Reverend Al Miller’s own moral conflict of interest & anti gay campaign

Reverend Al Miller’s own conflict of interest & anti gay campaign

Rev Al Miller a UWI campus demonstration

Has no moral authority as he is still tainted by two matters he is embroiled in. The back and forth in as far as moral authority to condemn or judge has been noted on this blog before via:

CHURCH STANDS RESOLUTE AGAINST BUGGERY BACKERS SAYS AL MILLER ………… LOVE MARCH MOVEMENT LACKS MORAL COMPASS SAYS LGBT VOICE

Secularism, Humanism and Atheism have also helped to cloud the local LGBT debate as I warned about in 2012/3; go HERE

Talk about conflict of interest, shaky integrity and selective morals as Reverend Al Miller has no moral authority to speak to any issue of right or wrong and interestingly homosexuality at that in my view at this time as his own actions that were in heard in court regarding the aiding of a fugitive in Christopher “Dudus” Coke after the authorities moved in on his so called empire in West Kingston in 2010 and he went into hiding only to be caught in the company of the said Reverend Miller in his car using a method of expression and entertainment for drag effeminate culture and transgender women in terms of cross dressing.  He has even gone as far as to rebuff comments of his continued role at Fellowship Tabernacle Church which he pastors in the aftermath where he claimed he would have done the deception of bypassing local police again in assisting Coke. See MORE HERE on that

Coke was dressed in a wig, glasses, light makeup and a dress with reported high heels shoes as the photographs that circulated after the entrapment made clear much to the amusement of the public from some time after and the questions began to fly as to the reasons why a pastor would aid this method of obvious perpetrated deception and in such a public fashion. It seems there are too many conflicts of interest on all sides here now engaged in a shouting match or drawn daggers over the Professor Brendan Bain sacking by the University of the West Indies from a project they managed called CHART as part of the HIV prevention strategy for CARICOM/PANCAP Pan Caribbean AIDS Partnership after the professor gave “expert” testimony in a case involving a gay man in Belize challenging the Buggery legislation there some two years ago.

Previously one of the Jamaican LGBT activist based in New York who has led protests in that state of the US has come into some fire as his delinquency in servicing a student loan prior to his departure was made public as his name and photo appeared in a full page ad of delinquent borrowers earlier this month which has made him a target on sections of social media for ridicule and mistrust and discredit as persons commented that he has no authority to speak or demand rights as his own lack of civil and personal responsibility is tainted thus disqualifying him for demand for any correctness. See more HERE

How is it on one hand Reverend Miller opposes most publicly the so called ills of the land as he describes them on his Word Power show on television while having two most public charges dogging him? His short absence from the aforementioned show and subsequent return may make some persons feel he is cleared but those who have been paying attention and are cognisant of ethical principles are not fooled by this public relations faux pas and why has the other so called “Purity” groups such as the LCF (headed previously by Shirley Richards) and the JCHS (headed by Dr Wayne West) have not called him out or disassociated themselves from him until he is in the clear? Coke was wearing a wig at the time of the nabbing as the Reverend was said to be helping Coke to get passed the local security to a foreign power that being the United States Embassy in a bid to escape the supposed shoot first ask question mentality of the local police used an excuse when confronted, the other matter that has baffled me to this day is the missing gun case where it was reported the Reverend left his firearm in his vehicles and went to pick some mangoes and upon his return his gun just went missing after which it was reported to the authorities and he was charged for not properly securing his weapon and has been in and out of court since.

These two major infractions apart from his outlandish calls that homosexuality is abnormal, reparative therapy is a cure and the Buggery Law must remain on the books makes him unfit to speak until he has cleared his name especially of the Coke matter as to why was he helping a fugitive to escape the law of the land yet it is the same principle of obeying or keeping the laws of the land of which he professes to speak and seek attention to himself. He has been at this struggle at the very stage from the parliamentary submission in 1998 by JFLAG (when they meant something) when he appeared with the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowhip’s Shirley Richards, the Charter of Rights Debate during it on again off again twenty plus years run before passage in 2009/10, abortion debates in and out of the houses of parliament and professes to use psychological references in addressing homosexuality with some authority without referencing any expert referral, study or position paper to do so. I find that ethics, integrity and indeed moral responsibility are dying forms of evidence to back credibility in public advocacy and here we have so much more evidence of those missing pieces which leaves me to wonder if we can use the same moral nihilism criticism levelled at the LGBT lobby overall by anti gay activist Dr Wayne West of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS.

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Reverend Miller must recluse himself from any outrage as it were until his name and reputation are cleared just as how these church folk make demands of conflicted politicians and public persons when they err and rightfully so.

I find hypocrisy and a feeling that persons are not tracking these valuable tenets for public life or advocacy so persons depend on the nine day wonder mentality we tend to have on matters on interest in the news constant recurrences. The same declining values in a sense as complained about by the church seems to have also affected the very loudest voices of the same group, we saw said hypocrisy play out with the call for tolerance by the former Prime Minister P. J. Patterson days go in light of the Bain matter I find that politicians tend to be so clear on values when outside of state power as also evidenced in Bruce Golding labour day opinion piece in the Gleaner fear mongering on gay marriage which he invented as a reason to deny rights in the Charter of Rights debate in 2009/10 to which the present PM sided with him as a matter of convenience and or pandering to religious groups as oppositions seem to always do, only weeks ago the JLP called for a referendum on buggery echoing a call from side protesting religious groups. Where was PJ Patterson when he was PM over the 16 of the 18 year run the PNP had in power when his own sexuality was brought under scrutiny and he demanded they stop as he was not gay.

See: Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson’s call for tolerance not genuine & sheer hypocrisy

In conclusion Reverend Al Miller is conflicted and cannot be seen as a credible voice in opposition to any moral matter until he clears his name likewise any LGBT activists also who are or seem tainted. The Jamaica Council of Churches, JCC stance in part is as follows “The church affirms its pastoral role and so appeals to the church as well as the wider religious community not to speak or act in ways that ostracise or incite violence or any other treatment of indignity towards persons who are homosexual as they too bearers of the image of God and for whom Christ died”

MUST SEE previous post:

REV AL MILLER SAYS GAY LOBBY IS USING THE GUISE OF TOLERANCE TO GET THE NATION TO ACCEPT THE “GAY LIFESTYLE”

and

Peace and tolerance

H

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Transgender Day of Rememberance 2013: Gully Queen, Barbie Love & Britney Boudashious gone too soon

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the venue of the gig where the attack took place
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empty room of Dwayne/Gully Queen at the captured house where she once lived with her friends

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Dwayne Jones (Gully Queen) in good times

As news spread of Gully Queen’s death it became apparent to me that another young transwoman had not been allowed the chance to fulfil her female cisgender imperative and was too inexperienced to realise that it was important to choose wisely who one shares certain information with.

Dwayne Jones was relentlessly teased in high school for being effeminate until he dropped out. His father not only kicked him out of the house at the age of 14 but also helped jeering neighbours push the youngster from the rough Jamaican slum where he grew up.

By age 16, the teenager was dead — beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a car when he showed up at a street party dressed as a woman. His mistake: confiding to a friend that he was attending a “straight” party as a girl for the first time in his life.

