Jamaican Religious community & Theologians scoff at the “Gay Bible”

Queen James Bible said to be more favourable to homosexuals

Anonymous editors, possibly of the gay community, have set out to reinterpret the King James Version of the Bible by creating a new translation entitled, ‘The Queen James Bible‘, making the translation favourable to gays and lesbians.

The King James Version of the Bible is one of the foremost and leading documents which denounce same-sex attractions and unions.

It is difficult to ascertain who the actual creators of the new version are, as the largest popular online retailer, Amazon.com lists the publisher as Queen James.

This new version, which was released at the end of November, is said to be making an attempt at preventing any homophobic misinterpretations of the Bible.

The publishers have claimed that the use of the word ‘homosexuality’ was not used in the Bible until 1946 when the Revised Standard Version had been released and that people had misunderstood the original meaning of the text.

Of the original text of the Bible, the eight scriptures that have been most frequently cited to denounce homosexuality have been altered in the gay version

The editors have cited that the original scriptures were wrongly construed to reference homosexual behaviour and have now made “homosexual interpretations impossible”.

One of the scriptures that were amended was Genesis 19:5. Originally, the scripture read, “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us that we may know them”. In its amended form, it now reads “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may rape and humiliate them.”

Shun

At least two clergymen have shunned the alterations made by the ‘Queen James Bible’.

Pastor and vice-president of the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals, Peter Garth, stated, “It is no threat to the Church. I do not think the Church will be alarmed by this. Individuals cannot just change the Bible based on the original texts.”

“This sounds like a grand circus and if you change the word to fit your lifestyle then you have tainted the word,” he said.

Senior pastor of a New Testament Church of God in Portmore, St Catherine, Philbert Johnson noted that, “Man should not add or subtract from the word of God as they will pay the ultimate price, which is enshrined in Revelation 22:19,” the pastor explained.

Shane Bennett, a born again believer, stated, “I do not think people would gravitate to this or take it as a truth. It’s not going to create any new wave of doctrine. One must not think too highly of it as it is just lies,” Bennett said.

When a representative of J-Flag was contacted and asked of the relevance of the Bible to the gay community, he said that he was unaware of its existence but mentioned that he didn’t think there was need to create another version as many already existed.

The new Bible is being retailed for approximately $US35 on Amazon.com and the name chosen is due to allegations that King James was called Queen James due to the various homosexual relationships he is said to have had.

Meanwhile, checks made with some of the island’s popular book retailers such as the Kingston Bookshop, Sangster’s Book Stores and the Bible Society of Jamaica have revealed that they were unaware of the existence of the biblical text and so cannot state whether or not they will be introducing the book to the Jamaican market.

Meanwhile ………..

Douglas J. Moo, Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College and a professional Bible translator, told The Christian Post that the Queen James editors’ assessment of past translations is not entirely accurate.
‘Few, if any English translations use the actual words ‘homosexuality’ or ‘homosexual.’ But the history of English translation shows that versions have consistently used other language to refer to what we would call homosexual relationships’, said Mr Moo.’For instance, the King James Version of Romans 1:27 refers to ‘men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly.

‘It would be very difficult to deny that this language, and the language found in many other places in both the OT and the NT, refers to homosexuality.’A Vicar in New Zealand, meanwhile, has caused outrage by putting up a poster outside his church in Auckland, New Zealand, that claims Jesus was gay.
‘It’s Christmas. Time for Jesus to come out’, the sign proclaims, with an image of baby Jesus as a toddler in a manger, surrounded by a rainbow halo.

Reverend Glynn Cardy of St Matthew in the City church, said that, as homosexuality was not a word until the 1800s, any mention of it in the Bible or other documents would have mistranslations.
He points out that there is no indication about Jesus’s sexuality: ‘The fact is we don’t know what his sexual orientation was.’
His attempts at challenging the status quo were defended by fellow Reverend Clay Nelson who said the billboard tried to humanise Jesus by getting people to think about the challenges he would have had growing up.

He added: ‘Some scholars have tried to make the case that he might have been gay.

‘But it is all conjecture. Maybe gay, maybe not. Does it matter?

‘There is almost nothing in the record of his teachings about sexuality while there is plenty about the perils of being rich. Certainly he always supported the marginalised in society.’

This is not sitting to well with me yet though as the feminization bit by calling the publication “Queen James Edition” while I understand where they want to go may be interpreted elsewhere as something else. Here is a snapshot of a discussion on the matter with Reverend Clinton Chisholm and guests.

The use of Jamaican dialect to further stigmatise homosexuals in the new patois Bible

The use of a patois (Jamaican dialect) to further stigmatise homosexuals

I could only conclude such as I replayed a clip of an interview of a discussion on the major religious station Love101FM on Human Rights Day of all days when the recently launched patois Bible as translated from the King James Version our local dialect as the theologians albeit facing some opposition from Christian and secular quarters alike pat themselves on the back on the feat. A corresponding audio compilation is also out and has been getting some media attention lately. I was opposed to it at first as was some regular readers and those who dropped in on my Gay Jamaica Watch blog where a poll was run for just over a year with over 80% of those who participated said categorically no to such a publication  but my small blog could not stop a bigger plan could it?

The discussion for the most part took light attention to the types of words selected and their possible meanings or interpretations by readers of the publication but when they got to the always controversial text of Romans on homosexuality in Rome and apostle Paul’s theological concerns he expressed in the book to the saints at Corinth as his sojourn to Rome was delayed for several reasons so he prepared the writings and sent them on. The word “reprobate” in the text of chapter one verse twenty eight was the source of some contention as the host Reverend Clinton Chisholm who also contributes his voice in the audio production of the work pondered whether the colloquial word used in the patois Bible really created the desired imagery?

Romans 1:28 (KJV):

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge. God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

The actual text from the New Testament patois Bible said as follows (transcribed from audio) verses 26 and 27 apparently condensed to one

“And cause dem a do dem si’hn deh God lef dem fi bring dung shame pon demself him lef dem fi rek part inna all kind a sexing  and so de oman dem ‘top do wey normal dem ‘top sleep wid man and go start sleep wid oman, a same so de man dem ‘top do wey normal tu, dem ‘top sleep wid oman an go start sleep wid man, man a sleep wid man dat a shame and cause wah dem a do wrong God a go gi dem just wey dem fi get God a go punish dem,”

The comes the damning verse 28, with their interpretation of the problematic reprobate as appearing in the King James Version

“Dem know de truth but dem mek up dem mind seh dem nah believe it so God lef dem fi do all a de si’hn dem wid dem dutty mind tell dem fi do, him lef dem fi do de si’hn dem wey dem nuffi do.”

You may ask why bother to pay this any attention but bearing in the mind several historical contexts that exist in what seems harmless on the surface a matter as patois but the interpretations by readers and the context of Paul’s writing in my view must not be overlooked. Paul in my estimation based on my limited exposure to some bible study and coaching he wrote the book of Romans in lieu of a trip to Rome but was stuck in Corinth as hinted to in the introduction as circumstances prevented him from travelling any further so he explained via the writings that the expected Jesus was the fulfilment of God’s promises and he wanted the saints to have order in their lives of course not necessarily with the holiness codes or remnants of it from Moses via Leviticus or Jewish law but by serving Jesus Christ. Paul may have not expected to have seen the kinds or pederasty, the intimidatory anal rape of conquered armies (a practice probably inherited by earlier powers such as the Persians)  and exploitive relations between men as we could describe as gay for pay these days. He may never have contemplated the more stable monogamous relations lately with gay marriages and security guaranteed by the respective states that offer such legislation. So in his writing he expresses his own thinking on the disdain towards the perceived or misunderstood practices of same sex attracted men.

Possibly the pederasty that was more a Greek societal practice may have shaken him to the core and I dare say the same kind of fear of the unknown seem to exist today from religious groups conjuring fear and speculation wrongly placed at consenting same gender lovers. So the confusion of homosexuality and paedophilia as if the two are synonymous when the experts tell us otherwise and I have no reason to doubt them.

The discussion continued where the guests and host looked at reprobate mind versus dutty mind, one pastor suggested reprobate suggested conditioning rather than dutty mind which suggests a condescending tone with regard to the practice of homosexuality in Jamaica and other social context “dutty mind” is used. Often times than not it is used to put down an opponent in an argument separate and apart from “dutty” by itself meaning a literal soiling of staining of a surface, body or clothing. For the term to be used in a Biblical sense when the faith requires a more open strategy when engaging the non Christian community, if you choose to listen the audio clip inserted here my Jamaican listeners to that podcast will find the emphasis on the tone in which the female delivered the verse as is typical anywhere else, it commands a certain strength to project the disdain intended but did “reprobate” in the King James version do the same or is it that as patois has been relegated to the masses or the sacredness of the Bible versus the alleged vulgarity of the dialect?

