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

Jamaica Civil Society Coalition’s Chair on “Church Can’t Take Refuge In Buggery Law”

Paul Gardner

Christians attend an anti-buggery rally in Half-Way Tree Square on June 29. The gathering was spearheaded by a church group called CAUSE. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Christians attend an anti-buggery rally in Half-Way Tree Square on June 29. The gathering was spearheaded by a church group called CAUSE. – Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Also see: The Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC) response to anti-gay mass meeting comes late in the day (Observer Editorial)


Ever since Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller intimated her intention to review the buggery law, the discussion has increased on the buggery law, in particular, and homosexuality in general. It is both a philosophical and theological debate that if not managed or moderated properly, runs the risk of leaving many casualties behind.

I am reminded quite recently reading Neville Callam’s book, Deciding Responsibly: Moral Dimension of Human Action, about the great moral debate concerning the proposal for unwed teachers to be given maternity leave with pay in the 1970s. A very large section of the Church and the Jamaica Teachers’ Association issued press releases denouncing the Government’s proposal.

Callam observed that it was a few church leaders who met with the Government and brokered a cessation of hostility, and the rest is history.

Historically, crusaders are never winners. Winners stand on the bedrock of love mediated through God’s grace, a grace that none of us can truly fully comprehend or articulate.

Veteran journalist Ian Boyne, last year in an article, appropriately laid down the gauntlet for the debate to continue. Says he, “In my view, Christians have to separate the political from the philosophical. I don’t believe the Christian – or Muslim – majority should impose their will on minorities.”

Our legal framework, including our Constitution, is grounded in the Judaeo-Christian philosophy. What this means in fundamental terms is that biblical thoughts have influenced the way laws are shaped and behaviour normalised in much of the former British Empire. If one agrees with this view, it must also be agreed that this was the basic assumption for much of the Western civilisation.

Society has evolved from this core principle of the Judaeo-Christian ethic of ‘being’ and in ‘relationship with the other’ and has been moving towards a rights-based approach to being in the world and in relationship with each. This Judaeo-Christian biblical philosophy approach gave legitimisation to slavery, the apartheid system, and many other atrocities for which the Church has repented.

Religious assumptions

Even in declaring this fact, it is not to be assumed that such an approach will, of necessity, be flawed, but rather to recognise that even in our search for wholeness and truth, sometimes we are passionately off target and blinded by our own fury, interpretation and belief.

There are some fundamental principles within Western society that we take for granted – and some of these are normal, acceptable behaviour or conduct – however, in some societies, these are socially and legally unacceptable. The reasons, for the most part, are grounded in a set of religious assumptions that are not acceptable within the Judaeo-Christian philosophical and theological thought. As Westerners, we readily detest the Shari’a laws for very good reasons.

Western societies have to wrestle with secularism and changes in laws globally that do not necessarily reflect our traditionally Judaeo-Christian assumptions. This sweeping modernism – others would say secularism – has caused a tsunami of panic not only in the Caribbean, but in the developed, industrialised nations.

The liberalisation of laws on homosexuality within those societies did not happen overnight, but has been a long struggle and deep debate between the traditional Judaeo-Christian ideas and values within the context of growing secularism, in general, and the issues of human rights, in particular.

There are, therefore, some fundamental questions that must be placed within the debate, the push-back and the tension between the fundamentalist Judaeo-Christian philosophical thoughts, and the human rights approach to issues.

1. Can we say that we love each other unconditionally?

2. Do we really know enough about each other to the extent that we see others as equally loved and valued by God?

3. Should the homosexual act be an offence under the law?

There is no easy way out or Bible-thumping of views to these simple but profound questions. At the end of the debate, we must decide whether a society is going to be governed by laws that are universally consistent and respectful of its people (the common-good approach to moral decision making); or whether the decision will be taken to provide the greatest good to the majority (the utilitarian approach); or whether the decision will be based on the rights to privacy by consenting adults (the rights approach to ethical decision-making); or whether the focus will be on what kind of persons we want to develop and what kind of community we want to create (the virtue approach); or whether we will decide on the justice approach, which seeks to gauge the fairness of an action, not only for the majority, but for the minority.

All of these approaches to ethical decision-making must be brought into the debate because in a secular society, the views of the faith community and its interpretation of the text are important but not exclusive.

Says Desmond Tutu in his book God is not a Christian: “I am proud that in South Africa, when we won the chance to build our own new constitution, the human rights of all have been explicitly enshrined in our laws. My hope is that one day this will be the case all over the world, and that all will have equal rights. For me, this struggle is a seamless robe. Opposing apartheid was a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination against women is a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a matter of justice.”

Gospel of justice

The issue of homosexuality raises the emotional temperature and causes even the unbeliever to resort to the Bible. People like Tutu recognised such reality and preach a gospel of justice and unconditional regard for all those who are oppressed within our midst.

My views and beliefs as a Christian must contend with those who do not share my views or my faith. At the end of the day, the Christian cannot seek refuge or protection in state legislation. And yet, the Christian, as well as the non-Christian or those who are Christians but disagree with a particular church position, has all rights to free expression and public demonstration. This right behoves each side to be reasonable and moderate in its utterances.

The Church will only win followers by and through its unconditional love of the ‘other’ and the witness of God’s redeeming grace. It doesn’t have to ‘accept’, but it must tolerate and recognise the complexity of the society and acknowledge how much is not yet known.

In this period when the temperature rises, let us find common ground for sober reflection that will engender an atmosphere of mutual respect, care and consideration for each other as we debate and express our views. In the end, we are all Jamaicans entitled to the protection of the law and all should be free to self-determine, to accept or reject, but still love without condition.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Jamaica; buggery is. But buggery is an act that occurs not only between males, but between females and males. However, when you listen to the discussion, the greater concern is the men who have sex with men (MSM). I think that Parliament should take another look at this dated act in light of other issues pertaining to the Offences against the Person Act.

The Rev Dr Paul Gardner is president of the Moravian Church, former president of the Moravian Church Worldwide, and former president of the Jamaica Council of Churches. He also chairs the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and pgardner@cwjamaica.com.

Gov’t Hush Hush On Gay Pressure …As Promoters Forced To Pull Queen Ifrica From Canada Show

Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writer

Queen Ifrica

Pressure from the Jamaica Association of Gays and Lesbians Abroad (JAGLA), a Canadian gay-rights group, has led to the removal of dancehall/reggae artiste Queen Ifrica from the roster of performers at the Rastafest International Reggae Concert which was held at Downsview Park, Canada, yesterday.

Early last week, a Facebook campaign was launched by the group in an effort to prevent Queen Ifrica from performing at the stage show.

“The campaign was started because we discovered that Queen Ifrica was slated to perform at an event called Rastafest in Toronto. Off the heels of her recent homophobic outburst (at the Grand Gala) days after the death of Dwayne Jones, our members felt disrespected that she would be allowed to perform in our country. It’s a gross double standard on her part, to even travel to Toronto, one of the most diverse countries in the world, to perform for money,” a representative from JAGLA told The Gleaner prior to the show.

Lobby pleased

In a press release to The Sunday Gleaner, the group expressed their support of the move by the promoters to withdraw the entertainer from the line-up.

