Homeless impatient with agencies over slow progress of promised shelter

December 19th saw two Christmas treats hosted for sections of the Kingston homeless, displaced and dislocated men who have sex with men grouping the main one was executed by a young turk with his new Yardieboiz Foundation and a hastily joined Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG after he floated his idea to do so in what was to have been some appeasing to settle the very tense relationship between the men and the agency coupled with the battyman entitlement phenomenon that has plagued such agencies and that of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life’s property for years where such persons with that agenda who enter therein those properties feel they must be treated with urgency and they being the community male gay and bisexuals make demands or even break the guidelines set as to how to access such properties, a fact that has also plagued the men for years leading to the seeming non interest by the agencies in addressing the social justice matters chief among them welfare and psycho-social concerns.

With the recent public spectacle yet again via television of the member of parliament having to remove the men from another section of New Kingston with state resources, upset residents spoke their minds, on the same clips and the men also were given their chance to explain themselves in a sense in at least one report via Television Jamaica, TVJ this was of course not after two heated exchanges and almost violent attack allegedly by a few of the men towards the person in the form of the female reporter one Miss Darah Smith of TVJ who threatened to report the matter to the police I was able to confirm.

see: Kingston Homeless MSM Evicted (yet again) with the video

She carried out her duties anyway as a journalist and filed her report which was carried on December 6 and posted as an entry on my sister blog GLBTQJA on blogger that was recently opened. This is the side of the matter that has irked many thus the homeless MSM have lost support over the years due to outburst such as those described with many community and others persons saying they do not deserve any assistance. Many influentials have given up as they cannot cope and do not have the expertise to engage the behavioural problems, numbness to authority and discipline. Yet agencies gave media interviews giving the impression that they are doing work with the men, who can forget the television Jamaica, TVJ ones especially with fortunately a member of parliament, a police Superintendent and a reformed New Kingston Civic Association who before were very homophobic but now open for dialogue and with all those positive variables in place to make the process and dialogues far more lucrative for all involved we were told that a shelter was in the making so much so that a town hall meeting was held though sparsely attended by the LGBT community on November 7, members of the community consisting of other stakeholders and even the men themselves  (maybe reflecting how persons feel towards the men and their issues) where a shelter structure and indeed a space was supposedly identified to be opened on December 1. The promised documents of the assessments in response to a set of questions I posed on the types of interventions to be used are yet to come to hand.

As it turns out the identified space was not confirmed and the negotiations fell through between JFLAG and the lawyers for the property with zoning and other challenges presenting themselves so the idea was scrapped thus leaving the men out of luck, some of whom we do not know maybe engaged in this new pilot project which is to last for three months, we can conclude the announcement of the shelter was premature.  The previous Safe House Pilot that was closed is basically to be reopened in other words, a project if allowed to have continued back then in 2009/10 when it was dubiously closed would have taught us many things including the behavioural challenges those of us knew of for years and the previously mentioned battyman entitlement phenomenon as well. A recent stoning incident at JASL’s offices with some of the men clashing with staff who would occasionally use their offices to fetch water is one such reminder of that problem, a fight between a alleged staff member of JFLAG and one of the leading homeless men after the World AIDS Day function at JASL is also another reminded of how this thing can get out of hand but how one engages such a problematic population is also a factor in all this, as far as I am concerned and indeed some others that’s a major part of the problem but the agencies feel justified in putting their foot down as it were without addressing that fact. The men in particular who are the instigators of these repeated tense moments between the agencies are themselves previous residents of the aforementioned defunct shelter and to this day they are upset that they were made displaced by the very agencies that were to assist even as a shelter was in full flight, the newcomers are made aware of this history so some of them join the throng or are made to do so based on the group dynamics that exist, for the most part I am in support of that in principle, how that anger is expressed is another matter altogether but the agencies and personalities seem to miss the bigger picture in all this.

The fact that the JFLAG office now sits where the shelter once stood is a constant reminder to them in their eyes that they are more of an inconvenience than a concern for the agency as they feel they were moved to be replaced by their office which now by the way has reinstituted the apartheid like security system with a canine team hence the previous unruly, indiscipline and uncouth response the agencies get, this is something I have been at pains to try to point out via previous entries but no one listens or pays attention to that, homelessness does not command sound bites or grabs international headlines as is customary for some narcissistic advocates who feed off a gullible community for the fame and glory so who cares about some dutty battyman? The men hardly visit the property with the regularity as before since the guards are in place but with an ever angry landlord and uncomfortable tenants breathing down the necks of the agencies what are they to do it is being asked by observers?