Another tool perhaps by the religious intelligentsia to cement anti gay sentiments in a dialect that foreigners may find hard to comprehend if not by pronunciation and context?

Historically we must recall what it took to get patois even to be used on mainstream media as it was scuffed at by the elite and educated class including the powerful religious communities who operated several institutions of learning, I can remember my days growing up and my mother and aunt reprimanding me about speaking patois out of turn and they stressed I speak English. Now we see the dialect being embraced supposedly for it ethnic value but to use secular contexts to promote a religiously bigoted agenda. I would hate to see and subsequently hear the old testament version in patois especially the Leviticus book where the supposedly “cut off” line means for many execution of gay persons as a part of the secular wisdom of the Bible.

Paul’s expression in Romans especially the verses 26 through to 32 confirms that God does not support same sex genital intimacy.

Why would someone choose something that would invite hate and problems? But with having to hide and not live our truths we see the challenges involved, with other exploitive practices creeping in, namely gay for pay that demands a certain kind of covert living in order to get on with their relations. News came via Twitter last evening then a series of phone calls from other community members on the murder and suspected arson of a longstanding community member and Justice of the Peace Becky as he is affectionately known aged 67 was of one of our longest standing personalities in the community with his trademark cold crown decorated smile and silver jewellery and a Justice of The Peace, engaged by gay and heterosexual persons as his personality superseded his perceived sexuality by a few (and there are always those speculators) a fierce advocate in his own right, in fact he was also one of those persons who would assist homeless and displaced persons too, I will nominate the late Steve Harvey who in his earlier years and difficulty was assisted by “Becky” many can attest to that fact and his outreach via his version of crisis interventions are well known here and abroad by older community members.

He was found partially burnt and his throat cut, apparently his house was set on fire after the fact to supposedly destroy evidence and the body. Shock and horror are the natural responses from those who are close to him.

It is not clear the motive for the murder at this time. (THIS POST MAYBE UPDATED OR A NEW ONE CREATED AS IS REQUIRED)

Anti gay Christian groups such as the JCHS continue to push this line of argument to bolster their agenda with persons like the group’s head Dr Wayne West (not a Jamaican) push lines that tolerance is equal to fisting and felching or persons who agitate for tolerance are asking to legalize those activities. He continues to push that the LGBT lobby wants to seize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to allow depravity and illegal acts. Such practices are not popular here in Jamaica and are more seen in sub-groups in Europe such as the biker, leather or skinhead gay communities, he also went on in a recent radio interview that the philosophical end to the agitation for the repealing of buggery is to make all sexual practice normative whether they be right or not as imposed by aetheists with a worldview where no design is the mantra. Interesting he does not agitate this much in his country of birth Trinidad. Yet we also do not see the groups agitating for the least amongst us, the homeless and children in state care, the work by Jamaicans for Justice to publicise that problem and the steps taken to do so yet these religious groups abstain from those actions which in essence directly impact a healthy society’s development.

He recently equated the thrust for the buggery law repeal as well by saying the following:

“….the argument that you need to remove your buggery law to reduce HIV rates is eminently not true …………… the epidemiological data removing your buggery law is not necessarily nor is it sufficient to decrease HIV, what is important is behaviour.” He believes that the Jamaican people must be made to understand that the gay lobby, us, are intent on making deviant sexual practices normative as if all we are defined as is who and how we have sex and nothing else, so the likes of Mr West do not place any value of our orientation, choices, freedoms alienable or properly created and having a plural society where all persons can co-exist as long as their actions do not impede others. It is consensual sex in a private space is all we are asking for outward displays of affections are not culturally palatable here overall.

He concludes:

“ …..when persons come and say you need to remove the law to decrease HIV what you are actually hearing is you need to remove your law so we can modify the society and integrate all types of sexual orientations as the same and equivalent, that’s what that statement …. every time a Jamaican citizen hears that statement you need to remove your buggery laws to decrease HIV they should be hearing we want you to remove the buggery law so we can integrate all sexual orientations, all sexual behaviours into your activities and into your school curriculums….”

Now he dishonestly equates the recent Home and Family Life Fiasco, HFLE matter to join the chorus that there was motive for the questions posed in the manual as I had agreed it may have been age appropriate but is needed to discuss sex and sexuality. Then it is no wonder why we are having the challenges in our society of homophobia and homo-negativity while LGBT people continue to suffer from these kinds of institutional bigotry from the religious noveau intelligentsia aided and abetted by other religious groups who by the way cannot do this kind of activity in their own jurisdictions so they export their hate with millions of dollars to boot for full paged ads and more.

Priorities please religious friends.

Peace and tolerance

H

The Jamaican Government schizophrenic on human rights ?

N1258318-page-001 N1258318-page-002

Here is an excerpt of what our government refused to support: (CLICK IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF)

Sixty-seventh session
Third Committee
Agenda item 69 (b) – Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island: draft resolution Extra judicial, summary or arbitrary executions

The General Assembly, Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

1 which guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of person, the relevant provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

2 and other relevant human rights conventions, Reaffirming the mandate of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, as set out in Council resolution 17/5 of 16 June 2011,

3 Welcoming the universal ratification of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August  1949,

4 which alongside human rights law provide an important framework of accountability in relation to extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions during armed conflict, Mindful of all its resolutions on the subject of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and the resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights and of the Human Rights Council on the subject,

__________________
1 Resolution 217 A (III).
2 See resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
3 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-sixth Session, Supplement No. 53 (A/66/53),
chap. III, sect. A.
4 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, Nos. 970-973.

The recent surprise discovery by some human rights groups and activists that the Jamaica government via its foreign affairs ministry voted yes to change a specific resolution that offered protection from discrimination and state sanctioned killings based on said sexual orientation is now gaining some traction and has evoked mostly negative responses depending on how one looks at how the discussions have been framed. This is the same country that led the struggle along with others under the leadership of Prime Minister Hugh Shearer Internationally on Human Rights and we have subsequently ratified treatises, voted positively on other matters including very public international affairs.

The widely held believe of the “promise” for some persons or the proposal made by Prime Minister Simpson Miller to review the buggery law with a conscience vote the mechanism however has not been outlines fully, this garnered international recognition from other leaders and which ultimately led to the Time Magazine awarding her one of the most 100 influential persons in the world award thus making us look progressive but now?

CLICK FOR HOMEPAGE

One of her ministers has a set of questions to answer such as why was the vote done so as to avoid offering specific protection from discrimination due to sexual orientation? that Ministry has been mum since the news broke and the Ministry’s representatives declined a radio interview on the matter. They need to be reminded that they are servants of the people, this reminds me so much of the gymnastics during the Sexual Offences Bill debate and the Charter of Rights over its ten plus year period it stayed on the parliament agenda with the subsequent repeated interference by religious right groups such as the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship who used legal manoeuvrings to move words such as “sex” suggesting it would have opened doors for homosexual rights agenda and gay marriage agitation by the gay lobby. We see them now acting up aided and abetted by foreign zealots and well funded too spending thousands on ads and other activity when the poor need help.

reminder of the PNP when A. J Nicholson was the opposition spokesman on justice: Opposition sides with Govt on No to same sex marriage 

The bigger picture is the protection of the least amongst us and ALL persons should have protection under the state, the Jamaica government denied offering protection to such a group being us homosexuals all because the language is specific to the type of discrimination. Isn’t it A. J. Nicholson the Minister now of Foreign Affairs, the same A. J. who was very vocal in the aforementioned Sexual Offences Bill/Charter of Rights slammed the suggested and attempted repeal of buggery, parliamentary submission by JFLAG everytime there was a hint in the language that seems in the eyes of some to offer a perceived loophole to other “rights” that we do not deserve they act most times covertly to trash the clauses or sentences revealing such.

We have a culture we know of extreme homophobia and homo-negativity we also have a culture that would extract a significant political rice were any government were to be seen voting to protect supposed “deviants”  it is either we agree as a nation via our governments that human rights are inalienable to all persons of the citizenry including those who visit on our shores or we say no are not going to extend human rights because of some political issue. To be denied the protection simply because of behaviour patterns while ignoring consent and privacy is just plain wrong, a wrong that has been carried on for generations but the emotions run high and cloud the level headed discourse that is required on this issue for us to get to a pluralistic society. We are the same society that has no problem suggesting taking matters to the international commission on human rights for example or the Privy Council or the suggested Caribbean Court of Justice that of the face of it is about to be foisted on us whether we like it or not. Strange when the death penalty was prescribed by local courts and upheld via the PC our government cries fowl and hold prisoners for over five years on death row all because it wants to look good internationally then the PC rules that those accused cannot be hanged who are held over the five year period (after exhausting the necessary appeals)  the complain that we are being dictated to when it was OUR OWN Jamaican law that are used by the PC to adjudicate matters presented to it by Jamaicans litigants who use that avenue.

