Confusion around changing sexual orientation for trans-gendered persons

Prepared by A. B. Kaplan of TG Mental Health

There is a commonly heard idea in the transgender literature and community asserting that the transgendered individual will sometimes change sexual orientation after transitioning.

I have found that many patients come in with this belief.  Arlene Istar Lev (2004), a family therapist, clinical social worker and gender expert notes that “gender transition can have a tremendous impact on sexual orientation, sometimes affecting one’s sexual interests…” and in the next paragraph “Sexual orientation is not malleable and cannot be changed through force or will” (p. 301).

There seems to be a good deal of confusion and disagreement on the topic in the transgender community.

Putting aside for a moment the fact that transitioning is a long process with no particular end point (where a change in sexual orientation could be assessed) and can often mean different things to different people and that most transsexuals do not have surgeries;

perhaps what is really happening in these cases is that individuals are choosing partners more for the complex array of factors that help the individual feel confirmed in their authentically felt gender rather than for their desirability based on their maleness or femaleness.

Just thinking about this logically for a minute one sees that claims of so called “reparative therapies” on non-trans homosexuals have been thoroughly debunked over the past few decades (for summaries see Haldeman, 1994; Drescher, 1998  and Bright 2004).

What bit of alchemy would then achieve this momentous transformation on the transsexual?  Hormone replacement therapy?  By this same logic, scores of menopausal lesbians taking feminizing hormones would have suddenly switched to becoming attracted to men.

A 1998 research paper titled “Changes in the Sexual Orientation of Six Heterosexual Male-to-Female Transsexuals” by Christopher Daskalos of the Department of Sociology, Arizona State University asserts that

“These respondents stated that before transitioning they had been sexually orientated towards females. After transitioning, these same respondents reported that they were sexually orientated towards males. Five of the six respondents reported having various sexual encounters with males since transitioning. The respondents explained the changes in their sexual orientation as part of their emerging female gender identities. Three of the respondents claimed that the use of female hormones played a role in changing their sexual orientation” (from the abstract p. 605).”

The paper was challenged in the same journal in a letter to the editor by Anne A. Lawrence (an arguably controversial figure in her own right due to her advocating the concept of  ‘autogynephilia’) who noted that “Daskalos purports to document dramatic changes in the sexual orientation of six of his transsexual informants – changes that seem to have occurred almost effortlessly.  However, a careful reading of Daskalos’ paper reveals that he has demonstrated no such thing” (p. 581). Her reasons include that sexual behavior is not the same as sexual orientation, that (a somewhat dated idea) “Sometimes such self-reports may be conscious deceptions, designed to increase the likelihood that the transsexual will qualify for sex reassignment surgery” and that “In other cases, such self-reports by transsexuals may reflect the autogynephilic fantasy of sex with a male partner” (p. 581).

However none of these refutations shed light on the reasons behind changes in behavior.  I believe Dozier’s (2005) comments from her cohort of 18 trans men to be most in keeping with what I have seen with trans people in my practice:

Respondents also challenge traditional notions of sexual orientation by focusing less on the sex of the partner and more on the gender organization of the relationship. The relationship’s ability to validate the interviewee’s masculinity or maleness often takes precedence over the sex of the partner, helping to explain changing sexual orientation as female-to-male transsexual and transgendered people transition into men (2005, p. 297).”

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

References:

Bright, C. (2004). Deconstructing Reparative Therapy: An Examination of the Processes Invovled When Attempting to Change Sexual Orientation. In Clinical Social Work Journal, Vol. 32, No. 4, Winter 2004 (_ 2004)

Daskalos, C. (1998).  Changes in the Sexual Orientation of Six Heterosexual Male-to-Female Transsexuals. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 27, No. 6, 1998

Dozier, R. (2005) Beards, Breasts, and Bodies: Doing Sex in a Gendered World. In Gender & Society, Vol. 19 No. 3, June 2005. 297-316

Drescher, J. (1998).  I’m Your Handyman: A History of Reparative Therapies in Journal of Homosexuality,Vol. 36(1) 1998

Haldeman, D.C.  (1994) The Practice and Ethics of Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy. InJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 62, No. 2, 221-227

Lawrence, A. (1999) Letter to the Editor. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 28, No. 6, 1999

Lev, A. (2004). Transgender Emergence. Binghamton, NY: HaworthPress.

The Star is at it again, stereotyping, incitement: GAY LOVERS FLOCK PARK ❒ Vendors concerned about their activities

So the Star once again is at it of course setting up anyone who even looks remotely gay now to be a subject of possible abuse, what is wrong with these irresponsible people?

I go through Half Way Tree on a daily basis almost and I don’t see these types as described here furthermore it is the vendors who need to be removed as they have now blocked almost every walk way through the centre of the square. Food and produce vendors have now taken cover infront the National Commercial Bank which never used to happen before now yet gays are the problem?