The men are now nomads again as the Kingston & St Andrew Cooperation allegedly has warned them not to occupy anymore vacant lots or spaces or they will be removed, this is while internal conflicts abound in the group as the dynamics play out with those who are the agitators now getting flack from others who say they are the fault why the agencies ignore them in the first place. This problem is a growing one as well hence the fights as described by residents on the video newsclip separate and apart from the aggressive behaviours that are used as a defensive strategy or as a means of protection, problem is when to turn it on or off as it seems the aggression also occurs when they get to the properties and agencies to access treatment care and support as it were but none of which are forthcoming in any meaningful manner. The more docile homeless/displaced community members are assisted somewhat, a few have been integrated into other shelters of course provided they curtail certain things such as effeminate aesthetics and so on while maintaining their jobs (for those still employed), a few have ruined such opportunities by exposing themselves again due to “bad behaviour” others have been given temporary shelter with friends but that too has its share of challenges as allegations pilferage and deep mistrust have all but made that kind of assistance a rare opportunity and when that does not spoil it then homo-negativity or homophobia does as was evident in an arson in November at a popular drag queen’s home who offered some assistance to some of the young men. Persons like myself who have space to assist are sceptical to do so and also the financial resources are just not there, a point I raised in a question at that town hall meeting where I asked if JFLAG would consider as a part of its crisis intervention program (I had proposed this before while working there) that they offer psycho social interventions for the individual housed in private spaces made available by willing LGBTians and also financial input via stipends to offset costs during the stay, only displaced persons would qualify who have displaced the diligences to adjust in such an environment etc. A more structured space would be needed for homeless persons who have been so for extended periods.

We are now being told that a pilot is to be tried yet again for January for three months via a brief exchange I had with JFLAG’s Executive Director Mr Dane Lewis on the weekend where he claims they cannot find a physical space to carry out the project. It is sad that all of these issues over the years since the closure of the last pilot could have been avoided including the murders of several of the men be they homophobic caused or in-ter/tra community related, the crisis communication by the agencies which has been poor overall needs to address that so the public has a clearer understanding and not left cynical about what happens to LGBT victims of such crimes as caused by us in lover’s quarrels.

Which leads me to the title of this entry, after spending almost all night on the road window shopping and hanging out with friends I came across some of the men in parts of Half Way Tree and New Kingston and then in Spanish Town as I made my way home and believe me a few of the men are furious about many things (which from my experience can spread quite easily). Some have expressed that they do not want to hear from JFLAG anymore, others refused to attend the treat that was planned by the agency or that they were not invited, others say if a shelter opened they may go but not cooperate, some say they just want a job to move on with their lives. One set in Spanish Town say they feel invisible as no one from the agency has bothered to pay them any attention as Kingston gets the interest and they do not intend to journey there as they get some help from the “bosses” in the area they are in via odd jobs and other activities. The men who were burnt out nearing Sydenham some time ago are elsewhere now.

Some of the men expressed a growing concern by those of whom who have seen it before in the form on HIV prevention messaging fatigue where the men feel they are diseased persons (not directly said but implied) as when they do see anyone from the agencies (numbering some five or more) it is condoms, testing (some being paid a $1000 stipend to do so) and safer sex messaging that comes and basically nothing more, they feel as if all they are are worthless, oversexed gays in the eyes of the agencies and they want more attention than that. Ironically this is not coming from older MSM who are more than exposed to this and some peer educator training or repeated interventions but younger males who say they prefer such matters be discussed in a office or clinical settings (again not their exact words but implied) and more personal matters be addressed when the outreach officers come to visit, this maybe evidenced in how comfortable the men were to tell their stories and to simply talk as long as someone would listen intently that is as they also raised mistrust issues as well. Some of the very outreach personnel from the agencies were deemed untrustworthy with information hence the men just tacitly engage them, take the condoms and be very abrupt for example.

Talk therapy is something I had long suggested from my days at JFLAG as it is an effective tool in crisis interventions to assist persons in releasing some of those tensions and anxieties following an attack or homo/lesbo/bi/transphobic episode. All some of the youngsters need is to talk including the violent ones but the space and times are also crucial. The one or two persons who carry out the outreach for JFLAG is certainly not enough whilst the organization as far as I am concerned is far too top heavy.