We cannot have it both ways, either we are for rights or against, when the political pundits sought the job of leadership is was to do just that, LEAD, it’s not going to be easy and there are some unpopular decisions that maybe taken for the greater good of society, leaders must rise to the occasion  that is their mettle and when it is tested it must be found to have been vigilant, strong and forthright in defending human rights.

Beyond the Headlines host Dionne Jackson Miller had Arlene Harrison Henry of The Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights on Human Rights Day discussing the the removal of language in the form of sexual orientation on the Summary Executions UN Resolution – On November 21, 2012, Jamaica voted against resolution A/C.3/67/L.36 at the United Nations condemning extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions which urges States “to investigate promptly and thoroughly all killings, including… all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation.” Additionally, recent incidents of vigilante attacks on perceived gay persons continue to undermine the achievements and call into question the national commitment to equality for persons of diverse sexual orientation listen:

What we have here now is that we have failed that test for some of the vulnerable amongst us, myself included as a gay man and others in the society where we have copped out in the matter of sexual orientation. The government  is weak on the things that matter and the things that will last defining how the least amongst us will live onwards with protection specifically set out. Instead some persons want the language to say “any other reasons or groups therein”

When certain key words appear they run and scream that someone is imposing homosexuality or conditioning children as in the HFLE matter or when it comes to tolerance persons like Dr Wayne West equate it to supporting fisting and felching practices that are in the extreme and done overseas but unethical pinned on us to bolster his anti gay agenda.

Here are some more reactions from the talk show circuit giving us some insight as to how the public is seeing this and believe me the views are so skewed out there.:

Nationwide’s Ron Mason with caller on Buggery & the UN sexual orientation res

Nationwide’s Ron Mason – caller suggests clinic for gays

Nationwide Radio’s Ron Mason w/caller on Gay parenting/UN Yes vote ..

Much to ponder on as a nation

Peace and tolerance

H

Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS continued confusion of paedophilia & consenting homosexuality.

Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS continued confusion of paedophilia & consenting homosexuality.

The previous discussion here:

On a more recent current affairs program on the religious station Love 101FM which was a follow up to a previous one from November 11th 2012 a representative from the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS one Miss Kacy West, Project Assistant of the group (not sure of her relation to Dr. Wayne West, anti-gay rights and anti-abortionist activist and also aligned to the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, LCF) she also was one of the main planners of the Love March held in September that was to register their opposition to the buggery law review or being repealed and other so called sexual sins or sexual impurity.

The program’s introduction was laced with innuendo and unproven allegations such as the reference to the recent university of technology alleged gay student abuse where the host one Miss Blossom White juxtaposed buggery being an illegal act as to what was committed by the accused suggesting the men were actually in the act of buggery on the campus at the time while also deliberately overlooking anal sex between man and woman as also illegal under the present buggery law, why the stress for “man and man” they claim to also not agree with the manner in which the students mobbed the accused (the appeasing factor).

Here comes the part that was egregious in my eyes suggesting conditioning or predatory behaviours from homosexuals in general hence my titling the post as is where Miss Blossom White a lecturer of the Jamaica Theological College asked:

“With the report that young men are being introduced to and are engaging in homosexuality, what is another group of young persons doing to show that this activity is unnatural and what can we as a nation do in order to protect those children who are the future of Jamaica who are going to take over from us?”

She went on to the recent Home and Family Life Education, HFLE fiasco and the 6000+ books that were withdrawn from schools when it was in fact the volumous curriculum with just one section dealing with sex and sexuality that was withdrawn while the accompanying student text and activity books are still held in the possession of the students themselves as was evidenced by my neighbour’s grand daughter who attends Alpha Academy and showed me both books as rented by her. I perused the books carefully (while having perused the original 2009 curriculum online and the hard copy of the later 2011 version as withdrawn) and found none of the controversial questions as posed in the teachers’ manual were in the students versions, which makes one wonder the real motive here. Scapegoats for a gay agenda as surmised by some?

Miss Casey West said among other things:

On gay marriage – “I think it is completely dysfunctional and I say so without reservation, gender roles are important, gender is not socially constructed and I think that one of the biggest arguments that the LGBT proponents try to push that gender is just about how you feel like acting, it’s not how you feel like acting we are men and women are physiologically different and it’s important to acknowledge those differences and to appreciate them and to allow children to be raised in a home where their gender differences from their siblings where the gender differences between two parents are appreciated and acknowledged and better understood ………….. I don’t believe in two men raising a child or two women raising a child ……………. speaking as a young woman there are a lot of things about what I expect to learn from men like how I should expect men to treat me based on how I grew up seeing my father treating my mother.”

“I wouldn’t have learnt that if I had two mothers ……………… “

She referred to Massachusetts as one of the first states to legalize gay marriage and some study she was unable to name and place which claimed to have looked at children who are in same gender parented homes versus heterosexual households and from memory (“if my memory serves me correct) she said girls raised by two mothers were 50 – 70 times more likely to turn out lesbian when they grew up. She claimed children in those same gender loving relation households are naturalised to believing so they act out on this later.

Host Blossom White then asked:

“Why is it so necessary to protect our children young people of this nation from something regarded as being unnatural?”

Miss West replied:

“Children are susceptible and very vulnerable the opinions of adults who are in authority over them especially their parents, you are still being molded when you are a child.” She continued to refer to a book called “Hooked” (no author named) and how a child is affected by sex and a person’s brain up until the age of twenty five. She feared that children will be sexualised not just in terms of touch but also ideology but are those ideologies being skewed as we speak just take a look at the aforementioned HFLE, Home and Family Life Curriculum where because some questions in the teachers manual asked sensitive questions on anal sex, HIV issues and sexual orientation motive was ascribed to persons with a gay agenda while promoting fear, paranoia and hate and pushing heterosexism as the mantra for sex education. It has been the failure of our education systems over the years to address sex and sexuality to include the touchy orientation bit why we have the homophobia and homo-negativity in today’s society so in order to pander to uninformed religious groups such as the JCHS the Minister of Education Ronnie Thwaites a man of the cloth himself found two persons as scapegoats to fire and says he is still “investigating”

This apparent notion that children when remotely exposed to information on homosexuality, anal sex or related matters through media or properly prepared curriculums or living with or close such persons will automatically translate into them becoming so just by virtue of curiosity is utter nonsense if that were so she would have been gay already as homosexuals are everywhere and do not necessarily show the stereotypical signs as this interview would like listeners to believe. Yes there are some same sex experimentation episodes with some persons and sadly with younger victims and the experts tell us that there are others who act out early abuse via paedophile activities with individuals who have psychological issues but what is the percentage of that small group within the MSM community when compared to consented adults involved in gay sex? Why aren’t there equal concerns or even more urgent concern for the hetero-paedophile activity that takes place right under our noses literally? …………. we see the evidence almost every work and school day of the week just by virtue of tinted taxis at the school gates unabashedly with loud music blaring and teachers in some instances dare not reprimand the students or try to slow down the practice as the repercussions maybe grave we also see where students literally wait sometimes hours for these “bashment” cars and or buses at special spots and the accusations of some of the drivers involved in inappropriate sexual contact with minors with police interventions to arrest and prosecute some of the men but the punishment is either not punitive enough or the “victims” do not come forward to prosecute the case along with missing witnesses coupled with the “quack doctor” links known to most Jamaicans where a female teen may get pregnant and money is passed under the table to dispose of the pregnancy, a practice also done by some well to do household and persons who purport themselves to be of clean character, publicly speaking. I do not hear the JCHS worried about the things right before our eyes but they are worried about what we do as gay/bi men in PRIVATE for the most part excluding the outdoor cruiser or cruising activity as done by a minority of same gender loving men as evidenced in the UTECH abuse matter but heterosexuals also have sex in public too just without the possible disastrous consequences.

Yes I have agreed before that the Home and Family Life Education, HFLE matter was directed at the wrong age or age appropriate perhaps but what was not properly explained or deliberately omitted for the public to understand that the controversial guided imagery component of the curriculum is to be done in a controlled environment as a self reporting mechanism where students can opt out as is the opt out option for even attending the class at Alpha as most girls use the session as a free period based on my conversation with the third form student I hinted to before.

She continued “ ……….that they’re not infused with certain bad sexual ideologies and they grow up thinking that it’s OK cause they’ll …… they are not mature enough yet to understand the consequences of condoning certain behaviours accepting them or internalising certain ideas, it is highly important to protect our children.”

