JFLAG – Gays Reaffirm Jamaica’s History is anchored in tolerance

 

Friday October 29th by the Police Officer’s Club The J had a quiet protest which was originally scheduled for heroes day weekend but was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. Personally I have taken a decision after much contemplation not to take part in these public agitations AT THIS TIME given the sensitivities of my work on the ground and contacts etc, as a blogger and grassroots person I operate along very fragile lines.

Well it is refreshing to see these long awaited public outcries about our problems, sad that we didn’t do it when I was there but let us watch and see the impact if any these will have noting that this is the fifth such public protest in one year a historical feat thus this post will also be included in the LGBT History category. Respects to Mr. Maurice Tomlinson for pushing this as it seems he is the one really getting the work done by putting his career, life and reputation on the line.

The media however has barely recognized the previous agitations thus the real impact is not really seen or can be measured but the radio ads are currently being run.

Here is the Press Release from JFLAG along with the photo above of the placard bearing supporters.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GAYS REAFFIRM JAMAICA’S HISTORY IS ANCHORED IN TOLERANCE

Kingston — October 29, 2010
In recognition of Heritage Month and the struggles of our forebears, supporters of J-FLAG stood
along Hope Road, south of Jamaica House, this morning Friday, October 29, to remind Jamaicans that tolerance has been a hallmark of Jamaican society and that tolerance for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered Jamaicans is a fundamental part of our diversity. This is articulated in our motto ‘Out of Many, One People’.

Under the theme ‘Tolerance is Our Heritage’ participants stood for 30 minutes starting at 8:00
a.m. clad in the Jamaica national colours and carried placards some of which read ‘Out of Many,
One People,’ ‘Human Rights for All,’ ‘Equal Rights and Justice’, ‘Teach Us True Respect for All.’
In addressing the gathering, Chairman of J-FLAG Gary Mullings reiterated that “as a people,
Jamaicans have a heritage of struggling for our rights.

Through the examples of our national heroes, whose dedication, service and sacrifice in shaping this nation we commemorate this Heritage month, we remember our fight for emancipation, workers rights and independence.”

The message of tolerance needs to be emphasized, as far too many cases of human rights
violations are still being reported to us at J-FLAG, a clear indication that there is a challenge
regarding the respect of the rights of LGBT Jamaicans.

Maurice Tomlinson of AIDS Free World clarified his organisation’s participation by stating that
“intolerance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons only serves to drive the HIV
epidemic underground”. He encouraged the nation to “Follow the lead of our heroes who fought
for the rights and dignity of all Jamaicans”.

Christine Smith, Chairperson of the all women group “Women For Women”, said that WFW’s involvement in this initiative was to remind Jamaicans that they can tolerate diversity and respect the rights of all Jamaicans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

J-FLAG and its supporters will continue to mount advocacy initiatives aimed at securing the
human rights of LGBT members.

~30~

Contact: Dane Lewis -Executive Director

Peace and tolerance

H

So, You Wanna Know About “Hermaphrodites”?

by Emi Koyama, Intersex Initiative

In biology, “hermaphrodite” means an organism that has both “male” and “female” sets of reproductive organs (like snails and earthworms). In humans, there are no actual “hermaphrodites” in this sense, although doctors have called people withintersex conditions as “hermaphrodites” because intersex bodies do not neatly comform to what doctors define as the “normal” male or female bodies.

Intersex is defined as the “congenital anomalies of the reproductive system” (National Institute of Health), which include internal reproductive organs, external genital appearances, or genetic and hormonal systems that are “different” from most males and females.

Not all “intersex” conditions are the same–“intersex” covers a wide range of medical conditions that are very different from one another; what makes intersex people similar is our experience, not our biology.

The current medical protocol calls for surgical “reconstruction” of bodies that are visibly intersex to socially and medically eliminate intersex bodies despite the fact that there is no long-term study confirming that such procedure is necessary, safe, or effective. The surgical concealment of intersex conditions typically takes place when the child is too young to comprehend or consent to such invasive and irreversible operations.

Since 1993, intersex people and our supporters have been organizing to end shame, secrecy and unwanted genital surgeries on children too young to give informed consent. As children, many children with intersex conditions grow up feelingconfused, isolated and ashamed, not just because of the surgery and the silence that surrounds it, but also because of therepeated exposure to medical gaze as they parade through multiple doctors, nurses and medical students so they can look at our naked genital areas, poking and prodding (this happens to children with many other rare medical conditions also; within the disability movement, this practice is known as “public stripping“).

In response, there is a growing current within the medical community to reconsider the surgical concealment of intersex bodies, although the official protocol has not yet changed. There is an increasing number of follow-up studies that show that, not only are surgeries detrimental to the child’s emotional and sexual functioning, but they do not even deliver what they are intended to, which is the genital that looks “normal” and enables the individual to engage in “normal” heterosexual intercourse.

