Christians, human rights and AIDS (Gleaner Letter)

The Editor, Sir:

‘Human Rights Now More Than Ever’ or ‘Rights Here, Rights Now’ was the theme of the just-concluded AIDS conference in Vienna, Austria. Human rights, the idea that people deserve respect, irrespective of race, class, gender or nationality, is an inalienable right of each person. Chief among the rights of each person is the right to life. To this end, each person should live in contexts and an environment in which the right to life is facilitated and upheld.

Persons infected with HIV and affected by AIDS live in communities, homes and families that are, in some instances, less than desirable for living the good life. In addition, the fact that more women than men are affected by the virus means that families will be in worse situations. Women, in most societies, are either heads of households or the main breadwinners. Once women are infected and affected by HIV and AIDS, children are immediately affected. Mother-to-child transmission of the virus is one way in which children are affected.

Additionally, even if children are not infected by their mothers, they are affected by the compromised care they receive from an infected mother who becomes sick with AIDS. Medication is now available to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus, as well as enable persons infected to receive anti-retroviral medication. In Jamaica, persons affected by AIDS receive medication free of cost. However, because the medication has to be taken at a specific time and with the requisite nutrients, a number of persons are not able to maintain good health.

Since the right to life is a human right, it is incumbent on all persons to help ensure that each person has access to life in all its fullness. Jesus’ message that He came that we have life – life in abundance (John 10:10) – is reminiscent of the call to ensure that all persons enjoy the basic right to life.

Advocating life

AIDS 2010 saw people from all over the world coming together to advocate life in abundance for all persons, and especially persons infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. Stories of persons and communities grappling with stigma and discrimination from family, community members and nationals were reminders that the work to overcome injustice is still necessary.

Just as Jesus acted in favour of lepers in his society in first-century Palestine, all people, and especially Christians, need to act in ways that will enhance the human rights of all people, and especially persons infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

I am, etc.,

Rev GARTH MINOTT

g.minott@gmail.com

 Reverend Minott is a Board Member of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life and was involved in the Interfaith discussions between Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica (SCJ) and other Church denominations that participated then. 

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An Anti-Inflammation Antiretroviral? CCR5/CCR2 Antagonist TBR-652 Monotherapy Study Results

By Myles Helfand

July 19, 2010

When it comes to health problems in people with HIV, inflammation is the flavor of the day. In the case of TBR-652, a CCR5 inhibitor in the earliest stages of testing in humans, that’s an awfully good thing. What sets TBR-652 apart from other CCR5 inhibitors — heck, all other antiretrovirals on the market today — is that it’s also designed specifically to block another receptor, CCR2.

CCR2 has nothing to do with HIV, but appears to have quite a bit to do with inflammation. Drugs that can inhibit CCR2 are being explored as potential treatments for a number of health problems tied to inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.

In TBR-652, we may well end up with a case of the right drug being developed at the right time. Well, if the drug actually works, that is. Here at AIDS 2010, David E. Martin, Pharm.D, presented results from a proof-of-concept study on TBR-652: A 10-day monotherapy study involving 54 HIV-infected people. Hopefully we’ll be able to post the slides soon, but the gist is that the drug looked good enough to warrant starting a Phase 2b trial in early 2011.

Five different doses of TBR-652 were tested (there was also a placebo arm). Among the four highest doses, HIV-1 RNA levels dropped between 1.4 log and 1.8 log over the 10-day trial, a decent showing for an antiretroviral taken as monotherapy. Side effects were, generally speaking, similar to those seen among people taking placebo, with the exception of the highest-dose (150 mg) arm. A greater number of side effects occurred in that arm, though Martin noted that these side effects weren’t any more severe or longer-lasting than those experienced at other doses. The drug appears to have both a long half-life (30 to 40 hours) and a long “ramp-up” time (2 to 3 days), however, so there’s much left to learn about both its efficacy and safety over the longer term. 

The impact of TBR-652 on inflammation was gauged by assessing levels of MCP-1, a protein that contributes to inflammatory responses when it binds with CCR2. If TBR-652 is doing its job as a CCR2 inhibitor, one would expect free-floating MCP-1 levels to increase, since the protein is unable to bind with CCR2. And, indeed, levels were found to increase in each of the five groups taking TBR-652 (with the difference compared to placebo reaching statistical significance in three of the dosing groups). Martin also offered up a brief case study of one patient in particular who began the study with low levels of MCP-1 and high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), another marker of inflammation. MCP-1 levels jumped from virtually nil up to more than 160 pg/mL by day 10, and CRP levels dropped from around 15 mg/L to 5 mg/L.