“When I saw Dwayne’s body, I started shaking and crying,” said Khloe, one of three friends who shared a derelict house with the teenager in the hills above the north coast city of Montego Bay. Like many transgender and gay people in Jamaica, Khloe wouldn’t give a full name out of fear. Pity as well as homelessness which has been ignored for years in the LGBT advocacy structure featured most prominently in this case and to think after the furore and public cynicism the house where the guys remained was firebombed with very little proactive measures taken by JFLAG and the others handling the case file so more victims ended up being made instead of redress and closure. Thankfully no one was badly hurt after that ordeal but the aforementioned agencies failure over the years to properly provide programs and interventions for LGBT youth is telling and many incidents could have been avoided.

Even though some 300 people were at the dance party in the small riverside community of Irwin, police have yet to make a single arrest in Dwayne’s murder. Police say witnesses have said they couldn’t see the attackers’ faces.

Dwayne was the centre of attraction shortly after arriving in a taxi at 2 am with his two 23-year-old housemates, Khloe and Keke. Dwayne’s expert dance moves, long legs and high cheekbones quickly made him the one that the guys were trying to get next to.

Like many Jamaican homosexuals, Dwayne was careful about confiding in others about his sexual orientation. But when he saw a girl he had known from church, he told her he was attending the party in drag.

Minutes later, according to Khloe and Keke, the girl’s male friends gathered around Dwayne in the dimly-lit street asking: “Are you a woman or a man?” One man waved a lighter’s flame near Dwayne’s sneakers, asking whether a girl could have such big feet.

Then, his friends said, another man grabbed a lantern from an outdoor bar and walked over to Dwayne, shining the bright light over him from head to toe. “It’s a man,” he concluded, while the others hissed “batty boy” and other anti-gay epithets.

Khloe says she tried to steer him away from the crowd, whispering in Dwayne’s ear: “Walk with me, walk with me.” But Dwayne pulled away, loudly insisting to partygoers that he was a girl. When someone behind him snapped his bra strap, the teen panicked and raced down the street.

But he couldn’t run fast enough to escape the mob.

The teenager was viciously assaulted and apparently half-conscious for some two hours before another sustained attack finished him off, according to Khloe, who was also beaten and nearly raped. She hid in a nearby church and then the surrounding woods, unable to call for help because she didn’t have her mobile phone.

Dwayne’s father in the Montego Bay slum of North Gully didn’t want to talk about his son’s life or death. The teen’s family wouldn’t even claim the body, according to Dwayne’s friends.

They remembered him as a spirited boy with a contagious laugh who dreamt of becoming a performer like Lady Gaga. He was also a street-smart hustler who resorted to sleeping in the bushes or on beaches when he became homeless. He won a local dancing competition during his time on the streets and was affectionately nicknamed “Gully Queen.”

“He was the youngest of us but he was a diva,” Khloe said. “He was always very feisty and joking around.”

Inside their squatter house, Khloe and Keke said, they still talk to their dead friend.

“I’ll be cooking in the kitchen and I’ll say, ‘Dwayne, you hungry?’ or something like that,” said Keke while sitting on the old mattress in her bedroom, flinching as neighbourhood dogs barked outside. “We just miss him all the time. Sometimes I think I see him.”

But down the hall, Dwayne’s room is empty except for pink window curtains decorated with roses, his favourite flower

Dwayne Jones (Gully Queen) Last Appearance prior to his murder notice the reporter said he was gay hence the other issue with crisis reporting of LGBT matters and this has always affected the credibility of the lobby’s voice

also this month we lost Britney Boudashious the reigning Miss LGBT World who was murdered in November, she was to hand over the crown at this year’s gala event but she did not make it, no clear motive has been established for her demise.

Britney’s Crowning in 2012
her glorious moment after such hard work and practice to get there

rest in peace daaaaahlin’

see more here on Gay Jamaica Watch

Barbie making front page news on the now defunct XNEWS

also see: Disturbed by Xnews Story on Drag Queen and Gay Cop or HERE

also flashback to: International Day of Transgender Remembrance 2011

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Good times at Diva Kerry’s Bday bash in 2011
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fierceness

then the other shocker in August as the popular socialite Barbie Love passed after a brief illness, you may remember her public appearances that were not so positive but she brought visibility to the cross dressing and transwoman communities in 2009 as photo shows below when the XNews published a sensationalistic article and the on Television where she was arrested after a cruising hookup went bad then public, subsequently she sealed her fame by granting an exclusive interview on Ragashanti live

see: Ragga Shanti Interviews Jamaican Drag Queen Part 1 & 2 !

To all three ladies REST IN PEACE and we will miss you.

Peace and tolerance

H

Former Miss LGBT World on being Transgender in Jamaica

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The following is a post done earlier this year with Miss LGBT World 2009 and dancehall queen winner Tiana Miller who granted an interview. Also see other posts for the week:

Transgender Awareness Week 2013

Transgender Awareness Week 2013: Internalized Transphobia

Tiana Miller. (Photos courtesy of Tiana Miller)

Last week, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, 16-year-old Dwayne Jones was shot and stabbed multiple times for turning up to a party in women’s clothing. Jones was reportedly transgender and the murder has once again highlighted the awful reality of life for Jamaica’s LGBT community. And it really is fucking awful.

In 2006, TIME magazine called Jamaica “the most homophobic place on Earth,” and the anti-gay sentiment prevalent in the country’s media and most popular musical genre, dancehall, has been well-documented. The Jamaica Gleaner, one of the country’s largest newspapers, regularly publishes stories about the gay community with a homophobic slant. Last month, it referred to a group of men who were evicted from an abandoned house as a “gay clan” and ran an op-ed (in the year 2013) that rubbished the idea of being born gay, saying people who are attracted to the same sex actively decide to do so, in much the same way that they decide to “eat snails (like the French)” or “like the taste of jackfruit.”

In the wake of Jones’ death, I got in touch with Tiana Miller, a transgender Jamaican, who hopes that her openness about her gender and sexuality will inspire others to display similar levels of bravery.

VICE: Hi Tiana. So, back to the start—at what age did you first realize that you were transgender?
Tiana Miller: It was at around age five when I first started thinking like a female. Then I gradually came to the realization that I felt more comfortable in a female skin. It was difficult. Because of the social norms of my country, I really felt as if I was doing something wrong.

Were your family and friends supportive?
Yes, they were, especially my dad.

That’s good. What about Jamaican society as a whole? Do you agree with the description of the country as, “the most homophobic place on Earth”?
Yes, I do. The challenges that we face are difficulties in surviving, as they relate to jobs, education, and housing. High school was OK for me because I hadn’t transformed yet, but it’s hard now education-wise because I would love to get a college degree, but can’t because they won’t allow me in college.

That’s awful. I’d imagine gay people in Jamaica are quite economically disadvantaged if they are unable to get a decent education or find work.
Yes, they are forced to be poor. The lucky ones are those who find rich partners and dedicate their lives to them.

There have been a few high-profile cases of police brutality towards gay people in Jamaica. Do you feel that the police give transgender people the protection they deserve?
No, they definitely don’t. Homeless transgenders are on the street, and the police—who should be their protectors—have literally run them down and chased them because of their lifestyle.

Is homelessness a common problem for transgender people?
Yes, and they are homeless because they have difficulties in sourcing income to rent houses or locate safe houses to live in.

Have you been physically attacked due to your gender?
Yes, I have been attacked before. I ran, so I didn’t suffer much harm. But naturally this had a traumatising effect on me.

So I take it there are a lot of areas that are out of bounds for gay and transgender people.
Naturally there are. This applies to anywhere where there are slums.

Some of the homophobic attacks over there have been horrific. I remember hearing about a gay rights activist who was killed before people celebrated over his body. Doesn’t stuff like that make you fear for your safety?
Yes, it does. I put myself out there, but I’m still aware of how vicious these homophobic homosapiens are.