Contrary to the popular belief, intersex people are not suffering from a “gender” issue: most people with intersex conditions identify simply as a regular man or a woman. Therefore it is not the goal of the intersex movement to create a third gender category to raise intersex children in. Instead, we ask parents of intersex children to: 1) raise the child either as a boy or as a girl, based on the best available prediction of what the child will be most comfortable with, 2) delay all non-emergency surgeries until the child is old enough to understand and to have a say in it, and 3) be open to adjustment if and when the child decides that s/he wants to live as a gender different from his/her initial assignment. By postponing the surgery until the child is mature enough, we can preserve the widest range of possibilities for the child to choose from, and spare the child of a childhood rife with sexual and emotional traumas. We believe that a good medical practice is the one that pays attention to the person’s overall quality of life, rather than simply to the appearance of one’s genitals.

When doctors see an intersex child, they see a “gender” problem, and focus on fixing the child’s gender identity and genital appearances. Some allies of intersex people view intersex as a gender “variation” that should be accepted and honored rather than an unacceptable gender “deviance” that need to be eliminated. But this approach is inadequate because it reproduces the same old framing of intersexuality as a peculiar gender phenomenon. We are calling for our friends to insteadfocus on the lived experiences of intersex people, which is about living through and healing from deep stigma and trauma.

To read more about intersex people’s experiences, please pick up a copy of Intersex in the Age of Ethics ed. by Alice Dreger at your friendly local independent bookseller, or visit our web site at http://www.intersexinitiative.org.

Oh, and one last thing–we find the word “hermaphrodite” misleading, mythical, and stigmatizing. Although some intersex activists do reclaim and use this term to describe themselves, it is not an appropriate term to refer to intersex people in general. So, can we please use the word “intersex” instead when we are talking about humans? Snails are the hermaphrodites; humans are not.

Herm Pride: Doodling by Jane Torpedo

This material is provided to you by:

Intersex Initiative
PO Box 40570, Portland OR 97240
Email: info@ipdx.org

Love thy gay neighbour (Trinidad’s Newsday letter)

Newsday Logo

THE EDITOR:

I am a young man living in east Trinidad. I am hardworking, loving, and ever-striving to be the best human being I can be. I am an upstanding citizen of Trinidad and Tobago and I am gay.

It is my understanding that an evangelical group is visiting Trinidad and Tobago from October 22 to 29 with the intent of spreading “God’s word,” but in reality is spreading hate against homosexuals…against people like me.

I can’t believe in this day and age people still have such dangerous biases. The world has changed a lot since I was going to school where all kids would beat up the “gay boy,” and I thank God that we’ve evolved to the point where people can be respected, and such pointless violence is at a minimum.

Gay marriage is legal now in a lot of countries and we have come to accept homosexuals and bisexuals as part of society. We still have a long way to go, but now these people are trying to drag us backward into the dark ages.

I believe God intended his ministry to spread a message of love, respect for one’s fellow man, and respect for others, even if they are different. However, I believe that as a result of this group gays will be portrayed in a negative light, and will incite and brainwash those who try to be upstanding Christians into judging and hating people.

Gays will become a target for more radical action, and once again people like myself will be made to feel less than human, to feel wrong, to feel sinful.

Trinidad is plagued with violence and everyone is just looking for another reason to hurt someone.

“Love thy neighbour as thy self.”

Let us live in peace and Love, as Jesus showed us.

T JOSEPH

 

HIV Antibodies Do Control Infection: New Hope for Vaccines and Treatment

Source

B-cells and neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) might control HIV levels better than scientists previously suspected, according to a single-patient study reported in the October issue of Nature Communications. The intriguing finding, the authors note, could open a new avenue for both preventive and treatment vaccines for HIV.

B-cells and antibodies represent an important arm of the immune system. When a vaccine is administered, it provokes the body into producing antibodies against a specific disease-causing microbe; that way, a vaccinated person exposed to the microorganisms will be protected. Therapeutic antibody vaccines are used for people already infected with a particular disease; in these cases, the vaccines help them control the infection.

Unfortunately, numerous vaccine studies have suggested that neutralizing antibodies don’t help prevent HIV infection. They also don’t appear to help control HIV disease progression very much once a person is infected.

To add a new perspective on the subject, Kuan-Hsiang G. Huang, PhD, and his colleagues from Oxford University in Oxford, England, had the unique opportunity to study for the first time the direct impact of B-cell and NAb levels on the control of HIV. This was possible because they had a patient who was HIV positive, not on antiretroviral treatment and had to have his B-cells depleted with chemotherapy to treat B-cell lymphoma. That he did not require treatment to control his HIV suggests that some immune mechanism was actively suppressing the virus.

The participant was 58 years old when he came down with symptoms indicating that he’d been recently infected with HIV. Three years earlier, he had been diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma, but the disease was mild enough that he did not require treatment. He was also previously infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), but that disease was also not active. About 30 months after his HIV diagnosis, his lymphoma began to worsen, and he received Rituxan (rituximab). This treatment works by killing off B-cells.

