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

Crisis communications

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

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

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

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

Here is the letter firstly: Gays Should Report Violent Encounters

THE EDITOR, Sir:

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

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

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

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

counselling

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

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

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

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

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

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

see: September 18 for Dean Moriah Matter 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are several points reports can be made:

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

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

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

I still recommend JFLAG despite their issues.

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

Peace and tolerance

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

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

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

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

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

Police crack College of Agriculture, Science and Education lecturer murder

Betty Ann Blaine on the big gay lie ..

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

Questions on murder/buggery case in court

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

H

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Situational homosexuality and or “Predatory behaviour” reasons for the closure of Alpha Boys’ Home residential programs?

alpha boys home

So it would seem as the story gains traction, when it first broke on the Jamaica Observer it was a vague little worded piece that left more questions and negative reactions than anything else but since the last twenty four hours with statements from and footage from the Minister of Youth Lisa Hanna seeking to outline some of the issues she is aware of more seems to be coming to light, her use of the term “predatory sexual activity” is a bit troubling to me though, it seems she is busy this year as the cooling down of the Permanent Secretary Sydney Bartley homo-paedophile matter is still in the Supreme Court even though the Minister is no longer named as a party in that matter the other named parties are still being pursued. 120 boys or so will have to find a place to live after June 2014 although the educational components of the work will continue said a spokesperson for the institution.

also see the Observer’s take on it: HERE

SITUATIONAL HOMOSEXUALITY This term refers sociologically to widespread same-sex behaviour in total institutions where no partner of the opposite sex is available. I bring this up as I am afraid the boys may be stigmatised out of all this for being freaks or homosexuals playing into the predatory nature perception held out there especially by the anti gay establishment. In some cases, as in prisons, jails and reformatories, places of safety, half way houses and transitional living facilities the residents/inmates are there involuntarily; in others, as ships at sea, monasteries and nunneries participation has been freely chosen although terms of engagement, strict rules and curtailed socializing activities limit sexual release. The situational homosexuality term is also applied to cultures where adolescents are gender-segregated the assumption behind the notion of psychological situational homosexuality is that the individual’s behaviour is dependent on the heterosexually deprived situation, and that those performing homosexual acts faute , de mieux under these circumstances will revert to heterosexual behavior once they regain access to the opposite sex, while the “true” homosexual prefers his own sex even when the other is freely accessible.

The situation of deprivation does not affect all people equally.

In the case of Alpha Boys like any other such facility experimentation too maybe a factor especially the homo-negative culture that exists here, there is a way in which persons become attracted to taboo practices out there in private circumstances. The Minister’s exact words regarding the same sex activities she said she was told by the Nuns at Alpha (Roman Catholic sisters of Mercy) in February was as follows:

“The sisters of mercy cited the grave anti social behaviour ….. the sexual predatory nature of the boys on one another on a daily basis ……… the incapability of human capital to respond to the many and changing faces of the issues manifested today, the challenge is further compounded by the high cost of care for each child.”

Are the sisters going by their own assessment of the situation from a church standpoint thus interpreting the matter as predatory (not saying it is all together true) there was some denial of the reasons for the discontinued residency component by one PR representative Joshua Chamberlain who said on radio “There is absolutely no truth from those suggesting the home is shutting down partly due to inappropriate behaviour among Alpha Boys, residential care if transitioning to day care……” I guess the goodly PR rep is trying to avoid a generalization that the boys are wholesale perverts as slightly suggested by the Youth Minister.

Even late nineteenth-century authors realized that some individuals never engage in homo- sexual activity no matter how long or how intense the deprivation from heterosexual contact they endure. Similarly, many homosexuals fail to take up heterosexual activity even though homosexuality may be so severely repressed as to be practically unavailable. Nevertheless, cross-cultural evidence abundantly documents higher incidences of homosexual activity in situations of heterosexual deprivation, and markedly so for males in their sexual prime.

SIWA OASIS A town in the Libyan desert of western Egypt, Siwa is the site of an ancient civilization which retained a form of institutionalized homosexuality into the modern era. The oasis was the location of an oracle consulted by Alexander the Great and modern observers have stressed how the Berber population conserved its own language, religious rites, and sexual customs despite the later overlay of Islam and Egyptian administration. Sexual relations among men fell into the ancient pattern of pairing between usually married adult men and adolescent bachelors. In the nineteenth century, families lived within the walls of a town constructed rather like a single large adobe “beehive” while all unmarried men lived together on the edges of town where they made up a warrior class (zaggalah) protecting the oasis from desert marauders. In the twentieth century, as the military function declined and the townspeople have moved out of the walled centre, the zaggalah have become agricultural labourers retaining their customs and clubhouses. The anthropologist Walter Cline, writing in 1936, found “All normal Siwan men and boys practice sodomy. . . .

I am in no way suggesting that sodomy is the only same sex activity found in this case of Alpha as partnered masturbation also is a key way to “gain release” which in such situational circumstances but again the Youth Minister’s wording makes it seems as anal rape when she uses “predatory behaviour” substitutional sex as the experts tell us lacks the more erotic or raunchy elements of sex between innate gay men for example and is not as engaging as two more romantically involved same sex partners. Among themselves the zaggalah natives are not ashamed of this; they talk about it as openly as they talk about love of women, and many if not most of their fights arise from homosexual competition.” Among the zaggalah, man-boy relationships were formally recognized when the man offered the boy’s father a gift (or bride price) as in heterosexual marriage. Abd Allah notes that “Siwan cus- toms allow a man but one boy [vs. four wives] to whom he is bound by a stringent code of obligations.” In the zaggalah club- house “labourers come together on any occasion for communal rejoicing and assemble on moonlight nights for drinking, singing, and dancing to the merry rhythm of flute and drum” (Cline).T his festive and erotic tradition culminates in a three-day bacchanal dedicated to the medieval sheik, Sidi Soliman, following the Islamic fast of Ramadan. The various accounts of Siwa agree on the openness and fluidity of sexuality, in that divorce is casual and serial polygamy common, men having as many as a dozen wives over time. Male and female prostitution was noted and Cline remarked that the role in homosexual relations was variable and voluntary.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Mahmud Mohamrnad 'Abd Allah, "Siwan Customs," Harvard African Studies, 1 (19171, 1-28; C. Dalrymple Belgrave, Siwa: The Oasis of Jupiter Ammon, London: Lane, 1923; Walter Cline, Notes on the People of Siwah and El Garah in the Libyan Desert, Menasha, WI: George Banta Publishing, 1936; Robin Maugham, journey to Siwa, London: Chapman and Hall, 1950. Barry D. Adam

I think we need to examine this case some more far more carefully, JFLAG and the other advocates have not responded to this faux pas of sorts either which has me concerned sometimes as to their relevance as this issue can be made to play into the anti gay establishment as reason to oppose and block the trajectory to LGBT rights and recognition seeing the repeated conflation between abuse and same gender sex when in truth and in fact abuse is abuse no matter the sexual orientation or gender of the perpetrator. Seeing also that the boys are the same age grouping how else are we to deal with this?

