get these youth back on right track.

Their sexuality ought to be really irrelevant, they are human beings first, they are Jamaicans first. We cannot treat the most vulnerable in society — children, elderly and poor and sick — without some basic level of compassion, it speak volumes about who we are as a people, and what our Government really represent.

We cannot ignore these problems forever as if we don’t care. I urge the Government to get involved, the church, lead by example. If not, this problem will only escalate significantly into other communities. Homelessness is not a joke, it also breeds violence, and other types of anti-social behaviour, which will only get worse.

Pete Delisser

pdelisser1988@yahoo.com

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Youth-homelessness-is-no-joke_14345267#ixzz2UW0sWikB

additional here is my audio on the JFLAG exclusion of the homeless men on IDAHO on may 17th

UPDATE June 3, 2013

Unruly gays back with a vengeance 

Interfaith group pledges continued support for St Catherine homeless MSM

The last time we looked at this it was on Gay Jamaica Watch in December of 2012 where the group then had hosted a treat during the Christmas holidays for a select few.

The interfaith group who had expressed some interest earlier last year in assisting three of the young men after a series of incidents involving them and others in several forced evictions similar to those of their Kingston counterparts with the local authorities moving the men from all points they occupy and obstruct have vowed to continue while resources last. However in St Catherine it was residents who made those decisions with some disastrous consequences such as the reported chase and attempted flogging of a group who illegally occupied an empty house in the Sydenham area and men supposedly ran them out of town and boarded up the structure after the owners residing overseas were informed of the squatting activities by the men.

The numbers of men now reached by the group has changed since that last post on Gay Jamaica Watch and there has also been some disagreement between the group’s leaders as to whether to keep the outreach as is or to also include some sort of reparative therapy as well in order to win the men over to Christ as it were.

The interfaith team at the time consisted of pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventists, A church of God leadress and others numbering eight in total had approached the situation as aforementioned by providing short term odd jobs for the three young men they had identified to work with at first when the Syndenham incident occurred they thought the men were just homeless generally not ascertaining that there was more to their situation that the typical displaced youth on the street would have experienced. Then the real conditions became known to the group who were already assisting other dislocated populations as well, the stories however were flying out of the men as two members of the interfaith team took particular interest in the men after listening intently over time according to two of the men who related their encounter. Now the group has shrunk to 6 as two persons departed being the Seventh Day and another person as they felt they were supporting a sin despite also aiding the men’s welfare.

Temporary jobs ……………..

The men have been afforded temporary jobs and their numbers have also seen some changes, two of the original three have left for jobs elsewhere while four more persons have since been aided in some way by the mixed church group what seems apparent from day one was that there was some covertness about the operation as if not to allow their respective central leadership to become too aware of this unique outreach arrangement as I have not heard of a similar type in other parishes as yet. My concerns however are still there for the more effeminate members of the displaced in St Catherine as there seems to be some reluctance to reach out to them more so than their hypermasculine counterparts. The weed whacking activity continues as the interfaith team had acquired a new and a second hand machine but with the low rainfall, the frugality of persons spending on getting lawns manicured the incomes stream has slowed greatly. One of the men has become a mobile barber of sorts literally walking from door to door in residential areas offering his trim and shave services with repaired equipment but he has been improving with time I was told.

The old idea of affording the men items so they could sell in the main town’s environs has been shelved as funds have dwindled and the police crackdown on street vending is a cause for concern coupled with what is alleged to be a resurgence of extortion type activities with vendors as well as they have to pay some sort of fee, what this fee is for is unclear at the moment. The men are allowed to use a space in a church yard and there are prayer meetings and other group discourse carried out as well, I am told by the same man I met also that the group seems to try to steer clear of the homosexual bit with them, he says he is not sure as maybe it is because of their masculine nature that they do not rebuke them or visit the matter all that much, the two original persons however who departed the group would hint to homosexuality being an abomination and the whole Leviticusal bit.

While this group is being assisted the numbers of unemployed or unemployable gay/bi youth who have been evicted is growing as three more persons have since been added according to one of the men I ran into in Spanish Town recently, one of those newcomers is a high school student and is now having difficulty attending classes. Speaking of classes there is some hint as well of some assistance in getting the men to attend evening classes in the Spanish Town area as those abound and there is talk of some financial assistance in that regard as well.

chisholm antigay seminar ad 2013

Given the opposite stance taken by other church groups and leaders such as a recent seminar (photo of ad above) that used very old US NARTH studies to dishonestly justify and present homosexuality as some deviant activity and openly suggesting a cure it is good to see some other religious folks taking a more mature and sensible approach thus far to those who are different, I hope this lasts as long as it can and that the men make good use of this outreach, I am just concerned about the “queenz” in the lot though don’t they need to be reached too? I guess it’s going to take some more prodding and education on effeminacy in men to move in that direction.

