Chu Chu on cross dressing …………….

In the Gleaner today there was this piece below hinted to Chu Chu’s on stage cross dressing character over the years, the word pioneer is not appropriate I feel as there have been others who publicly performed in full drag garb over the years but who have not gotten the recognition. I was not comfortable either with the section where he said in the interview that popular stage actor “Shebada” was performing while he is “acting” as if to suggest Shebada’s sexuality and his should not be questioned, how insecure? even at this lever one is so invested in maintaining the ever so precious Jamaican masculinity.

A reader contributed elsewhere that”

“There is definitely something to be said for how his long string of performances and being established in the roots play world helped to pave the way for folks like Shebada to take the role to a whole other level i.e. not just confining the role to the stage, but expanding, exaggerating and even taking it on as an identity. Notice that we now use the term Shebada in everyday language and not the actor’s real name because he has *become* Shebada (in much the same way that RuPaul has done in the U.S.); it’s now a brand. Conversely, Chu Chu is only such on stage, and that seems to be important for Warren. Perhaps if he had been more open to gay subculture at the time, he might have done a similar thing to Shebada, who knows? The person who comes after Shebada is going to have some things easier, and will be able to take the stage presence to a whole other level, even if the Warrens will always be there, being tentative and slightly doubtful.

It would be really interesting – and potentially very insightful – for a group of gay men to have a conversation with Warren about his awareness of men who were sporting, and how people have responded to him and his role over the years.”

have a read below and decide for yourselves:

Cleve 'Chu Chu'  - Warren Photo by Carl Gilchrist

Cross-Dressing Pioneer – Cleve ‘Chu Chu’ Warren Enjoys 21 Successful Years Onstage

Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer

Cleve ‘Chu Chu’ Warren, has played the role of a woman in several hit Jamaican plays in his 21 years onstage but has still managed to maintain his masculinity.

It has been Warren, more than any other Jamaican actor, who has brought the Jamaican public to the point of accepting, at least to some degree, cross-dressing actors on local stage.

His role as the likeable but feisty woman called Chu Chu, in a host of Jamaican plays, has typified him as a talented actor, capable of playing almost any role.

“The role Chu Chu is a rather more challenging role than others I’ve done because, you know, fi a man dress-up like a female, an’ mek it look good, a whole heap a work,” explained Warren in a Gleaner interview.

But the role has its downsides as well.

“The positive thing about that role is that the person who is playing it will remain a man, he is just acting and knows how to execute the role. The negative about it is, you know how we Jamaicans stay, but mi change the whole outlook of that now. From Passa Passa buss, the whole outlook ah that change. People even start to accept people who really ‘funny’ (homosexuals) on stage right now. A me change the whole thing.”

Offstage, though, Warren is a far cry from the Chu Chu image he portrays.

Warren is also one of the main actors who can be credited with helping to establish what has been labelled the ‘roots’ play in Jamaica, starring in more than 30 hit plays produced by two of Jamaica’s leading names in drama production, Ralph Holness and Everton Dawkins.

still fit and ready

And with 21 years stage acting under his belt, Warren says he is fit and ready to go for another 21.

“Just continue watch mi ’cause mi nah stop, not until the breath lef’ mi body. All when mi old, mi still waa do play,” said Warren.

Warren’s first taste of the theatre came in 1990, playing the role of ‘Bwoy-Bwoy’, the owner of the house, in Holness’ Dead Lef’ Legacy.

“The first time mi go audition, get the role, open di play, neva look back,” Warren said.

“But the first time mi go pon stage, a hol’ heap a butterfly but, yuh know, when yuh hungry fi supp’m, yu get that opportunity so yu a try do everything yu can do.”

His most successful play to date has been Dawkin’s Passa Passa, which he credits as being Jamaica’s most successful play to date.

His all-time favourite play is Man Fi Get Bun, in which he was cast in the role of the ‘Yaad Bwoy’, a role which he said fits his character.

“Di Yaad Bwoy role is a role dat jus remind mi so much ah mi self when mi deh a St Thomas,” he explained. “Mi may not get the opportunity fi do nutten to a pastor man wife, but it’s the same kinda thing,” he added.

He also has on his list of favourites Dead Lef’ LegacyMaama Man Pt2and Passa Passa Pts 1, 2 and 3.

Theatregoers have been comparing the relatively new kid on the block, Keith ‘Shebada’ Ramsey, with Warren, as both have played controversial roles in several plays.

But according to the veteran, there is no comparison.

“I don’t think there is a comparison. Him have him own style, mi have my own. Him a do three years, mi do over 20. Him come see things when things sweet, me haffi batter an’ work fi wha me want,” said Warren.

“The difference between me an’ him is, me act – him perform. The difference maybe is, one a live supp’m while one ah act. But more strength and more power to him still, ’cause him a do wha him fi do. A fi him time, tek it!”

Jamaican theatre has been good to Warren, he admitted, and said he is grateful. He has performed in maybe 25 or 30 states in the United States, along with Canada, England and the Caribbean.

He has also appeared in commercials and music videos.

He is not limiting himself and is taking a serious look at directing and producing as he seeks to broaden his horizon.

In his latest role, Warren plays a grandmother in Everton Dawkins’Ungrateful Sinting.

Warren explained: “I play a grandmother, so you see I always take on some challenging roles. A grandmother, she is miserable, she is disgusting, but I like the challenge. I like a unique role, you mustn’t (be able to) predict my role, yuh must wonder, a wha him a come wid now?”

