JFLAG wants PNP to discuss Buggery Law within 100 days of assuming office

Again the advocates Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays JFLAG sans consulting the community’s views on the Prime Minister designate to review the Buggery Law and heading to a conscience vote has caused some upset in sections of the community who are saying the J should keep quiet and wait, let Sista P as Mrs Simpson is affectionately called deal with other serious issues first such as the economy and jobs then on the other rights for gays etc. When the group is to speak it is silent, just in December the brutal murders of two lesbians and up until today not an official word or recognition of the lives lost on the backdrop of same gender loving women’s issues and the increasing abuses against them, a trend we have been seeing since 2007 with corrective rapes, attempted abductions, forced evictions and beatings of butch identified women.

please see: 2 SGL Women lost, corrective rape & virtual silence from the male dominated advocacy structure on those circumstances

Reports are already out there of an attempted beating of four men in the Half Way Tree area since the Peoples National Party PNP win as persons out there follow a strong rumour that the party was funded by gays and that gays voted the party back into power based on the buggery law review suggestion by Sista P.

Three of the men allegedly escaped but one was cornered and sustained minor cuts from his assailants which numbered some four, some of whom were sellers of pirated DVDs in the vicinity. Another report has come of a butch identified lesbian who has been asked to take cover from her rented flat in St. Catherine, it is reported that she got the warning from other men in the area who said to her to just be proactive and leave the house to avoid any serious attack on her person or her son who resides with her sometimes of his father who lives elsewhere.

Earlier today the Gleaner had carried a story highlighting the demand of sorts to the incoming government almost ignoring the objections from the religious right and the slow groundswell it seems on the face of it of opposition to the suggestion by Mrs Miller, many persons while agreeing with the voting out of the Jamaica Labour Party, JLP they are stating that they are not comfortable with the homosexual matter, persons misconstrue the call for the review of the Buggery Law as a repeal or freeing up of homosexuality in Jamaica. Others such as some religious leaders think the homosexual agenda is being foisted on the country as previous posts and newspaper articles have brought to bear.

Go Jamaica carried this:

J-FLAG wants PNP to prioritise buggery law review

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG), says it is expecting the new Government to prioritize human rights issues.

In the December 20 leadership debate, PNP President, Portia Simpson Miller said her administration was committed to the protection of human rights.

Simpson Miller also said it was time for a review of the buggery law, saying she believed the issue should be put to a conscience vote in the parliament.

The executive director of J-FLAG, Dane Lewis, said the group expects the new government to stick to its commitments.

Some churches have rejected Simpson Miller’s suggestion for a review of the buggery law describing the proposal as the promotion of a homosexual agenda.

this clip also was apart of that report:

J-FLAG wants PNP to prioritise buggery law review

Dane Lewis Executive Director of the J told CVM TV that he expected the issues to begin to placed on the table within 100 days, “To be realistic we would imagine within the first 100 days the issue could be raised we can look at how to proceed,” Mr Lewis said while JFLAG is not expecting a conscience vote to repeal the buggery law within the first 100 days discussions are important as Jamaica has a 2012 deadline to meet according to the international covenant on human rights, “….one of the leading recommendations made in November last year was that Jamaica should report by 2012 on what concrete steps to removal of discriminatory laws,” Mr Lewis said.

According to Mr. Lewis JFLAG is willing to make small steps in acquiring legal recognition for homosexuals he says although gay marriage is legalized overseas JFLAG is not pursuing that as part of its lobby at this time, ” …gay marriage is certainly not an item on our agenda, we still have a large issue of discrimination …. people are being evicted from their homes, people are being physically abused because of their sexual orientation and we want to begin to address those issues.”

He acknowledges that the discussion of gay rights will be met with strong public opposition however he says as was demonstrated by Mrs Simpson Miller  we should be strident in dealing with issues impeding human rights, a solution to the issues concerning gay rights will help to deal with HIV/AIDS.

also see: Did the talk of buggery turn persons off from the polls?

Certainly this is not the end of the matter now that the goodly J has thrown down the gauntlet here to the incoming government but which I also agree with other persons in the community we need to lay low for a while and let the tempers ease nationally and the post-election euphoria, also let the party bring it on the agenda while talks proceed quietly behind closed doors. There is bound to be fallout of which there maybe not enough net systems to deal with the victims or involuntary martyrs who may have not subscribed to JFLAG’s agenda. The lack of proper consultation with the LGBT body politic before speaking to the media supposedly on our behalf cannot be the modus operandi anymore, there are serious repercussions we need to be cognizant of in these times. This top down approach needs to go!

We have a saying in Jamaica: ” ….. yuh hand inna lion mouth u tek time draw it out,” (your hand is in a lion’s mouth you take your time and pull it out) the J needs to shut up for now and keep in touch with the realities on the ground as suggested by persons who saw the news clip on TV and the Go Jamaica’s report.

Peace and tolerance

H

UPDATE JAN 12, 2012 – THE J RESPONDED 

J-FLAG DID NOT GIVE ULTIMATUM

J-FLAG

Kingston — January 12, 2012

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) wishes to clarify that the organisation has NOTgiven the government an ultimatum.

On January 3, 2012, CVM TV contacted the organisation for a comment on its expectations of the new administration following the Peoples National Party’s (PNP) win in the General Elections. This was in the context of the bold pronouncements the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller had made during the leadership debate. NewsWatch reported, J-FLAG’s Executive Director, Dane Lewis as saying “To be realistic, I imagine within the first hundred days at least the issue could be raised, with a look at how to proceed.”

However, many have misinterpreted this statement of expectation as an ultimatum. Mr Lewis also highlighted that Jamaica is required by the end of 2012 to report to the UN Human Rights Committee reviewing Jamaica’s status under the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights “on what concrete steps it’s [Jamaica] making towards removal of discriminatory laws”. It is within this context that the comment was made.  J-FLAG wishes to reiterate that it has not issued an ultimatum but offered a comment on what could be done by the Government within the first hundred (100) days to demonstrate its recognition of the broad human rights concerns that affect all Jamaicans. This is a common strategy which has been used by many other organisations in civil society and private sector.

Like all Jamaicans, J-FLAG remains committed to the human social and economic development of Jamaica. In so doing, J-FLAG will continue to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jamaicans from discrimination, harassment and violence.

ENDS

………… mistakes such as granting a telephone interview (sans any consultations with the community I might add) to the media in a “hot environment” when homosexuality or related matters are in the public domain is a no no, all the J should have done was waited and not mention anything at all to do with any time line in any way, shape or form now for it to be misrepresented as an ultimatum. We have had previous misconceptions before of JFLAG’s position by media and one would have thought that as a former media participant himself the Executive Director of JFLAG Mr. Lewis would have known the ins and outs of local media with regards to hot button issues such as this. The San Francisco boycott some years ago and the suggested EGALE tourism boycott as well are prime examples of learning curves for the group and speaking just a little too much but when it’s time to speak there is silence. How many mistakes are there to be made before it is perfected? one never knows.

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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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