“This is a welcomed move by the promoters. We have to send a clear message that persons who make comments that jeopardise the well-being of members of the LGBT community in Jamaica will not be welcomed in Canada. We hope that other homophobic persons will use this instance as a reminder that acts that incite hate will have negative consequences. We hope as well that the Government of Jamaica will move swiftly to put in place measures to protect members of the LGBT community,” the release stated.

Efforts to contact Queen Ifrica proved unsuccessful. However, in an earlier interview, when asked about her utterances at the Grand Gala, Queen Ifrica said that she had only expressed what she believed in.

“Like myself, I think they are exercising their right to speak for what they believe in. However, I think it is unfair for them to incriminate me when there is no incrimination there. I simply spoke for what I believed in. They should simply speak from what they believe in but not try to tarnish my character in the process,” she said.

The Government was also hush-hush on the matter, as efforts to get a comment from the Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna only returned an emailed response from Sasha-Gay Lewis, the senior communication officer at the Ministry of Youth and Culture, which read, “We have no comment.”

A statement by Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) stated that the group took “note of recent local and international developments subsequent to Queen Ifrica’s performance on August 6, 2013 at the Grand Gala”.

J-FLAG also acknowledged that less explicitly anti-gay music is being produced and broadcast in Jamaica. They believe, however, that dialogue is important in order for a greater understanding about the impact of anti-gay sentiments on the exclusion of and hostility towards LGBT people in Jamaica.

ENDS

also see: Queen Ifrica’s “Freedom of Speech” & advocacy found wanting it is indeed sad that yet again the guardians of the local struggle have become so impervious to the population that another group overseas has had to step in in frustration it seems on the face of it with JFLAG’s stewardship especially after the exclusion of the homeless men from the symposium on homelessness in Kingston on May 17th International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia since then many persons have been up in arms about that and have been very critical of the J’s overall advocacy some of whom were once staunch supporters. So pronounced is the discord that JFLAG own staff especially the Programs Manager have been removing themselves from engaging the community on a whole on social media. It is sad that this new group although with good intentions have left us with a black eye and another layer added to the struggle that of the lobby now stifling free speech. Persons overseas who have our interest at heart NEED to take the lead from persons on the ground as there are consequences for such agitations, indeed all public agitations have such and are to be expected but care must be taken and proper communications and strategising be done prior to execution.

ed-cart-sun-25-august2_w452

JFLAG’s initial reaction was what actually set the stage for this latest impasse for all intents and purposes their continued over intellectualized style of crisis communicating has landed us in drama again. The very first sentence in their press release labelled Queen Ifrica and Tony Rebel as vitriolic and carrying some anti gay animus; for God’s sake will the J just get direct with the cynical public that they want to convince so much so that Tony Rebel in that ill fated interview on Nationwide Radio where Mr Rebel humiliated the ED of JFLAG Dane Lewis as he asked Dane where did he Tony said any anti gay remarks that were suggesting violence and Mr Lewis could not then came the laughter and ridicule of the use of the words “vitriolic and anti gay animus” and he basically mopped up the floor with the press release and Dane fumble while cleverly forcing Mr Lewis to an apology, however Dane stopped short of a public apology and instead suggested they meet face to face but even that was met with laughter yet again as Mr Rebel suggested meeting in private may have some sexually suggestive undertones. It was that sequence of events it seems that have caused this new Canadian based group to be formed and acting on their own devoid of the real thrust that is the Stop Murder Music Campaign. Queen Ifrica and Tony Rebel are in my eyes second tier homo-negative reggae acts and not as vitriolic as labelled by JFLAG landing us with a backlash we may yet to recover from in years to come.

Peace and tolerance

H

Gays Born, Not Made, response to anti gay Rev Espeut

Following an article in the Gleaner recently a response has come via that medium in a short letter (too short in my view) but to the point to the Reverend and Sociologist Peter Espeut. He has been on a roll with weird remarks about homosexuality some of which amounting to arrant nonsense. Also below was a response by a bioethics professor in Canada on Espeut’s claim that Gays are made and not born so.

Firstly here is the letter from today (Edited newspaper version) (below is the unedited version as contributed by Mr Welsh)

 

Gays Born, Not Made, Mr Espeut

The Editor Sir,
I am now convinced that columnist Peter Espeut has fell off the wagon and bumped his head. This fixation on the affairs of gay men has revealed his not-so-latent prejudices and seeming inability to form a rational series of thoughts and commit them to paper once the subject matter involves homosexuality.
His last attempt at satire titled “Very Public Privacy” published on May 31, 2013 failed miserably as the reader could hear the cogs in his brain creaking and groaning under the pressure of trying to comprehend
the idea that ALL Jamaicans are entitled to fundamental rights, not just the ones he has a doctrinal affinity for.

This is a concept that he has been at pains to come to grips with as evidenced by the litany of articles in which he attempts to remind the uppity homosexuals that they have no right to what is wrong. What Espeut fails to realize is that rights are not dependent on morals. They are innate to human beings by virtue of them being human and no one, and especially not a clergyman, is in any position to prescribe who is human enough to enjoy the right to be treated as such. Human Rights are objective entitlements,
not subjective privileges and they are limited only by the need to balance and harmonize with the rights of others in the human community.
His next painful attempt to rationalize his prejudices came under the unfortunate headline “Gays Made, Not Born” and was published on June 14, 2013. The only question I must ask of Espeut in response to this nonsensical title is: “By whom?” Implicit in this foolish collection of letters is the idea that Gays are manufactured by some sinister production process and thus have no entitlement to their identities. By his logic, it would then follow that
since they are not born, as regular humans are, they have no claim to any human rights since they are a malady, an abomination, and an aberration of nature that ought to be eliminated, or at the very least ignored. This is an argument that must be firmly and resoundingly rejected by all well-thinking people.
This might shock Espeut but gay people are in fact MADE by God and BORN into families such as his and everyone else’s. The difficulty for Espeut and others of his ilk is that their concept of God is a reflection of a value system which they were not born with, but which was made through a process of indoctrination. Evidently it is the Christian Fundamentalists who are made, not born, and therefore ought to have their rights restricted. I’m sure that would not comfort them.

BRIAN-PAUL WELSH

brianpaul.welsh@gmail.com

ENDS

meanwhile

‘Gays Made, Not Born’ – On the Confused State of the Religious Mind

Call it an easy target, blame me for going after the intellectually weak, but what is it about the Catholic pre-occupation with other people’s sex lives and identities. And why are they consistently so confused both about the meaning of facts when it comes to sexual orientation as well as about the normative issues?Jamaican Catholic Deacon Peter Espeut is as good an example as any to show what I am concerned about. Jamaica being a militantly anti-gay country where anti-gay discrimination was recently even enshrined in the country’s constitution, courtesy to a large extent of campaigners like Catholic-Deacon-sociologist-turned-sex-expert Peter Espeut. Espeut writes in today’s edition of the Jamaica Gleaner that gays are made, and that we are not born that way. Do read his contribution to public debate on that island to make sense of what follows below.He takes the current absence of conclusive evidence of a genetic causation of homosexuality as evidence of a non-genetic causation of homosexuality. To give you just one example to illustrate how absurd this view of the nature of scientific inquiry is: According to Espeut’s logic, HIV could not have been the cause of AIDS when it hadn’t been discovered. Now, I am not suggesting that there is a genetic cause of sexual orientation, but to claim, as Espeut does, that it cannot have one because there isn’t conclusive evidence at a certain point in time (ie today), is remarkably stupid. Perhaps that level of critical thinking skills is what predestines one to become a columnist for one of Jamaica’s daily papers. Let’s just note that this view on the causation issue constitutes a basic logic error and move on.

