Review of The JFLAG Parliamentary Submission

As appearing in Parliament on June 5, 2001

“THE JAMAICA FORUM FOR LESBIANS ALL-SEXUALS AND GAYS (J-FLAG) WITH REGARD TO “AN ACT TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION OF JAMAICA TO PROVIDE FOR A CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FOR CONNECTED MATTERS”

A constitution should provide a foundation of principles upon which the laws of a society are built. It should ensure, for all its constituents, the rights to equality before the law, and to dignity of the person.
Rights such as these are integral to the very foundation of this country. The birth of Jamaica as a modern nation occurred out of a history of oppression and colonialism that necessitated the claiming, by the disadvantaged black majority, of a new rule of law that idealised these two rights.
A Bill of Rights should seek to protect the inherent human identity from abuse. By this we mean that features which are inherently and innately a part of one’s identity ought not to be allowed to form the basis for discrimination or exclusion by others. The Jamaican Constitution currently protects against discrimination based on race, and it is now proposed that gender be included as a head of non-discrimination. We believe that sexual orientation also ought properly to be brought under the protective umbrella of the anti-discrimination clause.
What, then, is “sexual orientation”? Professor Edwin Cameron (now a Judge of the South African Constitutional Court) writes, at pp. 450 of the 1993 volume of the South African Law Times ([1993] S.A.L.T. 450):
“Sexual orientation is defined by reference to erotic attraction: in the case of heterosexuals, to members of the opposite sex; in the case of gays and lesbians, to members of the same sex. Potentially, a homosexual or gay or lesbian person can therefore be anyone who is erotically attracted to members of his or her own sex”.

Continue HERE for the full presentation or HERE for a summary

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LGBT History Month – Violence Forces Gay Jamaican Men to Seek Asylum Overseas(Flashback)