Peace and tolerance

H

also see: On homelessness, evictions, hypocrisy & now JFLAG’s own displacement

UPDATE March 2014:

BUSINESS DOWNTURN FOR THE WEED-WHACKING PROJECT FOR FORMER DISPLACED ST CATHERINE MSM

Marauding homosexuals and J-FLAG (Observer Editorial) ……………………

The Jamaica Observer made their position clear on the issue of the displaced and homeless MSM in the New Kingston area who have been getting themselves embroiled in all kinds of activities where the good now suffers for the bad. Originally published February 21, 2013 the piece is quite poignant on the abandonment of the men by the relevant agencies, the population’s behaviour and more, it is a pity that after four years of the closure of the Safe House Pilot project this very month to be precise we are still reaping the worldwind for not addressing homelessness when matters were less problematic and persons like myself at the local level after thousands of hours of work, consultations and brainstorming suggested the shelter idea to the then  powers that be which led to the pilot project then.

Here are the original posts I did on the ultimatum and the closure of the then residential facility in 2009/10:

Homeless MSM to feel the pinch as JASL issues ultimatum

The Homeless Project, the meeting and more

The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes

Now This from the Observer………………………

THE Jamaican nation continues to struggle with the delicate issue of how to treat those of our citizens who are homosexuals.

In fact, the problem has been seriously exacerbated by the emergence of a growing band of homosexual men, largely operating in New Kingston, who have demonstrated a willingness to attack other citizens and to carry out criminal acts.

With the situation getting out of hand, the lobby group, Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays, (J-FLAG) has been forced to distance itself from the homosexuals they are calling “homeless gays”, declaring: “We want to make it absolutely clear that, while J-FLAG advocates for the rights of all Jamaicans, and, in particular, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, J-FLAG does not condone any form of misconduct, violent or criminal behaviour.

“In addition, while these individuals may be members of the LGBT community, J-FLAG cannot be held culpable for their actions and behaviour,” the lobby group said in a January 2013 press statement.

In its infancy, J-FLAG became known for its public statements condemning ‘homophobic’ Jamaicans and its tendency to blame every killing of a homosexual on ‘homophobia’, no matter how clear it was that the incident was a domestic one involving gay lovers. Our police force and our national image overseas suffered terribly because of this practice.

Jamaicans who were incensed by these false accusations would have found the January statement a welcome departure, in that it acknowledged that not everyone who shunned a gay man, was doing so because of his homosexuality.

Said the group: “J-FLAG, as communicated to the police on many occasions, is fully supportive of their efforts to resolve the issues created by homeless gay men. J-FLAG agrees it is necessary to apprehend and incarcerate persons who commit crimes, and understands the necessity of mitigating the impact of lawlessness on business people, residents, employees, and commuters. J-FLAG does not in any way consider the police undertaking their duties as homophobic or being anti-gay…”

We suspect that a statement of this nature could only have come after much angst and desperation on the part of J-FLAG which admitted that it had made several attempts to intervene, but had been unsuccessful in its bid to rein in the culprits, some of whom are involved in frequent internal fights as well as criminal offences such as robbery.

“J-FLAG has met and collaborated with a broad range of stakeholders, including the police, the member of parliament for the constituency, the mayor, the Ministry of Health, the councillor, the Child Development Agency, church leaders, and representatives of the business community, but the outcomes have not been significant enough to address the behavioural issues from which these issues stem,” the organisation said.

J-FLAG, we believe, cannot like Pontius Pilate, wash its hands of the problem and must continue its efforts at intervention on behalf of that section of its constituency.

We hasten to say, however, that this is not just a problem for J-FLAG. These are Jamaican citizens who must be treated as all other Jamaicans. They are entitled to protection under law. Many of them have been cast out of their homes and communities and are living on the streets of Kingston. They are in urgent need of rehabilitative care, education and medical attention.