The Youth Minister in a follow up discussion this morning on Nationwide radio suggested isolation of the identified abusers with psychological intervention what she did not say or was asked by the interviewers was was this in a view to also push reparative therapy supposedly thinking the boys are gay and need to be changed? Why I raised this is because many of the professionals in the system are trained in Christian run theological colleges often disregarding the diagnostic statistical manual, DSM with regards to homosexuality which is not a disorder yet some professional ignore this and their personal values clash with protocols. I am concerned for the boys as this situation reminds me of the easy way out mentality by administrations for such facilities, The Safe House Project 2009 that was under the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life was closed down by the board due to “bad behaviour” as the given reason then yet we have ended up with grief with displaced/homeless MSM/Trans persons numbers spiralling out of control with a JFLAG silent then and actually moving into the space that was the shelter turning it into their offices. They soon bore the backlash over time with the men attacking the offices of JASL as well intermittently with a notice to quit being the final edict and demolition of the building in 2013.

It seems there is an impatience to stick with problematic populations (outside of funding woes) in terms of transitional work and the psycho social components is still a problem as the quest for rights via victimhood abounds and takes precedence, this Alpha case has a touch shade of it too but let us see where it leads, the homeless msm/trans individuals in New Kingston for example are obviously being manipulated by powerful advocates and institutions as a recent news item showed where complaints about police abuse were highlighted, yes there is abuse but the same voices complaining are well established entities with robust funding to do something meaningful but instead the foot dragging continues while reclining in the HIV prevention imperative naming the cohort as vulnerable and susceptible to HIV, yes stigma/homo-negativity etc. exists but how it is presented sometimes short changes the very thrust. If the Alpha situation is met with proper responses via the government however to include psycho social/sexual interventions then it stands to reason that government can also address homelessness and displacement in the LGBT populations seeing that some advocates already expect state actors to take care of them while they recline in privilege.

Hypocrisy is a hell of a thing I tell you.

I am also concerned about the re-integration process as the minister spoke to some prior training of parents who with troubled children are exposed to twenty hours of training so as to engage the children when they return home, is LGBT child rearing included in this? I doubt it, such much more developmental issues arise here simply from this news of the closure of noble institution.

also see this previous post from 2011 of a boys’ home incident: SITUATIONAL HOMOSEXUALITY, SUBSTITUTIONAL SEX, EXPERIMENTATION OR WHAT? ……… SENSATIONAL STORY YET AGAIN

also hear this clip as an example of the homo-negative firestorm that has since erupted conflating abuse with some gay agenda and same gender consensual sex:

Walk good

Peace and tolerance

H

Business downturn for the weed-whacking project for former displaced St Catherine MSM

As promised here is another periodical update on an income generating/diligence building project now in effect for some now seven former homeless and displaced MSM in St Catherine, it originally had twelve persons but some have gotten jobs elsewhere, others have simply walked away and one has relocated to another parish, to date their weed whacking earning business capacity has been struggling as previous posts on the subject has brought to bear and although some LGBT persons residing in the parish have been approached by yours truly and others to increase client count for the men costs such as gas and maintenance of the four machines that are rotated between the enrolled men are rising weekly literally while the demand is instead decreasing due to various reasons.

When the initial idea was rolled out at the time in late 2012 via a mixed religion group to include myself and another gay individual there was some resistance to it as the activity was a carry over from a major well funded church project for unemployed youth one of whom still is in this dispensation, several leaders at the time left the revamped project idea claiming they were not supporting the gay lifestyle, the market for landscaping was already saturated with several other players including lawn cutters from Kingston and nearby parishes and Portmore, breaking into the domain was difficult and several attempts were made via flyers, repeated personal visits by myself and the men in walk-a-bouts various housing schemes and so on. The slow rainfall as well added more delays in shrubbery and vegetation growth hence the slow demand for services/repeat visits and cuttings and as costs for the actual weed whacking machines also come down more middle class households purchase their own machines and do their own manicuring of their lawns and fence-hedging. Expansion to other parishes to include Kingston is in the works and also major sites such as office grounds, schools and playgrounds are being considered but a proper marketing/introductory strategy is needed and is being prepared such as an introductory letter and so forth. Due to a spate of robberies generally as well in certain communities that are lonely with no major pedestrian activity during the work hours on weekdays a couple neighbourhood watches have taken a no tolerance approach to “strange faces” in their communities so they refuse to engage new persons seeking business such as cutting lawns, selling newspapers or such peddling and one community actually instituted a gated arrangement with a guard to control movement in and out of the scheme thus limiting potential business for the men, this community though not so new has several wide lawn area that will require tending to and a formal approach is being strategized. The rotation of the machines amongst the project participants has caused some challenges as well as one or more whackers may be out for repairs thus leaving the designated user out of a machine hence no income or shortened time for those who have machines than normal which has caused some riffs and in-fighting between the participants in the project of which I have had to intervene.

No profiling or homo-negative challenges thus far

Thankfully due to the masculine aesthetics of the participants no major profiling has occurred, a concern I had prior to the rollout of the project/machines. The project coordinators outside of myself are still at odds as to the more effeminate counterparts of the men who are presently enrolled and what to develop for them is still a concern, those persons have sought shelter elsewhere with friends for now; the group that were evicted from a house in Sydenham some time ago are also still struggling and some of those persons when contacted on this project in the early days declined the initiation I presume on a premise of mistrust as others have approached the men/transgender persons before with false promises I am told hence their scepticism. An Aphrodite’s PRIDE Jamaica team member had suggested some sort of activity tailored to the female cisgender imperative such as make-up/beauty training and so on but the issue of stereotypical gender role boxing of the group has come up.

