Gays Must Leave Jamaica Alone (Gleaner Letter) ……. my response

So the homophobes are out and lobbying to match the agitation from the letter writing campaign from Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays among others. The letter this writer is responding to was written by the Advocacy Coordinator one Corbin Gordon (not his real name). I responded in the comment section of the Gleaner’s page I hope the administrators publishes it in time but here it is below the letter (excerpted)

Have a read and see what you make of them:

I read Corbin Gordon’s crap article in The Sunday Gleaner titled ‘Governments have failed to mitigate risks of homophobia’.

So what? If you want to be recognised as gays and lesbians, go to the land of Sodom, for example, New York, where you can practise your filth as much as you like.

Leave Jamaica alone and go where you’re accepted and/or wanted. We don’t give a hoot. Of course, homophobia exists, and it doesn’t affect us, the majority of Jamaicans, only you.

You can dialogue with God when you meet him. Our Parliament may not be the best or the brightest, but in that respect, they know what we Jamaicans want. Leave our Parliament alone.

DEXTER HALL

dexhall4u@yahoo.com

ENDS
My response on the Gleaner’s comment page: (pic not included)

“I am sorry Mr. Hall but we are here, we are queer ,but have no fear as the issue is not about turning everyone else in Jamaica into same gender loving people or gays as you seem to have a fear of but to look at redress/compensation for persons who have suffered abuse and even been killed in some instances due to ignorance and unwanted homophobia and associated violence.


Rape of same gender loving women or those perceived to be such is also on the rise since 2007

There are local politicians who are gay and bisexual that goes without saying but because of playing to the majority to remain in power BOTH political parties play the hypocrite when they very well know better, they know very well that if ALL Jamaican citizens are to be afforded equal rights then same gender loving people MUST be included as a part of that but if they agree to changing the buggery law they will become unpopular overnight, so the game continues.

Sodom & Gomorrah by the way was doomed for destruction long before the two angles turned up at Lot’s door Mr. Hall it was because of how they treated early Hebrews and idol worship among other things why that happened not due to purely exploitive same sex relations which I will admit do exist as many men get into gay activity to make money as they perceive we are rich. There are some who thrive on the homophobic culture are they be downlow and make money while publicly blasting it as you are here doing through this letter, it is a complex issue and not as simple as you have written it here.

You say “Practice our filfth” – I imagine you are talking about anal sex between men well NEWSFLASH!!!! heterosexual couples also practice anal sex and with the abundance of personal hygiene devices now available at our pharmacies one can prepare properly for any penetrative sexual activity anally or otherwise, ALSO not all same sex attracted men practice anal sex as many like you would like to think (many go for partnered masturbation or oral sex) or as if we are hunting down some tight bottom to fit into, it doesn’t work that way Mr. Hall and we are certainly not paedophiles, real paedos are the ones who are harassing our pubescent daughters on the back seat of coaster buses quite openly I might add, they are the ones you need to go raise hell about.

One is either born gay, str8, bisexual, Asexual (not interested in sex) or in gender disorder terms Transgendered so we each have to exist based on our sexual orientation assigned to us at birth.

Get over it Mr. Hall some people are gay!!!!!, we have more important issues nationally that need the anger we so easily direct as LGBT people as we are perceived as weak and unresponsive physically well that is also changing as a younger more no nonsense generation is coming up and they are not afraid to express themselves,

The amount of missing children is disturbing

Public transportation has become roving sex brothels

The indiscipline in schools

to name a few focus on those and stop getting all worked up over who is zooming who when it is hate such as what you have shown here in this letter that is tearing our country apart.

Peace and tolerance”

H
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Governments Have Failed To Mitigate Risks Of Homophobia says JFLAG

Corbin Gordon

Successive governments have failed to promote the human rights of our people, including the poor and most vulnerable and marginalised groups in society. Unfortunately, legislative reform has not been short on guaranteeing that, as a secular society (not a theocracy), our laws are designed to “engender a sense of belonging in our citizens [and] ensure equality of opportunity and equal rights for all” (PIOJ, 2009:13-14).

Despite our motto, ‘Out of Many One People’, Parliament has neglected to provide any guarantee for non-discrimination based on health status, whether you are HIV-positive or mentally ill, for example, disabled, or of a non-heterosexual orientation. The recently passed Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms provides the perfect lens through which we can determine how biased we are as a people.

Within this context, I wish to respond to a news article titled ‘Lesbianism a concern for educators’ and a letter ‘Gay campaign must be spurned’ that were both published in The Gleaner on May 25. According to the article, “There is the growing challenge of lesbianism in the education system.”

The article exposes the reality that far too many persons, including our guidance counsellors, are incapable of separating their religious and personal beliefs from their professional roles. Additionally, there seems to be a gap in the training of counsellors to sensitise them about sexuality, including sexual orientation, from a scientific and human rights-based perspective. It is necessary that we all understand that everyone has some kind of sexual orientation, which is the sexual or emotional attraction to others.

