LGBTQ History Month – Oldest Lesbian on record

A diversion from the Jamaica LGBTQ History feature but important.
Ruth Ellis – US Lesbian Activist – credited as the oldest known lesbian on record, she lived to be a 101.

check: GLBT History Month’s site for more US related information
b. July 23, 1899
d. October 5, 2000

“I never expected I’d be 100 years old. It didn’t even come to my mind.”
Ruth Ellis, who lived to be 101, was credited with being the oldest known lesbian and GLBT civil rights activist.

Ellis was born in Springfield, Illinois, at the end of the 19th century—the youngest of four children and the only girl. Her parents were born in Tennessee during the last years of slavery. Ellis’s father was the first African-American mail carrier in Springfield.

Ellis attended Springfield High School at a time when very few African-Americans enrolled in secondary education. She was aware of her sexual orientation by the time she was 16. Ellis remembered her high school gym teacher as her first female attraction.

In the early 1920’s, Ellis met Ceciline “Babe” Franklin. They became friends and lovers for more than 35 years.

When Ellis moved to Detroit in the 1930’s, Babe joined her. The couple bought a house and Ellis started a printing business. She was the first woman in Michigan to own and operate a printing company.

Their house became the local hangout for African-American gays and lesbians. Known as the “gay spot,” Ellis opened her home for parties and dances, and never turned down a gay or lesbian friend who needed a place to stay.

In the latter part of her life, Ellis became a well-known figure in the GLBT community, first locally, then nationally. She attended events and programs across the country, often as a speaker or special guest. She enjoyed dancing and socializing, even in her old age.

In 1999, Ellis’s life was made the subject of the documentary “Living With Pride: Ruth C. Ellis @ 100,” directed by Yvonne Welbon. The film was screened at film festivals worldwide, and won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the San Francisco International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in 1999.

Ellis lived in three centuries; she passed away in 2000. The Ruth Ellis Center honors her life and is dedicated to serving homeless GLBT youth and young adults.

Caribbean HIV rate ranks second to sub-Saharan Africa

Find more videos like this on GLBTQ Jamaica LINKUP

Originally on
In terms of global HIV prevalence rates, the Caribbean region ranks second only to sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately 230,000 people are living with HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean. And in some places — like Haiti and the Bahamas — AIDS remains one of the leading causes of death.
Daljit Dhaliwal sits down with Julia Greenberg, the associate director of AIDS-Free World, a global advocacy group tackling HIV/AIDS.

They place Jamaica’s AIDS epidemic within the context of the Caribbean region, address anti-sodomy laws in Jamaica and around the world and identify the successes and shortcomings Jamaica has experienced in containing the epidemic.
Daljit and Julia also look at the role women play in the epidemic. Women make up half of the adults living with the virus in the Caribbean, and are infected by “bridging populations” — bi-sexual men who are leading double lives. Julia raises the possibility of linking women’s rights with gay rights to tackle the spread of the epidemic.

The Glass Closet is a multimedia reporting project produced by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Worldfocus. It explores the themes of HIV, AIDS and homophobia in Jamaica.

‘Deejays and gay groups need to call a truce’ – McKenzie

Clyde McKenzie (photo)

Howard Campbell
Music industry veteran Clyde McKenzie says after nearly 20 years of protests by gay groups against dancehall acts in the United States and Europe, the time may be right for the genre’s elite to negotiate a truce.

McKenzie pointed to the current hostility by gay advocates in the US against singjay Buju Banton.

“These (gay groups) are obviously powerful people and they (dancehall acts) may think it’s in their best interest to find common cause with them. On the other hand, they can stand their ground and still profit, because some people attach value to integrity,” McKenzie told The Gleaner.

If the stand-off persists, McKenzie fears the gay backlash could once again relegate dancehall music to regional status in the US.

Maintaining momentum

“If the lobbies maintain momentum, it has the potential to do a lot of harm. Dancehall may be in danger of going back to the days of ethnic charts and Jamaican clubs,” he said.