The Black World Today, December 2, 2002

P.O. Box 328, Randallstown, MD 21133

Fax: 410-521-9993, Email: editors@tbwt.net
By Zadie Neufville, IPS

KINGSTON—When the United Kingdom (UK) granted asylum to three Jamaican men last month, it once again shone the international spotlight on the severe homophobia that have cost many here their homes, their jobs and even their lives.
The men were granted asylum on the grounds that “severe homophobia” in this northern Caribbean island, had endangered their lives, and that the Jamaican government failed to protect them from violence.
The three are among the first successful asylum claims for homosexuals since a 1999 House of Lords ruling that allowed “particular social groups”, including homosexuals, to qualify for refugee status.
Barry O’Leary of the London-based law firm Wesly Gryk says he was able to convince British officials that the Jamaican government “is unwilling to protect the rights of the men”.
O’Leary, also a spokesman for the Stonewall Immigration group, an organisation that lobbies for gays, says some of his Jamaican clients have suffered physical torture and have even seen their partners murdered.
Another seven Jamaican men are seeking refuge in the UK and one has been granted indefinite leave to remain there.
One of the refugees, Matthew (name withheld by request) describes being gay in Jamaica as being in “a hell house”.
“When I was walking down the streets, I didn’t know who was going to attack me. The police do nothing. I would be dead now in Jamaica,” he told reporters.
One 26-year-old, who wants to remain anonymous, told of constant verbal abuse while working as a security guard. At home, he suffered beatings that left him deaf in one ear and in one particularly brutal attack his throat was slashed and he was left to die.
“I was always looking over my shoulder, thinking someone was going to attack me or shoot me,” he said. “It is just not possible to live a normal life in Jamaica if you are gay,” the man said on British radio.
The success of the asylum seekers is welcome news in the Jamaican gay community. The Jamaica Federation of Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) reports that 30 men are currently homeless after being forced out of their communities, while some have been driven to insanity.
Since 1980, about 40 gay men have been killed and hundreds of alleged homosexuals viciously beaten and driven from their homes. The threat of violence is so prevalent that the only known names and faces behind J-FLAG live overseas, the group’s telephone number is unlisted and its office location a secret.
In Jamaica, sympathising or associating with gays can be deadly, J-FLAG says.
The organisation has recorded dozens of incidents of violence against gay men, but says that many of those who suffer beatings or threats are simply too scared to report them to authorities.
O’Leary says many of his clients also report abuse from police, and in a 2001 report the international human rights group Amnesty International (AI) outlines police beatings, beatings supported by the police, arrests and malicious detention of gay men.
But Miguel Wynter, head of the Jamaican Constabulary’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which investigates allegations of police misconduct, says he has had no complaints from gay men claiming to have been abused by police.
Wynter does admit that the Buggery Act could deter homosexuals from making complaints.
Gay women are verbally harassed but violence against them is reportedly rare.
AI and local activists blame a 135-year-old Jamaican law—the Offences of the Person Act, which includes the Buggery Act—for promoting discrimination against gay men. Under the act, homosexual intercourse is a criminal offence punishable by up to 10 years hard labour.
“Laws that treat homosexuals as criminals lend support to a climate of prejudice,” Amnesty said in its report.
“Although not all gay men engage in anal intercourse,” says J-FLAG spokesperson and attorney Donna Smith, “it is so much a part of the essence of the intimate interaction between gay men that a law against it is, in essence, a law against male homosexuality”.
Activists say local recording stars are also to be blamed for the violence because their lyrics often call for violence, including the murder of gays. One of the most popular recordings in recent years advocated “burning and shooting ‘Chi Chi Men’” (a local term for homosexuals), while others have called for battering them to death.
According to O’Leary, “I am representing one client who has lost his last two partners to fatal homophobic attacks, one of which took place in church”.
Smith believes that constitutional protection for homosexuals could provide a buffer against some violence and discrimination. Last year, J-FLAG lobbied the Constitutional Commission to include sexual preference in the law as a protected right.
Government refused to consider the proposition saying, “homosexuality was not on its agenda”.
Public Defender Howard Hamilton is now investigating whether the constitutional rights of 16 men killed and 40 others injured in 1997 prison riots were breached.
In what is said to be the country’s worst case of homophobic violence, prisoners attacked and killed or injured alleged homosexuals after prison officials announced they would distribute condoms to counter the spread of HIV.
A Jamaican government spokesperson denies any support for homophobia, but many like O’Leary continue to point to remarks made by Jamaica’s head of state and chief scout, Governor-General Howard Cooke, when he sanctioned the exclusion of gays from the Boys Scouts.
“Those are not the type of persons we wish to be part of the scout movement,” he told a newspaper nearly two years ago.
Gay rights activists say that the failure of government to address the situation is putting even non-homosexuals at risk. Bobby (name withheld by request) says he was targeted because he “was not living with a woman”.
He told reporters that community leaders ordered him to leave his home.
And while gays living in middle and upper-class communities may escape the vicious beatings that their less fortunate counterparts in the inner cities are exposed to, they still face discrimination. Many complain of having police smash into their homes on false reports and of searches designed to catch them in compromising situations.
So the abuse continues and those who can, seek refuge abroad. Those with enough money and power, protect themselves behind security fences. According to J-FLAG, those with no recourse end up dead, others wander the streets and some lose their minds.

LGBT History Month – Remembering Steve Harvey

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 pics depicting happier moments 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!!!

LGBT History Month – Remembering Brian Williamson

Thomas Glave, Contributor, originally published Sunday June 20, 2004

THE PIECE IS STILL POIGNANT TODAY!!!

THIS MUCH is true: the brave, loving gay man who was murdered in Kingston last week will not be forgotten. His name was Brian R.B. Williamson. None of us who are gay, lesbian or bisexual will forget him, and neither will many others.
He was a founding member of J-FLAG. I remember him from that time. That was where I first met him ­ where I first had the privilege of getting to know him. We all were meeting in great trust, scarcely knowing at that time, in the latter months of 1998, how daunting and ultimately vital our mission would be. But in 2004, six years later, J-FLAG still exists ­ proof of the importance and utter correctness of our work. Jamaica’s viciousness and hatred, no matter how brutal, could not destroy us then, and will not destroy us now.
I remember Brian as a laughing man: a man with ‘a head of silver coins’,” as I described his head of curly silver-gray hair. He loved laughing and laughter. Though it is often said of the dead even when untrue, he truly did love life, and exemplified that love in his formidable bravery where sexuality matters were concerned. He was not afraid to open, and operate from the late 1990s until only a few years ago, the gay and lesbian dance club Entourage, right in his home at 3A Haughton Avenue.