He then makes another logic error, and compounds it with plenty of excited exclamation marks. The exclamation marks have to do with not-blameworthy human characteristics such as the colour of our skin. As Espeut notes, ‘we are born that way.’ Implied is that we didn’t choose to be that way, and that we are what we are in an immutable sense. Well, the thing is, there’s plenty of things we have not chosen, yet they are immutable. Think about our language. Did we consciously choose it? Can we consciously dump it? Not quite. So, immutability is quite unrelated to the ‘born that way’ proposition. I do apologise for not using exclamation marks here, but do feel free to add them for emphasis in your mind.

Not surprisingly, Espeut being a sociologist, he then moves on to the next mistake, namely seeing the cause of sexual orientation in some parental behaviour. After all, having unjustifiably excluded genetic factors (and presumably, even though he doesn’t say it, any number of possible non-social environmental factors), Espeut moves right on to his favourite possible causes of sexual orientation. Being a good sociologist he offers a lot of possible – but entirely speculative! – stuff, just in case.

He writes, ‘But what causes gender-conforming and gender-non-conforming behaviour? Hormone imbalances may be one explanation. Others suggest that domineering mothers and ineffectual fathers may interfere with socialisation; and still others suggest that homosexuality may be triggered by having sexual encounters with members of one’s own sex at an early age that prove to be very satisfying.’

As I noted before, Catholic Church staff and lay people have a perverse fascination with other people’s sex lives. For the fun of it, let me note that ‘hormone imbalances’ invariably would invariably have causative genetic components. But hey, sociologists… – It is also worth noting that the language that is deployed here isn’t exactly descriptive sociology, rather it is Catholic theology dressed up in pseudo-academic language. ‘Domineering mothers’, ‘ineffectual fathers’, plus (we are in Jamaica after all, so this still flies in public discourse) the invariable bullshit about pedophile homosexual grooming. Who, among serious sociologists or psychologists suggests the latter? Nobody that I’m am aware of. What is remarkable about Espeut’s pet causes of homosexuality is that there is no more evidence for any of them then there is for his much-hated genetic causes. But that’s what he believes in, so with all the weight that a degree in sociology and deaconessing in the Catholic Church provides, much credence is given to these baseless claims about the causes of homosexuality.

Espeut concludes thus, ‘Let us not fall into line with ‘gay-rights’ propaganda by speaking as if LGBT behaviour is normal and natural. Unless you want to say that improper socialisation and dysfunctionality are normal and acceptable.’ I have alerted you already to the Deacon’s favourite rhetorical tool of using pejorative language (‘improper’, ‘dysfunctional’ etc) where argument would be required. Let me address the issue of homosexuality being abnormal and unnatural issue by copying here content from a Hastings Center Report article I published back in 1997. It’s still true and shows us how little progress has been made on this subject matter. The fundamentalist religious in the world will turn around and continue their little flat-earth tirades as if nothing had happened at all. And mass media still give them outlets to vent their rage instead of asking them to seek professional help.

‘Why is there a dispute as to whether homosexuality is natural or normal? We suggest it is because many people seem to think that nature has a prescriptive normative force such that what is deemed natural or normal is necessarily good and therefore ought to be. Everything that falls outside these terms is constructed as unnatural and abnormal, and it has been argued that this constitutes sufficient reason to consider homosexuality worth avoiding.[16] Arguments that appeal to ‘normality’ to provide us with moral guidelines also risk committing the naturalistic fallacy. The naturalistic fallacy is committed when one mistakenly deduces from the way things are to the way they ought to be. For instance, Dean Hamer and colleagues commit this error in their Science article when they state that “it would be fundamentally unethical to use such information to try to assess or alter a person’s current or future sexual orientation, either heterosexual or homosexual, or other normal attributes of human behavior.”[17] Hamer and colleagues believe that there is a major genetic factor contributing to sexual orientation. From this they think it follows that homosexuality is normal, and thus worthy of preservation. Thus they believe that genetics can tell us what is normal, and that the content of what is normal tells us what ought to be. This is a typical example of a naturalistic fallacy. Normality can be defined in a number of ways, but none of them direct us in the making of moral judgments. First, normality can be reasonably defined in a descriptive sense as a statistical average. Appeals to what is usual, regular, and/or conforming to existing standards ultimately collapse into statistical statements. For an ethical evaluation of homosexuality, it is irrelevant whether homosexuality is normal or abnormal in this sense. All sorts of human traits and behaviors are abnormal in a statistical sense, but this is not a sufficient justification for a negative ethical judgment about them. Second, ‘normality’ might be defined in a functional sense, where what is normal is something that has served an adaptive function from an evolutionary perspective. This definition of normality can be found in sociobiology, which seeks biological explanations for social behavior. There are a number of serious problems with the sociobiological project.[18] For the purposes of this argument, however, suffice it to say that even if sociobiology could establish that certain behavioral traits were the direct result of biological evolution, no moral assessment of these traits would follow. To illustrate our point, suppose any trait that can be reasonably believed to have served an adaptive function at some evolutionary stage is normal. Some questions arise that exemplify the problems with deriving normative conclusions from descriptive science. Are traits that are perpetuated simply through linkage to selectively advantageous loci less ‘normal’ than those for which selection was direct? Given that social contexts now exert ‘selective pressure’ in a way that nature once did, how are we to decide which traits are to be intentionally fostered? Positions holding the view that homosexuality is unnatural, and therefore wrong also inevitably develop incoherencies. They often fail to explicate the basis upon which the line between natural and unnatural is drawn. More importantly, they fail to explain why we should consider all human-made or artificial things as immoral or wrong. These views are usually firmly based in a non-empirical, prescriptive interpretation of nature rather than a scientific descriptive approach. They define arbitrarily what is natural and have to import other normative assumptions and premises to build a basis for their conclusions. For instance, they often claim that an entity called “God” has declared homosexuality to be unnatural and sinful.[19] Unfortunately, these analyses have real-world consequences. In Singapore, unnatural acts are considered a criminal offence, and “natural intercourse” is arbitrarily defined as “the coitus of the male and female organs.” A recent High Court decision there declared oral sex “unnatural,” and therefore a criminal offence, unless it leads to subsequent reproductive intercourse.

In the United States, several scholars and lesbian and gay activists have argued that establishing a genetic basis for sexual orientation will help make the case for lesbian and gay rights. The idea is that scientific research will show that people do not choose their sexual orientations and therefore they should not be punished or discriminated against in virtue of them. This general argument is flawed in several ways.[23] First, we do not need to show that a trait is genetically determined to argue that it is not amenable to change at will. This is clearly shown by the failure rates of conversion therapies.[24] These failures establish that sexual orientation is resistant to change, but they do not say anything about its ontogeny or etiology. Sexual orientation can be unchangeable without being genetically determined. There is strong observational evidence to support the claim that sexual orientation is difficult to change, but this evidence is perfectly compatible with non-genetic accounts of the origins of sexual orientations. More importantly, we should not embrace arguments that seek to legitimate homosexuality by denying that there is any choice in sexual preference because the implicit premise of such arguments is that if there was a choice, then homosexuals would be blameworthy.