Rates as well have been affected due to some of the aforementioned challenges and competition, in order to stay in business average rates have fallen by some 20% average based on my calculations, for e.g. a typical front lawn (hedging not included as scissors are also needed, machetes alone won’t do) probably twenty five feet by thirty feet taking roughly fifteen to twenty minutes to whack could have fetched up to $1,800 now that has come down to $1,200 or less provided the cutter names his price at let’s say $1,500 then negotiates his way down to stay within the ball park. Gas prices have sky rocketed with rates from Petrojam going up weekly for the past eight weeks, a litre of gas now runs at $130/L and it takes 5 litres for the gallon which in turn serves one cutter one or two days depending on the frequency of jobs, the gas itself is also light as feather and burns off faster than normal despite the governing of the machines for maximum delivery per litre of gas. Unfair competition in my eyes as well is hurting business as weedsters from the government’s JEEP temporary employment program who weed-whack parks, medians and public spaces and who also are allowed to take home the govt owned machines are invading the private market as well thus diminishing business and with their more aggressive tactics some have gone as far as to use the local political and parish council representative as muscle to work their way into the market as they tell their people on the ground who in turn tell others. They while earning from their salaried contracts from JEEP are able to price down their services thus affecting market rates tremendously.

Such is the nature of business right now but the men have managed overall to eek out some small profits or break even in some instances. The psycho-social bit is also being examined and elements of the soon to be concluded Enterprise Training that I am apart of are being reviewed with modifications of course for this cohort; the men are also being encouraged to save as best as possible and consolidate on certain things such as food purchases and so on, two of the men are in fact in a long term relationship so their money management issues are a little better off than the others one of whom has a son from a previous opposite gender relationship. Encouragement has come from the mostly mixed Christian heterosexual group although the teething challenges were numerous they have settled and are now seemingly looking past sexual orientation although there is a push by at least one person for some type of reparative work and prayer for change. The Christmas treat held last year is still fresh in the men’s mind as there were new comers in the lot and the grocery packages though small are welcomed by them saving time and money to fetch such items on their own. My concern is to move them from just mere tokenism to more independent thinking and devising their own way to fend for themselves, the necessitated rotation of the machines has become a blessing in disguise as it has come to teach the men sharing and patience major tools in diligence building and the all important life-plan efficacious activity seems more eminent than before as the anger and resentment from being displaced slowly subsides. We are seeking a qualified professional with counselling expertise to do one on one work with them to move to the next step as the project becomes more formalised.

I had an idea to divert a few of them to a program on catering but it soon dawned on me that with independence it would have been difficult to ask them to make such a separation to non income status although the training would make them qualified and also the hours needed to seek business are also the same hours for classes so it would have been a catch 22 situation.

I am feeling a little better seeing some of the displaced and homeless MSM/Transgender persons are being addressed but it is in no way near the answers needed as others elsewhere on the island struggle with a myriad of issues. A community influential in Mandeville has recently taken on a few in his home for a short time while in St Ann an influential who was assisting some men there has given up due to the behavioural challenges and pilfering has caused him to discontinue any further assistance. I nearly got to that place as well after my own experience in July last year when I took in a youngster only to have to put him out three days after as he brought a sex buddy to my home without expressed permission or prior notification, such as the challenges with community based shelter assistance. That is precisely when several more privileged gay/bi persons do not assist separate and apart from the classism and snobbery that obtains in the our “community”

We are thinking of devising an aggressive fund raising activity incorporating various means, donations of cash and kind have been slowly kicking in from persons in the know of the project and I have sent over donations as well thanks to my donors via my blogs through Paypal online and a cheque recently delivered to me by a long time reader residing here of which we are grateful. Each one reach one as Babbie Mason would say in her song.

Peace and tolerance

H

also see:

Interfaith Group Pledges Continued Support for Homeless MSM in St Catherine

GLBTQ Jamaica in conjunction with several individuals and a church group hosted a treat and some words of encouragement for the brothers.

Homeless MSM populations treated over the Christmas season

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

Former Miss LGBT World on being Transgender in Jamaica

Transweek-header-web-l-625x333

The following is a post done earlier this year with Miss LGBT World 2009 and dancehall queen winner Tiana Miller who granted an interview. Also see other posts for the week:

Transgender Awareness Week 2013

Transgender Awareness Week 2013: Internalized Transphobia

Tiana Miller. (Photos courtesy of Tiana Miller)

Last week, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, 16-year-old Dwayne Jones was shot and stabbed multiple times for turning up to a party in women’s clothing. Jones was reportedly transgender and the murder has once again highlighted the awful reality of life for Jamaica’s LGBT community. And it really is fucking awful.

In 2006, TIME magazine called Jamaica “the most homophobic place on Earth,” and the anti-gay sentiment prevalent in the country’s media and most popular musical genre, dancehall, has been well-documented. The Jamaica Gleaner, one of the country’s largest newspapers, regularly publishes stories about the gay community with a homophobic slant. Last month, it referred to a group of men who were evicted from an abandoned house as a “gay clan” and ran an op-ed (in the year 2013) that rubbished the idea of being born gay, saying people who are attracted to the same sex actively decide to do so, in much the same way that they decide to “eat snails (like the French)” or “like the taste of jackfruit.”

In the wake of Jones’ death, I got in touch with Tiana Miller, a transgender Jamaican, who hopes that her openness about her gender and sexuality will inspire others to display similar levels of bravery.

VICE: Hi Tiana. So, back to the start—at what age did you first realize that you were transgender?
Tiana Miller: It was at around age five when I first started thinking like a female. Then I gradually came to the realization that I felt more comfortable in a female skin. It was difficult. Because of the social norms of my country, I really felt as if I was doing something wrong.

Were your family and friends supportive?
Yes, they were, especially my dad.

That’s good. What about Jamaican society as a whole? Do you agree with the description of the country as, “the most homophobic place on Earth”?
Yes, I do. The challenges that we face are difficulties in surviving, as they relate to jobs, education, and housing. High school was OK for me because I hadn’t transformed yet, but it’s hard now education-wise because I would love to get a college degree, but can’t because they won’t allow me in college.