Of course, this is all much ado about very little at this point. Sure, the drug looks pretty good as an antiretroviral and as a CCR2 inhibitor, but we’re talking about 10 days of monotherapy. The drug’s long-term efficacy and safety as part of an optimized antiretroviral regimen will be explored in research set to begin next year. During the question-and-answer period after Martin’s presentation, a couple of people raised the question of what impact blocking CCR2 might have on a person’s body over the long term. One person noted that CCR2 inhibition has been associated with tuberculosis risk, while others touched on a pretty key point: Despite the bad name it gets in the current HIV care climate, inflammation is a fundamental part of the body’s response to infections. If you take away a chunk of that inflammatory response, do you potentially make a person more susceptible to immune system damage? It’d be a bitter irony if a drug designed to hurt HIV’s ability to suppress the immune system ends up suppressing the immune system itself. Martin assured the audience that close attention would be paid to all of these issues as TBR-652 progressed through phase 2b study.

There’s also a conundrum down the road even if TBR-652 is proven safe and effective: namely, that it’s a CCR5 antagonist. CCR5 antagonists are most likely to work in people with HIV who recently became HIV positive. The longer a person has been living with HIV, the more likely he or she is to have CXCR4-tropic or dual/mixed-tropic virus, which means a CCR5 antagonist won’t work for them. Yet it is precisely those long-term HIV survivors who may be most at risk for inflammation-related complications.

I don’t mean to be a buzzkill here. After all, in a year that has featured precious few drugs in development to get remotely excited about, it’s nice to see one that’s actually moving forward through clinical trials. But at this very early stage in its development, a cautious hope about TBR-652 seems the prudent approach.

Send Myles an e-mail.

Vienna AIDS 2010: Global Health Leaders Say Stigma Exacerbates HIV Epidemic Among Black Gay/Bi Men

By Rod McCullom

July 22, 2010

AIDS 2010: Global Health Leaders Say Stigma Exacerbates HIV Epidemic Among Black Gay/Bi Men Vienna, Austria — From pre-conference events to the massive human rights march through downtown Vienna, world leaders, public health experts and HIV activists honed in with laser-like precision on a common message at The 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna : The ongoing persecution and criminalization of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men — “MSM”, in public health shorthand — are undermining efforts to control the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Chief among the obstacles: More than 80 nations have laws that still criminalize same sex behavior. In some of these countries, conviction can even result in the death penalty, reports UNAIDS.

Further exacerbating the problem, according to a report by Planned Parenthood, “58 countries have laws that criminalize HIV or use existing laws to prosecute people for transmitting the virus. Another 33 countries are considering similar legislation.’

The trend is “even more pronounced” across Africa and the Diaspora, said Joel Gustave Nana, executive director of the Johannesburg, South Africa-based African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (ASMSHer). The West African laws vary in extremity — just “exposing a person to HIV, regardless of if the virus is transmitted, is a crime in Benin, and Tanzanian law carries a possible sentence of life in prison for intentional transmission,” reports Medical News Today. While the overall life for Black MSM may be better for in North America, there are drawbacks. The United States and Canada lead the world when it comes to prosecuting people who infect or expose others to HIV, a surprising new study reveals. Black men have been disproportionately targeted with these prosecutions. A Black, gay, HIV positive Michigan man was recently as charged as a bioterrorist for allegedly biting a neighbor’s lip during a scuffle, Black AIDS Weekly reported in June.

“The prosecutions are arbitrary,” said Nana, in an interview after a press conference organized by The Global Forum on MSM & HIV. On Sunday, the day before the conference officially opened, the Global Forum held a 24-hour event to address the soaring global rates of MSM seroconversions.

“The stigma, discriminatory laws and criminalization of HIV transmission encourage the spread of this disease,” adds Nana. “Why should someone seek testing or medical advice come forward if you could be arrested? There is no incentive.”

The fear of “coming out”, pop culture which celebrates homophobia and churches and churchgoers that demonize gay Black men compound the problem for black MSM in America, the Caribbean and Africa.