ENDS
Let me add this video

Buggery, Bigotry And Buffoonery

As the war of words heat up in print between straight-allied activists, religious intolerant groups and the LGBT lobby and several legal challenges hanging in the balance I think we need to tread very careful and try not to get lost in the sea of charges and counter charges. Today’s piece however in the Gleaner by Attorney Gordon Robinson however is a good one:

Gordon Robinson, Contributor to the Gleaner wrote:

Bigotry is as bigotry does.It’s usually dressed up in many disguises, usually religious, but bigotry always exposes itself by the lengths to which it’ll go to fashion fallacious arguments to create an illusion of truth protecting its unreasonable beliefs from plain sight.

The worst form of bigotry is the self-righteous kind where the Bible is blamed for man’s inhumanity to man. “Is not me say so,” preaches Pastor doing his best Shaggy impression, “It’s in the Bible!”

As one bogus excuse for entrenching bigotry as national policy is debunked, another is trotted out. Humans, looking as earnest as chemistry professors in nightclubs while feigning sincere attempts to grasp non-existent complexities as they explain why other humans shouldn’t be treated equally, never tire of producing nonsensical arguments in support of their fatally flawed hypothesis.

Because, make no mistake about it, any hypothesis that a baby born who, when grown, is attracted differently from another baby born and grown on the same planet is somehow inherently evil (or requires ‘cure’) is a fallacious hypothesis.

What follows from this simple premise is that any argument put forward by those seeking to perpetuate such a bigoted view is easily exposed as nonsense. It matters not the form bigotry might, from time to time, take, whether segregation, apartheid, religious intolerance, racism, slavery, or homophobia. Bigotry is as bigotry does.

Sometimes, persons trying to expose the fallacy in a shiny new argument become entangled in the need to be politically correct or maybe is himself/herself conflicted, hence trying to argue from textbook theory instead of inalienable truth. The inalienable truth, which is self-evident, is that all humans are created equal. However, no two persons have the same DNA. All of us have always been, and will always be, Differently Natural Animals, yet we’re all equal in the sight of God.

These things don’t confuse children. In their innocence, children play with any other child. It’s only when a supervising adult says, “Don’t play with that little boy. He likes to put on girl’s clothes. He’s queer” that the child, conditioned to obey, shies away.

Q: What is segregation?

Little Girl: I don’t know what seggeration is.

Q: What is bigotry?

Little Girl: I don’t know what bigory is.

Q: What does hatred mean?

Little Girl: I don’t know what that is.

Q: What is prejudice?

Little Girl: Umm, I think it’s when somebody’s sick.

Recently, I’ve noted the religious righteous have launched a new offensive against homosexuals. It’s as if an executive council of the forces of bigotry held emergency meetings after receiving cell phone calls from today’s Paul Revere, “The homos are coming! The homos are coming!” – from which fresh arguments were fashioned to defeat annoying activists expecting gays to be treated as humans (OMG!). Then foot soldiers are deployed to spread the word.

Previously, the favourite argument of lobbyists for bigotry as government policy was, “Where will it end? If ‘unnatural’ sex acts are to be tolerated, man should be able to have sex with his dog. Or cat. Or donkey. Where do we draw the line?” This is, of course, crude fearmongering disguised as argument.

What exactly is ‘natural’?

Buzzwords like ‘unnatural’ deliberately conjure up disgusting mind pictures designed to regurgitate your lunch. Especially in an undereducated nation, this word will scare plenty people. But, first, what exactly is ‘natural’? What’s natural for the goose can be awkward for the gander. My dictionary defines ‘natural’ as ‘existing in nature; not made or caused by humans’, which, if I took ye Olde Testament literally, makes ALL sex unnatural.

Bigotry needs fear to feed its irrationality, hence the inclusion of fearsome buzzwords and the persistent use of inappropriate analogies rather than addressing the actual situation bigotry wants to condemn.

Logic’s reply excludes all emotive words. It’s that the world needs more, love not less. Anything done between consenting adults in the name of love is between them and their God and none of the State’s business. It’s all about consent. So, the reason why the State justifiably steps in when a man is caught raping a donkey is because the poor donkey can’t consent. Like all bad analogies, bigotry’s use of the donkey parable is irrelevant to the real issue.

That argument having flopped, the forces of bigotry have regrouped; a new argument has been developed; and is being broadcast islandwide. It begins on cue, “Where will it end?” Bigotry continues, “If anything between consenting adults is okay, what if a father and his adult daughter have consensual sex? What about that?”

This inane argument has been the subject of an insidious campaign of brainwashing by immersion from all angles, including by educated panellists on a popular TV show. That show’s token liberal fumbled the ball while she stammered her way to an equally silly response about ill-advised genetics. Genetics, schmenetics! Don’t let bigotry’s smoke and mirrors confuse you. It’s all about consent.

Consensual sex between a father and his adult daughter is an oxymoron of cataclysmic proportions. Both in law and common sense, ‘consent’ can’t be present if it’s the result of undue influence. A parent has complete and authoritative influence over his children from birth, and each child places total trust in that parent’s guidance. Sex with one’s daughter is inherently sex obtained by an abuse of that trust (undue influence) and so can’t be consensual, properly so called, regardless of the daughter’s current age.

As bastions of prejudice are crumbling worldwide, it seems local bigotry’s desperation has pushed it to the use of whatever argument necessary, no matter how patently flawed, to ensure only one type of love is tolerated in Jamaica. Woe betide your love should it not conform to Bigotry’s notion of ‘natural’ love.

It matters not how skilled or qualified you are. It matters not how caring and loving an individual you are. If you dare to love a member of your own gender, you must be shunned, hated, and punished. Every possible obstacle must find itself in your ambitions’ path, your hopes, your dreams, your love, even your very life. To bigotry, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as passing judgement on a fellow life traveller less righteous than him/her.

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,

There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb.

There are oceans and rivers enough to cross

Enough to last until the end of time.

At this time of national crisis, our economy is being squeezed to death, our children are undereducated, our health services are chaotic, bus fare hikes are about to cripple the poor, yet the number one issue churches can find to throw their coordinated strength against is the perpetuation of hatred against gays. Right now, as Peter Phillips correctly said, we need all hands on deck. That’s ALL hands, whether left- or right-handed, gay or straight.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

No, not just for some but for everyone.

 

Instead of calling for unity against economic crisis; or unity against the violent, frightening crime, Jamaica’s chauffeur to the most wanted, Reverend Al, has a more important national focus. He wrote:

“We declare that we’ll mobilise and resist any attempt to tamper with the Constitution as it relates to buggery. Our present Charter of Rights sufficiently covers and protects the rights of all citizens.”

Al, the Constitution doesn’t ‘relate’ to buggery. Your Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship made sure of that. Talk about fleeing when nobody pursueth! He removed all pretence at political neutrality when, in his most arrogant tone, he said:

“We will not support any politician or political party that seeks to promote and foist on our nation, in any shape or form, the gay-rights agenda, which is alien to our culture as a people.”

POLITICAL THREAT

Rev Al Unplugged produces a partisan political threat to destroy any government who even debates treating gays as equal under the law. Al believes the “gay-rights agenda” is “foreign” to our culture. Al, why’re you so afraid? Since gays have proliferated in Jamaica since forever (including in the Church), and since Jamaican gays most definitely want ‘gay rights’ (all they really want is human rights), here’s the bad news, Al. Gay rights is about as foreign to Jamaica as priests inappropriately fondling young boys or pastors knocking up church sisters. Al saved the best for last:

“We respect the right of privacy and freedom of personal choices. We believe and demand that Government and the courts bear in mind and uphold the Constitution of our nation and the will of the majority of our citizens.”