Meanwhile the chases, abuse and attacks continue as only two weeks ago the men had to flee a section of New Kingston where they had started to congregate but with the media attention, the effeminate posturing publicly and other matters they are all too easily identified these days so anywhere they go they are picked on by a homophobic public who view them via stereotypical lenses.  The beating if an alleged gay man downtown some three weeks ago is no consolation and the other rumoured matters with their counterparts in rural Jamaica, especially western Jamaica where I and others are kept apace as to some of the happenings there especially due to the crackdown of the police on the lotto scamming which has its share of gay/bi players as well.

Did the parties involved in forming the previous Safe House waist our time?

Safe house logo

A shelter pilot project is a start but as I have said and will always say all of this could have been avoided, the Gay Lesbian and Bisexual Community, GLABCOM Committee(s) of JASL on which I sat with others concerned for several dispensations, the former Executive Director who spear headed that Safe House Pilot and the volunteers then now feel we all waisted our time, hundreds of man hours consulting , making suggestions and concerns some of which expressed on paper locked away in a filing cabinet somewhere to arrive at the shelter being closed and watching the lives of the then populations with new ones added almost daily just relegated to being the least amongst us yet we are told no resources are available yet JFLAG has two Program Managers and both put together cannot seem to make one to come up with a sensible response to this longstanding issue? A pilot for the purposes to show the funders is one thing and that can only be temporary but why not a properly prepared grant proposal with the stakeholders including those from the previous dispensations who are still interested in engaging to join in also will it be just a shelter to only provide a roof and a meal or a full transitional living facility complete with the relevant psycho social staffing to deal with the stabilization and behaviour modification (with diligence building and social skills building) activities?

Lord knows I would hate to see all those challenges on the road now be imported into a space that would just be a ticking timebomb waiting to explode with possibly disastrous consequences.

Check out the homeless msm tab for all the entries before on this matter and also see the 2009 and the ultimatum given by Jamaica AIDS Support at the time despite the fact it was not really their purview to intervene on welfare or social justice issues when HIV?AIDS is their mandate following the explosion of the homeless populations since 2007 but if the board of  JASL at the time were concerned about the matter they should have not allowed the shelter to open in the first place and impress upon or collaborate with JFLAG to roll out the project instead of shutting down a project in full flight all because of “rowdy behaviour” so much for priorities. Weren’t they reading the reports submitted by the then Executive Director to know of the project in the first place? Yet she was forced to resign it seems from a board that never met with regularity but found it necessary to act with most members present on that faithful January 26, 2010 to put the nail in her coffin as it were. See the older post from 2010 where the men took action to get the board’s attention: CLICK HERE 

and: The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes (February 6. 2010)

see all 54 posts from Gay Jamaica Watch: CLICK HERE

see all 29 posts from GLBTQ Jamaica: CLICK HERE

If persons on the board including its experienced Chair knew of the problems regarding the men beforehand, msm group dynamics and or behavioural challenges from service users would have caused security issues why sanction the opening of the pilot in the first place or at least on the property? Open it offsite then! But to close it in full flight is what has ticked me off ever since.

All of this could have been avoided with proper foresight and planning, lives could have been saved I dare say (the murders over the three plus years), and the agencies now would not have to reach for the very pilot shelter structure response idea they refused in the first place,  some it seems though the newer populations like their predecessors would have gone underground and remained out of sight so out of mind, introverted if your will due to the national psyche towards homosexuality, homo-negativity and effeminacy the opposite unexpectedly occurred the men are extroverted thus leading to unneeded attention to themselves, the repeated reminders to society though ethically problematic that effeminate men are here and other matters taking us to where we are today.

Coincidentally vulnerable populations was a matter of discourse on radio last evening with the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, CVC on Nationwide News with Cliff Hughes,  where men who have sex with men were identified among others as those who need help and social justice as it were, the former Chairman of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life board at the time of the Safe House Pilot project’s closure Mr Ian McKnight appeared on Nationwide Radio in a brief interview which irked some of the community members who heard it while labelling him a hypocrite. The interview spoke to some law firm advocates in New York affording equal access to justice in the Dominican Republic and Haiti where groups like the CVC intend to expand their coverage, as for support services the firm City of University New York Law School created a model called the incubus of justice that apparently prepares new lawyers to work in charity typed environments while earning at the same time, it also gives practical experiences in such environments in a post graduate type training as well.