‘Unchristian-like behaviour’

According to the American Psychological Association: “Sexual orientation exists along a continuum that ranges from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality and includes various forms of bisexuality.” Contextual factors such as homophobia or teachers warning students they will be punished for “unchristian-like” behaviour incapacitate an individual from actively participating in his or her community or utilising services provided by the State.

Such an outlook can also ostracise persons and the groups to which they belong, result in antisocial behaviours, poor academic and work performance, force homosexuals into heterosexual marriages, among other things.

The writer of the letter, which was published in The Gleaner, argues that homophobia is not prevalent in Jamaica and that it is a medical term. Homophobia is an irrational hatred, intolerance, and fear, which has religious, legal and medical underpinnings. In our case, antipathy is expected of every Jamaican by an engrained cultural sanction. Furthermore, with more than 200 reggae and dancehall songs promoting social exclusion, hatred, harassment and violence against gays and lesbians, there is no doubt that Jamaicans are homophobic.

In a recently published study on attitudes and perceptions of Jamaicans towards same-sex relationship, Professor Ian Boxill, using two homophobia scales to develop an instrument for Jamaica, found there is a high level of homophobia among Jamaicans. Furthermore, the incidents of violence meted out to homosexual and bisexual men and women are evidence of the pervasive bigotry which exists. Since January 2011, there have been more than 20 reports of abuse on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender expression. Last year, more than 40 were reported.

It is clear that we have far to go in understanding issues of gender and sexuality, particularly within the context of our laws, religiosity and morality. Nonetheless, it is critical that Parliament, with the support of organisations like The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays, create a space for dialogue so Jamaicans can recognise that homophobia does exist, is affecting the lives of many, most of whom suffer in silence, and, most important, appreciate the principles of human rights for all.

Corbin Gordon is the programme and advocacy coordinator at the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays

Are SGL Men here lesbophobes continued ………..

In part one of this post/question that was asked on my sister blog GLBTQ Jamaica on blogger way back when I was apart of JFLAG, Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays in April 1 2009 I took a brief look at the issue at the time as same gender loving women who attended the then (GLABCOM) Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Community meetings though small in numbers complained bitterly of how over bearing the men were and that they were not able to speak openly, by extension the complaints also stretched to the party scenes and the general behaviour or gay men as well where they also had problems with men especially effeminate men using up the dancefloor space and not allowing others to enjoy their money as it were.

The matter was raised earlier this week by a female friend who saw the old post and wanted to discuss it some, she said that things have certainly changed as with the increased use of social networking (thank God) we are now able to understand the issues and thinking of the groups under the LGBTQI umbrella she continued that more and more lesbians in particular seem to like the effeminate component in gay men and seeing that the subject came up during a transgender discussion on cross dressing, tranvestic issues and how the males in particular presented themselves publicly in drag she said the community is getting more comfortable or tolerant with those issues.

She is right and I concur as we not have ways of discussing issues better outside of the advocacy structure devoid of over intellectualizing the issue thus talking over the heads of the not so bright members of the community hence leaving them out. What is also noticeably changing is the response from the butch community who once were very aloof towards effeminate men in particular (this is not to suggest it was a wide spread aloofness) but I think with the importation of the African-American swag culture that is also embraced by effeminate men in their daily public movements and with clothing becoming more unisexual (along with a national metro sexual craze on in earnest thanks to Vybz Kartel) these powerful aesthetic influences have helped to soften how the groups respond to each other.

It is now fashionable in a sense to see stereobutches for example with cross dressers at selected clubs and parties now as they break the gender norms that once were held in high regard. Same gender loving men especially those at the lower socio economic levels where most of the loudness and caustic comments sometime came from towards lesbians now are embracing and tolerant now probably now more than in recent history. The stinging use of words like “Manroyal” and likening butches to be too manlike or male have since died down on the face of it and in fact the more a butch in particular or a stud to a lesser extent presents as such is the more acceptable by the guys. Probably another influence is the more public scenes of transgender persons and the recognition and declaration of their orientation in the community publicly. The cross dressing phenomenon interwoven into the swagg culture as mentioned before is a major factor for me in this change, as this is probably a timely discussion …..

given that we are ending Pride month internationally. If this trend continues though it should auger well for the community in the long run, one particular space where same gender lovers, transgender and bisexuals are certainly getting some social release is at The Oasis Lounge in Kingston which is a membership social group but non members are welcomed to discuss issues on a Wednesday night or so. The troubling part of the inter community phobia though is the intense bi-phobia now along with bi-invisiblity from the national advocacy structure. Many same gender lovers have openly expressed their disgust at bisexuals with all kinds of stereotypes attached including their inability to be monogamous and their potential to carry disease and infections such as HIV. Serious work is needed there and I am doing my small part in trying to highlight those issues as best, I encourage you my readers to also try to sift through the issues while using your own experiences as a backdrop to finding solutions.

In a previous post on some of the concerns and discussions elsewhere I looked at how the issues were being looked at on the ground, although it may not be a reflection of the entire community clearly.