That’s awful. I’d imagine gay people in Jamaica are quite economically disadvantaged if they are unable to get a decent education or find work.
Yes, they are forced to be poor. The lucky ones are those who find rich partners and dedicate their lives to them.

There have been a few high-profile cases of police brutality towards gay people in Jamaica. Do you feel that the police give transgender people the protection they deserve?
No, they definitely don’t. Homeless transgenders are on the street, and the police—who should be their protectors—have literally run them down and chased them because of their lifestyle.

Is homelessness a common problem for transgender people?
Yes, and they are homeless because they have difficulties in sourcing income to rent houses or locate safe houses to live in.

Have you been physically attacked due to your gender?
Yes, I have been attacked before. I ran, so I didn’t suffer much harm. But naturally this had a traumatising effect on me.

So I take it there are a lot of areas that are out of bounds for gay and transgender people.
Naturally there are. This applies to anywhere where there are slums.

Some of the homophobic attacks over there have been horrific. I remember hearing about a gay rights activist who was killed before people celebrated over his body. Doesn’t stuff like that make you fear for your safety?
Yes, it does. I put myself out there, but I’m still aware of how vicious these homophobic homosapiens are.

Are there many people who dare to be open about their sexuality?
The gay and transgender communities aren’t united, as people fear for their lives, so not many people actually identify themselves with the communities.

So do you consider yourself brave for being so open about your gender and sexuality?
Yes, I am brave. If I wish to see a change, I myself have to inspire it. I had to put myself out there and make myself seen so that people know that transgenders do exist and see that we are normal people trying to live our everyday lives like human beings. We need people like myself who are willing to challenge this country and its government.

The media often hold dancehall culture responsible for the homophobia in Jamaica—what’s your view on that?
I think the main contribution comes from the church and their social ethics concerning what is right and wrong. It puzzles me how cruel human beings can be and how biased they are because the church claims that we are demons and bashes us instead of trying to counsel us.

Yeah, it seems a little illogical.
I know, right? But, like, seriously—I care zero.

So I take it there isn’t much of an LGBT nightlife scene where you are? 
Well, there was, but there’s nothing now—just regular venues that they rent to us.

Do you think Jamaica will ever get round to changing its anti-sodomy laws and modernizing its stance on homosexuality?
Well, it actually seems to be on the verge of doing this.

Because gay culture is growing or because of pressure from other countries?
Both. But time will tell, and I don’t wish to make predictions.

Where do you see yourself in that battle?
I see myself as being the first transgender to be an ambassador for the country. I want to advocate for human rights, be a feminist choreographer and also be a whole lot of other things.

Great. Thanks, Tiana.

Rev Al Miller’s late response to Dwayne Jones’ Murder & Respect heterosexuals demand

So Reverend Al Miller apart from using his weekend tele-evangelist airtime to suggest reparative therapy as if it works in his church Fellowship Tabernacle has finally come clean with respects to the awful murder of transgender teen Dwayne Jones in Montego Bay earlier this year. In an interview on Newstalk 93FM radio similar to other pastors who have been getting far more airtime than normal since the Queen Ifrica Freedom of Speech fiasco has and is still playing out Reverend Miller tried to bring some semblance of tolerance to the mix. Let us not forget this is the same man some time ago openly said persons must not buy into the tolerance call from the gay lobby as it was a guise to sneak in homosexuality on the nation. In September 2011 on this blog I posted Rev Al Miller says gay lobby is using the guise of tolerance to get the nation to accept the “gay lifestyle” where he said among other things

 

“Nothing is wrong with loving someone but disagreeing or disliking their lifestyle and the issue is the lifestyle we are not against, the Christians the word of god is not against the individual cause we are all sinners but we must recognize sin as sin, wrong is wrong and so although we may accept and embrace the person but we must say that the conduct is not right  and what the gay agenda is about is wanting the society to accept the lifestyle as being right but they are using the guise of tolerance, of course we can be tolerant with the individual but we must have the right to be intolerant to a practice that is not right it is in the same vein as anyone who practices a lifestyle that is inconsistent with correct behaviour or good for a society, if it is stealing if it is murder or any other kind of crime that is not good for society.

We must embrace the individual but we must reject the lifestyle the behaviour and it is the same, it is the behaviour, when we talk about the protection of rights the protection of rights if gays already exists because all their natural rights are there but what they are crying for is not protection of rights against harm in as much as crying for the acceptance of the lifestyle so that we will legitimize a lifestyle which is contrary to moral law to natural law to social order and all that certainly is good and decent and wholesome and will ensure our fulfillment of the mandate that we were given by our creator.”

Yesterday however he called for everyone to respect the norms and values of society and that accepted norms must not be overlooked “There is no question that that whole incident is unfortunate and is not the kind of thing that should happen we need justice and acting justly and rightly is the way that we must operate and as a society with values must operate and be consistent in upholding of its values and the welfare and rights of individuals are critical in that process but it is equally true that in any society that standards of behaviour and accepted norms must also be respected by all, it can’t be good for some and not for others.”

He further stated that while members of the gay community are calling for the rights of such persons to be respected we must also respect the rights of the heterosexual community, “Unfortunately in recent times that an incident like the one that happened there that created the ire of the citizens who have reacted at wrongly but it is speaking however to citizen that is saying that is not the accepted norm that we want. Equally we must respect the rights of all it has to be both sides, I am hearing a lot in recent times that the gay rights lobby for instance is primarily promoting what they consider their rights must be protected but yet be ignoring the rights of others, you cannot do unjustly to do justly so if we are going to talk about justice and wisdom we must be equitable so that they also must respect the rights and beliefs and the norms of the rest of society.” Meanwhile a British Gay rights group stages a protest in the UK as headed by Peter Tatchell and a Justice for Dwayne Jones at the Jamaican Consulate yesterday in London. They called for the government to protect the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender communities against hate crimes. Pity that the realities still escape our friends overseas here as this was not a homophobic killing directly but has variables that either at the programmatic and intervention levels have yet to be properly discussed and understood.

