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

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Buy no rings, you won’t wed; religious fear-mongering on gay marriage & the buggery law continues

As the rulings in India and Australia makes the rounds worldwide as to their respective losses of gay marriage rights we got some celebratory soundings from the religious right corner on social media as a victory of sorts on supposed wholesome living; as if same gender loving couples outside of exploitive same sex reasons as we know those exist cannot have and enjoy monogamous unions and associated state recognition and rights as privileged heterosexual couples. At not time in Jamaica am I aware of any call by local lobbyists for same sex marriage rights and benefits but the fear-mongering coming from the theocracy one is led to believe that there is some Gestapo at work to suppress free speech although sometimes there is overstep by sections of the lobby and indeed mistakes are made.

JCHS logo

Battle Lines Javed Jaghai versus the state & the Jamaica Buggery Law

Human Rights Day 2013 the anti gay group Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS held an outdoor conference at the Emancipation Park in New Kingston where they for the most part planted fear in the minds of the public claiming the gay lobby and its agenda is to in essence silence the church with future laws to silence clergy and force marriage officers to marry gay persons even if they do not agree. Shirley Richards past president of the Lawyers’Christian Fellowship and co-founder of the JCHS said in a radio interview as the session was in progress that the event was to put human rights within their proper context and to develop a proper perspective of same, she said her group is concerned how human rights is being interpreted and applied and there are some things missing. She continued that the autonomy of the individual cannot be the sum total of human rights she likened the thrust to a right to destroy unborn babies, to destroy oneself sexually and values on a whole so she thinks the church needs to intervene and supposedly stop the madness. Dr Wayne West lead voice for the JCHS also spoke in that same interview and echoed Mrs Richards perspective adding a prophetic role and understanding the philosophical perspective by some and imposing same on society so the JCHS’s role is to interpret same for the Christian community (excluding LGBT ones I imagine). See: Miss Richard’s earlier paranoia here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiIjmj9kJds

Guest speaker one Brian Camenker of a US based anti gay pro straight family group Mass Resistance led the fear-mongering of gay marriage imposition and forced legislation to same while also forcing children to cross dress blatantly showing his ignorance to transgenderism. He repeated plugged his book “What same-sex “marriage” has done to Massachusetts” he claimed that the international lobby is about to impose homosexuality on the nation as done in the United States by massaging our Prime Minister and laws that contradict God’s law is the beginning of a slippery slope; he lamented that the gay pride parade was a way to psychologically impose the lifestyle to include open cross dressing, masochists and so called “other profane acts” (in a gay pride!? really!) then he went on to say that the church will be mocked and the subsequent non discrimination laws and that businesses were forced to accept gay business; he sited a case of a catholic couple who refused business of gays in their hotel and were sued. He then complained of gays must not be allowed to adopt children and that schools were having all day events celebrating gay activities. All this without any proper sitting of the information just pure fear-mongering and to think this was coming from a white foreigner the audience just sat there and accepted this simplistic presentation. He also claimed gay marriage was forced on his home state of Boston.

He claimed that gay marriage has had many disturbing side effects “I’ll mention just one, we were working with a Christian woman a single mother  her son is in the fifth grade, the teacher is a lesbian who constantly tells the class about her wife this has traumatised the boy terribly because it’s against the families beliefs; I went with the mother to meet the school principal to talk about it, the principal told us that because gay marriage is legal that the mother doesn’t have a choice  in that matter.” He then went on to conflate transgenderism with homosexuality by saying that the next item on the agenda is the call for state funding to solve problems caused by homosexuality; he claimed the state and federal governments are being asked in his sate to spend enormous amounts on HIV/AIDS caused by homosexual behaviours, he claimed gay on gay violence is an epidemic as it is gays who are killing gays. He claimed the non discrimination laws on transgenderism is a ploy to allow children to wear opposite sex attire and use mixed bathrooms as well and teachers who do not comply are punished; all this Mr Carmenker pronounced loudly on the stage without any backing information or links to access same while the audience agreed with him in rousing chants at each sentence. Then came the conflation with abuse and same gender sex a mixup that even the JCHS has repeatedly done as covered on this blog as well; he claimed that persons are for the most part introduced to homosexual sex through abuse as if no one is born homosexual. He warned that locals must not allow buggery to be decriminalized as free speech will disappear and gay marriage rights is next to force clergy to marry gay persons. He kept referring to the lobbyists as gay profane mobs. He claimed that a meeting such as the one he was speaking is not possible in Boston which sounds on the surface as a lie. During the one hour event there was no outcry for violence towards persons who are gay or different and obvious non Christian passers-by used their way of showing approval with gun gesticulations, boom bye bye and no batty boi sound offs.

apologies for the glitches but the source feed was tacky …. video for non profit purpose and review only

Just days before CVM TV showed a television special entitled Battle Lines: Javed Jaghai versus the State which also featured the JCHS and others who literally fear the simply decriminalization of buggery to allow consent in private while criminalizing abusers and non consensual perpetrators of whatever gender. I will admit that the leading lobbyists locally have been sloppy in certain respects in the push as they only recently changed their position on buggery from a full repeal to decriminalization which took too long to occur given the opposition over the life of the struggle from their 15 years in operation.

So it’s not us at the altar any time soon if they religious right have their way, we must never have a stable family life albeit I am not into relationships but do support those who choose same. Creating fear and panic in those as if homosexuals are here to force everyone else to be so, poisoned aren’t we?

Please these previous posts as well from this and sister blogs:

Betty Ann Blaine & foreign religious zealots continue their paranoia & misrepresentations 

Gay Parenting (a view on the ground) (repost from 09) …….. International Family Day

The unofficial practice by churches in using marriage to cure homosexuality

Sexual Reproduction for Same Sex Couples?

