Homeless MSMs in Jamaica

In a forum recently planned for Gay homeless young men organised by a concerned group many of the young men’s plights were discussed and possible solutions to begin to address the problem.

In a frank and open discussion the men mostly aged in their early to mid twenties explained in detail their day to day ways of surviving the streets:

1). securing food by begging or shared purchases

2). hiding from would be predators (usually other more powerful homeless males)

3). harassment from police

4). harassment and ridicule from members of the public

5). physical attacks by security guards on nearby premises

6). homophobic attacks from other homeless boys and bikers who roam the streets at night

7). Older, more powerful and experienced bisexual and gay gangstas on the street prey on them for sexual favours, relieving them of money or gifts

Most of the MSMs were displaced because of their sexual preference becoming public knowledge hence they are chased from their homes by family or community members sometimes under threat of death if they should return.

Others lose their jobs for the same reasons and end up struggling to rebuild their lives mostly in fear of being discovered while doing so. The goals and ambitions are laudable with some already possessing skills in the arts and trades (chefs etc).

The men however support each other by way of sharing food and clothing when they receive gifts and money or just emotional kind by talking and making each other aware of their whereabouts.

Emotional development was a factor that was discussed at length which was found to be too heavy at first but it got more simplistic as the exchange continued.
It is hoped that from this first step would be the birth of a continued exercise to rescue these young men and make them into productive and confident human beings.

H

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Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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