As for the CVC the Chair in the form of Mr McKnight said among other things that “……here in Jamaica we work through several of our member organizations with the vulnerable populations ….. we have long said that part of the great block where HIV interventions are concerned where human rights are denied left right and centre for these populations, it is fashionable and alright for people to be turned away from a clinic because you look a certain way or your believed to participate in a particular activity …………. these are issues we have been pounding at for many years not only in Jamaica but the region ……..”

Speaking in such flowery terms about vulnerable groups and giving a feeling of cooperation and cohesiveness when the opposite is the reality was expressed by some after hearing it. I did not hear the interview live myself but I was sent excerpts of it via email from a reader who recorded it using his phone and who himself was livid at the presentation given the context of the homeless/displaced and other issues.  The CVC and indeed JFLAG were silent publicly for the most part in 2009 between the ultimatum given by JASL to the men and the subsequent implosion/closure of the Safe House Pilot with the very same “vulnerable populations” in the form of dislocated/homeless msm (though rowdy as described by the aforementioned agencies) made re-displaced or homeless barring any stabilization work with such expertise resided in the very organizations at the time. Mr McKnight was vocal however via the Jamaica Observer in 2011 after the second civil disobedience action the some of the homeless men took which made news where he passed the responsibility for providing shelter for homeless msm to government.  We all know full well that that is an ideal but the realities say otherwise to include possible austerity measures and cutting in government spending.

What was also raised by the clip sender was the silence from the CVC/JASL/JFLAG regarding HIV treatment failure within the MSM community and recent troubling deaths of long timers and the results of the last MSM HIV survey which seemed to be held tightly to the chest of those in the know for all intents and purposes we know is higher than the 32.7% since the last one in 2007.

HIV prevention seems to be the be all and end all and no real emphasis placed on the psycho sexual/social, self efficacious work and fulsome community development then it is no wonder why as aforementioned some of the men feel so fatigued by the repeated safer sex interventions which seem to bog down the other personal goals and objectives the men may have and want to share but either do not have the space nor the requisite personnel to do same.

What about persons living their truths?

Real social justice please!!!!!!!!

For the sake of the least amongst us, tolerance is more than expecting John Public to be comfortable with homosexuality it also means lifting those within our ranks to some semblance of normalcy and recognizing them.

Of note other non LGBTQian homeless and displaced populations especially young makes I have since gathered are also watching this development closely as they are wondering when their turns will come and if they can possible enter the facility if and when it opens, this came to light via a discussion with a nurse in at another shelter faculty who has expressed some concern regarding homeless msm. The cross socialization of the groups has been happening by virtue of the category they fall in there is some tolerance happening, the previous rifts for example between the Half Way Tree heterosexual homeless males (windshield wipers and car washers) has died down somewhat as they share of the spoils from car washing and snack sales that some of both groups are involved in at street dances and parties. The gelling factor in other words seems to be the cooperation for economic reasons between the groups.

Peace and tolerance

H

podcast: Homeless impatient with agencies over slow progress for promised shelter

additional reading:
Challenges for homo/bisexual males continue for December 2012

From the pen of one of our homeless brothers

Some concerns from Western Jamaica on homelessness.

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International Sex Workers Rights Day ……………

Today is such a day and is marked worldwide by conferences, sessions, some public education activity to sensitize persons as to the need to view this part of our community as human beings as well not to be ostracised and scorned as we are good at doing. The term sex worker rights encompasses a variety of aims being pursued globally by individuals and organizations that specifically involve the human and labor rights of sex workers.

The goals of these movements are extremely diverse, but generally aim to destigmatize sex work and ensure fair treatment before legal and cultural forces on a local and international level for all persons employed in the Sex industry. In most countries, even those where sex work is legal, sex workers of all kinds are stigmatized and marginalized, which can prevent them from seeking legal redress for discrimination. Not to be confused with the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers which is observed annually on 17 December by Sex workers, their advocates, friends, families and allies.

First celebrated in 2003, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is the brainchild of Dr. Annie Sprinkle and the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA (SWOP-USA), an American Sex Worker’s Rights organization.

Originally conceived as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington, it has evolved into an annual international event. The day calls attention to AIDS, hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe as well as the need to remove the stigma and discrimination that is perpetuated by custom and prohibitionist laws that has made violence against sex-workers acceptable.

