Drag queens double jeopardy

probably the world’s famous drag queen –  Rupaul in and out of drag

So the landscape gets more exciting as the girls’ adventures just makes for good entertainment but seriously we come too close to danger without realising how we can slip into something worse. I say we as I used to do some cross dressing in my early days. Incidents being two for this diva who drives without a license for some time found herself in hot water on the weekend last and panicked as she worked the phones to get some psychological backup, the cops thinking (s)he was a woman stopped the car in St. Catherine after for speeding but found out it was a group of divas coming from a party in Kingston the curious cops questioned the girls for a lengthy period before arriving at deciding to take them to the police station nearby, the notorious Spanish Town precinct with an enviable reputation of being one of the most homophobic set of cops in Jamaica, we do hope that has changed since the recent set of transfers as done by the Police High Command.

Call for help

Her frantic efforts to make calls for advice as how to deal with the cops paid off and my source was the one who made it so, she was prompted how to deal with the lawmen who in the end laughed off the matter despite several of them on the realization of the men bring cross-dressers uttered homophobic remarks. The proverbial bribe was also sought by elements on the team but the girls would have none of it and made their way home soon after they were released.

But as fate would have it the same drag persona was caught by another set of cops in another jurisdiction driving without a license yet again and was charged also with reckless driving too, this time the cops were not so accommodating and were hell bent on incarcerating the diva in the men’s section of the lock up (if they could find one) for the weekend, this did not sit well with the Superintendent at several of the stops made by the law men in a bid to deposit the charged diva and word quickly spread at one point at one of the lockups that a drag queen was coming in things took a turn for the worse as hardened inmates were said to be planning a beating.

The cops had a change of heart and while having her in the holding area insisted that she try to get help for station bail as soon as possible. Persons who were contacted made attempts to family members but were unsuccessful as they responded that they weren’t interested as “he” had abandoned them and wasn’t keeping in touch, it was friends and a particular party promoter who came to the rescue and made bail to have her out, as (s)he left the heckling and jeering could be heard from officers, staff and other crime suspects in the guardroom/lobby of the precinct.

Some notes:

I do hope that drag queens understand that while the security forces maybe more tolerant and courteous that does not mean we should take for granted the ease at which we can slip back to the dark days where divas were outed without mercy in full view of other persons and police posts or even chased out by cops who refuse to take reports due to stigma and discrimination. We have come a long way to here and many of the younger divas do not appreciate or know the price paid by those who came before, who placed their own lives on the line so we can enjoy the freedoms somewhat thought still limited today. Thankfully the situation never turned out worse than it was but there is a flip side to all this was well. Having witnessed how the police  when they arrive at events sometimes are intimated by men in drag and fierce effeminate behaviour both can be used as a tool to literally suppress any would be phobic reactions from would be attackers. There are some divas who have mastered the craft of honing this effeminate element to their advantage better yet when they express no fear and are prepared to wreck shop if needed in their stance of defiance. The softer the aesthetic the better too but it can become an issue if it is found out that (s)he is actually a “he” as was the case a few weeks ago during carnival where a man called a mob to fall on a diva who was dancing with him but when he felt “her” pubic area it was a bulge which started a chain reaction on the other “girls” who were enjoying themselves in their own way on the streets nearby, see the post below or

Men Rushed And Beaten In New Kingston

Hope they learn from this.

Peace and tolerance

H

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Stop HIV Pre-Employment Testing says noted physician

Stop HIV Pre-Employment Testing

When a distressed and distraught patient complained that, as part of her job-required physical, she had to submit herself to blood tests that included mandatory HIV-antibody screening and sign a document agreeing that the results should go to her new potential employer (a well-known international company), I telephoned her human resources manager. He confirmed that it was company policy for the HIV-antibody test to be included in the ‘routine’ physical and explained that the patient was on probationary employment.