The society ignores them at its own peril.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Marauding-homosexuals-and-J-FLAG_13683576#ixzz2LwB9fcUW

Safe house logo

My response comes via an edited podcast from a blog talk radio entry I did on February 23, 2012 sad the men continue to struggle after so many years of the dubious closure of the Safe House Project in 2009 originally designed to handle the problem when the men were much more docile than now. The previous post entered on December 21, 2012 dealt with the impatience of some of the men who were awaiting the promise of a shelter from JFLAG announced early as October 2012 yet no shelter is yet to come. See previous entries from Gay Jamaica Watch and GLBTQJA below:

Stoning Incident at Jamaica AIDS Support for Life’s Offices

The Continued wordwind from not addressing homelessness (when the men were more docile)

Homeless Men make news again (for all the wrong reasons part 1)

Interfaith group treated homeless MSM in St Catherine

also see newcasts/video on the issue

Some of us are still hopeful despite the foolishness that has obtained over the years and are also investigating what other solutions we can do without these so called responsible organizations who clearly by their foot dragging and negligence are not directly interested in doing the social justice work required for this marginalized group of persons. Simple community assisted living though laudable is not enough and can in no way address the ever increasing challenges and anti-social chaos that require serious psycho-social interventions that we alone can give and the financial situations for many private individuals cannot sustain such shelter assistance for any extended periods.

Peace and tolerance

H

Homeless impatient with agencies over slow progress of promised shelter

December 19th saw two Christmas treats hosted for sections of the Kingston homeless, displaced and dislocated men who have sex with men grouping the main one was executed by a young turk with his new Yardieboiz Foundation and a hastily joined Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG after he floated his idea to do so in what was to have been some appeasing to settle the very tense relationship between the men and the agency coupled with the battyman entitlement phenomenon that has plagued such agencies and that of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life’s property for years where such persons with that agenda who enter therein those properties feel they must be treated with urgency and they being the community male gay and bisexuals make demands or even break the guidelines set as to how to access such properties, a fact that has also plagued the men for years leading to the seeming non interest by the agencies in addressing the social justice matters chief among them welfare and psycho-social concerns.

With the recent public spectacle yet again via television of the member of parliament having to remove the men from another section of New Kingston with state resources, upset residents spoke their minds, on the same clips and the men also were given their chance to explain themselves in a sense in at least one report via Television Jamaica, TVJ this was of course not after two heated exchanges and almost violent attack allegedly by a few of the men towards the person in the form of the female reporter one Miss Darah Smith of TVJ who threatened to report the matter to the police I was able to confirm.

see: Kingston Homeless MSM Evicted (yet again) with the video

She carried out her duties anyway as a journalist and filed her report which was carried on December 6 and posted as an entry on my sister blog GLBTQJA on blogger that was recently opened. This is the side of the matter that has irked many thus the homeless MSM have lost support over the years due to outburst such as those described with many community and others persons saying they do not deserve any assistance. Many influentials have given up as they cannot cope and do not have the expertise to engage the behavioural problems, numbness to authority and discipline. Yet agencies gave media interviews giving the impression that they are doing work with the men, who can forget the television Jamaica, TVJ ones especially with fortunately a member of parliament, a police Superintendent and a reformed New Kingston Civic Association who before were very homophobic but now open for dialogue and with all those positive variables in place to make the process and dialogues far more lucrative for all involved we were told that a shelter was in the making so much so that a town hall meeting was held though sparsely attended by the LGBT community on November 7, members of the community consisting of other stakeholders and even the men themselves  (maybe reflecting how persons feel towards the men and their issues) where a shelter structure and indeed a space was supposedly identified to be opened on December 1. The promised documents of the assessments in response to a set of questions I posed on the types of interventions to be used are yet to come to hand.

As it turns out the identified space was not confirmed and the negotiations fell through between JFLAG and the lawyers for the property with zoning and other challenges presenting themselves so the idea was scrapped thus leaving the men out of luck, some of whom we do not know maybe engaged in this new pilot project which is to last for three months, we can conclude the announcement of the shelter was premature.  The previous Safe House Pilot that was closed is basically to be reopened in other words, a project if allowed to have continued back then in 2009/10 when it was dubiously closed would have taught us many things including the behavioural challenges those of us knew of for years and the previously mentioned battyman entitlement phenomenon as well. A recent stoning incident at JASL’s offices with some of the men clashing with staff who would occasionally use their offices to fetch water is one such reminder of that problem, a fight between a alleged staff member of JFLAG and one of the leading homeless men after the World AIDS Day function at JASL is also another reminded of how this thing can get out of hand but how one engages such a problematic population is also a factor in all this, as far as I am concerned and indeed some others that’s a major part of the problem but the agencies feel justified in putting their foot down as it were without addressing that fact. The men in particular who are the instigators of these repeated tense moments between the agencies are themselves previous residents of the aforementioned defunct shelter and to this day they are upset that they were made displaced by the very agencies that were to assist even as a shelter was in full flight, the newcomers are made aware of this history so some of them join the throng or are made to do so based on the group dynamics that exist, for the most part I am in support of that in principle, how that anger is expressed is another matter altogether but the agencies and personalities seem to miss the bigger picture in all this.

