Stick To Winning Souls, Church! ………………

Well a letter writer to the Gleaner has echoed a sentiment I have been expressing for years literally via my blogs as I feel the church as a movement (not a money making machine via psyche) has lost its way and is too busy not doing its core function, case in point lately the hypocritical call for the stopping of Sunday racing and of course the uproar from the promise by current Prime Minister to review the buggery law and a conscience vote.

Interestingly this business of horse racing on Sundays has been coming since 2009, here is another old post I had done on the matter with reference to a letter from the Jamaica Observer:

here is the letter from the Gleaner today:

Stick To Winning Souls, Church!

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Jamaica Council of Churches and other religious groups are exercising their right in opposing horse racing on Sundays.

The churches are fully entitled to demand action and inaction from the Government. However, the Government has a responsibility to maintain the separation of Church and State. Jamaica is a secular state.

That being the case, the Government should allow various groups to conduct their affairs as they see fit, provided their activities are in compliance with the laws of Jamaica.

Over the years, operators of small bars and clubs have been forced by law to close their businesses on Sundays.

At the same time, the large supermarkets are allowed to open their doors on Sundays and sell every type of liquor from Sunday morning until Sunday night. This is a form of discrimination.

If the operators of the Caymanas Track Ltd desire to have horse racing on Sunday, they should be permitted to do so.

The Council of Churches should follow the lead of the Seventh-day Adventists who have got the approach right. The position of the Seventh-day Adventists is that their core function is to win over believers to Christ. They are, therefore, not relying on Government to force people away from sinful activities and into their church.

The Church should stick to its core function of winning souls. I believe that the religious leaders who oppose gambling should take it as a challenge to convince the members of the public to come to their church on Sundays instead of going to the Caymanas Park.

The Church and the State should be kept apart, as their functions are different, and any merger will not only be inconsistent with our constitutional arrangements but will constitute a grave danger to those of us who are not members of the denomination with which the State has merged.

LINTON P. GORDON

Ocho Rios, St Ann

lpgordon@cwjamaica.com

ENDS

In June 2009 among other things I had posted on Gay Jamaica Watch:

“I thought the church was about winning souls for Christ no matter who that soul is, including gays and lesbians, wasn’t Jesus for inclusion instead some of the “intellectuals” within the church exercise their bigoted thoughts openly setting all these preconditions before the “sinner” can even see the church door.

What about come as you are and God loves you?

Most churches dismiss persons once they are found to be gay or lesbian with little or any care, isn’t that defeating the purpose of what Christ decreed we as saved persons should do…..”go ye into the world and preach the gospel……” not condemn people because they don’t fit your Utopian view of the world.

Sad that this is what we have become, one wonders if the church by it’s actions of some of who say they are saved are giving more power to the enemy notable atheists and the anti Christ supporters when we behave with some harsh discrimination, during the conversation by the way the young man said that the pastor some Sundays ago of a church he attended said he wanted no offerings from gays. So we can now decide who want offerings from, wow.

Makes me wonder if the church and biblical doctrine is used by some to forward homophobic as well as other discriminatory views maybe that explains the attrition from it’s halls and corridors as most young people aren’t even interested in going to church these days.

As for using the bible as a beating stick over the heads of “sinners” is just plain wrong to me. Famous among the quotes is Leviticus 20: 13

GOOD NEWS VERSION:
“If a man has sexual relations with another man they have done a disgusting thing and both shall be out to death, They are responsible for their own death”

The book also speaks of incest, having sex with a woman while she is seeing her period or sleeping with animals etc.
I understood these rules to be of the old covenant and they were intended for the ceremonies of ancient Israel as issued to Moses, The main theme of the book is to emphasis holiness of God and the ways in which the people were to worship and live to maintain holiness with God of Israel. I haven’t seen anything on lesbianism in it.
I stand corrected though if you know more help me out, I am just adding my two cents but I would have thought we are now under grace not law.

Most of these books of the Bible that do speak to homosexuality never mentioned it as if God himself said it but then again he said love thy neighbour as thyself, judge not and ye shall not be judged. Romans for example was Paul’s way of introducing himself to the Romans in Rome his plan was to work among them there and then gather support then move on to Spain. He wrote to explain his understanding of the christian faith and it’s practical implications for the lives of Christians. While he covers the rules, conscience and holy living an underlying theme that seems to run through the book is not judging each other, something that the church these days seem to forget.

Wasn’t the book of Leviticus supposed to be a set of guidelines for the Hebrews after they left the hard hands of the Egyptians under slavery? being nation-less as it were seeking to form some sense of order via this set of laws also known as the holiness codes.”
Bishop Everton Thomas from the Emmanuel Apostolic Church also weighed in on the matter but said the Jamaica Observer misquoted him on a radio program that some of what he said were not his words but he was presenting other views, this is instructive however as a major voice of the clergy has come out critiquing the very clergy:

Bishop says church’s stance on gambling hypocritical

Their lack of understanding the issues is also glaring from religious voices opposing supposed homosexuality as was evidenced in another letter this time from the Jamaica Observer:

Save us from the ravages of buggery

Dear Editor,

What in the name of God and His Son Jesus Christ is the urgency to change a law that has offered our boys a little protection from the male predators who have carted them to their apartments and for a few dollars have often damaged them physically?

What is it that makes it a priority for the perverted preference of a minority in this nation to have their way while thousands of these little boys are going to their beds hungry and because of that hunger are easy prey?