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Down low life in the Gleaner: Is my fiancé gay?

pic from http://chroniclesofdownlowbrotha.blogspot.com/

Question

Doctor, I am a 32-year-old woman and I recently met a wonderful Jamaican man. But I would like your medical opinion about him. I am foreign by birth, but have lived here for several years.

He has now proposed to me, and we plan to get married later this year. We are talking about having three children, and having a marvellous life together. Sex with him is great, though he does not seem to want it as often as I do.

I am currently having a wonderful time making arrangements for the wedding, and inviting relatives, etc. He tries to help me, but he is very busy, particularly in the evenings.

What worries me is that he has quite a lot of male friends, who don’t appear all that friendly towards me. He was talking to one of them on thephone the other day, and I am almost sure that his friend made some sort of derogatory comment about me.

Also, I heard him say ‘I’m looking forward to being “down low” with you,’ or something like that. Later, when I asked him what ‘down low’ meant, he just laughed and would not tell me.

But my main concern is his lack of sex drive. Do you think I can help him increase it when we are married?

Answer

No, I do not. Women often think that marriage will somehow ‘change’ a man in some way, but it rarely does. Certainly, there is no likelihood that getting married will ‘pep up’ his sex drive, and make him more enthusiastic about having intercourse with you.

Another point that concerns me is this. You heard him use the phrase ‘down low’ to his male friend.

Presumably you are not aware of this, but in some parts of Jamaica, and indeed in the United States, the phrase ‘down low’ has a special meaning. It refers to the situation where a man marries a woman (or perhaps lives with her) in order to achieve ‘respectability’, but secretly sees other men for sex.

So ‘down low sex’ is a homosexual activity practised by a married man who is pretending to be heterosexual.

Now I do not wish to be unfair to your fiancé. It is just possible that he used the words ‘down low’ to mean something else. After all, those two words could refer to a meeting place that is further down a hill, or something like that.

But we must take into consideration the fact that he apparently doesn’t have much interest in having sex with you. Also, he seems to have a lot of male friends who don’t like you very much. And it sounds as though he spends his evenings with them. All of this appears to add up to potential trouble.

Therefore, I do not think you should go ahead with this wedding until the two of you have seen an experienced marriage counsellor. And maybe your first move should be to ask your fiancé to tell you honestly whether he is going in for ‘down low sex’.

ENDS

Notes:

This letter writer sounds too simplistic for me to be a real write-in query but be that as it maybe or not the media is at it again on gay issues since the recent Charter of Rights uproar and the ignoring of discrimination of sexual orientation coverage from the document which is to replace section three of the constitution.

The response seems guarded at first but the speculation that the male friends may be a problem in the future without any further particulars provided is too speculative for me, after all Jamaican men in general are homosocial, if she even had a problem such as what is purported here why would she write to a newspaper column about this just like that? couldn’t she have consulted her family and so on or a trusted friend or a private consultation?

I always doubt these letters as presented to us sometimes in the press with these simplistic queries that don’t add up in some cases and even more far out responses.

What you think?

Peace and tolerance

H

The Tragic Loss of three icons in less than a month ……..

As the doleful expressions continue to pour out from the community following Wednesday April 6th’s stunning revelation on social networking sites and subsequent confirmatory phone calls and an impeccable police source that a former lgbt advocate who was associated with JFLAG at one point was found in his upper St. Andrew apartment after being dead for several days (it is surmised from as early as the Friday April the 1st). The man (some names will be withheld for now) in his early twenties was found with several stab wounds. An on the spot post-mortem had to be carried out and my combined sources suggest that the body was ordered for immediate burial due to the state of decomposition.

 

Actual cause of death is not known clearly but reports suggest it may be related to his rocky relations he was having with another friend, the body was found by his partner who returned home after not seeing or hearing from the deceased for a short time as he was out of town on business he went to the home and was greeted by the offensive odour only to make the gruesome discovery, it is also surmised that more than one attackers may have been present to over power the deceased as his physical built would not permit one person to successfully over power him. As the investigations continue the police are tight lipped but it is strongly suspected that the deceased was lured to his home by his attackers when he met his untimely demise.

Personal effects including cellphones, a laptop and his car were missing there were no signs of a break in but some sections of the apartment were ransacked suggesting the intruder(s) had conducted a search before making good their exit. The body was said to have over 12 stab wounds and his penis was severed according to reports. The father of the deceased showed no mercy for his son as he openly blasted his homosexual lifestyle and at one point was restrained as he attempted to remove items from the home which was still a crime scene as investigations continued.

 

Even in death homophobic cruelty is so glaring the advocate who was known to many as a quiet dude with strong opinions some of which clashed with mine in the occasional debate over drinks or at socials also had his share of problems with his outing and subsequent temporary displacement and run ins with his father coupled with ostracism from the church flock of which he was a part, what is even more disturbing is the way in which the deceased father insisted on not taking the body after the pathologist ordered an immediate burial following the on the spot post mortem, the morgue attendants and funeral home representatives offered to do what they could to reshape the body for a proper closed casket service and burial despite the circumstances that prevailed but his father flatly refused and said he wanted no part in the burial while using the derogative anti gay remarks to castigate his son while his body laid mutilated at the scene, so upset were persons present that they could not help but vent their frustrations at his behaviour and the position taken. The police however who were on hand helped to calm the nerves of the parties so as to avoid any physical confrontation and contamination of the crime scene, The body was later removed and reportedly placed in a sufferer’s box as it is known in some circles and taken to the May Pen Cemetery where it was laid without any proper rights accorded much to the hurt and sorrow of many of his friends and associates.

