Gay & Bisexual Intimate Partner Violence, Homophobic Incidents & Crisis Communication

Crisis communications

Crisis communication is not intended to answer all questions or fill all needs it is just a basic outline of options you might consider if and when you are in the midst of a crisis and need help.

Crisis is any situation that threatens the integrity or reputation of your company or NGO, usually brought on by adverse or negative media attention. These situations can be any kind of legal dispute, and misrepresentations that could be attributed to your company. It can also be a situation where in the eyes of the media or general public your company did not react to one of the above situations in the appropriate manner. This definition is not all encompassing but rather is designed to give you an idea for the types of situations where you may need to follow a plan.

For purposes of this post the omission of same gender loving women in large part is not intentional or meant to exclude them but as there are hardly any documented records of such instances but more so on the side of MSM in my archives, men who have sex with men in the broader context. Exploitative same sex relational matters do often result in some injury from an unconfirmed standpoint when the grapevine system gets wind of them but when jealousy is the reason those conflicts tend not to often lead to a murder, it seems that there has been a preoccupation with more powerful or middle class victims whose cases are used to legitimize homophobia as if only such persons suffer same.  A discussion of sorts has carried on in response to a Gleaner letter some days ago where the writer implored LGBT persons to report incidents to predominantly JFLAG while trying to differentiate intimate partner violence from genuine homophobic cases.

There is more than enough evidence to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt homophobia in Jamaica

Here is the letter firstly: Gays Should Report Violent Encounters

THE EDITOR, Sir:

One of the more unnoticed effects of living in a heteronormative society is the lack of information on, and services for, victims and perpetrators of violence in gay relationships.

This issue is almost as taboo in the (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) LGBT community as homosexuality is in the wider society. There are already so many negative stigmas attached to gay couples that no one wants to publicly voice that there are instances of violence in many gay relationships.

In the same way that men and women abuse each other in heterosexual relationships, they abuse each other in gay relationships, too. Such violence has come to be known as intimate partner violence (IPV) and is defined as physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse.

Due to the nature of gay relationships, especially in Jamaica, many victims and perpetrators of such violence are reluctant to seek help or report incidents of violence in their relationships to the police. IPV can have devastating effects on LGBT people who are already prone to other types of violence at the hands of homophobic people, especially in conservative societies. Many are also reluctant to speak out about it because of the lack of shelters for victims, the general negative sentiment towards gay people, and for some, the fear of being ‘outed’ as gay.

counselling

While this fear is understandable, it is important that victims report incidents of violence, and that perpetrators seek help through counselling to reduce and eliminate IPV. I am encouraging all LGBT people to report all incidents of violence, whether as a result of bullying or IPV, to the police as well as to Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG). And I want to use this opportunity to reiterate that J-FLAG does not condone any type of violence against any person regardless of their sexual identity.

The LGBT community and allies need to be a support system for those in need – both victims and perpetrators – and encourage people to speak out against all types of violence, both in and out of relationships.

P. ANDREW, pgjen_13@hotmail.com, St James

Sadly it seems as implied in this letter a fall in reporting from persons affected by homophobic violence or is JFLAG now finally trying to get its act together when it comes to proper data collection and archiving with evidence of same. I have been openly critical of the incident reporting mechanism they had when I went there as Admin Finance Officer doubling as Crisis Intervention and the poor record keeping of files and incomplete reports of some serious incidents at times, I had to do some major overhauling of the forms and files at the time, examples include persons with injuries yet no photos, police station reports (even rejected visits or cop service number and times) or supporting pictures or documents such as receipts from clinics or prescriptions for injury treatment or dressing and drugs added to the file to make it substantive, the follow up visits that the form calls for at the end before the file is closed or handed over to the relevant person is often blank for many cases. This poor recording keeping or data collection has had and seems to continue to have a serious dent on the all important crisis communication when it comes to public advocacy.

Crisis communication is such as important piece for Jamaica LGBTQ advocacy and more details of cases (barring names or use of pseudonyms) must be brought forward. Nearly 80% of the clients I interviewed who came into the JFLAG office to file reports the session(s) were recorded on audio, unfortunately those were lost as my successor I gathered did not monitor the files and the systems crashed with the files lost forever, so much for simple good administration.

The cynicism and disbelief from anti gay groups, religious fanatics and even legislators is clear over the years with support from media, public commentators and even the police high command dismissing prominent cases as lovers’ quarrels and these major cases are used to justify dismissing any others that have a homosexual involved while not taking into account every case on its own merit. The deceptive use of non homophobic cases by some LGBT lobbyists over the life of the struggle has not helped any either as it only seeks to reinforce the resolve by anti gay voices as we are viewed as liars when such public agitation takes place. Uncompleted court cases for example that of the John Terry matter from 2009 though the stalling at the preliminary hearing level has already revealed some familiarity with the accused and the deceased despite a note was left suggesting death for homosexuals, alleged used condoms were also said to have been found in the home, whether they have evidence of the persons therein is still unclear. The Dean Moriah matter as well sadly who was murdered earlier this year yet long before the investigations were completed some overseas based advocates rushed to judgement and paraded the matter as a homophobic incident even as the trial creeps in our court system, by the time the police high command responded the blanket dismissal of homophobic killings was the subtext of the response hence implying dishonesty by LGBT advocates and a feeling that Jamaica has been falsely labelled as homophobic.

see: September 18 for Dean Moriah Matter 

The mistrust of local advocates I fear still seems to exist in some 7 reports I have received by phone, social media and through other groups when persons are asked to engage JFLAG for example persons simply refuse and even go as far as to label the group as classist and not interested in assisting certain types of persons or feeling that their matter won’t be dealt with as they think it should. This mistrust challenge has been a concern from long before my time at the entity as while there I had a serious task gaining the trust of persons to release their inhibitions and make their reports, this leads to gross under-reporting. This is where our same gender loving sisters come in where there is a feeling that JFLAG is only for males and hence many women who are the subject of abuse, violence (corrective rape) and increasing forced evictions do not come forward.

Exploitative same sex relations as hinted above are also of significant import as men who do not identify as “gay” in the Jamaican context as “bad man” feel threatened in some way as the description (fear of feminization of any sort) for some and power differentials that obtain in this unions of sorts played out in violence for purposes of control. A constant in most of the cases over the years is the class issues right before us, there is usually a middle to high income or relatively comfortable gay man who ends up being the deceased versus a hyper-masculine type from the lower socio economic classes who often do not take any personal items of the victim after the fact and sometimes ends up using the gay panic defence strategy to suggest some sort of implied sodomatical attack to justify the self defence response to kill the person. These same hyper-masculine types have a real fear of exposure in their own class or community so the relations with other more powerful or resourced men is crucial which is also pegged on the belief gay men are more resourced and will pay for such sexual relations.

There maybe is some truth to that as to maintain stealth/secrecy some exchange may occur but the misogynistic view pegged to masculinity by Jamaican standards men do not want to feel subservient to another or in a weakened position so when something changes in that union riddled with a constant power struggle (the so called monied or resourced gay man controlling the union or sex versus the masculine prowess of the hyper-masculine brother maintaining his ground) leads to some violence as the lower resourced man responds the way he knows how that is violence as we are well taught in Jamaica so to do. Any form of disrespect is often met with a violent reaction and seeing that gay men aren’t seen as real men by general social standards the aggressor feels justified in carrying out the attack even using homophobic slurs in doing so despite the intimate familiarity between the parties. These types of cases have factored in the public domain more so than others especially owing to the fact that the victims are prominent citizens or foreigners such as UK Consul John Terry or local Ambassador Peter King, Julius Nelson (son of oppositions spokesman on National Security Dwight Nelson),

Philanthropist, community legend and party promoter Michael Melbourne victim of a trick by a hyper-masculine type
Philanthropist, community legend and party promoter Michael Melbourne victim of a trick by a hyper-masculine type

Micheal Melbourne (community influential) murdered at his apartment on Worthington Avenue or Brian Williamson whose killer “Wingee” was a part of the MSM population who also died in his own apartment. The Brian Williamson case though the motive turned out not to be a homophobic one directly the response from the public is where the evidence is strong of the homo-negative feelings that run in the Jamaican psyche, persons literally rejoiced the morning outside the building as the undertakers and police cordoned off the area to collect the body and process the crime scene. Most of those cases above have remained in the public domain for so long while not having direct homophobic causations that they inform how members of the public judge new cases as non homophobic matters.

