Jamaica Hot on International Stage but remember the realities

Commendable the performances of our athletes at the Olympics and they have certainly done us proud, make no mistake, it seems that some however, especially in media have become drunk with celebrating our victories and successes.

Lest we forget that we are still the murder capital of the world and we still haven’t changed our stand against gays in Jamaica and ALL the other ills that exist in our reality. I guess when we float down from cloud 10 well will realise it was just a moment in history to be looked on later as one of our few positives these days. Not to be a neh sayer but we need to get real people. Suddenly the news casts just brush aside realities that do exists to cover the Olympics in full, absolutely amazing, I am not saying we must dwell on negatives but sheeesh news radio and TV have become overnight sports channels.

As for holidays for the athletes for celebration as being suggested in certain quarters, the drunkenness continues, we already have too many holidays in my book and valuable productive hours are lost because of our need to party all the time and laziness. I am quite certain we can have appropriate celebrations and ceremonies for our sportsmen and women without stopping our productive activities as we badly need the income nationally speaking.

Kudos to our athletes, make no mistake I am proud of them but what of the rest of us here?, well that’s something for us to seriously think about, for someone like me involved in LGBT work and other human and social rights and interventions – I have to be real. People are dying, crime is rampant, gays are abused and hurt daily, our young are victimized, politicians jostle for power while exploiting the poor and not to mention the cost of living.

When is the dust gonna settle and we can get back to reality and realise that the Olympics end soon and its back to square one folks?

Howie seh so

Peace!!!

Conscience vote on death penalty in September

The proposed Parliamentary resolution calling for a conscience vote on the retention of the death penalty will not make it into Gordon House before September. Prime Minister Bruce Golding who instructed the Attorney General’s Department to pen the motion said he now has a draft of it in hand. However, Mr. Golding said he is proposing the matter be given some time to breathe in parliament before it is debated.”I now have the draft resolution and it is a matter that I hope to have before Cabinet in the (next two weeks) and once we get the approval of Cabinet we’re going to bring that to Parliament.
I’m going to suggest that the resolution sit on the table of the House until after the summer recess,” he said.Prime Minister Golding said although he did not want to prejudice the impending conscience vote, he expects the judiciary to move accordingly once Parliamentarians vote.The Golding administration has insisted that it will resume hanging.The previous People’s National Party administration had argued that its efforts to carry out the death penalty were frustrated by rulings issued by the London based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Jacqui has left this comment on our post Homosexuality 101

Members of the so called “ex-gay” movement like NARTH (from which this article was taken),and EXODUS are thinly veiled religious organizations. (Though NARTH plays down its “religious” affiliations under the pretext of being a psychiatric organization it still demands that members regard the Bible as interpreted by the organization as the final authority).

It should be noted that the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association regard these “reparative therapies” (i.e. the attempt to convert individuals to heterosexuality ) as not being effective and in fact being potentially harmful to those they attempt to treat. The attempt to cure non- heterosexual orientation, in my opinion, has it’s genesis in homophobia.

see label below for original link to the post
Thanks Jacqui

Dr. Robert Carr’s HIV presentation emphasised success

Dear Editor,

I am writing in reference to an article by Lloyd B Smith published on August 12. The article discussed a panel held during the International AIDS Society Conference, August 3 – 8 in Mexico City.
I was quite surprised by the reference to “nonsense spewed” by Dr Robert Carr at the conference, since I attended the session to which the editorial refers. In my observation, Dr Carr related the story of the police response to an incident in Half-Way-Tree when gay men were mobbed in quite the opposite way that Mr Smith represents: Dr Carr noted that the police response was extraordinary in its effort to protect the victims at the scene from abuse, and the police’s efforts to apprehend the perpetrators. While Mr Smith contends that Dr Carr is over-critical, I found Carr’s presentation stressed the reverse.
Indeed, in agreement with Mr Smith’s position (“allow Jamaicans to adapt to changing perceptions of people’s lifestyles and the fact that individuals of all kinds can coexist”), Dr Carr’s presentation was one that clearly emphasised success – that is, that there is a growing tolerance in Jamaica from all sectors of society. In other words, Dr Carr’s presentation stressed that strategic, thoughtful and inclusive action to address discrimination can yield results, as, he contends, is the case in Jamaica. It is a shame that Dr Carr’s position has been so thoroughly misconstrued.