I found it shocking and deeply disturbing to learn that several businesses and institutions of learning still insist on ‘routine physicals’ that include HIV-antibody testing as a precondition for consideration for employment or admission for studies. Under those circumstances, HIV-antibody testing has absolutely no merit and, therefore, can only serve to be discriminatory.

HIV/AIDS cannot be transmitted through casual contact. It cannot be transmitted during the preparation of food. It cannot be transmitted by contact with tears, saliva, sputum, sweat, urine or even faeces – unless they contain blood. Working alongside people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) is perfectly safe because, during the course of everyday social interaction, no one comes into contact with blood, semen, vaginal secretions, synovial, cerebrospinal, peritoneal, pericardial or amniotic fluids.

PLWHA are not a burden or liability to their employer or institution of learning. Patients with the condition do not miss work or school more than HIV-negative individuals. HIV/AIDS is now categorised as a chronic infectious disease. Even the Embassy of the United States of America no longer screens permanent-visa applicants for HIV/AIDS. It is treatable (though not curable at this time) and HIV/AIDS is covered by the National Health Fund.

should not be required

The International Labour Organisation’s Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work categorically states, “HIV/AIDS screening should not be required of job applicants or persons in employment.” The Caribbean Tripartite Council/Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS – Model Caribbean Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS stipulates under HIV screening, recruitment and employment that: “The organisation will not compel an employee or a job applicant to disclose his or her HIV or AIDS status, or that of any other person.”

Locally, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Office of the Cabinet – HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy (December 2008), speaks to non-discrimination at the workplace. The Ministry of Labour has a Workplace Policy that was passed in Parliament in February 2010, which clearly states that there should be no workplace HIV-antibody testing (whether for pre-employment screening, pre-contractual screening, for promotions or renewal of work contracts). The Ministry of Health is currently in the process of finalising its HIV policy from the perspective of the workplace.

Then there is the Jamaican Network of Seropositives – JN+. Its mission statement is: ‘To advocate for the rights and concerns of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, through empowerment partnership and resource mobilisation.” Its website, http://www.jnplus.org, has a discrimination reporting form that may be used by, or on behalf of anyone, regardless of his/her HIV status, who “believes he/she has experienced or witnessed HIV-related mistreatment, abuse or discrimination”.

It is not uncommon to have illicit affairs and casual sexual encounters at workplaces, secondary and (especially) tertiary institutions. On Friday, April 29, Jamaica committed to eliminating stigma, discrimination and gender inequality affecting our HIV/AIDS response; so, instead of demanding pre-employment and pre-admission HIV-antibody testing (totally devoid of reason, legitimacy and counselling), workplaces and institutions of learning should join the fight against HIV/AIDS in a meaningful way by providing access to intensive and sustained preventative educational programs.

Garth A. Rattray is a physician with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.

Hate crime or magnet for a beating? ……. Popular DJ’s Entourage square off with gay men ……………..

Confirmed May 11th via a very interactive discussion last evening at a meeting a report that has been making the rounds that several patrons of a popular gay club in Kingston were attacked at a gas station last weekend following a previous encounter with men aligned to dancehall DJ Mavado who were said to be members of his entourage. It was further suggested by the source that two of the men in the group were in fact gay themselves but that is unconfirmed. The dancehall act was reportedly having his hair done at a popular salon where many other gay men also frequent the men reportedly walked into the establishment and were said to be “flamboyant” which displeased the members of Mavado’s entourage who were also present. The men accompanying Mavado reportedly made comments about gays which drew a response from their targets the gay men who chanted their open support of former rival DJ Vybz Kartel who is of the Gaza Camp stemming from a public feud that ended in a peace treaty of sorts signed by both artistes. Mavada camp is known as the Gully.