The red umbrella has become an important symbol for Sex Workers Rights and it is increasingly being used on December 17: “First adopted by Venetian sex workers for an anti-violence march in 2002, red umbrellas have come to symbolize resistance against discrimination for sex workers worldwide.”

Sex Workers Association of Jamaica the Kingston Chapter has been doing ground work in bringing the issues to public attention, in 2010 PANOS released a report on CSW: ORAL TESTIMONIES OF JAMAICAN SEX WORKERS

The lure of easy money, peer pressure, economic difficulties and lack of education and training seem to be the factors which prompted most of the interviewees to begin sex work. Boy Blue regards his entry into the industry as responding to a higher calling although he hints that none of his previous jobs was as lucrative as sex work. A few of the oral testimonies reveal that early sexual abuse combined with economic hardship helped drive some young women into sex work,

The sex workers have had mixed experiences regarding working conditions
in the sex industry. Some of the women lived on the same premises where they worked. Most have worked in bad conditions as well as in good places where they were satisfied with the treatment they received. Violence is mentioned as a constant threat to sex workers and some shared their experiences of this. They also speak of exploitation at the hands of both club bosses and clients, and of some employers who keep strict control over their actions. Some sex workers feel the police make no effort to protect them as citizens or to respond seriously to any complaints they make.Boy Blue’s oral testimony is in stark contrast to those of the female sex
workers. He sees himself as the star of his own show. He says he negotiates what he does and where. He travels as he likes, chooses what acts he will perform and most importantly enjoys the sexual intercourse (unlike most female sex workers interviewed who said they were careful to separate business from pleasure).

In as far as LGBT persons are concerned especially homeless Men who have sex with men (MSM) this issue of commercial sex or transactional sex in Kingston mostly but also seen in St Catherine, Clarendon, St Ann and Montego Bay is worrying as many of the brothers mostly have been thrown out of their homes and communities have had to resort to sex work to survive along with other illegal activity including the illegal lotto scam allegedly. With the treatment meted out to this group of persons by the LGBT community itself through rigid stigmatization and discrimination, classism and literal scorn and outright overlooking by the advocacy groups with no serious intentions for street based interventions thus far one wonders where and when will this group get the attention they desire urgently? As someone who was temporarily displaced in 1996 through to early 1998 by virtue of my public case and family ostracism sans the existence of any advocates at the time I now all too well the struggles to find bread and temptations to engage in sex work with the ugly sides of such activity all too real with the loss of friends or police interventions/harassment on those who were caught in the act leading to all other kinds of problems that bedevil them for years on end in a few cases.

The civil disobedience some homeless men had to resort to against the advocacy structures albeit their own behaviour was not squeaky clean is not to be forgotten in August 2011 which came from some of the men who were displaced by the advocacy structures themselves after the closure of a shelter project due to so called bad behaviour bearing in mind no proper psycho social support mechanisms, tweaking of the original project or keeping the facility open were entertained or kept in place and no attempt was made to correct it instead the men were put to pasture. The we wonder why members of the population resort to commercial sex work? while putting their very lives at risk. Since 2012 alone several instances of chases, attempted beatings/mobbings and more join the homeless as they find themselves put out of their family homes, influentials in the community have limited resources to assist and can only do so much. As for the buggery law that too has caused some problems in proper outreach for msms involved in commercial sex work, we are told for example government through the Ministry of Health cannot be seen directly engaging msms since buggery is illegal and or the misconception especially overseas that homosexuality is illegal when it is not.

also see from sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch: Rowdy gays banned by J-FLAG, JASL ………. (Jamaica Observer)

Damage Control from the establishment on the Homeless MSM issue:

Doing ‘business’ in New Kingston … Jamaica Observer on MSM Homelessness ….. JFLAG should be ashamed

I implore persons to seriously consider this section of the community who have been overlooked for decades as funds are spent on HIV/AIDS interventions supposedly to include this group without any rehabilitation effort or psycho social support yet we have ended up with an infection rate of over 31% as the new study conducted last year seems over the original 31% rates in 2007. Homeless MSMs and CSWs are only good for statistical dartboarding more so than helping these persons to improve their living situations it seems.

Peace and tolerance

H

Buggery And Health – What The Gay-Rights Lobby Doesn’t Tell You

Byron Buckley

Byron Buckley

ALTHOUGH IT is fashionable to frame the discussion about the reform of buggery laws in terms of human rights, a more serious look at the issue from a public policy perspective indicates that it is essentially a public-health matter.