I agree it is important to protect our children from undo influence generally speaking and even gay or bisexual parents now need to guide their children about tolerance, sex and sexuality but to suggest that homosexuality is so awful a thing as the JCHS has been actively promoting and that heterosexism, separatism, religious imposition are OK however given how the conversation flowed in the quoted sections, why don’t these same groups cry out against the music in coaster buses that instruct students to do all manner of sex acts while thinking it normative? Our teen girls are poked, prodded, rodded and sucked to include penile and sex toy penetration on these very buses, strange how selective these groups that profess holier than thou virtues tend to overlook these other matters yet the very HFLE curriculum that was to formalise how students are introduce to sensitive subjects is thrown out leaving the informal societal messaging to continue but these groups are too blind to see that.

As for the feared gay agenda Miss West said among other things that we need healthier families not same sexed ones, schools need to put their foot down as to what they teach she whole heartedly support the HFLE withdrawal by the Minister of Education, she feared the dissemination of morally neutral information whilst supposedly conditioning students, she opposed same sex couples being grouped as a family unit and taught in schools, she said both families types are not equally good and medically as well, she rightly said the church has not touched on sex and sexuality which in my view is why we have the paranoia we do today and this fear of a homosexual agenda supposed to change non gay folk to such. She expressed concerns that the mass media is painting LGBT people as victims such as TV shows showing gay characters having a flawless character while Christians as backwards or unsympathetic but judging by just this interview what are persons to believe?

The ignorance of how same sex couples relate was clear as both host and guest confuses the gender roles in heterosexual couples would also apply in same sex unions where someone is to play a dominant position, clearly hetero-normativity should never be applied to a same sex relationship by persons who do not understand the intricacies involved.

She hinted to an upcoming event in Emancipation Park called “Celebrate God the giver of rights” slated for December 10th on International Human Rights Day and also The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG 14th anniversary, the thrust is supposedly to push a message of freedom from sin not freedom to sin but are Christians to stand at all gay persons bedroom door to stop us supposedly from having a dick or some ass when it is the individual’s choice, he who is without sin cast the first stone I say. She claimed homosexuality is a sexually immoral desire then if I had her near me I would have asked then explain why do I feel this way and after trying every known method including prayer (and not I alone by no stretch of the imagination) still find we are who we are? Lest we also forget the so called ex-gay therapy has clearly not worked for the vast majority as is evidenced worldwide while others seem to suppress their SGL feelings with disastrous consequences in the end.

On the matter of sexual rights she said the following:

“ ….. but the thing is you have to also consider the effects of those rights because let’s say the people who rape an eight year old girl could also say if I have this desire I should do it, you can’t grant rights based on desire, you have to grant it on how it will do for the good of the entire society, promoting certain sexual expressions is not good for the entire society, homosexuality has been medically proven to not be healthy ….” she confused homo-paedophile issues with consenting adults by saying that persons are traumatised by early unwarranted initiation by older persons which is true but has anyone looked or checked and realised that most times when same sex paedophilia takes place the sexual orientation of the person is usually heterosexual and often times actual buggery does not take place? I doubt she and others even bother to check. As for rapists promoting their own rights as suggested by Miss West I am wondering the lengths these so called Christians will go to just to prove their point and push this unneeded paranoia and fear after all rape is a grave offence and has far more disastrous consequences for the victim while female frottage, sex toy usage and or buggery via consent are victimless since the parties agreed. Is this the same God that supports outcasts that Miss West serves? Then it is no wonder why atheism and secularism are rising when the interpretation of the word is twisted to suit their puritanical agenda …………… CONSENT is the factor in all this, a point clearly missed by Miss West and her group, so what is persons want to sin let them make up their own minds so long as it does not impede on the rights of others including the JCHS membership but with the clear imposition here via hinted theocracy where are we going as a nation?

Furthermore the precedence set in local courts are that buggery cases of carnal abuse involved same sexes that lead to a conviction while those that involve “consenting adults” tend to languish until they are thrown out via sine die adjournment or the arresting officers stop attending sessions even with repeated subpoenas for them to show up and I am speaking from experience with not just my own case but that of others that I have been close to. The Jamaican society and most well thinking homosexuals however do not take kindly to sexual abuse of children overall but to suggest that we are mere predators looking for some ass no matter how tight is disingenuous.

The parties claimed they are not preaching against gay persons and that all behaviours are not of equal value as if those are supposed to be the appeasing factors but immediately following that came the usual “HIV as a gay disease” link suggesting that if we got rid of homosexuality then HIV/AIDS infection rates would go down. “Men who have sex with men are six times more likely to HIV than a prostitute.” When we do not use that word in a clinical setting when discussing HIV rate matters, the proper term is Commercial Sex Worker as the connotation of the “P” word has been rejected by that community. The usual France’s 1791 legalization of gay consensual sex and not homosexuality as it often confuses was thrown in the exchange as well while trying to put into account the high infection rates there while overlooking the red light districts, the drug usage and other factors contributing to their unique circumstances. “If more and more men engaging in this lifestyle they are going to damage their own bodies.”  Plus she made the link with heterosexual sex, clearly she does not understand that NOT ALL men who have sex with men practice anal sex or buggery in fact, there are also non penetrative or outercourse acts that are less risky such as partnered masturbation and what about persons in the very Passion for Purity group who themselves are struggling with same sex attraction, they participated in the Love March recently. NOT ALL SAME GENDER LOVING MEN find anal sex pleasurable for varying reasons mostly by choice and comfort zones.

I personally have buddies and friends plus my work in MSM gay men’s health has proven this repeatedly that there are men who are satisfied with genital play only especially for safer sex reasons.

Readers you be the judge but this fear, misnomer and misinformation at some points is disturbing to me, to suggest that because a child is in a same sexed parented environment means the child will be automatically gay is wrong and way off base, the child has to be allowed to come into their own. I know personally of same gender loving couples who have children who have matured in their care and are heterosexual and married at that, the children did not turn out “damaged” as Miss West et al would like to plant in the minds of an ignorant religious community, some of these LGBT parents I know were involved in hetero unions or marriage in some cases where a child was the product or same sex couples who have adopted here in Jamaica and the children turned out unscaved, in fact they are far more tolerant than a hetero-unioned household raised child where tolerance is not placed as a family value in the children’s growth and development.

Stop seeing homosexuality as a lifestyle only Miss West et al, IT IS WHO WE ARE. WE ARE NOT FORCING ANYONE TO BE SO INCLINED EITHER. It’s orientation as has been proven, limiting the discussion to same sex activity or attraction as a lifestyle is and of itself is intellectually dishonest and always have an accompanying gymnastics to support the anti gay agenda.

TOLERANCE does not mean ACCEPTANCE.

meanwhile check this out from their website:

jchs dont touch

here is a recent podcast on some of the other related issues:

Peace and tolerance

H

What are Human Rights

In light of the recent physical attack of the University of Technology male student who was alleged caught in a compromising position with another male who escaped his attackers and the subsequent security punches I thought I’d post this article by Atty-at-law Nicholas Manley for our review on Human Rights. See the video compilation below of the mobbing and abuse by the security guards after, take note that these are students.

What are Human Rights?

By definition human rights are our inalienable fundamental rights. Inalienable means that which cannot be taken away. So our human rights are bestowed upon us from the moment we are born and, thus we are all entitled to these rights. Because we are entitled to our human rights and they cannot and should not be taken away from us, we as a people must strive to protect them, government should protect them and breaches of our rights should be highlighted and addressed appropriately.

Human rights are the same for everyone irrespective of colour, class or creed, and are applicable at both the national and international level. In Jamaica, our human rights are enshrined in and protected by our Constitution. Internationally, there have been numerous laws and treaties enacted specifically for the protection of human rights.

Milestone document

Most notably of these is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration is seen as a milestone document in the history of human rights. It was proclaimed by the United Nations, in 1948, as a common standard of achievements for all nations, and sets out the fundamental human rights to be universally recognised and protected.

The Declaration sets out the following rights:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Equality before the law

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Everyone has the right to freedom of movement

Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government;

Everyone has the right to education.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

ENDS

Additional materials

Earl Moxam’s RJR discussion on the issue recently:

My two cents as the dust settles (part one)

and a clip from Jerry Small show on NEWSTALK 93FM as the airwaves continue to heat up with the issue.

Urgent need to discuss Sex & sexuality nationally part 2

In part one on sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch I looked at the fiasco that was the Home and family life education manual and the uproar over one page of a volumous curriculum designed among other things to address sex and sexuality education in schools. Noting that all most of us older persons have been taught reproductive education i.e sperms and eggs make babies, puberty and the pubic hair bit and boys having wet dreams while girls see their periods and even that under the guise of “guidance counseling” had a hard time in getting to the openness where it is now given the sanitization that has occurred over and over again.