“Steve” Lenford Harvey matter just ended with sentencing shortly but the motive is still a bit unclear as robbery seems as the original causation but upon discovery of photos on a laptop it morphed into something else with an added homophobic feature. Also see: 2 Found Guilty Of The Murder Of AIDS Activist, Steve Harvey, Sentencing September 26

Gully Queen
Transgender murder victim “Gully Queen” whose case was labelled as a homophobic case …. misdirected homophobia towards a gender non-conformist should be the correct sub-text in describing this one I suggest

also see: Female cisgender imperative thwarted: 17 year old pre-op transgender woman murdered

The Dwayne Jones murder mistmatch in its reporting has not helped either as (s)he was a transwoman but mistakenly took for a gay man crossed dressed in  a public space with a deceptive motive to trick straight males at an outdoor entertainment event in a rural district. Some activists said he was gay and used that to justify the public advocacy while others said the correct gender identity which confused some folks so some Jamaicans and public commentators simply dismissed the whole as a another gay deception with a satisfactory outcome believe or not.  The outrage that was to have been displayed was not evident except by sections of the LGBT populations.  A recent television special one year since the murder shows up the carelessness frankly of Gully Queen herself and friends that faithful night but who is going to say it openly? that in a sense she gave her own life away in a sense as they clearly thought they understood how to “pass” in public which clearly they didn’t.  See that documentary HERE …….. Host Dionne Jackson Miller takes a look at the issues of the murder of Dwayne Jones aka Gully Queen one year ago and some other related issues to do with homelessness, displacements and forced evictions of LGBT youths with guests, issues to do with passing in public, honesty & integrity about one’s real gender scream for attention in this presentation which warrants better programs from LGBTQ advocacies & interventions specific to transgender individuals navigating public life in Jamaica as misdirected homophobic violence can lead to more incidents such as the tragic murder of Gully Queen,

Other genuine cases also having persons of lesser ilk have not been put to good use to prove the active homophobia in Jamaica when it occurs in more meaningful ways, the cross dresser beating in Trelawny have been overplayed that it has no impact anymore in a sense, the JFLAG listing of cases it did some years ago only show numbers, no outcomes in terms of which were solved. There are several other cases that can be made to help the public to differentiate genuine crimes with a homophobic motive versus crimes of passion as the others are called by detractors.  Cases such as the Manchester mobbing in January 2008 comes to mind complete with photos I took of the victim when I took the report, the lesbian picketing matter in St Catherine some years ago also has photos, the stabbing incident of a transman in Half Way Tree in full view of persons is also another with strong evidence. He now resides in Canada.

LGBT History - Hated to Death Report 2004, Human Rights Watch
Now deceased man who was chopped in Trelawney in November 2002 and featured in the Human Rights Watch Report “Hated To Death” 2004

There are several points reports can be made:

The Police in some instances do take reports the problem is there are still old feelings of hate and stereotyping in the force that needs removing.

Aphrodite’s P.R.I.D.E Jamaica catering to lesbian, transgender and bisexual persons but does engage MSM via crisis intervention and has aided persons in resolving matters.

GLBTQ Jamaica of which this blog is apart continues to receive, engage persons and make referrals to those who make reports or know of incidents for the past 7 years via yours truly, Tel: 1-876-813-4942

I still recommend JFLAG despite their issues.

Quality Citizenship Jamaica, QCJ which is a lesbian, bisexual women entity more so for advocacy but they do some crisis intervention.

Peace and tolerance

also see more crisis communication related posts from sister blogs:  So Dean Moriah’s murder was NOT a homophobic killing ……. ethical issues in advocacy arise yet again

Gay Lobby May Have Lost Potential Allies (Gleaner Letter) Indeed

NO GAY RAGE – Homosexuals Are Not Targeted For Violent Crime, Say Experts

Gleaner claims new backlash towards the gay lobby due to MSM homelessness in Kingston

Jamaica Observer deliberately aiding the further discrediting of the remaining LGBTQ credibility in public advocacy……

Police crack College of Agriculture, Science and Education lecturer murder

Betty Ann Blaine on the big gay lie ..

Betty Ann Blaine on Poverty, children and the Buggery Law …. and that awful confusion of homosexuality with pedophilia 

Questions on murder/buggery case in court

The failure to address or tweak the crisis communication aspect of public advocacy is what has slowed our progress greatly in public advocacy that could have been made.

H

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Young MSM/Transgender want to be treated as citizens not potential HIV/AIDS victims

More and more I seem to be coming across young gay, transgender and bisexual youth who feel weary it seems from the over supply of pinch leave an inch condoms, pamphlets and paraphernalia on safer sex and AIDS and other related materials as multiple agencies jostle to reach what has basically become the same cohort on the face of it of males for the most part in the quest for HIV prevention but where are the more meaningful outreach and interventions for holistic development and nurture?

Some in the know may say that funding is hardly available for those kinds of developmental work (which maybe true in a sense but still sounds more like an apology for slackness and maintaining the old status quo) and indeed the more cynical would go as far as to say it is not the agencies involved best interest to do or offer such meaningful interventions as that will diminish their cohort of potential service users and thus nothing to report hence no need to prepare programs only to seek future funds, after all agencies exist to supposedly help but how many persons are actually being helped or impressive success stories to prove same while old narratives are still being used to suggest that gay/bi men do not have access to safer sex implements which is a lie.

CVM Newscast of the Cargill Avenue eviction where the truckmen/movers found and commented on the condoms they found
CVM Newscast of the Cargill Avenue eviction where the truckmen/movers found and commented on the condoms they found

also see: Homeless MSM/Trans youth draw attention in New Kingston

Homeless MSM having their version of fun recently by the infamous Gully nearing  the Island Car Rentals office
Homeless MSM having their version of fun recently by the infamous Gully nearing the Island Car Rentals office
From the Millsborough Avenue embarrasing eviction of some of the homeless MSM/Trans persons last year, condom wrapper is clearly visible
From the Millsborough Avenue embarrassing eviction of some of the homeless MSM/Trans persons last year, condom wrapper is clearly visible
More condom wrappers indicating that the men are only seen as HIV Prevention targets, what about other developmental work?
More condom wrappers indicating that the men are only seen as HIV Prevention targets, what about other developmental work?

The complaints and reports still come almost on a monthly basis these days of some homo-negative outcome somewhere on the island and the phone calls of requests for money or some form of assistance are growing in frequency too as economic issues abound. There agencies that run and managed by powerful gay persons who have the clout to solves this long standing matter of displacements seeing we have both hard and anecdotal evidence that tells us in no uncertain terms that those are visible consequences of stigma, homophobia and homo-negativity.

Take for example this flashback: UNIMPRESSED WITH THE CVM TV SHOW ON MSM HOMELESSNESS

The September 6th 2012 appearance of representatives from The National Council of Drug Abuse and AIDSFREEWORLD’s Maurice Tomlinson to address the recent public eviction of homeless MSM from Cargill Avenue was at best damage control to another embarrassment regarding the poor response from the relevant LGBT agencies. JFLAG WAS NOT PRESENT AT THIS CVM TV LIVE @ SEVEN Program The attempt to use old programmatic language by Maurice Tomlinson to suggest MSM have no access to condoms while the CVM newscast itself showed the movers holding the condoms in their hands they found on the site and saying the men were practising safer sex should be instructive to ALL in view.