A high-ranking clergyman is quoted as saying that the buggery law will be changed this year. Is this a political favour for funds received? Is this the price of political power? What is it?

Have we, as a nation, gone so mad with greed and lust that we would sacrifice our bodies and souls on the altar of perversity? Can we endure the wrath of God almighty?

My dear Sister P, is this what you offer to God who brought you to where you are?

I appeal to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, while you give us jobs to save us from poverty, save us also from the ravages of buggery and the related agenda of the buggers.

Suzette Douglas

benaiahone@hotmail.com

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Save-us-from-the-ravages-of-buggery_10708026#ixzz1lhFFUbRQ

The fear and paranoia that is caused when these matters are commented on by persons opposed to homosexuality in general just chokes whatever discourse that ought to take place, with supposed cures or reparative therapy for stopping persons from being gay when such therapies as proven over and over only slow down behaviour while instilling shame in the individual but does not change ones orientation.

also see:  The hypocritical and opportunist religous right

Peace and tolerance

H

Advertisements

Church angry, gays happy PNP on collision course with Christians ………………. but some of us are not impressed

THE perennially controversial issue of homosexuality appears to have set the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) on collision course with some sections of the Christian Church.

PNP Leader Portia Simpson Miller shocked the television audience watching her debate with Prime Minister Andrew Holness Tuesday night, with her suggestion that the buggery law should be reviewed and that she was not opposed to having gays in a Cabinet led by her.

“That is very concerning for me [reviewing the buggery law] and I am disappointed that we are still insisting to go back in that direction, because the matter was dealt with in the amended Bill of Rights earlier this year,” said Rev Al Miller, pastor of the Fellowship Tabernacle in Kingston.

Miller said he was equally disappointed with the Opposition Leader’s stance that she had no problem admitting anyone to her Cabinet once they were qualified to carry out their duties.

“I am seriously concerned about that, because it is saying that moral values becomes secondary to ability to perform,” the pastor said, adding: “That kind of approach would be difficult for Christians to support because character and integrity takes precedence over ability.”

Associate pastor of the Tower Hill Missionary Church, Rev Mark Dawes also took offence at Simpson Miller’s stance: “If we remove the buggery law, then we might be opening the floodgate for sexual anarchy,” he cautioned.

He said, however, that he understood her belief that no one should be prevented from being apart of a Cabinet once they were qualified to do so, even if they subscribed to the gay lifestyle.

“If the person is not promoting that lifestyle, then I could grow to be comfortable with them in the Cabinet, but if it is somebody who is championing the lifestyle and advocating for it, then I’ll have a problem,” Dawes said.

In the debate, Simpson Miller said: “We should have a look at the buggery law,” distancing herself from Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding who told a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) interviewer he would not allow a homosexual in his Cabinet.

The Seventh-day Adventists also rejected the call to revisit the buggery law, while saying they had no problem with gays in a Cabinet.

“The issue is with reviewing the law, that’s where the church has an issue. Like any other faith-based organisation, we are concerned because it goes against the biblical side of things,” said SDA director of communication, public affairs and religious liberty, Nigel Coke.

But general secretary of the Jamaica Baptist Union, Rev Karl Johnson commended Simpson Miller for tackling the issue head on when asked by a journalist in the debate. Reviewing the law did not necessarily mean that a change would occur, Johnson argued.

“I think it is a commendable thing to always review our laws to see whether they speak to current realities, whether they are still informed by values and norms that we can sustain both as a country and I would say as a religious community,” he said.

President of the Jamaica Association of Full Gospel Churches, Bishop Rohan Edwards said he believed that a review of the buggery act would not affect the way the church viewed the homosexual lifestyle.

“We don’t have a problem with the revisiting buggery law, but we know the law that we have to answer to which is the word of God. So they have the right to revisit anything they want to,” he said.

For its part, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG) welcomed Simpson Miller’s position. Executive director of the lobby group, Dane Lewis, said: “We are very encouraged by the statement, it was a very bold statement by a political leader knowing the history of statements which our leaders have made and so we look forward to seeing what is to come if they certainly do form the next government.

“It really speaks loudly to a respect for the human rights of all Jamaicans, including those who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender,” he noted.

He said he was disappointed with the response given by Holness who was very cautious in his response when he stated that his “sentiment must be the sentiment of the country”.

“We are disappointed that the prime minister, even though he had another opportunity to make certainly a bold statement, he didn’t,” he said. “It is very clear that he is going to pander to the religious community and vaguely step around the issue,” Lewis asserted.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Church-angry–gays-happy#ixzz1hH2S6qYH

Meanwhile

Dr. Lentworth Anglin, Convenor of the Umbrella Croup of Churches said on CVM News 21.12.11 “We consider homosexuality, lesbianism, same sex marriage to be anti scripture and therefore we oppose that kind of behaviour, we are not necessarily dictating to individuals how they should live, we’re just stating a position, we are not trying to necessarily trying to deprive persons of opportunity for service to the nation but we are just simply presenting our position.”