Many schools have been run and founded by churches with teachers of a certain ilk so the fear of teaching the “real things” is evident over time, in fact the very paranoia now over this curriculum and the screaming from sections of the public is a reflection of the lack of understanding SEX & SEXUALITY.

also hear my latest audio post/podcast:

Now comes this rubbish in my view of two persons being made scape goats for the Minister of Education’s ineptitude in leading the change that is required in the system to revolutionize the levels of understanding of SEX & SEXUALITY.

Have a read of the article in the Gleaner published on October 28 2012, what is the fear and who has an agenda? obviously the minister is conflicted and is pandering to the religious right also being a man of the cloth himself, what about separation of church and state?

Of course the goodly JFLAG is missing in all this discourse, so much for limpwristedness.

Two In Hot Water Over Sex Text

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Education minister claims personal agenda led to controversial sections in school book

Edmund Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

DISCIPLINARY ACTION is now hanging over the head of a public servant who Education Minister Ronald Thwaites claims had an “agenda” in crafting the controversial sex-education text which was recently withdrawn from high schools.

At least 1,368 copies of the 6,000 health and family life education (HFLE) text, deemed by some to be very offensive, were pulled by the ministry after national uproar over the material that was intended for students between grades seven and nine.

One person who allegedly authored “inappropriate” elements of text has parted company with the education ministry.

But that is not the end of the matter.

“It appears that there were two persons, at least, involved in the process who had a particular agenda in respect of this particular subset of the curriculum and they were able to embed it in the curriculum, and there was not sufficient review to extirpate it before publication,” Thwaites said last week in response to questions posed by Opposition spokesperson on education Marisa Dalrymple Philibert.

“As far as those who, investigation so far determined, played an untoward part in the writing of this (HFLE), one such person is no longer in the service of the ministry and the other person will be subject to the appropriate disciplinary action that the public service provides,” the education minister told fellow legislators.

Intense debate played out on the airwaves and in letters to newspaper editors, in September, about a section of the text which posed questions on sexual behaviour and commentary on heterosexuality and homosexuality.

Angry parents at the time demanded to know who approved the text, despite its withdrawal.

Responding to similar concerns from Dalrymple Philibert, who is the member of parliament for South Trelawny and the Opposition spokesperson on education, Thwaites said an investigation conducted by his ministry revealed that the curriculum was introduced into schools when it was given to teachers who were trained to use it in August 2011.

formal process bypassed

He said copies were distributed to schools before they were withdrawn.

Thwaites made it clear that the formal process of the ministry to approve curriculum was bypassed.

He said then Chief Education Officer Grace McLean did not know of the inappropriate curriculum.

“No Minister of Education of whatever political stripe would have knowingly allowed material as obnoxious as that contained in the HFLE curriculum to have been published,” Thwaites declared.

He also informed the House that the ministry had issued warnings when similar material found its way into the schools in the past.

“It was a clear intention of some who have very laudable views in other respects, but also have very clear predispositions regarding sexual conduct and how children are to be introduced to (it) who got away on this one.

“The important thing now is that we make it quite clear to this Parliament, to those who serve as administrators and public officials and to the nation as a whole, that the primary responsibility for introducing young children to sexual knowledge and responsibility lies with the parents,” the education minister stressed.

Setting the record straight in relation to the ministry’s position on sex and family life education, Thwaites added: “The principles that must be at all times respected is that the Ministry of Education promotes sexually responsible behaviour in the context of faithful union between a man and woman while offering respect and compassion to those who adopt a different lifestyle.”

ENDS

In continuing …………………..

Also see: New sex education manual in two months and Defending Family Life Curriculum

The public uproar over the health and family life education (HFLE) curriculum has done a grave disservice to a programme that addresses many of the social ills plaguing Jamaican youth. As an HIV and health educator, this is quite disconcerting to me.

The HFLE curriculum is not a textbook to be used by students, but a curriculum guide for use by teachers. The activities and resources which have been the media’s focus are not mandatory. Teachers have the power to choose which parts to use as they make their lesson plans.

Denigrating the curriculum as a ‘gay book’ or ‘sex text’ misses the fact that it is a holistic life skills programme, covering self and interpersonal relationships; sexuality and sexual health; appropriate eating and fitness, and managing the environment.

Within each theme, the life skills are broken down into major subcategories of social, cognitive and coping life skills, including decision making; problem solving; effective communication; empathy; coping with stress; coping with emotions; healthy self-management and conflict resolution.

BEHAVIOURAL MODIFICATION

Teaching life skills in this way has been shown to delay the onset of drug use; prevent high-risk sexual behaviour; facilitate anger management and conflict resolution; improve academic performance and promote positive social adjustment. In fact, the curriculum already includes behaviour-modification strategies to deal with anger management, which the minister of education now proposes to introduce in schools.

The specific sections which have been highlighted by the media have also been taken out of context. The personal risk assessment that asks questions about sexual behaviour is for private use by students to help them calculate their personal risk. The information is not returned to the teacher. The purpose of the exercise is to build the students’ critical thinking, decision making and healthy self-management and refusal skills.

The guided imagery activity which asks students to imagine they are the only heterosexuals in a world of homosexuals is not intended to ‘make students homosexual’ but to build empathy and self-awareness skills. It is meant to address intolerance and its consequences, including bullying and abuse of students because of sexual orientation.

UNDERSTANDABLE DISCOMFORT

The public’s discomfort with some of these matters is understandable. However, we cannot ignore the reality our children face and refuse to give them tools to handle their sexuality and sexual health.

The reality is that young people are sexually active, but they do not understand their HIV risk. The mean age of sexual initiation in Jamaica is 14 years old (12 for boys, 15 for girls). Seven per cent of all reported AIDS cases in Jamaica have been adolescents and young adults between 15 and 24.

The Knowledge Attitudes Perception Behaviour (KAPB) study of 2008 indicated there was a 100 per cent increase in the rate of sexually transmitted infections among adolescent girls from 2004. Transactional sex and casual sex are also common among adolescent among males and females.

The same KAPB study indicated that males in the 15-24 age group reported having an average of six sexual partners, and females of the same age group, three sexual partners. Additionally, behavioural studies indicate that one in every three gay men was HIV-positive, and a significant number of this cohort was between the ages of 15 and 24. However, only 38 per cent of young adults between 15 and 24 per cent can correctly identify the modes of preventing HIV transmission.

Since the procurement rules have been breached as it were are we to throw out the baby with the bathwater? the Observer also carried a story on the issue: They had a gay agenda

The Process for Approval of Curricula

a) The policy directorate grants approval for the development/revision of a curriculum in response to societal needs and/or new policy direction.

b) The draft curriculum is developed by the process owner along with selected technical experts internally and externally of the Ministry of Education through consultation with stakeholders (civic groups, teachers, principals, students, parents, and others).

c) The curriculum is piloted for feedback and adjustments

d) The first draft of the curriculum is submitted to the Core Curriculum Unit for review.

e) The Core Curriculum Unit reviews the curriculum and makes recommendation for approval of the final draft document to the Chief Education Officer through the Deputy Chief Education Officer, Curriculum and Support Services.

f) The Deputy Chief Education Officer, Curriculum and Support Services recommends the approval of the final draft curriculum to the Chief Education Officer.

g) The Chief Education Officer with support from the technical team representing the process owners presents the final draft document to the Executive Management Meeting, chaired by the Permanent Secretary and the Senior Policy Making Group, chaired by the Honourable Minister of Education.

h) The Minister of Education gives final approval of the draft curriculum and the policy unit documents the approval.

i) The process owners with the responsibility for the draft curriculum receives approval from the Chief Education Officer to implement the new curriculum in schools.

j) The process is documented every step of the way, the record is kept on an official file for future reference.

Meanwhile the

Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) is among a number of faith-based organisations that have expressed grave concern over the controversial Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) curriculum, and has called for a full disclosure of the source of its contents.

The group along with the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals, Faith Temple Gospel Assembly, the Issachar Foundation, Christian Brethren Assemblies, Jamaica Lawyers Christian Fellowship, Christian Life Fellowship, Bethany Fellowship, Swallowfield Chapel, and Mona Heights Chapel have expressed their displeasure with the curriculum. READ MORE HERE

UNAIDS Director says the PNP offers hope for the repealing of the buggery law …… but some concerns exist

UNAIDS Regional Director of the support team in the Caribbean Dr Ernest Massiah says the return of the Peoples National Party PNP in Jamaica offers hope that the tide will turn where the repealing of the Buggery Law is concerned this he interprets as a pre-election commitment by the then opposition leader now ruling Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to review the legislation which I still see as a suggestion by her in answering the question posed by Dionne Jackson Miller in the leadership debate in 2011 in the run up to the general election in December last. He spoke at one of the sessions at the AIDS 2012 conference in the US.