Young gay men as indicated above are also becoming weary of the way they are viewed despite the aforementioned concerns in a group session over the past week some young men some of whom were teetering on homelessness were invited to a meeting called by a community influential who is concerned about the numbers of them on the streets mostly from Kingston, Portmore and Spanish Town (excluding the five who are helped by a church/LGBTQ group in an ongoing weed whacking project) where they aired some issues they had it was instructive that some of them had a barrage of condoms on their person and laughed at the exposure of them as they accidentally fell from a bag of one of the attendees. He joked “All dem do a full mi up wid boots” (all they do is full me up with condoms) “boots” is the colloquial expression for condoms but something happened after the initial laughter died down as it seems the realization that they were having trouble finding permanent shelter or other crisis issues ongoing were real and that “boots” cannot be a solution whenever they are met by the various outreach teams as part of the HIV prevention strategy. The homeless men for example who have been making the news in New Kingston have been receiving food items once a week but is that enough? They too have had loads of condoms thrown at them as we have seen repeatedly on the television newscasts and other videos covering them. What about the deeper issues and personal concerns they have. The men in the meeting of which I was present were asked to fill out a random list of what they require and their lists read as a call for items and things you and I may have probably not considered important as we enjoy those amenities or interactions on a daily basis and indeed take them for granted. The simple lament by the boots carrying man screams far more than just the obvious since they fell in such a great numbers, one could easily count thirty or so. The conversation continued after the list creation exercise and what came out was a stunner to me despite my knowledge of how some persons feel about the whole scenario as older displaced men in time have echoed a similar sentiment with some level of frustration.

The ideal scenario would be a meeting place for group session and support meetings

Steady supply of food cooked or uncooked

Shelter and some sort of transitional living program towards independence

Educational or skills building opportunities

Guidance on developing and executing life plans through self efficacious activity not just limited to HIV prevention

Exploring the arts and possible skills linked to cross dressing aesthetics and affinity to cosmetics (drag culture, forced feminization and female cisgenderistic presentations for male to female transgender persons in the group)

But by the sound of the lament and the subsequent tete a tete the men are not satisfied; theirs is a perception that more privileged homosexuals control tons of money in funding and that the money is being spent on non essential things such as court cases, fat cat salaries and perks while persons who are on the lower socio totem pole are just relegated to being “victims” or service users and nothing more, doomed to get HIV (if they do not have it already) or waiting to die. Such were the tones in the ensuing discourse. Recent history has unfortunately given some credence to these perceptions as feelings of abandonment of the aforementioned homeless men in New Kingston still linger from the repeated news headlines, shenanigans and police interventions of that population and believe me word travels whenever there is any such occurrences. The men in the long and short of it want to be seen as human beings that deserve respect as one older person claims that there is favouritism as well in how interventions are carried out by some agencies and their representatives. Why are some powerful advocates and personalities in HIV/MSM prevention in particular refusing to go this route of real life changing intervention rollouts is still not clear to some, the departure of a Board Chair of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life also has not gone down so comfortably with myself and others as her stance on homelessness was supportive for the most part despite the run-ins with the men and the stoning incidents on their former offices at Upper Musgrave Avenue yet by the soundings out there one particular former chair but who still sits on the bench has been haggling against any such proactive moves to address homelessness which does not surprise me as he was the chair when the Safe House Pilot was closed with no psycho-social interventions allowed to stop the “bad behaviour” that was used a justification to take such final actions on a needed project.

My part in the whole affair however was to offer some encouragement to the lads in the scheme of things especially owing to the fact that one of the men’s friends was hospitalised recently for a brief illness but how can words heal when the real life toughness abounds and affect their present reality? Then we turn around and wonder why the anti social behaviours are happening when it is obviously clear to those looking that such are only means to an end to forget if only for a fleeting moment the worries of the hour. It is also interesting that as a group the men are indeed “rowdy” (word used by voices in the gay lobby to describe them also “maladjusted miscreants” showing the elitist side to this) but as individuals is it amazing what comes flying out of them in a one on one session discussing real life matters yet they are for all intents and purposes made to become martyrs in a sense for a cause that they might not have subscribed to in ordinary circumstances when asked to do so. Leaving them out in the cold for so long seems unethical on the face of it then allowing the numbers to reach levels where they can be used and paraded as “concerned” advocates make themselves look good in coming to their rescue. We are not fooled by the deception but let us see how long the using will take place and if really any proper productive end will come of the recently announced shelter idea, yet another one.

Some indigenous groups such as the aforementioned St Catherine weed whacking project group, Colour Pink (aligned to the aforementioned JASL) and Aphrodite’s PRIDE Jamaica of which I am performing Outreach and Facilitation duties for their Enterprise Training Project for more stable formerly displaced MSM/Trans and Lesbian individuals are addressing in their own way psycho-social issues and other concerns such as jobs and education development but we know where some of the blame of all this lies at the feet of these same agencies who only do enough to look as if they are addressing some issues but not with a view to adequately address what they take on only for the interventions to last out for experts have jobs it seems. Others seem more interested in media whoring possibly to satisfy a narcissistic complex at the expense of the least amongst us and then we wonder why we are here with an exploding displaced and homeless grouping and advocacy in limbo in the face of steady HIV/AIDS infection rates in the MSM cohort.

The APJ training for example we stay far away as a possible from an over preponderance of HIV messaging and instead go for positive reinforcement in terms of identity, coming out and so on.

Some things to think about but who is brave enough to say it openly when their snouts are in the troughs?

Integrity in advocacy anyone?

Peace and tolerance

H

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

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

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

 

Gays Born, Not Made, Mr Espeut

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

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

BRIAN-PAUL WELSH

brianpaul.welsh@gmail.com

ENDS

meanwhile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENDS
Let me add this video

Buggery, Bigotry And Buffoonery

As the war of words heat up in print between straight-allied activists, religious intolerant groups and the LGBT lobby and several legal challenges hanging in the balance I think we need to tread very careful and try not to get lost in the sea of charges and counter charges. Today’s piece however in the Gleaner by Attorney Gordon Robinson however is a good one:

Gordon Robinson, Contributor to the Gleaner wrote:

Bigotry is as bigotry does.It’s usually dressed up in many disguises, usually religious, but bigotry always exposes itself by the lengths to which it’ll go to fashion fallacious arguments to create an illusion of truth protecting its unreasonable beliefs from plain sight.

The worst form of bigotry is the self-righteous kind where the Bible is blamed for man’s inhumanity to man. “Is not me say so,” preaches Pastor doing his best Shaggy impression, “It’s in the Bible!”

As one bogus excuse for entrenching bigotry as national policy is debunked, another is trotted out. Humans, looking as earnest as chemistry professors in nightclubs while feigning sincere attempts to grasp non-existent complexities as they explain why other humans shouldn’t be treated equally, never tire of producing nonsensical arguments in support of their fatally flawed hypothesis.

Because, make no mistake about it, any hypothesis that a baby born who, when grown, is attracted differently from another baby born and grown on the same planet is somehow inherently evil (or requires ‘cure’) is a fallacious hypothesis.

What follows from this simple premise is that any argument put forward by those seeking to perpetuate such a bigoted view is easily exposed as nonsense. It matters not the form bigotry might, from time to time, take, whether segregation, apartheid, religious intolerance, racism, slavery, or homophobia. Bigotry is as bigotry does.

Sometimes, persons trying to expose the fallacy in a shiny new argument become entangled in the need to be politically correct or maybe is himself/herself conflicted, hence trying to argue from textbook theory instead of inalienable truth. The inalienable truth, which is self-evident, is that all humans are created equal. However, no two persons have the same DNA. All of us have always been, and will always be, Differently Natural Animals, yet we’re all equal in the sight of God.