A SAFE PLACE
Entourage, a place where so many of us gays, lesbians, and bisexuals could go and dance, laugh, flirt, party, and hang out with friends and loved ones ­ a place where we could breathe freely and openly, delivered for a few hours from Jamaica’s otherwise repressive, hateful anti-gay environment. At Entourage and in other places, Brian was not afraid to challenge the police, fiercely, when they attempted to harass him. He was not afraid to represent J-FLAG on the radio, using his own name, and to appear on television, representing the organisation, showing his face. He did it all with great humour and generosity, and lived, until a few weeks ago, to tell about it. In that regard, he was truly an example to all of us who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual ­ an example of just what bravery and risk can accomplish.
It remains to be seen whether Brian was murdered specifically because he was gay, although given the extremely violent nature of the crime and his being so widely known as an outspoken gay man, one would be a bit naive not to wonder. These are hard times for all Jamaicans living on the island, but they’re especially hard for gay men, and for men who have sexual/romantic involvements with other men, and with women, and don’t call themselves ‘gay’.

SHROUD OF FEAR
Many men who desire other men in Jamaica continue to live with an enormous amount of anxiety, shame and fear. Such is also the case for women who love other women. Those of us who are men, particularly after an incident such as which took Brian’s life, return to that gnawing fear: will someone strike us down anytime soon because we are ‘b-men’? How will it happen? With fire, machetes, pickaxes, hammers, guns, knives or simple strangling? Or will it be ‘just’ a beating? Or a good old-fashioned stoning? Will our father do it to us, or a neighbour? A boyfriend of ours, or a co-worker?
Will everyone in our community turn on us? Will it happen in the cool, quieter hours of the night, or beneath the sun’s blazing afternoon? Will people laugh after our death, as they did after Brian’s or will some cry for us, as many did for Brian? Will people tell each other after our murder that we ‘deserved’ it, or were ‘asking for’ it? Will people in our families be so ashamed of us, and so embarrassed, that they’ll refuse to speak about us to anyone, especially when it comes to the men we loved? Will self-hating gay men say vicious things about us – that we were nothing more than a ‘sketel’, nothing more than a ‘butu’, so what could we expect?
We all have faced discrimination and bigotry from friends, family members, church members, and others; yet many of us somehow have managed to survive that bigotry, and even triumph. In that regard, we, male and female homosexuals, are truly testaments to survival and the human spirit. Jamaica would be much poorer without our talent, hard work, skills, and intelligence, and Jamaica knows it. Jamaica will be much poorer without the light of Brian Williamson, but the gay/lesbian community, and J-FLAG, will continue, and prevail, as Brian himself would have wanted us to.

EQUAL TO NAZI TYRANNY
Make no mistake ­ years from now, the world will look at Jamaica the way we do at Nazis today. Jamaica’s hatred of homosexuals is the equal of Nazis’ hatred of Jews. It is the equal of racist whites’ hatred of blacks, is the equal of all hatred everywhere ­ just as ugly, just as destructive and self-destructive, just as ignorant and narrow. Just as evil.
We are Nazis toward lesbians and gay men, but Hitler’s fury didn’t wipe out all the Jews, and Jamaica’s rage won’t kill all of us – it won’t even kill those of us who hate ourselves so much because Jamaica has taught us to hate ourselves and other gay people.
In our private spaces we still love and make love to each other, we still tell jokes and drink, play cards and watch T.V, nyam our curry goat and brown stew chicken, go on bad and tek bad tings mek laugh. We still dream of love, like everyone else, and, when necessary, we take care of each other. If anything, Brian’s death should teach us all to do all these things even better.
But it should teach us something else, even more important: it should teach us that we, and no one else, will have to make the kind of world we want our children to live in. If one of our children turns out to be gay ­ and I mean the children of any Jamaican, any person, heterosexual or homosexual, since we, too, produce children ­ are we prepared to send them out into a world that might chop them up, burn them, dash acid on them, or burn down their house? Or stone them? Or cause them to flee Jamaica in fear? Or cause them to grow up lying about themselves, lying to their parents, to spouses, children, friends, family ­ to everyone?
What are we all doing right now, nearly one week after a brave man’s death, to protect our children from that world? From this world?
Brian featured on the bottom of his outgoing e-mails a quote from Gandhi: “We must become the change we wish to see in the world.” It’s useful, but to achieve what it says requires a tremendous amount of human bravery: brave heart, brave mind, brave soul, and the courage to expand the mind beyond the prejudices that make us happy and comfortable. Are we prepared to try and live this way, if only to keep other people from being killed as Brian was killed, and to save ourselves from such a death as well?