The fact that the JFLAG office now sits where the shelter once stood is a constant reminder to them in their eyes that they are more of an inconvenience than a concern for the agency as they feel they were moved to be replaced by their office which now by the way has reinstituted the apartheid like security system with a canine team hence the previous unruly, indiscipline and uncouth response the agencies get, this is something I have been at pains to try to point out via previous entries but no one listens or pays attention to that, homelessness does not command sound bites or grabs international headlines as is customary for some narcissistic advocates who feed off a gullible community for the fame and glory so who cares about some dutty battyman? The men hardly visit the property with the regularity as before since the guards are in place but with an ever angry landlord and uncomfortable tenants breathing down the necks of the agencies what are they to do it is being asked by observers?

The men are now nomads again as the Kingston & St Andrew Cooperation allegedly has warned them not to occupy anymore vacant lots or spaces or they will be removed, this is while internal conflicts abound in the group as the dynamics play out with those who are the agitators now getting flack from others who say they are the fault why the agencies ignore them in the first place. This problem is a growing one as well hence the fights as described by residents on the video newsclip separate and apart from the aggressive behaviours that are used as a defensive strategy or as a means of protection, problem is when to turn it on or off as it seems the aggression also occurs when they get to the properties and agencies to access treatment care and support as it were but none of which are forthcoming in any meaningful manner. The more docile homeless/displaced community members are assisted somewhat, a few have been integrated into other shelters of course provided they curtail certain things such as effeminate aesthetics and so on while maintaining their jobs (for those still employed), a few have ruined such opportunities by exposing themselves again due to “bad behaviour” others have been given temporary shelter with friends but that too has its share of challenges as allegations pilferage and deep mistrust have all but made that kind of assistance a rare opportunity and when that does not spoil it then homo-negativity or homophobia does as was evident in an arson in November at a popular drag queen’s home who offered some assistance to some of the young men. Persons like myself who have space to assist are sceptical to do so and also the financial resources are just not there, a point I raised in a question at that town hall meeting where I asked if JFLAG would consider as a part of its crisis intervention program (I had proposed this before while working there) that they offer psycho social interventions for the individual housed in private spaces made available by willing LGBTians and also financial input via stipends to offset costs during the stay, only displaced persons would qualify who have displaced the diligences to adjust in such an environment etc. A more structured space would be needed for homeless persons who have been so for extended periods.

We are now being told that a pilot is to be tried yet again for January for three months via a brief exchange I had with JFLAG’s Executive Director Mr Dane Lewis on the weekend where he claims they cannot find a physical space to carry out the project. It is sad that all of these issues over the years since the closure of the last pilot could have been avoided including the murders of several of the men be they homophobic caused or in-ter/tra community related, the crisis communication by the agencies which has been poor overall needs to address that so the public has a clearer understanding and not left cynical about what happens to LGBT victims of such crimes as caused by us in lover’s quarrels.

Which leads me to the title of this entry, after spending almost all night on the road window shopping and hanging out with friends I came across some of the men in parts of Half Way Tree and New Kingston and then in Spanish Town as I made my way home and believe me a few of the men are furious about many things (which from my experience can spread quite easily). Some have expressed that they do not want to hear from JFLAG anymore, others refused to attend the treat that was planned by the agency or that they were not invited, others say if a shelter opened they may go but not cooperate, some say they just want a job to move on with their lives. One set in Spanish Town say they feel invisible as no one from the agency has bothered to pay them any attention as Kingston gets the interest and they do not intend to journey there as they get some help from the “bosses” in the area they are in via odd jobs and other activities. The men who were burnt out nearing Sydenham some time ago are elsewhere now.