See : The Biphobia in the community (Gay, Lesbian) maybe higher than thought

here is an excerpt:

“As we continue to delve inwards to find out a little more of where we are unofficially of course we are learning more especially from a younger more vibrant LGBT body politic.

On the strength of a series of discussions on bisexuality and how persons felt during April and May of this year we saw the obvious signs that many same gender loving persons have a perception that somehow persons who are double gender lovers or bisexuals are untrustworthy, more risky in regards to sexually transmitted diseases with HIV/AIDS and may not be able to be monogamous. The opposite also is true for the bisexual representatives who have responded some in very tersely worded responses. The poll photographed above was floated on social networking site Facebook to get a further glimpse into what persons were thinking on the issue a large percentage the respondents saying yes to the question:
“Do you believe bisexuals should declare themselves so prior to entering a long term relationship?”
The other comments are not as kind and will not be posted here but suffice it to say we have to begin to address this issue I feel, if we as lgbt people are asking the mainstream to be tolerant of us then why aren’t we tolerant of a section of the community that has their own orientation issues to deal with, this is also sadly with the absence of the main advocates who are more interested in the Buggery Law than the inter community cohesiveness as well, biphobia by default as I have termed it.”
and Why Is There Biphobia in the Lesbian Community? as to some possible answers.
The answer therefore is a resounding NO given the pointers above, do you agree? (lgbtevent@gmail.com)
Peace and tolerance
H

LGBTI Groups Advance Gains with Passage of Fourth Resolution at 41st OAS General Assembly

SASOD - Guyana

June 11, 2011

 

Jermaine Grant represented Guyana’s Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) at the 41st Organisation of American States (OAS) General Assembly that was held on June 5-7, 2011, in San Salvador, El Salvador. SASOD’s participation in this year’s OAS General Assembly served as the fifth year of its advocacy in the Inter-American system for human rights protection of persons on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

 

SASOD’s representative along with other members of the Coalition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Organisations of 21 countries in the hemisphere participated in peripheral meetings with Dr. Irene Klinger, Director of the Department of International Relations of the OAS and Vanda Pignato, First Lady of El Salvador and the country’s Secretary ofSocial Inclusion who both expressed support and appreciation of the work of the Coalition in its human rights advocacy. Further, Grant and others also participated in the Informal Dialogue with the OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza on June 4, 2011 with other members of civil society in highlighting the human rights situation of LGBTI persons in the Americas in strengthening transparency and inclusion of human rights defenders participating in the decision-making process of the organization.

 

In the context of the General Assembly’s theme, “Citizen Security in the Americas,” and noting that the concept of security is multi-dimensional, members of the coalition recognised that any threat to the survival and livelihood of all human kind compromises citizens’ security. From this perspective, participants from the Anglophone Caribbean LGBTI civil societyarticulated that laws criminalizing same-sex intimacy serves to create an unsafe environment and perpetuate discrimination in the forms of harassment, abuse and violence of LGBTI persons.

 

Mentioned was that most member states of the OAS from Latin and North America have made notable strides in the promotion and protection of human rights on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression whilst those in theAnglophone Caribbean are retrogressing by not taking legislative steps in repealing laws criminalizing same-sex intimacy and cross-dressing along with enactment of legislation that willfully exclude rights of LGBTI persons.

 

SASOD’s representative posited that such actions by member states of the Anglophone Caribbean make them complicit in perpetuating discrimination and intolerance; thus, legitimising human rights abuses and violence that oppress LGBTI persons, compounded by an unsafe environment, which creates social vulnerabilities. These laws embody state-sanctioned homophobia which devalues human life and undermines citizens’ security.

 

In advocacy to effect human rights on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, Grant, along with other human rights defenders from the Anglophone Caribbean drafted a statement that was distributed to government delegations from the sub-region, on the human rights situation of LGBTI persons and which called for “leaders of CARICOM to guarantee the rights of all citizens… and aggressively address the scourge of homophobia that undermines our collective security.” (Please see statement attached.)

 

SASOD’s participation in the 41st OAS General Assembly serves to reinforce and strengthen advocacy of previous years for human rights protection on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Further, its participation highlights the realities and challenges of LGBTI persons in Guyana to the attention of the OAS and member states whilst urging definitive action in legal and policy changes. This year’s General Assembly approved a fourth resolution on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” that encouraged member states to consider “adopting public policies against discrimination by reason of sexual orientation and gender identity,” inter alia.