Light a candle, then, for this man who was loved. Light many candles, and remember his name. Remember his laughter.
Remember how much he loved other men, and how very much he wanted them to love him in return. Remember how much he loved his cat Jonathan and his dog Tessa – poor Tessa, who was there, at home, on the morning of his death.
Remember how Brian loved his garden, especially the trailing yellow allamanda flowers on his front lawn’s overhead trellis. Say a prayer for him, and say another for those terrible lost people who killed him.
Remember how much power, love, and life he brought us in Jamaica. Remember, how much braver he made so many of us. Remember how he expanded our entire country. Remember, and know that he will not be forgotten.

LGBT History Month Jamaica’s First Gay Organization – Gay Freedom Movement (updated 2011)

Originally posted October 6, 2008
The first gay organization in Jamaica was the Gay Freedom Movement (GFM), founded around 1974 by five Jamaicans and an American Jesuit then working in the island.
It focused on consciousness-raising within the LGBT community and professional organizations, issued a newsletter, Jamaica Gaily News, and ran a Gay Youth Program, Prison Outreach Program and a free STD clinic.
General Secretary, Larry Chang, who was also publisher and editor of JGN, was the first Jamaican to come out publicly, being interviewed on radio and the then JBC-TV and through his letters to the press.
Before he fled to the US in 2000 where he was granted political asylum in 2004, he had helped found Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG)
The Gaily News Publication (previously The Toilet Paper) – Original documentation draft outlay and typeset (front cover)

(owned by GFM and was held by JFLAG although not stored in proper conditions) this copy was digitized during my tenure as Administrative Assistant at the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays JFLAG as at that time I was very concerned as to the conditions some of the pieces were in when I came across them, luckily we were able to get them to him thus preventing some important cultural objects being lost forever and thrown away and deemed on no value. 

(Items have since been returned in 2010 to the GFM originator Larry Chang who now resides in the United States)

This was a then handmade and typed set via typewriter gay tabloid circulation that was done by the first gay activist movement in Jamaica in the late seventies to early eighties the Gay Freedom Movement. It was named the “Toilet Paper” before but only two editions were produced before the decision to change the name came about.

Computers weren’t so readily available as yet on the Jamaican landscape so drafts were hand made thus adding more value to the early work by these pioneers.

This captioned photo above is actually one of the original drafts design for the outlay of the publication. It was so named to parody the then mainstream Jamaica Daily News newspaper now merged to be known as the Gleaner.
The archives since this original post entry have since been retrieved by the former General Secretary of the movement Mr. Larry Chang who now resides overseas after seeking asylum in 2000 and was successful. They are stored on the captioned site above for viewing and purchase from same.

Authors and contributors would literally spend hours researching and coming up with interesting and sometimes patois written pieces for the paper. Based on the old archives of the publication it was circulated for a good two some years before it ended. It contained letters to the editor of the respected newspapers of the day, the Daily News, Gleaner and the Daily Star.

The Jamaica Observer was not birthed as yet.

Events and other intervention activities were also included with rich comedic content as homophobia was not as rife as now so the community was more relaxed and could entertain themselves effortlessly.

Thanks to the Gay Freedom Movement for opening the door to activism in Jamaica.

October is LGBT History Month US/Jamaica

October is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Histor month by American standards so I have decided to focus on our Jamaican experience based on what I could gather on the ground from archives and oral accounts.

It’s sad that we don’t seem to have much archival information on our LGBTQ experiences or very little is or has been done to capture and preserve the same.

So look for posts with LGBT History Month preceding the sub titles.

Also I will post the american and UK links as well as I know I have alot of readers from up north and across the sea.