“This is the context in which you have a runaway, dangerous HIV epidemic in Jamaica,” adds Robert Dr. Robert Carr, the co-chair of ICASO, the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO). “There is a clear link between religious condemnation, criminalization, stigma and HIV infections. We see this all the time in the Caribbean.”

Carr adds: “Politicians and church leaders endorse homophobic violence. Police refuse to protect MSM or are complicit or directly involved in the violence,” he said, referring to a now-infamous incident of a 2,000-strong mob surrounding several gay men and stoning them. The police were called to the scene and the officers also struck the young men.

Carr sighs. “With Jamaican MSM infection rates at 32 or 33 percent, it became obvious that you couldn’t do effective HIV work in this context.”

Although a state sponsored, religious-based terror campaign has targeted African MSM from Algeria to Zimbabwe, there are some positive developments to report from AIDS 2010.

“We now have 14 countries out of 54 that include men who have sex with men in their national HIV strategic plans,” AMSHer’s Joel Nana said. “It doesn’t mean the services will be delivered to those populations, but it is an acknowledgment. That’s a first step.”

“Kenya was the first African nation to include MSM in their national HIV strategy,” Nairobi-based peer educator Job Akuno told Black AIDS Weekly. Akuno is a counselor with the Nairobi-based SHAP, Scaling Up HIV and AIDS Prevention, partially funded by PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. “That was in 2006. But … it seems like we are rolling back on some of the gains that we made.”

“Kenya is starting to look like one of the countries that we should look up to,” Nana adds. “The HIV movement is more open to include MSM. And there is a strong MSM movement in Kenya, too . It is one of the few countries in Africa where a MSM organization was able to place an ad in the newspaper for the International Day Against Homophobia on May 17.”

Akuno says the HIV Prevention and Control Act criminalizes deliberate HIV transmission. “The sentences are up to 10 years. No one has been prosecuted, but now there is talk to make the law harsher. If you criminalize HIV transmission or only target MSM, that will further stigmatize the disease and drive many people into not wanting to know their results. ”

Job Akuno shrugs. “What can you do but hope for the best?”

Rod McCullom, a writer and television news producer, blogs on Black gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender news and pop culture at rod20.com.

Are Men That Have Sex With Men Being Ignored By The International AIDS Conference In Vienna Austria? asks a blogger

Vienna AIDS pre-conference on men who have sex with men a great idea INTERNATIONAL AIDS CONFERENCE / But also a missed opportunity

Phillip Banks / Vancouver / Monday, July 19, 2010

Last night marked the opening of the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria. From July 18-22 more than 20,000 people from all over the planet will converge to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of the global HIV crisis.

In the next few days, research findings will be shared, interesting programs and services will be presented, and more models, frameworks, and strategies than you can shake a stick at will be unveiled to the world.

And if Bill Clinton was telling the truth, we can expect some good news to come out of all of this too. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure the good news is going to apply to gay men.

Too many International AIDS Conferences have come and gone in the last decade without enough attention being given to the situation facing gay men and other men who have sex with men.

This isn’t unique to gay men. Over the years many different groups have had to fight to get the world’s attention.

It seems scientists, world leaders, international organizations, donors, and the conference host itself — the International AIDS Society — are all unable or unwilling to practice what they preach: to respond to the HIV epidemic based on the best available evidence.

If they did, they would be hard pressed to continue to ignore the new, growing, and resurgent HIV epidemics among gay men and other men who have sex with men around the globe.

In an effort to give some serious attention to HIV among gay men, the Global Forum on Men who Have Sex with Men (MSMGF) organized BE HEARD, a pre-conference event on July 17 here in Vienna.

At this one-day event 650 men and women from all corners of the globe came together to address the worsening global AIDS crisis among gay men.

The day featured presentations, workshops, and discussions among activists from every continent and more than 100 countries. Topics covered government denial and neglect; inadequate funding; limited access to prevention, treatment, and care; heartbreaking human rights abuses; and the resulting HIV-related deaths among gay men.

This situation was reiterated throughout the day by a number of high-level experts in the HIV field. Plenary speakers included Michael Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS; Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of The Global Fund; and Stephen Lewis, the previous United Nations Special Envoy on HIV in Africa.