He was with the advocacy group Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays (JFLAG) for a short time involved in Administration and some Crisis Interventions as well, he also hosted lymes and small parties at his home from time to time and also sat on the GLABCOM (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Community) Steering Committee associated with the Targeted Interventions of Jamaica AIDS for Life just over a year. He assisted many young turks who were coming out at the time in their late teens through his work with the performing arts for a short period of time as well.

RIP dear Jayden

 

meanwhile ……

Man Found dead in North Coast Hotel

The second loss came as a shocker again last night as festivities were in high gear at a Kingston event, details are sketchy as usual when news like this breaks but the gentleman was said to have been discovered in a hotel room on the north coast last night April 15th, he was said to have multiple stab wounds also, last reported as seven and his throat slashed. Personally known to me as well the gentleman was popular in north central circles and frequented parties and socials there, he was a fixture at one point in lgbt/AIDS workshops and seminars held in that section of the area by various organizations as he was  considered an excellent network resource person as he knew alot of persons.

He had the enviable reputation as well as being a fierce friend and if you wanted a date in that neck of woods rest assured he would find it to match your taste as best as possible. Investigations are still ongoing.

RIP dear Mr. Paul Bailey

Man found dead in St. Ann

Reports also are coming in from another section of North Central Jamaica where a popular party figure was found with one stab wound and throat cut as well last Tuesday April 12th, again details are hazy as there are several theories and conflicting reports he was however said to have left home to meet with someone who was to have sold them some items but was missing for some time and was found in the state as described above.

Known for his dancing style at parties he was given a particular nick name and frequented events mostly in central Jamaica but would make the occasional trek to Kingston to shake a leg.

RIP Kelly K K

Sadly every year we go through this blood-letting exercise where we loose many of our brothers to sometimes unexplainable and horrific acts of murder and sadly they always seem to come in sets of threes, superstitious or not one wonders who will be next and if these awful occurrences are being done by homophobes or are there deeper issues we are not really taking a look at.

As further particulars become available you will know.

Walk good out deh

Peace and tolerance

H

Donna Hope on Masculinities in Jamaican Dancehall

INTERVIEW BY BRUNO BAYLEY of Vice Land

Donna Hope, senior lecturer in reggae studies at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, knows more about these confusing shifts in dancehall fashion than anyone else in the world. She recently wrote a book called Man Vibes: Masculinities in Jamaican Dancehall, which is an in-depth study of the thought processes that govern the behavior of the average fashion-conscious dancehall star. Let’s learn more about all of this.

Vice: So dancehall stars are bleaching their skin and dressing like the gay guys they’ve spent their entire lives being afraid of?
Donna Hope:
Since the turn of the millennium we’ve seen men’s fashion in the dancehall scene move from being a very hardcore representation of masculinity to something far more flamboyant. These days dancehall artists and fans are a lot more poised and pay more attention to how they dress.

Anything in particular?
They make a big fuss about how they do their cornrows, for example, while some have even started fashioning their eyebrows into different patterns and wearing clothing that, not so long ago, would have been considered almost gay. Pastel pinks and peaches have become very popular, as have wonderfully patterned shirts and pants that are what we call tights—very close fitting to the male body. These are things that traditionally in dancehall have been sort of anathema to how a hardcore male should look. Shoes are often the same color as the shirts, say purple or orange, and this getup is coupled with a lot of intense jewelry. Body piercings and tattoos are all becoming very popular with men in dancehall. This is far removed from traditional views of how men from working-class backgrounds in Jamaica should look.

Where did this glamorous and somewhat effeminate styling come from?
The dialogue is more between dancehall and the fashion houses of Paris and “high fashion” than it is with another black music, such as American rap. It is a more European influence. It has a lot to do with people wanting to look beyond their actual physical location and wanting to prove that we can hold our own on a runway in Europe.

How does that tie in with dancehall’s association with virulent homophobia? How does the scene settle with seeing its stars with belly-button rings and tight trousers?
These potential clashes in dialogue are part of what makes dancehall so special. Dancehall has gained a lot of notoriety in the international arena for its extreme and graphic denunciations of male homosexuality. But at the same time, these new waves of dancehall fashion seem to borrow from the impulses that speak to a gay man. From the perspective of my own work it is not a clash because it projects the same kind of dualities we find throughout dancehall.

I don’t exactly follow.
Men who are hardcore can be that way while at the same time borrowing from influences that are considered far removed from “hardcore.” A hardcore man walking around in a pastel t-shirt and orange pants with a hairstyle more elaborate than that of the woman he is walking beside, with piercings and chunky jewelry, can remain hardcore because of the way he carries himself. It’s in the attitude, the talk, the walk, the screwface—the combination of all these elements presents a very conflicted picture of masculinity to outside observers. It has also led me to question where the Jamaican concept of masculinity is heading.

So essentially it comes down to the old “if you are hard enough to dress gay you must be pretty hard” mind-set?
Well, it should be noted that not all people involved in dancehall are dressing this way, but there has been a surge in the number of people who look like this. Also, male dancers have become a far bigger part of dancehall culture—far bigger than they were a few years ago.

Which musicians are leading the charge?
Vybz Kartel is currently one of dancehall’s biggest artists, and he is going to great lengths to present himself in this way—with piercings, tattoos, and skin bleaching. This has been the trajectory since the late 90s. Elephant Man, as part of the group Scare Dem Crew, had a song, “Bad Man Nuh Dress Like Girl,” which included the lyric “We nuh bore nose an we nuh bleach face an we nuh wear drop curls.” But then he actually started doing all of these things himself. He did indeed become colorful and flamboyant, with piercings and intricate hairstyles, but back then hardcore meant dark clothes. Wearing bright colors was not even up for discussion. Vybz Kartel is a representation of this shift we see now, and it is in part his dress sense that has brought him so much attention and made him so popular.