The supposed flamboyant men came into contact with the DJ and his crew once again after they both left the salon and different times before, here the anti gay pronouncements were even louder as both parties were at the all night gas station making their purchases, things allegedly came to a head according to my sources and a subsequent review of the video camera present at the station by one of them which showed one of the party goers allegedly deliberately crossing the path of the Mavado entourage who were in another isle away from but in view of the gay men. A brawl erupted as the Mavado crew did not take kindly to the passage and touching with rebuttals of the gay party goer, the men proceeded to beat and chase in and around the mart at the gas station where they gay men jumped the counter to seek refuge while the Mavado crew gave chase, several items were destroyed and a female employee suffered some minor bruises as she was bumped into by one of the fleeing party goers.

The mobile security detail that was assigned to protect the facility and arrive when summoned via a panic button system arrived but were said to be unapprehensive and slow to stop the madness still happening upon their approach. Onlookers were said to be in shock while others prompted the attack and said the men should have gotten worse. Not surprisingly Mavado himself had left the crew members just before the onslaught began one can conclude that was done to avoid any association with him being present at the scene similar to a beating which took place in the early 2000s where controversial dancehall act Buju Banton was said to have instigated and participated in a direct assault on several gay men in a house near his studio at the time.

The situation was diffused eventually by the same slow to act mobile team and the police were also called in, items were scattered from the shelves as staff conducted clean up operations afterwards. It was concluded that the man who crossed the path of the Mavado crew was the one who caused the issue to have gotten blown up that it might have and that we as gays need to be cool about it. The gas station’s management was said to be an equal opportunity employer as there are other same gender loving persons on staff who were said to be distraught at the whole affair as it has left a bitter taste for them to deal with the aftermath.

But let’s pause a minute here:

Judging by what has been reported according to the source there was some element of unease between the parties but did the party goers attract unneeded attention to themselves?

Could all of this have been avoided?

Did the men bring this on themselves here?

Couldn’t the men just have purchased what they needed and left? as they always do as they are known by the staff there

Do we need to learn how to choose our battles?

What else can we gleam from this latest report?

Probably the answer is it may have had elements of hate by virtue of how the Mavado entourage behaved at both encounters but the energy the party goers placed in the mix led to the ultimate attack, we must be careful how we attract negativity to our space and person.

Peace and tolerance

H

MAN FLEES WITH LOVER’S CLOTHES – Leaves him naked at motel says the Star

MAN FLEES WITH LOVER’S CLOTHES – Leaves him naked at motel

Rasbert Turner, Star Writer wrote:

The court is now attempting to find out if a man who has been accused of sleeping with another man, and then running away with several items, including his clothes, is in fact guilty.

The accused man appeared in the Spanish Town Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday and is set to return on July 29.

When the case was called up the alleged thief who is of a Kitson Town address in St Catherine was granted $80,000 bail.

When the details of the case was revealed in court there was an outburst of laughter causing the police to shout ”order, order inside the court.”

The court was told by the complainant that after he slept with the accused at a motel along the Portmore ‘Back Road’ he got up about 4 a.m. and found all his clothing gone.

He told the court that he also noticed that his cellphone valued at $3,000, a wallet with $6,000 along with the keys to his Honda Integra motor car were missing.

It was revealed that he had to wrap himself in a white sheet and went to make a report to the Bridgeport Police Station.

An investigation was launched and the accused was allegedly caught by the police with the vehicle, a small quantity of ganja and a ratchet knife in his possession.

He was subsequently charged with possession of ganja, being armed with an offensive weapon, simple larceny and driving away a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent.

He pleaded guilty to the ganja and knife charges and not guilty to the larceny offences.

An attorney who appeared on behalf of the complainant secured the release of the car to his client.

ENDS

Notes:

Probably the best charge that can come from this is Gross Indecency as he said in court he “slept with the accused” of course looking at it in layman’s terms, if they can find witnesses willing to come forward saying they saw the men in the any act (compromising positions or suspected Buggery) one wonders why the bail was set so high as well? and the court should not be a place of comedy but some sense seemed to have prevailed when the “order” was shouted allegedly by the cops present in the room. At least going by what we are t0ld here the cops went after the accused following the report filed at the station so that is commendable on their part on the face of it although the cartoon above suggests a more realistic response that normally comes from the police even in the precinct of station once some homosexual hints are present in the matter(s) presented or reported.

