hhhhmmm interesting take

News and Views by Dionne Jackson Miller

Jamaica House and the People’s National Party (PNP) have been making much of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’s inclusion on Time Magazine’s List of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. The list comprises, Time says, “the people who inspire us, entertain us, challenge us and change our world… the breakouts, pioneers, moguls, leaders and icons.”
It sounds really great for the Prime Minister of a small country like Jamaica to be included on the list. She is one of 38 women listed, more, the BBC reports, than ever named before.  And after all, she’s not in the rogue section populated by people like North Korean leader Kim Jong Un or Syrian president Bashar al-Assad!

But why is she there?

The blurb about her is written by US Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, daughter of former NY city councilwoman Una Clarke, herself a Jamaican, and a longtime friend of…

View original post 918 more words

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Betty Ann Blaine on ……………… Sold out for 30 pieces of silver?

The impression created here is that the ruling PNP has been funded by some of the powerful LGBT lobby overseas and the constant mistake of lumping adult male homosexuality with same sex paedophilia, see what you make of it, have a read of the piece below by children’s rights advocate and New Nation Coalition founder Betty Ann Blaine as published in the Jamaica Observer Tuesday April 24:

Sold out for 30 pieces of silver?

Dear Reader,
One of the interesting nuances of Jamaican society is the way in which information pertinent to the country is released from sources outside of our borders. It leads one to ask serious questions about the respect our leaders have for the people of Jamaica and the ramifications of those issues being externally disclosed and discussed.

The latest revelation came last week when Time magazine disclosed that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had called for “full civil rights for gays and lesbians”. In listing Mrs Simpson Miller among their 100 most influential persons in the world, the report stated, “Simpson Miller began her second stint in six years as Jamaica’s PM, and she’s kicking off the country’s 50th anniversary of independence by calling for the island to sever ties with the British monarchy. More impressive, however, is that she did something few thought possible in one of the world’s most homophobic nations; she called for full civil rights for gays and lesbians. One has to understand Jamaica’s violently anti-homosexual history to appreciate her courage which could resonate throughout the region if she’s successful.” Next to the Time magazine report is the photograph of Mrs Simpson Miller and a caption that noted that voting for the candidates for the 100 list had closed.
Obviously Time magazine knows much more than we the people of Jamaica know. When did the prime minister call for “full civil rights for gays and lesbians, and is there information that the magazine is privy to that we are unaware of here at home? If Time magazine misquoted the prime minister, how is it that we have not had a retraction from Jamaica House?
For a matter with such far-reaching national implications, I am surprised that there has been such complete silence from the administration since the story made international news.
It seems to me that the Jamaican people deserve the respect of a full and detailed disclosure as to exactly what, if anything, the Simpson-led administration may have promised the international gay community prior to and after the general election.
During the election campaign, the Jamaica Labour Party publicly questioned the People’s National Party as to whether or not the party received funding from the international gay community. In light of last week’s developments, those unanswered questions may now have greater relevance.
What the country knows is that during the pre-election debate, Mrs Simpson Miller stated that she would not be averse to reviewing the country’s buggery law, which in my view is in and of itself problematic. What the country did not hear was that she called for “full equal and civil rights for gays and lesbians”, and quite frankly, we don’t know what that really means.
Equally disturbing is the offensive and inaccurate description of Jamaica as “one of the most homophobic places on earth”, and a country with a “violently anti-homosexual history”. Not only am I unaware that any global survey has ever been done, but as far as I understand it, Jamaicans are Christians, not homophobes. I for one have no “phobia” for anything or anyone. As a Christian society, it is God’s word that is paramount, and not the dictates of any group, internal or external. The argument that Jamaica is one of the most homophobic places on earth is consequently a moot point.
Even more astounding is the allegation that we are a country with a “violently anti-homosexual history”. It is time that Jamaicans debunk that lie that has been circulating for far too long. Where are the statistics to substantiate that sweeping generalisation?
There is no doubt that Jamaica is a violent society. Every year in excess of 1200 people are murdered including young men, the elderly, women and children. Babies have been shot; children murdered and dismembered – even beheaded, among other gross atrocities. Many, if not most of those cases remain unsolved, so that any broad statement involving any particular grouping in the society, without the requisite research and documentation, would unfortunately remain unsubstantiated. Let me hasten to say that no murder or act of violence against any individual or group can and should be justified.
While I’m aware that there is mounting pressure from outside forces for Jamaica to repeal its buggery law in the first instance, I would caution the prime minister about any hasty decision, particularly in light of the growing allegations of the buggery of small children. As far as I am concerned, there can be no review of the law until a detailed and thorough study is done about buggery, especially its impact on the most vulnerable in the society.
Jamaica is a country characterised by the abuse of power and the vast expanse between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. The access and ability to sexually violate a child, both by heterosexuals and homosexuals is immense and easy, and there is a lot of it going on. Children of the poor, and especially those who are homeless and without parental care, are particularly at risk. Even more damning is their inability to access justice and restitution through the courts.
What the prime minister should do, now that she is among the world’s most influential people, is to use her status to highlight the horrific sexual atrocities being meted out to the children of the poor in Jamaica and to seek help to improve their condition. What we need is a “buy-in”, not a “sell-out” – and for how much? Thirty pieces of silver?
With love,
bab2609@yahoo.com