Are there many people who dare to be open about their sexuality?
The gay and transgender communities aren’t united, as people fear for their lives, so not many people actually identify themselves with the communities.

So do you consider yourself brave for being so open about your gender and sexuality?
Yes, I am brave. If I wish to see a change, I myself have to inspire it. I had to put myself out there and make myself seen so that people know that transgenders do exist and see that we are normal people trying to live our everyday lives like human beings. We need people like myself who are willing to challenge this country and its government.

The media often hold dancehall culture responsible for the homophobia in Jamaica—what’s your view on that?
I think the main contribution comes from the church and their social ethics concerning what is right and wrong. It puzzles me how cruel human beings can be and how biased they are because the church claims that we are demons and bashes us instead of trying to counsel us.

Yeah, it seems a little illogical.
I know, right? But, like, seriously—I care zero.

So I take it there isn’t much of an LGBT nightlife scene where you are? 
Well, there was, but there’s nothing now—just regular venues that they rent to us.

Do you think Jamaica will ever get round to changing its anti-sodomy laws and modernizing its stance on homosexuality?
Well, it actually seems to be on the verge of doing this.

Because gay culture is growing or because of pressure from other countries?
Both. But time will tell, and I don’t wish to make predictions.

Where do you see yourself in that battle?
I see myself as being the first transgender to be an ambassador for the country. I want to advocate for human rights, be a feminist choreographer and also be a whole lot of other things.

Great. Thanks, Tiana.

October 26/13 is the 17th Intersex Awareness Day

by Howie Fiedhior and Gina (of OII Australia) edited for 2013
also see:

Intersex people are people who have physical differences of sex anatomy other than brain sex alone. Their anatomical differences might include genetic, hormonal or genital differences or differences in our reproductive parts.

Happy Intersex Awareness Day to the small number of persons here in Jamaica, however here is a post I hope both intersex and non intersex persons will find informative as we do not forget to include the “I” in LGBTI agitation wordwide.

The first Intersex Awareness Day (IAD) came about when the American intersex group named Hermaphrodites with Attitude (HWA) teamed up with American Trans group Trans Menace to picket an American Association of Paediatrics (AAP) conference in Boston on 26th October 1996.

Those picketing this event were outraged that the doctors attending the conference were recommending and conducting infant genital surgery on intersex kids in order to make them more “normal”. Some of those protesting had been subjected to those kinds of surgery when they were infants.

The central message of Intersex Awareness Day (IAD) is the de-medicalisation of natural variations in a person’s sex anatomy. Intersex is not a disease, a disorder, a medical “condition”. The use of stigmatising language such as this has led to poor mental health, marginalisation even invisibilisation, and exclusion from social institutions for Intersex people.

On this day we hope to make as many people as possible aware of what intersex is and that intersex people everywhere lack those most fundamental human rights, the right to autonomy over our own bodies, the right to a life without discrimination, the right to a life without shame and secrecy.

In short it is a call for our right to an equal place in society.
Intersex is difference in the same way that eye colour or right- or left-handedness are differences or human biological variations. As with handedness or sexual orientation, societies have, in the past, looked upon human variations through the lens of prejudice and then sought ways to “cure” or eliminate that variation.

At a fundamental level homophobic bigotry, intolerance and ancient superstitions underpin contemporary mistreatment of intersex people.

Intersex people are subjected to forced gendering and surgical alterations to our bodies to “disappear” our differences in a society that regards difference in sex anatomy as deeply suspicious.

More on What is intersex?

Intersex refers to a series of medical conditions in which a child’s genetic sex (chromosomes) and phenotypic sex (genital appearance) do not match, or are somehow different from the “standard” male or female. About one in 2,000 babies are born visibly intersexed, while some others are detected later. The current medical protocol calls for the surgical “reconstruction” of these different but healthy bodies to make them “normal,” but this practice has become increasingly controversial as adults who went through the treatment report being physically, emotionally, and sexually harmed by such procedures.

Beside stopping cosmetic genital surgeries, what are intersex activists working toward?

Surgery is just part of a larger pattern of how intersex children are treated; it is also important to stop shame, secrecy and isolation that are socially and medically imposed on children born with intersex conditions under the theory that the child is better off it they didn’t hear anything about it. Therefore, it’s not enough to simply stop the surgery; we need to replace it with social and psychological support as well as open and honest communication.

What’s so significant about October 26?

On October 26, 1996, intersex activists from Intersex Society of North America (carrying the sign “Hermaphrodites With Attitude”) and our allies from Transexual Menace held the first public intersex demonstration in Boston, where American Academy of Pediatrics was holding its annual conference. The action generated a lot of press coverage, and made it difficult for the medical community to continue to neglect our growing movement. That said, events related to Intersex Awareness Day can take place throughout October and does not necessarily have to be on the 26th.

Important to Remember:
INTERSEX is not a part of transgender because intersex is not about gender. Intersex is about anatomical differences in sex.
Below are some of the differences in the experience of trans and intersex individuals
Trans:
Self-identified gender does not match apparent sex at birth.
Some human rights protection. In NSW this is limited to “recognised transgender” or people thought to be “transgendered” – 36B Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 in Australia.
Can change cardinal documents, but usually requires irreversible surgeries usually involving sterilization and applicants must not be married.
The right to marry someone of the opposite legal gender.
A full and functional reproductive system.
Physical differences limited to brain anatomy.
Transsexual people have an effective medical protocol that produces a 98% effective outcome with long-term studies and follow-ups.
The right to choose the time of surgery with extensive peer support.
The ability to participate fully and in an informed manner in their surgical and hormonal options.
Transsexual people generally have a strongly defined sense of gender – man or woman.
Can compete in sport up to and including Olympic level through established protocols.
Many effective and extensive organizations worldwide, with some NGOs attracting government funding (e.g. NSW Gender
Centre).
also see:

Coming Out Day – tips and suggestions

Today is otherwise known as US National Coming out day but as per usual when they sneeze we catch a cold and so follow the lead as the template is set, it may be difficult to come out fully in Jamaica especially those on the lower socio economic strata who are far more exposed to the earthy homo-negative responses as the national psyche still has not fully come accustomed the ever expanding sexuality spectrum. The University of Illinois provided this wonderful list of how to come out which I found most applicable to our local scenario.

Also see our diva Diana King’s coming out story on sister blog GLBTQJA: HERE

Coming out Transgender: HERE

and Making a Coming Out Plan: HERE

Coming Out

For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people, coming out is a process of understanding, accepting, and valuing one’s sexual orientation/identity. Coming out includes both exploring one’s identity and sharing that identity with others. It also involves coping with societal responses and attitudes toward LGBT people. LGBT individuals are forced to come to terms with what it means to be different in a society that tends to assume everyone to be heterosexual and that tends to judge differences from the norm in negative ways. The coming out process is very personal. This process happens in different ways and occurs at different ages for different people. Some people are aware of their sexual identity at an early age; others arrive at this awareness only after many years. Coming out is a continuing, sometimes lifelong, process.While some anxiety related to sexuality is common among college students, the problems facing LGBT people are often more difficult than those facing others. Because positive role models are often difficult to identify, LGBT people may feel alone and unsure of their own sexual identities. Fear of rejection is greater among LGBT people due to the prejudices in society against them.