More Rev Al Miller anti gay positions:

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

also see Anti gay pastor and restorative therapy advocate in trouble with the law again from sister blog GLBTQJA on blogger

Church Stands Resolute Against Buggery Backers says Al Miller ………… Love March Movement Lacks Moral Compass says LGBT voice

It seems the goodly Reverend’s view on respecting the rights of others is to stay quiet and be subject to condemnation biblically and otherwise but when one of our members is maimed or killed the half hearted conditional tolerance and pity comes forth, really!? The gentleman needs to remember his track record speaks to his true position from his active appearances in the Charter of Rights passage where he alongside Shirley Richards of the Lawywers’ Christian Fellowship made sure whatever coverage of discrimination due to sexual orientation was removed yet he comes with this position, who does he think he is fooling here?

Check out the video: Dwayne Jones (Gully Queen) Last Appearance prior to his murder 

Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship’s continued fear mongering on Christian persecution post buggery law amendment & re-socialization

Battle Lines Javed Jaghai versus the state & the Jamaica Buggery Law
Shirley RIchards of LCF fame

Past and present Presidents of the anti gay, anti abortion Christian group the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, LCF Shirley Richards and Helen C. Nicholson continued to express fears that gay marriage and social re-engineering will be the norm in Jamaica if the buggery law is repealed as per the legal challenge launched by Javed Jaghai on June 25, 2013 and which has been put off until October 4, 2013 as several religious groups including the LCF, Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS, Other church groups, Love March and Marcus Garvey Political Party have joined the suit. In as far as the challenge is concerned which is outside of the now promised buggery review by the current government at a date to be announced is not to make buggery law disappear but to test the constitutionality of the law on the backdrop of Mr Jaghai’s personal issues as stated in his affidavit (he is rewrite same for the October mention date in the case management stage) where he says he was evicted by his landlord as they wanted to attempt some reparative therapy efforts due to his public utterances on homosexuality. Unfortunately the poor communication by the group Mr Jaghai is associated with namely JFLAG in sensitizing not only the public but the LGBT community in understanding the call for the amendment to the law is a major flaw; the fact that the church groups still interpret the struggle as a call for a full repeal when the thrust by their words is an amendment to include a definition of rape under for non-consensual buggery and privacy for adults; buggery will remain for persons not considered adults and who are abused.

On a discussion program on Love 101FM hosted by Blossom White on July 7, 2013 it sounded like a cataclysmic doom heading towards Jamaica that gay marriage will be made legal; fear that children will be taught all kinds of inappropriate materials in the eyes of the church; other kinds of rights outside of normal life will be forced on the nation; the church’s opposition will be criminalized as hate speech (poor anecdotal references made); anti gay speech will be criminalized; religious freedoms will be curtailed; churches will be forced to perform gay marriages and other so called societal ills. Speaking of societal ills the introduction to the program suggested that they were looking at a post examination of the Love March’s heroes circle protest and the Montego Bay’s ministers’ fraternal corresponding Montego Bay march against supposed ills yet homosexuality was eventually the only theme discussed for the twenty five plus minutes of air time. Such is the dishonesty that presents itself sometimes when these matters are presented by the church, the strength that is found to deal with homosexuality yet the other so called ills get very little or no such fervent attention. Namely the thousands of missing children, the obvious corruption in high places, the high crime wave, the poor political leadership, the creation of outcasts and maintaining the clear distance via stigma and hypocrisy. The misleading emphasis on the legalization of homosexuality is also another piece of  deceptive alarmist speech used to bolster the anti gay position when we know fully well that homosexuality is NOT illegal in Jamaica and buggery does not only apply to gay and bisexual men who practice penile penetrative anal sex but also heterosexual couples as well.

The discussion opened with among other things this from the host “Why does the church target homosexuality not wanting it to be legalized in Jamaica?”…………….. “Would the flood gates be opened for judgement or more judgement upon the land and what can the church do to hinder anything from changing?” clear fear mongering being set as the stage for the discussion then came the marriage redefinition fear soon afterwards where the sections of the marriage act were quoted when no such agitation for same sex marriage rights have been made in Jamaica just yet but if we were to follow Blossom White in her opening it was a done deal as she likened a group in favour of same sex marriage was taking the matter of legalizing homosexuality to the supreme court. In fact the word redefinition appeared some five times in the exchange and re-socialization or re-engineering also made several appearances which had me wondering are these persons for real? What was even more bizarre in all this is the defection if you will of Helen Nicholson who years ago had a more tolerant stance on homosexuality and the related matters yet she has been pulled into this so much so to become the President of the LCF. The host and guests claim that the business of buggery is a legal, moral, social and political issues and that religious voices will be silenced eventually by law where programs such as the one having the discussion will have to sanitize its format in order to avoid legal punishment.

References were made to the United States DOMA, Defence of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 strike downs in recent times and that the local legal challenges are in tandem with other efforts including that of the Organization of American States recently concluded meeting where certain calls were made to enact some sort of sanctions for what is considered homophobic language or actions by persons. Helen Nicholson said “To The extent that they are rallying their troops the church must be very alert and recognise that their voices must not be silenced and drowned out by those who would be vocal and step forward to challenge a change.” Mrs Shirley Richards meantime continued that the church is going to court to apparently avert what has happened in other countries (albeit that those countries have different social issue that attend) she referenced a preacher who was arrested in England for so called homophobic language yet she did not offer specifics of the case and the continued generalizations is what is usually used to justify their anti gay position. Sadly the followership glibly buys into the mess and hangs on to every word these persons say.  She continued that marriage is under threat; threats to freedom of conscience; freedom of religion and freedom of expression, yet she forgot to take note it seems that the aforementioned marches were done unimpeded and that her appearance and that of her compatriots at a recent University debate on the church being an obstacle to rights was also unimpeded and her voice was not drowned or muzzled as would happen in such events hosted by their groups. She said that societies that allowed homosexual rights have seen religious freedoms curtailed, she said the buggery law is the most effective strategic barrier to the re-socialization of society a point she also made on CVM TV’s Direct program on June 26, 2013 she said such re-socialization is in favour of the “homosexual lifestyle” she continued that if that barrier is pulled then everything else in the form of agendas will come flowing in, her fear is that what happens in other countries where rights clash such as religious liberty where I do not see such curtailment happening yet she claims pastors have gotten into trouble and a teacher was dismissed for saying homosexuality is a sin again with no specifics.

