Transgenderism in Jamaica

With gays, lesbians and bisexuals holding prominence in the fight for rights and freedoms here transgendered persons often get overlooked or totally ignored even at the advocacy level. It was not until some time last year that trans persons have begun to get some well needed attention from groups here on the island. That however has since wained as funding problems and the prominence of homophobia always seem to overshadow this group.

Tolerance levels for gays in general as we know is very low here let alone for other variants so I can imagine many trans persons who would like to seek some sort of intervention but not knowing where to begin to do so.

The two most prominent transgendered persons so far are pre-operative male to female individuals with one hosting their own ning page to link with other trans persons from the Caribbean. The other I know personally came to me via a crisis intervention case I was involved in almost two years ago where “she” was attacked by two men in Kingston on the streets.
Very little information is available to the gay community who finds it remarkable that someone would want to change their gender via re-assignment surgery and some of the comments at first glance of the latter of the two are mean. It is strange that gays and lesbians wish to be tolerated by the main stream but can’t tolerate another variant within or close to our own group. Sad, we have a long way to go to realise our country’s motto “Out of many, one people” it’s an awful set up…. the mainstream hates us as gays and lesbians, then trans people are ridiculed, vilified and insulted by gays.

The unamed transgendered grouping had begun a series of meetings to discuss their own issues through JFLAG but I don’t know what has happened since last year as I have left the organization, funding is a problem for them like many other Non=governmental Organizations. So I should think things are on hold for now. The group consisted of 14 members at my last count mostly Females (FTM – female to male) and the two males (MTF – male to female) all preoperative many were not sure if they wanted to go through full gender re-assignment surgery but most were not happy with their physical presentation versus their feelings “between the ears” (what they feel themselves to be). We don’t have a fully transgendered Jamaican on record as yet. One of their man concerns is to separate trans issues from gay issues and to show that trans people are not homosexuals wishing to be drag queens or butch lesbians hence changing their physical gender to be satisfied. They want to reach out to the GLB community and dispel the misconceptions.

All in all I will try on this blog to present positive issues regarding this group as too often they are overlooked.

Check out http://transcaribbean.ning.com/
This Site’s Main purpose is to bring all people of the transgendered community in the Caribbean together at one central place where we can share information, start friendships, air our concerns and hopes for a more understanding, tolerant Caribbean and world for the larger part.

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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