About five months after starting Rituxan, the participant reported feeling unwell, with fevers and malaise. It was found that his HIV viral load had significantly increased, jumping from undetectable to more than 700,000 copies, and that his HBV infection had been reactivated.

At the same time, he had a decline in B cells and a corresponding decline in neutralizing antibodies.

After he completed Rituxan therapy, his B cells and NAbs began to rebound, and shortly thereafter, his HIV levels returned to undetectable. In response to this finding, Huang and his colleagues commented that the increase in NAbs was tied to a reduction in HIV: “There is a clear relationship between the changes in NAb [levels] and [HIV levels] demonstrated in this study.”

It is possible that the reactivated HBV infection—which is known to occur during Rituxan therapy—could have been the reason the man’s HIV levels rose, and not the reduction in NAbs.

The authors stated, however, the participant’s HIV levels became undetectable again quickly and spontaneously after NAbs began to rise, and that this drop occurred despite HBV levels remaining high.

The authors concluded: “This unique study suggests that B cells, and their secreted NAbs, can affect HIV viral load in chronic infection. This evidence, derived directly from observations in man, may inform the rational design of future immunotherapies and HIV vaccines.”

FDA and CONRAD Chart U.S. Regulatory Path for 1% Tenofovir Gel for HIV Prevention

For Immediate Release
October 25, 2010

FDA and CONRAD Chart U.S. Regulatory Path for 1% Tenofovir Gel for
HIV Prevention

Collaborative meeting held with key stakeholders

Arlington, VA – – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held an end-of-Phase II
meeting to determine the next steps required for U.S. licensure of 1% tenofovir gel, a
microbicide product recently found to be effective at reducing the rate of HIV and herpes infection
in women when used before and after sex.

The meeting, held on October 20, 2010, was requested by CONRAD, a division of the Eastern
Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA. CONRAD was one of the partners in the Phase II
study, “CAPRISA 004,” which evaluated 1% tenofovir gel in prevention of male-to-female HIV
transmission in 889 women in South Africa. USAID provided funding for the trial, conducted
by the Centre for Programme Research for AIDS in South Africa and U.S. based FHI, which was
the first study to show that a vaginal gel can reduce the risk of HIV and herpes infection in
women. CONRAD manufactured and provided the tenofovir gel for the study.

Tenofovir gel was found to be 39% effective in reducing a woman’s risk of becoming infected
with HIV during sex and 51% effective in preventing genital herpes infections in the women
participating in the trial. Results of the CAPRISA 004 clinical trial were reported in July 2010
and represent the first “proof of concept” for a vaginal microbicide.

A number of key stakeholders contributed to the collaborative meeting with the FDA, including
representatives from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Agency for International
Development, Gilead Sciences, Microbicides Trial Network (MTN), South African clinical
investigators, the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) and FHI.

During the meeting, the FDA stated their preference for two well-controlled studies to verify the
safety and efficacy of 1% tenofovir gel prior to submission of a New Drug Application (NDA).
The FDA furthermore stated that the NIH-sponsored Phase IIB study, MTN-003, known as
VOICE (Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic), represents a second adequate
and well-controlled study that would, if successful, serve as the second pivotal trial together with
CAPRISA 004 to support the submission of an NDA for 1% tenofovir gel.

In addition, the FDA has granted Fast Track approval designation for 1% tenofovir gel, which
facilitates the development and expedites the review of drugs that are intended for treating
serious diseases and fill an unmet medical need. With Fast Track designation, an NDA can be
submitted as a “rolling review”, which allows a clinical trial sponsor to submit completed
sections of its NDA for review by the FDA, rather than waiting until every section of the
application is completed before the entire application can be reviewed.

The agency agreed that the current preclinical program for 1% tenofovir gel is sufficient to
support a future NDA. However, they stated that additional safety data on adolescents would be
needed and that information on in vivo drug interaction studies with commonly used vaginal
products should be obtained. Also, the FDA will ultimately need data on post menopausal
women. It was also agreed that a future meeting with the FDA would be held to address any
outstanding discussions associated with product quality, including chemistry, manufacturing and
controls (CMC). Since much of the clinical work on 1% tenofovir gel has been and will be
conducted in South Africa, FDA officials indicated that they can work through the FDA’s
“Office of International Programs” with the goal of coordinating the data and review processes
with the South African Medicines Control Council.

CONRAD and its partners appreciate the contributions and detailed recommendations put forth
by the FDA, which have helped clarify the next steps required for testing and licensure of 1%
tenofovir gel.

In 2006, CONRAD and IPM obtained a co-exclusive, royalty-free license from Gilead Sciences
to develop 1% tenofovir gel as a topical microbicide for use by women in developing countries
to prevent HIV.

For more information, please contact Annette Larkin, +1 703 772 6427 or
larkinannette@yahoo.com

Down low gone mad, Biphobia, or Sexual Abuse?