Why doesn’t the police move the vendors even when the peddle their wares under the very “No Vending” signs? The attempt by the major and the Municipal Council to order the vending zones along the thoroughfare was met with protests yet they are supposed to be worried about citizens free movement? What nonsense.

The ugly red Digicel sponsored booths they tried to give to the indisciplined vendors are themselves an eyesore and have served to also impede pedestrian traffic further in this very historic of all places, once Half Way Tree was a centre for Kingston’s beauty now it’s no different from some other clutter spots

Clearly they the Star, are inciting something here and so what if folks want to meet and greet is meeting in a public space now a crime? yet they get away with this crap all the time.

What is the Star implying and why are they resorting to stereotyping folks by describing them by specifics? then again it seems to have backfired as one persons suggested they the gays all dress “normal” so that basically kills the profiling actions of many desperately looking for gays or at least certain types of gays in Jamaica.

I guess it’s another in the series to keep up the farce with embellishments to sell papers but that thank God is an art that is slowly dying, there are Jamaicans who are wiser, more tolerant or who are more interested in the less mundane of watching or being obsessed with gay hunting.

Read the story below and decide:

Vendors in the Half-Way Tree area of St Andrew say that they are concerned about the increased presence of homosexuals in the Mandela Park.

The vendors say that homosexuals have been using the park as a regular meeting spot and are converging there in numbers nightly. There are also reports that some of these men have been using the Emancipation Park as a regular meeting spot on weeknights as well.

When the STAR visited the Half-Way Tree area recently, a group of vendors who were gathered discussing the matter, explained that nightly after 9 p.m., the men are “in deh like sand”. One angry vendor said “them tek over, a fi dem park”. Another vendor pointed out that on week nights, other suspected homosexuals hang around close to the Half-Way Tree clock waiting for the arrival of luxurious vehicles which come by to pick them up.

One Rastafarian man, who was in discussion with other vendors about the suspected homosexual activities, toldTHE STAR that he recently returned to Jamaica and had heard the rumours of the men’s activities while he was abroad. He said he was shocked to discover that it was true.

The vendors complained that the men make no effort to conceal their actions.

According to the vendors, some of those suspected of homosexual behaviour have bleached faces, braided hairs, pierced ears and lips, and also wear tattoos.

On the other hand, another vendor pointed out that some of them dress normal and so it is sometimes hard to differentiate between them.

According to the vendors, the police make regular patrols in the Mandela Park, sometimes in an effort at preventing the gathering of homosexuals.

However, when the STAR contacted the Half-Way Tree Police Station, we were informed that no official reports have been made in the matter.

A police sergeant attached to the station said that while he is unable to confirm the claims of the vendors, he did not doubt them.

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

Homophobia in Jamaican Music (17.03.10)

Western Mirror Posting

Reggae artistes whose shows are being boycotted in the United States and whose records are blacklisted in Europe, must be hurting financially. And we are often reminded that it is not only the artistes who suffer, as many of them also contribute to the care and upbringing of numerous underprivileged children in their communities.

Recently, the UWI Open Campus IN Montego Bay hosted an excellent public lecture on the role of Jamaica’s music and dance in national development. This lecture which was dedicated to that great light from the West, Professor Rex Nettleford was masterfully moderated by the Mirror’s own Lloyd B. Smith and appropriately featured Professor Carolyn Cooper of the UWI (the authority on Jamaican music) as the main presenter.

During a very interactive panel discussion, which in addition to Professor Cooper featured the Montego Bay Junior Mayor; local ‘conscious’ artiste Mackie Conscious, Paul Blake (of Blood Fire Posse fame who is now clearly on fire for God), and an educator from Cornwall College who spoke of her experience with the negative impact of dancehall music on boys at that institution, Professor Cooper made the statement that there is a need 1’01’ the Jamaican government to lobby on be­half of boycotted artistes as a push hack against gay lobbyist.

In her opinion, the world needs to be told that Jamaicans are homophobic ‘with good reason’.

Due to time constraints, I was unable to ask her if she believed Professor Nettleford, being the type of person he was, would have approved of her statement.

So instead I have pulled together some responses I received to a recent letter to the Editor which enquired why Jamaicans are so homophobic. I wanted to identify if the blacklisted artistes in fact reflect a general national homophobia and the reasons for such homophobia.

In summary, Jamaicans don’t accept the gay lifestyle because they fear it will unleash a Sodom and Gomorrah cataclysm on Jamaica such as the re­cent Haitian or Chilean earthquakes. There is also the perception that gays will recruit young boys, the human race would decrease as less ‘straight’ sex would occur if buggery is legalized, and gay sex is ‘nasty’ so it must spread disease.

It is clear that the rationality of these expressed objections to the gay lifestyle is suspect. At the same time the private sex acts of consenting adult males was largely felt to be nobody’s business and no longer worthy of legal regulation.