So, before Jamaica rushes headlong to appease the wishes of international donor ‘masters’, like the British government, to repeal our buggery laws, let us determine whether we can afford to provide for the health-care challenges that come with embracing gay rights.

Studies conducted in the developed countries of France and Australia, where effective treatment of HIV with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is available, have shown a consistent increase in HIV incidence among homosexual men since the late 1990s. A 2008 study in France found HIV incidence highest among homosexual men – 1,006 per 100,000 person-years. In contrast, the HIV incidence in other groups was nine per 100,000 person-years for heterosexual men and 86 per 100,000 person-years for intravenous drug users. The study found that although overall HIV incidence in France decreased between 2003 and 2008, it remained comparatively high and appeared out of control among the population of men who have sex with men (MSM).

Readers should note that homosexuality has been legal in France for centuries. In deed, France is socially liberal regarding sexuality in general. However, the existence of both a liberal human rights and public-health framework in that country has not abated the rise of HIV among homosexual men. This is something for the Jamaican society and policymakers to ponder. Will legalising homosexuality necessarily result in better health management among that section of the population?

No guarantee of safe sex

A 2007 report by the University of New South Wales in Australia found a high incidence of HIV infection in homosexual men linked to unprotected anal intercourse (UAI). This is despite the excellent treatment response to HAART among Australian MSM. The infection rate remained the same as prior to the use of HAART.

In other words, the progress made in HIV treatment was being undermined by the efficient transmission of the disease through anal intercourse. The lesson for Jamaica is that legalisation of homosexuality does not automatically guarantee safe sex. It is not as simple as that – scarce resources would have to be spent in trying to modify sexual behaviour, as is the case with heterosexual behaviour.

Can we afford the cost to provide the equivalent level of health care to an unrestrained domestic homosexual population as in developed countries? A study conducted by the HIV Research Network in the United States – where gay sex is legal – found the mean annual total expenditures per person for HIV care in 2006 as US$19,912 (J$1,672,608). The research concluded that “HIV health care in the United States continues to be expensive, with the majority of expenditures [sic] attributable to medications”.

It follows that if Jamaica relaxes its buggery laws, like some advanced economies, we are likely to increase the burden on our under-resourced health-care system. In so doing, we would be dooming more of our people to a life of ill health, since we can’t afford the expensive treatment.

Women’s rights infringed

If there is a human-rights component to the campaign to reform Jamaica’s buggery laws, it is that innocent heterosexual women are being preyed upon, and their health compromised unknowingly, by bisexual men, that is men who have sex with men and women (MSMW).

In September 2010, the United States-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grouped homosexual and bisexual men and reported the incidence of HIV as 44 times that of heterosexual men. This demonstrates the substantial health risk to a female from having sex with MSMW.

Furthermore, data from Trinidad and Tobago indicate that the MSMW group comprises 25 per cent of MSM – that is, bisexual men make up a quarter of men who engage in gay sex. And they regularly have sex with women.

Of course, gay-rights advocates can counterargue that there is no prohibition to risky or unsafe sexual activities among the heterosexual population. Gay-rights sympathisers also point to other health behaviours that have negative consequences, but are not subject to a legislative ban. Smoking and the consumption of alcohol are two obvious examples.

However, what policymakers have to weigh is the cost impact of the risk related to each type of health behaviour; hence, for example, the prohibition of the use of marijuana and other hard drugs. Conversely, smoking and alcohol abuse may very well be overdue for prohibition because of their negative impact on the health of the population. The point is that policymakers must bear in mind public-health consequences, even when making decisions regarding the protection of human rights.

For a struggling, developing country like Jamaica, it would be foolhardy for us to take a decision – to appease foreign donors and investors – that could result in increased burden on our already hobbling health system, as well as a possible rise in morbidity and mortality levels.

Are we that yet developed? Or is it that developed donor countries will cough up the money needed to provide the public-health infrastructure required to support the health fallout brought on by gay rights.

Byron Buckley is an associate editor at The Gleaner. The views expressed in this article are personal. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and byron.buckley@gleanerjm.com.

ANAL-SEX HEALTH CHALLENGES

Anal sex presents several health challenges:

• People who engage in anal sex are vulnerable to illness because the lack of lubrication in the rectum, compared to the vagina, results in increased likelihood of small tears which afford easy access of the HIV and other virus to the bloodstream.