“Battyman Fi Dead” said publicly “Mi really waan f*** yuh” privately …. problems and abuse in the DL world.

So another horrible case of possible male rape or sexual abuse from within the community this time in a way has been heard, a young Jamaican man whose sexuality is of no major concern to us in as far as this post is concerned has become a victim allegedly of male rape by down-low”heaviot” thugs in Kingston recently, in August I am being told. News of the incident is rife among certain circles downtown and other flash points as it quickly spread on the grapevine but some details are still sketchy I must add. However the main purpose of this piece though is to look again at the issue of clandestine homosexuality or DL as our African American counterparts call it and the possible negative effects that may come out of it such as this allegation of male rape by so called shottas and gangsters.

I doubt this has anything to do with substitutional sex or situational homosexuality (more so in a prison or physical enclosed setting) but you can be the judge while using what basic information that will be shared, it took a while for me to get enough information to prepare this post so please forgive my possible lack of details but I want us to focus on the main issue, that is frankly “bad man battyman” as some in our society call it.
Given the timing of this revelation in the middle of an international controversy involving a powerful Pastor in the form of Eddie Long and some four or possibly more males who have or may take legal action on alleged years of inappropriate sexual advances the varying discussions are abuzz over the internet and social network media with arguments for and against to punish him or finding the Pastor guilty without even seeing the court case through.
This particular incident on the local front however is certainly a reminder to the advocates also that there is another whole world that lgbt advocacy has not even addressed who suffer in silence most times as they do not know where to turn or are they powers that be really interested in taking on this very sensitive and possibly dangerous set of circumstances of male rape by members of the underworld?
In some way I am fortunate to have some insight into this realm without any major harm to my person as yet, thank God, as I usually keep in touch as best as I can with some of the poorer guys around on the streets and in communities who are gay or bisexual but who suffer double or triple marginalization just because of their class.
Here is a basic map of what I mean:
– Gay/Bisexual
– Poor/unemployed or not employable
– Ostracized or displaced by family and community
– Victims of violence
– Overlooked or shunned by the very advocates who say there offer service to lgbt people or misplaced focus by same leaves this group of men out in the cold
– Overlooked and shunned by the LGBT community in general and regarded as misfits and undeserving of existence
– Biphobia by default from general society, the LGBT community and ostensibly the advocacy structure

The Incident in question in summary based on reported accounts, the young man is in hiding.
The 23 year old man plies his rented handcart in a section of the market district and usually returns to his small shack which sits in a depressed section across volatile political boundaries in Kingston. On a faithful Saturday in August of this year he returned his rented cart that he uses in the market district to ply his trade of assisting shoppers to carry produce and organic food items to the bus-stop or car park for a nominal fee, on his way home by foot around 7:30 pm he took a route that he regularly takes to get home, bearing in mind that as early as this time is some parts of Kingston can be very lonely and given the absence of the main don who is away on trial in another country “the order” of things has changed.

There is a fight as it seems for turf and power in the market region which has not escalated to violence due to the strong police presence there and the local authorities push to bring formal order.

The man was approached by three men who questioned him, he answered them telling them what he had done etc thinking he would be OK as it was not customary to abuse anyone in the imaginary safety line of that zone as drawn by the dons. He was robbed allegedly at gunpoint and told to go to nearby bushes where they would decide his fate. The men however at first asked him if him “love man?” somewhere during the conversation although my sources suggest he is not effeminate of looks so either. They eventually attempted to take turns with him at gun point and to carry out anal sex but he resisted as best as he could, the men told him that they were not going to kill him they wanted some “batty” for the night. The ordeal was said to have gone on for almost an hour and after several attempts in trying to penetrate him they gave up it seems and demanded he performed oral sex on them and that he did reluctantly.

The sexual abuse ended but what allegedly happened next is what really sparked this post, the men while smoking marijuana sat and discussed their sexual encounters with other men and their ways of hiding their real sexual desires from their baby mothers and female sexual partners, they tried to enlist the participation of their “victim” in the post sex discussion but he barely answered when prompted to as he was said to have felt bad.

They proceeded to warn him that he must make himself available when they need him and he must keep it quiet, they even asked if he knew other men around the area who may get down (my words)? One of the men in particular was very upset at men who engaged in paedophilia and says he doesn’t like boys as they are too young.
ENDS (updates may follow)
THE MATTER WAS NOT REPORTED TO THE POLICE

Judging by this synopsis we do have thugs who really want to get down but some questions come to mind and I am not an expert so let’s discuss this please send responses or comment if you have such expertise.
Email just in case: lgbtevent@gmail.com
  1. Are there men who really want to hit it but due to societal pressure they are prepared to steal it instead?
  2. It is a case of abuse due to the power differential of the men in not only numbers but the fact that they are armed?
  3. Did you think they surmise that the young man may have been inclined so they didn’t harm him?
  4. How should the advocates handle issues like this?
  5. Do you think the issue of clandestine homosexual behaviour should be a main discussion point in presenting arguments for gay rights or tolerance?
  6. Can this also be categorized as homophobia in a way?
This post may become a running series as we look at these set of issues more closely.
Peace and tolerance
H

Oscar Awards 2010 Review

Due to the limited photo policy only the awards and warped images will be displayed here.