To ask the man if it was his woman who stole his clothes suggests that hetero-normative thinking that exists out there, I am sure that other details were left out in this piece probably deliberately so as it turns out the cops did their job and the matter went to open court, there would be no need to sensationalize this one as there would be no material to do so as the Star is known for.

This one turned out a little better than others before.

Peace and tolerance

H

Scenes from May 6th Stand for Tolerance by combined advocates

Jamaicans for Justice ED – Carolyn Gomes

Maurice Tomlinson at stand
Road Scenes at the Stand on May 6th 2011
Yvonne McCalla Sobers (Families Against State Terrorism) FAST

Government commits to stomp out HIV/AIDS stigma … we hope it’s not just paper left for filing

Mrs. Marlene Malahoo Forte who by the way represented us well at the recent UN vote on sexual orientation discrimination see more here and here  from Gay Jamaica Watch on blogger

Former Senator and State Minister of Labour and Social Security and represnting Persons with Disability Mr Floyd Morris

Mrs Rosie Stone wife of the late Carl Stone and author who is also HIV+ at the function

Mr. Howard Hamilton Chairman of the NAC, National AIDS Committee

Mr. Ivan Cruickshank Rep. CVC Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition

ALL PHOTOS ARE OWNED BY THE SOURCE WHO WAS ATTENDANCE ON THIS HISTORIC OCCASSION

Damion Mitchell, News Editor of the Gleaner produce this short piece.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding and Opposition Leader Portia Simpson-Miller have signed a declaration of commitment to eliminate the stigma, discrimination and gender inequality affecting Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS response.

The declaration will be presented at the United Nations General Assembly high level meeting on AIDS 2011 in June.

Key stakeholders have been meeting in Kingston to review several issues that Jamaica needs to address in achieving its objective to eliminate the discrimination in the AIDS response.

According to Prime Minister Golding, a lot of work is still needed to erase the shame and prejudice being faced by persons with the disease.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Portia Simpson-Miller said the time has come for stakeholders to take bold steps to protect the human rights of people with AIDS.

The declaration of commitment promises the creation and promotion of a supportive and enabling social policy, and legal environment that respects and protects the rights of all Jamaicans with HIV/AIDS.

It also promises support to accesses treatment, care and support for people living with AIDS.

ENDS

My two cents
To think our government said YES to the removal of sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79)) as an offence in the recent United Nations vote (more here) one wonders if this move is just some suck up to the United Nations and also to get better PR mileage from Pink voters especially most of whom support the Opposition but even they too have gone soft on the issue.

We only hope this historic signing is not just words and ink on paper to be drawn for to say we don’t have discrimination against HIVers as we have signed this or that. I am sick and tired of seeing this kind of plastic concerns towards minority groups and marginalized persons please pardon my cynicism. We also hope the persons present are going hold the government accountable for this especially the CVC Caribbean Vulnerable Coalition which covers all Non Governmental groups in the Caribbean including Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays JFLAG.

Peace and tolerance

H

Men rushed and beaten in New Kingston

So as the carnival season rolls along also deemed as gay pride incognito MSMs everywhere despite social standing seem to take it as a license to let their hair down several cross dressers and cruisers and some homeless same gender loving brothas were said to be having a ball along the Oxford Road thoroughfare on Friday April 29th last around 10pm onwards as several events with soca themes took place nearby.

The behaviour of the men apparently aroused suspicion by some passersby according to reports from several taxi drivers of whom I am familiar with and also who know some of the homeless population as they have developed not so wonderful notoriety in the business district of New Kingston and its environs. So much so that sections of Trafalgar Road nearing the Island Car Rentals where they once congregated and also where the old Super Plus Supermarket used to be has been patrolled heavily now by the police, the car rental company is said to have instituted new security arrangements barring the men from loitering nearby.  The gardens and park immediately across the road as well is also being monitored by cops every now and again but seeing it is a public space it is harder to have the men removed I am told unless they are found loitering and maybe charged for such.