Why does Al DEMAND the courts uphold the Constitution? Is he saying they’ve been derelict in that duty? Maybe he believes that’s why the courts convicted him of a gun-related offence. His stated respect for privacy, coming immediately after his lurid threat to withdraw “support” from any government considering allowing gays their privacy, rings as hollow as a Loretta Lynn’s birthplace.

Q: What is segregation?

Little Girl: I don’t know what seggeration is.

Q: What is bigotry?

Little Girl: I don’t know what bigory is.

Q: What does hatred mean?

Little Girl: I don’t know what that is.

Q: What is prejudice?

Little Girl: Umm, I think it’s when somebody’s sick.”

Legendary song-writing duo, Hal David (lyrics) and Burt Bacharach (music), wrote ‘What The World Needs Now is Love’ in 1965. Dionne Warwick turned it down (although she subsequently covered it in 1966), so it was first recorded by Jackie DeShannon. In 1971, in the aftermath of America’s notorious political assassinations, disc jockey Tom Clay created a superb remix which pulled together elements of the Bacharach/David song and 1968’s Abraham Martin and John (written by Dick Holler and first recorded by rock ‘n’ roll star Dion).

The musical collage featured a question-and-answer session with a little girl for whom these concepts of hate were truly foreign. Tom Clay’s remix became a smash hit. Readers could revisit it in these times when purveyors of hatred threaten to tear us apart and destroy any hope of a successful Jamaican vision.

Peace and love.

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.

 

Also see:

The False Dichotomy of the religious right on the ………

Espeut, West says “Homophobia” was invented to abuse Christians as hate speech

‘Gays Made, Not Born’ – On the Confused State of the Religious Mind

Some religious right lies about the lgbt community…

Don’t Shield Gays From Criticism

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

I don’t like where the debate in Jamaica is heading at all and where powerful religious voices more egregiously than ever in the name of God are stirring strife unnecessarily, just days before we saw some other pastor saying he would die to stop buggery from becoming legal and implying some sort of violence as if the gay lobby presented any such stance in the agitation, The Gleaner published a letter from homophobe, restorative therapy advocate and hypocritical pastor Al Miller who I have covered extensively for a while on my blogs showing his flaw. Let us NEVER forget this is the same man who aided and abetted or attempted to and was caught a known fugitive to escape the law that being Christopher Dudus Coke while he was cross dressed at that (an aesthetic feature of male homosexuality) yet he had no problem participating in deception to help a criminal escape to a foreign power, thankfully he is being tried in court for doing so yet he claims to speak in behalf of other pastors on his favourite rhetoric (I guess to regain lost support as his TV show was off air for some time and to fill the collection plates as well while members defected to other churches)

He has come out strongly since the tolerance ad case ended days ago in the Supreme Court and the judges deliberate. Let us also not forget: Reverend Al Miller has been found guilty of negligence resulting in the loss or theft of his licensed firearm. He has no moral authority as far as I am concerned having acted in such a manner likened to a traitor to his country, why also would a pastor need a gun? In that mystery case of his firearm that just disappeared as he turned his back.

The fear mongering on male homosexuality to get popular support was a ploy also used by the political directorate while enthralling support and the constant conflation of same gender sex and abuse especially paedophilia is an old ploy to suggest all we are as gay men are deviants going after prepubescent persons when it is clear to all honest right thinking persons that paedophilia is a deviant diagnosable disorder despite the gender of the alleged perpetrator while homosexuality is NOT. He had long dismissed the call for tolerance way before the recent trial as a guise to slide in homosexuality as normative (but isn’t it really as it appears in 450 species of animals)

This is the same man who also was right beside the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship during the Charter of Rights debate where the definition of sex was twisted and the discrimination via sex and gender where removed at their insistence fearing some door would be opened to decriminalize homosexuality/buggery. Funny that in three days we lost four children due to murder and an elderly woman yet the same zeal as seen below is nowhere to be found via loss of life or even the thousands of missing children to date or even the others in homes and on the streets but pastors and their apologists want to raise to the level of law the use of my anatomy in a private space strangely in the face of a rhetoric of theirs too to “keep it to ourselves”

see previous posts here:

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

Rev Al Miller says gay lobby is using the guise of tolerance to get the nation to accept the “gay lifestyle” on September 11, 2011

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

and A word to the reverend (anti gay Al Miller) …….. and

Al Miller Guilty – Judge Rejects Pastor’s Unsworn Statement

Here is his letter published today:

THE EDITOR, Sir:Our nation continues to experience a grave and deepening social and economic crisis rooted in the erosion of moral and spiritual values.

As Christian leaders and the large contingent of believers that we serve directly, numbering more than 500,000 (not including all denominations) and the general sentiment of the majority of the rest of the citizens of our nation, we register our full support of the position taken by the media houses – TVJ, CVM and others – not to have carried the advertisement being proposed by Mr Maurice Tomlinson.

It was indicated to the stations by some of us that had those advertisements been carried, we would have registered our strongest objections. We had registered our objections then and remain resolute in upholding the fundamental values and moral principles of our faith and that of the founding fathers of our nation.

We declare that we will mobilise and resist any attempt to tamper with the Constitution as it relates to buggery. Our present Charter of Rights sufficiently covers and protects the rights of all citizens.

We will not support any politician or political party that seeks to promote and foist on our nation, in any shape or form, the gay-rights agenda, which is alien to our culture as a people.

We respect the right of privacy and freedom of personal choices. We believe and demand that Government and the courts bear in mind and uphold the Constitution of our nation and the will of the majority of our citizens.

TROUBLING NEW TRENDS

The recent information shared by the children’s advocate indicates that there has been a 74 per cent increase in reported buggery acts against children. Could this be as a result of increased awareness and promotion of this unacceptable alternative lifestyle?

We will not sit by and allow the thinking of less than one per cent or any weak-willed Government to lead us into simply following other nations along a path that is not in our best interest.

We are a nation with a proud history of leading on points of principle and values. We want all to be aware that on this issue and the deteriorating conditions of the poor, and justice, the majority of us, church leaders, stand united.

AL MILLER

pastormilleroffice@gmail.com,Pastor, Fellowship Tabernacle (On behalf of scores of pastors and leaders)

meanwhile another religious group has been taken to task by a local advocate:

Love March Movement Lacks Moral Compass

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Dr Wayne West of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society has become the Pied Piper for a group of young Christians calling themselves The Love March Movement, whose purpose is evidently quite the opposite of marching in the name of love.

The ditty that West is singing while his children march is anything but conducive to the creation of a healthy society. In fact, it would appear that their utopian society can only come to fruition if they dance for Lucifer so that he will come to collect his progeny – the gays – in a devilish rapture.

That is the only way I can rationalise the lies that this coalition of church people is so eager to share with anyone that is willing to listen.

Their latest campaign to typify male homosexuals as vectors for infectious disease by relying on Lancet data is so illogical in its apprehension of clearly articulated epidemiological research that it is scary.