So Saturday October 17th was the long expected annual Oscar Awards Party as held by the Management team of Club Heavens Indoor Centre in North Central Jamaica. The event which has been come to be revered in the party community for the gowns and associated price tags was very low-keyed this year with a sort of unplanned decision by attendees to go casually elegant or jeans and tees this year.

All in all things got off to a slow start at around 10pm which was advertised to be the Red Carpet rollout and walk, the carpet itself was not as spiffy as I would have liked but none the less there was one with 5 velvet rope garters on each side of the almost ten foot carpeting. The gate cover charge of $2,500 was no help as many simply refused to patronise the event thus the numbers were the lowest in years of the event’s life.

The VIP room was not used as no one took up the offer for it even after advertising. The new paint job on the inside was ok but ok shouldn’t be enough for us as a club must have something to grab and keep its patrons and supporters interested. The newly installed lighting was not there yet either but the show must go on as they say. The Management indeed made reference to their committment to improve the club’s deliverables over time as evidenced by one of them on stage during a presentation but with the opening of the new spot in Montego Bay, The A, there are going to be concerns for the management as many persons were already shying away from supporting them have been readily attending this new joint which has been opened some three weeks now offering free nights as well. The replaced mirrors on the walls and columns much to the delite of some of the divas who like dancing and seeing themselves were welcomed as before they were often cracked or smashed by dancehall queens doing their traditional head top dances.

The statuesques were neatly laid on a round table on the stage/main dancefloor well served with a bright spotlight for persons to view, the style of the nude golden boy has been the same for the years of the show/party but the categories has changed this year as winners were selected via an aggressive Facebook and SMS voting campaign to determine them unlike previous years and other similarly typed shows winners were selected via the promoter’s choice hence things were far more balanced. The music for the most part was great save and except for minor glitches in an amplifier that was repaired some days before the event.

The unorganised presentations of the performers and their lateness in arriving with their selections for the DJs to cue along with no formal program of events were another set of low points of the show, save and except for Ms Diva Waugh persons had to be literally relaying information between the dressing rooms and the DJs much to their annoyance of some patrons. There was not a designated MC it seems until when one of the DJs took matters into his own hands and got things going.

Best Performances of the Night: Veteran drag and cabaret diva noted for her unusual look and style of lip sync performances took the night after the two  who preceded her couldn’t get the crowd going enough, in my estimation she stopped a train wreck and turned things around just before the final presentations were held. Dressed in a black knee-high black sequined dress and a 5 inch high heel she delivered on two tracks first Patti LaBelle’s “People” and then half way into that she brought in Fantasia’s “I Believe” not before removing her cleavage spongy implants and ripping the wig off in true Nastacia Diva Waugh style much to the loud cheers of the audience, that’s what happens when you have a professional diva around to do it. She also walked away with an award which was no surprise.

Macey Grey (photo on right – image warped to protect her identity) also shone during her 11 minute plus set in her red and gold streaked sleeveless gown the three song set was appropriate as she matched each song’s subject matter they included Christina Aguilera’s “You Lost Me” and Rihanna’s “Only Girl (In The World) which were the highlights with matchin flaming red hair to go with it as seen in Ri Ri’s latter video. The pink bathing suit as exposed by Macey as she slowly shed on stage was a stunner showing off her new buns she has been working on for some time. 

Other positive highlights of the night were the welcomed shortness of the presentation ceremony years gone by it would have been too long, the speeches by some of the winners of note Dexter P for Fashion Designer of the year who spoke to his openness as a gay man in the industry, perseverance and the support from the community as well. DJs Buck and Howie made sure the children were re-energized after the presentation until 6am the Sunday morning as many persons left early to prepare for the “Fierce” Anniversary event which was scheduled that evening.

The organizers may want to look at all of the above problems coupled with the lead time in advertising for this all important event as there are very few that auger such style and class for the community in recognition to “ordinary” gays. Also decor, presentations, selection of performers and well versed masters of ceremonies to carry off the pizzaz of the show’s theme it’s all about presentation for me. Some call it a flop I call it a cute crowd who enjoyed themselves despite the challenges.