Coming Out to Oneself

Recognizing your own sexual identity and working toward self-acceptance are the first steps in coming out. First, concerning sexual identity, it helps to think of a sexual orientation continuum that ranges from exclusive same sex attraction to exclusive opposite sex attraction. Exploring your sexual identity may include determining where you presently fit along that continuum.

Concerning self-acceptance, it can be very helpful to focus on the positive aspects of LGBT culture, for example, its music, art, theater, books, events, and groups. It is also very helpful to seek out positive, well adjusted and comfortable role models among LGBT people. Building on the positive does not mean that you pretend that our society is past its discrimination, fears, and negative myths concerning LGBT people, or that these things do not have any effects on LGBT people. However, these negative things are better understood as externally based rather than inherent to your identity or your orientation. Part of developing a positive sense of self is understanding that your own homophobia is also externally based, the product of societal prejudices and anti-LGBT biases that have impinged upon you for much of your life.

There are many things to think about when considering coming out. Some of the positive outcomes may be increased self-esteem, greater honesty in one’s life, and a sense of greater personal integrity. In addition, there is often a sense of relief and a reduction of tension when one stops trying to deny or hide such an important part of his/her life. Coming out can lead to greater freedom of self-expression, positive sense of self and more healthy and honest relationships.

One safe means of beginning to come out to yourself is through reading about how others have dealt with similar issues. There are many books and periodicals available on all facets of LGBT life, from clinical studies on LGBT people to collections of A coming out stories.

Coming Out to Other Lesbians and Gay Men

Often, after spending some time getting in touch with one’s own feelings, the next step is to come out to others. It is usually advisable to come out first to those who are most likely to be supportive. LGBT people are a potential natural support system because they have all experienced at least some of the steps in the process of coming out. Sharing experiences about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender can help you decrease feelings of isolation and shame. Furthermore, coming out to other LGBT people can help you build a community of people who can then support and assist you in coming out to others in your life. Many LGBT communities offer a number of helpful resources, including local coming out groups, switchboards, social outlets, and political and cultural activities and organizations.

Coming out to other LGBT people does not need to happen quickly. Also, choosing to do so does not mean that you must conform to real or presumed expectations of the LGBT community. What is most important is that you seek your own path through the comingout process and that you attend to your unique, personal timetable. You should not allow yourself to be pressured into anything you are not ready for or don’t want to do. It is important to proceed at your own pace, being honest with yourself and taking time to discover who you really are.

Coming Out to Heterosexuals

Perhaps your most difficult step in coming out will be to reveal yourself to heterosexuals. It is at this step that you may feel most likely to encounter negative consequences. Thus it is particularly important to go into this part of the coming out process with open eyes. For example, it will help to understand that some heterosexuals will be shocked or confused initially, and that they may need some time to get used to the idea that you are LGBT. Also, it is possible that some heterosexual family members or friends may reject you initially. However, do not consider them as hopeless; many people come around in their own time.

Loss of employment or housing are also possibilities that some LGBT people face. In some places it is still legal to discriminate against LGBT individuals for housing, employment and other issues. You should take this into consideration when deciding to whom and where you “come out” .

Coming out to others is likely to be a more positive experience when you are more secure with your sexuality and less reliant on others for your positive self-concept. The necessary clarification of feelings is a process that usually takes place over time. It may be a good idea to work through that process before you take the actual steps. Usually it is not a good idea to come out on the spur of the moment. Make coming out an action, not a reaction.

In coming out to others, consider the following:

  • Think about what you want to say and choose the time and place carefully.
  • Be aware of what the other person is going through. The best time for you might not be the best time for someone else.
  • Present yourself honestly and remind the other person that you are the same individual you were yesterday.
  • Be prepared for an initially negative reaction from some people. Do not forget that it took time for you to come to terms with your sexuality, and that it is important to give others the time they need.
  • Have friends lined up to talk with you later about what happened.
  • Don’t give up hope if you don’t initially get the reaction you wanted. Due to inculcated societal prejudices mentioned earlier, some people need more time than others to come to terms with what they have heard.

Above all, be careful no to let your self-esteem depend entirely on the approval of others. If a person rejects you and refuses to try to work on acceptance, that’s not your fault. Keep in mind that this initial refusal may get reversed once the individual gets used to the idea that you are LGBT. If time does not seem to change the individual’s attitude toward you, then you may want to re-evaluate your relationship and its importance to you. Remember that you have the right to be who you are, you have the right to be out and open about all important aspects of your identity including your sexual orientation, and in no case is another person’s rejection evidence of your lack of worth or value.

Summary

The decision to come out is always personal. Whether to come out and, if so, when, where, how, and to whom are all questions you must answer for yourself. Taking control of this process includes being aware in advance of potential ramifications so that you can act positively rather than defensively. Coming out may be one of the most difficult tasks you confront in your life, but it can also be one of the most rewarding. Coming out is one way of affirming your dignity and the dignity of other LGBT people. Remember that you are not alone; there is a viable LGBT community waiting to be explored, and more heterosexual “allies” are willing to offer their support than you might have first imagined.

Need Additional Help?

Some suggested readings to help you throughout this process are:

  1. Now That You Know. Betty Fairchild & Robert Leighton. New York, NY. Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich, 1989.
  2. Beyond Acceptance. Carolyn Welch Griffin, Marina J. Wirth & Arthur G. Wirth. New York, NY. St. Martin’s Press, 1997.
  3. Straight Parents/Gay Children. Robert A. Bernstein. New York, NY. Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1995.

Rev Al Miller’s late response to Dwayne Jones’ Murder & Respect heterosexuals demand

So Reverend Al Miller apart from using his weekend tele-evangelist airtime to suggest reparative therapy as if it works in his church Fellowship Tabernacle has finally come clean with respects to the awful murder of transgender teen Dwayne Jones in Montego Bay earlier this year. In an interview on Newstalk 93FM radio similar to other pastors who have been getting far more airtime than normal since the Queen Ifrica Freedom of Speech fiasco has and is still playing out Reverend Miller tried to bring some semblance of tolerance to the mix. Let us not forget this is the same man some time ago openly said persons must not buy into the tolerance call from the gay lobby as it was a guise to sneak in homosexuality on the nation. In September 2011 on this blog I posted Rev Al Miller says gay lobby is using the guise of tolerance to get the nation to accept the “gay lifestyle” where he said among other things

 

“Nothing is wrong with loving someone but disagreeing or disliking their lifestyle and the issue is the lifestyle we are not against, the Christians the word of god is not against the individual cause we are all sinners but we must recognize sin as sin, wrong is wrong and so although we may accept and embrace the person but we must say that the conduct is not right  and what the gay agenda is about is wanting the society to accept the lifestyle as being right but they are using the guise of tolerance, of course we can be tolerant with the individual but we must have the right to be intolerant to a practice that is not right it is in the same vein as anyone who practices a lifestyle that is inconsistent with correct behaviour or good for a society, if it is stealing if it is murder or any other kind of crime that is not good for society.

We must embrace the individual but we must reject the lifestyle the behaviour and it is the same, it is the behaviour, when we talk about the protection of rights the protection of rights if gays already exists because all their natural rights are there but what they are crying for is not protection of rights against harm in as much as crying for the acceptance of the lifestyle so that we will legitimize a lifestyle which is contrary to moral law to natural law to social order and all that certainly is good and decent and wholesome and will ensure our fulfillment of the mandate that we were given by our creator.”