One after another they stepped up to the podium and told the crowd how bad the situation is for us, how it is made worse by a serious lack of human rights in jurisdictions around the globe, and how, finally, we could count on their support as we fight on.

BE HEARD gave men a chance to get together and hear about challenges of HIV in our communities. It was an incredible opportunity to connect with men on the frontlines from around the world.

But it was also a missed opportunity.

This gathering of global gay activists did not need to spend the limited time they had together presenting statistics and program models to each other. If we really want to be heard, we should have spent that time strategizing about how we are going to use this international platform to demand action to end HIV in our communities.

Gay men need to dust off their whistles and take a page from the playbook of sex work activists, treatment activists, or the emerging activists from Eastern Europe. They aren’t afraid to make some noise because there’s too much at stake for them.

As the 18th International AIDS Conference starts, there’s too much at stake for gay men too.

Only one in five gay men on the planet has access to HIV prevention, care, and support. Top level officials pay lip service to epidemics among gay men but they offer us no good news.

George Ayala, executive officer of the Global Forum, said only 2 percent of scheduled events at this year’s AIDS conference will address the needs of men who have sex with men.

Gay men have been silenced at this conference and if we don’t make some noise, we’ll remain invisible.

There was a time when gay men refused to sit quietly while people in positions of power and authority apologized for our situation but provided no solutions or commitments.

In those days, gay guys demanded action. We demanded money. We demanded laws to protect our dignity and our human rights.

In those days we refused to be silent.

There is an opportunity for leadership here from the MSM Global Forum. It needs to decide if it wants to play nice with the big boys and girls, or throw down the gloves.

The conference is just getting started. Before it’s over I hope gay men do what needs to be done to Be Heard.

Source

What do you make of this? Man robbed left naked

Star News at it again:

Went to visit man he met on Facebook

Rasbert Turner, Star Writer

A St Catherine man was recently beaten and left naked by irate persons after he went to look for a man he met on the popular social networking website, Facebook.

THE STAR was informed that on Thursday the man went to a Portmore community to visit a man whom he was corresponding with on the website.

Upon his arrival at the location he was identified by several hostile young men who accused him of being a homosexual.

They reportedly set upon him, beating him severely with sticks. In the process he was robbed and stripped of his clothes.

He was rescued by a passing police vehicle that took him naked to the station where the man he had gone to visit took clothing for him.

The police say that an investigation is underway to find those who are responsible for assaulting the man and robbing him in the process.

ENDS

As usual get out your salt shaker and shake a few grains on this one, some questions as always,

1).How did the men come to know the visitor was visiting the particlar gentleman in question?

2). How did the gentleman end up bringing clothes to the “victim” as this is where he supposedly resided where the mobbing took place?

3). Do you find it strange that a group of men would just beat a man and leave him naked in our so called “homophobic”state? After all under “normal circumstances” given precedence set he may have recieved a more severe punishment or end

4). Do you find it odd that the Star has been on a set of homo story blitz as of recently?

5). Why didn’t the cops try to “cover” the man’s nakedness ?

6). Do you find the author of this piece writing as if he likes this story in a way?

Just some thought proviking questions we have to ask with the grain or two of salt added.

See what you can make of this yet another Star sensational blitz.

Peace and tolerance.

H

Sugar Minott on Buju’s “Boom Bye Bye”: ‘Stop taking it so serious!’

Following his untimely death, ClashMusic an online music site presented the full transcript of their interview with veteran Jamaican reggae act Sugar Minott.

Miguel Cullen of Clash spoke to the singer in February of this year 2010 for a feature which you can read HERE

For the full transcript go HERE

He was asked about his early career with Sir Coxxone Dodd up to his associations with present reggae stars such as Garnett Silk and Junior Reid. He was then asked about homophobia in the music to which he responded in the following excerpt:

MC: Where do you stand with the homophobia in dancehall?
Sugar Minott: We grew up like that – religion, Rastafari, Christianity – we always against things like that. It’s not because people are coming up with it now – we always been like that.

Jamaica’s like that. Myself – I don’t condone violence – people trying to kill people because of their lifestyle – or whatever. We have to live together

Anyway. I would say – leave them to Jah. I even recorded a song – just for the fun of it – then we decided ‘no man we can’t put this out’. It was against…you know what….when all this nonsense came out I didn’t bother to release it.