Education Ministry says it will take on coercion in schools …

The Gleaner carried this story on April 10th following on the accusations of older lesbian students supposedly abusing younger girls, interestingly the ministry jumps quickly to address this issue but the problem in co-ed schools remains any by extension the mainstream on buses and taxis where inappropriate behaviour and sexual realtions with older men and school girls goes on with limited monitoring it looks on the surface.

Let us see where this takes us, one hopes we do not hear or see in the correcting of the issue of abuse that what may remotely look as reparative therapy towards the same sex attracted students and that the measures only address the allegations of abuse and not sexual orientation

Have a read of the article and see what you make of it.

Jamaica Gleaner Company

Ready To Take On School Sex – Thwaites Vows To Tackle Inappropriate Behaviour At All-Girls’ Institutions

Ronald Thwaites

Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter

A Ministry of Education report on investigations into allegations of forced sexual activities at some local girls’ schools is expected to be ready this week. Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, told The Gleaner yesterday that the ministry had conducted the investigation into the matter and was awaiting the results.

Thwaites said that, based on the outcome, the ministry would intervene to put an end to any such activity at the schools.

Early last month it was revealed that authorities at a prominent Corporate Area all-girls high school were struggling to deal with several alleged sexual attacks on young girls by older students.

School authorities had summoned parents to an emergency meeting as more and more young girls began reporting horror stories of cases where they were forced to perform sexual acts with older girls at the institution.

The Gleaner understood that some girls in the upper school regularly sought to recruit the young girls from the first and second forms.

Thwaites declared he was ready to take the appropriate action to rid the education system of the behaviour.

“The ministry must do two things; one, it must articulate very clearly the inappropriateness of any kind of sexual pressure in schools and, second, it must get the school community, which includes parents, teachers, all workers and the students themselves, to avoid any instance of this kind of pressure,” the minister stressed.

Thwaites said training for both teachers and parents was essential in order to better the system.

“This is where I think continuing professional development of our teachers is very important so that they know the signs, that they don’t over exaggerate and that they are adept at counselling young children and adults.

“This is also to emphasise the importance of vigorous parenting programmes so that parents can become active collaborators and fully informed persons who can assist their children in going through the sometimes turbulent years of growing up,” he added.

Principals concerned

The problem of sexual attacks had attracted the attention of the Jamaica Association of Principals of Secondary Schools (JAPSS) and Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison.

JAPSS President Sharon Reid, had admitted this was a problem in some schools and that the matter would be a major item of discussion at a retreat scheduled for next month under the theme ‘Facing Challenges of Leadership Together’.

Gordon Harrison had said there needed to be a public-education campaign to sensitise the offenders about the breaches they have committed.

nadisha.hunter@gleanerjm.com

What needs to be done to help Transsexuals In Jamaica

Coming on the heels of the Miss Jamaica Universe’s group basically disagreeing with the inclusion of a previously booted transgender entrant in Canada albeit she allegedly was not clear on filling out the entry form to say she was born female, a local transgender voice has prepared a post to add her voice to the furore to look at related issues as this time.