ENDS

Mom, counsel your son, don’t condemn says Tell Me Pastor but if he was gay?

Here is another letter to the Tell Me Pastor in the Star thats urges a mother not to condemn her son simply because according to her she found condoms new and used in his bag at just 15 years old. I am sure that if the story had a gay twist to it he would have advised her to seek counseling to get it out of him judging from his previous responses to such matters one can recall the case where he recommended restorative psychology treatment for a lesbian who had allegedly written to him asking for advice.

This kind of double standards or religious hypocrisy is just so familiar some sins especially if they are heterosexual based are allowed or easily forgiven while anything remotely gay is condemned.

He did spoke to safer sex practices and probably recognised early sexual initiation and the need for parents’ input.

Have a read of the letter

Dear Pastor,

This is the second time I am writing to you. The first time I wrote you, you gave me good advice.

I have a son who is 15 years old and attending high school. He is very good at sports, so all the girls flock him. He does well in his lessons and is obedient. But I got the shock of my life when I found in his school bag a pack of condoms and one was used.

I confronted him about it and he said it belonged to a friend who gave him the condoms to keep. Pastor, I don’t believe him. This boy goes to church every Sunday. I didn’t expect him to start having sex so early. His younger brother is 13 and he told me he knows his girlfriend. I don’t want these careless girls to spoil up my son. My friends told me I should have left the condoms in his bag. But pastor, he is too young to be having sex.

S., St Andrew

Pastor’s response

Dear S.,

Why were you so shocked when you saw the condoms in your son’s bag? And did you believe that he would have admitted that they were his? Even if he wanted to admit they were his, your reaction caused him to lie.

Of course the condoms are his. Yes, mother, your son is sexually active and he is wise enough to protect himself from STD and HIV/AIDS and from impregnating women. And, mother, taking the condoms away, doesn’t mean that he would stop having sex. No, mother, he would purchase another pack and put them where you would not find them, or he may give them to his girlfriend to keep.

You describe the girls as careless. How unfortunate. Not all girls who are sexually active are careless. Many teenagers have sex, not because they are bad but because they hear from their peers that it is sweet. Many come under peer pressure, so they yield.

Counsel your son. Ask your minister to counsel him too, but don’t condemn him or his friends.

Pastor

JFLAG, the press release mechanism and its supposed SMMC Support

JFLAG continues to play catch up on a Stop Murder Music movement that has clearly left its grasp and even knowledge of activities taking place elsewhere is not known to them.

As someone who was involved in the SMM work in the early days which is far more older than six years I am apalled at the poor representation they are showing for the lgbt community in this and other regards.

Very little has been done to meet half way with the players in the industry even in the face of some pundits in the arena such as Clyde McKenzie, Shocking Vybes Director and Rising Star judge suggesting a truce and talks towards possible solutions.

The work has been predominantly done by the groups overseas themselves with very little consultations towards JFLAG. Even the recent actions in France with regards to Sizzla and Capleton tell a story as the persons there acted on point basically alone with some links to individuals.

The various Stop Murder Music Campaign groups internationally now literally translate the songs themselves contact key people outside JFLAG’s structure in their own field work yet the J plays catch up with cursary support when they do not even have the field workers or outreach for monitoring the dancehall arena and related issues.

This is a joke, another half hearted positioning to look as if they are doing anything. Or as some would say the press release factory mechanism is at it again.

Here is the press release from JFLAG

Kingston, Jamaica – August 2, 2010

Over the past 6 years, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays has been engaged with the Stop Murder Music Campaign (SMMC), a network of activists in Europe, the United States and Canada, who speak out against the performance of lyrics that promote violence against gays and lesbians in Jamaica. J-FLAG has recognised the SMMC as an important partnership in the fight against anti-gay violence and discrimination.

Against this background, J-FLAG supports the efforts of LSVD and other such groups in the Campaign to ensure that artists who promote hate and violence through their anti-gay lyrics be held accountable for this incitement of violence and hatred. As well these artistes should not be allowed to perform these lyrics internationally as this level of hatred should not be allowed to influence other cultures. The rewarding relationship held with the partners in this campaign is encouraging and J-FLAG is hopeful this kind of signal to artists will encourage the dancehall fraternity to seriously think about the responsibility that these artistes have to a developing society and that hatred and violence should not be the promoted or glamourised.

J-FLAG continues to take this position mindful of the fact that the threat as well as the reality of homophobic violence hangs over the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community in Jamaica. Indeed, violence has claimed the lives of too many members of the Jamaican GLBT community. J-FLAG remains convinced that this situation is fuelled, among other things, by the anti-gay lyrics of performers within the dancehall genre. If steps are not taken to address the threat posed by such lyrics, many more members of the Jamaican GLBT community will suffer.