• The cells lining the vagina are like those of the skin. It is several layers thick and designed to handle wear and tear. The lining of the rectum is a single layer thick and is not designed for wear and tear.

• Anal sex increases the risk of cancer from the human papillomavirus, the same virus associated with cervical cancer.

• Anal sex contributes to Lymphogranuloma venereum, which leads to procto-colitis.

• Compared with other sexually active adults, MSM are more frequently infected with several pathogens, including cytomegalovirus, hepatitis B virus, and Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpes virus.

Offences Against the Person Act

Unnatural Offences

76. Whosoever shall be convicted of the abominable crime of buggery, committed either with mankind or with any animal, shall be liable to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for a term not exceeding 10 years.

77. Whosoever shall attempt to commit the said abominable crime, or shall be guilty of any assault with intent to commit the same, or of any indecent assault upon any male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof, shall be liable to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding seven years, with or without hard labour.

ENDS

My response on the Gleaner page which I doubt they will publish:

” if Jamaica relaxes its buggery laws, like some advanced economies, we are likely to increase the burden on our under-resourced health-care system. In so doing, we would be dooming more of our people to a life of ill health, since we can’t afford the expensive treatment.” (cute way of saying we are nothing but AIDS carriers)

……. and the mistake again that repealing buggery will suddenly equals gay rights kmt, good thing I did this yesterdayhttp://soundcloud.com/glbtqja6/homosexulaity-is-not-illegal anal sex if far more safer and tidier (microbicidal technology and PEPFAR getting funding added) than decades gone by.

Better he postured his argument on the possible relaxed guard towards safer sex and prevention messages some gay/bi men have adopted who practice anal sex have gotten since we aren’t dropping like flies anymore and also realise that NOT all gay/bi carry out anal penetration regularly although they are in minority but any cute way to keep us in the closet eh?, why not suggest outercourse or non penetrative same sex as an option since he is so afraid of AIDS? yet again substitutional sex and situational homosexuality are left out of the equation although he poorly pointed out the bisexual linkages to HIV/AIDS infections ……….. he needs to get in the know a little more.

Oral sex and HIV

Sucking cock

Source

Man about to deep throat a dildo

It is possible to get HIV from sucking cock but the likelihood of this occurring is very low. No one knows exactly how risky sucking cock is, partly because most men who suck cock will also fuck or get fucked as well and it is impossible to know which sexual act is responsible for the transmission of HIV.

Very few men whose only reported risk is from oral sex have caught HIV, which leads us to believe that the risk is relatively low but also indicates that there is some risk. Oral sex is the most frequent kind of gay sex 1, so it says a lot that so few men have caught HIV from oral sex. We do know that well over 95% of HIV infections in gay men are due to fucking. 2

The reason that oral sex is so much safer than getting fucked is that the throat is not as vulnerable to infection as the arse is. Saliva has properties that can disable some infections, including HIV, and so there needs to be quite a lot of HIV present for infection to take place.3

Also, the mouth and throat are not as efficient at absorbing liquids into the bloodstream as the lining of the arse is. Even if you swallow cum, any HIV that may be there will usually be killed by the strong acids in your stomach.

Although the HIV risk from sucking cock is relatively low, there are ways that you can reduce the risk further. It’s extremely unlikely that you could catch HIV from giving someone a blowjob if they don’t cum in your mouth. Although there is HIV in the pre-cum of a man with HIV, there is less than there is in his cum. This is because a man will generally produce more cum than he does pre-cum, and because cum has a higher concentration of HIV than pre-cum. The protective properties in saliva would usually be able to disable the amount of HIV that there is in pre-cum. A condom, used correctly, will prevent either cum or pre-cum getting in the mouth, although few gay men in the UK currently use condoms for oral sex.

You will be more vulnerable to infections if you have bleeding, scratched or damaged gums, mouth ulcers or a sore throat. People with gum disease or ulcers will be more likely to catch HIV or other infections from oral sex. It may be wise to avoid brushing your teeth just before giving someone a blowjob, particularly if you want him to cum in your mouth. Using a mouthwash before or immediately after oral sex will remove the protective properties that saliva contains and so may increase the risk of transmission.

Although the risk of HIV infection is fairly low, some other STIs can be easily passed via oral sex, such as chlamydiagonorrhoeaherpes or syphilis. These risks can be avoided by using a condom for oral sex, although many men prefer to take the risk than taste the rubber. There is a small risk of picking up hepatitis B through oral sex, if you have not been vaccinated. If you have an existing STI in your throat you will be more vulnerable to infection and the chances of picking up HIV or Hep B are increased.