He also said the organization had received encouraging feedback from three unnamed Caribbean Prime Ministers in private discussions and that when the time is right Mrs Simpson may be named as one of the three then.

I and some others in the community are unclear as to Mrs Simpson Miller’s answer and her real position (see audio below) as at the leadership debate and subsequent followup comments by her along with press releases from the PNP itself denying it promised to repeal any buggery laws. Have I missed something?

also see my post on December 30, 2011:
PNP Wins …………….Hope for LGBT People ???

here is one of the press releases hinted to above where the PNP had denied allegations from the ruling party then turned opposition now the Jamaica Labour Party JLP as they lost the election:

NO REPEAL OF BUGGERY ACT, SAYS PNP

December 27, 2011: The People’s National Party (PNP) has labeled as deliberate mischief making by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), suggestions that it supports a repealing of the Buggery Act. The PNP says that is not its position.
The PNP says the JLP has been circulating the false assertion about the Party’s position on the matter in a desperate bid to make the matter an issue of contention to gain political advantage.

PNP Campaign Director, Dr. Peter Phillips said at a press conference to wrap up the party’s campaign today that the PNP has no position to repeal the Buggery Act, and that the issue arose out of a question posed to party leader Portia Simpson Miller during the recent national debate with prime minister and JLP leader, Andrew Holness.

“This arose out of a question and there is no position taken by us of a repeal. We recognize that there are some persons, who for their own partisan political reasons, would wish to distort the Party’s position as it relates to the Buggery Act,” Dr. Phillips said.
He adds that the Party Leader has proposed a review of the Act, and not a repeal of it.
“During the review, every Member of Parliament will be required to bring to bear on the discussions, the views and the opinion of his or her constituents. At the end of the review, if a vote is to be taken, the vote will be a conscience vote, which means each Member of Parliament will vote according to the directive of his/ her constituents,” Dr. Phillips says.

This is in keeping with the position taken by the PNP President, who indicated at the national debate that the people of Jamaica should let their voices be heard on the matter through consultations spearheaded by Members of Parliament, so that a Parliamentary debate and vote on the issue would not be confined to the views of Parliamentarians alone, but rather, would be reflective of the views and will of the people in constituencies across the country.
Responding to questions posed by journalists about accusations leveled on the campaign trail by Daryl Vaz that the PNP had received funding from overseas-based gay rights groups, Phillips said such accusations were not true and a “total fabrication” as the party had in no way supported “any gay agenda”.

“This is a total fabrication of Mr. Vaz and his very active imagination and speaks to the desperation in that (the JLP’s) campaign,” said Phillips.
The PNP will end its election campaign today with a tour of western parishes and culminate with a meeting in the South West St. Andrew constituency of Party Leader, Portia Simpson Miller, followed by a gospel concert at the party’s 89 Old Hope Road headquarters.

Executive Director of JFLAG Dane Lewis at the time had said that the Prime Minister missed an opportunity to make a bold declaration on securing rights for all Jamaicans, he continued on a telephone interview that “We’re very encouraged by the bold statement from a Jamaican politician the opposition leader Miss Portia Simpson Miller, I am very disappointed that the Prime Minister with an opportunity to make as bold a statement chose the lower road. It is going to take a conscience vote it’s gonna take the leaders of this country to make some bold steps to recognise the rights of all Jamaicans.” He also said he trusts the sincerity of the opposition leader, he doesn’t think it’s a ploy to win the votes of the gay community days before an election.  He said too that it was not about threats on withholding aid by UK and US governments who have now tied aid to LGBT rights.

Here is the other press release that came on December 21st from the PNP denying they made any promises to repeal Buggery.

PNP HAS GIVEN NO COMMITMENT TO REPEALING THE BUGGERY ACT

Kingston, December 22, 2011: The People’s National Party notes that following Tuesday’s leadership debate, some persons have been suggesting that PNP President Portia Simpson Miller, has given a commitment to “repealing” the Buggery Act. The PNP uses this opportunity to state clearly that Mrs. Simpson Miller gave no such commitment.
The PNP President said it was time that the Act be “reviewed” and all members of the House of Representatives provided with an opportunity to vote on the matter based on their conscience.
It would be expected that in such a vote, Members of Parliament on both sides of the House, would take into consideration the views of their constituents.The PNP President remains committed to her pledge to make appointments to a Cabinet led by her on the basis of competence.

here is New Nation Coalition Founder Betty Ann Blaine questioning the PM’s on buggery earlier this year among other audio including my response as well:

Bear this in mind as well, after digging my archives I found the presentation by Mrs Simpson Miller in 2009 (poor audio though) where she sided wholeheartedly with the then Prime Minster Bruce Golding (his speech linked) on the banning of gay marriage, gay marriage rights by the way was never asked for by the LGBT advocacy structure at that time but it was dishonestly pushed on the agenda during the Charter of Rights debate then as a smoke screen to deny us recognition in the Charter. The clause that had discrimination as an infraction then was also removed from the draft prior to this speech after successful lobbying by none other than the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship with support from none other than reverend Al Miller.

She said on October 20th 2009 – Mr Speaker when we accepted the final report from the joint select committee that were looking at the bill we were completely satisfied with their recommendation of a provision to restrict marriage and like relationships to one man and one woman within Jamaica and that the provision should be specifically spelt out so that there could be no ambiguity ………. yes one man one woman (laughter in the house) and if you are Jamaican and go overseas the same applies ………..

Has Prime Minister Simpson Miller changed her mind or is evolving as President Obama did and is moving towards having the review done and will she get the need support as per conscience vote to make the repeal possible or at best decriminalization from her 59 members of parliament especially folks such as A.J. Nicholson and first time MP Lambert Brown who opposed condoms in prisons saying it was homosexuality being snuck through the back door? Mr. Brown said. “Those who are promoting condoms in prison are using the back door to promote homosexuality which is illegal.”

also see these two posts I had done where another first time MP poured cold water on the buggery review suggestion: PNP’s Damion Crawford on Homosexuality’s legality ………. and
PNP’s Damion Crawford says it’s highly unlikely buggery review will happen …….. it’s not important now he concludes

for your review here is the actual debate video below and her answer to Dionne Jackson Miller also click here to see her blog: http://newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/jamaica-and-gays-are-we-homophobic-or-not

here is a follow up video from TVJ where Mrs Miller defended her answer in the debate and the JLP’s accusation of the PNP repealing buggery originally aired December 24, 2011:

Who will assist with any backlash that may occur (if any) especially on the ground in terms of violence and frontline activists not to mention persons perceived to be gay who may be targeted?  we must expect anything I say as previous experience has taught us such as the Canadian group EGALE tourism boycott suggestion which led to some resistance and incidents towards LGBT citizens and a spike in the numbers of homo negative episodes, I am not comforted by the revelation by UNAIDS this should have been kept close to their chests and proceed with the talks.

Time Magazine while naming her as one of the 100 most influential for 2011/2 said on their site: “………Portia is promoting full civil rights for gays and lesbians, a courageous move in a country with a violent history of homophobia”

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Just come clean and done nuh and mek we know what is what Portia. I do not see it as a commitment or a promise as others do but instead just her opinion at the time of being questioned and a good political tool at the time to win the election given the lethargy to politics after the drawn out JLP run with the Manatt Dudus commission of enquiry in particular.

Peace and tolerance

H

Human Rights Watch on Combating Homophobia in Jamaica

The following is a press release from Human Rights Watch

(New York) – The Jamaican government should repeal the anti-buggery law and protect people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller of Jamaica.

The Jamaican media reported two homophobic incidents in June 2012 in which violence was threatened or used to injure innocent civilians, simply because they were suspected of being homosexual. On June 21, in Jones Town, Kingston, the police had to intervene  as an angry crowd gathered in front of a house where five homosexuals were staying as reported on CVMTV News (3:15-5:35 of the footage). “Homophobia is so bad that human rights defenders advocating the rights of LGBT people are not safe in Jamaica,” said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “Jamaica needs to act now on its international obligations to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” Jamaican nongovernmental organizations have pressed the Jamaican government for years to repeal the anti-buggery law and to pass anti-discrimination legislation to protect LGBT people.

According to Section 76 of the Jamaican Offences Against the Person Act of 1864, a maximum sentence of 10 years can be issued for the committing the crime of buggery. Simpson-Miller made a courageous stand before she took office in January, speaking out against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and suggesting a review of Jamaica’s anti-buggery law, Human Rights Watch said. During the leadership debate she also indicated a willingness to review the country’s buggery laws. Homophobic threats, including death threats, caused one of the most outspoken campaigners for the rights of LGBT people, Maurice Tomlinson, to flee Jamaica in January.  He told Human Rights Watch and the Inter American Commission that he had asked police in Montego Bay to protect him, but that the police officer in charge responded by saying,  “I hate gays, they make me sick.” He fled to Canada, where he received two more death threats by email, in February and March.