We are conscious of the fact that the respect for the human rights of the GLBT community in many parts of Europe and North America has been won after a long struggle, and depended largely on governments and societies taking a stand against anti-gay violence. We therefore appreciate the seriousness of the issue for those who believe that allowing entertainers to call for the murder of GLBT persons represents a threat to the hard won respect for their humanity.

J-FLAG reiterates its respect for the sanctity of life and applauds the contributions of SMMC towards the safety of all GLBT persons.

________________________________

Jason McFarlane
Programmes Manager
Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays – J-FLAG
Tel: (876)978-8988
Fax: (876) 978-7876
Website: http://www.jflag.org
email: admin@jflag.org
ENDS

Peace and tolerance

H

Homeless MSM/CSWs in New Kingston rescued by taxi driver

In the early hours of August 7 around 2am the streets of Kingston were still alive as members of the public and patrons were still making their way home from the Independence Day Grand Gala celebrations at the National Stadium while other persons carried out their celebrations at popular night spots, clubs and bars in the business district and the hip strip. Many persons walked from the Stadium to central locations to find transportation to get home while others just gallivanted the time away until they were ready to disperse. Such was a group of men who were apparently walking to Half Way Tree but took the shortcut through New Kingston via the top end of the business district that of Trafalgar Road. The general area is already known to be a commercial nightspot for the would be individual seeking sexual favours from commercial sex workers mostly female but that night the men were in for a shock when they came across a group of cross dressers who were apparently openly soliciting business as the men passed.

They did not take kindly to this and proceeded to chase the cross dressed “ladies of the night” along an avenue where the kind taxi driver was reclined on his front seat after completing several trips earlier so he decided to rest a bit. According to the driver who my main source another taxi driver made contact with on my behalf, I managed to interview him where he said he saw the “ladies” first walking briskly with about five men in pursuit towards his parked vehicle at first he thought it was just friends idling or at worst sex deal going sour and the “ladies” were trying to leave but the walk soon became an all out chase with the men hurling small rocks at them and using the regular curse words at the “divas” who were both wearing tight fitted jeans and high heels with handbags. He started his engine as he wanted to avoid being in the way of any stones hitting his vehicle when he noticed the men stopped and huddled together, he said he realised that something else was about to go down so he beckoned to the “ladies” to enter quickly and they did, he then sped off taking them to the main Oxford Road where he allowed them to disembark. This assistance did not go down well with the men who had initially gave chase as while he was driving away he overheard them protesting bitterly that the taxis in the area were in support of battyman business.

I have since learnt that another set of cross dressers and other MSM who congregate at a spot nearby were also the subject of attempted abuses from passers-by. The taxi driver who I spoke to said the other drivers were discussing the issue over their short wave radios with some saying the men are to die and the usual homophobic rhetoric while others were pondering why are the men putting themselves in danger? He continued by saying that he gave them a stern warning while they exited the vehicle and that he wouldn’t do that again for them and they should find some other activity to occupy their time. The driver who is known to me explained that he has no problem with gay men overall but some of the guys are to open with it and that is why they get into problems “dem too much man, dem nuh noh seh a Jamaica dis? dem lucky seh mi did deh deh” (they are too open and flirt their actions in public, this is Jamaica and there are consequences) he said.
“Dem tank me yu see bossy” (they thanked me you see sir) he continued they fixed themselves on the back seat of the car en route in their escape and retouched their makeup. He started laughing when he saw them doing this, “dem a real oman to rass” he said laughing.
They took another cab some minutes after and he left for another location as he didn’t want the men to possibly turn up recognising his car since he hadn’t driven far from the original location of the chase.

Sadly this is another outcome as a consequence of the lack of proper interventions to steer gay men at risk from trouble and helping them to focus their energies into some other productive area. There is word of funds being raised by Sunshine Cathedral in Miami to build some shelter of sorts but it is not yet known when that will materialise. Among the group of men of course who gather at the various spots in and around Kingston are homeless MSM but it is hard to estimate how many are there now as they are now linking with other men who are allegedly involved in other illegal activities from which they obtain some financial rewards.

This is the third such typed incident on or just after Independence, last year a group of men were chased along Swallowfield Road as they walked passed a group of men who congregated at a wall. Apparently the mannerisms of the passers-by aroused suspicions that they were gay and stones were thrown at the men. They eventually made good their escape not before one of the men fell while he was running away and suffered several blows from his attackers. The year prior in 2008 there was a skirmish in Half Way Tree which died down quickly as police were already patrolling the area and stopped it.

Something has to be done seriously for this group within the LGBT community; there are just too many instances like this dotting our history without any meaningful alternatives or preventative measures. Other concerned persons and myself have tried to speak to those in the group we know personally but we realise that this is not nearly enough as there are other underlined issued that require professional interventions in my estimation.