If you have anything you would like to add just email me at: lgbtevent@gmail.com

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click the icon for the glbt History month for the United States with links to pdf and audio recounts.

Larry Chang …….. a Reintroduction

Chinese-Jamaican gay man, political organizer and spiritual counselor, Larry Chang has much to offer the Asian-American, LGBT, Caribbean-American, and People of Color communities.

Larry was born in Jamaica of Hakka Chinese immigrant parents; he is a founding member of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays, J-FLAG . He had previously organized a gay group in Jamaica, the Gay Freedom Movement (GFM) as early as 1978 in a fiercely hostile climate. He held the position of General Secretary and was Publisher and Editor of its newsletter, Jamaica Gaily News .

A leader and active participant of the community for equal justice, Chang came to the U.S. as a refugee in 2000, and was granted political asylum in 2004. He currently resides in Washington, D.C., where he continues to educate and work for equal justice in the United States and for Jamaica. He is featured in the Phillip Pike documentary, Songs of Freedom, which had its world premiere in Toronto in January 2003, and has been shown in selected US cities, Toronto, Montreal and Kingston. He also appears in Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World , which documents the struggle for human rights of LGBT people in the global south; it premiered at the New York Film Festival in June 2003.

He completed Religious Science Studies to Level 3 under Dr. Rev. Elma Lumsden at the Temple of Light Church of Religious Science in Kingston, Jamaica, and has been profoundly influenced by Zen Buddhism. Introduced in May 2006 to much acclaim at Book Expo America, Larry’s anthology of quotations, Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing is now available in bookstores and online, as well as the follow-up, Wisdom for the Soul of Black Folk . He’s currently at work on Wisdom for the Soul of Queer Folk, slated for release in 2008.

He has the enthusiastic support of many scholars:

“Larry Chang is a first-rate activist, and a superb thinker and analyst of political/social issues. Anyone who hears him speak will not be disappointed.”
– Thomas Glave
Assistant Professor, Department of English, General Literature and Rhetoric
State University of New York (SUNY), Binghamton, NY, USA
Author of Whose Song

“Larry Chang brings a special spirituality to whomever he meets. He has the amazing ability to transcend race, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation in his efforts to heal the planet. His wisdom might well be the path that we need to lead us to both individual and global peace.”
– Jerry Wright
Professor, Social Work and Anthropology
Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia, USA

“… dependable, thorough, focused, and knowledgeable about the arts … He is not, however, limited to being an “expert” in the arts. His interests are diverse, and he has been able to combine history, mathematics, anthropology, psychology, and sociology into an integrated whole that define him as both an intellectual and a practitioner of his craft.”
– Davilla T. Davis
Former Professor/Director, Study Abroad Programs
Morris Brown College, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

“I have had many opportunities to meet with Larry Chang. Invariably I have come away greatly enriched. He is a man of enormous knowledge and wisdom, an excellent counseller and speaker, a true humanist. I have learned a lot about Jamaican culture, about spirituality, about human nature, from him.”
– Wolfgang Binder
Professor/Academic Director, North American & Caribbean Literatures
University of Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany

“Larry Chang is original and insightful. He is a speaker well worth inviting to provide new perspectives and stimulate discussion.”
– Frank H. Wu
Professor, Howard University School of Law
Washington, DC, USA
Author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White

Larry Chang is an ENGAGING SPEAKER with experience as a SPIRITUAL COUNSELOR, WORKSHOP FACILITATOR, WRITER and ARTIST. His diverse background caters to a spectrum of communities such as the LGBT, People of Color (POC), Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), Caribbean Diaspora Communities and in fields of LGBT, Asian-American, Gender, History, Latin American & Caribbean Studies.

Background and Topics:

SPIRITUAL UNFOLDMENT
– with training in Religious Science and dharma study, Larry assists in the exploration of life questions within the paradigm of the sanctity and beauty of the individual ensconced in and inseparable from the multidimensional whole. He has developed a playful yet incisive tool, reading Wisdom Cards a la Tarot, to facilitate this process. His ideas are even now coalescing into a discourse known as I-sight.

EMPOWERMENT
– based on training and experience in the human potential movement and drawing from experience of working with LGBT, spiritual and alternative health groups, artisanal and rural micro-entrepreneurs.