HERE IS MY TWO CENTS IN AUDIO:  On Buggery & Gays in Cabinets ……… 21.12.11

Also see on sister blog GAY JAMAICA WATCH –

On Buggery and gays in cabinets with politics ………… some responses …………

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

LGBT History Month: Gay Freedom Movement archives properly re-posited overseas

The first post in the LGBT History month series going on its third year since I started blogging looks at the Gay Freedom Movement archives, this is the first local LGBT advocacy organization formed in 1974 by a group of Jamaicans including a Jesuit priest however its face and voice was its out and proud at the time General Secretary Larry Chang who left the archives in the care of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays JFLAG, if it were not for some noise making from my part at my time at the J and that of others who were shown the badly damaged pieces in some instances they would have withered away.

Thankfully there were retrieved and sent to Mr. Chang who now resides in the United States. Below please see Larry Chang’s speech at the Caribbean Region of the International Resource Network (IRN) laucnh of the archives. The Caribbean IRN was established in 2009 as a network for activists, scholars, artists, writers, and other individuals and organizations who do research and community work on issues related to diverse genders and sexualities in the Caribbean. One of our major goals has been to build a digital collection and help regional organizations and individuals preserve the histories/herstories of activism around issues affecting sexual minorities, it is only with regret that the delicate pieces and documents could not have been stored locally and respected for their true value that it had to take this evasive action to avoid them being lost forever.

Genesis of the Jamaica Gay Freedom Movement Archive

Larry Chang

Even at the time, I was fully cognizant of a responsibility to posterity to leave a paper trail. After all, we were creating history by being the first gay rights organization, as far as we knew, in the Caribbean.

As general secretary and editor of our newsletter, Jamaica Gaily News (JGN), the onus was on me to sort, file, and secure the archiving of our correspondence and publishing output. Duly labeled and boxed, these remained intact and in reasonable condition well past the demise of the Gay Freedom Movement. The materials survived the handover to my successor, St. Hope Thomas, who meticulously pasted instructions on the top of the box that they should revert to me in case of his death. When that did eventuate, his family duly complied with his wishes. In 1999, I left Kingston, passing the archives on to the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG), which shared office space with an AIDS nonprofit organization. I included my personal collection of a complete set of JGN issues for safekeeping. Big mistake.

The first inkling I had of anything amiss was from e-mail messages I got, in succession, from Emily Paul and Anthony Hron, both Peace Corps volunteers with J-FLAG. They were concerned that the archives were not secured, casually placed in a room with a roof that leaked and that was subject to infestation. Tropical moisture and insects are no respecter of the written word. I contacted everyone I could think of who could possibly do anything to rectify the situation but it seemed no one could take any initiative. When Emily returned to the United States she arranged for the Tretter Collection of the University of Minnesota, which specializes in LGBT material, to receive the collection. Many e-mails flew back and forth but no one could come to a decision. The J-FLAG officers’ attention was understandably focused elsewhere, since their own survival and security as an organization was under constant threat. What’s a few boxes of old papers?

I felt powerless and helpless, unable to do anything to mitigate what I envisaged to be an impending great loss. Had I been on spot, I would have gone and rescued the papers myself. But there was nothing I could do from a thousand miles away, and without any encouraging or supportive response, much less consensus. The saddest part was the seeming lack of appreciation or understanding of what was at stake.

In 2003, I saw Gareth Henry, then co-chair of J-FLAG, at the premiere of Songs of Freedom in New York. [1] I spoke to him about retrieving my copies of JGN. He promised to look into it when he went back to Kingston. I never heard anything from him and the next thing I knew he had applied for asylum in Canada. Two years later, I discussed the matter with Thomas Glave, who offered to investigate on one his trips to Jamaica. I asked him to retrieve at least my personal set of JGN copies. During the course of several trips, many e-mails, and through direct contact with several people, it transpired that the newsletters could not be found. There was, however, a box of papers. We felt that it was imperative to secure whatever was left.

Wanting to be preemptive but not autocratic, we widened the conversation to include many more concerned parties to agonize over ownership, copyright, logistics, and procedure. At some stage of the discussion, Howard Fulton and Dane Lewis of J-FLAG; Julius Powell; Natalie Bennett; Stephen Fullwood of the Schomburg Center; Jonathan Ned Katz of OutHistory.org; and Rosamond King, Angelique Nixon, and Vidyaratha Kissoon of Caribbean IRN have been involved.

At every step of the way, Thomas Glave was instrumental as facilitator, go-between, and interlocutor, and ultimately as courier—he physically retrieved the material and brought it to New York in a suitcase. The material was then lodged with Jonathan Katz, who began digitizing but found it more than he bargained for; only a few documents made it to OutHistory.org. Eventually the Caribbean IRN saved the day by teaming with Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) to digitize the collection and make it available online. This is a major accomplishment, launched with appropriate gravitas at Brooklyn College in June 2011. A huge debt of gratitude is due to all involved.

The next stage will be to resume the conversation about ownership and custody of the collection. The Schomburg Center may still be interested, but now that the physical integrity of the archives is not at risk, perhaps we can take a more studied approach and explore other options. One thing that is underscored is the critical importance of securing our collective intellectual property so we can shape our own history and write our own stories. It will be imperative, then, to overcome the cavalier attitude toward documentation and preservation that seems to typify Caribbean response. Who writes the history determines the agenda.