Thankfully this driver was there and decided to assist normally this kind of action would have been unheard of or probably he would have joined in the throng and maimed the “ladies of the night”
UNCONFIRMED reports suggest that another incident involving a taxi driver of a certain association in New Kingston some weeks ago involving a motorist who was reportedly on a cell phone by a traffic light where the light had changed to green, the motorist apparently did not move upon the signal change and the taxi driver became boisterous, the motorist allegedly responded in a tone suggesting his car was expensive and bought by his man, the taximan did not take kindly to the remarks and allegedly pulled his firearm where the motorist was shot with eyewitnesses allegedly cheering on the shooter. I have since learnt that the motorist is alive but in critical condition and the taximan has since been questioned by the cops under the now defunct state of emergency, no further word since. As we say in Jamaica if it doesn’t go like that well it’s probably close.

It points out however that New Kingston is certainly becoming crime central with MSM suffering the brunt of attacks on the face of it. Just last Saturday an MSM showed me his arm where he says he was chased and hit by the infamous “biker boys” who frequent the hip strip as he accused of being gay after he was seen talking to another man who they suspect, obviously due to his masculine physique and attitude they didn’t take him on but he was threatened and told that if they see him again it’s going to be worse. The young man in question said he went to a certain lgbt group’s offices to ask for some money for transportation to relocate to another parish, his request was not entertained.

There are several reports of this biker boy group being involved in incidents with MSM in and around New Kingston, they had disappeared for a while following a crack down by the police following complaints from female patrons as well from the clubs they frequent and their abrasive behaviours but since the transfers of the tough cops and the removal of the state of emergency they seem to have resurfaced.

I will continue to try to encourage the guys to discontinue congregating on the thoroughfare where it is becoming too dangerous and to avoid these goons but who can’t hear will feel.

Peace and tolerance

H

Bleaching gangstas’? Artist interrogates dancehall’s expressions of masculinity

Mel Coke, Gleaner Writer

Ebony G Patterson, whose work was included in the National Gallery’s recent Young Talent V Exhibition, would have been about five or six years old when Admiral Bailey’s ‘Della Move’ was the dance song rage in dancehall. Her two uncles taught her the dance move on Patterson’s visits to ‘country’ and she also visited the street dance in Stewart Town, Trelawny, when she was very young.

However, she told The Sunday Gleaner that “I think I really started engaging dancehall when I started going to Convent of Mercy Alpha Academy. A lot of the girls that I thought were really interesting were from around Alpha – Vineyard Town, Rollington Town and so on. I thought dancehall was a way to understand who they were”.

Now Patterson is the one seeking to explain through dancehall. Her Artist’s Statement for Young Talent V says, in part: “Ebony’s latest body of work, under the general heading ‘Gangstas for Life’, is, at its core, a conversation about gender construction in the Jamaican Dancehall.

‘Gangstas for Life’ started by exploring the fashionable practice of skin bleaching in the ‘gangsta’ culture, but the most recent work has included other fashionable exploits previously associated with the feminine, and the wider so-called ‘bling’ culture – the embracing of a feminised aesthetic, which stands in striking contrast with dancehall’s rhetorical homophobia”.

Observation

Patterson grinned as she said “I grew up uptown” (and, off the cuff, adds “I like saying that”). “I feel dancehall kind of allowed me to understand what has been called ‘the other side of Jamaica’.”

Her observation of dancehall’s many contradictions began at Passa Passa, the Tivoli Gardens street dance which has not been held since the circumstances surrounding Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke’s extradition escalated into outright warfare. “When I was at Edna Manley (College for the Visual and Performing Arts) a couple of us went down. It was amazing, all the dancers with Bogle at the time were bleaching, were all clad in very bright colours, were very slim,” she said. It was all very contradictory to what was considered masculine, Patterson said. Then she remembered an article in The STAR, about men lightening their skins to confuse policemen.

The observation became very personal, though, in her experience with her best friend’s nephew who she had known from he was five years old. “Very beautiful boy, nice Somali features”. Patterson had not seen him for a while, then one night she went with her friend to where he was and there was no streetlight. “All you saw was the glow of the yellow face. I said ‘who was that?’. My friend hissed her teeth and said ‘no Peter’.”

“I am really interested in beauty and the grotesque, how people were using the grotesque act to achieve what they thought was beauty,” Patterson said.

David Boxer’s Curator’s Statement on Patterson for Young Talent V ends: “underlying the tongue-in-cheek approach is a serious examination of the elements of popular taste, the aesthetics of Kingston and Jamaica’s vast and torrid popular culture”. In examining this particular act of the grotesque, Patterson connected that glowing face to gangster culture and the article she had read, started researching bleaching, engaged with dancehall tracks about complexion such as Buju Banton’s Browning, and made connections with the perception that the light skin came with economic viability.