Dr Susana T Fried
Gender Adviser
HIV/AIDS GroupUnited Nations Development Programme
Bureau for Development Policy
susana.fried@undp.org

See Original Article Below Named “Gay Lobby Scam”

Hypocrisy and homophobia

Hypocrisy is an essential element in diplomacy.As Oscar Wilde or somebody once said, hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. And, to continue the quotation game, diplomats are, according to Lord Palmerston, people sent abroad to lie for their country.

Condoleezza Rice is the US top diplomat, so one should normally expect her to titrate the truth. No one expects anything vaguely resembling the truth to issue from the lips of George Bush, even when he’s making what seems to be sense.
But this week’s performances have been landmarks in the history of hypocrisy, especially since huge expanses of the US press appear to have become accredited members of the US diplomatic apparatus.
The president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, is an American puppet installed after one of the trademark colour-coded ‘revolutions’ in Eastern Europe. Georgia’s was the ‘rose’ revo, following the ‘orange’ revo in the Ukraine, both part of the supposedly invisible American campaign to encircle the Russians with hostile regimes, Lilliputian warriors primed to tie down the Russian Gulliver and render him harmless and ready to yield billions of barrels of petroleum to Mr Cheney’s friends.
According to the US government and its official press, Russia, that big bad bully, has cruelly attacked and mauled poor little Georgia – a shining light of western style-democracy in the formerly limitless expanse of Soviet empire.

CONTINUE by clicking the image, post title or HERE

Homosexuality 101:What Every Therapist, Parent, And Homosexual Should Know

Homosexuality is an issue that has often been mishandled by therapists due to misinformation on the topic. Although not supported by the research, many therapists believe that homosexuality is solely biological in nature, and therefore unchangeable. Yet despite ongoing efforts, researchers have not discovered a biological basis for same-sex attractions. In fact, many researchers hypothesize that a homosexual orientation stems from a combination of biological and environmental factors. For example, when asked if homosexuality was rooted solely in biology, gay gene researcher, Dean Hamer, replied, “Absolutely not. From twin studies, we already know that half or more of the variability in sexual orientation is not inherited. Our studies try to pinpoint the genetic factors…not negate the psychosocial factors” (Anastasia, 1995, p. 43). In addition, brain researcher Simon LeVay has acknowledged that multiple factors may contribute to a homosexual orientation (LeVay, 1996).

What, then, are the causes of homosexual attractions? These feelings typically stem from a combination of temperamental factors and environmental factors that occur in a child’s life. According to Whitehead and Whitehead (1999), “Human behavior is determined by both nature and nurture. Without genes, you can’t act in the environment at all. But without the environment your genes have nothing on which to act” (p. 10). One way of understanding this combination might be expressed in the following equation:

Genes + Brain Wiring + Prenatal Hormonal Environment = Temperament
Parents + Peers + Experiences = Environment
Temperament + Environment = Homosexual Orientation

While environmental factors may include experiences of sexual abuse or other traumatic events, a common contributor to same-sex attractions is a disruption in the development of gender identity. Gender identity refers to a person’s view of his or her own gender; that is, his or her sense of masculinity or femininity. Gender identity is formed through the relationships that a child has with the same-sex parent and same-sex peers.

The process of gender identification begins approximately between age two and a half and four. For boys, it is during this phase that they begin to move from their primary attachment with the mother to seeking out a deeper attachment with the father. For males, the relationship between a boy and his father is the initial source of developing a secure gender identity. It is through the father-son relationship that a boy discovers what he needs to know about being male, including who he is as a boy, how boys walk, how they talk, how they act, and so forth. As the father spends time with the son, shows interest in the son, and gives the son affirmation and affection, the father imparts to the son a sense of masculinity. The boy begins to develop a sense of his own gender by understanding himself in relation to his father.