Cultural theorist Stuart Hall notes, “Silencing as well as remembering, identity is always a question of producing in the future an account of the past.”[2] Sexual minorities have for too long been silenced, written out of history. It is time that we find our voice, write our stories, and determine our place in that history. The process of reclamation has already begun, with Patricia Powell’s reference to Gaily News and its personals column in A Small Gathering of Bones, and through Kanika Batra’s scholarly treatment published in Small Axe.[3] The great pity, and great credit to Batra, is that to access the material she had to go to the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives, which inherited the collection from the defunct Body Politic, with which JGN had an exchange subscription. The other option I am told would have been the COK Archives in Amsterdam, but I have not been able to confirm this. The bottom line is that this material should be available to Jamaicans, in Jamaica.

My hope is that successive poets, writers, and painters will find in the archives the references and inspiration to launch their own visions and flights of the imagination to enlarge and embellish our ongoing stories. From a practical point of view, scholar Natalie Bennett is of the opinion that “current activists in JA could learn a lot from the strategies . . . used more than two decades ago.”[4] Would that the other box is found, placed in the capable hands of Caribbean IRN to be digitized and preserved. These are our stories.

Last word from Stuart Hall:

No cultural identity is produced out of thin air. It is produced out of those historical experiences, those cultural traditions, those lost and marginal languages, those marginalized experiences, those peoples and histories which remain unwritten. Those are the specific roots of identity. On the other hand, identity itself is not the rediscovery of them, but what they as cultural resources allow a people to produce. Identity is not in the past to be found, but in the future to be constructed.[5]

Larry Chang is an environmental designer, publisher, life counselor, and founder of EcolocityDC, which seeks to address environmental, economic, and social sustainability issues. He has been introducing the Transition model to the Washington DC region, with a particular focus on urban sustainability through farming and intentional community development. He was a co-founder of the Gay Freedom Movement of Jamaica; the general secretary, editor, and publisher of Jamaica Gaily News; and a co-founder of J-FLAG.


[1] Songs of Freedom is a Phillip Pike documentary on Jamaican LGBTs.

[2] Stuart Hall, “Negotiating Caribbean Identities,” in Gregory Castle, ed., Postcolonial Discourses: An Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), 283.

[3] Patricia Powell, A Small Gathering of Bones, with an introduction by Thomas Glave (Boston: Beacon, 2003); originally published by Heinemann Educational Publishers in 1994. Kanika Batra, “‘Our Own Gayful Rest’: A Postcolonial Archive,” Small Axe, no. 31 (March 2010): 46–59.

[4] Personal correspondence with author, 13 August 2009.

[5] Hall, “Negotiating Caribbean Identities,” 291.

Steve Harvey Remembered (Repost & Updated)

Today is the fifth anniversary of the tragic passing of Steve Lenford Harvey aka “big nose” only few of us got away with calling him that. Here is an update of a post that has been carried on GLBTQJA Blogger edition and Gay Jamaica Watch for October LGBT History Month several years in succession.

Please let us reflect on this and other senseless killings of persons in Jamaica in particular despite sexual orientation as we need to stop this bloodletting.

Peace

Steve Lenford Harvey
Promoted to glory
30th November 2005

On the evening of November 30, 2005, at approximately 1:00am, Harvey and his roommates were robbed at gunpoint in their home, his roommates were bound, and Harvey was abducted. A gunman reportedly yelled “We hear that you are gay” to the trio. Harvey’s body was found two hours later, early the next morning, a few miles in the hills overlooking Kingston, with gunshot wounds in his head and back.
Steve Harvey’s killing has resulted in a far-reaching public outcry against the government of Jamaica, which has been accused of ignoring violence against homosexuals.
Several organizations, including the United Nations have demanded a thorough investigation of the homicide.
In March 2006, four people were charged with the killing.
It was in that same year he was selected as LACCASO‘s (Latin America and Caribbean Council of AIDS Service Organizations) project coordinator for Jamaica and was about to launch into bigger an better things.
A Life cut short.
His work with the MSM population was EXEMPLARY (yet to be duplicated)
The pic depicting a happier moment of him, “BIG NOSE” as some would tease him, he never liked it lol.
He lived for politics and current affairs, always debating with someone about his favourite political party and if he never agreed with you his face made it very clear lol.
We Miss You Boi!!!
(original photos from archives)
Here are newer photos from Jamaica AIDS Support for Life archives.
Peace and tolerance.
H
NB:

The Wyndham (formerly Hilton) & the issues of homophobia

The Wyndham hotel like any other hotel serves “the public” which I suppose ought to include all races, classes, colours, creed and by extension orientation especially given the fact it prides itself as a business hotel so more than likely it will attract certain types with spending power. With the change of management yet again hence the name reverting to Wyndham from the Hilton they seem to be looking for ways to keep and attract certain demographics.

In this regard the entertainment packages previously offered are being reviewed and new ones tried out, hence the Rock themed Fridays and Rave typed Saturday offerings. The Karaoke is still on for Friday nights but that has its own share of issues given the discplinary problems with attendees specifically some of the lgbt community persons so much so that strong security measures and temporary closures have been taken over the years of this event’s life. The staff of the hotel themselves have contributed to the problems as well although successive management structures refuse to take the responsibility on their part.

We have seen everything from security guards and patrons in feuds and fist fights to homophobic remarks made to persons just by their appearance and attire upon entering the lobby to two men roughed up and forcibly removed with a pair of handcuffs used to hit them in the head after a fight where one ended up in the pool so much so that the trail of blood could be traced all through the lobby out to the road where they were deposited and told not to return, this happened several years ago so we see this is not a new problem for the hotel. Persons now entering hotel for the Karaoke event cannot do so via the front anymore through the lobby but now have to use the side gate on Trnindad Terrace passing through the car park or the rear entrance also going through the car park.