MC: How did it go?
Sugar Minott: [Laughs “If you see a chi-chi man then run – then send bottle and stone after him. Run chi chi man run, with bottle and show coming after him”. It’s really funny – that’s what I’m saying! I’m not thinking that people’s gonna take it serious – like they’re really gonna do that! I thought – that’s a trend – ‘let’s do something with it.’

But it was just for fun, yu know? Stop taking it so serious! Jamaicans say ‘Boom Bye Bye’ [Song by Buju Banton that details shooting gay people in the head] just for fun, they’re not actually gonna boom bye bye nobody. I’m saying leave it alone. I’ve never committed violence against anyone who wants to live the way they want to live.

ENDS

Unfortunately this is the dismissive tone taken towards the issue of homosexuality and with regards with hate lyrics or murder music, bearing in mind that older acts such as Sugar Minott never recorded such caustic lyrics but clearly from his pronouncements the thoughts were there.

Buju Banton lest we forget was 16 when he recorded this clearly prescriptive song for the demise of gay men in particular, lesbians weren’t selected for the punishment in this piece but the alliteration “Boom Bye Bye” is clearly emphasising the sound of the gunshots being administered to the offending party.

Some background

Murder music came to full maturity in the late eighties on the strength of several cases of alleged paedophilia and the related sensationlism of those stories by tabloid newspapers where the link was and is still made to homosexuality, tabloid’s steady diet of stereotypical and prejudicial stories of male homosexuality namely papers like the now defunct Enquiry, Excess and the still published XNews, the criticisms of the LGBT agitations in the US and elsewhere, the use of homophobic innuendo towards specific politians during election campaigns specifically former Prime Minister P. J. Patterson and subsequent public outcry following the steady feeds of all of the above. Coupled with all of those is the nation’s obsession with masculinity or machismo (thug culture)

In fact Buju Banton’s song “Boom Bye Bye” was supposed to be a response to one of those awful cases where a man allegedly sexually abused a boy who was found dead. The country by right was outraged but the marrying of paedophilia and adult male homosexuality without any serious rebuttal has left the gay community suffering unwanted consequences over the decades.

To dismiss this song’s meaning and or prescription for gays as a joke is a clear show of the cynicism that pervades a wide cross-section of Jamaican society. There is a popular saying “What is a joke to you is death to me” maybe in this case we can take it literally.

Mark Myrie aka Buju Banton was also allegedly involved himself in an attack on a group of gay men in a middle class residential area near his studio at the time in Kingston where the supposed antics of the men drew the anger studio visitors and idlers who often congregated on the outside of the gate waiting to meet a recording star, get a chance to voice tracks or beg money.

Buju was however relieved of going to trial on the matter as the charges were dropped by the lawyers representing the men one of whom was badly beaten to the point he now has one eye due to the injuries, for their own safety they never continued to full trial.

So taking into account all of that to see the real threats out there to suspected gays and lesbians and merely pass it off as a joke or some metaphor for something else is an insult to say the least. These are the artists we hold as icons with high esteem and they give subtle support to homophobia.

Of course the cop-out argument or line usually follows where in this case he said “I don’t condone violence – people trying to kill people because of their lifestyle – or whatever. We have to live together” which is supposed to soften or give some level of tolerance which most times are really not genuine I feel and are only rhetoric.

Sorry we didn’t see this before his untimely death where someone could respond to this.

Peace and tolerance.

H

Businessman says video was edited, while More freaky acts exposed – New tape with businessman revealed (Star News)

The man who was featured in a short video clip caressing the nipples of a popular businessman has now submitted an extended version of their intimate moment to THE STAR. The latest video, which is 23 minutes long, also shows the businessman getting a massage from his male friend and receiving light kisses on his neck and cheeks.

The video shows the businessman laughing with every kiss he received and in one instance, he beckoned to the other man and told him to come and rub his nipples. During the massage and kisses, the men engaged in normal conversation, talking about their friends, family members and current affairs.

At the start of the video, when the massage just began, the businessman asked the other man to use lotion. The other man in the video is also seen checking the door to the room, to ensure that it was closed.

THE STAR yesterday published an article under the headline ‘Businessman Taped In Homo Act’, which described in detail the men’s action in the abbreviated clip. However, following the publication of the article, THE STAR was contacted by the businessman, who is well known in uptown circles. He denied being gay and said the video was amended and released by a vindictive individual who was seeking to tarnish his name.