Continue HERE

Gene Silencing May Stop AIDS Virus

Study Shows New Technique Has Potential as AIDS Therapy
By Daniel J. DeNoonWebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

A new gene silencing technique stops HIV cold in mouse studies and promises to become a potent new AIDS therapy with few side effects.
The technique uses short interfering RNA, also called silencing RNA or siRNA. These tiny snips of RNA are designed to stick to specific genes, which are then rendered inoperative or “silent.”
Researchers have previously shown that siRNA aimed at HIV can shut down the AIDS virus in the test tube. It can also target the T cells HIV loves to infect, shutting the window through which HIV enters.
Now Priti Kumar, PhD, Premlata Shankar, MD, and colleagues have linked siRNA to an antibody that delivers them directly to T cells — and to a molecule that transports them to the cell nucleus where it can attack HIV genes.
They used a siRNA cocktail: two siRNAs that inactivate different HIV genes and one siRNA that keeps T cells from expressing the CCR5 molecule to which HIV attaches.
“In mice pre-treated with the siRNA cocktail and then infected with HIV, we could not find any signs of virus for a long period of time,” Kumar tells WebMD. “And when we treated mice whose immune systems had been reconstituted with T cells from an HIV infected individuals, they were totally able to block expansion of the virus.”
Working in Shankar’s Harvard lab (recently moved to the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center), the researchers used recently developed mouse models of HIV infection. In these models, immune-deficient mice have their immune systems reconstituted either with adult human T cells or with human stem cells that provide a continuing source of T cells.
“You get a mouse with the immune system of a human,” Kumar says.
This mouse model is a big advance in the development of new AIDS treatments, says longtime AIDS researcher Margaret Fischl, MD, director and principal investigator of the AIDS clinical research unit at the University of Miami.
“The humanized mouse model is very interesting,” Fischl says. “It would give me much more information on the effectiveness and toxicity of treatments and save time in human clinical trials.”
Fischl has seen a lot of promising AIDS therapies come and go, but she finds the siRNA approach “intriguing” and would like to see it explored further.
One of the researchers doing this exploration is Ramesh K. Akkina, PhD, professor of microbiology, immunology, and pathology at Colorado State University, Fort Collins.
“The Shankar lab’s finding is certainly an exciting development,” Akkina tells WebMD. “This siRNA is a very interesting molecule that is actually programming cells to deal with the virus.”
Akkina notes that the Shankar/Kumar team is using direct injections of siRNA constructs, an approach to gene therapy that would require repeat administrations. Another approach uses a genetically engineered virus that infects blood-forming stem cells and becomes a permanent part of their genome. When these stem cells become T cells, they produce siRNA and are immune to HIV infection.

“In the approach with the stem-cell gene-therapy approach, we are programming blood-forming stem cells with anti-HIV siRNA so that the stem cells are viable lifelong in the individual,” Akkina says. “The virus-resisting cells are produced on a daily basis.”
Sponsored by Benitec, the firm developing this approach, a phase I safety study of virus-delivered siRNA is under way at City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, Calif.
Kumar says her team’s approach would avoid the pitfall of having a foreign virus integrate into the human genome.
Both approaches hold promise for reaching the so-called “resting” T-cells in which HIV is able to hide from current AIDS therapies. Reaching these HIV reservoirs is the key to eliminating HIV from the body.
“These approaches could be used to purge the latently infected cells,” Akkina says.
Kumar agrees.
“The advantage of siRNA is that you can deliver it into resting T cells,” she says. “So if these siRNA are present when the cell becomes activated and starts to produce HIV, you have siRNA there ready to combat it.”
Kumar and colleagues report their findings in the Aug. 22 issue of the journal Cell. Kumar, an instructor at Harvard Medical School while working in the Shankar lab, is now an assistant professor at Yale University.

Decriminalization & Beyond (Another Point of View)

Sometimes fear can bring people together especially if their experiences are similar. Fear can also drive people apart.

The debate within the Caribbean regarding the decriminalization of prostitution and consensual anal intercourse has been ongoing on account of fear from people on various sides of the debate. On the one hand, those who oppose the move to decriminalize prostitution and consensual anal intercourse, argue that if these are allowed the society will fall further into immorality and degradation. Those who are in support argue that this will in some way help in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The debate no doubt needs for both sides to objectively dialogue so that the wider public can at least be informed on the issues and perhaps alleviate some, if not all their fears.

Presently those who argue against decriminalization in particular do so mainly on religious grounds without any evidence to show how indeed society will fall deeper into degradation on account of what they consider to be sexual deviancy. Citing scripture and saying this is against God’s law does not necessarily prove their arguments to be sound or valid; neither does it mean that the laws of the society need be one and the same as those which may be considered to be God’s law.