I am in no way defending the problematic antics and rudeness of the lgbt people who behave inappropriately on the premises but that gives no reason for the prolonged discriminatory practices that have basically gone unchecked with flawd security measures that just add fuel to the fire.

The promoters of the Saturday Night Rave event recently decided to pull the plug after only three weekends of the budding event due to precisely the crap from the staff with tacit support from sections of the management, the Friday night event hosts are also considering relocation. Clearly the Wyndham does not understand the demographic for these two events the complaints suggest that the rock events attract to many androgynous persons (my words) the tattoos, piercings basically went counter to the business type atmosphere they want to entertain while the rave nights attract too many “gays” with allegations of men dancing closely with each other, the bar of the two events is staffed by hotel employees and not of persons of the promoters own choosing hence the problems I fear.

The hotel has several policies that seem on the surface very discriminatory they literally operate on the premise of profiling so men in “tight clothing” aren’t welcome or are watched closely when they enter the grounds. This was precisely what led to an incident in the rear car park on Sunday August 8th 2010 (the second instalment of the rave themed nights) the men were seated in an SUV after the event ended at 3am a member of the security team walked over to the vehicle where the three male occupants were playing the sound system loudly and allegedly smoking marijuana away off from the lobby or the rooms as the car park is pretty extensive yet the guards proceeded to reportedly lambast the men with the ususal homophobic taunts, the three men didn’t take kindly to this and reacted quite publicly in the car park so much so that the remote armed security team and the police were called in. The guards in their defense said they explained to the men that they cannot sit in their vehicle in the car park as it is not allowed and is standard policy (of course with no proper signage to indicate same) a point I brought to the discussion after things calmed down. It was clear that it was lie that was told. Ironically one can sit in their vehicles in the front car park as I have done and no one has come to me to remove me or say I cannot do so, one would have thought that simple CCTV or surveillance would ocver that supposed problem at the rear car park, these folks take us for fools.

Previous history

Outweekly Jamaica a set of young lgbt activists had launched a protest at the then Hilton after and incident with one of their own on September 13, 2009 as photoed above. Brave ones they sure were.

There was another incident in 2008 where the cops were called in to remove disruptive persons but of course almost everyone else who looked gay were condemned with a broad brush including persons who were seated at the upscale section that being the poolside bar who enquired what had happened, the homophobic remarks and unprofessional attitudes almost ruined the night’s proceedings as many in attendance were upset.

Maybe it is a good thing that both events may be moved sadly but the Wyndham should not have engaged them in the first place while yet still hosting the problematic Karaoke nights which just by the look of it is their biggest money maker on a weekend as there are always crowds rain or shine. If one wants to see a wide cross-section of the lgbt community just check out this phenom on a Friday night at the Wyndham (formerly Hilton) even newspapers and tabloids have hinted to it. Yet almost every other week in times past there is was some report of a negative event happening there and despite all that the support for the Karaoke nights is steady or has grown since.

In an apology sent out to patrons the promoters of the Saturday night event said on August 13th:

“Good day supporters of the Martian repatriation that is (Event name)
Thanks so much for your support over the past few weeks. It has been overwhelmingly positive and the event continues to grow in numbers and popularity.

We have taken the executive decision to move the event from the Jonkanoo Lounge @ the Wyndham hotel for… a number of reasons, chief among them being insensitive and inept security personnel and the generally discourteous nature of staff at the hotel.

(Event name) is therefore cancelled for this week with an announcement coming very soon pertaining to its resumption.

Please be advised that (Event name) is a registered trademark of Dreamcatcher events and any unauthorized use of this moniker will be subject to arbitration.

In otherwords, anyone purporting to be promoting and event called (Event name) at the Jonkanoo Lounge after I have sent this message is lying.

Peace!”

Names witheld for security reasons.

The Wyndham also to me doesn’t seem to understand their product the Jonkanoo Lounge for example is a household name for previous events in years gone by and in fact it was easy to promote the two recent events, many folks were pleased that it had reopened full time again.

Probably persons need to find alternatives for weekend nightly entertainment.

Peace and tolerance.

H

Homophobia in Jamaican Music (17.03.10)

Western Mirror Posting

Reggae artistes whose shows are being boycotted in the United States and whose records are blacklisted in Europe, must be hurting financially. And we are often reminded that it is not only the artistes who suffer, as many of them also contribute to the care and upbringing of numerous underprivileged children in their communities.

Recently, the UWI Open Campus IN Montego Bay hosted an excellent public lecture on the role of Jamaica’s music and dance in national development. This lecture which was dedicated to that great light from the West, Professor Rex Nettleford was masterfully moderated by the Mirror’s own Lloyd B. Smith and appropriately featured Professor Carolyn Cooper of the UWI (the authority on Jamaican music) as the main presenter.

During a very interactive panel discussion, which in addition to Professor Cooper featured the Montego Bay Junior Mayor; local ‘conscious’ artiste Mackie Conscious, Paul Blake (of Blood Fire Posse fame who is now clearly on fire for God), and an educator from Cornwall College who spoke of her experience with the negative impact of dancehall music on boys at that institution, Professor Cooper made the statement that there is a need 1’01’ the Jamaican government to lobby on be­half of boycotted artistes as a push hack against gay lobbyist.

