Photography for Understanding Project Update

(SAMPLES from the US)

while Jamaican Red Stripe Beer and Rum is poured into the streets of New York and San Fransisco in support of a seemingly fledgling boycott Jamaica Campaign a resident of the Detroit area who has links to both States previously mentioned is here in Jamaica conducting a photo project to bring to bear the voices of those on the ground who have been affected by homophobic abuse.
The project as exampled above in pictures seeks to use photos with the words of the subjects to show what they want to have in their own lives. When I first heard about the intended work I was sceptical as I thought many here are afraid of being exposed through whatever medium to the world, I soon quickly learnt in enlisting participants that attitudes are changing and refreshingly so.
There has been an overwhelming response to the project I think partly because of the covering of faces in the photos and the messages that persons are allowed to convey in their own handwritten words, simple and effective.
The works may be available in the US shortly in selected galleries, I will keep you abreast and post permitted samples soon.

Gay Party DVD Reveller on the run

The recently publicised DVD of a gay party that was held in Jamaica in 2007 has another gay person on the run and in hiding. The 22 year old young man (we call him John for this post) has been in hiding since last year as he was “discovered” by citizens in his community in St. James.

John has since tried to seek refuge in other parts of the island but has to be in disguise wearing hats and keeping a low profile so as to avoid attacks, jumping from house to house and friend to friend to avoid getting them into trouble as well.

The first attack happened in St. James in late 2007 just after the disc went public when he was pointed out by thugs in his community who then ordered him to leave or be killed. He has sought solace by his close friend (Bob) in Kingston but was recognised and both men were attacked one evening as they ventured home. The would be victims defended themselves thus holding off their attackers but have had to resort to travelling under cover of darkness to secure clothes and food and have even slept in parks and on the road just to avoid detection.

No one can ascertain how the recording ended up in the public domain for sale however it has been sold for double and triple the price of a regular DVD in the initial release. “The Tape” as it is known is still the source of ridicule and derogatory comments by the public to this day.

Bob in question who was assisting John now finds himself in the same predicament as he cannot venture to his house as he is accused of harbouring “the boy on the DVD” and that he is a “battyman” he has been told to leave the area as well or he will be killed. His family is somewhat aloof since the incident at the home.

The matter has not been reported to the police out of fear of reprisals and the non interest in the case.

One of the problems the boys face is a lack of understanding from other GLBTQ persons as most tend to shy from helping brothas in trouble due to the negative outcomes of previous cases where persons try to intervene to help only to be harmed themselves by thugs or unruly behaviour by the persons seeking to be assisted.

How can we begin to deal with this set of issues, they have approached the FLAG but there is no available resources at this time as with many other NGOs the financial problems are plaguing as well.

Stay tuned for updates as I follow this case.


Cuba to resume transgender surgery

(Havana) Cuba will reinstate sex-change operations previously banned on the island, President Raul Castro’s daughter Mariela said recently.

The Health Ministry authorized the operations last year, but none has been performed since. It was unclear when the surgeries would begin.

Mariela Castro, a sexologist and gay-rights advocate, announced the return of sex-change procedures in comments aired on state television. She runs the Center for Sex Education, which prepares transsexuals for sex-change operations and has identified 19 transsexuals it deems ready to undergo the procedure.

Castro also said she backs efforts to allow lesbians to be artificially inseminated, a procedure currently barred.

The first successful sex-change operation was performed on the island in 1988, but subsequent procedures were prohibited, Mariela Castro told an international congress on assisted reproduction meeting in Havana.

Some Cubans protested the decision last year to allow the operations, either because of general opposition to the procedure or for its high costs for a developing country with economic problems.

The government would bear the cost of the operations because Cuba has a universal health care system.
Tags: currentissues