Upon the request of the former assistant police commissioner, he returned briefly to Kingston for the investigation, but the police have not followed up with him. “It is a shame that such a prominent LGBT human rights defender has been compelled to seek safety elsewhere,” Dittrich said. “The government’s failure to comply with international human rights standards while public officials like the police officer in Montego Bay look the other way when hate crimes are committed leaves LGBT people vulnerable and unprotected in their daily lives.” In 2004 Human Rights Watch published a report about the treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS and the situation for LGBT people in Jamaica, “Hated to Death: Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic.” The report, which documented a grim landscape of human rights abuses against LGBT people, was undertaken at the behest of local Jamaican advocacy organizations.

Since the Human Rights Watch report, attacks on homosexual people or people perceived as being homosexual or transgender appear to have remained commonplace, Human Rights Watch said. Jamaica is a party to a number of international human rights treaties, but does not live up to those standards, Human Rights Watch said. The Organization of American States (OAS), of which Jamaica is a member,  adopted five resolutions between 2008 and 2012 condemning “acts of violence and human rights violations perpetrated against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” and urging states “to adopt the necessary measures to prevent, punish, and eradicate” discrimination. The protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is part of Jamaica’s binding obligations under international law and standards, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Jamaica ratified without reservations in 1975, affirms the equality of all people in articles 2 and 26.

Likewise, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the international body of experts that monitors compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which Jamaica acceded without reservation in 1991, has affirmed that all children are entitled to protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. “We call upon Prime Minister Simpson-Miller to act swiftly and to bring Jamaica’s laws and policies in line with international human rights standards, in particular as they relate to the rights of LGBT people,” Dittrich said. “We encourage the prime minister to publicly and unequivocally affirm that all Jamaicans, including LGBT people, will be equally protected by the law, the state, and all its institutions and that no discrimination will be tolerated.”

more audio

TVJ on the 25/07/12 carried the story in their Prime Time News feature

Thankfully HRW did not make the same mistake as the IACHR did by including the June 13th murders of the homeless men in the New Kingston area and also that of ‘Ronica who was also killed on the same day. Those murders were not homophobia related but more to do with inter/intra community issues and homelessness coupled with hypermasculine power differentials.

see the Jamaica Observer Vox pop on crimes towards homosexuals where some persons still do not believe there are homophobic murders.

also see: IACHR Condemns Murder of Two Gay Men in Jamaica …….. an open response

and listen more

also see:  Murder, Homelessness and fallouts ……………………………. which looks at the Trafalgar matter and the previous homeless MSM murder that took place sometime between May 23 and 24 this year as well, his mutilated body was found but this story did not get the coverage as the others except in the Star News on May 25 and is considered a homophobic murder for now.

Peace and tolerance

H

St Thomas men relocate with police protection after they’re forced to move .

 

As members of the LGBT displaced and homeless communities continue to spiral and meet homo-negative with homophobic abuses/issues in Kingston mostly here comes some positive news of sorts to a case that has come to light and was hinted to in a previous audio post I did over the last two weeks in eastern Jamaica namely St Thomas where a brethren had tried to accommodate two displaced MSMs while they were seeking employment via sending out resumes. The man who had assisted another former member of the displaced community  and was asked by the same man to assist two others who he deemed not trouble makers related the issues to me. Thanks to him for sharing this as well.

The men who had been temporarily housed at the home of the St Thomas man for two weeks had settled in and remained low as per instruction of the man (from now on called the household head) offering temporary shelter.

However neighbours had become nosy and suspicious according to the man as he had been noticing persons passing more often than usual even as the men stayed in and use the internet and other diversionary entertainment such as cable TV to occupy their free time.

First signs of trouble came as one evening one of the men who travelled home from Kingston stopped at a nearby shop to purchase items when he noticed persons were making comments subjected with homosexual references, the man upon reaching home complained to the head of the household and he in turn reportedly asked the men to avoid using the town centre when travelling but come home directly. The helpful man had not had any run ins before with other community members and when I pressed to find out if any of the men he was assisting may have been the cause of the unneeded attention he said no or he would have evicted them as soon as he saw any signs of that as he was protective of his space while concerned about assisting those who may need it and show some sort of desire to improve themselves. Other one off skirmishes occurred with passers-by and persons farming on a plot of land some distance behind the home.

Days after however one of the men was taking a shower and singing when he reportedly heard movements outside the house and nearing the bathroom window, he looked out and saw 3 persons as if they were trying to pry into the home, the other two men were away at the time. He hailed the persons in the yard in a bid to let them know he saw them and they ran through the nearby bushes, bearing in mind neighbours are not nearby.

That afternoon the other men arrived and the lone man who saw the intruders alerted the household head, he said he became suspicious and nervous at the same time and decided to alert other friends while deciding whether to move from the area. The very afternoon being July 4th the three individuals returned with a small crowd introducing themselves as “concerned neighbours” introducing themselves and asking if the men lived alone etc? The household head who by this time was angry at the intrusion had a heated discussion with the prying concerned persons it was at this exchange the persons expressed that they knew the men were gay and that they should leave as soon as possible as they do not want any gays (battyman, fish) around.

The shouting match lasted for about more than half a hour and the ultimatum was issued repeatedly according to the man as I spoke to him, the men left the same night via a friend who came and picked them up and they slept elsewhere for the night. The house was under lock and key for several days and the landlord who was notified asked his tenant to stay low for a while and see if they persons would calm down. The men decided to move so as to avoid any unneeded violence and abuse so on July 11 they returned for the items and furniture, their first attempts to pack the items were interrupted by passers-by who snickered and later apparently returned with others some of whom were recognised at the set of “concerned neighbours” who lambasted the men with some of the usual anti gay rhetoric. The police were summoned and they already knew of the issue as the men had made a stop by the precinct without filing a report but alerted the cops. They did come and kept a safe distance between the jeering residents and the hastily packing men who moved items to the waiting truck, the driver of the truck was said to have made a comment that if he knew that was the situation he would not have taken the contract to move the men but since he was there they should hurry, the other side men were said to be snickering.

That they did and left with the persons described as “concerned neighbours” literally applauding as they drove away, the landlord was said to have expressed disappointment in the incident and the loss of a good tenant, the man was hailed as a reliable tenant and well paying one as well.

The household head is now at a friend’s home, the two others he was trying to assist are now re-displaced but some inquiries are being done to see how they can be accommodated. Meanwhile in Kingston two separate stabbings incidents took place in the business district both linked to homelessness and homophobic abuse. Another displaced man was run over deliberately on Knutsford Boulevard almost two weeks ago after dancing to music audible from  the street emanating from a popular nightclub which did not sit kindly to the men’s outward effeminate displays.

The recent murders as well is still fresh in the minds of some and all the other ones we might be aware of and those we may never hear of as well, the downtown populations as well have been going through stuff as well.

Meanwhile here is an audio post on recent killings and so on:

Big Lies, Crisis Archiving & More MSM Homlessness Issues 12.07.12

JFLAG’s needs to accept some responsibility for the Trafalgar Murders ….. homelessness not properly addressed

Calls on the PM to act despite her seemingly tolerant stance especially in today’s economic reality with austerity and political careers on the line are certainly going to be ignored, sorry but that is the reality in my view well crafted press releases and letters to the editor as the one in today’s Jamaica Observer without any serious interventions in the very community it says it represents is so evidencial of the lack of interest in addressing lgbt homelessness and displacement overall over the 14 year plus life of the J. Where are the residential/rehabilitation typed facilities for the homeless and displaced sections of the lgbt population that are urgently needed, why did we have to wait till a murder makes mainstream news to finally hear from JFLAG on such issues?  In as far as a timeline we saw this matter of homelessness during my more active times on the streets especially in the younger msm populations explode in 2007 and after due to a party dvd that went public thus exposing many persons who had to flee their communities to Kingston predominantly as the event took place in St Ann at the time, two persons were said to have lost their lives soon after due to the exposure.

The very title of the press release and subsequent letter GAYS SADDENED BY RECENT MURDERS, CALL ON PRIME MINISTER TO ACT suggests a kind of aloofness as if JFLAG is not a homosexual representative group, after all the use of the word “Gays” usually connotates a kind of contempt from homophobes or persons on some anti gay agenda or separatism, why use that in addressing this emotive matter? the section that described the group as “these people” is a bit troubling to me. No political party is going to take on that right now as was hinted to by a member of parliament (see PNP’s Damion Crawford says it’s highly unlikely buggery review will happen …….. it’s not important now he concludes) as far as I am concerned we will have to address our issues ourselves for now with all the access to resources we have especially in the programmatic arenas and again I ask where are the behaviour change experts in the field?