The dishonest perception being banded about that somehow the repeal or decriminalization of buggery in Jamaica is also going to automatically cause Christian persecution is so farfetched and ludicrous and is a false dichotomy that it boggles the mind as to whether the voices which are heard by far are really up on the issues of sexuality, gender and rights. The Johns couple was referred to who were a Jamaican couple who foster kids in the UK but were unaware of the change in the law and not endorsing gay relationships as a form of family unit were blocked by the state from re-entering the foster care system. No one asked them to accept homosexuality but just to also include as the teaching materials the various forms of the family unit and they refused fearing damage to the children.

Miss Nicholson said that the law is always legislating morality but the question is whose morality as there is no such thing as a moral law. She referred the Ireland case and the repeal of buggery there yet the country did not sink into doom she claims that those were different days and the agenda has changed. She sounded as if she was counting her words for such a lawyer and a former radio show host and television news presenter and the egging or prodding whispers in the background by Mrs Shirley Richards were audibly clear that she was being told what to say, Miss Nicholson however continued that there is a more liberal approach by the gay lobby which was not part of the agenda before and a schism between our local position and our laws versus the treatise we are party to internationally she says the more Jamaica owns the process is the more controlled it will be and if we allow others to come in (suggesting the long held belief of foreign imposition of homosexuality) and fund our education programs etc then he who pays the piper calls the tune. The gratuitous tolerance line came through as per usual that they did not want homosexuals to be hurt or victimized but they seem blindly unaware of the fact their anti gay positions and dishonesties help to fuel the very victimization and stigma towards LGBT people.

Shirley Richards continued “Pull that law and the re-engineering of society will occur ………………….. My concern is for the children, what will they learn as appropriate and normal behaviour?” obviously she is not aware of the changes in sexuality and that teaching children about homosexuality does not make them so. The host Blossom White came with an alarmist posture said an unnamed country where she was had early childhood education institutions doing what amounted to guided imagery and cross dressing exercises on given days for students so that they were made to understand some of the gender issues, yet Miss White chose strong language such as indoctrinate added to that Miss Nicholson suggested that the word or language or re-engineering is “gender” clearly the ladies on this show are very ignorant to the issues attendant to transgenderism and other variants that have been always around but more closely researched and monitored by the scientific communities.

So hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans in earshot of this radio program went away with a one sided approach to this business of homosexuality and the continued fear mongering that the gay lobby is all somehow this godless anti Christ set up devised to persecute Christians. I am left dazed sometimes when I see this kind of rhetoric and why aren’t the gay Christian communities and tolerant Christians generally not speaking up more? I am not even going to mention JFLAG here as their poor leadership on public discourse is plain to see. How can this jittery position be countered?

Peace and tolerance

H

The Jamaica Council of Churches on Homosexuality thus far

The Jamaica Council of Churches on Homosexuality thus far …….

Gary-Harriott.jpg

 

JCC’s General Secretary Gary Harriot

Exactly one month ago May 28th after a previous interview alongside the Executive Director of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG Dane Lewis on George Davis Live on Nationwide where a clear position was not really established by the JCC a follow-up report came in print media suggesting the Jamaica Council of Churches, JCC had not put a formal position on homosexuality given the hotly debated issue with court challenges in full effect. General Secretary of the JCC Gary Harriot in that interview said the conversations need to continue as other Caribbean church leaders expressed the pressure that their societies are under to repeal laws supposedly against the “homosexual lifestyle.” Gen Sec Harriot seems unaware or a slip of the tongue that homosexuality is not illegal and buggery is not synonymous with gay men only.

The issue of church members being homosexuals came up for mention as well to which the Gen Sec said the council is yet to finalize an official position although they have a draft in place as a work in progress document, he said whichever church one may go one is bound to find someone struggling with homosexual tendencies or relationship matters not in keeping with the teachings of the church.  Dane Lewis at the time spoke to the questions posed to him on the opposition from the anti gay groups. For the most part it was a slow interview and lacked a more robust feel to peak the public’s interest. Reverend Harriot spoke to the possible changes on the law following the court cases filed and that of those awaiting deliberations (tolerance advert). He said “I can express two basic points, there is a side of the church that sees homosexuality as a moral issue …… legalizing such action may not be the way to deal with it but to deal with it from a moral perspective, the other side of the coin when you look what is happening elsewhere it looks like a strategic political move and that if you were to remove the law then what you are doing is that you are opening a flood gate that you are going into directions where your whole social fabric would be changed”

He said also that there is some tension and that the JCC has not come to a formal position which they hope to do in a few weeks if they are able to arrive at a consensus.

As far as I am concerned they seem limp wristed overall, they are silent on most matters and other societal ills especially when the Peoples National Party, PNP are in power and have been accused of being politically aligned to the party hence their docility. This cautious treading is far different when compared to the other more radical evangelical bodies and voices. Fast forward to today on Love 101FM with host Theologian Reverend Clinton Chisholm, the interview had a different tone when compared to the Nationwide radio George Davis Live session as aforementioned, Reverend Harriot reiterated his point of the JCC not having an official statement yet on their position towards homosexuality but he mentioned what the members have put forward thus far:

Some members did not see homosexuality as natural or normal

For the pastoral side persons who are engaged in a homosexual lifestyle their humanity must be regarded

They must benefit from the pastoral care from the church to which he included reparative therapy as a solution to the “lifestyle”

Marriage must remain as is between a male and a female

They are unsure and do not have a consensus on whether the buggery law should be repealed; some are of the view it should be kept while others if the act takes place in private between two consenting adults in private then while not supporting the behaviour it should not be a matter for a person should be held for a criminal act.

Should buggery be treated as a legal matter or a moral issue?

He lamented the selectivity of the church on issues and tied into that is the ministry of healing that must take precedence

Policing sex laws he agreed with Reverend Chisholm is a challenge and examples such as adultery, incest and child abuse were offered. He mentioned psycho social skills in spotting a possible abuse victims but the problem of police actually having to intrude to see what suspects are doing is an issue.

The pseudo scientific component was brought in the exchange as proving some aspects of sex crimes including buggery would involve DNA evidence and the individual subjecting themselves to clinical examination.

Discussions with groups like JFLAG and the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition on the issues and also with major church leaders not JCC as a group but committees that one or all the groups are apart. The JCC sat with the group JFLAG during the high moments of the homeless MSM issue in New Kingston.