Their ruckus behaviour, sometimes vulgar outbursts and fights in open view of the public coupled with their effeminate entertainment and dancing sometimes supported by friends who park their posh top of the line vehicles with loud dancehall music blaring has not helped their situation any, even as I have carried previous entries on this population they have still been ignored to a certain extent save and except for the once a week drop in for showers at a Non Governmental Organizations property and offices and some food items distributed on some Fridays the men have very little sympathy from the rest of the LGBT community, even allies who had supported some of my calls for more to be done for them have since rescinded their stance due to the intolerance of their improper public conduct. The cross dressing and very skimpy clothing used in the transvestite activity has not found favour either with both community and mainstream alike.

So it seems members of the public have also had their share and were not willing to stomach it anymore seeing that the men were dancing wildly and were loud on the Oxford Road stretch all the way passed Emancipation Park onwards, it is believed they were followed by unscrupulous characters who laid siege on them just beside the Police post in New Kingston on Knutsford Boulevard where the final showdown happened, several of the infamous “biker boys” who have been known to attack homeless and other perceived MSMs before in New Kingston as they often congregate on the Hip Strip near the former Asylum Night Club known reopened and known as the Building.

As the men pranced about some taking on the latest dancehall move positions in public literally gyrating on the hands and heads down came the attackers said to be seven in all with two on bikes the men gave chase and the gyrating MSMs scattered, many were badly bruised while two who were caught directly by their attackers were treated to severe blows drawing blood, one person was thrown directly into a Jamaica National Money Shop complex just across from the Police post which was said to be almost empty as the cops monitored the events and pedestrian raffic patronizing them. The property was damaged as the glass windows and doors shattered due to the impact. The two brothers were bleeding and finally made good their escape as others in the group ran in a zig zag form to create diversions and deliberately confuse their attackers, many onlookers who were passing cheered and urged the attackers to exact their hate. One taxi driver said other taxi drivers many of whom were not regulars on the strip but who were waiting for business chanted words to the effect that battyman fi dead.

It is also speculated by the taxi community and others some of the bikers themselves are homosexuals or bisexuals and that the attack may not have been homophobic but made to look so so as to legitimize it and not face criticisms as well from a curious public, it is reported that the men have been threatened before by the bikers et al that they should stop acting too effeminate in public and “showing up the ting dem” or being too revealing in public, under the guise of homophobic slurs. Could this have been out of effemophobia? as hinted in a recent post on Gay Lesbian Bisexual Queer and Intersexed (GLBTQJA) blogger edition on cruising and the problems that section of the same gender loving community faces where downlow gays also use very public homophobic typed attacks to blackmail or enact revenge on other more open effeminate MSMs. This particular problem is not new to our community. One of the men was called by name by a victim in the group and the cronies of the attackers almost turned on him inquiring as to how the man came into knowledge of his name.

Also see: Other cruising challenges entries on Gay Jamaica Watch

Several of the injured men have since sought help from friends while others have sought medical attention to nurse their bruises and pain from the brawl. Feedback so far from within the community has not been good as many also concur with the popular mainstream view that the men are just too open and attract unneeded attention to themselves while it is also a plus some say to which I also subscribe that they serve a useful purpose as they through their outward and openness in effeminacy and the popular stereotype of male homosexuals remind the rest of the Jamaica we are here and are not going anywhere, maybe there ought to be and are martyrs amongst us whether we like it or not.

Meanwhile a popular drag queen also had to beat a hasty retreat from The Mass Camp the same night as she was dancing with a man who eventually detected she was in fact a he and a disturbance ensued stopping the music for some time a leaving patrons in shock at the discovery, she reportedly also received several blows before the security detail and the police quelled the uproar.

Peace and tolerance

H