Categories and Winners:

Best Upcoming Queen – Lexi

Couples with the Most Breakups – Terry Scott & Charles M

Best Fashion Runway Diva – Kookie Balenciaga

Party Supporter of the Year – Ainsley

Best Dressed Female – Khandi Exquisite Doll

Best Group/Duo Performance – Lady Antibellum/Nastacia Waugh “Same Script, Different Cast”

Top DJ – Dr. Buck

Best Performer – Tiana Trendsetter Doll

Best Dressed Male – Ainsley

Best Dramatic Performance – Kookie Balenciaga “Russian Roullette”

Best Drag Queen Makeup – Lady Antibellum

Leading Drag Queen – Khandi Exquisite Doll

Disco Icon – Carmen Electra

Fashion Designer of the Year – Dexter Pottinger

Party Promoter of the Year – Spongie Boo

Entrepreneur of the Year – Ms Patricia Welsh (services in education to the lgbt community)

Let us look forward to next year’s show and hope we can learn from the mistakes and shortfalls from this year.

Peace and tolerance.

H

J-FLAG Applauds Kartel On Signing Compassionate Act (Gleaner)

In today’s Gleaner the J made news even though the Reggae Compassionate Act was signed by Vybz Kartel from as early as September 23, 2010 in France following stepped up action by Tjenbre Red and others to pressure Capleton and Sizzla who were there on tour.

I am just upset again at JFLAG’s lateness as usual on following up on happenings and interventions.

Meanwhile the dancehall superstar was said to be dismissed in a huff calls from journalists inquiring on this news, he was said to have asked so what’s the big deal if he signed it? thus fuelling more specualtion and interest in the story by virtue of his actions as he is known to be very open and receptive in interviews with media representatives before.

Let us not forget the accusations as well about his own sexuality and was evidenced recently in the skin bleaching drama and the cake soap response and the Tag/Fag T-shirt controversy.

See: Out a Road: DJs who “hit out” hiding something? ……

See: Vybz Kartel in FAG shirt?

See: Reggae Compassionate Act signed by Vybz Kartel ……. courageous move by the DJ on Gay Jamaica Watch and the press release from Tjenbre Red France.

Here is the Gleaner article on the issue

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) has acknowledged that Vybz Kartel’s signature affixed to the Reggae Compassionate Act is a step in the right direction of the dancehall artiste claiming responsibility for his music.

However, Dane Lewis, executive director of J-FLAG, said the next step is to hold artistes accountable for their lyrics.

“Considering what the act calls for, this is a step, as long as the signature is not just a token.

“Signing the act is one thing, but it’s important to stand up for it.”

The Reggae Compassionate Act was drafted in 2007 as part of the Stop Murder Music campaign, a human-rights groups coalition, which advocates for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans-identified persons.

The act speaks to positive social changes and upholding the rights of all individuals regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or gender.

Take responsibility

News reports circulating online claim that Vybz Kartel, whose real name is Adidjah Palmer, signed the Reggae Compassionate Act late September, just days before he was set to perform in France.

Kartel would not confirm the details but questioned why there was a brouhaha over his signing the document.

“Yes, I did. What’s the big deal? So what if I did?” he asked before hanging up the phone.

Lewis said the ‘big deal’ is to make sure performers adhere to the act’s strictures.

“Artistes should be aware of the influence their music could have on society,” Lewis said.

According to the J-FLAG executive director, there were approximately 400 cases reported since January involving hate crimes against persons who identify with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

“They range from raping lesbians to physical assault,” Lewis noted.

He also recounted an incident when a person was killed in a dance hall as Buju Banton’s controversial anti-gay anthem, Boom Bye Bye, was played.

Jamaican dancehall artistes such as Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton have been chastised for several years by LGBT groups in North America and Europe for their anti-gay lyrics.

Bruce Golding on Is Jamaica Homophobic?

Is Jamaica Homophobic?

Originally published on BigThink.com

Video also available via the link above

FOR THE READER WHO REQUESTED MY TWO CENTS ON THIS

Is Jamaica Homophobic? (transcript)

Originally published on BigThink.com

Video also available via the link above

Question:

Why are homosexual acts illegal in Jamaica?

Bruce Golding: It is rooted in a number of things. Firstly, we are a predominately a Christian country and a fervently Christian country. It may not be reflected entirely in terms of how we live sometimes, but we are passionately committed to certain basic Christian principles, which […] homosexuality.

But we have become quite tolerant. We are tolerant provided that homosexual lifestyle does not invade our space. And what do I mean by that? Persons who wish, because of their own inclination, to live in a homosexual relationship, do so in Jamaica and there are many such persons in Jamaica. The society in Jamaica in general do not want to be… do not want it to be flaunted.

They don’t want it to be sort of thrown into the face, because there are some real fears.

There are some real fears.

The basic unit of a society is a family, and there is a passionate concern in Jamaica about protecting the integrity of the family.

And it is felt that encouragement or recognition of the appropriateness of the homosexual lifestyle is going to undermine the effectiveness of that family unit and, in that process, undermine the basic fabric of a society.

But I think much of what has been carried in the international media in terms of homophobia in Jamaica is grossly exaggerated. Homosexuals in Jamaica, they live and they enjoy their relationship.