Some of the men expressed a growing concern by those of whom who have seen it before in the form on HIV prevention messaging fatigue where the men feel they are diseased persons (not directly said but implied) as when they do see anyone from the agencies (numbering some five or more) it is condoms, testing (some being paid a $1000 stipend to do so) and safer sex messaging that comes and basically nothing more, they feel as if all they are are worthless, oversexed gays in the eyes of the agencies and they want more attention than that. Ironically this is not coming from older MSM who are more than exposed to this and some peer educator training or repeated interventions but younger males who say they prefer such matters be discussed in a office or clinical settings (again not their exact words but implied) and more personal matters be addressed when the outreach officers come to visit, this maybe evidenced in how comfortable the men were to tell their stories and to simply talk as long as someone would listen intently that is as they also raised mistrust issues as well. Some of the very outreach personnel from the agencies were deemed untrustworthy with information hence the men just tacitly engage them, take the condoms and be very abrupt for example.

Talk therapy is something I had long suggested from my days at JFLAG as it is an effective tool in crisis interventions to assist persons in releasing some of those tensions and anxieties following an attack or homo/lesbo/bi/transphobic episode. All some of the youngsters need is to talk including the violent ones but the space and times are also crucial. The one or two persons who carry out the outreach for JFLAG is certainly not enough whilst the organization as far as I am concerned is far too top heavy.

Meanwhile the chases, abuse and attacks continue as only two weeks ago the men had to flee a section of New Kingston where they had started to congregate but with the media attention, the effeminate posturing publicly and other matters they are all too easily identified these days so anywhere they go they are picked on by a homophobic public who view them via stereotypical lenses.  The beating if an alleged gay man downtown some three weeks ago is no consolation and the other rumoured matters with their counterparts in rural Jamaica, especially western Jamaica where I and others are kept apace as to some of the happenings there especially due to the crackdown of the police on the lotto scamming which has its share of gay/bi players as well.

Did the parties involved in forming the previous Safe House waist our time?

Safe house logo

A shelter pilot project is a start but as I have said and will always say all of this could have been avoided, the Gay Lesbian and Bisexual Community, GLABCOM Committee(s) of JASL on which I sat with others concerned for several dispensations, the former Executive Director who spear headed that Safe House Pilot and the volunteers then now feel we all waisted our time, hundreds of man hours consulting , making suggestions and concerns some of which expressed on paper locked away in a filing cabinet somewhere to arrive at the shelter being closed and watching the lives of the then populations with new ones added almost daily just relegated to being the least amongst us yet we are told no resources are available yet JFLAG has two Program Managers and both put together cannot seem to make one to come up with a sensible response to this longstanding issue? A pilot for the purposes to show the funders is one thing and that can only be temporary but why not a properly prepared grant proposal with the stakeholders including those from the previous dispensations who are still interested in engaging to join in also will it be just a shelter to only provide a roof and a meal or a full transitional living facility complete with the relevant psycho social staffing to deal with the stabilization and behaviour modification (with diligence building and social skills building) activities?

Lord knows I would hate to see all those challenges on the road now be imported into a space that would just be a ticking timebomb waiting to explode with possibly disastrous consequences.

Check out the homeless msm tab for all the entries before on this matter and also see the 2009 and the ultimatum given by Jamaica AIDS Support at the time despite the fact it was not really their purview to intervene on welfare or social justice issues when HIV?AIDS is their mandate following the explosion of the homeless populations since 2007 but if the board of  JASL at the time were concerned about the matter they should have not allowed the shelter to open in the first place and impress upon or collaborate with JFLAG to roll out the project instead of shutting down a project in full flight all because of “rowdy behaviour” so much for priorities. Weren’t they reading the reports submitted by the then Executive Director to know of the project in the first place? Yet she was forced to resign it seems from a board that never met with regularity but found it necessary to act with most members present on that faithful January 26, 2010 to put the nail in her coffin as it were. See the older post from 2010 where the men took action to get the board’s attention: CLICK HERE 

and: The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes (February 6. 2010)

see all 54 posts from Gay Jamaica Watch: CLICK HERE

see all 29 posts from GLBTQ Jamaica: CLICK HERE

If persons on the board including its experienced Chair knew of the problems regarding the men beforehand, msm group dynamics and or behavioural challenges from service users would have caused security issues why sanction the opening of the pilot in the first place or at least on the property? Open it offsite then! But to close it in full flight is what has ticked me off ever since.