These things don’t confuse children. In their innocence, children play with any other child. It’s only when a supervising adult says, “Don’t play with that little boy. He likes to put on girl’s clothes. He’s queer” that the child, conditioned to obey, shies away.

Q: What is segregation?

Little Girl: I don’t know what seggeration is.

Q: What is bigotry?

Little Girl: I don’t know what bigory is.

Q: What does hatred mean?

Little Girl: I don’t know what that is.

Q: What is prejudice?

Little Girl: Umm, I think it’s when somebody’s sick.

Recently, I’ve noted the religious righteous have launched a new offensive against homosexuals. It’s as if an executive council of the forces of bigotry held emergency meetings after receiving cell phone calls from today’s Paul Revere, “The homos are coming! The homos are coming!” – from which fresh arguments were fashioned to defeat annoying activists expecting gays to be treated as humans (OMG!). Then foot soldiers are deployed to spread the word.

Previously, the favourite argument of lobbyists for bigotry as government policy was, “Where will it end? If ‘unnatural’ sex acts are to be tolerated, man should be able to have sex with his dog. Or cat. Or donkey. Where do we draw the line?” This is, of course, crude fearmongering disguised as argument.

What exactly is ‘natural’?

Buzzwords like ‘unnatural’ deliberately conjure up disgusting mind pictures designed to regurgitate your lunch. Especially in an undereducated nation, this word will scare plenty people. But, first, what exactly is ‘natural’? What’s natural for the goose can be awkward for the gander. My dictionary defines ‘natural’ as ‘existing in nature; not made or caused by humans’, which, if I took ye Olde Testament literally, makes ALL sex unnatural.

Bigotry needs fear to feed its irrationality, hence the inclusion of fearsome buzzwords and the persistent use of inappropriate analogies rather than addressing the actual situation bigotry wants to condemn.

Logic’s reply excludes all emotive words. It’s that the world needs more, love not less. Anything done between consenting adults in the name of love is between them and their God and none of the State’s business. It’s all about consent. So, the reason why the State justifiably steps in when a man is caught raping a donkey is because the poor donkey can’t consent. Like all bad analogies, bigotry’s use of the donkey parable is irrelevant to the real issue.

That argument having flopped, the forces of bigotry have regrouped; a new argument has been developed; and is being broadcast islandwide. It begins on cue, “Where will it end?” Bigotry continues, “If anything between consenting adults is okay, what if a father and his adult daughter have consensual sex? What about that?”

This inane argument has been the subject of an insidious campaign of brainwashing by immersion from all angles, including by educated panellists on a popular TV show. That show’s token liberal fumbled the ball while she stammered her way to an equally silly response about ill-advised genetics. Genetics, schmenetics! Don’t let bigotry’s smoke and mirrors confuse you. It’s all about consent.

Consensual sex between a father and his adult daughter is an oxymoron of cataclysmic proportions. Both in law and common sense, ‘consent’ can’t be present if it’s the result of undue influence. A parent has complete and authoritative influence over his children from birth, and each child places total trust in that parent’s guidance. Sex with one’s daughter is inherently sex obtained by an abuse of that trust (undue influence) and so can’t be consensual, properly so called, regardless of the daughter’s current age.

As bastions of prejudice are crumbling worldwide, it seems local bigotry’s desperation has pushed it to the use of whatever argument necessary, no matter how patently flawed, to ensure only one type of love is tolerated in Jamaica. Woe betide your love should it not conform to Bigotry’s notion of ‘natural’ love.

It matters not how skilled or qualified you are. It matters not how caring and loving an individual you are. If you dare to love a member of your own gender, you must be shunned, hated, and punished. Every possible obstacle must find itself in your ambitions’ path, your hopes, your dreams, your love, even your very life. To bigotry, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as passing judgement on a fellow life traveller less righteous than him/her.

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,

There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb.

There are oceans and rivers enough to cross

Enough to last until the end of time.

At this time of national crisis, our economy is being squeezed to death, our children are undereducated, our health services are chaotic, bus fare hikes are about to cripple the poor, yet the number one issue churches can find to throw their coordinated strength against is the perpetuation of hatred against gays. Right now, as Peter Phillips correctly said, we need all hands on deck. That’s ALL hands, whether left- or right-handed, gay or straight.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

No, not just for some but for everyone.

 

Instead of calling for unity against economic crisis; or unity against the violent, frightening crime, Jamaica’s chauffeur to the most wanted, Reverend Al, has a more important national focus. He wrote:

“We declare that we’ll mobilise and resist any attempt to tamper with the Constitution as it relates to buggery. Our present Charter of Rights sufficiently covers and protects the rights of all citizens.”

Al, the Constitution doesn’t ‘relate’ to buggery. Your Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship made sure of that. Talk about fleeing when nobody pursueth! He removed all pretence at political neutrality when, in his most arrogant tone, he said:

“We will not support any politician or political party that seeks to promote and foist on our nation, in any shape or form, the gay-rights agenda, which is alien to our culture as a people.”

POLITICAL THREAT

Rev Al Unplugged produces a partisan political threat to destroy any government who even debates treating gays as equal under the law. Al believes the “gay-rights agenda” is “foreign” to our culture. Al, why’re you so afraid? Since gays have proliferated in Jamaica since forever (including in the Church), and since Jamaican gays most definitely want ‘gay rights’ (all they really want is human rights), here’s the bad news, Al. Gay rights is about as foreign to Jamaica as priests inappropriately fondling young boys or pastors knocking up church sisters. Al saved the best for last:

“We respect the right of privacy and freedom of personal choices. We believe and demand that Government and the courts bear in mind and uphold the Constitution of our nation and the will of the majority of our citizens.”

Why does Al DEMAND the courts uphold the Constitution? Is he saying they’ve been derelict in that duty? Maybe he believes that’s why the courts convicted him of a gun-related offence. His stated respect for privacy, coming immediately after his lurid threat to withdraw “support” from any government considering allowing gays their privacy, rings as hollow as a Loretta Lynn’s birthplace.

Q: What is segregation?

Little Girl: I don’t know what seggeration is.

Q: What is bigotry?

Little Girl: I don’t know what bigory is.

Q: What does hatred mean?

Little Girl: I don’t know what that is.

Q: What is prejudice?

Little Girl: Umm, I think it’s when somebody’s sick.”

Legendary song-writing duo, Hal David (lyrics) and Burt Bacharach (music), wrote ‘What The World Needs Now is Love’ in 1965. Dionne Warwick turned it down (although she subsequently covered it in 1966), so it was first recorded by Jackie DeShannon. In 1971, in the aftermath of America’s notorious political assassinations, disc jockey Tom Clay created a superb remix which pulled together elements of the Bacharach/David song and 1968’s Abraham Martin and John (written by Dick Holler and first recorded by rock ‘n’ roll star Dion).

The musical collage featured a question-and-answer session with a little girl for whom these concepts of hate were truly foreign. Tom Clay’s remix became a smash hit. Readers could revisit it in these times when purveyors of hatred threaten to tear us apart and destroy any hope of a successful Jamaican vision.

Peace and love.

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.