You mentioned the skin-bleaching issue, and Vybz Kartel is one of the main characters in this debate. I can only assume that for such a racially proud genre, the idea of dancehall stars bleaching their skin is as controversial as effeminate dress, if not more so.
The issue of skin bleaching at present is now thrown into the public domain by artists like Vybz Kartel who are lightening their skin and publicly admitting to it and in a sense suggesting it as a good thing to do. Vybz Kartel has been advocating what we call cake soap in Jamaica, a type of soap used especially by poor Jamaicans as a part of laundry. It’s a very rough type of soap, cut from slabs and sold, and the blue version of it has become immortalized by Vybz Kartel because he has suggested that his skin looks the way it does now because he has been washing it with blue cake soap.

What does the public have to say about the trend?
There have been huge amounts of discussion about this, and it is something I looked at some years ago in my work—the way that men have started this skin bleaching that had previously been seen as something women did. We already knew that women lighten their skin with all sorts of products to hide blemishes and so on. In terms of dancehall, not so many years ago it would have been something far, far removed from anything a man would ever do, but now it’s very popular among men.

Over-the-counter soaps and lighteners don’t sound so awful.
People use a range of products to do this, from household bleach to soaps bought from informal vendors that contain too high a chemical level for the customer’s skin. Then there are other products, like corn meal and curry powder, a condiment added to the skin in a paste form. And when you ask these people why they are doing it, they give the reasons you might expect: Everybody is doing it, it makes them look better, it makes them stand out, and so on.

Does this reflect any lessening of the extreme homophobia in the genre?
Dancehall has a preoccupation with what men do, and as a result there are very strong feelings about any act that transgresses what men are supposed to do or what is associated with traditional masculinity. In terms of homosexuality, there has been a retreat in dancehall from the “murder and kill and burn out of existence”-style lyrics. But you may get softened versions of that. Again, remember that this resentment toward transgressors of masculinity does not come from dancehall, but from wider Jamaican culture and traditional feelings of gender codes and culture that were then taken and hardened by dancehall into these harsh lyrics.

Does it translate for non-Jamaicans who listen to this music?
The response recently to such lyrics outside Jamaica has resulted in far more subtlety—you would have to understand lyrics of a very contorted and metaphoric nature now to even know that they were discussing male homosexuality.

So these rappers are using language to convey things that are not so obvious!
Yes, there has been a change in how these lyrics are used. Now we have a lot of lyrics name-dropping Vybz Kartel, everybody is calling for him, he is the figure people love to hate, and there are also songs about society and the things people want to see happening and so on. It is rare to hear someone talking explicitly about male homosexuality. The extreme and graphic denunciation of homosexuality that we saw so much of in the early 21st century has evaporated.

What are going to be the next big looks, do you think?
Well, there are a lot of different things people are doing now: false lashes, painted nails… But it’s hard to see any creeping signal of a move toward a new major style. What I am watching, though, is what Vybz Kartel is doing. He is so locked on transgressing all the codes of polite behavior in Jamaica and being very defiant about it. I want to see what he will do in the next 12 months. There are rumors in circulation that he has a tongue piercing—though piercings have become more accepted, men with tongue piercings are generally considered to have gone “over the edge” and to have crossed a social boundary.

Indeed!

45% of Gays show signs of Major depression

45% of LGBT persons in Jamaica show elevated signs of Depression

In a ground breaking research conducted by the Grata Foundation and researchers from the University of the West Indies, Columbia University and Widener University, it was found that 45% of Lesbians, Gays and other sexual minorities under study in Jamaica displayed signs of Major depressive disorders. The research was conducted between June and September, 2007 and published in the academically reputed International Journal of Sexual Health in 2010.

Publication Cover

The study noted the high incidence of negative and abusive experiences, felt by participants in the study as a result of their sexual orientation. It stated that “Fifty-three participants reported having had some form of negative or abusive experience related to their sexual orientation, mostly (42%) within the past month leading up to the interview, and a cumulative percentage of 76% within the past 12 months.

The frequency of these abusive incidents was greater than three times per month for more than half of these participants. The most common negative experiences reported were name calling (85%), discrimination (62%), threats of physical violence (49%), and being harassed (42%); physical violence was reported among 19%. Some participants had multiple negative or abusive experiences. Among participants who had such experiences, a minority had ever complained to the relevant authorities (26%) or received counseling (11%) after these events.

The report goes on to argue that for the first time, we now have a clear indication that among sexual minorities in Jamaica, a negative relationship with family is an important risk factor for mental health problems. It is believed that ineffective communication that impedes disclosure or disruption of existing communication channels, as part of parents’ initial reaction, presages the ensuing disruption of family dynamics.

The study seemingly suggests that work being undertaken by groups that tackle the issue of homelessness among members of the LGBT community through family interventions will have a positive long term effect on the mental health of respondents.

The study does not provide a comparison between incidences of mental health problems between members of the LGBT community and the generalized population. However, it does scientifically support notions that the Jamaican LGBT community suffers from high levels of discriminations which is being manifested in mental health problems

Editor’s Note:
In November,2010 the Grata Foundation and the Pink Report merged. The Pink Report is now a Communications and information development project of the Grata Foundation.

Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship hypocrisy from Shirley Richards: “Charter Of Rights And The Moral Divide” (read carefully)

Below is an excerpted address by Shirley Richards, attorney-at-law and immediate past president of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, to the Lions Club of Kingston last Wednesday April 7th

Like it or not, the Charter of Rights, having been passed by both Houses of Parliament, is expected to become law shortly. I think, maybe, that you may be interested in knowing a few of the expected changes which will come to our society as a consequence of the charter. Here are a few of the changes:

Philosophical change in the approach to rights: In what will shortly become the previous document, rights are stated but circumscribed by limitations. In this document, it is fair to say that except for those specific limitations which have been saved, the only limitations which will be recognised will be such as are demonstrably ‘justified in a free and democratic society’.

The document has both vertical and horizontal effects, meaning that we now have rights against the Government and also against each other. Expect the society then to become more litigious.

The major new rights are the right of a child to publicly funded tuition at the pre-primary and primary levels (Section 13 (k)). The right to enjoy a healthy and productive environment (Section 13 (l)). This should mean, therefore, that we will be able to sue persons who drive defective vehicles on the road as well as companies whose plants emit poisonous fumes.

civic intervention

Civic organisations can now intervene on behalf of individuals whose rights have been contravened or are likely to be contravened (Section 19 (2)).

Care has been taken to preserve the death penalty [Section 13 (7)], legislation that deals with sexual offences, offences that pertain to the life of the unborn, and laws that pertain to obscene publications [Section 13 (12)]. It remains to be seen how the courts will deal with these laws which have been retained.

Marriage has also been defined [Section 18 (2)] as follows:

No form of marriage … other than the voluntary union of one man and one woman may be contracted or legally recognised in Jamaica.

Thanks to our intervention, provisions relating to religious liberties have also been included at Section 17, basically repeating provisions of Section 21 of the past document.

Why did the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship intervene in the passage of the charter? In brief, we saw a document whose philosophy was the supreme autonomy of the individual. The philosophical flaw in the document then, and still is so in the current document, but to a lesser extent, is a failure to face the fact that we are all selfish by nature and that, further, we live in a community where, like it or not, our private actions do impact the life of the community. Frankly, some of us are concerned that the concept of human rights is being used to erase the distinction between right and wrong, and that human rights, in itself, have now become the new religious dogma.

After examining the document, we became very concerned about the destination of the proposed journey. When we intervened in 2006, we realised then that all our laws and any limitations on perceived rights would now be subject to what obtains in a ‘free and democratic society’.

what’s the destination?

The concept of us as a nation setting out on a journey in the pursuit of freedom and liberty of the individual sounded exhilarating, exciting even, but did we have any idea as to our destination? Is it good governance to lead a nation to a possible and even likely destination without their informed consent? The philosophy of the document, as it was, would certainly have allowed for a striking down of the laws relating to buggery, abortion and obscene publications. Not only that, we were concerned that the robust language of Section 21 of the soon-to-be-replaced Chapter III of the Constitution was not repeated in the proposed document.

Section 21 deals with freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, and preserves a certain amount of autonomy for religious bodies. All that was given was a right to freedom of thought, conscience, belief and observance of religious and political doctrines. Knowing what was happening in so-called free and democratic countries, e.g. Canada, where consistently, the rights of homosexuals trumped rights to conscience, and where it has been declared that women have the right to take the lives of their unborn children, ought we to have sat by just getting on with our daily routine without, at the very least, warning the nation?

We could do no less than sound a warning. This we did, and thankfully, we received a favourable hearing.

It took some courage to be able to include clauses in the current charter which have now saved laws relating to sexual offences, the life of the unborn, and obscene publications, and have preserved our religious liberties. Moreover, as said before, the document now defines marriage in the way that I dare say most Jamaicans now define that institution – being that of one man to one woman.

In this regard, I want to urge our society to give more than lip service to marriage. I want to urge our society to view the institution as an honourable one, one which provides the best environment in which to raise our children.

A mutually faithful heterosexual relationship is not merely one private option among many, but has serious implications for the public good and the health of the nation.

changing laws

Our Parliament is still there to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Jamaica (Section 48). Our judges are there to interpret and apply these laws. If we want laws changed, let us do so upfront, with the full knowledge of the society. Let the Parliament not abdicate its responsibility of making laws.

Having included these sections in the charter, I want to say to the Government that we expect that if at any time there is a court decision which goes contrary to the intentions clearly expressed on behalf of the electorate that you expressed in this charter, that we do expect that you will honour the Jamaican people by taking such legislative action as may be necessary to rectify any faulty wording which may become apparent.

To the charge that the charter ignored the rights of homosexuals, I ask, where do rights originate? And if there is no transcendent moral law, what gives anyone any rights, and what prevents mere power from prevailing? If it is true that repeal of the buggery law will assist with reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS, then why is it that the November 2010 edition of Lancet Infectious Diseases reported that “despite an overall decline in HIV incidence in France, transmission seems to be out of control among men who have sex with men?” Lancet is a highly reputable medical publication. Note that buggery was decriminalised in France since the time of the French Revolution in 1791. Other reputable sources (e.g., Eurosurveillance) report similar trends for HIV incidence among MSMs in many developed Western nations.

If the buggery law is repealed, what will prevent our children being taught in school that the homosexual lifestyle is a good and acceptable one?