Homosexuality is not in the plan and design of God

The church must become proactive in teaching persons about sex and sexuality and the consequences of unhealthy practices he however highlighted that the buggery law does not only apply to same gender sex.

General Secretary Harriot spent a great deal emphasizing reparative therapy and counselling for persons supposedly damaged by homosexuality. He said persons are in the church struggling he tried to prove causation as from an abuse standpoint or persons were forced into the “lifestyle” and a struggle with the flesh. He also suggested psychotherapy but the pastor who is close to the issue should allow another professional to handle the case as a counselling officer in the church usually a preacher should not also preach to that client who may be in the congregation on any given service date. Conflicts of interest may occur as an illustration while behind pulpit may cause the client to withdraw.

Reverend Clinton Chisholm again proving his ignorance on sexuality committed another infraction this time towards asexual where he made the following comment “If you have never felt a strong pull for sexual intercourse, you are either abnormal, too old, too young or too lie.” Clearly both Reverend needs to be brought up to speed on Asexuality (persons who engage in emotional relations more so than sexual ones) or Demisexuals (persons who only develop sexual interest in someone after a protracted period where an emotional attachment has been formed) for Reverend Clinton to suggest such persons are abnormal is a misnomer as both forms are not considered a disorder by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, DSM, the guide for all psychological professionals. The training of pastors in counselling was discussed at length and pin pointing sexual problems.

Reverend Harriot also said the church should also get the family of the reparative therapy client and they repeated refer to homosexuality as a lifestyle more so than an innate orientation. He however cautioned that pastors need to know their weakness and if they have strong feelings towards the issue then they should refrain possibly from direct handling of a particular client as it may impact the work.

The “Repentant” homosexual was also examined from an official office standpoint in any church as if they genuinely showed remorse or change then that individual should be restored to their previously held position however Reverend Chisholm expressed reservations as the general membership may not concur with such a decision.

Gay clergy was not officially addressed by the JCC’s draft paper but some churches suggest once persons express homosexual tendencies or desire a need for some redress then reparative work should be done. As long as also there is not an open expression of the lifestyle so in other words keep it to yourself and we may look the other way, without saying it in some many words. A disturbing line from the General Secretary had me stunned for a few second when he said: “As long as the person does not engage in sex and remains celibate then they could be considered for the position.” Strange to me as I thought aloud while listening the interview that in the absence of everyone how would the clergy or pastoral staff know or prove this officer is celibate are they going to monitor the officer’s movement so much? Denominations under the JCC established their own protocols under some guidance for now.

A rather roundabout and unclear set of positions in some sense from the JCC’s standpoint as the leading interfaith body. Even in the face of reparative or conversion therapy proving a failure or agencies that offer such closing case in point Ex-Gay Ministries in the United States there is still this belief that orientation can be changed without disastrous consequences. Just this week the UK and New Jersey have moved to ban conversion therapy and California had done so last year.

See what you make of this.

UPDATE July 8, 2013 New President says Government will bow to gays:

Buggery law: Government will bow

New church head expects pressure from int’l community, gays on Simpson Miller administration


Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Buggery-law–Government-will-bow_14640324#ixzz2YVr0WkDB

Peace and tolerance

H

APA Applauds the Supreme Court Decisions Supporting the Rights of Same-Sex Couples

The American Psychiatric Association applauds two Supreme Court decisions issued today: striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA ); and effectively striking down California’s Proposition 8 which banned same sex marriage.

apa

APA President Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, noted that, “The APA has a long history of supporting freedom in sexual orientation and the rights of same sex couples. By withholding benefits or marriage rights from same sex couples the government unfairly stigmatizes an important part of the American population.”
Paul Appelbaum, MD, past president of the APA and member of the APA Council on Psychiatry and Law, stated, “APA has been involved as a friend of the court from the inception of litigation over the rights of same-sex couples.

Today’s decisions by the Supreme Court represent a landmark achievement of these efforts. However, litigation is likely to continue on the state level, since a majority of states still do not recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry.”
The court looked at the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act which defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. At issue was whether the federal government can deny benefits to legally married same-sex couples that it extends to other legally married couples. The case was brought by Edie Windsor, an 83-year-old woman from New York who was married to Thea Clara Spyer. After Spyer’s death in 2009, Windsor was denied an exemption of federal estate taxes that she would have received if the marriage had been recognized.
In a second case involving a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, the court looked at whether, or in what circumstances, a state can withhold marriage rights from same-sex couples.
APA joined amicus briefs in both cases in support of legal recognition of same sex marriages. Signed by a coalition of the nation’s top healthcare associations including the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others, the briefs noted that the scientific evidence strongly supports the conclusion that homosexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality; that most gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults do not experience their sexual orientation as a choice; that gay and lesbian people form stable, committed relationships that are equivalent to heterosexual relationships in essential respects; and that same-sex couples are no less fit than heterosexual parents to raise children and their children are no less psychologically healthy and well-adjusted than children of heterosexual parents.
Over the past several decades, APA has issued a number of position statements on antidiscrimination policies related to the LGBT community. APA’s 2005 position statement on same sex marriage stated that, “APA supports the legal recognition of same-sex marriage with all rights, benefits, and responsibilities conferred by civil marriage, and opposes restrictions to those same rights, benefits, and responsibilities.” Other positions include statements on homosexuality (1992, reaffirmed 2011) and civil rights (1973), adoption and co-parenting by same-sex couples (2002) and same sex unions (2004).
The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses including substance use disorders.

Visit the APA at http://www.psychiatry.org.