Upcoming dance

Then, on a local television programme, one man spoke about preparing his skin for an event in much the same way he prepared his clothing – he would get his clothes and then get the cream so that his skin looked OK for an upcoming dance.

A photo shoot with Peter, who was accompanied by a friend called ‘Stogie’, provided an opportunity for deeper conversation. “I asked them if they were not afraid people would say they are gay. They quite proudly said ‘a no b … man ting, a gangster ting,” Patterson said.

Her ‘Gangstas, Disciplez & the Boyz’ exhibition was put on at the Cag(e) Gallery, Edna Manley College, in 2009.

Still, although she is “always a dancehall fan”, Patterson says “some of what is going on now, I am not too keen on. There are a lot of things going on now that I am not keen on”.

Skewed and No justice after 48 years of Independence

Happy Independence Day if you feel so moved but judging from the cartoon in the Observer last year August 6, 2009 and recent events it makes one question how independent are we and the state of our nation? This particular post is a follow up of sorts to a similar short installment I had done last year on Gay Jamaica Watch on Blogger; of course Jamaica was 47 years then, independent from our British rulers.

We have achieved much since among which are:
1) Economic and some political freedoms to an extent,
2) Excellence in the arts, entertainment and of course sports particularly athletics, we have moved away from the violent political years to a more sated scene. We have seen some tolerance in religious views over the years with many groups and denominations co-existing without any clashes although that does not seem to obtain elsewhere, just take a look at our neighbour Trinidad with its intermittent violent outbursts and coops.

Yes we are free from colonial rule and are supposed to be managing our affairs but our former colonial masters left a template for us to use in the form of the gift of the Westminster parliamentary system and as far as freedom of choice and orientation goes they the British have since removed the buggery and other related acts and laws to secure citizen’s rights and privileges while we still hang on to these old vestiges to secure the divide and rule mantra bordering on theocracy.
Let us not forget that we as a people have never really ratified our constitution since 1962 as it was basically prepared, decided and handed to us by the British through a meeting at Lancaster House and a subsequent act of Parliament according to historical records, so much for real break from bondage towards self rule.

We have lost some of our pride in our flag, purpose, the national anthem and its meaning, the pledge and its meaning, the symbols and their meanings and our all important motto – “Out of Many One People” We are not even enthused anymore for the actual celebrations in the season, the festival song competition that was once a well supported public event with the words of the songs would roll effortlessly from our tongues has waned, interestingly it is the old songs from the sixties up to the eighties that are replayed as they seem to have more oomph about them, the once heralded grand gala march that helped to instill pride in our country has also waned significantly despite its reintroduction by the administration although this year interest seems far better than previous ones.

A law for the rich and law for the poor is what we have ended up with for the past 48 years. I mean I never expected things to happen overnight but one would have expected more enlightened or progressive legislation and thought from the intelligentsia on class, sex, sexuality and sexual orientation. With three major University campuses with more popping up all over, various law schools and an additional 4 overseas institutions operating here all of whom offer some Psychological and related studies independent and liberal thinking are woefully lacking. The plethora of radio talk shows hasn’t seemed to help any, generally speaking we seem to have moved very little from the general homophobic sentiments from a national perspective such sentiments are relative to the reasons why they are made as we have come to realize not everyone who use these anti gay utterances really mean them and are hiding their own secrets, the conversations though have split and with the advent of social media and platforms such as blogs it has certainly diversified the points of view and has allowed for more independent voices to highlight respective concerns of the LGBTQI community , the opposite is also true as homophobes and anti gay supporters have also employed these outlets where they can to spew hate. Fortunately there are a vigilant few who find and take action to remove said unwarranted outbursts.

The are two types of justice in Jamaica that exists one for the rich and one for the poor this double standard literally determines even how you mount your defense in seeking justice in our legal systems but for gay people in general as we all know there is very little for us when we have to access the state mechanisms to achieve closure of cases when they arise, of course being economically off helps a great deal. We are ignored or vilified and accused of paedophilia even without proper investigative procedures in some matters, that misrepresentation of homosexual paedophila vs consensual adult homosexuality coupled with latent homosexuals who hide under the guise of the down low phenomenon has helped to fuel our homophobia over the decades. Since the new Police Commissioner (Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin at the time of the original post in 2009 now a new Commissioner Owen Ellington occupies the hot seat) stepped into office we have seen slight improvements in as far as police community relations are concerned. Gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and lesbians still have it hard and to think our motto says “Out of many, One People” we are eons away from it. Older gay folk will often tell you that in the sixties and seventies we never had this kind of trouble except for the occasional taunt by persons and sometimes kids whose parents would discuss a suspected neighbour over their dinner table or some ostracism but that was as far as it went, now even under the slightest suspicion you can be beaten or killed at the least warned before the impending doom is enacted. Police harassment is still an issue but fortunately it has fallen way down the list of complaints in as far as our community is concerned.