On the other hand, the other argument in favour of decriminalization, stands a better chance at showing real evidence to support its claim, yet, decriminalization should not be done simply as a means of dealing with a serious health crisis in the society. In fact, there are a number of other issues that also have to be addressed regardless of what the final outcome is regarding decriminalization. To this end, this essay will seek to address some of those issues in light of the ongoing debate on homosexuality and will be particularly addressing the argument in opposition to decriminalization.

One thing must be clear in people’s minds as to what is meant by the word homosexual. A homosexual is a person who is sexually attracted or drawn to members of the same sex. In fact it has to be stressed that ‘people do not choose their sexual orientation. Nobody simply makes up his or her mind to become homosexual or a heterosexual. Rather, at some point in their development, “discover” that they are sexually drawn to members of the same sex just as heterosexuals “discover” that they are physically attracted to members of the opposite sex’. It is important that this is borne in mind because one of the issues preceding any talk about decriminalization or any other feelings we may have regarding homosexuals is that they not be treated as criminals but as human beings even if their lifestyle may seem to conflict with that of the rest of the society. It is also necessary to distinguish between people who simply engage in homosexual behaviour and those who are homosexual on account of their orientation; engaging in homosexual acts does not automatically make someone homosexual.

Unfortunately, even some members of the church have not been kind to homosexuals and the many articles in the newspapers and other fora have shown that the many people who call themselves Christian have yet to understand the word “compassion” and in many ways come over as being very unchristian in their attitudes. Each person, of course, has a right to have an opinion and that opinion of course has to be respected.

There are a number of myths about homosexuals and homosexuality. These only seek to increase fear and make people more homophobic. There is no evidence to suggest that most homosexuals are attracted to children and want to have sexual relations with them in the same way that it is not true that all priests are pedophiles. It is also not true that because of one’s homosexual orientation that this automatically means that one is unstable or promiscuous. It would also be shortsighted to think that homosexuals cannot contribute positively to society and that by being homosexual in some way affects their abilities so much so that they are unable to perform in every aspect of the society’s life. It is time for society as a whole to recognize that a person’s sexual orientation does not necessarily debar them from even holding the highest office of the land or working in areas where one’s performance has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s sexual orientation or sex for that matter.

We can say then that society has really got itself in a bind and ‘is trapped in a vicious circle’ for ‘it’s largely intolerant reaction to homosexuality induces many homosexuals to remain invisible, and this invisibility in turn permits the stereotypical characteristics of homosexuals both to dominate our awareness and to cloud our judgments to such an extent that society’s fear of homosexuality is reinforced and it’s discriminatory attitude and behaviour maintained’.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is real and there no immediate end to it in sight; everyone has to play a role in stemming the disease. It does not help us if we simply blame homosexuals for our situation or even suggest that this is God’s punishment to all of us for accepting this kind of behaviour in our society. It is unfortunate that this epidemic and the spreading of it are seen as the fault of the homosexuals and their lifestyle but AIDS/HIV has long moved beyond the realms of homosexuality as we know, is also very rampant among heterosexuals, so everyone in society is affected in one way or another. We have to deal with the facts and work together to educate everyone in our society so that they can play their part in helping to stem the flow of the disease. Much of this will come from our own conscious effort in the way we live our lives. We have to make decisions about what we know to be right or wrong and this does not end at our sexual behaviour; we have to make choices for the whole of our life.

Some of these choices will include our sexual relationships and how we approach them. Heterosexuals and homosexuals alike will have to decide how they will live out their sexual relationships. How many sexual partners will they have? What does practicing of safe sex mean if it means anything at all? Our choices will be affected by our whole attitudes to sexuality and to sex in particular. HIV/AIDS also challenges our understanding of sexuality and must continue to affect our choices so much so that we will make the right decisions about our sexual behaviour. We may make some good choices as we will make some bad ones, but we have to make them, homosexuals included. Our people also need to be educated so that they can understand the issues which can then help them make informed choices. To this end, supporters and non-supporters of decriminalization have to work together because the issues go deeper than the question of making something legal or not; or it being sinful or not.

CONTINUE