Yet when one considers that these are sensible people who deliberately misrepresent data in order to advance an agenda of institutionalised prejudice, it becomes clear that this is a morally bankrupt group of Christians. In their minds, the end justifies the means, and so a campaign built on half-truths and deliberate obfuscation of facts is perfectly appropriate when the final objective is to exclude gays from their idyllic healthy society.

Since West and his colleagues are so fixated with conducting in-depth research on the types of sex they claim not to be having while prescribing the types of sex the State ought to prevent the rest of us from enjoying, they are blind to the ingredients of a healthy society that they could pool their immense resources to bring together.

Instead of spending money to print full-page fallacious advertisements to demonise gay men, they could invest in feeding programmes for inner-city infants who are on a staple diet of bag juice and Cheez Trix. They could also invest in remedial literacy programmes for the significant number of young people who leave school functionally illiterate.

Perhaps they could use their skills for proselytism to combat the corruption and ineptitude that have stagnated the development of our nation; and maybe if they really put their minds to it, they could march for love in our homes and peace in our communities as a way to counter the crime and violence that have become commonplace in Jamaica.

If they are not interested in addressing any of the above and would rather obsess over the sexual proclivities of strangers, it is obvious that they are far from being the bastions of moral virtue that they proclaim themselves to be and, therefore, cannot be taken seriously by anyone with a functioning moral compass.

BRIAN-PAUL WELSH

brianpaul.welsh@

gmail.com

More: Following the Jamaica Society for a Healthy Society’s recent public relations campaign with an HIV is a gay disease tinge is discussed on Nationwide Radio hosted by the not so tolerant George Davis, the illogical posturings by Mr West and his team is exposed by Mrs Carol Narcisse public commentator.

Urgent need to discuss Sex & sexuality nationally part 2

In part one on sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch I looked at the fiasco that was the Home and family life education manual and the uproar over one page of a volumous curriculum designed among other things to address sex and sexuality education in schools. Noting that all most of us older persons have been taught reproductive education i.e sperms and eggs make babies, puberty and the pubic hair bit and boys having wet dreams while girls see their periods and even that under the guise of “guidance counseling” had a hard time in getting to the openness where it is now given the sanitization that has occurred over and over again.

Many schools have been run and founded by churches with teachers of a certain ilk so the fear of teaching the “real things” is evident over time, in fact the very paranoia now over this curriculum and the screaming from sections of the public is a reflection of the lack of understanding SEX & SEXUALITY.

also hear my latest audio post/podcast:

Now comes this rubbish in my view of two persons being made scape goats for the Minister of Education’s ineptitude in leading the change that is required in the system to revolutionize the levels of understanding of SEX & SEXUALITY.

Have a read of the article in the Gleaner published on October 28 2012, what is the fear and who has an agenda? obviously the minister is conflicted and is pandering to the religious right also being a man of the cloth himself, what about separation of church and state?

Of course the goodly JFLAG is missing in all this discourse, so much for limpwristedness.

Two In Hot Water Over Sex Text

thwaites-file-640x425

 

Education minister claims personal agenda led to controversial sections in school book

Edmund Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

DISCIPLINARY ACTION is now hanging over the head of a public servant who Education Minister Ronald Thwaites claims had an “agenda” in crafting the controversial sex-education text which was recently withdrawn from high schools.

At least 1,368 copies of the 6,000 health and family life education (HFLE) text, deemed by some to be very offensive, were pulled by the ministry after national uproar over the material that was intended for students between grades seven and nine.

One person who allegedly authored “inappropriate” elements of text has parted company with the education ministry.

But that is not the end of the matter.

“It appears that there were two persons, at least, involved in the process who had a particular agenda in respect of this particular subset of the curriculum and they were able to embed it in the curriculum, and there was not sufficient review to extirpate it before publication,” Thwaites said last week in response to questions posed by Opposition spokesperson on education Marisa Dalrymple Philibert.

“As far as those who, investigation so far determined, played an untoward part in the writing of this (HFLE), one such person is no longer in the service of the ministry and the other person will be subject to the appropriate disciplinary action that the public service provides,” the education minister told fellow legislators.

Intense debate played out on the airwaves and in letters to newspaper editors, in September, about a section of the text which posed questions on sexual behaviour and commentary on heterosexuality and homosexuality.

Angry parents at the time demanded to know who approved the text, despite its withdrawal.

Responding to similar concerns from Dalrymple Philibert, who is the member of parliament for South Trelawny and the Opposition spokesperson on education, Thwaites said an investigation conducted by his ministry revealed that the curriculum was introduced into schools when it was given to teachers who were trained to use it in August 2011.

formal process bypassed

He said copies were distributed to schools before they were withdrawn.

Thwaites made it clear that the formal process of the ministry to approve curriculum was bypassed.

He said then Chief Education Officer Grace McLean did not know of the inappropriate curriculum.

“No Minister of Education of whatever political stripe would have knowingly allowed material as obnoxious as that contained in the HFLE curriculum to have been published,” Thwaites declared.

He also informed the House that the ministry had issued warnings when similar material found its way into the schools in the past.

“It was a clear intention of some who have very laudable views in other respects, but also have very clear predispositions regarding sexual conduct and how children are to be introduced to (it) who got away on this one.

“The important thing now is that we make it quite clear to this Parliament, to those who serve as administrators and public officials and to the nation as a whole, that the primary responsibility for introducing young children to sexual knowledge and responsibility lies with the parents,” the education minister stressed.

Setting the record straight in relation to the ministry’s position on sex and family life education, Thwaites added: “The principles that must be at all times respected is that the Ministry of Education promotes sexually responsible behaviour in the context of faithful union between a man and woman while offering respect and compassion to those who adopt a different lifestyle.”

ENDS

In continuing …………………..

Also see: New sex education manual in two months and Defending Family Life Curriculum

The public uproar over the health and family life education (HFLE) curriculum has done a grave disservice to a programme that addresses many of the social ills plaguing Jamaican youth. As an HIV and health educator, this is quite disconcerting to me.

The HFLE curriculum is not a textbook to be used by students, but a curriculum guide for use by teachers. The activities and resources which have been the media’s focus are not mandatory. Teachers have the power to choose which parts to use as they make their lesson plans.

Denigrating the curriculum as a ‘gay book’ or ‘sex text’ misses the fact that it is a holistic life skills programme, covering self and interpersonal relationships; sexuality and sexual health; appropriate eating and fitness, and managing the environment.

Within each theme, the life skills are broken down into major subcategories of social, cognitive and coping life skills, including decision making; problem solving; effective communication; empathy; coping with stress; coping with emotions; healthy self-management and conflict resolution.

BEHAVIOURAL MODIFICATION

Teaching life skills in this way has been shown to delay the onset of drug use; prevent high-risk sexual behaviour; facilitate anger management and conflict resolution; improve academic performance and promote positive social adjustment. In fact, the curriculum already includes behaviour-modification strategies to deal with anger management, which the minister of education now proposes to introduce in schools.

The specific sections which have been highlighted by the media have also been taken out of context. The personal risk assessment that asks questions about sexual behaviour is for private use by students to help them calculate their personal risk. The information is not returned to the teacher. The purpose of the exercise is to build the students’ critical thinking, decision making and healthy self-management and refusal skills.

The guided imagery activity which asks students to imagine they are the only heterosexuals in a world of homosexuals is not intended to ‘make students homosexual’ but to build empathy and self-awareness skills. It is meant to address intolerance and its consequences, including bullying and abuse of students because of sexual orientation.