Yesterday however he called for everyone to respect the norms and values of society and that accepted norms must not be overlooked “There is no question that that whole incident is unfortunate and is not the kind of thing that should happen we need justice and acting justly and rightly is the way that we must operate and as a society with values must operate and be consistent in upholding of its values and the welfare and rights of individuals are critical in that process but it is equally true that in any society that standards of behaviour and accepted norms must also be respected by all, it can’t be good for some and not for others.”

He further stated that while members of the gay community are calling for the rights of such persons to be respected we must also respect the rights of the heterosexual community, “Unfortunately in recent times that an incident like the one that happened there that created the ire of the citizens who have reacted at wrongly but it is speaking however to citizen that is saying that is not the accepted norm that we want. Equally we must respect the rights of all it has to be both sides, I am hearing a lot in recent times that the gay rights lobby for instance is primarily promoting what they consider their rights must be protected but yet be ignoring the rights of others, you cannot do unjustly to do justly so if we are going to talk about justice and wisdom we must be equitable so that they also must respect the rights and beliefs and the norms of the rest of society.” Meanwhile a British Gay rights group stages a protest in the UK as headed by Peter Tatchell and a Justice for Dwayne Jones at the Jamaican Consulate yesterday in London. They called for the government to protect the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender communities against hate crimes. Pity that the realities still escape our friends overseas here as this was not a homophobic killing directly but has variables that either at the programmatic and intervention levels have yet to be properly discussed and understood.

More Rev Al Miller anti gay positions:

Rev Al Miller on the Abnormality of Homosexuality & the invented gay marriage rights ploy

also see Anti gay pastor and restorative therapy advocate in trouble with the law again from sister blog GLBTQJA on blogger

Church Stands Resolute Against Buggery Backers says Al Miller ………… Love March Movement Lacks Moral Compass says LGBT voice

It seems the goodly Reverend’s view on respecting the rights of others is to stay quiet and be subject to condemnation biblically and otherwise but when one of our members is maimed or killed the half hearted conditional tolerance and pity comes forth, really!? The gentleman needs to remember his track record speaks to his true position from his active appearances in the Charter of Rights passage where he alongside Shirley Richards of the Lawywers’ Christian Fellowship made sure whatever coverage of discrimination due to sexual orientation was removed yet he comes with this position, who does he think he is fooling here?

Check out the video: Dwayne Jones (Gully Queen) Last Appearance prior to his murder 

The Jamaica Council of Churches on Homosexuality thus far

The Jamaica Council of Churches on Homosexuality thus far …….

Gary-Harriott.jpg

 

JCC’s General Secretary Gary Harriot

Exactly one month ago May 28th after a previous interview alongside the Executive Director of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG Dane Lewis on George Davis Live on Nationwide where a clear position was not really established by the JCC a follow-up report came in print media suggesting the Jamaica Council of Churches, JCC had not put a formal position on homosexuality given the hotly debated issue with court challenges in full effect. General Secretary of the JCC Gary Harriot in that interview said the conversations need to continue as other Caribbean church leaders expressed the pressure that their societies are under to repeal laws supposedly against the “homosexual lifestyle.” Gen Sec Harriot seems unaware or a slip of the tongue that homosexuality is not illegal and buggery is not synonymous with gay men only.

The issue of church members being homosexuals came up for mention as well to which the Gen Sec said the council is yet to finalize an official position although they have a draft in place as a work in progress document, he said whichever church one may go one is bound to find someone struggling with homosexual tendencies or relationship matters not in keeping with the teachings of the church.  Dane Lewis at the time spoke to the questions posed to him on the opposition from the anti gay groups. For the most part it was a slow interview and lacked a more robust feel to peak the public’s interest. Reverend Harriot spoke to the possible changes on the law following the court cases filed and that of those awaiting deliberations (tolerance advert). He said “I can express two basic points, there is a side of the church that sees homosexuality as a moral issue …… legalizing such action may not be the way to deal with it but to deal with it from a moral perspective, the other side of the coin when you look what is happening elsewhere it looks like a strategic political move and that if you were to remove the law then what you are doing is that you are opening a flood gate that you are going into directions where your whole social fabric would be changed”

He said also that there is some tension and that the JCC has not come to a formal position which they hope to do in a few weeks if they are able to arrive at a consensus.

As far as I am concerned they seem limp wristed overall, they are silent on most matters and other societal ills especially when the Peoples National Party, PNP are in power and have been accused of being politically aligned to the party hence their docility. This cautious treading is far different when compared to the other more radical evangelical bodies and voices. Fast forward to today on Love 101FM with host Theologian Reverend Clinton Chisholm, the interview had a different tone when compared to the Nationwide radio George Davis Live session as aforementioned, Reverend Harriot reiterated his point of the JCC not having an official statement yet on their position towards homosexuality but he mentioned what the members have put forward thus far:

Some members did not see homosexuality as natural or normal

For the pastoral side persons who are engaged in a homosexual lifestyle their humanity must be regarded

They must benefit from the pastoral care from the church to which he included reparative therapy as a solution to the “lifestyle”

Marriage must remain as is between a male and a female

They are unsure and do not have a consensus on whether the buggery law should be repealed; some are of the view it should be kept while others if the act takes place in private between two consenting adults in private then while not supporting the behaviour it should not be a matter for a person should be held for a criminal act.

Should buggery be treated as a legal matter or a moral issue?

He lamented the selectivity of the church on issues and tied into that is the ministry of healing that must take precedence

Policing sex laws he agreed with Reverend Chisholm is a challenge and examples such as adultery, incest and child abuse were offered. He mentioned psycho social skills in spotting a possible abuse victims but the problem of police actually having to intrude to see what suspects are doing is an issue.

The pseudo scientific component was brought in the exchange as proving some aspects of sex crimes including buggery would involve DNA evidence and the individual subjecting themselves to clinical examination.

Discussions with groups like JFLAG and the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition on the issues and also with major church leaders not JCC as a group but committees that one or all the groups are apart. The JCC sat with the group JFLAG during the high moments of the homeless MSM issue in New Kingston.

Homosexuality is not in the plan and design of God

The church must become proactive in teaching persons about sex and sexuality and the consequences of unhealthy practices he however highlighted that the buggery law does not only apply to same gender sex.

General Secretary Harriot spent a great deal emphasizing reparative therapy and counselling for persons supposedly damaged by homosexuality. He said persons are in the church struggling he tried to prove causation as from an abuse standpoint or persons were forced into the “lifestyle” and a struggle with the flesh. He also suggested psychotherapy but the pastor who is close to the issue should allow another professional to handle the case as a counselling officer in the church usually a preacher should not also preach to that client who may be in the congregation on any given service date. Conflicts of interest may occur as an illustration while behind pulpit may cause the client to withdraw.

Reverend Clinton Chisholm again proving his ignorance on sexuality committed another infraction this time towards asexual where he made the following comment “If you have never felt a strong pull for sexual intercourse, you are either abnormal, too old, too young or too lie.” Clearly both Reverend needs to be brought up to speed on Asexuality (persons who engage in emotional relations more so than sexual ones) or Demisexuals (persons who only develop sexual interest in someone after a protracted period where an emotional attachment has been formed) for Reverend Clinton to suggest such persons are abnormal is a misnomer as both forms are not considered a disorder by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, DSM, the guide for all psychological professionals. The training of pastors in counselling was discussed at length and pin pointing sexual problems.

Reverend Harriot also said the church should also get the family of the reparative therapy client and they repeated refer to homosexuality as a lifestyle more so than an innate orientation. He however cautioned that pastors need to know their weakness and if they have strong feelings towards the issue then they should refrain possibly from direct handling of a particular client as it may impact the work.