I also feel is an opportune moment to help sensitize the public including L, B and G populations about transgenderism and transsexuals as several misconceptions abound and frankly there maybe many persons who identify as GLB but who maybe in fact transgender but do not know it or have sought the necessary consultations to find out.

see a previous post on the Jenna matter from Canada on my sister blog GLBTQ Jamaica on Blogger:

Transphobia: Miss Jamaica Universe Pageant rep says no to transgender entrant in Canada beauty contest

Miss Laura wrote:

Take the buggery law off the books; the buggery law hampers education about this topic. Jamaican’s on a whole consider transgender and transsexuals to be homosexuals. They are not aware that being transgender or transsexual is about a person’s gender Identity their sense of self and not sexual preference. Here in Jamaica people tend to group anything that is not considered normal (gay’s, Lesbians, transvestites, transgender, transsexuals, cross-dressers and the list goes on to be all homosexuals or as it is called (batty man, and sodomites).
Removal of the buggery law would open a door not for just gay men and women but it would also allow transgender people to feel a certain level of security knowing that the law is now on their side and can enjoy equal rights and protection.
I have heard people say that there are no transgender people in Jamaica. That’s just ridiculous and ignorant why would they state this as a fact? Well it is simple most transgender people don’t even know they are transgender or transsexual. They automatically are grouped with the gay community. Many transgender and transsexuals adopt the “GAY Life Style” hoping they would fit into the social landscape where there is friendship and protection and the possibility of feeling less of a freak and more of a normal human being.

Once the buggery law is repealed we can begin to make change in the way how people treat and associate the transgender community with homosexuals and lesbians.


What changes need to be made?
1. The health care system where transgender people can access to counselling, hormone treatments, and Sex Reassignment Surgery. At this time there are no health organisations offering transgender Services Island wide. Many transgender people access hormones mainly on the black market and or through if they are lucky a doctor who is willing to treat them on the QT. Some if they happen to have the financial resources access hormones by purchasing them online.

Many transgender people are often too poor because they cannot get jobs because of their transgender status. Many resort to prostitution due to being ejected from their families and have nowhere to go but the streets. Transgender and transsexuals seek refuge within gay communities as a means to survive.
Those lucky enough to leave the country and make their way to the US or the UK where they can access treatment and live in relative peace. Unlike here in Jamaica where you will most likely be beaten or killed because Jamaican s confuse gender with sexuality.

2. Educating the public about transgender and transsexuals will bring greater enlightenment to the masses, and change the lives of many who are wrestling with a gender identity conflict. Many transgender or transsexuals know they are different from an early age. Little boys seen playing with dolls many not be gay but might be or most likely are transgender or transsexual. Educating people of this will greatly improve the lives of these young children and lead them to a better quality of life and most likely a productive one and far from the thought of suicide.

3. Amendments to Labor laws preventing the discrimination against transgender and transsexual people in the workplace or from being denied job placements in both public and private sector organisations due to their lifestyle or mode of dress e.g. a transsexual living as a woman, dressing as a woman, but may not look feminine . Such a person would be seen as a freak and be automatically turn down for a job placement. Most transsexual’s transition late in life and this tends to be the norm in some cases some transition early in life if they have the support of family.

image from: transgenderzone.com

Late transitioning

A late transition equals less chance of passing unless that person had many expensive surgeries to undo the many years of testosterone exposure. Where early transition starting in the teenage years can have a favourable outcome where the masculine features can be reversed and made feminine under the effects of oestrogen will most of the time produce a passable young woman.

4. Amendments allowing transgender or transsexual men and women to have the same equal right like every other non transgender or transsexual man or woman.This means individuals should have the right to marry like non transgender /transsexual people. Have the right to have their identity papers altered to fit their chosen gender Identity without being judged and told that what you’re doing in the eyes of God is wrong.
Transgender/transsexual people should have the right to equal opportunities like all other peoples that make up our diverse culture.

ENDS

Over the many years of LGBT advocacy in Jamaica transgenderism has been given a back seat for too long and while a few voices speak intermittently on the issues surrounding same it is not enough to properly help the public to understand that there are many identities that abound in the human species and deciphering them is a must for us to co-exist. Major advocates seem not to have time to deal with this matter as decriminalizing buggery is far more important than the other inter and intra community matters that are parallel to men who have sex with men issues. Miss Laura is one of the few voices who have been consistent on the matter from the ground up.