In 2007, gay groups in the US and Europe drafted the Reggae Compassionate Act, which called on dancehall acts to be more tolerant to homosexuals.

Banton and deejay Beenie Man have reportedly denied signing this document, while others have reportedly refused to endorse it.

Several dates on Banton’s Rasta Got Soul US tour have been cancelled due to protests from gay groups who cite his 1992 song, Boom Bye Bye, as encouraging violence against them.

Major gigs

Shows in major cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, Utah, have been cancelled. Other dates in Richmond, Virginia and Columbus, Ohio, have been moved to alternative venues after promoters came under pressure from gay organisations.

“They have stymied his career. He has not been able to do the crossover thing which many people thought he could do some years ago,” McKenzie, CEO of Firewall Solutions marketing company, said.

Banton is one of few contemporary reggae acts who have successfully built a following in the US outside of West Indian communities, largely through touring.

His rootsy 1995 album, Til Shiloh, reflected his new-found Rastafarian faith. It was a hit in the underground market and with college students.

Your Donations…. Thank you

Hello readers,
thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venure that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG’s blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part.

Donations presently are only accepted via Paypal where buttons are placed at points on this and the GLBTQ blog as well. Please continue your valued support, If you wish to send donations otherwise please contact: or Thank you.

Activities & Plans: ongoing and future

  • To continue this venture towards website development with an E-zine focus
  • Work with other Non Governmental organizations old and new towards similar focus and objectives
  • To find common ground on issues affecting GLBTQ and straight friendly persons in Jamaica towards tolerance and harmony
  • Exposing homophobic activities and suggesting corrective solutions
  • To formalise GLBTQ Jamaica’s activities in the long term
  • Continuing discussion on issues affecting GLBTQ people in Jamaica and elsewhere
  • Welcoming, examining and implemeting suggestions and ideas from you the viewing public
  • Present issues on HIV/AIDS related matters in a timely and accurate manner
  • Assist where possible victims of homophobic violence and abuse financially and otherwise
  • Track human rights issues in general with a view to support for ALL

Thanks again


Buju Banton gets new dates as Tour continues


ORIGINAL POST ontop magazine
Are the anti-Buju tours protest fuelling more interest in the Murder music DJ?

Amid boisterous protests from gay rights groups, tour dates in Columbus, Cincinnati, San Francisco and Los Angeles, among other cities, were canceled, shutting out Banton from Ohio entirely.

Banton’s 1992 hit Boom Bye Bye advocates for the murder of gay men by shooting them in the head with a submachine gun and pouring acid on them to “burn him up bad like an old tire wheel.” Banton has dismissed the controversy, saying he penned the lyrics when he was “a child” of 15. But the thirty-six-year-old reggae artist has never repudiated the lyrics and continues to perform the song.

The victory for gay rights groups was short lived as Banton’s record label, the New York-based Gargamel Music, announced a slew of new tour dates in both states.

In Ohio, Banton will appear Thursday, October 1 at Club Elements in Cincinnati and the following day at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus.

And Banton’s scheduled appearances in California have also increased. Six venues in the Sunshine State will host the artist in October.

Banton is scheduled to appear at the Shattuck Down Low in Berkley on October 10, the Nocturnum in Eureka on October 11, the Voodoo Lounge in San Jose on October 13, the Casbar in Santa Rosa on October 14, the Club Cabana in Los Angeles on October 15 and the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach on October 17, Gargamel records announced.

Gay rights groups in Florida have also loudly protested Banton concerts. Two venues, the Hard Rock Live in Orlando and The RITZ Ybor in Tampa, canceled appearances.
“I couldn’t be more proud that Tampa will be added to the list of cites where Buju Banton is not welcome,” R. Zeke Fread, director of the gay rights group Pride Tampa Bay, told supporters in an email announcing the cancellation.
There are, however, signs that alternative venues for Florida are also being pursued by the record label.
The previously canceled November 1 appearance in Orlando by promoter Mr. CC Productions at the Hard Rock Live will now take place at Club Destiny.

Cancel Buju Banton “Rasta Got Hate” Tour 2009