Let me tell you about the case of Eunice and Owen Johns, a Jamaican couple who currently reside in England. They had fostered children 15 times before. Their application to foster children in 2007 was not approved by the Derby Council because, in answering questions posed by the social worker, they had made it clear that they could not and would not be willing to tell a child that homosexuality is a good thing. The High Court on February 28, 2011, sided with the council. According to the BBC report of the case, the court said that if children were placed with caregivers who objected to homosexuality, “there may well be a conflict with the local authority’s duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of looked-after children”.

Basically, what that decision meant is that objection to homosexuality is not in the interest of the welfare of children. To put it another way, if you do not agree with homosexual conduct, you cannot foster children in the UK! Out goes many Christian-minded people and also many Jamaican couples living in the UK! Talk about discrimination! If objection to the homosexual lifestyle makes you an unsafe parent, how long will it be before one’s natural children are removed by the State for their ‘safety’?

rejoice only briefly

To those persons who are like-minded – especially to the churchfolk – don’t get lost in your rejoicing. Let your rejoicing be brief, for the battle has only just begun. Now as never before in our history, churches are going to have to unite to fight a common battle. Weapons will have to be carefully chosen. This battle is not one to be fought with weapons of war as in the Middle East. Instead, we will have to fight back cultural imperialism with a moral revolution!

And so I call for a moral revolution in this country; one in which we live right; one in which we speak the truth without having to be pressured at commissions of enquiry; one in which we can dialogue and cross-examine without being crass; one in which we choose to have our children within the context of stable marital unions; a society in which fathers support their children; a society in which we value our children from conception; one in which we support our mothers; one in which we jealously value and cultivate the healthy and mutually faithful man-woman relationship; and a society in which we eschew the use of violence as a means of solving our problems.

I have borrowed a thought from the words of Norman Manley uttered in Parliament on the occasion of the coming into force of the 1962 Constitution. This is the paraphrase:

Let no one imagine that we have secured our future forever. It is only the spirit and vigilance of the people which will preserve those good things that are in the Charter of Rights.

How to Turn Suffering into Joy

By Judy Kinney, Lesbian Life Coach

I have said it a zillion times- joy is our natural state of being. Still, I understand that joy can seem illusive or disrespectful at times. Recently, people have asked me,

How can I be happy when there is so much suffering happening in my own life and in the world?

How do I create my own life, be sensitive to those around me, AND help create this world of ours?

Central to this question is our ability to be sovereign beings in relationship with others. I believe that joy may be our conduit to developing this essential skill. Feeling good is a very personal experience, yet I believe it may be impossible to feel joy and feel isolated from life and all its glory.
 

Feel joy and be connected or be connected, and feel joy.

This idea may be easy enough to understand, but now, let’s reconnect to this issue of suffering and distress.

First, let me say that I believe that it is our reaction to the event, not the event itself that creates our suffering. I sometimes struggle with this belief, but it still guides me.

You may have seen this for yourself when two people experience the same event and have completely different reactions. I am seeing this a lot these days. Some people lose their job and are happy, others are miserable. I have read that some people in Japan are experiencing an increased sense of connection, community and power since the recent tsunami. I am sure that you have read of people facing incurable diseases who are happier than they have ever been in their life.

Still, while suffering is a part of our common human experience, it never feels good. You know as well as I do-feeling bad because someone else feels bad only creates more bad feelings. Within each of us there is the desire to connect and be apart of something bigger than our self AND a fundamental desire to feel good.

A lot of people are feeling lost in a chasm between joy and distress these days. Intellectually, joy may sound good, but how do any of us make a discernible difference?

I have developed a practice called iJoin, that helps people turn sorrow into joy. This practice helps heal the sorrow and the distress you are experiencing or perceiving in the world.

iJoin is an adaptation of the Buddhist idea of sympathetic joy. Sympathetic joy, or mudita, is joy in the fundamental goodness of all beings, especially the pleasure that comes from delighting in rather than begrudging others’ well being

There are a couple ways to work with the practice of iJoin. You can use iJoin when you want relief from your own despair, frustration, or hopelessness. You can also use this practice as a form of prayer for others who are suffering.

How it works.

  1. Identify the related joy
  2. Join or align with the joy.

For example, rather than ranting, feeling powerless or ignoring the US entering into yet another war, I find the joy that I am seeking-peace. Rather than praying for others to change, I say this statement of prayer before going to bed or as I come across war-related news.

I join with ALL those who are committed to peace.
This statement aligns my energy with the millions of people who also value peace. Note that I am not engaging in a conversation about the right or wrong way to obtain peace. Instead, I am tapping into and feeding a common human desire for peace. As I express my iJoin statement, I feel connected to MILLIONS of people. I am directing my energy to expand peace in my life and in the world.

When I get nervous about my coaching business, I say,
I join with ALL those who are thriving while courageously creating their life.

And suddenly I feel a surge of confidence. As I think about other people’s suffering, I also imagine their joy.

For my friend who has a lot of job worry and despair, I say,
I join with Sara in her desire to have a vibrant, welcoming, and well-paying job this year.

For those living in Japan, I say,
I join with ALL those who are creating an ever more vibrant Japan.

For those who are afraid of change and take it out on others, I say,
I join with all those who find their powerful heart even in the midst of fear.

iJoin is a form of prayer, but instead of fixing something or feeling hopeless, you tap into the goodness, joy, and power that already exists in your heart and in each of us.

 

Star News: “Gays convert popular parties”

Paula Gordon, Star Writer

Members of the gay community are staging their own versions of popular entertainment events, THE WEEKEND STAR has learnt.


Calendar events such as Dancehall Queen and British Link Up are now being staged in gay circles, despite the promoters of the regular events having nothing to do with them.

