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Once the buggery law is repealed we can begin to make change in the way how people treat and associate the transgender community with homosexuals and lesbians.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