Let us continue to listen to that voice and learn as only she can tell it from her own realities as a transwoman in Jamaica.

Miss Laura can be reached through this email lgbtevent@gmail.com

Peace and tolerance

H

Over 7,000 children sexually abused in last four years …………..

Finally some attention has been brought to something some of us knew all along based on the secrecy we have in Jamaica on this issue but the numbers are staggering and these are supposedly reported cases, so far the discussion has been good in as far as recognising the problem and the usual conflation with male homosexuality is not present which is good as both issues are NOT THE SAME although same sex paedophilia occurs and sadly the vitcims suffer physically and mentally in some cases as anger and other emotions are internalized and lead to serious issues later in life.

The recent lesbian coercion issue seems to have morphed or pushed us into this issue as well as it was just anout that time attention was brought to rampant child abuse by an article in the Jamaica Observer about the issue from a frustrated female doctor photographed below.

In Part it read:

One which still traumatises her to this day is the case of a nine-year-old boy who was buggered by the pastor his mother left him with while she went to work.

Although the boy became withdrawn and lost his appetite, the buggery was not discovered until his teacher complained that he was defecating on himself while at school.

Dr Knight said when the mother took him to the hospital his penis was swollen and scarred and his anus torn.

“You could literally look up the child’s anus to the rectum,” Dr Knight said.

The child later revealed that the pastor had been raping him for some time and would give him $20 each time he had sex with him.

Another case she will never forget was that of an 18-month-old boy who died after being buggered by an uncle, two years ago.

“I saw that baby two days before he died,” a distraught Dr Knight said.

She recalled the day the near lifeless baby was brought to the hospital by his uncle and a pregnant girlfriend to be treated for a cold.

As she attempted to resuscitate the unconscious baby, she noticed his stomach was growing at an alarming pace.

“I was so busy resuscitating him that I didn’t immediately think of turning the child over and when I turned him over the anus was destroyed,” she said. “The uncle had raped the baby and when the penis went into the anus it tore off the colon (bowel) and the faeces started to run into the abdominal cavity,” she explained, adding that the baby had no chance of living.

In the Observer today the captioned post title was part of the healdine on the issue, it read as follows:

AT least 7,245 Jamaican children are reported to have been sexually assaulted over the last four years, according to complaints received by the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR).

At the same time, OCR officials say that Jamaica’s “informer fi dead” culture is preventing even more people from reporting the dastardly acts.

While it is not clear if more children are becoming victims of sexual abuse, statistics from the OCR have shown a massive spike in the number of reports received, with the figure jumping from 121 reported cases in 2007 to 2,652 as of last year.

There is however no system in place as yet at the registry to determine how many of these reported cases have been prosecuted.

But despite these high numbers, it took the voice of a frustrated and traumatised medical practitioner to shine the spotlight on the plight of these children and to evoke public outrage.

A number of state agencies which deal with children’s issues have since called on Jamaicans to break their silence.

The Child Development Agency (CDA), Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA), Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) yesterday issued a joint statement as a result of this week’s Sunday Observer lead story in which Dr Sandra Knight highlighted the plight of Jamaican children who have been raped and in some cases infected with sexually transmitted diseases.

In response to the article, which has generated much public outrage, concern and offers of help, the agencies said Jamaicans need to break the silence on this “intolerable violation of children’s rights”.

The agencies lauded Dr Knight for being outspoken on the issue in the media.

“Sexual abuse is one of the most heinous forms of violence against children, which no child should ever have to endure,” the statement said.

The State bodies said the alarming news that greeted the public on Sunday has been a major concern of theirs for many years.

“Our agencies have each been working with a range of partners over many years to address this issue, through programmes, policies and laws that seek to prevent abuse and to provide treatment and care for young victims,” the agencies said.

Noting that sexual abuse is a complex issue, the agencies admit that their work on the ground and at the policy level is not enough.

“All Jamaicans, including professionals who work with children, parents, caregivers, the media and the public must assume their responsibility to protect the nation’s children,” the agencies said, adding that “breaking the silence is critical”.

On Tuesday, Greig Smith, registrar of the OCR, and his colleague public education specialist Trevesa Dasilva Ashman both agreed that the “informer fi dead’ culture, which has kept Jamaicans silent on so many issues, has resulted in a lot more persons not speaking up about sexual abuse of the nation’s children.