Police investigators at the crime scene on Trafalgar Road in St Andrew the morning of June 13th. – Norman Grindley

All this madness happening in pride month makes me wonder what is there to be proud of at this juncture of our history?

Here is the Observer letter that was published today:

Gays call on PM to listen to their cries

Dear Editor,

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is deeply saddened and concerned by the recent murders of gay men within the last three months. We, the community and allies, send our condolences to the loved ones, friends and families of these people.

We are concerned about the high levels of crime and violence across Jamaica. We condemn these and other grotesque murders of people, which continue to threaten peace, citizen security and justice in Jamaica.

Members of the LGBT community have reported to J-FLAG that eight gay men have been murdered within the last three months bringing to the fore the reality that despite progress towards greater tolerance, the LGBT community continues to be at great risk of violence.

Among the most recent attacks against the gay community was the savage killing of two young men. The men were apparently brutally murdered with blunt instruments in the vicinity of the intersection of Trafalgar Road and Lady Musgrave Road. People who are homeless frequented this area. Among them are young gay men who have been made homeless because of the continued intolerance of homosexuality in Jamaica.

While the motive for these latest senseless killings remains unclear, we expect that the government and police will thoroughly investigate all crimes, thereby mitigating their impact on all Jamaicans, regardless of socio-economic status, disability, health status, sexual orientation or gender identity. We stand ready to partner with the police to bring justice and respect to those whose right to life has been violated.

We also ask the Jamaican public and media to allow the police to conduct their investigations and resist the urge to judge the victims or the motive of their deaths. Let us instead recognise the inherent dignity of every person and respect that should be accorded to every living being while demanding the same justice for these men that we all deserve.

We call on the prime minister and the ministers of national security and labour and social security to listen to the cries and needs of members of our community who continue to be subjected to discrimination and violence, have nowhere to live and no food to eat because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

As we work collectively towards achieving Vision 2030, we invite all Jamaicans to embrace our common humanity and demonstrate respect for the lives of all people as we help make Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.

Dane Lewis

 

Executive Director, J-FLAG

 

PO Box 1152

 

Kingston 8

 

admin@jflag.org

ENDS

I hope that this murder is NOT paraded as a homophobic murder by the establishment as it is not as the alleged killer is also a member of the community. Intra and Inter community reasons are said to be the cause here with homelessness playing a major role.

Albeit the closure of the Safe House Pilot Project which was set up by a previous Executive Director of JFLAG’s parent Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, JASL still has a bad taste in many person’s mouths including the very men at the time who were made homeless again for reasons among which was the so called bad behaviour of the very men who were housed therein in 2010. JFLAG during the tumultuous time said or did nothing to stop the subtle eviction as one would have expected from any independent non aligned advocacy structure would have done on behalf of its representative groups that is claims to speak for. Fast forward to June 13 and all the mess and fallouts and even other deaths not so reported by the mainstream press in between as these two victims have recieved, it took this for JFLAG to finally talk about homelessness? while pretending to be so concerned about the group when bloggers, other activists, influentials and even other NGOs have been questioning over the years since the closure of the Safe House Project aforementioned where is the group during the struggles of the men to survive on their own despite their “bad behaviour?” especially the fact that the men were not far away from the offices of the organization whilst attacks, chases and beatings persisted with very little concern shown.

Let us also not forget: Rowdy gays banned by J-FLAG, JASL ………

Yes there is some truth that the men do call unto themselves uneeded heat as they can be loud and extraverted especially the effeminate members of the population which has led to some homo-negative press and homophobic violence but aren’t the two organizations above equipped with qualified behaviour change experts who ought to have at least understood anticedences when it comes to “bad behaviour hence leading to proper interventions?”

Why did we have to wait until two young promising lives are snuffed out before we see some media shenanigans from JFLAG? these two brothers were younger members of the displaced community who were alleged to be involved in commercial sex work as well. It smacks of a kind of opportunistic activity here by the J to use this issue as it has with other media episodes on LGBT life to present itself as concerned when the realities clearly indicate otherwise.

Why are most things just a press release or a set of letters to the editors and very little grass roots work to address inter and intra community issues?

Let us not forget the politics surrounding the two organizations named and the interior set up, it is important to note that they are all interlinked hence the description coined by some as the incestuous mess, could this be another reason why we can’t see any proper interventions to address homelessness separate and apart from the seemingly manufactured excuse that both groups do not have the resources to do that kind of work not to mention the apologists who are quick on the draw since these two murders and some question of accountability being brought into the subsequent discourse on social media and on the party scenes.

The other issue as well that the J has been getting some flack whether it knows it or not is the matter of gay for pay as alleged in another gruesome murder of a community member just a day before the Trafalgar matter where some have been asking where is the presence on the ground in knowing community members and or at least the cruising communities so as to identify and if not have preemptive workshops on how to negotiate sex with the hypermasculine DL segment of the MSM populations. Certainly JFLAG and other representative groups need to step up their game this is not the late nineties when the community was gullible and hid behind the body as it spoke on our behalf supposedly, things and times have changed drastically some for the better some for the worse and the representation needs to change with it while becoming really effective and not just a press release factory in what some say is a kind of intellectual duplicity.

JFLAG (and its affiliate Jamaica AIDS Support for LIFE) needs to accept some responsibility in the Trafalgar murders, simply put it has failed miserably in addressing homelessness and displacement especially in the last two plus years since the closure of the pilot Safe House Project, it kept disturbingly quiet when the ultimatum was issued and project was closed and the first of two civil disobedience actions by the men although it was clear the men in the shelter at the time would have been made homeless yet again coupled with new additions as more young msms become displaced hence homeless afterwards due to forced evictions and homophobia, not to mention the use of the very space that was the shelter to become the J’s present office. It cannot function independently of JASL or even the sister group Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition as the principals of these two groups have some connection to the J in some instances showing clear conflict of interest so matters that are deemed not important in their eyes at the time just simply do not get attended to, a fact known to many who have gone through the systems. The belief or perception also that the “bad behaving men” are somehow unworthy of any serious support is tacitly supported by the J it seems as they are silent as per usual on matters of homelessness except one sluggish radio interview in 2011 in radio Jamaica’s Beyond The Headlines where the group’s Executive Director then alongside the current ED of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life tried to paint a picture as if they tried other programs such as a gardening project to which the men barely responded, this suggests to me a mindset that the men must accept any little thing that is handed to them no matter how insignificant or paltry it may seem but the question comes again where are the behaviour change experts who know that this population needs more than just a handout or patchwork half house typed facilities without the proper basic psycho social support?

To suggest that it cares about the plight of persons despite socio economic status smacks on a kind of hypocrisy that exists overall in the LGBT community, we know fully well the elitism and classism that runs counter to all that is to be wholesome and these factors even affect how business is done, the vast majority of activists in its midst have never been exposed to the real life issues surrounding stigma and especially displacement/homelessness so they do not exert any willingness to engage such populations, as one community member said it recently near the murder site educated upper middle income folks speaking on behalf of ordinary people …………. this suggests a disconnect in my view, a problem that must be addressed if there is to be any movement in real grassroots work amongst the least of us.

Many persons including myself would love to support any properly thought through and laid out programs to address homelessness in particular but given just some of the challenges as hinted to above how can we get there without some serious paradigm shifts happening? ……………… while our brothers (and sisters as the case maybe) languish and suffer sometimes in silence, if this matter did not get the media spotlight we probably would not have heard a thing from the J, apart from the 8 persons tragically taken from us since this year some of which have made mainstream news there were two other murders in the New Kingston area as well at the other base where substance abusers and homeless persons also use, this was confirmed just days before the Trafalgar matter made news but was not highlighted in the press.

see more on that HERE: Homeless population continues to spiral ….. and Murder, Homelessness and fallouts …………….

Other community influentials have become weary as well due to all the issues surrounding the men over the years so they too have contributed to the aloofness towards to populations, the scholarship program started by some have since wained and the feeding programs have died in the water, the recent Green Gables troubles with the subsequent mobbing in front of the popular theatre and the added Chicken n Things incident has not helped any. The murder also of one of the private donors towards some support for those who want to return to some sort of schooling has greatly affected what little avenue was available to assist if not one member of the group.

So much to ponder on regarding our homeless populations and where to go, the ethical and moral considerations are not too far behind, if we are to be credible with all the letters, thesis, scholarships and impressionable radio interviews will all be for naught if we do not treat with balance the real marginalized amongst us, how can we ask for tolerance from the mainstream when we are so contemptuous of our lesser populations, we already have enough on our plates from the anti gay establishments then this towards our own?

here is a synopsis in audio:

Peace and tolerance

H