 

—END—

Attachments:

1. San Salvador Communiqué of the Coalition of LGBTI Organisations of Latin America and the Caribbean

THE COALITION OF LGBTTTI ORGANIZATIONS FROM 21 LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES WITNESSING THE APPROVAL
OF THE FOURTH RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY
The Coalition of LGBTTTI Latin American and Caribbean organizations, formed by groups belonging to more than 20 countries expresses in this communiqué its assessment of the activities of the 41st General Assembly of the Organization of American States, which took place in San Salvador on June 5th-7th, 2011.
This Assembly adopted the fourth resolution AG/RES. 2653 (XLI-O/11) “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”, showing the increasing attention to our situation and the need of encouraging member states to commit to taking action to fight human rights violations against our communities. The mentioned resolution, which is the result of the advocacy of the coalition, makes progress towards the realization of an hemispheric thematic study. It also highlights the need for member states to implement public policies against discrimination of LGBTTTI people, calling on the States to investigate, record, and punish hate crimes against our population.
We are pleased for the possible reinvigoration of the negotiation process of the draft Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.
However, we are concerned that, on the very occasion of the Assembly, whose theme was “Citizen Security in the Americas,” the opportunity to advance in the construction of an instrument that would contribute to challenging the structural causes of violence has been lost by opening the door to the possibility of dividing the draft Convention in one main text, and one or more additional protocols (which would strengthen the idea of the existence of a hierarchy among forms of discrimination). We recognize, in any event, that advancing the discussion on racism would be in itself a fundamental achievement that would improve the quality of life for all.
With reference to the Declaration of San Salvador, we are concerned that it focuses on issues related to organized crimes and not on day-to-day security. The majority of killings, serious assaults, sexual abuses, and other crimes against the individual are the result of bias and vulnerability associated with gender violence; discrimination against afro-descendant and indigenous people; sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; xenophobia; disability; migrants, displaced people and other vulnerable groups.
Additionally, we express our concern for the lack of visibility we suffer by the omission of any reference to specific security needs of LGBTTTI people, despite being especially affected by the consequences of violence and crimes caused by homophobia, lesbophobia and, most of all, transphobia. These concerns were raised in our intervention during the dialogue between the civil society and the heads of delegations of member states.
We report the election to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of Felipe González, Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Tracy Robinson and Rosa Maria Ortiz. The election of Rosa Maria Ortiz and Tracy Robinson is an honor for the Coalition; women of great value for their well-known commitment and expertise in human rights, and whose candidatures the Coalition have supported vigorously through our ministries of foreign affairs.
Finally, we want to highlight a fundamental concern for civil society, related to the attempt by some member states and OAS organs to weaken the scope of work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

About the Coalition’s activities
Beyond the resolution that has been formally adopted, the Coalition celebrates the
consolidation of its space as civil society component after four years of advocacy work within the OAS and in the region, before, during and after the General Assemblies.
In the days that preceded the 41st General Assembly, the Coalition organized a two-day parallel event in preparation for the advocacy and participation within the OAS. Our main discussion topics were:

(a) implementation of the resolution “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”;

(b) Interaction with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (with specific focus on thematic hearings); (c) Interaction with the Commission on Juridical and Political Affairs; (d) Advocacy in the negotiation process of the draft Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance; (e) Advocacy with member states.
During the two days, invited participants included Irene Klinger, director of the Department of International Relations of the OAS, who highlighted the importance of the commitment of the LGBTTTI civil society in all processes of the OAS and the increasing visibility of the issue within the OAS, particularly with reference to the Hemispheric Forum.
The Coalition met the First Lady of El Salvador and Secretary for Social Inclusion Vanda Guiomar Pignato, who spoke about the need that societies make progress in regard to the inclusion and the respect for all forms of diversity and greeted the Coalition for its presence within the OAS.
Finally, Edgar Carrasco and Herbert Betancourt from UNAIDS, and Maria Tallarico from UNDP also attended the workshop.
During the informal dialogue with the Secretary General of the OAS and the civil society in San Salvador, four delegates of the LGBTTTI coalition addressed to Secretary General José Miguel Insulza their concerns regarding the undue influence of religion on states and the weakening of the principle of secularity, violence and discrimination that LGBTTTI individuals suffers within their own families, hate crimes and the need of recognition of self-perceived identity for travesti, transgender, transsexual and intersex people.
Mr. Insulza confirmed the OAS commitment to fight for recognition of the rights of LGBTTTI individuals and expressed his concern for the lack of progress of the draft Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, partially due to the criminalization of same-sex intimacy in several Caribbean countries. He also indicated that some countries still have official religions, statement that would suggest that official religions are an obstacle to the introduction of protective policies, as religions would be prioritized over human rights protection.
The Coalition also met Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary of State of the Government of the United States, and Paula Uribe, Senior Advisor of the Department of State of the United States, who were accompanied by a delegation from the U.S. Embassy to El Salvador; the first secretary of the Mission of Canada before the OAS Douglas Janoff and Danilo Gonzalez Ramirez, Minister Counselor of the Mission of Costa Rica before the OAS and Chair of the Working Group in charge of drafting the draft Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance were also present at the meeting. The discussion focused on the commitment of the U.S. Department of State to support LGBTTTI human rights in the region and the progress in the discussion on the Convention.
Later on, the Coalition met Víctor Madrigal Principal Specialist of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, who explained the working plan to draft a hemispheric report on the situation of human rights of LGBTTTI people, the success of which will depend on the participation of the organizations of the region that will provide continuous information to the Commission.
The Coalition also met Lionel Veer, Ambassador for Human Rights of the Netherlands, who expressed his support and availability to strengthen civil society organizations and highlighted the need of establishing a dialogue between the ministries of foreign affairs and the IACHR.
We welcome the increasing interest for the work of the coalition that constitutes an acknowledgment of the work carried out in these years.
We thank Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, UNAIDS, UNDP, and Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights for their support to make our participation to this General Assembly possible.