They are intermingled with heterosexuals, they have normal relations with heterosexuals, but they do have their private relationships.

And so long is that is so, I don’t believe that the people in Jamaica are going to be particularly perturbed.

What is illegal in Jamaica is buggery, which is in fact making homosexual acts illegal. There have been very, very few prosecutions; very, very few. And in most instances, there are prosecutions because there is a complaint by a victim. So that it’s not the flashpoint issue that many people in the international media claim that it is.

Recorded on September 25, 2010

Interviewed by David Hirschman

ENDS

The Prime Minister is right when he says that homosexuality is not illegal but Buggery is but this business of persons flaunting is what the hell is that?

As for buggery prosecutions there are indeed few prosecutions as it relates to consenting adults it’s mostly same sex paedophiles that go to full trials as nationally paedophilia is loathed by both same gender loving persons and the mainstream alike but the fallout that comes with such a charge hanging over a consenting couple who were barged in by cops after nosy neighbours call the police or persons caught in public the more egregious charge of buggery is applied instead of gross indecency until it can be proven via a doctor’s report where certain things must be found to be present on either the perpetrator and or the “victim” or passive partner. For example spermatozoa cells which are present in all normally sexually active males are the main items listed on the report and if a condom was present spermicides etc must be present in or on the passive partner. With DNA testing now in vogue other things such as skin cells maybe considered and used by ones own private investigator if one can afford it while the examination of the doctor is being done. The difficulty is that the consenting adults caught in the act or charged with buggery are left displaced, ostracized from their family and so called friends and have to rebuild their lives piece by piece often times without real support from anyone or the advocacy structure which woefully lacks pyscho-social interventions or counseling resident services.

If we are such a predominantly christian principles how comes we have such a high crime rates?

Does he think that homosexual lifestyle as he puts it means effeminate or masculine behaviours coming from the opposite gender of the individual expressing same?

How dare he says that most of what is carried by the international media is over exaggerated when the evidence on the ground suggest the opposite especially since bloggers like myself and others are now bringing a whole new light and sharing the realities that exist with our LGBTQI brothers and sisters.

Where does Mr. Golding get the notion that same gender loving people somehow are going to destroy the family unit or structure when we have strong evidence overseas where gay couples raise either adopted or fostered children or surrogate birthed children from a sperm donor usually one half of a two male relationship or sperm from a gay donor or sperm bank for two female relationships. The children do not turn out “damaged” or gay as the fear that is planted by the anti gay lobby when they refuse to accept the evidence right before our eyes. In fact there maybe ways to have same sex couples produce offspring or an embryo in a controlled environment as I had posted on Gay Jamaica Watch – (pic taken from post)

Sexual Reproduction for Same Sex Couples?

Gay Couple

Clearly the fear of the unknown and the playing to the gallery is what is of importance here to win votes and stay popular as the politics of the day demands. Politicians fear touching this subject directly or seeming to be remotely tolerant as persons may view it as supporting “nastiness”

PM Golding seen here gesticulating in a documentary called “Taboo Yardies” where he said among other things “…… I have challenged the gay community to explain, when they insist that we must change our laws to recognize and accept homosexual relations as a normal thing and we must do it because people should be free to choose, that’s the philosophical argument ….” 

Peace and tolerance.

H


LGBT History Month – Symbols & their meanings

October is LGBT History Month worldwide except for the UK where they celebrate it in February other jurisdictions have been doing their own recollections and recognition of icons and important dates relevant to their own development and achievements but some of the representations and symbols we have come so used to have meanings as to why they were formed. I have been collecting all I can via materials and oral histories on a host of happenings in advocacy, entertainment and more.

See previous posts from Gay Jamaica Watch HERE

and from GLBTQ Jamaica on blogger HERE

Where did some of the symbols come from and what do they mean?

Gay men and gay women.
Bisexual.
Transgender.
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The rainbow flag is the most widely used and recognized symbol of the gay pride movement. The flag was developed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978. At the time, there was a need for a gay symbol which could be used year after year for the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade. Baker took inspiration from many sources–the hippie movement to the black civil rights movement–and came up with a flag with eight stripes.

Baker explained that his colors each stood for a different aspect of gay and lesbian life:

  • Hot pink for sexuality.
  • Red for life.
  • Orange for healing.
  • Yellow for the sun.
  • Green for nature.
  • Blue for art.
  • Indigo for harmony.
  • Violet for spirit.

Baker and thirty volunteers hand-stitched and hand-dyed the flags for the 1978 parade, and they were an instant hit. But when he took his design to the San Francisco Flag Co. to have it mass-produced for the 1979 parade, he had to remove the hot pink stripe. At that time, pink was not a commercially available color.

Later that year, when Harvey Milk, was assassinated, the 1979 Pride Parade Committee realized that baker’s flag was the perfect symbol under which the LGBT community should unite. The committee got rid of the indigo stripe to make the colors evenly divisible along the parade route: red, orange, and yellow on one side of the street; green, blue, and purple on the other.