Smith told the Jamaica Observer that prior to the establishment of the registry there were concerns by the public as to where they could report these cases without their identities being revealed.

“Persons may say if I go to the police or any other agency, by [the] time I reach back the community it is being said that I made a report,” he explained.

However, because of the OCR’s confidentiality clause, the identity of the reporter is never revealed.

As such, persons can call the registry at 1-888-776-8328 between 7:00 am and 11:00 pm to report any suspected case of child abuse; whether it is neglect, child labour, trafficking, physical, emotional or sexual.

Smith explained that the information is assessed and recorded, following which a report is prepared and forwarded to the CDA, the OCA and the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse for investigation and/or intervention.

Dasilva Ashman said while persons making the report do not have to give their names, they are strongly encouraged to do so in the event the matter reaches the court, as the law states that if someone suspects child abuse and does not report it they can be charged or imprisoned.

“We had a case of a mother who knew her child was being sexually abused by the boyfriend and did not report it and the case was brought before the courts and the OCR was subpoenaed to go to court to testify if the mother had made the report. We got the report, but it was not made by the mother, but someone else, and she has been imprisoned since for failure to report,” she explained.

Majority of the reports to the OCR are from ‘prescribed’ persons, according to Dasilva Ashman. These are persons such as doctors, teachers guidance counsellors social workers, etc who, by virtue of their occupation, care for children.

“One of the things we do in communication activities is to target these prescribed persons because we realise they are in a strategic position to be able to identify when a child is being abused and be able to report it,” she said.

 ENDS

In subsequent television and radio discussions on the matter the issue of buggery was raised and the CISOCA Head Superintendent (photo above) hinted that buggery was on the rise with older perpetrators and younger boys but it did not suggest rampant homosexuality or that men were specifically targeting boys for sex although the issue is of concern for child advocates. A sex offences registry is also in the works and just over 25 persons were arrested in 11 days for various sexual offences against children which suggests the problem is far larger than thought. She said boys needed to be watched just as the girls.

I have always tried to make the point that while anti gay activists worry about consenting adults engaging in anal sex they should be more concerned about the abuse of children and now it seems the chickens are coming home to roost. I hope the issue of paedohilia can be properly discussed in the public domain and we do not slip into confusing adult gay male activity with men (some of whom are not homosexual) who are sexually attracted to prepubescent persons of the same gender.

Co-host of Smile Jamaica Simone Clarke hit a fundamental question I have been asking for years, why are we so fired up about homosexuality yet when it comes to our children we confuse consent with peadophilia? hence leading to the homo negativity and homophobia in Jamaica. She posed the question and frustratingly so on April 3 on the morning show on Television Jamaica they also went on to look at myths and disturbing paedophilia with little girls and getting rid of diseases.

TVJ’s Smile Jamaica on difference between paedophilia & Homosexuality 03.04.12

Certainly we have a long way to go.

Peace and tolerance

H

Potential Kid’s potential cut as communications giant LIME drops artist over offensive lyrics

So as developments unfold a new artist on the scene named Potential Kid who has shot up the charts and on radio and dancehall turntables with his song “A Yah Suh Nice” (It’s Here That’s Nice) which basically describes good vybz in a party or anywhere else for that matter but the offensive section of the song comes where he said before he turns a battyman (gay man) he would rather be a raper (rapist) which appears in the last line in the first verse of the song.

This being a rapist versus being gay choice of sorts has been echoed before by other artists and is not a new phenomenon which suggest a rebellious mode on which dancehall is predicated from its inception. The choice suggest a love for vaginal sex so much that one would break the law, hurt women (as they are deemed submissive and the weaker sex) and thus risk imprisonment as a stripe or mark of being a real man in Jamaica.

The artist was to have appeared on several upcoming LIME sponsored shows and sporting events including the recently concluded boys and girls championships.