“Gay parties imitate straight parties, they imitate the names of parties, for example, we have Black and White Affair, British Link Up, Hot Girls Roll Out, Snow White Affair and Boat Ride Affair,” Rory, one regular patron of these events said. “There is also the Grammy’s, the Oscars, Miss World and Dancehall Queen.”

THE WEEKEND STAR recently got hold of flyers for two of the upcoming events. On the flyers are cross-dressers who could easily be mistaken for female models. They were elegantly dressed in gowns, heels and lace wigs. Added to that the make-up on their faces looked flawless.

The flyers gave the date, time and venue for the events. Interestingly both had ‘no fighting allowed’ warnings on them.

MIss World Event

Rory told THE WEEKEND STAR that in the case of the Miss World event, several non-Jamaicans usually come to the island to participate in the competition which usually takes place in September.

Another member of the gay community, Lennoxsaid, “People buy gowns for like US$1,500 (J$129,000) to attend these events, these are people that drive top of the line vehicles.”

He explained that a lot of the homosexuals in Jamaica are drag queens, who dress themselves like women to attend these events, which usually takes place uptown.

He said that because Jamaica is such a homophobic country, an immense effort is made to keep information about these events private so as not to risk any harm being done to them.

Further, he noted that there are times when straight people are invited to these events, however; they are persons who can be trusted.

Lennox said that one of the most popular events held in the gay community which is liked by many straight people is the Dancehall Queen competition. “Straight people who are gay friendly are usually invited. The gays can dance really well, some can dance better than the girls who dance in the real Dancehall Queen competition,” he said.

He said another popular event on the gay party calendar is Dancehall Explosion, which is more like a Passa Passa event.

When contacted, Big Head, the promoter of the ‘straight’ annual Dancehall Queen competition, held in Montego Bay, said he was not aware that an imitation to his event was being held in the gay community.

“There is no relationship, my event is 100 per cent females, I am not affiliated with what they do,” he asserted.

He said his competition is an international one taking place in different countries. “I am not claiming to own the name dancehall queen because it’s international. I am not here to endorse or denounce it (the gay competition),” he remarked.

In the meantime, Big Head does not think that the trend will have a negative impact on his event. “As far as I am concerned I have done everything to put my show on top. I have no time to take on the gays to give them the time of day,” he said.

*Names changed.

ENDS

Notes:

What was the purpose of this article, is it to suggest gays somehow must not have their own entertainment or what?

The impact these days from Star News stories are fading and for several reasons

1) the old formulae has outlived it usefulness in a sense

2) the public seems more concerned about bread and butter issues than tabloid embellishments

3) persons literally do not have disposable income to buy a paper that hasn’t the value in terms of content as it used when it was known as the evening version of the well respected Gleaner

4) why didn’t the Star tell us that the source of this is actually a gay man? the same promoter who told them of a previous untruth that was published see more HERE

5) why are we as gays so vile towards each other that we have to resort to these under handed tactics just to prove a point?

6) why must we resort to consorting with those who do not have our interests at heart or are quick to use homophobia and sensationalist stories to sell papers?

I am deeply disappointed in this kind of behaviour from us when we should be working together. Sankofa Events did in fact put a statement out as seen here on Gay Jamaica Watch

Peace and tolerance

H

The more things change the more they stay the same ….. JFLAG’s prescriptive culture still exists

Well at last nights weekly Wednesday Open Mic Open Soul at the Couture Oasis Lounge the unexpected occurred when representatives of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays showed up to include later the Executive Director himself none other than the brown Teddy Bear Mr. Dane Lewis. Unfortunately he didn’t hang around long enough to tackle the topic of the night which was “Sexuality” also present were the heads of fellow bloggers Pink Report whose on again off again relationship with and defense of criticisms towards JFLAG has made them unpredictable and inconsistent with their real positions on lgbt issues and advocacy although the last few posts calling the J to book on their handling of the Charter of Rights added to the lack of forumatic activity to guide the lgbt body politic was refreshing.

Speaking of forumatic activity that was precisely the issue in the long run when the young in age and in the job Programs Manager made a short well worded presentation on what the J does and the Charter of Rights etc. It soon became clear he wasn’t going to have an easy ride for the rest of the discussion as members of the audience excluding myself at first were uncomfortable with the tone the conversation was taking, the premise as he (we will call him J for purposes of this post) he mentioned that JFLAG was about lobbying for the lgbt community to among other things remove the Buggery Law however when he was challenged if the organization sought to canvass the community on what our thoughts are? He attempted to repeat the position when the contradictions and rebuttals became more pronounced from an uncomfortable audience, the points were made one by one to include that of the host and Manager of the Couture and myself in reminding the J that they cannot be prescriptive when seeking represent a body of people as complex as ours.

Last nights short exchange proved yet again that the culture within the JFLAG entity is still corporatist, elitist and unengaging as on the face of it they seem to accord to themselves the role of masters of all things lgbt and other ideas cannot work.

When are we going to have real engaging advocacy that is not hold up on intellectual masturbation and programmatic fluff?

When are we going to have real exchanges that produce results instead of everyone trying to compete with everyone else?

Indeed JFLAG the more things change the more they stay the same, I was particularly pleased that persons who were not so exposed to advocacy were vigilant during the exercise and asked very relevant questions especially pertaining to the Buggery Law. Also of great interest were the points argued by the two heterosexual males present who agreed that even if the Buggery Law was passed anytime soon they fear there may be a fall out with disastrous results. A point of contention for me is why are we waisting time pushing for the Buggery Law’s removal when homosexuality itself is not illegal in Jamaica and most cases of Buggery that go to full trial are ones of same-sex paedophilia which is shunned by the most Jamaicans but consenting adult men are grouped in the disgust unfortunately.