This is the flag we see, and use, and fly, today.
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Most everybody recognizes the Pink triangle as a symbol taken directly from the Nazi concentration camps. When concentration camps are mentioned, most people tend to think of the Holocaust–for good reason–but the fact is that there were many homosexual prisoners in those camps as well.

The real story of the Pink Triangle began prior to World War II, Paragraph 175, a clause in German law, prohibited homosexual relations. In 1935, during Hitler’s rise to power, he extended this law to include homosexual kissing, embracing, and even homosexual fantasies. Over 25,000 people were convicted under this law between 1937 and 1939 alone, and were sent to prisons and later concentration camps. Their sentence also included sterilization, most commonly in the form of castration. In 1942, Hitler extended the punishment for homosexuality to death.

Prisoners in Nazi concentration camps were labeled according to their crimes by inverted colored triangles.

  • Green triangles were for regular criminals.
  • Red triangles were for political prisoners.
  • Two overlapping yellow triangles–to form the Star of David–were given to Jewish prisoners.
  • Pink triangles were given to homosexual prisoners.
  • Pink and Yellow overlapping triangles went to gay Jews, the lowest form of prisoner.

Although homosexual prisoners were not shipped en mass to the Auschwitz death camps like so many of the Jewish prisoners, there were still large numbers of gay men executed along with other non-Jewish prisoners. The real tragedy though occurred after the war. When the Allies defeated the Germany and the Nazi Regime, the political and remaining Jewish prisoners were released from the camps; the regular criminals were not released for obvious reasons.

The homosexual prisoners were never released though because Paragraph 175 remained West German law until 1969, so gay men and women watched other prisoners freed, and then spent another twenty-four years in prison.

In the 1970s, the pink triangle was used in conjunction with the gay liberation movement, and in the 80s, ACT-UP [AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power] adopted the it as their symbol, but turned it upright to suggest an active fight rather than passive resignation.

There are also people who were the triangle pointing up if they know someone who has died of AIDS.

The pink triangle is a symbol closely connected to oppression and the fight against it, and stands as a vow never to let another Holocaust happen again. Like the word “queer,” it is a symbol of hate which has been reclaimed and now stands for pride.
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One symbol which continues to remain popular is the lower case Greek letter lambda. It was originally chosen by the Gay Activists Alliance of New York in 1970–a group which broke away from the larger Gay Liberation Front at the end of 1969, six months after it’s foundation in response to the Stonewall Riots.

Because of its official adoption by the GAA, which sponsored public events for the gay community, the lambda soon became a quick way for the members of the gay community to identify each other. The reasoning was that the lambda would easily be mistaken for a college fraternity symbol and ignored by the majority of the population.

Other meanings of the lambda symbol include:

  • The Greek letter “L” stands for “liberation.”
  • The Spartans believed that the lambda represented unity.
  • The Romans took it to mean; “the light of knowledge shining into the darkness of ignorance.”
  • The synergy which results when gays and lesbians work together towards a common goal.
  • The theory that straights and gays, or gays and lesbians, or any pairing of these three, are on different wavelengths when it comes to sex, sexuality, or even brain patterns.
  • An iconic rendering of the scales of justice and the constant force that keeps opposing sides from overcoming each other. The hook at the bottom of the right leg would then signify the action and initiative needed to reach and maintain balance.

Whatever the lambda meant or means today, it’s everywhere. Even though at one time it acquired a strictly male connotation, it is used by both gays and lesbians today. Back in December of 1974, the lambda was officially declared the international symbol for gay and lesbian rights by the International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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The Red Ribbon Project was created by singer/songwriter Paul Jabara and the New York-based Visual AIDS group in 1991. Visual AIDS is a charity group of art professionals aimed at recognizing and honoring friends and colleagues who are dying, or have died, of AIDS. Visual AIDS not only encourages art organizations, galleries, museums, and other AIDS organizations to commemorate those who have died of AIDS, but also to educate the public about the transmission of AIDS and HIV and the needs of those living with AIDS.

The red ribbon was originally inspired by the yellow ribbons prominently displayed during the Gulf War in support of U.S. soldiers. The color red was chosen because it is the color of blood and its symbolic connection to passion and love. The red ribbon made its public debut when host Jeremy Irons wore it during the 1991 Tony Awards. Since then, wearing the red ribbon has become a fashion statement and extremely politically correct.

There are those who feel that the red ribbon has lost it’s importance, and is now simply lip service to AIDS causes, however, the Red Ribbon Project is still going strong and remains a driving force behind AIDS awareness. It is the Project’s sincerest hope that one day it will no longer be needed.

The White Knot.
The symbol for Marriage Equality.
The White Knot is the symbol for marriage equality.
Wear it to show your support and to create conversation.
Use it to tell everyone that equal rights are important.
Share it so that all loving couples can have the same rights.

Everybody deserves the right to Tie The Knot!