In her opinion, the world needs to be told that Jamaicans are homophobic ‘with good reason’.

Due to time constraints, I was unable to ask her if she believed Professor Nettleford, being the type of person he was, would have approved of her statement.

So instead I have pulled together some responses I received to a recent letter to the Editor which enquired why Jamaicans are so homophobic. I wanted to identify if the blacklisted artistes in fact reflect a general national homophobia and the reasons for such homophobia.

In summary, Jamaicans don’t accept the gay lifestyle because they fear it will unleash a Sodom and Gomorrah cataclysm on Jamaica such as the re­cent Haitian or Chilean earthquakes. There is also the perception that gays will recruit young boys, the human race would decrease as less ‘straight’ sex would occur if buggery is legalized, and gay sex is ‘nasty’ so it must spread disease.

It is clear that the rationality of these expressed objections to the gay lifestyle is suspect. At the same time the private sex acts of consenting adult males was largely felt to be nobody’s business and no longer worthy of legal regulation.

ENDS

Skewed and No justice after 48 years of Independence

Happy Independence Day if you feel so moved but judging from the cartoon in the Observer last year August 6, 2009 and recent events it makes one question how independent are we and the state of our nation? This particular post is a follow up of sorts to a similar short installment I had done last year on Gay Jamaica Watch on Blogger; of course Jamaica was 47 years then, independent from our British rulers.

We have achieved much since among which are:
1) Economic and some political freedoms to an extent,
2) Excellence in the arts, entertainment and of course sports particularly athletics, we have moved away from the violent political years to a more sated scene. We have seen some tolerance in religious views over the years with many groups and denominations co-existing without any clashes although that does not seem to obtain elsewhere, just take a look at our neighbour Trinidad with its intermittent violent outbursts and coops.

Yes we are free from colonial rule and are supposed to be managing our affairs but our former colonial masters left a template for us to use in the form of the gift of the Westminster parliamentary system and as far as freedom of choice and orientation goes they the British have since removed the buggery and other related acts and laws to secure citizen’s rights and privileges while we still hang on to these old vestiges to secure the divide and rule mantra bordering on theocracy.
Let us not forget that we as a people have never really ratified our constitution since 1962 as it was basically prepared, decided and handed to us by the British through a meeting at Lancaster House and a subsequent act of Parliament according to historical records, so much for real break from bondage towards self rule.

We have lost some of our pride in our flag, purpose, the national anthem and its meaning, the pledge and its meaning, the symbols and their meanings and our all important motto – “Out of Many One People” We are not even enthused anymore for the actual celebrations in the season, the festival song competition that was once a well supported public event with the words of the songs would roll effortlessly from our tongues has waned, interestingly it is the old songs from the sixties up to the eighties that are replayed as they seem to have more oomph about them, the once heralded grand gala march that helped to instill pride in our country has also waned significantly despite its reintroduction by the administration although this year interest seems far better than previous ones.

A law for the rich and law for the poor is what we have ended up with for the past 48 years. I mean I never expected things to happen overnight but one would have expected more enlightened or progressive legislation and thought from the intelligentsia on class, sex, sexuality and sexual orientation. With three major University campuses with more popping up all over, various law schools and an additional 4 overseas institutions operating here all of whom offer some Psychological and related studies independent and liberal thinking are woefully lacking. The plethora of radio talk shows hasn’t seemed to help any, generally speaking we seem to have moved very little from the general homophobic sentiments from a national perspective such sentiments are relative to the reasons why they are made as we have come to realize not everyone who use these anti gay utterances really mean them and are hiding their own secrets, the conversations though have split and with the advent of social media and platforms such as blogs it has certainly diversified the points of view and has allowed for more independent voices to highlight respective concerns of the LGBTQI community , the opposite is also true as homophobes and anti gay supporters have also employed these outlets where they can to spew hate. Fortunately there are a vigilant few who find and take action to remove said unwarranted outbursts.

The are two types of justice in Jamaica that exists one for the rich and one for the poor this double standard literally determines even how you mount your defense in seeking justice in our legal systems but for gay people in general as we all know there is very little for us when we have to access the state mechanisms to achieve closure of cases when they arise, of course being economically off helps a great deal. We are ignored or vilified and accused of paedophilia even without proper investigative procedures in some matters, that misrepresentation of homosexual paedophila vs consensual adult homosexuality coupled with latent homosexuals who hide under the guise of the down low phenomenon has helped to fuel our homophobia over the decades. Since the new Police Commissioner (Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin at the time of the original post in 2009 now a new Commissioner Owen Ellington occupies the hot seat) stepped into office we have seen slight improvements in as far as police community relations are concerned. Gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and lesbians still have it hard and to think our motto says “Out of many, One People” we are eons away from it. Older gay folk will often tell you that in the sixties and seventies we never had this kind of trouble except for the occasional taunt by persons and sometimes kids whose parents would discuss a suspected neighbour over their dinner table or some ostracism but that was as far as it went, now even under the slightest suspicion you can be beaten or killed at the least warned before the impending doom is enacted. Police harassment is still an issue but fortunately it has fallen way down the list of complaints in as far as our community is concerned.