The “Repentant” homosexual was also examined from an official office standpoint in any church as if they genuinely showed remorse or change then that individual should be restored to their previously held position however Reverend Chisholm expressed reservations as the general membership may not concur with such a decision.

Gay clergy was not officially addressed by the JCC’s draft paper but some churches suggest once persons express homosexual tendencies or desire a need for some redress then reparative work should be done. As long as also there is not an open expression of the lifestyle so in other words keep it to yourself and we may look the other way, without saying it in some many words. A disturbing line from the General Secretary had me stunned for a few second when he said: “As long as the person does not engage in sex and remains celibate then they could be considered for the position.” Strange to me as I thought aloud while listening the interview that in the absence of everyone how would the clergy or pastoral staff know or prove this officer is celibate are they going to monitor the officer’s movement so much? Denominations under the JCC established their own protocols under some guidance for now.

A rather roundabout and unclear set of positions in some sense from the JCC’s standpoint as the leading interfaith body. Even in the face of reparative or conversion therapy proving a failure or agencies that offer such closing case in point Ex-Gay Ministries in the United States there is still this belief that orientation can be changed without disastrous consequences. Just this week the UK and New Jersey have moved to ban conversion therapy and California had done so last year.

See what you make of this.

UPDATE July 8, 2013 New President says Government will bow to gays:

Buggery law: Government will bow

New church head expects pressure from int’l community, gays on Simpson Miller administration


Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Buggery-law–Government-will-bow_14640324#ixzz2YVr0WkDB

Peace and tolerance

H

Gays Born, Not Made, response to anti gay Rev Espeut

Following an article in the Gleaner recently a response has come via that medium in a short letter (too short in my view) but to the point to the Reverend and Sociologist Peter Espeut. He has been on a roll with weird remarks about homosexuality some of which amounting to arrant nonsense. Also below was a response by a bioethics professor in Canada on Espeut’s claim that Gays are made and not born so.

Firstly here is the letter from today (Edited newspaper version) (below is the unedited version as contributed by Mr Welsh)

 

Gays Born, Not Made, Mr Espeut

The Editor Sir,
I am now convinced that columnist Peter Espeut has fell off the wagon and bumped his head. This fixation on the affairs of gay men has revealed his not-so-latent prejudices and seeming inability to form a rational series of thoughts and commit them to paper once the subject matter involves homosexuality.
His last attempt at satire titled “Very Public Privacy” published on May 31, 2013 failed miserably as the reader could hear the cogs in his brain creaking and groaning under the pressure of trying to comprehend
the idea that ALL Jamaicans are entitled to fundamental rights, not just the ones he has a doctrinal affinity for.

This is a concept that he has been at pains to come to grips with as evidenced by the litany of articles in which he attempts to remind the uppity homosexuals that they have no right to what is wrong. What Espeut fails to realize is that rights are not dependent on morals. They are innate to human beings by virtue of them being human and no one, and especially not a clergyman, is in any position to prescribe who is human enough to enjoy the right to be treated as such. Human Rights are objective entitlements,
not subjective privileges and they are limited only by the need to balance and harmonize with the rights of others in the human community.
His next painful attempt to rationalize his prejudices came under the unfortunate headline “Gays Made, Not Born” and was published on June 14, 2013. The only question I must ask of Espeut in response to this nonsensical title is: “By whom?” Implicit in this foolish collection of letters is the idea that Gays are manufactured by some sinister production process and thus have no entitlement to their identities. By his logic, it would then follow that
since they are not born, as regular humans are, they have no claim to any human rights since they are a malady, an abomination, and an aberration of nature that ought to be eliminated, or at the very least ignored. This is an argument that must be firmly and resoundingly rejected by all well-thinking people.
This might shock Espeut but gay people are in fact MADE by God and BORN into families such as his and everyone else’s. The difficulty for Espeut and others of his ilk is that their concept of God is a reflection of a value system which they were not born with, but which was made through a process of indoctrination. Evidently it is the Christian Fundamentalists who are made, not born, and therefore ought to have their rights restricted. I’m sure that would not comfort them.

BRIAN-PAUL WELSH

brianpaul.welsh@gmail.com

ENDS

meanwhile

‘Gays Made, Not Born’ – On the Confused State of the Religious Mind

Call it an easy target, blame me for going after the intellectually weak, but what is it about the Catholic pre-occupation with other people’s sex lives and identities. And why are they consistently so confused both about the meaning of facts when it comes to sexual orientation as well as about the normative issues?Jamaican Catholic Deacon Peter Espeut is as good an example as any to show what I am concerned about. Jamaica being a militantly anti-gay country where anti-gay discrimination was recently even enshrined in the country’s constitution, courtesy to a large extent of campaigners like Catholic-Deacon-sociologist-turned-sex-expert Peter Espeut. Espeut writes in today’s edition of the Jamaica Gleaner that gays are made, and that we are not born that way. Do read his contribution to public debate on that island to make sense of what follows below.He takes the current absence of conclusive evidence of a genetic causation of homosexuality as evidence of a non-genetic causation of homosexuality. To give you just one example to illustrate how absurd this view of the nature of scientific inquiry is: According to Espeut’s logic, HIV could not have been the cause of AIDS when it hadn’t been discovered. Now, I am not suggesting that there is a genetic cause of sexual orientation, but to claim, as Espeut does, that it cannot have one because there isn’t conclusive evidence at a certain point in time (ie today), is remarkably stupid. Perhaps that level of critical thinking skills is what predestines one to become a columnist for one of Jamaica’s daily papers. Let’s just note that this view on the causation issue constitutes a basic logic error and move on.

He then makes another logic error, and compounds it with plenty of excited exclamation marks. The exclamation marks have to do with not-blameworthy human characteristics such as the colour of our skin. As Espeut notes, ‘we are born that way.’ Implied is that we didn’t choose to be that way, and that we are what we are in an immutable sense. Well, the thing is, there’s plenty of things we have not chosen, yet they are immutable. Think about our language. Did we consciously choose it? Can we consciously dump it? Not quite. So, immutability is quite unrelated to the ‘born that way’ proposition. I do apologise for not using exclamation marks here, but do feel free to add them for emphasis in your mind.

Not surprisingly, Espeut being a sociologist, he then moves on to the next mistake, namely seeing the cause of sexual orientation in some parental behaviour. After all, having unjustifiably excluded genetic factors (and presumably, even though he doesn’t say it, any number of possible non-social environmental factors), Espeut moves right on to his favourite possible causes of sexual orientation. Being a good sociologist he offers a lot of possible – but entirely speculative! – stuff, just in case.

He writes, ‘But what causes gender-conforming and gender-non-conforming behaviour? Hormone imbalances may be one explanation. Others suggest that domineering mothers and ineffectual fathers may interfere with socialisation; and still others suggest that homosexuality may be triggered by having sexual encounters with members of one’s own sex at an early age that prove to be very satisfying.’

As I noted before, Catholic Church staff and lay people have a perverse fascination with other people’s sex lives. For the fun of it, let me note that ‘hormone imbalances’ invariably would invariably have causative genetic components. But hey, sociologists… – It is also worth noting that the language that is deployed here isn’t exactly descriptive sociology, rather it is Catholic theology dressed up in pseudo-academic language. ‘Domineering mothers’, ‘ineffectual fathers’, plus (we are in Jamaica after all, so this still flies in public discourse) the invariable bullshit about pedophile homosexual grooming. Who, among serious sociologists or psychologists suggests the latter? Nobody that I’m am aware of. What is remarkable about Espeut’s pet causes of homosexuality is that there is no more evidence for any of them then there is for his much-hated genetic causes. But that’s what he believes in, so with all the weight that a degree in sociology and deaconessing in the Catholic Church provides, much credence is given to these baseless claims about the causes of homosexuality.