XXXTRRRAAA:

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Locally in the meantime Buggery challenge claimant Javed Jaghai gave another interview on CVM TV this time on the magazine program DIRECT hosted by Garfield Burford, prior to his appearance was anti gay activist Shirley Richards and Atheist/Activist Lloyd D’Agular. Javed’s case has been moved to October 4, 2013 as other religious groups have been allowed to join the suit he has filed in the Constitutional court.

also The US Supreme Court DOMA strike down has had many Jamaicans talking and a vox pop was done in Kingston and on Facebook by Nationwide radio as to how persons felt about same sex marriage overall and its possibility in Jamaica

DSM-5 Falls Short on gender dysphoria revision, ICD 11 Update

image from GIRESUK (other images added as a visual aids for non experts on transgender issues understanding)

The following are aspects of the a presentation by a leading transgender and Gender Dysphoria Reform advocate, it is a summary by Kelly Winters Ph. D of recent changes to gender related diagnostic categories in the DSM-5, published last month by the American Psychiatric Association, and proposed changes for the ICD-11, scheduled for publication in 2015 by the World Health Organization.  It is based on proposed revisions to the ICD-11 presented by Drs. Geoffrey Reed, Peggy Cohen-Kettenis and Richard Krueger at the National Transgender Health Summit in Oakland last month and on discussions at the Global Action for Trans* Equality (GATE) Civil Society Expert Working Group in Buenos Aires last April.

There are two primary issues in medical diagnostic policy for trans people. The first is harmful stigma and false stereotyping of mental defectiveness and sexual deviance, that was perpetuated by the former categories of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and Transvestic Fetishism (TF) in the DSM-IV-TR. The second is access to medically necessary hormonal and/or surgical transition care, for those trans and transsexual people who need them. The latter requires some kind of diagnostic coding, but coding that is congruent with medical transition care, not contradictory to it. I have long felt that these two issues must be addressed together –not one at the expense of the other, or to benefit part of the trans community at the expense of harming another.

also see from my sister blogs:  Being Transgender Is No Longer A Mental Disorder ?…………… and Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis to be Moved Out of Sexual Disorders Chapter of DSM-5 ……. The “D” Switcharoo? plus more HERE

The DSM-5 Falls Short, Despite Some Significant Improvements

The new revisions for the Gender Dysphoria diagnosis in the DSM-5 are mostly positive. However they do not go nearly far enough. The change in title from Gender Identity Disorder (intended by its authors to mean “disordered” gender identity) to Gender Dysphoria (from a Greek root for distress) is a significant step forward. It represents a historic shift from  gender identities that differ from birth assignment to distress with gender assignment and associated sex characteristics as the focus of the problem to be treated. This message is reinforced by the August 2012 Public Policy Statement from the American Psychiatric Association, affirming the medical necessity of hormonal and/or surgical transition care. In another positive change, the Gender Dysphoria category has been moved from the Sexual Disorders chapter of the DSM to a new chapter of its own. Non-binary queer-spectrum identities and expression are now acknowledged in the diagnostic criteria, and the APA Working Group has rejected pressure to add an “autogynephilia” specifier to falsely stereotype and sexualize trans women. Children can no longer be falsely diagnosed with this mental disorder label, strictly on the basis of nonconformity to birth assignment.

However, the fundamental problem remains that the need for medical transition treatment is still classed as a mental disorder. In the diagnostic criteria, desire for transition care is itself cast as symptomatic of mental illness, unfortunately reinforcing gender-reparative psychotherapies which suppress expression of this “desire” into the closet. The diagnostic criteria still contradict transition and still describe transition itself as symptomatic of mental illness. The criteria for children retain much of the archaic sexist language of the DSM-IV-TR that psychopathologizes gender nonconformity. Moreover, children who have happily socially transitioned are maligned by misgendering language in the new diagnosis.

More troubling is false-positive diagnosis for those who have happily completed transition. Thus, the GD diagnosis, and its controversial post-transition specifier, continue to contradict the proven efficacy of medical transition treatments.  This contradiction may be used to support gender conversion/reparative psychotherapies– practices described as no longer ethical in the current WPATH Standards of Care.

Finally, the Transvestic Disorder category in the DSM-5 is even more harmful than its predecessor, Transvestic Fetishism. Punitive and scientifically capricious, it only serves to punish nonconformity to assigned birth roles and has no relevance to established definition of mental disorder. The Transvestic Disorder category has been expanded in the DSM-5 to implicate trans men as well as trans women, with a new specifier of “autoandrophilia,” apparently pulled from thin air without supporting research or clinical evidence.

The ICD-11, a Historic New Approach

icd-11-book-cover

The 11th Revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11) is scheduled for publication in 2015 by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a global diagnostic manual that contains chapters for both physical medical conditions and mental conditions. In contrast to the DSM-5, the ICD-11 holds promise for unprecedented forward progress on both issues of social stigma and barriers to medical transition care.  At the National Transgender Health Summit in Oakland last month, members of the ICD-11 Working Group for Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health confirmed proposals for  substantive changes in gender and transition related codings.

The Working Group has proposed a historic shift of transition related categories, now labeled “Gender Incongruence,”  out of the Mental and Behavioural Disorders chapter (called F-Codes) entirely. It is to be placed in a new, non-psychiatric chapter, called “Certain conditions related to sexual health.” The Incongruence title is distinct from DSM-5 dysphoria title, to clarify that this is no longer a mental disorder coding.  They have also proposed to eliminate victimless sexual paraphilia categories from the manual, including: F65.1: Transvestic fetishism. A similar category describing dual gender individuals, F64.1: Dual-role Transvestism, would be deleted as well. These changes have the potential for enormous progress in reducing both stigma and barriers to medical transition care, for those who need it.

When implemented, they would effectively obsolete the new psychopathology categories of Gender Dysphoria and Transvestic Disorder in the DSM-5.

There are also questions and shortcomings in the current  ICD-11 proposals.  While the proposed children’s coding of  Gender Incongruence of Childhood is no longer a mental disorder label,  any pathologizing coding of happy gender nonconforming or socially transitioned children, who are too young to need any medical transition or puberty-blocking treatment, is highly controversial among clinicians, families and community members.  The diagnostic criteria for children, like those in the DSM-5, still emphasize nonconformity to anachronistic gender stereotypes as symptomatic of sickness. The adult and adolescent criteria have copied ambiguous language from the DSM-5 that cast desire for transition, in itself, as pathological. Worse yet, false-positive diagnosis of happy post-transition subjects inadvertently contradicts rather than supports medical transition care.

The ICD-11 Working Group for Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health should be commended for advancing these historic reforms. However, it is important that Group members listen to the remaining concerns of community members and supportive care providers.  Adults and adolescents needing access to medical transition care, or pubescent youth needing puberty blocking medications, require a clearer description of the problem to be treated. Young children, who may only need information, monitoring and support, have very different diagnostic needs and diagnostic risks than adults and adolescents.