All of this could have been avoided with proper foresight and planning, lives could have been saved I dare say (the murders over the three plus years), and the agencies now would not have to reach for the very pilot shelter structure response idea they refused in the first place,  some it seems though the newer populations like their predecessors would have gone underground and remained out of sight so out of mind, introverted if your will due to the national psyche towards homosexuality, homo-negativity and effeminacy the opposite unexpectedly occurred the men are extroverted thus leading to unneeded attention to themselves, the repeated reminders to society though ethically problematic that effeminate men are here and other matters taking us to where we are today.

Coincidentally vulnerable populations was a matter of discourse on radio last evening with the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, CVC on Nationwide News with Cliff Hughes,  where men who have sex with men were identified among others as those who need help and social justice as it were, the former Chairman of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life board at the time of the Safe House Pilot project’s closure Mr Ian McKnight appeared on Nationwide Radio in a brief interview which irked some of the community members who heard it while labelling him a hypocrite. The interview spoke to some law firm advocates in New York affording equal access to justice in the Dominican Republic and Haiti where groups like the CVC intend to expand their coverage, as for support services the firm City of University New York Law School created a model called the incubus of justice that apparently prepares new lawyers to work in charity typed environments while earning at the same time, it also gives practical experiences in such environments in a post graduate type training as well.

As for the CVC the Chair in the form of Mr McKnight said among other things that “……here in Jamaica we work through several of our member organizations with the vulnerable populations ….. we have long said that part of the great block where HIV interventions are concerned where human rights are denied left right and centre for these populations, it is fashionable and alright for people to be turned away from a clinic because you look a certain way or your believed to participate in a particular activity …………. these are issues we have been pounding at for many years not only in Jamaica but the region ……..”

Speaking in such flowery terms about vulnerable groups and giving a feeling of cooperation and cohesiveness when the opposite is the reality was expressed by some after hearing it. I did not hear the interview live myself but I was sent excerpts of it via email from a reader who recorded it using his phone and who himself was livid at the presentation given the context of the homeless/displaced and other issues.  The CVC and indeed JFLAG were silent publicly for the most part in 2009 between the ultimatum given by JASL to the men and the subsequent implosion/closure of the Safe House Pilot with the very same “vulnerable populations” in the form of dislocated/homeless msm (though rowdy as described by the aforementioned agencies) made re-displaced or homeless barring any stabilization work with such expertise resided in the very organizations at the time. Mr McKnight was vocal however via the Jamaica Observer in 2011 after the second civil disobedience action the some of the homeless men took which made news where he passed the responsibility for providing shelter for homeless msm to government.  We all know full well that that is an ideal but the realities say otherwise to include possible austerity measures and cutting in government spending.

What was also raised by the clip sender was the silence from the CVC/JASL/JFLAG regarding HIV treatment failure within the MSM community and recent troubling deaths of long timers and the results of the last MSM HIV survey which seemed to be held tightly to the chest of those in the know for all intents and purposes we know is higher than the 32.7% since the last one in 2007.

HIV prevention seems to be the be all and end all and no real emphasis placed on the psycho sexual/social, self efficacious work and fulsome community development then it is no wonder why as aforementioned some of the men feel so fatigued by the repeated safer sex interventions which seem to bog down the other personal goals and objectives the men may have and want to share but either do not have the space nor the requisite personnel to do same.

What about persons living their truths?

Real social justice please!!!!!!!!

For the sake of the least amongst us, tolerance is more than expecting John Public to be comfortable with homosexuality it also means lifting those within our ranks to some semblance of normalcy and recognizing them.

Of note other non LGBTQian homeless and displaced populations especially young makes I have since gathered are also watching this development closely as they are wondering when their turns will come and if they can possible enter the facility if and when it opens, this came to light via a discussion with a nurse in at another shelter faculty who has expressed some concern regarding homeless msm. The cross socialization of the groups has been happening by virtue of the category they fall in there is some tolerance happening, the previous rifts for example between the Half Way Tree heterosexual homeless males (windshield wipers and car washers) has died down somewhat as they share of the spoils from car washing and snack sales that some of both groups are involved in at street dances and parties. The gelling factor in other words seems to be the cooperation for economic reasons between the groups.

Peace and tolerance

H

podcast: Homeless impatient with agencies over slow progress for promised shelter

additional reading:
Challenges for homo/bisexual males continue for December 2012

From the pen of one of our homeless brothers

Some concerns from Western Jamaica on homelessness.