Campaigners ‘disappointed’ with Lorna Golding’s speech on HIV/AIDS

COGH-Goldings-Dinner-Nov-28-09

UNITED NATIONS, New York (CMC) —

HIV/AIDS campaigners said they were disappointed by Jamaica’s presentation as the spouses of government and state leaders spoke on a UNAIDS programme to eliminate new infections of the disease, now passing its 30-year milestone.

Lorna Golding, wife of Prime Minister Bruce Golding, was among 30 ‘First Ladies’ from the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Asia who gathered at the United Nations in New York last week to mobilise support around achieving the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS’ (UNAIDS) vision of zero new HIV infections among children by 2015. The event was held while their spouses and diplomats met for a UN high-level meeting on AIDS.

Panos Caribbean, the information and communication non-governmental organisation, reported on reaction to the session involving Golding and her counterparts which was focussed on first spouses’ role in eliminating new HIV infections in children.

In a brief presentation that invoked the Jamaica national pledge, Golding announced that Jamaica has successfully reduced HIV transmission from mother to child since the inception of its Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission programme in 2004, Panos said.

“The number of HIV-positive pregnant women receiving antiretroviral medication has increased significantly from 47 per cent in 2004 to 83 per cent in 2009. This has led to a dramatic reduction in mother-to-child transmission of HIV from 25 per cent in 2002 to below five per cent since,” she said.

HIV/AIDS campaigners representing civil society who attended the session told Panos Caribbean they felt Golding’s presentation was disappointing and lacked clarity in what her plans were for eliminating vertical transmission of HIV.

“I’m disappointed that there were no specific commitments made by the First Spouse on this very critical issue. She only quoted from our national prayer that ‘under God’ Jamaica will play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race. I’m surprised she didn’t seize the opportunity to seek specific assistance from the international community to support prevention of vertical transmission in Jamaica,” legal advisor, Marginalised Groups AIDS-Free World, Maurice Tomlinson, told Panos Caribbean.

“She gave no indication as to what she or the Government plans to do. This makes it palpably clear she and the Government failed to understand the issue of vertical transmission which is not going away but is festering and threatens to explode in our high-sex and multiple/concurrent partners’ context,” Tomlinson added.

Director of programmes and training at Eve for Life, Joy Crawford, also told Panos Caribbean that Golding’s contribution lacked specifics or any clear action plan, strategies or projects that she would undertake.

“In her promise to play her part in upholding the national pledge ‘Before God and all mankind’ we anticipate she will develop clear advocacy and interventions that will reduce the current societal, familial and moral stigma and discrimination faced by the young pregnant adolescent female especially those identified as HIV positive,” Crawford said.

Sophia Martelly, the wife of Haiti’s newly inaugurated President Michel Martelly, committed to working to involve more Haitian men in reducing the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. She also pledged to improve sex education for teens and to support programmes that empower women and improve their economic status.

Around 1,000 babies worldwide are infected with HIV every day, UNAIDS estimates, 90 per cent of whom are in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV is also the leading cause of maternal deaths in developing countries.

The spouses agreed to advocate for comprehensive and integrated access to maternal and child health services. They also committed themselves to pressing for an end to gender inequality, gender violence, discrimination and unfair laws that prevent pregnant women from accessing HIV testing and counselling, prevention, treatment and support services.

UN Human Rights Resolution on Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation is adopted

Friday June 17, 2011 the United Nations voted 23 in favour 19 against and 3 abstentions to adobt its first ever human rights Resolution including gender diversity and sexual orientation.

Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity

The Human Rights Council, Recalling the universality, interdependence, indivisibility and interrelatedness of human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and consequently elaborated in other human rights instruments such as the international Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other relevant core human rights instruments;

Recalling also that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in that Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status;

Recalling further GA resolution 60/251, which states that the Human Rights Council shall be responsible for promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in fair and equal manner;

Expressing grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

1. Requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to commission a study to be finalised by December 2011, to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, in all regions of the world, and how international human rights law can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity;

2. Decides to convene a panel discussion during the 19th session of the Human Rights Council, informed by the facts contained in the study commissioned by High Commissioner and to have constructive, informed and transparent dialogue on the issue of discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity;

3. Decides also that the panel will also discuss the appropriate follow‐up to the
recommendations of the study commissioned by the High Commissioner;

4. Decides to remain seized with this priority issue.

Who voted:

Yes”: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Thailand, UK, USA, Uruguay.

“No” : Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Moldova, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Uganda.

Abstentions: Burkina Faso, China, Zambia

Absent: Kyrgyzstan, Libya (suspended)


Co-Sponsors of the resolution: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, and Uruguay.

Earlier in this 17th session of the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo, reported to the Council that:

“Contributory factors for risk of violence include individual aspects of women’s bodily attributes such as race, skin colour, intellectual and physical abilities, age, language skills and fluency, ethnic identity and sexual orientation.”