Will same-sex marriages ever be accepted in Jamaica? (2009)

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

‘Don’t Bow To Gay Pressure’ – Crusaders Urge Jamaicans To Stand By Buggery Law

Dr Wayne West’s continued intellectual dishonesty on fisting felching & chariot racing by homosexuals in Jamaica

also of interest is this discussion on separation of church and state on local TV in November 2013

Peace and tolerance

H

Marauding homosexuals and J-FLAG (Observer Editorial) ……………………

The Jamaica Observer made their position clear on the issue of the displaced and homeless MSM in the New Kingston area who have been getting themselves embroiled in all kinds of activities where the good now suffers for the bad. Originally published February 21, 2013 the piece is quite poignant on the abandonment of the men by the relevant agencies, the population’s behaviour and more, it is a pity that after four years of the closure of the Safe House Pilot project this very month to be precise we are still reaping the worldwind for not addressing homelessness when matters were less problematic and persons like myself at the local level after thousands of hours of work, consultations and brainstorming suggested the shelter idea to the then  powers that be which led to the pilot project then.

Here are the original posts I did on the ultimatum and the closure of the then residential facility in 2009/10:

Homeless MSM to feel the pinch as JASL issues ultimatum

The Homeless Project, the meeting and more

The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes

Now This from the Observer………………………

THE Jamaican nation continues to struggle with the delicate issue of how to treat those of our citizens who are homosexuals.

In fact, the problem has been seriously exacerbated by the emergence of a growing band of homosexual men, largely operating in New Kingston, who have demonstrated a willingness to attack other citizens and to carry out criminal acts.

With the situation getting out of hand, the lobby group, Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays, (J-FLAG) has been forced to distance itself from the homosexuals they are calling “homeless gays”, declaring: “We want to make it absolutely clear that, while J-FLAG advocates for the rights of all Jamaicans, and, in particular, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, J-FLAG does not condone any form of misconduct, violent or criminal behaviour.

“In addition, while these individuals may be members of the LGBT community, J-FLAG cannot be held culpable for their actions and behaviour,” the lobby group said in a January 2013 press statement.

In its infancy, J-FLAG became known for its public statements condemning ‘homophobic’ Jamaicans and its tendency to blame every killing of a homosexual on ‘homophobia’, no matter how clear it was that the incident was a domestic one involving gay lovers. Our police force and our national image overseas suffered terribly because of this practice.

Jamaicans who were incensed by these false accusations would have found the January statement a welcome departure, in that it acknowledged that not everyone who shunned a gay man, was doing so because of his homosexuality.

Said the group: “J-FLAG, as communicated to the police on many occasions, is fully supportive of their efforts to resolve the issues created by homeless gay men. J-FLAG agrees it is necessary to apprehend and incarcerate persons who commit crimes, and understands the necessity of mitigating the impact of lawlessness on business people, residents, employees, and commuters. J-FLAG does not in any way consider the police undertaking their duties as homophobic or being anti-gay…”

We suspect that a statement of this nature could only have come after much angst and desperation on the part of J-FLAG which admitted that it had made several attempts to intervene, but had been unsuccessful in its bid to rein in the culprits, some of whom are involved in frequent internal fights as well as criminal offences such as robbery.

“J-FLAG has met and collaborated with a broad range of stakeholders, including the police, the member of parliament for the constituency, the mayor, the Ministry of Health, the councillor, the Child Development Agency, church leaders, and representatives of the business community, but the outcomes have not been significant enough to address the behavioural issues from which these issues stem,” the organisation said.

J-FLAG, we believe, cannot like Pontius Pilate, wash its hands of the problem and must continue its efforts at intervention on behalf of that section of its constituency.

We hasten to say, however, that this is not just a problem for J-FLAG. These are Jamaican citizens who must be treated as all other Jamaicans. They are entitled to protection under law. Many of them have been cast out of their homes and communities and are living on the streets of Kingston. They are in urgent need of rehabilitative care, education and medical attention.

The society ignores them at its own peril.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Marauding-homosexuals-and-J-FLAG_13683576#ixzz2LwB9fcUW

Safe house logo

My response comes via an edited podcast from a blog talk radio entry I did on February 23, 2012 sad the men continue to struggle after so many years of the dubious closure of the Safe House Project in 2009 originally designed to handle the problem when the men were much more docile than now. The previous post entered on December 21, 2012 dealt with the impatience of some of the men who were awaiting the promise of a shelter from JFLAG announced early as October 2012 yet no shelter is yet to come. See previous entries from Gay Jamaica Watch and GLBTQJA below:

Stoning Incident at Jamaica AIDS Support for Life’s Offices

The Continued wordwind from not addressing homelessness (when the men were more docile)

Homeless Men make news again (for all the wrong reasons part 1)

Interfaith group treated homeless MSM in St Catherine

also see newcasts/video on the issue

Some of us are still hopeful despite the foolishness that has obtained over the years and are also investigating what other solutions we can do without these so called responsible organizations who clearly by their foot dragging and negligence are not directly interested in doing the social justice work required for this marginalized group of persons. Simple community assisted living though laudable is not enough and can in no way address the ever increasing challenges and anti-social chaos that require serious psycho-social interventions that we alone can give and the financial situations for many private individuals cannot sustain such shelter assistance for any extended periods.

Peace and tolerance

H

The Jamaican Government schizophrenic on human rights ?

N1258318-page-001 N1258318-page-002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK FOR HOMEPAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nationwide’s Ron Mason – caller suggests clinic for gays

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

Much to ponder on as a nation

Peace and tolerance

H

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