Verse 1:
Har breast rub up pon mi teeth like a chicken gravy,
She mek mi feel like a likkle baby.
Har p**sy tight mi think a Madda Mary
A yah suh nice mi tink a God a save mi
And she come inna mi house and she neva fraidi
Panty fly like mi bredda beigie,
Har p**sy pretty like a madda baby, she mek mi feel…
She wine pon mi cocky put mi c*#ky outta socket
Boom pon mi cocky put it back inna di socket
Come in like a door wen mi knock it and mi knock it
Knock it and mi knock it foot a wah mi like har

She si mi Manley and she tek mi Sheara,
Har heart bitter like a Ole Vera, before mi a yuh mi tun a saviour
Before mi tun battyman mi prefah tun a raper (before I turn a gay man I prefer to become a rapist)

In an article in the Gleaner confirmation came after a meeting yesterday with some LGBT advocates, allegedly the artist himself and other representatives led to the company’s decision, the article read: 

Telecommunications company LIME has dropped emerging artiste ‘Potential Kidd’ from a promotion which would involve the artiste performing at a school concert.

In a release issued this evening, LIME said following concern about the content of the unedited version of Kidd’s single Ah Yah So Nice, it decided to facilitate a meeting between the artiste and some people who were troubled by the lyrics.

In a message posted on its social media pages, LIME said, after analyzing the unedited version of the song, it agreed that the lyrics were unacceptable.

“What we would want is for our artistes to express themselves freely but responsibly and we think civil society can play a big role in this regard,” said LIME Jamaica’s Managing Director, Garry Sinclair.

Sinclair also said LIME does not support any idea or sentiment that promotes unlawful or anti-social behaviour against any person in the society.

Potential Kidd has reportedly apologized to persons who may have been offended by the lyrics.

“I do not support violence against women or homosexuals,” he is quoted as saying in a release from LIME.

The development comes shortly after LIME made changes to a ‘Champs’-related campaign which featured Potential Kidd.

ENDS

Frankly there is a element pf hypocrisy to all this as here some local advocates went to this meeting with Lime and the artist yet we (including the very representatives we have since learnt) dance readily to more caustic dancehall acts who have called for our death repeatedly such as Beenieman whose “All Battyman FI Dead” song is still played in the dancehall and several others for example albeit the songs are old but they still get rotation by DJs. Murder music or hints to such by artists do not need the acts to publicly perform them, they still earn from them in a way once they are published and their A&R (artistry and repertoire) manages their rights distribution/earnings which is now being done as a way for artists to earn as the market crunch is being felt as live shows opportunities dry up worldwide outside of pressure from gay rights activitst but economic and musical apetite changes dictate where the industry goes. Artists are finding  ways to earn outside or shows by using the more administrative methods via copyrights etc.

What is also apparent is that LIME and its marketing/promotions division may either not have gone through the material by Potential Kid or did not expect the vigilance on the inclusion on the artist seeing he is the hottest act now in their promotions.

Ironically the song is hugely popular in the gay community as have been other anti gay themed songs or songs with offensive lines in them hitting at homosexual life and even an event recently was titled as the song and drew a large attendance, I did not spin at that one as I was out of service mourning my father’s passing in late February. This is precisely why I only spin house music and vogue femme materials over the last many years.

I know we are going to hear that a young artist is getting a fight from pro-dancehall and anti gay supporters which may very well fuel or re-ignite the cooling temperature of homophobia in Jamaica. Meeting with artists and organizations maybe a start but for me as I have said before artists with anti gay lyrics need to fully recant their offensive materials and pull them from the market and public domain including Youtube and other outlets. Buju Banton’s Boom Bye Bye for example still gets several hits on Youtube and the song is still available on iTunes seen listed HERE so he does not have to perform the songs live similar to Sizzla’s Nah Apologize is still on Youtube and other outlets for sale as well.

Hit the artists in their pockets where it hurts since the ethical suasion is not forthcoming from them.

Potential Kid is just a new kid on the block the older artists still need to be pressured or convinced that hate music or offensive lyrics are not welcomed no matter how old the tracks are as they have a life of their own via the various platform on which they are hosted and sold for profits.

Peace and tolerance

H

Lesbianism in Schools talk continues …….

So recently two main articles have appeared in the Gleaner firstly since the original lesbian coercers issue raised its head again, here is a caption on Dr Heather Little White’s take on the issue albeit here article was only available in hard copy in the Outlook Magazine on March 25 entitled: Lesbianism among schoolgirls ..

