The Problematic “Battyman Entitlement” phenom, homelessness & LGBT safe spaces

Given the recent unexpected historic events of an uprising in the LGBT community in particular the lowest of the Men who have sex with men grouping who are homeless a civil disobedience action occurred two days in a row commencing August 23rd and 24th has raised some criticisms of the “battyman entitlement” phenomenon as I call it where usually gay men who want to or feel they have a right to invade, impose, disrupt or destroy a safe space due to the orientation also of the owners, managers or occupants of that safe space is as theirs, so they feel they are entitled to act as they feel. This is not any thing new or strange as this behaviour has presented itself many times over at safe spaces of various sorts islandwide, whether they be for entertainment (lymes), advocacy, educational services and medical services for the community.

Actions such as

Rowdy behaviour

Refusal to obey rules and guidelines of the property or space used for a specific purpose

Deliberate attempts to circumvent entry requirements for parties or paid events

Louding up or shouting out the possible orientation of the occupants of the space at the time to attract a negative reaction from persons in earshot who may be anti homosexual

Liaising with non gay persons at some instances to inflict harm or threats to other gay persons in a dispute

Making unjustified demands on services (in the case of advocacy or medical services) that cannot be fulfilled or refusing to contribute financially for such services

Refusal to cooperate with requests made for a particular activity when reprimanded a violent reaction to persons in that given space

Refusal or flouting the rules of the space at the time of a meeting for example, GLABCOM was replete with such incidents as crowd control was a major issue and persons would go to the gate and “loud up” their objections obviously to attract the passing public’s attention.

This issue of battyman entitlement was cause for concern over the two main days of the civil disobedience which is the second of its kind in recent history regarding the vexed issue of MSM homelessness, an issue my three blogs has several posts to attest to as it is a matter very close to my heart. The men apart from invading the property of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life and castigating. insulting and belittling the staff and the other tenants of the property the response from the occupants there has been froth with scorn, anger and insensitivity in some instances as they feel and rightly so in some respects the men were way out of line. Words to the effect that ‘a battyman place yasso’ or ‘a buff fish over yah’ (alot of gays are here) suggest that they should also be allowed to run ruff-shod through either escaping the security detail from the neighbouring property which they illegally use or the police who have been called time and again to calm the nerves of the angry men who apart from the battyman entitlement push cry also for amenities, a place to shower, food and some basic acknowledgement  as the advocacy structures that occupy that long standing safe space are accused of aloofness towards this population for some many years now and even closing a previous Safe House Project for reasons of guess what? BAD Behaviour.

also see:
MSM employ Civil Disobedience to get Board’s Attention …. and Homeless MSM to feel the pinch as JASL issues ultimatum where it all began to go downhill

the meeting after the first civil disobedience action by supporters in 2010:  The Homeless Project, the meeting and more

the actual closure of the Safe House Project then:  The Quietus ………

The tenants are not at all happy with the repeated inconveniences by the invading men and yes they are invading plus the men have also focused some of their wrath at the innocent neighbours/tenants who they mistakenly believe are supporting the aloofness from the insensitive advocates but is this necessary spontaneous civil disobedience action needed at this juncture? I SAY YES, other questions come to mind:

Was the battyman entitlement part a necessity?

Where are the psycho social responses and programs to address this long standing displacement problem?

Is the authoritarian stance by JASL and or JFLAG a part of the problem hence the population’s numbness to said authority?

Is a spontaneous move to go into battyman entitlement mode at that particular location? (generations of MSM have used this phenomenon before like clockwork)

How can the men be made to understand that the other tenants are NOT apart of the arguments or their woes?

Should the tenants continue to be inconvenienced by this clearly an advocates’ problem?

What about the tenants safety, reputations and opinions and that of their guests?

Can JFLAG continue its “Tolerance/Unconditional Love” campaign when this issue is glaring with hypocrisy and a refusal to be open to a seriously marginalized group?

Aren’t the existence of these persons and addressing their concerns the reasons why NGOs such as JASL and JFLAG were set up for in the first place?

Why did it have to take a major newspaper to bring this most sordid affair to the open? (bearing in mind a television crew was on site for a while) when bloggers write on issues it is deemed as hanging the linen out to dry.

Will the space remain safe after this dies down? I say yes it has seen worse and has survived. Anyone remembers a certain brawl at a wake for a fallen advocate in full view of officials and dignitaries or the umpteen fights at lymes and parties on the property? however whether the growing perception out there that the J is turning away its own will die soon or any at all is another matter, only time will tell.

Has the point been made by the men and should they stop their actions now?

The men say it’s only a few in the group who are unruly or rowdy but even after the intervention of key community influentials who provided emergency food out of their own pockets and the calming or flared tempers the men have reportedly vowed not to stop until their woes are addressed by the powers that be, this is also as calls are made that the influentials including myself talk to the men, I fear that any outside interference with spoil the spirit of this action that they took all by themselves and may cloud the issue possibly leaving blame to be laid at the very influentials that we are the cause of the uproar in the first place. THIS IS A DELICATE POSITION TO BE IN.

Have a listen to my audio post done on August 23 the faithful day of the civil disobedience on JASL by the homeless MSM

also see a glimpse of what can happen on the streets with the guys:  The dark side to the homeless issue …………..

more audio on the issue:

This issue is creating serious or widening rifts and gaps between parties who have very strong opinions on how to move forward, some short term measures are being considered and maybe put into effect soon as stated in the audio clip. Let us continue to dialogue folks.

also see from sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch: Rowdy gays banned by J-FLAG, JASL ………. (Jamaica Observer)

Damage Control from the establishment on the Homeless MSM issue:

Doing ‘business’ in New Kingston … Jamaica Observer on MSM Homelessness ….. JFLAG should be ashamed

SHAME! indeed, we should never waited so long to deal with this while more and more a panic campaign on a hoax called K12 was obviously designed to divert us from this growing issue some days before the story broke in the paper, were elements in the advocacy system became aware that this story was coming before?

See:  The K12 threat came and went …was it real or used as a diversion to more pressing matters? and

The Flip Side: A response to the MSM homeless controversy and Some considerations ….. would you assist someone who has been displaced ???

Peace and tolerance


Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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