Justice, where is it for us?, we are still subject to ridicule and forced evictions from their homes or outings when allegedly caught in the act, we are dragged into court, cases are hardly tried, if they do get to full trial it’s usually after a long and sometimes embarrassing set of preliminary hearings in open court instead of “in camera” hearings meaning without the public present in the room, names of accused persons are often published in the papers, stories are embellished or sensationalized laced with stereotypical and prejudicial taunts to sell papers, said cases languish in court that is if we persistently attend mention dates (if it gets so far as arresting officers tend to scarcely follow up with after being subpoenaed) we may get a sine die adjournment (set aside for seven years but can be recalled by the prosecutorial authority if new evidence turns up) then there is the arduous task of clearing your police record if you want to access certain services, travel or just to clear ones name as the automatic removal often never happens.

Is it that we are going to have to consider civil unrest and have martyrs among us to get the point across or to effect change and how many of us a are willing to take that stand? We are so busy living in our own worlds and have become so individualistic we forget others because we are not poor so many feel we won’t get beaten or hurt and are far removed from the realities on the ground, so we can hop on a plane and go somewhere else. Justice is a reciprocal process as I see it we can’t just sit by and demand it, we have to act as well legally firstly and if needed, civil disobedience.
Even with Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals & Gays four public agitations this year the impact has not been felt nationally in the halls of rights and politics to at least push the conversations in the public domain to continue on sexuality, tolerance and the possible decriminalization of the relevant laws that affect us.
The agitations in case you missed them were:
1) The Walk for Tolerance (deemed by the opposition as a gay pride masked under an HIV walk)
2) The Stand for Silence in New Kingston (IDAHO)
3) Stand up To CARICOM Protest at the Heads of Government Summit in Montego Bay
4) The Tolerance ad campaign sponsored by UNAIDS

There are some within the community who are wondering if those agitations were really genuine moves to find solutions to our problems by the advocates or just a mere show of presence to keep jobs and funders thinking things are happening so as to maintain longevity.  Meanwhile the Stop Murder Music Campaigns worldwide continue to mount pressure on our hate dancehall acts to much success, our lesbian and bisexual sisters in some circles continue to suffer at the hands of evil men who commit corrective rape in a bid to straighten them out, our trans friends continue to be invisible on a national scale.

Then again with a very “active” JLP administration since coming to power in 2007 legislatively speaking they have been changing other laws to suit themselves the buggery act has been overlooked and a limited Charter of Rights with an embellished Gay Marriage debate prior to its passage was used to silence the lobby for change. This move showed us clearly that we cannot trust our politicians even when they come on the fanfare and mantra of being new and different, have we forgotten the National Democratic Movement (NDM) Days of which our present Prime Minister was a founder? Along comes a new Christian political outfit run by no other than theocrat Betty Ann Blaine poised to shove the bible down our throats as her mantra is to espouse Christian principles on the nation. Ironically her former platform in the form of her talk show on a certain radio station we all know is gay owned so she eventually got her footing from a member of the very group she vilifies.

(see the Gay Jamaica Watch post for more on her party’s launch)

Here are some other questions I’d like us to ponder in the meantime:
1) Are you comfortable as a GLTBQ citizen in this country?
2) What has happened to the legal agitation that started in 1998 to decriminalize buggery?
3) What about the public engagement for tolerance and understanding?
4) Why do gay politicians ignore who they are and join the band wagon in the name of political correctness?
5) What changes would you like to see?
6) Why are we hiding in the shadows (DL) instead of coming out?
7) Are you satisfied with the representation over the years by our JFLAG advocates?
8) What can we do to begin to address our concerns as a people?
9) Are you willing to be a part of that change?
10) Why are we so lack luster in honouring and celebrating ourselves?
11) Why are we as LGBT people so divided amongst ourselves and by extension as a people?
12) Why are class and personal achievements used as benchmarks for acceptance?
13) Can’t we regard each other as human beings despite our supposed different stations in life?
14) Are you considering seriously what you can do in your corner to be the agent of change?
15) Are you willing to embrace tolerance in a true sense and not just being politically correct?

Independent in a sense yes, I think as far as gays, lesbians and transgendered people are concerned we have imprisoned ourselves in certain respects as well there are powerful movers and shakers in this land who can help to shape a more tolerant society instead they sit and are quiet or hypocritically join the “homophobic throngs” to cover up their own clandestine homosexual relationships.

Things done in the dark must and will come to light but unfortunately it won’t be shown in a positive sense.

Tolerance is what counts, we all can co-exist, we have been doing it all these years until some crap shows up to unsettle the situation and proving we have a long way to go.

FREE UP YUSELF

Peace and tolerance.