You may be vulnerable to other STIs this way, such as chlamydiagonorrhoeaherpes and syphilis. This is because all of these STIs are much more infectious than HIV. If you wanted to prevent the small risk of getting an STI you should wear a condom for oral sex. As many men choose not to do this, it’s advisable to have a regular sexual health check-up to ensure that any infections you may pick up can be detected and treated quickly.

References:

1 Sigma Researh. Multiple Chances. Findings from the United Kingdom Gay Men’s Sex Survey 2006.

2 Gilbart VL et al. HIV transmission among men who have sex with men through oral sex. Sex Transm Infect 80: 324, 2004.

3 Fox, P.C. et al. Saliva inhibits HIV-1 infectivity. J Am Dent Assoc. 1988 May;116(6):635-7.

Tribadism and safer sex

Tribadism (pronounced /ˈtrɪ bæd ɪzm/) or tribbing, also known by the slang term scissoring, is a form of non-penetrative sex in which a woman rubs her vulva against her partner’s body for sexual stimulation. This may involve female-to-female genital contact or a female rubbing her vulva against her partner’s thigh, arm or stomach; it can also refer to a masturbation technique in which a woman rubs her vulva against an inanimate object such as a bolster, in an effort to achieve orgasm.

The term is most often used in the context of lesbian sex, but is not exclusive to lesbians.

History
In the sexuality of the ancient Romans, a tribas was a woman who wanted to be an active partner or “top” in intercourse. The Romans did not classify according to homosexuality and heterosexuality. They instead had words for who was the active partner and who was the “bottom”.

Until the 20th century, the term was used to refer to lesbian sexual practices in general. Therefore, lesbians were occasionally called tribades.

This position is not exclusive to humans. Females of the bonobo species, found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also engage in female-female genital sex, usually known as GG rubbing (genito-genital).

Safe sex issues
As with any exchange of bodily fluids during sexual activities, tribadism has the potential to transfer sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) if those are present in one or more of the partners. Participants have the option of safe sex practices.

Tribadism in popular culture
The glam pop band Scissor Sisters derived their name from the scissoring position.
Bands named after tribadism include Scissorfight and the lesbian punk band Tribe
Genital-genital tribadism was depicted three times during the “D-Yikes!” episode of the cartoon South Park, referred to in that episode as “scissoring”.
Australian band Rocksteady pay homage to tribadism with their song “Scissoring”.

SEE: Bonobo Sex and Society
The behavior of a close relative challenges assumptions about male supremacy in human evolution

Remember HIV OK:
It infects CD4 cells and uses them to make new copies of HIV, which go on to infect more cells. The lower a person’s CD4 count, the weaker their immune system will be.

Very low risk but NOT No risk
HIV is transmitted when blood, vaginal fluids (including menstrual blood), breast milk or semen from an HIV+ person enters your bloodstream.

It is true that instances of female-to-female HIV transmissions that have been documented are far less than the other modes of transmission mainly unprotected heterosexual and homosexual penetrative sex. The route possibly being sex toys, used vigorously enough to cause exchange of blood-tinged body fluids.

Lesbians are fortunate enough to be in the lowest risk and it’s very rare for women to transmit HIV to each other sexually.

Each woman must assess the risks for herself and decide how she’s going to conduct her sex life. Many of us consider monogamy to offer all the ‘safety’ we need sexually. Although it can’t protect against HIV if someone already carries the virus.

Sexual identity does not necessarily predict behaviour. Just stay aware and enjoy what and who you do!

Safety first
Safer sex for women who have sex with women is a personal choice. If you are concerned you may want to follow the following tips:

Use protection during oral sex. Dental dams, cut up condoms, or cling film can be used to minimise contact with fluids during oral sex
Don’t share sex toys, or if you chose to, make sure you use a new condom every time it enters a new hole!
Cuts on hands create risk during vaginal masturbation/ fisting so you may want to use latex gloves
Rough sex is safe if there is no blood involved
If you are piercing each other then disinfect the needle and body areas
If shaving the vaginal area, do not share razors.

Frottage (rubbing bodies together) is better and recommended by most experts in HIV as the risks as outlined briefly above can pass HIV and other STIs if the action is rigid and there is contact with blood and other bodily fluids to blood.

Peace and tolerance

H