The report also detailed a number of violations committed against lesbian, bisexual and trans women, including cases of rape, attacks and murders. It is therefore regrettable that a reference to “women who face sexuality-related violence” was removed from the final version of another resolution focused on the elimination of violence against women during the same session.

“Despite this inconsistency, we trust the UN resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity will facilitate the integration of the full range of sexual rights throughout the work of the UN.”, said Meghan Doherty, of the Sexual Rights Initiative.

A powerful civil society statement was delivered at the end of the session, welcoming the resolution and affirming civil society’s commitment to continuing to engage with the United Nations with a view to ensuring that all persons are treated as free and equal in dignity and rights, including on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Now, our work is just beginning”, said Kim Vance of ARC International. “We look forward to the High Commissioner’s report and the plenary panel next March, as well as to further dialogue with, and support from, those States which did not yet feel able to support the resolution, but which share the concern of the international community at these systemic human rights abuses.”

Great news
Peace and tolerance
H

June is Pride Month … but sadly last year’s post still seems befitting

Sadly not much has changed since last year’s entry on Pride Month on my sister blog GLBTQJA, yes we have seen some silent protests from a section of the advocacy arena and the letter writing campaign is still on which are geared to the anti gay establishment, there are some other changes in regards to homelessness and our transgender sister who was mentioned in the original piece but sorry to be the bearer of bad news many are just not feeling the overall community unity and sense of worth that is needed, there is a bright spot where a new forumatic area has been helping to air some of the inter and intra community issues and social networking sites have also been widely utilised, have a read of the post from last year and see if you agree, some slight editing has been done.

So June is PRIDE Month internationally as various parts of the world will celebrate publicly in most instances their respective LGBTQ events. With new territories adding their own voices in expressing pride in thermselves, Jamaica in times past has had our own set of private celebratory events, parties and lymes when the the days of JFLAG (Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays) were far more introspective in the community itself and using such activities as a part of the social support strategy to engage the community and develop an identity given the homophobia and violence meted out to persons accused of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered as we have seen in recent times. Only some party promoters and bloggers like myself who will highlight or have events so themed in respect to the occasions still carry on, I hope that will change soon.

PRIDE presently is supposed to be a mostly American invention coming out of the Stonewall events in the late sixties, other jurisdictions have added their own historical experiences such as Brisbane, Russia, Canada and The UK. LGBT pride or gay pride is the concept that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The movement has three main premises: that people should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity, that diversity is a gift, and that sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent and cannot be intentionally altered. The use of the abbreviated gay pride and pride have since become mainstream and shorthand expressions inclusive of all individuals in various LGBT communities.

The word pride is used in this case as an antonym for shame, which has been used to control and oppress LGBT persons throughout history. Pride in this sense is an affirmation of ones self and the community as a whole. The modern “pride” movement began after the “Stonewall riots” in 1969. Instead of backing down to unconstitutional raids by New York Police, gay people in local bars fought back. While it was a violent situation it also gave the underground community the first sense of communal pride in a very well publicized incident. From the yearly parade that commemorated the anniversary of the Stonewall riots began a national grassroots movement. Today many countries around the world celebrate LGBT pride. The pride movement has furthered the cause of gay rights by lobbying politicians, registering voters and increasing visibility to educate on issues important to LGBT communities. LGBT pride advocates work for equal “rights and benefits” for LGBT people.

Symbols of LGBT pride include the LGBT rainbow flag, butterfly, the Greek lambda symbol, and the pink as well as black triangles reclaimed from their past use.

Historical Background:
Advocates of gay pride have used history to point to oppression as well as differing levels of acceptance of homosexuality throughout history. The ancient Greeks did not conceive of sexual orientation as a social identifier, as Western societies have done for the past century. Greek society did not distinguish sexual desire or behavior by the gender of the participants, but by the extent to which such desire or behavior conformed to social norms. These norms were based on gender, age and social status. “Lesbian” derives from the name of the island of Lesbos,which was famous for the poet Sappho, who wrote love poetry to female lovers. Homosexuality in the ancient Roman Empire is considered to have been widespread but was tempered by the complex social systems of the society.

During Medieval times all forms of sexuality began to be repressed by the church as the message of heaven and hell gained popularity. As technology fell behind, simple luxuries such as clean running water and proper sewage became a thing of the past. This caused horrible conditions and disease. People began to believe that they were suffering from the wrath of God, blaming immorality. Any and all forms of homosexuality became not only shameful but punishable by death.

see also:
Homosexuality in ancient Greece
and Homosexuality in ancient Rome
Symbols of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Movements
The Catholic Church and Homosexuality
Pride celebrated worldwide

In 390, the first law banning same-sex love was enacted in Rome, making it punishable by death.