It was an innocent video, he said, that had turned into an ugly situation. The businessman said he and the other man in the video have known each other for about three years.

He said when the man was in a dark time of his life, he stood by his side, and added that he recently offered him a job. He said, however, that after certain allegations were made about the man, he fired him and refused to re-hire him.

This decision, he said, was the root of the anger which caused the video to be doctored and released. He said: “He got angry and concocted and edited the video and put it out that night and it has been a nightmare ever since.” He added, “I am not a homosexual.

That video was absolutely edited. He took a perfectly innocent situation and made it into an ugly situation. It has caused my family – and my girlfriend in particular – a lot of stress.” When contacted by THE STAR, the other man, however, alleged that he was drugged by the businessman. He denied that the images had been doctored.

He said: “I’m pretty sure you’re smart enough to know that’s not true, nothing is edited, probably cut out, but not edited.” When asked about his sexual orientation he said, “Let’s just say I am cool with everybody. I have a girlfriend, a fiancée,” he said. He then went on to send the extended version of the tape to THE STAR which, he said, would show what exactly took place.

He accused the businessman of being a homosexual before claiming that he was given two pills which altered his consciousness. In the video he submitted, however, he appears fully conscious and in control of his faculties. Since the release of the clip last week, the video has been making the rounds on the Internet and has been the source of plenty discussion.

Outing of Gay Businessman on Youtube

A video depicting a popular businessman engaging in a sexual act with another man is becoming one of the most widely talked about and circulated item locally.

The clip is now being circulated via BlackBerry smartphones and has been placed on the popular website YouTube. The site has attempted to remove the video, but as soon as this is done, it is again uploaded.

It shows the figure, an outspoken individual who is widely known in uptown circles, getting his nipples sucked by another man.

At the start of the video, the businessman is seen sitting in a sofa. Another man soon enters the frame and proceeds to rub the businessman’s chest. The man strokes both of the businessman’s nipples, before biting one. During his stroking and biting, the man’s face is caressed lovingly by the businessman.

A voice-over, which seems to have been added by a third party, mockingly describes the activities of both men. At one point the voice says, “yu (breast) dem a get big though.”

The caption beneath the video placed on YouTube, describes the businessman in rather unflattering terms and speaks of his reputed falling out with previous employees.

As the video made the rounds, friends and associates of the businessman expressed shock and disgust. Some even reminisced about the businessman’s recent conversations about women.

Efforts by THE STAR to contact him have so far been unsuccessful. Sources close to him however have said that he is not in the island.

ENDS

Some questions and more:
1). How did this video reach to youtube?
2). Did the Star News bothered to check how did this happen?
3). Do you feel the video was uploaded or shared by the actual parties involved seeing it was a private moment?
4). Why are members of the public quick to believe this and other sensationlised stories?
Elsewhere on the internet all kinds of negative homophobic comments already are coming in. This is not the first time we have seen personal private videos of a sexual nature making it to the public domain involving popular personalities gay or not as just recently let’s not forget Milk formerly of CVM TV and her romp with a certain ZJ from Zip FM. Also there was Candy from CVM as well when her nude private photos were seen and circulated all over the net.
The most infamous of all is the former Bank Administrator whose nude photos were also all over the net allegedly in reprisal from her ex boyfriend for leaving him so he decided to embarrass her. She eventually lost her job and has had to migrate to another country for the time being.
Anyone remembers Christopher “Johnny” Dailey formerly of popular television serial “Lime Tree Lane” where his sex tape was widely circulated much to the amusement of many as his “endownment” was highly criticised.
However some of the comments regarding this particular video “outing” suggest shock as if they didn’t know that gay people aren’t here in Jamaica, besides it’s a private moment call it what you will.
There needs to be a serios look at legislation if any does not exist in tackling this increasing trend or if there are any give them more teeth to make them far more punitive. Someone’s privacy cannot be just violated and then they are left to suffer the consequences whilst the perpetrator just continues living.
Think on these things folks.
Peace and tolerance.
H

Cross dressing drama in Portmore

Another tale of male crossdressing activities causing trouble this time in the ever increasing and vibrant commercial sex trade in the vicinity of the hip strip on Port Henderson Road. Commercial sex workers and small motels dot the landscape and not to be outdone are bars, clubs interspersed with churches, what a mix?