H

Stop Murder Music France launches action to Sizzla french tour

JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM OUTRAGE! (LONDON), TJENBÉ RÈD, GIROFARD (BORDEAUX LGBT CENTRE), COULEURS GAIES
(METZ LGBT CENTRE)

STOP MURDER MUSIC CAMPAIGN

SIZZLA IN FRANCE:«SHOOT QUEERS»?!

(Signatories send out an alert to human rights organisations in Languedoc-Roussillon)
London – Bordeaux – Rivière-Pilote – Metz, Thursday 5 August 2010

Press release No. TR10INT11
_
On Saturday 21 August, the singer Sizzla will appear at the Palavàs-les-Flots municipal arenas. In 1998, he called for people to «burn the Whites in Jamaica». In 2004, he chanted «Shoot queers, my big gun goes boom».

In 2007, after having signed the Reggae Compassionate Act (RCA), which was supposed to put an end to these comments, he showed he had no intention of respecting his own signature by performing «Nah Apologize»(“No apologies/regrets”).

These comments and others appear in an Open Letter to the Mayors and those responsible for concert halls hosting Sizzla’s French Tour. It was published on 13 May 2008 by sixteen human rights organisations, including Tjenbé Rèd, Couleurs gaies or Act Up-Paris.

The signatories call for action from the human rights organisations in Languedoc-Rousillon. Start talking to Sizzla’s fans! Warn the mayor’s office in Palavàs-les-Flots, the owners of the premises! If they claim they are bound by contract, ask them to commit themselves from now on to insert a standard clause in its contracts which would annul any of those signed by artists who have uttered such calls for murder! Ask them to commit themselves publicly never again to host singers targeted by the international Stop Murder Music Campaign (of which Tjenbe Red is the French contact organisation in France).

These singers are Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Buju Banton, Capleton, Elephant Man, Sizzla, TOK and Vybz Kartel as well as Mavado, Dr Evil and Leftside!
_
For Tjenbé Rèd
(Federation for the struggle against all forms of homophobia, racism and against AIDS)
Chair, David AUERBACH CHIFFRIN
contact@tjenbered.fr +596 6 96 05 24 55 (Martinique) +33 6 10 55 63 60 (France)

Pour OutRage! (London), Peter TATCHELL
peter@petertatchell.net

Pour Girofard (Bordeaux),
le président,
Jean-Christophe TESTU
girofard@gmail.com – +33 9 81 81 98 77

Pour Couleurs gaies (Metz),
le président, Matthieu GATIPON-BACHETTE
couleursgaies@hotmail.com – +33 6 20 22 40 76
_
English translation of this French original text. In the event of any differences between the English translation and the French original, the French text shall prevail.

5 août 2010 – Campagne Stop Murder Music – Sizzla en France : «Butte les pédés, mon flingue va tirer» ?! (Les signataires alertent les associations de défense des droits humains en Languedoc-Roussillon) – Communiqué commun Girofard (Centre LGBT Bordeaux) Tjenbé Rèd


OutRage! (Londres) Couleurs gaies (Centre LGBT Metz) – Communiqué de presse n°TR10INT11
http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100805-00.pdf [fr]
http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100805-09.pdf [en]
_
[1] 31 décembre 2004 – OutRage!/ Stop Murder Music/ Dancehall Dossier
http://www.petertatchell.net/popmusic/Dancehall-Dossier-FINAL.pdf [en]
http://www.tjenbered.fr/2004/20041231-99.pdf [en]

[2A] 13 mai 2008 – Lettre ouverte aux maires et aux responsables de salles de concerts accueillant la tournée de Sizzla en France – Communication n°TR08POL04B – Signataires :
Tjenbé Rèd, Académie gay & lesbienne, Act Up-Paris, ADHÉOS, An Nou Allé, Angel, CQFD
Fierté lesbienne, Couleurs gaies, les Enfants terribles, Ex Æquo, Fédération française des Centres LGBT (lesbiens, gais, bi & trans), LGP (Lesbian & Gay Pride) Région Centre – Espace
LGBT Touraine, Comité IDAHO (International Day Against HOmophobia), Kaz’Arts, les «Oublié(e)s» de la Mémoire, les «Oublié(e)s» de la Mémoire – délégation régionale Midi-Pyrénées
http://www.tjenbered.fr/2008/20080513-01.pdf
http://www.tjenbered.fr/2008/20080513-01.html
[2B] 14 mai 2008 – Tract distribué, sous protection policière, le 14 mai 2008 :
«Sizzla en concert à Montreuil. Mais savez-vous qui est Sizzla ?»
http://www.tjenbered.fr/2008/20080514-99.pdf
http://www.tjenbered.fr/2008/20080514-99.rtf
[2C] 1er mars 2010 – Compte rendu des actions interassociatives menées en février 2010 en France, dans le cadre de la campagne Stop Murder Music, au sujet de la venue de Sizzla – Communication n°TR10SOC05B
http://www.tjenbered.fr/2010/20100301-69.pdf [fren]
ENDS
_