 

Also see:

The False Dichotomy of the religious right on the ………

Espeut, West says “Homophobia” was invented to abuse Christians as hate speech

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

Some religious right lies about the lgbt community…

Don’t Shield Gays From Criticism

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

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

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

The abomination of cowardice; The just and the unjust

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Be fruitful and multiply…

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

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

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

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

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

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

…The Christian Taliban

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Safe House Project background from the conceptualizer …………………

In recent times we have seen all kinds of stuff happening with the homeless men both older and newer generations and the referred to Safe House Pilot Project in some of my posts and podcasts, here the former Executive Director of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life at the time when it was conceptualized has penned a post from her new blog on the issue where she explains in some detail how and why the project came to be.

some background since August of this year as carried on CVM TV

some Abbreviations

JASL – Jamaica AIDS Support for Life

JFLAG – Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays

AMFAR – The American Foundation for AIDS Research

Here is the post from The Queens Yellow Brick Road

The pilot homeless shelter housed at apt 3, 4 Upper Musgrave Road (I wish I remember the dates, I am getting old will ask the gay community historian Howie Fiehdior, to back me up on the details of time etc) was expected to continue for 6 months, and funded by various donors, AMFAR, MOH, TIDES. I did not receive specific funding for the homeless shelter but rather looked at the existing funding we had in house and how I could use the funding and activities there in to support the pilot. No one would fund a shelter as there was no precedence, this was the first of its kind and there was no evidence that it would survive.

The dates as she asked for were the ultimatum issued to the Safe House residents on December 30, 2009 and the closure on February 6, 2010 or thereabout, See more

The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes

The Ultimatum on December 30, 2009

What was the thought and motivation behind doing the pilot:

The fact is, due to the high levels of homophobia in Jamaica, homelessness is almost always an eventuality for gay youth from as early as 11 years old. The situation affects both lesbians and gay men, however, due to the heavy resistance to homosexuality among men, they usually face the immediate physical issues and most visibly, ending up on the street. For the forgotten voice of Lesbians, homophobia is no less real, rather as always women suffer in silence, with homophobia being experienced in the form of rapes, forced relationship arrangements and in situations of homelessness, they usually end up at a female friends house or a male friends’ with whom they would usually have to engage in sex.
For me, there can really be no effective work aimed at truly finding the solutions to the core vulnerabilities both to HIV and LGBT issues, until we went right to the nucleus of it, and the nucleus is homelessness.

Process:

I spent a lot of time understanding the community, my working hours went straight up into midnight, at detriment of both my relationship and health, however to serve a community, you have to understand them and their issues. Homeless and sex working MSM would come by JASL and nights and we would just talk randomly, about their childhood, experiences on the street, many a times I was exposed to information that had me cringe, but I knew I could not do that openly and if I did, I would have to be quick to explain that I am in shock, so as to prevent them from feeling uncomfortable about sharing.

3 focus group sessions were convened with the guys, transcribed by another JASL staff member with the objective of collecting info about their experiences on their family life prior to being homeless; their experiences on the street; where they would like to see themselves in the future; what kind of solution they think would be best. The homeless guys were used to get participants to the programme, and they did this willingly. We offered shower and clothing and sometimes food.
Miraculously, the landlord at Upper Musgrave had a vacancy, a 3 bedroom space that is now JFLAG’s office, I spoke to her about the pilot programme and she was willing to rent it for $40,000 per month. AMFARs project had money for grants to gay people to support rental for 1st month, I decided to use that money to support the rental for the project for the 6 months. Giving a gay man who became homeless the first month’s rent is a real waste of time and unsustainable joke use of resources, usually, they are unemployed and can’t afford to pay rent; they lie through their teeth to get the funds; the reasons for them being homeless was not investigated.
At the time I was going ahead with the plan, I heard no vocal oppositions, now I look back at it, everyone went quiet, perhaps because i was so enthused about it, I never appropriately interpreted this quiet lack of active involvement in the process. I started on a rampage begging and partnership seeking: Food for the poor and Red Cross from beds and food; Ministry of Health for counseling services and medical care; and the community for every thing and buy-in.

The end product was a project officially and initially housing I believe 12 persons including one woman, who was picked up off the street by a concerned citizen with very advanced case of AIDS and at the point of dying. I remember her with a huge smile on my face, as although I know the policy was not to house people at the office, I hid Candy at JASL and within 3 days of interacting with people, eating, smiling and being hugged despite her sores, one could hardly believe she was the same person, almost dead, that was brought in just days ago. Our tenancy began, we had mattresses to put on the floors and beds, a doctor was in place, and they were all screened. I want to make it clear that HIV + status was not a requirement for entry to the programme but over 90% of the participants to the programme were HIV + and with some with more than one opportunistic infection, their health situation was traumatic for both the doctor and I, almost all were put on ARV and other treatment immediately, and with of course as much privacy as we could manage, with the nurse keeping and administering the medication. Many were at different stages of denial, as well as displaying mental and psychological issues, our counselors were Sharlene Jarrett from the National Programme and the late and amazing Howard Daley. Mrs. Jarrett was employed to the National HIV Programme as Monitoring and Evaluation specialist but also did counseling, she agreed to do it free of charge. Howard Daley was one of the brave 5 that started JASL in the first place and it was an honour to meet someone like him, his fees were supported by AMFAR, and he conducted the group counseling sessions.

Remedial classes were supported through the Global Fund project, and provided tutoring in Spanish, Mathematics, English and Computing, all delivered by LGBT teachers. I included Spanish as learning a second language would also expose them to another culture, many had only dreamt of cultures outside of Jamaica, and learning Spanish was one other attempt to distract them from Jamaican culture and plant hope-seeds that situations can be different.

They all had strong interests in performing arts and an LGBT dancer was also brought in to do tutoring under another dream project of mine, I was hoping to develop and demonstrate using the Pilot Project was Phoenix Rise, a LGBT performing arts and behaviour change programme. Of course there were behavioural issues, arguments and verbal fights, the behaviour change process had just begun, giving someone food, clothing and shelter does not immediately convert them to angels, when they have had to develop demons to address the harshness of their realities. Respectful dialogue was the method I used to address issues, they are used to the language of aggression, they have no respect for life or anything, speaking aggressively to them would only cause an even bigger flair up in an effort to protect themselves, and it worked each time, there was a rules list and sanctions for repeat offenders. Other gay men who had experienced homelessness, rallied around the project, providing support such as food, aiding in quelling issues, not sure how but if there were any issues, they were first on scene.
Let me be clear, whilst the shelter was the first attempt at providing/testing a structured solution to homelessness, the community has itself been dealing with its own homelessness issues on smaller scales. There were interesting family models created that I did not see anywhere else in my research on homelessness, Gareth, Macy, Spencer and a whole lot others were already housing and caring for gay men. This is the model that ultimately I was working on providing a justification for supporting. In behaviour change and social development, we cannot avoid looking at the natural solutions that are developing in response to our problems, these must be understood and supported with structure and technical help. The gay mommys and daddys needed parental training, support group sessions, and a small financial contribution to support them in being the solution they already were to homelessness. This model would solve a few issues, not least of which is the cost and unsustainability of providing a one shelter for homelessness: the families already existed and had food, clothing, bedding etc set up to support the homeless. Providing a place for board, showers and sleep is not what this community needs to solve homelessness and the desperation of it, what is needed is a re-entry into a FAMILY, who cared about who they are and what they do, who held them accountable and who loved them.
When I was asked to pull the programme before its maturity period, I was devastated and heart broken. I resigned from my post as Executive Director, knowing the core vulnerabilities of our work, I could not continue ignoring and working like I didn’t see them, it would be labouring in vain, attending meetings in luxurious hotels, traveling to exotic places and coming home to cut my eyes at the core nucleus of HIV and LGBT issues, I personally could not live with myself. I had to take a very long break, having suffered a nervous breakdown, being suicidal and having been diagnosed with severe depression, I was mentally unstable for about 2 years after the experience as I learnt the hard way, that not everything is always as it seems.

Club Heavens “The Rebirth”

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes she emerged on the night of February 11, 2012 LGBT history was made under new management, with new interior designs, new and some old staff members returning and certainly a new lease on life after closure for some time now due to a rapid decline in interest as other spots within Kingston and neighbouring parishes took center stage, other mitigating circumstances and a much younger and discriminating audience who also have an aptitude for mainstream entertainment offerings that also seem to appeal to LGBT senses but it was good if not refreshing to see the old haunt revived and kicking once again.