Justice, where is it for us?, we are still subject to ridicule and forced evictions from their homes or outings when allegedly caught in the act, we are dragged into court, cases are hardly tried, if they do get to full trial it’s usually after a long and sometimes embarrassing set of preliminary hearings in open court instead of “in camera” hearings meaning without the public present in the room, names of accused persons are often published in the papers, stories are embellished or sensationalized laced with stereotypical and prejudicial taunts to sell papers, said cases languish in court that is if we persistently attend mention dates (if it gets so far as arresting officers tend to scarcely follow up with after being subpoenaed) we may get a sine die adjournment (set aside for seven years but can be recalled by the prosecutorial authority if new evidence turns up) then there is the arduous task of clearing your police record if you want to access certain services, travel or just to clear ones name as the automatic removal often never happens.

Is it that we are going to have to consider civil unrest and have martyrs among us to get the point across or to effect change and how many of us a are willing to take that stand? We are so busy living in our own worlds and have become so individualistic we forget others because we are not poor so many feel we won’t get beaten or hurt and are far removed from the realities on the ground, so we can hop on a plane and go somewhere else. Justice is a reciprocal process as I see it we can’t just sit by and demand it, we have to act as well legally firstly and if needed, civil disobedience.
Even with Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals & Gays four public agitations this year the impact has not been felt nationally in the halls of rights and politics to at least push the conversations in the public domain to continue on sexuality, tolerance and the possible decriminalization of the relevant laws that affect us.
The agitations in case you missed them were:
1) The Walk for Tolerance (deemed by the opposition as a gay pride masked under an HIV walk)
2) The Stand for Silence in New Kingston (IDAHO)
3) Stand up To CARICOM Protest at the Heads of Government Summit in Montego Bay
4) The Tolerance ad campaign sponsored by UNAIDS

There are some within the community who are wondering if those agitations were really genuine moves to find solutions to our problems by the advocates or just a mere show of presence to keep jobs and funders thinking things are happening so as to maintain longevity.  Meanwhile the Stop Murder Music Campaigns worldwide continue to mount pressure on our hate dancehall acts to much success, our lesbian and bisexual sisters in some circles continue to suffer at the hands of evil men who commit corrective rape in a bid to straighten them out, our trans friends continue to be invisible on a national scale.

Then again with a very “active” JLP administration since coming to power in 2007 legislatively speaking they have been changing other laws to suit themselves the buggery act has been overlooked and a limited Charter of Rights with an embellished Gay Marriage debate prior to its passage was used to silence the lobby for change. This move showed us clearly that we cannot trust our politicians even when they come on the fanfare and mantra of being new and different, have we forgotten the National Democratic Movement (NDM) Days of which our present Prime Minister was a founder? Along comes a new Christian political outfit run by no other than theocrat Betty Ann Blaine poised to shove the bible down our throats as her mantra is to espouse Christian principles on the nation. Ironically her former platform in the form of her talk show on a certain radio station we all know is gay owned so she eventually got her footing from a member of the very group she vilifies.

(see the Gay Jamaica Watch post for more on her party’s launch)

Here are some other questions I’d like us to ponder in the meantime:
1) Are you comfortable as a GLTBQ citizen in this country?
2) What has happened to the legal agitation that started in 1998 to decriminalize buggery?
3) What about the public engagement for tolerance and understanding?
4) Why do gay politicians ignore who they are and join the band wagon in the name of political correctness?
5) What changes would you like to see?
6) Why are we hiding in the shadows (DL) instead of coming out?
7) Are you satisfied with the representation over the years by our JFLAG advocates?
8) What can we do to begin to address our concerns as a people?
9) Are you willing to be a part of that change?
10) Why are we so lack luster in honouring and celebrating ourselves?
11) Why are we as LGBT people so divided amongst ourselves and by extension as a people?
12) Why are class and personal achievements used as benchmarks for acceptance?
13) Can’t we regard each other as human beings despite our supposed different stations in life?
14) Are you considering seriously what you can do in your corner to be the agent of change?
15) Are you willing to embrace tolerance in a true sense and not just being politically correct?

Independent in a sense yes, I think as far as gays, lesbians and transgendered people are concerned we have imprisoned ourselves in certain respects as well there are powerful movers and shakers in this land who can help to shape a more tolerant society instead they sit and are quiet or hypocritically join the “homophobic throngs” to cover up their own clandestine homosexual relationships.

Things done in the dark must and will come to light but unfortunately it won’t be shown in a positive sense.

Tolerance is what counts, we all can co-exist, we have been doing it all these years until some crap shows up to unsettle the situation and proving we have a long way to go.

FREE UP YUSELF

Peace and tolerance.

H

Buggery no shackle, gays want ‘hate crimes’ law (flashback 22.05.08)

Another emancipation day flashback post that I want us to look at in terms of tracking the various points of view presented over the years epecially those that are with merit. I particularly was taken by this letter as it seem to have come from an individual with a fair perspective.

What do you think? …

Have a read:

Buggery no shackle, gays want ‘hate crimes’ law

The Editor, Sir:

I believe the Legislature and Government of Jamaica have missed the point on this whole issue of homosexuality. The fact is, the buggery laws are not a shackle for homosexuals who exist in this country and the decriminalising of such acts would have had little consequence on those men who perform sexual acts consensually among themselves.

In reality, these laws don’t make ‘homosexuality’ illegal as, in its broadest sense, homosexuality includes lesbians as well. So, for our prime minister and government who would much rather political expediency than an ‘objective’ discussion on same-sex relations in our nation, the buggery laws shall remain.