Representative J from the J reiterated the position of consenting adults and the law should be out of person’s bedrooms, which to me was just a convenient answer to get away from the probing he was subjected to.

To The Executive Director of the J Dane Lewis, why did you leave poor Representative J to face the music? knowing fully well the audience consisted of erudite minds with serious concerns about JFLAG’s tenure these many a year, don’t send or leave someone inexperienced to do a mammoth job because you wanted to avoid the cross examination.

The kind of exclusivity and elitist approach is in and of itself an egregious form of discrimination committed on sections of the very people the J says it represents not to mention the other phobias by default committed due to the invisibility supported by them (bisexuality and transgendered) and we can again possibly conclude that the movement is more about Press, PR and making the right gestures to look good to the outside world and selected friends here but screw everyone else. Jobs for life at the expense of an ever more widening marginalized people?

Tolerance or Acquiescence? an embarrassing question we have to ask of the advocates.

They have alot of work to do to convince a more cynical lgbt community in becoming a part of their idea of change. On one hand it was not surprising but on the other one always gives the benefit of the doubt and hopes that good sense will finally come to the entity after all it’s all of us who will benefit in the end.

Their very own mission towards forumatic activity to education speaks for itself:

Education

Our Education Programme strives to disseminate information regarding J-FLAG’s existence and purpose, and issues affecting sexual minorities and their impact on society at large. We also attempt to promote self-awareness and self-empowerment within our community. We use a variety of formats to achieve these goals including;

  • Various publications such as informational brochures; SOH!, our quarterly newsletter; our website; editorial letters; and press releases
  • Email announcements and updates to local and international organisations
  • Interviews in newspaper, radio and television media
  • Discussions on our Hotline and chat room
  • Presentations to target groups
  • Face-to-face discussion forums on special topics
  • Display booths at public events
  • Research assistance through our library and media watch archive

The rest of the evening went well as the matter of whether one can make someone gay or “bruk’ them was examined in layman’s terms we arrived at the conclusion among others that sexual acts alone even if they are same gendered doesn’t prove or show sexual orientation.

Peace and tolerance

H

In These Mendacious Times ………. on K. D. Knight’s take off in the Manatt Enquiry

by Kei Miller

In These Mendacious Times

Court dramas, when they’re good, are always very good. I used to be addicted to L.A. Law while my parents would religiously watch Perry Mason. Nowadays I’ve taken a serious liking to the CBS drama, The Good Wife, and sometimes during the day I watch old episodes of Law and Order.

Over the past few weeks, the Jamaican public has been lucky, for they need not look to the fictional for their dose of nail-biting courtroom drama. The real life Mannat-Dudus Inquiry has been giving everyone enough thrills. The delight of it all is in the banter, the brutal interrogations, the devastating wit of lawyers, the showmanship, the cut and jab. KD Knight (QC no less!) has been especially guilty of pllaying to the crowd. And how they love him! This week when the Prime Minister (who was finally put on the stand) insisted that he wouldn’t answer what he described as a ‘foolish question’, KD retorted that he had pitched it perfectly to the level of his witness. Ouch! That was cutting enough, but the barb that now has everyone in the most wonderful uproar is KD’s politely put insult (again to the prime minister): ‘I am suggesting, sir, that you are a pathologically mendacious person!’

It’s not surprising that the phrase has taken off. For here is what us writers have always known – that most people are able to thoroughly enjoy language even before they fully understand it. I guarantee you this, the majority of Jamaicans had a good belly laugh before wiping away the tears and consulting a dictionary to finally find out what the hell mendacious really meant. Now, one day later, and everyone is using the word! And why not? Jamaicans have always loved those who can ‘talk good’ or who can ‘speechify’. Most would probably love the gift for themselves. If you doubt this, just note the adoration that Rex Nettleford enjoyed in his lifetime, for though the professor was a very, very bright man when he wanted to be, he did have the tendency to waffle on uselessly though always with an impressive vocabulary, understanding that this was enough to appease the masses who would look up to the podium and be utterly numbed by his polysyllabic verbiage, and whisper to each other, ‘lawd, him bright eeeh!’ Or else, you could go further back, to the Tea Parties slaves used to hold, when they would engage in the most hilarious malapropisms – simultaneously a mockery and a homage to the language of their masters.

If I was to hold KD to some sort of grammatical fastidiousness (yes, I too am going for that excess of the silver tongue) I would point out that the word ‘pathologically’ is redundant. ‘Mendacious’ after all suggests, not only a propensity to lie, but to do so habitually; pathology is already part of its meaning. But who gives a hoot? It might not add to the meaning, but it doesn’t detract from it either. And sometimes it’s about so much more than meaning. It’s about how language moves, and how it sounds. So truth be told, I too am laughing. I loved KD’s jibe. And more than that, I love that so many other Jamaicans love it – that in these times, we can delight in this thing that I have always delighted in – Language.

Incidentally, the dictionary offers another brutal quote as an example of the noun mendacity : “Among all the world’s races, some obscure Bedouin tribes possibly apart, Americans are the most prone to misinformation. This is not the consequence of any special preference for mendacity, although at the higher levels of their public administration that tendency is impressive. It is rather that so much of what they themselves believe is wrong.” – John Kenneth Galbraith