Espeut concludes thus, ‘Let us not fall into line with ‘gay-rights’ propaganda by speaking as if LGBT behaviour is normal and natural. Unless you want to say that improper socialisation and dysfunctionality are normal and acceptable.’ I have alerted you already to the Deacon’s favourite rhetorical tool of using pejorative language (‘improper’, ‘dysfunctional’ etc) where argument would be required. Let me address the issue of homosexuality being abnormal and unnatural issue by copying here content from a Hastings Center Report article I published back in 1997. It’s still true and shows us how little progress has been made on this subject matter. The fundamentalist religious in the world will turn around and continue their little flat-earth tirades as if nothing had happened at all. And mass media still give them outlets to vent their rage instead of asking them to seek professional help.

‘Why is there a dispute as to whether homosexuality is natural or normal? We suggest it is because many people seem to think that nature has a prescriptive normative force such that what is deemed natural or normal is necessarily good and therefore ought to be. Everything that falls outside these terms is constructed as unnatural and abnormal, and it has been argued that this constitutes sufficient reason to consider homosexuality worth avoiding.[16] Arguments that appeal to ‘normality’ to provide us with moral guidelines also risk committing the naturalistic fallacy. The naturalistic fallacy is committed when one mistakenly deduces from the way things are to the way they ought to be. For instance, Dean Hamer and colleagues commit this error in their Science article when they state that “it would be fundamentally unethical to use such information to try to assess or alter a person’s current or future sexual orientation, either heterosexual or homosexual, or other normal attributes of human behavior.”[17] Hamer and colleagues believe that there is a major genetic factor contributing to sexual orientation. From this they think it follows that homosexuality is normal, and thus worthy of preservation. Thus they believe that genetics can tell us what is normal, and that the content of what is normal tells us what ought to be. This is a typical example of a naturalistic fallacy. Normality can be defined in a number of ways, but none of them direct us in the making of moral judgments. First, normality can be reasonably defined in a descriptive sense as a statistical average. Appeals to what is usual, regular, and/or conforming to existing standards ultimately collapse into statistical statements. For an ethical evaluation of homosexuality, it is irrelevant whether homosexuality is normal or abnormal in this sense. All sorts of human traits and behaviors are abnormal in a statistical sense, but this is not a sufficient justification for a negative ethical judgment about them. Second, ‘normality’ might be defined in a functional sense, where what is normal is something that has served an adaptive function from an evolutionary perspective. This definition of normality can be found in sociobiology, which seeks biological explanations for social behavior. There are a number of serious problems with the sociobiological project.[18] For the purposes of this argument, however, suffice it to say that even if sociobiology could establish that certain behavioral traits were the direct result of biological evolution, no moral assessment of these traits would follow. To illustrate our point, suppose any trait that can be reasonably believed to have served an adaptive function at some evolutionary stage is normal. Some questions arise that exemplify the problems with deriving normative conclusions from descriptive science. Are traits that are perpetuated simply through linkage to selectively advantageous loci less ‘normal’ than those for which selection was direct? Given that social contexts now exert ‘selective pressure’ in a way that nature once did, how are we to decide which traits are to be intentionally fostered? Positions holding the view that homosexuality is unnatural, and therefore wrong also inevitably develop incoherencies. They often fail to explicate the basis upon which the line between natural and unnatural is drawn. More importantly, they fail to explain why we should consider all human-made or artificial things as immoral or wrong. These views are usually firmly based in a non-empirical, prescriptive interpretation of nature rather than a scientific descriptive approach. They define arbitrarily what is natural and have to import other normative assumptions and premises to build a basis for their conclusions. For instance, they often claim that an entity called “God” has declared homosexuality to be unnatural and sinful.[19] Unfortunately, these analyses have real-world consequences. In Singapore, unnatural acts are considered a criminal offence, and “natural intercourse” is arbitrarily defined as “the coitus of the male and female organs.” A recent High Court decision there declared oral sex “unnatural,” and therefore a criminal offence, unless it leads to subsequent reproductive intercourse.

In the United States, several scholars and lesbian and gay activists have argued that establishing a genetic basis for sexual orientation will help make the case for lesbian and gay rights. The idea is that scientific research will show that people do not choose their sexual orientations and therefore they should not be punished or discriminated against in virtue of them. This general argument is flawed in several ways.[23] First, we do not need to show that a trait is genetically determined to argue that it is not amenable to change at will. This is clearly shown by the failure rates of conversion therapies.[24] These failures establish that sexual orientation is resistant to change, but they do not say anything about its ontogeny or etiology. Sexual orientation can be unchangeable without being genetically determined. There is strong observational evidence to support the claim that sexual orientation is difficult to change, but this evidence is perfectly compatible with non-genetic accounts of the origins of sexual orientations. More importantly, we should not embrace arguments that seek to legitimate homosexuality by denying that there is any choice in sexual preference because the implicit premise of such arguments is that if there was a choice, then homosexuals would be blameworthy.

ENDS
Let me add this video

The abomination of cowardice; The just and the unjust … John Maxwell’s 8y/o piece revisited

Some of you may know by now I have always liked this particular article from the late John Maxwell, in its original form it was one of those pieces that turned me on even more to advocacy and to think it came from a heterosexual at that in Jamaica is even more exceptional. His Maxwell House Blog is still up.

Here is the article in the form of an Observer Column published today:

The abomination of cowardice; The just and the unjust

Today marks the second anniversary of the passing of iconic journalist John Maxwell. In the following excerpts culled by his widow, Dr Marjan deBruin, from two of Maxwell’s columns (December 2004 and February 2007) published in the Sunday Observer, the journalist is at his trenchant best on issues over which the society continues to agonise.

SEVERAL years ago, various media outlets carried a rumour that homosexuals were planning a march on Jamaica House. I don’t remember anyone believing the story, but the media ran with it anyway. On the day appointed, dozens of idiots armed with cutlasses descended on Half-Way-Tree square prepared to teach the homosexuals a lesson. None, of course, appeared.


MAXWELL… if we do not ‘love’ one another, ie respecting the rights of all, if we destroy those who are different, we are sabotaging our own chances of survival by reducing the diversity and complexity of life, which is what enhances the odds that we will survive (Photo courtesy of Leah N Gold)

As I have said in an earlier column, it was a uniquely Jamaican occasion, because I don’t believe that anywhere else in the world would the press have been so willing to spread such a plainly ridiculous and dangerous story, given the homophobic environment; nor would there be, anywhere else in the world, people idle enough to assemble for a sporting massacre, as it were. It was a low point in Jamaican civilisation and none of our leaders said a word.

Unfortunately, on the question of homophobia and homosexuality, the press is at least as backward as the majority of Fundamentalist Jamaica. Reading the advice columns demonstrates just how ignorant and illiterate people — including some counsellors — are about anything concerning sex.

Betty Ann Blaine, a very nice lady who is also a well-known social worker, delivered herself of the dictum that homosexuality is ‘learned behaviour’… There is no authority anywhere for anyone to say that homosexual behaviour is learned.