Put reasonable laws in place

The gay people of Jamaica do not need the permission of churches, Government or public figures to live our lives and have sex with whom we choose. However, we do want the Government to put its policy where its mouth is and ensure that violent acts against people of different sexual orientation and also other vulnerable members of society, such as the disabled, mentally ill and even people living with HIV and AIDS, are punished to the full extent that law provides.

This should be done with the creation of a hate crimes law which would serve specific penalties for persons accused of harming or murdering people because of their differences, whether perceived or otherwise.

In reality, it only takes an assumption or a suspicion of being homosexual in some Jamaican communities for someone to be attacked and brutalised. Of the many cases that have come to public attention of ‘gay’ men being beaten and even killed, very few have been as a result of these said men being caught in compromising positions. Yet, they are set upon and, in what might seem like sanctioned events, the all too familiar scene unfolds.

Classic defence

And when someone murders a known homosexual, we are tired of hearing the classic gay defence of ‘he tried to rape me’. What of the many lesbians who suffer in silence after being raped by men who believe they can turn them ‘straight’? Why should they suffer because of circumstance?

Of course, the hypocritical ‘religio-political’ mass of this nation will quickly condemn such efforts as protectionism for ‘sinners’ and the morally decadent, yet they would decry general acts of violence in society. So, I ask, what is the distinction?

Aren’t we all just a bunch of sinners being murdered by a bunch of other sinners? Our Government promised protection for all. ‘All’ should include the yet to be acknowledged homosexual men and women of Jamaican society.

I am, etc.,

JAMES MARCHAND

jtmarchand@gmail.com

Kingston 8

Holding a corner for gays (flashback 26.04.07)

With today August 2nd being celebrated as Emancipation Day as August 1st was on a Sunday let us take a look in the flashback category of posts that appear here and on Gay Jamaica Watch and GLTBQ Jamaica (blogger) as to where as LGBTQI people are we in a so-called emancipated and independent nation.
With a weak Charter of Rights Bill that hasn’t even recognised humans as humans before distinguishing rights to same as to mention any item towards us would jeopardise the political establishment’s popularity, we are still highly a marginalised group held under the thumbs of biblical literalists and misguided christians on the face of it who do not understand or try to understand the thing they so readily condemn.
The article below was an editorial in the Gleaner published April 26, 2007 after a most unfortunate comment by Public Defender Mr. Earl Witter, an agent of the state openly displaying homophobic and stereotypical tendencies or a lack of understanding or ignorance on his part? you be the judge. This is the officer that is charged to protect the rights of citizens who otherwise would not have a voice or financial and legal means to do so in seeking redress for state matters.

One would have thought that in a functioning democracy we would have seen and learnt by now that all citizens are equal.

Emancipation and respect for us anytime soon?

here is the article:

EDITORIAL – Holding a corner for gays?

It is tempting, and perhaps easy, to be sympathetic to Public Defender Earl Witter’s suggestion to gays in Jamaica not to flaunt their tendencies to avoid being victims of violence.

Mr. Witter’s advice is particularly arresting, given his uncharacteristic retreat, in a speech on Tuesday (24.04.07), to the Jamaican vernacular, to tell homosexuals to “hold your corners”.

But while appreciating Mr. Witter’s intent we believe that his statement was unhelpful and his prescription unfortunate. Or perhaps more accurately, what Mr. Witter perceives to be his delicate balancing act is a rather ungainly and ungracious tilt into the arms of the vulgarians. He should instead be using both the real and symbolic authority of his office in breaking new legal ground in the expansion of individual rights and freedoms, as well as the promotion of tolerance.

As we understand it, the job of the Public Defender is to help in the protection of people’s constitutional rights, especially when these rights are infringed by the state. And to be fair to Mr. Witter, in his speech to Rotarians in Mandeville, he did abhor violence against gays and stressed the right of every single individual to protection under the law.

But Mr. Witter also made two other points that are of considerable significance. The first is that buggery, the main act of sex for homosexual males, remains an illegal and punishable offence in Jamaica; the other is that “tolerance has its limits”.

So, in the context of Jamaica’s homophobia and the legal sanctions against buggery, as Mr. Witter’s argument goes, gays should keep their behaviour to themselves and in their bedrooms so as not to “provoke disapproving reactions”.

That’s the easy way. For the question to be raised is what, in Mr. Witter’s view, constitutes provocative behaviour by gays. As the Public Defender should well know, this ‘provocation’ needs not be a public display of affection or anything which the courts would deem to be acts of public indecency.

It is enough for an individual to be assumed to be gay for that person to be subject to physical attacks, as happened to three young men recently at a Kingston mall. They found refuge in a store against a baying mob and had to be rescued by the police. Then there was the case of alleged male cross-dressers being attacked at a funeral service at a church in the same town in which Mr. Witter spoke.

The fundamental test of a democracy is not merely its tolerance of its minority, but how well that democracy protects their rights and freedoms – no matter how much the majority abhor the views and/or lifestyles of the disparaged group.

What we would have preferred and expected of Mr. Witter, therefore, is his insistence that not only should the state have no voyeuristic place in people’s bedrooms, but that anachronistic laws ought to be removed from the books.

He should have insisted, too, on the courage which he suggests is lacking in legislators. Mr. Witter should have demanded, too, that the police, even at this late stage, charge those who attacked the alleged gays at that Kingston mall.

The first stage of compromise is usually the rights of those we abhor, or of the vulnerable, but we don’t usually stop there.

editor@gleanerjm.com