Pride! but the problems on the ground still are real …….
In our most recent history though, it is disheartening that many activities that were once expected to occur during this period have died or discontinued, there were film festivals, art auctions, other forms of entertainment and forums/workshops as well that were helpful to the community to realise who we are with ordinary LGBTQ persons participating. Sad that the only advocacy group once again has failed and continue to fail us as a GLBTQ community in this regard to fuse our resolve in ourselves as proud people despite the problems we face literally on a daily basis. The closure of the MSM housing project in 2010 for example under the watch and deafening silence from JFLAG is a further indication that we are representationless as a community as only certain issues seem to be of priority while others are cast aside for whatever reasons at the risk of violence due to displacement and even reported deaths since 2011. Recent attacks on a camera crew from Sweden who were interviewing MSMs in a volatile community suggest we have a far way to go. Yes we may be proud as individuals as we assert ourselves as a natural survival instinct mechanism but it is sad we can’t get the activities required on a larger scale to fuse the subgroups under the GLTBQ umbrella towards solving some of the inter-community issues that need urgent attention. Small cell groups however are doing what they can given their limited scope and resources available, many individuals would like to offer more but the present systems overlook or ignore such voices.

The important GLABCOM (Gay Lesbian Allsexual Community) meetings that were discontinued in Kingston in late 2008 has been meeting constant stalls in efforts by some to restart them. Frankly in my estimation there is nothing to be proud of in this vein presently given the set of circumstances that prevail. We have an advocacy system for the most part now being driven by funders who now basically dictate how those activities ought to operate as we have failed to properly carry out basic continuity of previous interventions, ideas and strategies that would have produced tangible results and a seemingly special club decides what happens on that level excluding dissenting voices like this one and others as was evidenced in the recent IDAHO event, the wider community was never made aware in a meaningful way of what IDAHO actually entails let alone a planned activity in Jamaica.

What is happening to our lesbian and bisexual women in terms of the corrective rape typed instances of violence meted out to them with very little assistance or concern from the advocacy quarters on these problem that has been on the increase since 2007 is worrying as well. Not even so much as public outcry on the matter to bring attention to it or some forumatic discourse on the issue at the community level.

The invisibility of the Transgender and bisexual communities are still a major concern for me, their issues need to be brought to the fore by main advocates and take a break from all this talk of repealing the buggery law.
Let us still celebrate PRIDE on an individual level non the less but we cannot and must not overlook these and other serious issues friends, I am sure there are many others you may know of as well in your own corners. See how best you can play however small a part in adding improvement of the lives of our brothers and sisters out there.

Peace, tolerance and PRIDE

H

Trinidad Happenings: Homophobia, society effects and way forward

By Rajiv Gopie

Concluding this series on homophobia, we will look at the consequences and fallout from pronounced homophobia and ways to deal with homophobia. It is necessary to mention that just last week in Grenada, two adults males were arrested and charged with having consensual sex, a statute dating back to British rule. The island is already facing a potential tourism boycott by the estimated $55 billion dollar gay community as the story has been plastered in many left-leaning websites, blogs and newspapers. This serves as an excellent reminder that in T&T though we may not be perfect we are still much better off as a society compared to our neighbours.
Homophobia, as was discussed last week, is against all of the doctrines and morals of all major religions as they demand respecting the dignity of all human beings. The reality is that homophobia goes much deeper, usually justified by the fig leaf of religion. There is often nothing more than fear of the unknown and plain ignorance that drives people to act in most violent and hateful manners.

This pure hatred and malice has lead to GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) teens and youths being five times more likely to commit suicide in the US. I suspect it is lower in T&T but homophobia is a pressing problem and it is just contributing to the violence and lawlessness in our nation’s schools.
Both the perpetrators and the victims may be prone to react violently and, without the services of counsellors and supportive teaching staff, rampant homophobia is being allowed to go unchecked, which may be leading to our youths killing themselves. This should shame us as a nation that we are teaching our children to hate.
One of the greatest fallouts from homophobia well-known to the United Nations and many other multilateral institutions and health organisations is that homophobia forces many gay men to remain closeted or hiding, and live a double life. They, due to societal pressure and homophobia, get married and have children but still continue having same-sex relations outside of marriage. This not only leads to a potential breakdown in family life and unhappy homes, but may encourage the spread of HIV/AIDS to their unsuspecting spouses.
The issue of homophobia being one of the main facilitators of HIV/AIDS is well known and it is indeed quite logical, since due to fear of discrimination, ridicule and shame, many GLBT people do not seek medical help and attention and are not able to access the information and resources such as condoms in order to practice safe sex.

It may seem that I am mixing the two issues, but they are interconnected as homophobia is the force that drives GLBT people to live sham lives or try to live outside the norm and suffer discrimination.
In many ways, homophobia is HIV’s best friend.
A wide host of social problems, including alcohol abuse, drug abuse, high divorce rates, broken homes, family tensions, etc, can be attributed to in some part to homophobia and the ways that its castigates GBLT individuals and forces them to live a lie or be marginalised. It is imperative we deal with homophobia at all levels if we are to afford dignity, respect and tolerance for all of our fellow citizens.
Now data from a national survey seems to suggest there is very little appetite nationally for gay rights, but statistics are misleading and the devil is always in the details.
The bell-weather of social change can always be traced to the attitudes of the intelligentsia and the youth population of any era. Now it seems that support stands around 40 per cent. This may seem worrying, but when looking at the details it is far from discouraging. In our conservative, semi-religious and silent culture, we have levels of support at 40 per cent, which is amazing considering gay rights are not even spoken of.