On the contrary, controlled experiment with rats under environmental stress produced ‘homosexual’ intercourse which surprised the investigators because that was not what they were looking for. And homosexual pairing is well established among certain birds. There is also some evidence that there may be genetic predispositions which may or may not be reinforced by nurture. The fact is that no one really knows, which, I suppose, is as good a reason as any for murder.

Be fruitful and multiply…

 Diversity is the key to survival with species and among species. If we do not ‘love’ one another, ie respecting the rights of all, if we destroy those who are different, we are sabotaging our own chances of survival by reducing the diversity and complexity of life, which is what enhances the odds that we will survive.

To be fruitful and multiply is not, as some of us imagine, a prescription for uncontrolled breeding; it means that we should provide equal opportunity for the survival of all. Fitness arises from diversity, not the other way round.

The more diverse we are is the more likely that some of us will survive, which is directly opposite to the views of the sectarian bigots who now presume to lay down rules to decide who we should love and who we should allow to survive.

The prophet whose teachings they claim to follow, Jesus of Nazareth, was in fact a supremely practical philosopher whose teachings seem to contradict most of the stuff handed down by the new rule makers. When Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, it was clear that He was not discarding the Sabbath and what it stood for, but making the point that while ethics and principles and the rules derived from them were prerequisites for a healthy and productive life, they were designed to fulfil human purposes and not to frustrate human happiness.

They needed to be adjusted and fitted to serve human purposes from time to time, to advance the human. Our ethical principles needed to be developed out of experience to serve real needs and not to be accepted simply because they had existed for a very long time or because some old geezer claiming to be a prophet said so.

Our absolutists who want to burn homosexuals and other sinners appear to reject one of the most fundamental arguments advanced by Jesus: that while the law and the prophets were to be taken into account, he was promulgating a new principle in total defiance of Mosaic Law: a new commandment give I unto you, he said, “that ye love one another.”

…The Christian Taliban

 Much of the homophobic plague now disfiguring our society is incited by those I call the Christian Taliban, a gang of prideful know-nothings who come not to call sinners to repentance, but to deliver them into the hands of the vigilantes. Some have acquired their second rate theology for a couple of hundred US dollars from some self-styled Bible college.

What riles me is that, in the heat of their newly bought holiness, they want to crucify the rest of us, or more accurately, to stretch or cut us to fit their own Procrustean beds of sublime ignorance.

They depend on the Old Testament, a collection of some of the oral history of nomadic tribes wandering about the Middle East 4,000 years ago. This accumulated wisdom was life-preserving at that time, surrounded as they were by enemies and eating unreliable food, but as Jesus of Nazareth said, it isn’t what a man consumes that defiles him, but what comes out of him.

Because the Israelite nomads wanted to build up the numerical strength of their tribes they encouraged men to impregnate their sisters-in-law if their brothers died, and buggery — then and now the poorest but surest means of birth control — was an abomination as was, for the same reason, ‘Onanism’ or masturbation.

To their modern-day successors, like the Pharisees and Sadducees with their phylacteries and other tokens of holiness, what is good is not what one does but what one says, forgetting another apothegm from Jesus — that the Devil can quote scripture to his own purpose. As far as they are concerned, the idea that God is Love is nonsense: God is a terrible God, full of wrath, vengefulness and thunderbolts.

These whited sepulchres understand Jesus’ advice that we should be our brother’s keepers to mean that they should be their brother’s jailers. My old friend Peter Walker used to call these hypocrites “God-Botherers” because they seemed to have exclusive hotlines to their divinity.

Now they counsel us based on misinterpretations of 4,000-year-old ‘science’, that abortion is always wrong, that life begins at conception and a host of other nonsense, including the belief that sex education makes children pregnant.

The latest outrage is the idea of raising the age of consent, an idea some would interpret to authorise the jailing of anyone who had sexual intercourse before that age. Just say no, they blather — ignorance is literally bliss. I have news for them: if they really want to protect young people they should promote the raising of the age of consent to 24, because scientists have discovered that the brains of human children do not completely mature until about that age.

As I write this my friend Canute James has shown me a story from The Guardian (London) about a Jamaican who has, for the last 27 years, successfully pretended to be an expert forensic psychologist. This conman even had a motto which must have come straight from Jamaica: ‘Exposing Unrighteousness for the Sake of Righteousness’.

This man, one Gene Morrison, who didn’t even have a ‘genuine mail order’ degree, duped judges, barristers and their clients for almost three decades. He gave “expert evidence” in cases involving armed robbery, rape, death by dangerous driving, unexplained death and drug offences. Police are now having to re-assess about 700 cases looking for miscarriages of justice.

Never underestimate the power of a righteous Jamaican, especially one armed with the Wrath of God.

also see:  John Maxwell’s “The Abomination of Cowardice” from Gay Jamaica Watch

and: Betty Ann Blaine & foreign religious zealots continue to mirespresent male  homosexuality from GLBTQJamaica

 

‘Taboo Yardies’ director wants conversation on homosexuality

by Geisha Kowlessar from the Trinidad Guardian

At the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival to be held in September the documentary Taboo Yardies will be shown. Although it was filmed in Jamaica, director Selena Blake is confident it would send a clear message to citizens of T&T. Blake was one of the hundreds of delegates manning information booths yesterday at the Washington Convention Centre during the 19th International Aids Conference.

 

“The documentary deals with homophobia in Jamaica and will be shown on September 23,” said Blake. “The documentary is like a cookie-cutter in that you can use and relate it to Trinidad and all the other Caribbean countries, because homophobia is homophobia…it is intolerance towards that someone that’s different.”

 

She added that while there may be Trinidadians and Tobagonians who may not agree with the documentary, she hoped the majority would stand up and applaud her work. “I don’t have any preconceived notions. I know there are going to be people who would say, ‘I hate this film,’ but I hope the majority of them stand up and applaud and understand …but whatever I get, I welcome it, because it is about bringing awareness and having a conversation. Homosexuality is there, but nobody talks about it, and this does not mean it is going to go away, because it’s not.”

 

Blake added that many of the other themes could also be related to T&T, as the documentary seeks to capture a wide audience. “Because even though Trinidad is less intolerant than Jamaica, there is still a level of hostility towards the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community. It is a matter of educating people (to) understand we all have the right to exist on this planet, regardless of your sexual orientation, colour or religion,” Blake said.

 

Blake said the concept of Taboo Yardies gives a voice to those Jamaicans and by extension those in T&T who dare to speak up and out about the intolerance and violence towards LGBT people, particularly as they pertain to an individual’s human rights. In Jamaica as in T&T, Blake said, it was integral to find a “space where we respect each other.”

 

“We have to really think about…what if you were gay, black or white? How would you like to be treated? So it goes back to humans rights, racism and all of that. We really have to step back for a moment and ask ourselves if that was your child, or that was you, how you would like to be treated,” she added. Religion is also a key factor which has sparked heated debates on homosexuality, she said.

 

“We talk about religion and we base homosexuality as being an abomination, but at the end of the day God is love, and who gives you the right to judge? Who died and made you God?”

 

 

About Selena Blake

Selena Blake was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She grew up in Old Harbour, St Catherine, the youngest of six girls. In 1979, she migrated to New York with her mother, and finished her education there. Her first big break came as a model. Blake thereafter became interested in film, and had small roles in such films as Third Watch, Changing Lanes, and The Best Man.

 

“We hope Taboo Yardies becomes a vehicle that spurs an open an honest conversation that ultimately promotes respect and tolerance for all people regardless of sexual orientation,” Blake said.