“Larry Chang was contracted to provide technical design expertise and training in product development to mainly small and medium size enterprises focused in the innovative industries. He has a capacity for connecting with the client and assisting in bringing forth their highest potential.”
– Valerie Veira, CEO, Jamaica Business Development Centre, Kingston, Jamaica

WORKING WITH DIVERSITY/BUILDING BRIDGES
– being an Anomaly: Asian in Black Jamaica, Gay in homophobic Jamaica, Asian-Jamaican in African-America, Hakka in predominantly Cantonese Chinese-America, Free-Thinker in an increasingly Fundamentalist Orthodoxy, Exile with no Country, A ROLE FOR THE ETERNAL OUTSIDER.

WORKING IN THE LGBT PEOPLE OF COLOR COMMUNITY

HISTORY of Gay Activism in Jamaica, Chinese in Jamaica, Legacy of Slavery in Gender Roles, Violence & Homophobia

INTERRACIAL RELATIONSHIPS : Asian/Black intimacy

THE TYRANNY of anal sexism among MSM

Larry is available to individuals, groups and organizations as a presenter and facilitator at a nominal fee. He is initiating a new service,
SoulVentures – Exploring the Possible
offering counselling, coaching, imagineering, spiritual/holistic marketing and promotion.

Recent Presentations Include:

Participant, HIV Community Coalition Seminar on Religion, Spirituality, and Sexuality
Washington, DC, February 2002
Panelist, 12th Biennial Midwest Asian Pacific American Student’s Conference, “Transcending Boundaries: Communities, Crisis, and Resistance”
Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, March 2002
Presenter, Asian Pacific American Awareness Conference (APAAC): “Affirming Identity”
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, April 2003
Presentation/Workshop – “Building Then Breaking Out of the Box: Claiming, Creating and Transcending Identities”
Panellist, “Examining Jamaica’s Policy towards Homosexuality & Dealing with the Impact of International Scrutiny”
presented by Jampact , St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY, January 2005
Speaker, Amnesty International 2005 Get On the Bus Rally
All Souls Church, NY, April 2005
Speaker, hosted by Rainbow Pride Union
SUNY Binghamton, NY, April 2005
Panellist, “Beyond the Music: Reggae and the Cultural Contours of Homophobia,” Stanford University Black Law Students Association Conference, Stanford, CA, February 2006
Speaker, hosted jointly by Amnesty International and Lambda Union
Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, April 2007
Speaker, hosted jointly by Asian Students Union and Rainbow Pride
SUNY Binghamton, NY, April 2007

Brian’s last letter (Flashback)

Brian’s last letter

published: Sunday June 13, 2004

By Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer
IN JANUARY, Brian Williamson wrote what would be his last letter to the media concerning the welfare of Jamaica’s endangered homosexual community. In it, he criticised the Government’s proposed anti-terrorism bill calling it hypocritical.
“I find it shocking that we can seriously be considering a terrorist plan without dealing with the basic safety of our homosexual citizens especially as homosexuality is not against the law in Jamaica,” wrote Williamson in the letter, published in The Gleaner.
The safety that Williamson had long advocated for homosexuals in Jamaica eluded him Wednesday as he was murdered at his home at Haughton Avenue in New Kingston. His blood-splattered body was discovered by Desmond Chambers, the caretaker of the apartments Williamson owned.

The police report that the 59-year-old Williamson was bludgeoned to death, his home ransacked and a safe where he reportedly kept money, was stolen. They surmise that the motive for his death was robbery and have since picked up a suspect in the case.
But members of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) organisation Williamson founded six years ago do not support the police’s theory. They believe Williamson, who was open about his gay lifestyle, was the victim of a hate crime.

Though he was not afraid to show his sexuality, Alexander Gordon (not his real name), a J-Flag representative, says Williamson was guarded about his private life. J-Flag affiliates knew he had a sister and that he operated a business centre but little else was known about him outside of the organisation.

Williamson consistently hissed at Jamaica’s rigid homophobia by appearing on television talk shows and penning several letters to newspapers without using a pseudonym. That vigilance, says Gordon, will be missed.

Tributes and more stories: http://www.globalgayz.com/g-jamaica.html