The north western Jamaica spot is up and running again and it’s hoped that it will remain open with steady loyal patronage for years to come.

The name supposedly came about as at that time the issues with stop murder music, the repetitive homophobic incidents and the missing entertainment spots around the conceptualizers wanted to find and run an outlet for release so the term Heaven(s) was used to bring a kind of relief and happiness as was thought implied in the term as it related to a religious perspective to the spot.

(due to the limited photo policy I cannot show you more than the basics)

The simple yet effective decor was a fierce start upon entering, new acoustics, lighting, security arrangements, fogging, VIP section and the free admission for opening night were part of the clever marketing ploy to re-introduce persons to the spot and open up another offerings to first timers, in fact it is to open on Sunday night as well with a $500 admission. Club Heavens which officially is now the longest running LGBT entertainment spot/club in local terms if one is counting we could assume some 7 years or more between the closings and reopenings.

It’s original conceptualizer the late Kirk Lester who was murdered in 2007 whose funeral made international news after the stoning incident that took place marring the final rights in Mandeville opened the spot in early 2000 and at that time there were few permanent spots for fun and socializing with peers. Individual party promoters were offering their own brand of private shingdigs while the defunct Entourage Nightclub was no more as we recall after its closure due to pressure from the surrounding business district and a series of sensationalized articles in the tabloids of the day on supposed happenings there then the awful murder of its proprietor and co founder of  a noted LGBT entity Brian Williamson in June 2004 a small attempt was made to revive the brand but was reprised for safety reasons and for memory of him.

At or around the original opening of Club Heavens as well we had lost two major disc jockeys on the circuit due to that infamous party DVD that made its way to the mainstream and was sold on the streets with the outcome being the jocks identified by their voices as they worked in the mainstream as well, then came the backlash which compromised their safety also resulting in a lull in offerings for some time out of fear of exposure hence the no cameras policies or limited photo/video capture that are instituted with some events to this day. So the market responded by attending this new spot in droves weekly which also catered to a wide cross section of the LGBTQIQ2S communities as well thought out themes were offered and well received at the time.

Club Heavens also had come to represent the tradition of drag entertainment and has hosted some noted internationally recognised divas including Harmonica Sunbeam and the legendary Michelle Ross and also our version of the Miss World pageant and Oscar typed award shows recognizing persons in LGBT entertainment locally. This was not lost at the Rebirth and old and new divas strutted their stuff on the stage with appropriate short sets this time around, Diva Nastacia Waugh legendary performances was welcomed as she lip synced to Whitney Houston’s “I Look To You” in the tribute segment and the fab one BeBe from western Jamaica proved that 6 inch pumps are a breeze for a tall lady. It was Nage Trendsett that dominated the performances however proving yet again the calibre of shows she has been serving since last year, she delivered a three song set including two tracks from Beyonce where she lip synced flawlessly with only a chair in the centre of the stage as a prop. Her ability to have her audience transfixed during multiple songs was proven yet again, no one moved and no one gawked and there was no heckling as often follow some other queens, her use of space to enhance her performance had not gone unnoticed and her eye contact with her loyal subjects was commendable, all the above are traits some performers need to tighten up on and hold patrons’ attention. Four major DJs served the beatz including yours truly and Dr B from western Jamaica was a toast for the kidz and of course DJ David with hot Peppa.

A packed house rocked as persons from just by the look of it all walks of life were present and the mingling was good to see, also what was evident were the rural faces some of whom have not been seen in ages proving that the club has the pull to cover the tiles. Influentials could be seen darting about and other party promoters were present too to show their support, I know the late Kirk Lester would have liked that real unity as some persons from that era reminisced on his impact on the club’s development. Persons recalled his own antics darting about the floor seeing to the smooth running of the activities especially the bar sales and his own brand of drag often taking the stage himself with that infamous Tina Turner wig and gesticulating to his favourite Diana Ross song “The Best Years of my Life”

Also not to be outdone in as far as reminiscing goes was Mr. Gareth Henry who took over management after Kirk’s departure from us and carried it until he moved to that infamous villa on the north coast where the old party DVD was shot of a previous private LGBT event, scenes of which are still on Youtube and the subsequent threats on his life from a public incident he was involved in at a pharmacy that caused him to seek asylum elsewhere among other things. I will not mention too much of the ugly history of the club during the tumultuous period of its immediate past manager but it is water under the bridge as she too was in attendance to shake a leg.

The brand also changed hands with the likes of former Crisis Interventions Officer from the J, Miss Artis who now resides elsewhere, the property’s owner at one point, a former promoter from western Jamaica and of course legendary Macey Antibellum Grey before its rebirth in 2012.

The shenanigans of the hypermasculine brothers (thugs/heaviots) are not to be left out of this summary as they too made their presence felt at the spot which has usually attracted them in better numbers than elsewhere. International vogue queens were also present a few of which made the trip to Jamaica just for the reopening/reunion as described by the masters of ceremonies during the drag show presentation.

here is more in audio:

Club Heavens The Rebirth 12.02.12

There were just two dark spots in the scheme of things, the alcohol inventory had ran out and there was a small skirmish after the proceedings ended on the outside with minor injuries but overall the rebirth was flawless. I guess some things won’t change so easily eh?

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It has indeed fulfilled its mandate in a sense and so appropriately named as the spot for some time also doubled as a spot for church services for the Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica services in some instances, offering an LGBT version of heaven on earth through Jesus Christ, literally after a busy club night sections are cordoned off, janitorial staff go into action, chairs are erected a podium placed and covered with the banner and other paraphernalia, a large Bible is laid, a chalice brought out, tambourines, wine and communion wafers are placed when needed, candle sticks and the collection plate. As one lead pastor from the mother church in Florida puts it “it was church from a box.” From LGBT entertainment including raunchy teasing strip shows to spirit filled services attracting two different audiences, talk about functionality.

Let us hope they grow from strength to strength and continue this long held tradition of offering a wide array of entertainment for us.

Peace and tolerance

H

Internalized homophobia glaring since the elections …. a worrying trend

Internalized Homophobia is something that virtually all gays have to confront (or have yet to confront) in their lives.

The simple definition is that internalized homophobia refers to negative feelings that we have towards ourselves because of our homosexuality. The forms it may take can vary from outright shame, denial, or self-injury, to hating on other gay people and more unconscious behaviors as well.

Internalized homophobia happens for some of the same reasons that straight people are homophobic – namely ignorance, often because of religion and then of course, because of negative stereotypes and misinformation that we hear about in our families, schools, and society.

However, with gays, negative attitudes become “internalized” because we are the subject of these prejudices! Whether we realize it or not, we are affected and hurt by hate and discrimination. It’s never a conscious choice to have internalized homophobia, but it must be a conscious choice to change it.

Here is a general overview of the spectrum of behaviors that exhibit internalized homophobia. Everyone has a unique life history, personality, and set of circumstances that inform their place either on or totally off of this list!  :

1. Aggressive Denial. Some people feel so strongly that they should not be gay that they will repress their feelings and desires and speak out with some of the most hateful and homophobic language you will ever hear. You often see this happen with fundamentalist religious figures, like Ted Haggard. This never ends well. (Usually it ends with a gay sex scandal, talk show appearances and a lot more denial.) This is the worst kind of internalized homophobia because the hateful rhetoric and actions that these “aggressive deniers” exhibit really hurt other gay people and the movement.

2. Denial. Some people simply deny that they are gay, try to lead a straight life, may even get married and have a family. Many of these gay people in denial lead secret gay lives, or possibly worse, spend their lives feeling unfulfilled, lonely and unknown to everyone they love.