She wrote in part: RECENT REPORTS of aggressive lesbian students terrorising younger girls in some Corporate Area high schools have shocked parents and school officials. One may ask why parents and school officials should be distraught when the provision of sexuality education is limited in the home and school. Sex education for girls tends to warn mainly against pregnancy and to a lesser extent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and often ignores the wider issues such as same-sex relationships, incest, sexual slavery, child prostitution and gender identity, among others. 

THE LESBIAN TERM 

The term ‘lesbian’ dates back to ancient Greece through a tragic story of an early Greek female poet Sappho who supervised a school for girls on the island of Lesbos in 600 BC. Sappho fell in love with one of the girls who did not respond to her romantic advances. Sappho took the rejection badly and drowned herself at sea.Sappho’s legacy was a rich collection of love poems written to women as well as men, thus making her an early example of bisexuality. The term lesbian evolved in reference to the island of Lesbos where Sappho was born. It has been suggested that Sappho’s relationships did not include any overt sexual relations and that female homosexuality was common on the island of Lesbos.

CONTINUE HERE 

Now in Sundays Edition of the same paper comes another article using the same photo of the women that is seen in the scanned caption above in a piece entitiled: “Sexual-Bullying Policy Needed In Schools” disturbingly the caption someone at the Gleaner decided to use under the photo was “Children in schools are being bullied for their homosexual orientation, as depicted in this photograph of a lesbian couple.” The article also seeks to evoke reparative therapy as well as a way to treat or in effect punish the so called perpetrators or coercers while unethically making the link to the widely held belive that homosexuals try to homosexualize others so to speak.

The article reads: 

JUST WHEN one thought all the factors negatively affecting and impacting Jamaica’s education system have been analysed, another form of impediment has reared its ugly head, that of sexual bullying. Sexual bullying involves comments, jokes, actions, or attention that is intended to hurt, offend, or intimidate another person. It is more common than we think, and it affects pupils in both single-sex high schools and co-educational high schools alike.

As with any form of bullying, the perpetrator seeks out that individual who is considered the weakest among the pack. Sexually bullying is no different. This form of harassment is usually seen more often in high schools as against primary schools. The focus of sexual bullying is on body parts, as well as the victim’s appearance and or perceived sexual orientation. Boys can harass members of the opposite sex as well as members of their same sex. Girls can harass members of their same sex and even members of the opposite sex, although I suspect the later is not as common as the others in our society. Adults can sexually harass children also.

Sexual orientation has to do with whom one mostly finds sexually and romantically attractive. A girl who gets crushes or who is sexually attracted to a member of the same sex may consider herself lesbian.

As a society, we have always operated in a hypocritical and paradoxical nature regarding sexual orientation. We have always viewed lesbians more favourably than gays, despite the fact that Jamaica is seen and considered by the outside world as a highly homophobic society.

As a nation we have failed our young people in terms of providing good role models. Our parenting skills leave much to be desired. A significant number of our children live in dysfunctional family units. Single-family female-headed households are now the norm. This, in itself, is the genesis of most of the problems/issues affecting the Jamaican family today. A working single female cannot adequately supervise her children, especially if she does not have the financial resources to employ a helper to assist her. The breakdown of the concept of the extended family is quickly disappearing from the Jamaican family. Many fathers’ names do not appear on the birth certificate of their children. The absence of our fathers in the rearing of our children, especially our boys, continue to add stress to the family structure. Our children no longer attend Sunday and or Sabbath schools. The moral teachings the church provides is, therefore, absent. The teaching of religious education as subject is quickly dying; this was also another avenue for moral teachings in our schools. Sunday is now a day for horse racing and other forms of entertainment. Additionally, our crude and sexually-laced popular culture, namely dancehall music, also adds to the destruction path we are on.

abandonment of values

Our proximity to North America and the influx and influence of subscriber television (cable television) are all factors which have greatly contributed to the abandonment of old values and good family life practices to that of new questionable values. As we become more sophisticated and modern, pornography has become more rampant in the society. Sexting” is now the norm rather than the exception for many teenagers. This is one way in which gossip, and sexually laced comments may be spread to destroy people’s self-esteem and character, especially in a relatively small space such of that of a school.