Reports suggests that on Saturday July 10 around 2am in the morning a man who was coming from an event on the strip was on his way home according to him. He reportedly saw a motorvehicle parked on the strip with a female allegedly in the passenger side of the car, the man knowing that in that vicinity the commercial sex is done he approached the “woman” to conduct business.

They negotiated the deal for sexual favours in exchange for an agreed price, he was seen entering the vehicle by eyewitnesses where the apparent agreed sexual favours were performed by the CSW on the man in the form of oral sex. It was after the act was completed and he requested additional services that he discovered she was in fact a “he” as the services he requested require penetrative sex which the cross dresser could not fulfill.

An argument ensued where upon hearing the crossdressers voice it was clear she was a man in drag, by which time stones were hurled into the vehicle damaging it. The drag queen also defended herself by hurling stones as well and chasing him away. The man subsequently tried reporting the matter to the cops but was himself held and maybe charged for malicious destruction of property resulting from the incident.

According to sources he may also be charged for gross indecency for performing lewd acts in a public place. The cross dresser had decided to pursue the matter but “she” too may also be charged for performing said acts as well. She may not go through after all with the charges for safety reasons given the sensitivity of the situation and Jamaica’s bitterness towards anything remotely close to male homosexuality which may result in a public trial on the matter.

The police officers who got wind of the incident were allegedly in stitches when they got the complete details of what actually occured.

As news spread of the happening in that side of Portmore many persons are once again calling for the disbanding of the hip strip all together and arresting all prostitutes and those who harbour them. The debate has resumed about the morals and attitudes in Portmore with the mayor and parish council coming under pressure from civic groups and neighborhood associations demanding the changes suggested by a previous mayor to change the look of the hip strip. Many persons feel it has become an eyesore for the entire Portmore.

This is the third such incident overall in less than a year involving alleged male cross dressers involved in commercial sex the most infamous of them was “Barbie” in Clarendon which was seen on television after she was held at a police station before making bail. This demands some word from Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG.

Something needs to be done regarding these persons getting involved in risky behaviour to earn an income. Then again will they engage such a population seeing they seemed pre-occupied with tackling CARICOM and other programmatic issues while ignoring or overlooking on the ground interventions that require urgent attention also given their mandate as offering social support services?

The lower groups of LGBT people are just not getting the attention.

Let’s continue to watch this and other events.

Peace and tolerance

H

Gays blocked from Hip Strip says attorney

The Editor, Sir:

On Friday, July 9, about 8:10 p.m. a group of men and women, some gay, some not, went for a stroll along the Hip Strip in Montego Bay. Their pleasant evening’s outing was soon cut short when members of the Courtesy Corps contracted by Marksman to the Ministry of Tourism started hurling homo-phobic slurs at the group.

In the vicinity of Doctor’s Cave Beach, corps members blocked the group’s further passage, insisting they were gay and hence not allowed on the Hip Strip. This happened in full view of locals and tourists at that busy Friday-evening location populated with numerous eateries and outdoor entertainment. Yet, I understand these ‘tourist police’, as they are ‘affectionately’ called, have been sworn in as district constables, mandated to uphold the peace. And this is how they did it, by harassing and verbally abusing Jamaicans out for an evening stroll.

This incident is sadly reminiscent of the mob killing of Victor Jarrett on Dump-Up Beach in Montego Bay six years ago. At that time, the police hurled insults at Victor who was sitting on the beach, accusing him of being gay and watching men on the beach. A mob formed which chased Victor into Canterbury where his bludgeoned body was discovered the next day. Needless to say, no one was arrested for this act of treacherous villainy.

Double standard

Admittedly, such actions by regular members of the police force have declined sharply but clearly the tourist police did not get the memo – they are there to serve and protect all individuals on the Hip Strip.

I wonder if they would have been as quick to harass white effeminate or gay North Americans? The clear double standard must stop. All Jamaicans are entitled to basic human rights, including the right to freedom of movement! I know the matter has been reported to Marksman, the police and Tourism Product Development Company. I expect swift and decisive action to be taken against these perpetrators.

I am, etc.,

MAURICE TOMLINSON

maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com