In liberal America where this issue has been a hot button public debate for decades, support stands at 60 per cent and in some extremely liberal Western European nations, support for gay rights is at 70 per cent, as low estimates. We then are not doing so bad and, as time progresses and our nation continues to interact with the outside world and explore itself, support will increase and the old prejudices will die off, they may linger but they will be relegated to the shadows and the mumblings of unhappy people.
Dealing with homophobia will prove very difficult as it is deeply engrained in some people and the change cannot be forced nor coerced. The change will have to be born in society, amongst the youths and the educated, amongst the free thinking, the returning expatriates and from the political class.

The GBLT community also has a responsibility to help themselves by educating their family members and loved ones that there is nothing to fear from GLBT people.
It is because many GLBT people “came out” and lived openly in Western Europe and the US and people came to realise that their sons and daughters, co-workers, doctors, lawyers, neighbours, grocers, cousins and friends were GLBT, that homophobia was reduced and gay rights were won.

I am not calling for a mass coming out, as “coming out” is a personal thing, but each GBLT person should try to change their loved ones and close friends and a domino effect will occur. There is no policy, no law that can force tolerance. They may help, but they are passed when the groundwork has been done; not before.
Homophobia is not some secondary issue that can be pushed to the back, it warrants the attention of the best and brightest and of all society. It is an issue that has the potential to shame us as a nation or make us feel proud that we come to respect the rights of some of the most marginalised in society.
Trinidad and Tobago has always been a land of equality and dignity. There is no doubt these values will win out in the end.
• Rajiv Gopie won the President’s Medal for business studies/modern studies in 2006. He is an HBA candidate in international studies and social/cultural anthropology at the University of Toronto, Canada.

rajivgopie@hotmail.com

Remembering Brian Williamson (September 4 1945 – June 9, 2004)

a special post outside of the October History month but relevant non the less
the good days with his dog Tessa at home

 

Brian Williamson (September 4 1945 – June 9, 2004) was a Jamaican Gay rights activist and co-founder of the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians and Gays, J-Flag. He was known for personally housing and looking after gay people in Jamaica. A pleasant smile was what one would get upon entering his complex up until his death and he sought to it that homeless persons were assisted in what ever way he could, which may explain my push in this regard as my early exposure to that side of on the ground advocacy and his own struggle to convince others to include that part of crisis interventions into the mix.
He was murdered with a machete, suffering multiple stab wounds to neck and face.Williamson’s confessed murderer, Dwight Hayden, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after fifteen years.
Other posts and articles on Brian:
Gleaner on Remembering Brian Williamson June 20, 2004
More related posts that named Brian: HERE
More from Gay Jamaica Watch: HERE
More from GLOBALGAYZ: HERE
Sadly missed

One of the founding members of JFLAG, Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals & Gays (worth repeating)

Owner of one of the most successful gay entertainment spots in Jamaica, The Entourage and a dedicated activist. One of the memorable moments in our GLBTQ history is an appearance on Jamaican television then known as (JBC) Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation coming out to the nation and by extension the world and putting a face to the gay community.
The VHS tapes should be available at JFLAG’s archives in Kingston, we hope they have been stored properly and not left to go the route of the Gay Freedom Movement (GFM) archives that subsequently what was left of those were retrieved by it’s founder Larry Chang and archived overseas were not in good condition due to poor handling and storage, sad as Jamaica should have been the repository for such important materials. We must preserve our past a people who do not know or respect their past cannot plan for the future.
A pity as he must be turning in his grave now to see how we are at odds over what is to be done for the movement in totality of the LGBTQI communities instead we are left with a joke of an advocacy with criticisms of dissenting voices described as “bickering” as if the establishment are infallible when the engagement of everyone for or against should be the thrust forward in dealing with not just the repulsion of the buggery law while affixing HIV/AIDS issues which seems to be the main focus while the urgently required social interventions for certain sections of the community to uplift and rebuild their lives. Sadly it seems more about selfaggrandizement coupled with an elitist agenda with a general intolerance for views outside the system. The ordinary LGBTQI body politic seems relegated to just followers with selected individuals given a platform. The loss of a former volunteer and contracted individual earlier this year via a gruesome murder with not so much as some formal recognition for however small his contribution was glaring to say the least.
All this was not the original plan when The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays was first formed and launched albeit that from the get go if I am to go from memory the signs of the aforementioned opposition to certain types of intervention ideas were knocking at the door but were not as pronounced as today.
Let us however move towards working together for the greater good of those down trodden and or displaced with a sense of hopelessness, rest assured the criticisms will not and cannot be stopped as it is by picking the meat from same and having real forumatic activities that the solutions will come.
Love always
Peace