Therefore, we should not be surprised that our children are now experimenting with sexual diversity in this digital era we now live in. Children receive formal and informal messages about their gender identity from a multitude of sources. Some of which are families, peers, communities and, of course, the media. Your gender identity is who you feel as if you are on the inside (male, female, both, neither, flexible) While your gender expression has to do with how your act on the outside, that is, how you walk, talk, sit, dress and so on. Both gender identity and gender expression impact whether one sees him/herself as more masculine than feminine or vice versa. This always impacts how other individuals see and respond to you.

We can almost be sure that the problem highlighted at the specific Corporate Area all-girls school is not unique to that institution. All our educational institutions, co-educational and same-sex, are dealing with similar issues.

What can and should be done? The first line of defence against sexually bullying is the Ministry of Education, and as such, the Ministry of Education needs to take the lead in setting policies to address the issue of sexual bullying. A sexual-harassment policy or a bullying policy should be put in place to clearly inform all stakeholders that this type of behaviour is unacceptable. This policy should also outline the sanctions and penalties that will be applied if anyone decides to go ahead and bully another person. Clearly, we need to address the wider issue which presents itself. The wider issue here is our unwillingness to have a mature and frank discussion with all stakeholders regarding sexual orientation as a human-rights issue. By now, we should realise that by by ignoring or wishing the problem to go away has not worked and will not work.

therapy to change

Clearly, these students are in need of much therapy and counselling. Many experts believe one can change one’s sexual orientation through therapy. Our guidance counsellors are well-trained professionals and, therefore, their services should be made available to those troubled students as well as their parents. The perpetrators of the lesbian attacks should be asked to withdraw from school until they have sought counselling. By allowing them to remain at the school, we are sending the wrong message, not only to the victims of their attack, but the wider school community.

Counselling should also be provided to the victims of such sexual attacks. Maybe a change of school would also be in the best interest of those students. To remain at the school may only serve as a reminder of the horrible and horrific ordeal they experienced.

Additionally, administrators must be more vigilant in terms of what takes place at their school. After all these incidents occurred at the school. Measures must be put in place to have some sort of supervision and monitoring of what takes place on school grounds, regardless of the time of the day.

We should also encourage our children to speak out whenever they have been abused and or threatened.

Schools could and should create bathroom messages that emphasise that no one has the right to abuse and or invade another person space, this by itself will not prevent some students, so a list of teachers to contact would have be most useful also.

The Ministry of Education could also have workshops for teachers to remind and expose them to the rights of children. By so doing, teachers will be better able to assist wherever the need presents itself. We could and should incorporate all the agencies of the state that work with children, as well, in this fight.

preventative measures

It is quite possible the events of recent times can serve to strengthen our Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs) and provide avenues for them to find creative measures to improve the security of schools in which they operate, such as investing in high-tech security measures. Maybe more PTAs could install surveillance cameras at central points to ensure that their children, especially those in the lower grades, are adequately supervised after hours. Maybe they could employ additional security guards to bolster the existing security; this may just serve as a deterrent to the predators. The truth is these older girls have become predators.

Our schools should be a safe place for teaching and learning. No one should be bullied, preyed upon, whether sexually and or physically. Our schools must reclaim what they once were; a clean and protected environment for all to fully maximise their potential.

Wayne Campbell is an educator and gender-rights advocate waykam@yahoo.com. Send comments to columns@gleanerjm.com.

ENDS

I tend to agree with the first comment made on the newspaper’s site which read as follows:

It’s as if this article was written to create more confusion and to further cloud readers’ judgement. 

The caption on the picture says “Children in school are being bullied for their sexual orientation, as depicted in this photo of a lesbian couple”. Now, it really says a lot about the quality of the newstaff at this newspaper that a person can look at a picture of two hands entwined and SEE children being bullied.Then, a so-called “gender-rights advocate” can call for children to be sent to counseling so that their sexual orientation can be changed:Many experts believe one can change one’s sexual orientation through therapy. Our guidance counsellors are well-trained professionals and, therefore, their services should be made available to those troubled students as well as their parents. The perpetrators of the lesbian attacks should be asked to withdraw from school until they have sought counselling” Apparently those “well-trained” counselors were not doing their jobs properly to have let these “troubled” students get to the point of harassing their fellow students.

Something really has got to be done about how much prejudice and selective misreading of research is allowed to pass for informed critique in this newspaper.