UNDERSTANDABLE DISCOMFORT

The public’s discomfort with some of these matters is understandable. However, we cannot ignore the reality our children face and refuse to give them tools to handle their sexuality and sexual health.

The reality is that young people are sexually active, but they do not understand their HIV risk. The mean age of sexual initiation in Jamaica is 14 years old (12 for boys, 15 for girls). Seven per cent of all reported AIDS cases in Jamaica have been adolescents and young adults between 15 and 24.

The Knowledge Attitudes Perception Behaviour (KAPB) study of 2008 indicated there was a 100 per cent increase in the rate of sexually transmitted infections among adolescent girls from 2004. Transactional sex and casual sex are also common among adolescent among males and females.

The same KAPB study indicated that males in the 15-24 age group reported having an average of six sexual partners, and females of the same age group, three sexual partners. Additionally, behavioural studies indicate that one in every three gay men was HIV-positive, and a significant number of this cohort was between the ages of 15 and 24. However, only 38 per cent of young adults between 15 and 24 per cent can correctly identify the modes of preventing HIV transmission.

Since the procurement rules have been breached as it were are we to throw out the baby with the bathwater? the Observer also carried a story on the issue: They had a gay agenda

The Process for Approval of Curricula

a) The policy directorate grants approval for the development/revision of a curriculum in response to societal needs and/or new policy direction.

b) The draft curriculum is developed by the process owner along with selected technical experts internally and externally of the Ministry of Education through consultation with stakeholders (civic groups, teachers, principals, students, parents, and others).

c) The curriculum is piloted for feedback and adjustments

d) The first draft of the curriculum is submitted to the Core Curriculum Unit for review.

e) The Core Curriculum Unit reviews the curriculum and makes recommendation for approval of the final draft document to the Chief Education Officer through the Deputy Chief Education Officer, Curriculum and Support Services.

f) The Deputy Chief Education Officer, Curriculum and Support Services recommends the approval of the final draft curriculum to the Chief Education Officer.

g) The Chief Education Officer with support from the technical team representing the process owners presents the final draft document to the Executive Management Meeting, chaired by the Permanent Secretary and the Senior Policy Making Group, chaired by the Honourable Minister of Education.

h) The Minister of Education gives final approval of the draft curriculum and the policy unit documents the approval.

i) The process owners with the responsibility for the draft curriculum receives approval from the Chief Education Officer to implement the new curriculum in schools.

j) The process is documented every step of the way, the record is kept on an official file for future reference.

Meanwhile the

Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) is among a number of faith-based organisations that have expressed grave concern over the controversial Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) curriculum, and has called for a full disclosure of the source of its contents.

The group along with the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals, Faith Temple Gospel Assembly, the Issachar Foundation, Christian Brethren Assemblies, Jamaica Lawyers Christian Fellowship, Christian Life Fellowship, Bethany Fellowship, Swallowfield Chapel, and Mona Heights Chapel have expressed their displeasure with the curriculum. READ MORE HERE

Atty-at-law Gordon Robinson on Why Gay ‘Rights’? (Gleaner)

By Gordon Robinson

Gordon Robinson

I’m repeatedly asked why I so vociferously support gay rights, especially in the face of Jamaica’s deep-rooted fear of homosexuality (homophobia).

We’re all products of our experiences. One of my best friends at secondary school was homosexual. Naïve as I was then, it was two years before I even suspected his sexuality. He was always, shall we say, ‘different’. For example, he seemed obsessed with his penis, which he said he measured every night and reported any lengthening at school next morning. He enjoyed teaching us penis trivia. His favourite factoid was that the penis has no muscles. That last bit earned him his nickname of ‘Musclecock’ (‘Muscle C’, or just plain ‘Muscle’ for short).

Muscle C, though average in traditional academics, was brilliant. He was extremely creative and an excellent young actor. He became president of the Drama Society. I was vice-president. We adapted an Alfred Hitchcock (no relation) short story into a play in which he played the lead (a professor who’d murdered his wife) and I played a largely inaudible police detective. He was a huge success. I was eminently forgettable. He became editor of the school magazine and produced the bestCampionite to that point, which can still stand against anything currently published. Again, I was his deputy. When he left after fifth form, I succeeded him in both posts.

SHOCKER

One Sunday, while in fifth form, he invited me to spend the day at his home. This was standard among school friends. My mother dropped me off that morning. That his parents, successful members of Jamaica’s upper crust, weren’t at home didn’t ring any immediate bells. He was a very dramatic chap who liked to feign sophistication, so when he made strawberry daiquiris as aperitifs, still nary a ding-dong entered my head.

Then he served lunch, including a pte de foie gras appetiser. Still, nothing dropped. Finally, when he invited me into his bedroom to see hisPlayboy collection, bright lights went on. Chuck Berry would have seen them earlier:

My ding-a-ling, my ding-a-ling,

Won’t you play with my ding-a-ling.

I called my mother and bolted from there like a bat out of hell.

Looking back, I’m not proud of my subsequent behaviour at school as I distanced myself from him. At the time, I knew no other way to react.

So, we drifted apart, and he left Jamaica to study Egyptology (kiss me neck!) at the exotic University of Cairo. He wrote me some brilliantly humorous letters, and I may have replied once but, by then, I’d moved on. I heard he’d returned home and was having trouble with his parents, who couldn’t understand him. They thought ‘gay’ was a disease and committed him to St Joseph’s mental ward. I visited him once. It was depressing to see my old friend so lost, confused, sedated and alone.

Sometime later, I heard he’d committed suicide. He was 20 years old.

Dramatic to the end, he poured gasolene on himself; lit himself afire; and ran into the street screaming, “I want to die,” with his father running behind him holding a glass of water. Or so I heard.

TICKET TO ASYLUM

When my parents first separated, my mother rented a room (called ‘boarding’ then) in a married couple’s (‘Freddy and Dolly’) home. She was friendly with Dolly. Freddy was a brilliant, creative producer/director in the early days of JBC TV. They’d appeared happily married for years until, one day, Dolly came home unexpectedly and caught Freddy in flagrante delicto with his boyfriend. She went directly to the asylum; didn’t pass ‘go’; didn’t collect $200.

These two very human situations indelibly etched themselves on my psyche. After years of introspection, I came to realise a few truths. If only Muscle’s parents were more accepting; if only we, including me, had been more respectful of his ‘being’ instead of constantly mocking him for ‘being different’, maybe he’d be alive today and Jamaican theatre much the better. If only society had allowed Freddy to ‘be’ without stigma, maybe he wouldn’t have felt the need to trick Dolly into a fake marriage. Maybe if society allowed him to marry his boyfriend, Dolly would’ve found Mr Right, and there’d be two happy couples instead of none.

Instead of spreading unreasoned fear by blaming dread diseases on promiscuous gays, perhaps we should consider creating a safe environment for gays to leave the closet and openly enter long-term, committed relationships, thereby reducing the promiscuity level. Maybe gays’ ‘promiscuity’ is inversely proportional to society’s tolerance.

Peace and love.

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com. Also check out this 2008 article by him so he has been consistent: Point Counter Point Wake Jamaica

Dr Heather Little-White on “What is Buggery?”