3. Closeted. A closeted person is someone who has gay relationships, but hides that fact from everyone that they know and love. In Beyond the Closet; The Transformation of Gay and Lesbian Life, being in the closet is described as a “life-shaping pattern of concealment.” Being closeted is linked with high-anxiety, low self-esteem, increased risk for suicide and general lack of fulfillment (though closeted people rarely admit to not being fulfilled while they’re in there, though they always remark about it when they finally come out!)

4. In the closet with the door open. Many people are only partially closeted. They have gay relationships, and don’t completely hide their sexuality, but they make a point to not talk about it with family, friends, co-workers or, if they are public figures, the media. Sometimes gay people do this for their own safety, for example, if they know they could face possible violence at work or lose their home if they are living with homophobic family members.

There can be a practical side to being careful with your disclosure. However, many gays have gay friends, gay friendly (or at least loving) parents and still they remain silent. Often they say things like “it’s not anybody’s business,” or “we don’t talk about those kinds of things,” when questioned. The root of this avoidance and secrecy is shame, fear to disappoint, fear to face actual homophobia from people or to not be accepted. This kind of internalized homophobia really encourages subtle and systemic discrimination in our society.

It makes a statement that even gay people believe that gays should be marginalized and gives straight people permission to ignore us. When we do not advocate for ourselves and others who need support, we are weak as a movement. Additionally, the people found in this part of the spectrum are often the most avid deniers of the existence of ‘internalized homophobia.’

5. Out, and generally fine with other gays, but really dislikes ‘dykes’ and ‘flamers’. Many gay people are out and open and educated and “perfectly wonderful” gays, except for the fact that they vocally dislike flamboyant gay people. If you are this person, there are a few things you should consider.

  • These outspoken, visible minorities (a.k.a. someone who does not or cannot pass as straight) have been on the forefront of the gay rights movement from the very beginning. They take the brunt of the homophobia, face the most violence, and through their differences have created greater visibility for LGBTQ people in the world. After all, if no one could see us, how could they know we existed?
  • Every group of people has extreme examples and stereotypes. We encounter straight people all the time who are so ridiculous, they could be cartoons. And yet, we accept these differences to be within the acceptable range of human weirdness and expression.
  • It is important to distinguish between a flamboyant person and an annoying person. The reason you dislike someone may have everything to do with the fact that they are irritating, and not as much to do with the fact that they are queer.
  • Some of the hate directed at extremely masculine lesbians or extremely feminine gay men, is actually a form of gender discrimination. We need to take into account that gender expression is something that happens in conjunction with sexuality. Many people with non-traditional expressions, are experiencing the brunt of internalized homophobia and transphobia, even if they’re not trans. Lots of straight people want to put sexuality in a box, but lots of straight and gay people want to put gender in a box. Gender, like sexuality, is a spectrum of expression.

Since the elections and the strong feelings on the issues especially since the wrench that was thrown in the mix of the review of the buggery law by the opposition People’s National Party, PNP in the leadership debate who have since won the poll on December 29th, the JLP who since the mention of the suggested buggery law review by the PNP leader and Prime Minister designate Portia Simpson Miller have employed  devious homophobic methods on the campaign trail to capture the Jamaican audience’s attention which seemed to have led to voter non interest and a low voter turn out with core party supporters returning the PNP to power while the undecided basically stayed home.

For purposes of this post let us exclude the outness of persons but zoom on on the community conflicts pre and post the election results, LGBT persons who openly supported the Jamaica Labour Party before the buggery law review suggestion have found themselves the object of serious scaving bordering on homophobic slurs and innuendos some with very threatening tones as if to suggest if those who support the JLP must be crazy and they can stay and be killed in the process by the systems. The social network spaces especially Facebook have become ablaze with persons trading insults and long argumentative threads with the very words used against LGBT people by homophobes also being employed to psychologically intimidate persons. The cynicism to those persons has remained high since the results and smacks on a kind of elitism that seemed to have been hidden but making its way to the fore as the opportune time presents itself.

The contemptuous tones are worrying to myself and a few others and speaks to the overall struggling health of our LGBT community, how can we ask the rest of the nation for tolerance when we can’t even tolerate each other with differing views? I firmly believe we have to get our act together and express opinions and thoughts without descending into the very bowels of nasty homophobia that we are all wanting to escape I hope from the religious right and sections of the mainstream. It is shocking this kind of intolerance so much so that persons find the time to carefully prepare several well worded posts and blackberry messages/broadcasts two or three times a day cursing swearing and aiming venomous putrid hate at other LGBT people just because they supported the JLP, I too have come in for some slight criticism which I welcomed but my critics and I argued the issues based on my open view of the situations in this election and then agreed to disagree but others have not been so lucky, trouble is the posts as mentioned are sometimes open and directed at unnamed persons but it is clear who the intended targets are, to even be so vaguely loose and contemptuous is also troubling and smacks on a kind of psychological manipulation to influence thoughts and professional hypocrisy. The IH does not only come from individual profiles but also several LGBT Facebook groups as well including several where members of the advocacy structure are a part of, these vitriolic exchanges go unchecked with these members obviously seeing them and no reprimand or call to a check on how we are treating each other.

Are we ready then to embrace rights and or privileges when we are at this stage of our community lacking moral fibre, scruples or just basic respect for each other? seeing that we can’t be out relatively speaking and the perils of homophobia is this the release mechanisms we resort to by castigating each other in anger?

Is it insecurity within oneself here that causes these outbursts even from persons who wouldn’t normally be involved in such activity? after all Jamaica politics usually brings out the animal in some persons.

Time will have to tell.

Peace and tolerance

H

 

 

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

So this week again on his television show Word Power as was expected Reverend Al Miller pushed his anti gay position and associated the invented gay marriage issue as was hinted to by the Prime Minister in an interview with Ian Boyne on Profile on television Jamaica and a previous Gleaner editorial posted HERE.  No LGBT group or individual at this time of ever as far as I am aware has asked for gay marriage rights and it has been a smoke screen used to deny any acceptance of tolerance of LGBT issues in the public domain. We cannot even get past this debate and the confusion of buggery with homosexuality in general. One wonders if Reverend Miller is using this issue to repair his public image which has taken a battering since the Dudus Coke matter earlier this year and the subsequent missing gun trial where he, the goodly pastor was found guilty, a recent news service reported:

Reverend Al Miller has been found guilty of negligence resulting in the loss or theft of his licensed firearm. 

Reverend Miller, who is the pastor of Fellowship Tabernacle Church, in St Andrew, was charged in January earlier this year.

Senior Resident Magistrate Lorna Williams announced the verdict when the case resumed today in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court.

In handing down her ruling, Williams said she rejected the unsworn statement Miller gave in his defence.

Responding to the verdict, Miller said it shows flaws in the system.

Allegations are that the reverend and his daughter were on their way home when they stopped at a school in the Shortwood area, of St Andrew, to pick plums.

He reportedly left a pouch containing the firearm and several rounds of ammunition in his car, but returned to find them missing.

Reverend Miller is also before the courts on separate charges. He has been charged for harbouring a fugitive and attempting to pervert the course of justice after then fugitive Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke was captured in his car along the Mandela Highway, in St Catherine.

Does Reverend Miller have the moral authority to speak? what is a pastor doing with a firearm? that is not to say he does not have the right to bear arms but the power of God should be your guide not a weapon that destroys that ends up missing and he conveniently forgot to report it to the relevant authorities.

