The Wyndham (formerly Hilton) & the issues of homophobia

The Wyndham hotel like any other hotel serves “the public” which I suppose ought to include all races, classes, colours, creed and by extension orientation especially given the fact it prides itself as a business hotel so more than likely it will attract certain types with spending power. With the change of management yet again hence the name reverting to Wyndham from the Hilton they seem to be looking for ways to keep and attract certain demographics.

In this regard the entertainment packages previously offered are being reviewed and new ones tried out, hence the Rock themed Fridays and Rave typed Saturday offerings. The Karaoke is still on for Friday nights but that has its own share of issues given the discplinary problems with attendees specifically some of the lgbt community persons so much so that strong security measures and temporary closures have been taken over the years of this event’s life. The staff of the hotel themselves have contributed to the problems as well although successive management structures refuse to take the responsibility on their part.

We have seen everything from security guards and patrons in feuds and fist fights to homophobic remarks made to persons just by their appearance and attire upon entering the lobby to two men roughed up and forcibly removed with a pair of handcuffs used to hit them in the head after a fight where one ended up in the pool so much so that the trail of blood could be traced all through the lobby out to the road where they were deposited and told not to return, this happened several years ago so we see this is not a new problem for the hotel. Persons now entering hotel for the Karaoke event cannot do so via the front anymore through the lobby but now have to use the side gate on Trnindad Terrace passing through the car park or the rear entrance also going through the car park.

I am in no way defending the problematic antics and rudeness of the lgbt people who behave inappropriately on the premises but that gives no reason for the prolonged discriminatory practices that have basically gone unchecked with flawd security measures that just add fuel to the fire.

The promoters of the Saturday Night Rave event recently decided to pull the plug after only three weekends of the budding event due to precisely the crap from the staff with tacit support from sections of the management, the Friday night event hosts are also considering relocation. Clearly the Wyndham does not understand the demographic for these two events the complaints suggest that the rock events attract to many androgynous persons (my words) the tattoos, piercings basically went counter to the business type atmosphere they want to entertain while the rave nights attract too many “gays” with allegations of men dancing closely with each other, the bar of the two events is staffed by hotel employees and not of persons of the promoters own choosing hence the problems I fear.

The hotel has several policies that seem on the surface very discriminatory they literally operate on the premise of profiling so men in “tight clothing” aren’t welcome or are watched closely when they enter the grounds. This was precisely what led to an incident in the rear car park on Sunday August 8th 2010 (the second instalment of the rave themed nights) the men were seated in an SUV after the event ended at 3am a member of the security team walked over to the vehicle where the three male occupants were playing the sound system loudly and allegedly smoking marijuana away off from the lobby or the rooms as the car park is pretty extensive yet the guards proceeded to reportedly lambast the men with the ususal homophobic taunts, the three men didn’t take kindly to this and reacted quite publicly in the car park so much so that the remote armed security team and the police were called in. The guards in their defense said they explained to the men that they cannot sit in their vehicle in the car park as it is not allowed and is standard policy (of course with no proper signage to indicate same) a point I brought to the discussion after things calmed down. It was clear that it was lie that was told. Ironically one can sit in their vehicles in the front car park as I have done and no one has come to me to remove me or say I cannot do so, one would have thought that simple CCTV or surveillance would ocver that supposed problem at the rear car park, these folks take us for fools.

Previous history

Outweekly Jamaica a set of young lgbt activists had launched a protest at the then Hilton after and incident with one of their own on September 13, 2009 as photoed above. Brave ones they sure were.

There was another incident in 2008 where the cops were called in to remove disruptive persons but of course almost everyone else who looked gay were condemned with a broad brush including persons who were seated at the upscale section that being the poolside bar who enquired what had happened, the homophobic remarks and unprofessional attitudes almost ruined the night’s proceedings as many in attendance were upset.

Maybe it is a good thing that both events may be moved sadly but the Wyndham should not have engaged them in the first place while yet still hosting the problematic Karaoke nights which just by the look of it is their biggest money maker on a weekend as there are always crowds rain or shine. If one wants to see a wide cross-section of the lgbt community just check out this phenom on a Friday night at the Wyndham (formerly Hilton) even newspapers and tabloids have hinted to it. Yet almost every other week in times past there is was some report of a negative event happening there and despite all that the support for the Karaoke nights is steady or has grown since.

In an apology sent out to patrons the promoters of the Saturday night event said on August 13th:

“Good day supporters of the Martian repatriation that is (Event name)
Thanks so much for your support over the past few weeks. It has been overwhelmingly positive and the event continues to grow in numbers and popularity.

We have taken the executive decision to move the event from the Jonkanoo Lounge @ the Wyndham hotel for… a number of reasons, chief among them being insensitive and inept security personnel and the generally discourteous nature of staff at the hotel.

(Event name) is therefore cancelled for this week with an announcement coming very soon pertaining to its resumption.

Please be advised that (Event name) is a registered trademark of Dreamcatcher events and any unauthorized use of this moniker will be subject to arbitration.

In otherwords, anyone purporting to be promoting and event called (Event name) at the Jonkanoo Lounge after I have sent this message is lying.

Peace!”

Names witheld for security reasons.

The Wyndham also to me doesn’t seem to understand their product the Jonkanoo Lounge for example is a household name for previous events in years gone by and in fact it was easy to promote the two recent events, many folks were pleased that it had reopened full time again.

Probably persons need to find alternatives for weekend nightly entertainment.

Peace and tolerance.

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.

2 thoughts on “The Wyndham (formerly Hilton) & the issues of homophobia”

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