This weekend at the Heroes Circle Reverend Al Miller’s church will be hosting Pastor,  self described ex gay Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin (above) who will be here for two days of concerts and meetings with other clergy. Is this a sign of the use of reparative therapy rebuttals towards the present debate on the UK aid removal, the challenge by Lord Anthony Gifford et al to the buggery law, homosexuality in general and a shot in the arm to the mounting opposition from other circles and individuals such as Shirley Richards past President of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, LCF? In 2004, Mr. McClurkin sang at the Republican National Convention. The appearance generated criticism for the event organizers and McClurkin for his statements on homosexuality. He claims to have struggled with homosexuality during his youth for several years, but states that he is now “delivered” from the condition. McClurkin wrote that homosexuality is a spiritual issue and that one can be delivered from it but by God; “The abnormal use of my sexuality continued until I came to realize that I was broken and that homosexuality was not God’s intention […] for my masculinity.” He then describes himself as going through a process by which he became “saved and sanctified.” McClurkin has stated that homosexuality is a curse McClurkin also speaks openly about sexual issues since becoming the biological father of a child with a woman to whom he was not marriage  He uses these life experiences in his concerts and speaking engagements.

Let us never forget that both Miller and Richards were present at the Charter of Rights sittings which saw the change of the definition of sex in the original draft of 2006 as they thought it was a loophole for homosexual rights in the future.

This morning Reverend Miller said among other things:

“…remember to pray for our leaders because the word of God says that first of all that prayer should be made for those in authority that we may lead a quieter and peaceable life, remember that the decisions that are made  by those in the seat of governance affect our lives so we want to pray that the wisdom of God, we want to keep the negative forces of evil away so that they will make the right and wise decisions that will ensure our nations is able to become  a productive nation and deal with the social ills.  

Last week we mentioned that issue, the homosexuality thing  continues to be in the air ……… lot of continuing comments to what the British Prime Minister said in the wanting to pressure nations like Jamaica to conform to change our laws to allow that the homosexual lifestyle should be accepted as an alternative   normative lifestyle and as he indicated that those who don’t conform they are considering cutting aid I have indicated we appreciate the aid from our international partners we need it as part of our development process but aid must never be at any cost if it is against the principles of spiritual righteousness  holiness and challenging the morality of our society then it is not a price we are prepared or can afford to pay for economic aid and let us know that if we take a principled stand that out prime minister has done I hope and pray he will continue to maintain a principled stance as the former prime minister did and their government to stand strong and resolute against that practice.

We are not by any means against persons  who have a certain lifestyle, we’ll understand it, we’ll help them, we’ll support them we will pray for them but we cannot take a position that it is normative, it is abnormal, it is not normative and it is not something we can now redefine marriage to include by no means  and so if it means aid won’t come because of that then we must be prepared to suffer for what is right, I tell you more if we stand for what is right on principles  then God will make another way for us all the time deliverance will come from another place, so I’m not worried, don’t you be worried either, we have a God who is on our side cause righteousness exalteth a nation ……”   

Al Miller on UK Aid & The Abnormality of Homosexuality 19.11.11

Al Miller sounds like that Ugandan preacher from the Uganda Unitarian Church leading the anti gay campaign as funded by US conservative religious groups which was revealed recently (also see:  Intersections of Church and State where the connections are shown in a documentary on the issue) In 2009, the Ugandan Parliamentary proposed an anti-homosexuality bill that would impose the death penalty on serial offenders of homosexual acts. Inciting fear and sanctioning homophobia, the bill has caused LGBT Ugandans to be hunted in their communities and forced into exile, the documentary focuses on the man behind the bill and his supporters, and exposes the political and financial influence used by powerful conservatives in the U.S. to export their anti-gay agenda overseas.

also hear my commentary:

No to Gay Marriage in Jamaica etc .. my two cents from way back in 2009 (ignore snapvine references please)

and 

Homosexuality is Not Illegal in Jamaica …. Buggery is despite the persons gender 12.11.11

Let us also not forget we got some $327 million debt relief earlier this year.

Here is Bruce Golding on his feet where he cleverly merged the invented gay marriage smoke screen into the Charter of Rights Debate in October 2009

PM Golding seen here gesticulating in a documentary called “Taboo Yardies” where he said among other things“…… I have challenged the gay community to explain, when they insist that we must change our laws to recognize and accept homosexual relations as a normal thing and we must do it because people should be free to choose, that’s the philosophical argument ….” 

see Rev Al Miller’s previous sentiments some months ago:

Rev Al Miller says gay lobby is using the guise of tolerance to get the nation to accept the “gay lifestyle” on September 11, 2011

here is an older interview

Aug 23, 2011

Rev. Al Miller Fellowship Tabernacle (Church) and Arlene Harrison – Henry ( Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights I.J.C.H.R.) Debated about Sexual Equality

Peace and tolerance

H

“Tell Me Pastor” on a 16yo “Caged Lesbian”

 

 

So another letter another day, see it call it expose it, wherever it is friends and this letter looks suspicious in another round of cracks of the whip in the anti LGBT arsenal, why would a 16 year old write a letter to a pastor outlining her lesbian or what seems more to be bisexual tendencies knowing fully well the answer that would come from that fraternity? and to think that naturally her mother would not approve of visitors (if they do exist) or even allow adults to come to their home and not scrutinize or interrogate at best these adults to interact in the home? Sounds far fetched to me.

No sensible parent in today’s caustic homophobic and lesbophobic Jamaica would allow that unless it is under duress as in some inner city communities where it is customary that so called “area leaders” or dons in the mainstream make advances to young girls and teenagers in the hebephelic sense for sexual favours with very little resistance from their parents or guardians. They can try to move out of the community but have to do so discreetly or it could mean trouble or death in some instance as these demands must be met. Or as is practiced in the informal transportation system on the coaster buses of school girls and older men involved in sexual activity sometimes for materialistic reasons such as a Blackberry or basic as lunch money for school, some teens are not angels but a letter to a pastor about lesbian life? this doesn’t add up.

Have a read of the piece and see if it adds up for you, I know we have been seeing previous stories and adding them but I think it is important we track and document them as the more we have is the better we can prove the successive publications and prove the trends over the years, after all we ought to have been properly tracking the previous hard copy editions as well before the advent on the online versions and those were in some instances more scaving than these later versions.

His response however this time seems a little bit more sensible than some previous ones in relation to same sex issues, he was careful it seems not to castigate her for being a lesbian or throwing the leviticusal paragraphs at her but one wonders had it been a man the subject if he would have been given the lesser wrath just the same as we know male homosexuality is frowned upon far more than same gender loving women are.

The story read:

 

Caged lesbian

Dear Pastor,

I am 16 and writing to tell you about a problem I am having with my mother. She doesn’t want me to speak to any man or woman. If a man or a woman comes to look for me, she says we are in a relationship. I am tired of hearing that.

I haven’t been to school since the new term because I am looking about my glasses. Because my mathematics teacher didn’t see me at school, he came to look for me to see if I was OK. When my teacher left, my mother said we were together. She doesn’t have any sense.

Pastor, I am a lesbian and I love being one. I love my life so I am living it. I also love my mother and my relatives, but I don’t want them to rule my life.

Please, tell me what you think about this.

A., St Andrew

 Pastor’s response

Dear A.,

Your mother has come to realise that you are having relations with persons of your own sex. You claim you are a lesbian, that is why when girls come to see you your mother is not happy to see them.

You should have more respect for your mother. You claim she doesn’t have any sense. I am sure you are wrong. Part of the problems you are having is that you are rude and out of order. I am sure that if you change your attitude towards your mother, you would both live harmoniously.

You are only 16 and have a lot to learn. You need guidance. I encourage you to go to church and take the minister of your church, or his wife, in confidence and ask them to help you.

Pastor 

ENDS

My two cents continued:

Hinting however to reparative therapy at the end of the response is not surprising as he is also a Psychologist but seems not to adhere to the DSM Diagnostic Statistical Manual which is the Bible for all properly trained and practicing persons in that field which clearly advocates that homosexuality is not a mental disorder. He has recommended this to other lesbians or so called subjects who have written to him. Maybe a pastor should not take on psychology as well for a profession as clearly there are serious conflicts of interests here.

Peace and tolerance

H