Heather Little-White, PhD,

A 23-year-old woman sitting in a group of her peers discussing the issue of buggery and whether the law making it a criminal act should be repealed seemed a little uncomfortable and could not help asking, “What is buggery?”

Her question was very instructive as it is often assumed that persons know what these sexual acts entail and may unknowingly engage in them in consensual or coerced situations.

Buggery is historically referred to as a ‘crime against nature’. Buggery, also known as sodomy, is defined as anal intercourse between a man and another man, a woman, or an animal (Collins English Dictionary). As a British English term, buggery is close in meaning to the term sodomy and is often commonly used today. The word bugger is still commonly used in modern English as a mild exclamation for disgusting acts.

English law

Buggery is a detestable crime, contrary to the order of nature as a sex act by mankind with mankind or with brute beasts, or by womankind with brute beasts. Buggery is a specific common-law offence, encompassing both sodomy and bestiality.

Originating in English law, buggery was first used in the Buggery Act 1533, while Section 61 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861, titled ‘Sodomy and Bestiality’, defined punishments for “the abominable crime of buggery, committed either with mankind or with any animal”. The definition of buggery was not specified in these or any statute, but rather established by judicial precedent. (Halsbury’s Laws of England.)

Unnatural intercourse

Over the years, the courts have defined buggery to include either anal intercourse by a man with a man or woman, or vaginal intercourse by either a man or a woman with an animal. But it does not include any other form of “unnatural intercourse”. Under the law, if one is charged with buggery, neither consent nor the act of marriage can serve as a defence.

In the United Kingdom, the punishment for buggery was reduced from hanging to life imprisonment by the Offences against the Person Act 1861. As with the crime of rape, buggery required that penetration must have occurred, but ejaculation is not necessary. To be charged for buggery, it must be proven that penetration took place, or by having successful tests on blood or semen to show that there was actual intercourse. If this is not successful, there may be a lesser charge of gross indecency.

Anal sex

Over time, laws have changed in keeping with contemporary approaches to sexual intimacy. Anal sex between consenting adults is no longer a crime. In most jurisdictions in England and Wales, homosexual buggery was decriminalised in 1967 and the age of consent was raised. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 fully removed buggery as a concept in British law, introducing an equal age of consent and not differentiating between vaginal and anal sex.

Abolition of the offence of non-consensual buggery between persons was abolished in 1993 in the Republic of Ireland as criminal prosecutions for buggery [anal sex] had not taken place for years. However, the 1993 act created an offence of “buggery with a person under the age of 17 years” to give protection to children, viewing the act as “defilement of a child”, encompassing both “sexual intercourse” and “buggery”. However, the act of buggery by way of bestiality is still unlawful under Section 61 of the Offences against the Person Act of 1861. Earlier this year, a man was prosecuted under this Section after a woman died as a result of an allergic reaction after he had intercourse with his dog. (Reilly and Gavan, 2011)

Buggery of an animal

This offence is not too common today and, when discovered, raises public disgust to the point of violent attacks on the perpetrator. Encouraging tolerance towards bestiality, the public should weigh the act against the following parameters:

Was the act committed in private?

Is it likely to be repeated?

Was injury done to the animal?

Was the animal commercially exploited?

Were children involved in the offence?

Violence against women

Buggery is also considered gross indecency in the act of anal, sexual intercourse without consent, traumatising victims and leaving them in pain. Where anal intercourse takes place without consent, there should be a charge for rape as proposed by women’s organisations. The 1999 UN General Assembly’s designation of November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women serves to highlight the fact that acts like sodomy are violent acts against women.

Violence against women and girls is pandemic with at least one out of every three women around the world beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. The abuser is usually someone she knows.

Buggery and HIV

In his article on ‘Buggery & Health’ in The Sunday Gleaner (November 13, 2011), Byron Buckley wrote extensively on buggery as a public-health issue in the context of “a consistent increase in HIV incidence among homosexual men since the late 1990s”. This increase among homosexual men is attributed to unprotected anal intercourse compromising the advances in the prevention and treatment for HIV/AIDS. Buckley further added that compared with other sexually active adults, men who have sex with men are more likely to be infected with several other sexually transmitted diseases.

At a recent meeting of the UNAIDS Caribbean regional support team, it was announced that HIV prevalence rates were significantly higher among men who engaged in sex with men in countries where buggery laws were not repealed.

Risky sex

Anal sex is risky as the cell walls of the rectum are very thin and are easily torn on penetration. Before inserting foreign objects, they should be checked to see if they are free from sharp and rough edges. It is recommended that lubricated condoms and latex gloves be used for anal sex. Symptoms of injury in anal sex include abdominal pain, sudden change in the number of times for defecation and black and bloody stools.

Abolish buggery laws

There have been calls from several sectors, including the United Nations Human Rights Committee, for Jamaica to abolish its buggery laws. Some persons believe that legitimising homosexuality will reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS. However, there is no guarantee that this will happen unless safe sex is practised all the time during anal penetration.

It is interesting to note that Britain scrapped the homosexuality laws in its five Caribbean territories after legislatures refused to do so. The British Privy Council, which acts as the highest court for the territories, decriminalised homosexual activities between adults in private. The order, which is already in effect, applies to Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos. The British government had for years experienced great difficulty in persuading local politicians to repeal the laws in island legislatures. Anti-gay laws in the islands violate human rights agreements signed by Britain.

Buggery morphed into anal sex today is practised among two consenting adults, so if the act is repealed, then the word ‘buggery’ would no longer be used in everyday language.

The Club Matter – Unprofessional Police Behaviour Must Stop

The following appeared in the Gleaner recently and I am not comfortable with the editor’s decision to call the writer a disappointed scammer as if to suggest the persons held at the recent raid in St Ann at a birthday event were all scammers in attendance. This has the looks of a certain Superintendent last year who castigated the gay community as scammers hence leading to an apology that came from the police high command.

Aren’t persons innocent until proven guilty?

Why did an entire event had to be shut down just to find supposed scammers?

Do the cops have a clear idea of who they are actually looking for? it doesnt seem so to me

I feel that the community is being used as scapegoats as well in a vieled homophobic move, yes there maybe guilty parties amongst the LGBT community but why broad brush an entire set of patrons at an event?

Here is the letter to the paper non the less, see what you make of it.

The Editor Sir:

I FEEL moved to give a detainee’s response to your article of Sunday, July 8, 2012 titled ‘Scammers party in drag’. It certainly appeared to have been an intelligence-driven operation as the raid was conducted with the support of the army. Further, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Leon Clunis came and hand-picked the persons who, in my view, he came for in the first place. For the record, this numbered fewer than 10 and all other persons were released. If this was in fact intelligence-driven, why then were all the 100-plus persons detained and transported to the station for “processing”? Was it a ‘name-and-shame’ moment? SSP Clunis did instruct persons not to hide from the cameras.

I find that rather interesting as the senior superintendent was the one insisting that persons should not hide and, in fact, instructed persons to stand up and remove the covering from their heads. I recall him saying, “Why unu a hide, unu fi proud a weh unu be.” Ok, so he is not interested; for what purpose then was he facilitating the photographing and videotaping of the individuals to the extent that he was using/abusing his authority to instruct persons not to hide from the camera? Why then were the officers asking individuals questions like, what role do you play? Do your parents know that you are gay?

Operational protocol

Mr Commissioner, does operational protocol allow for aspects of operations to be videotaped by police personnel? I ask this because, according to SSP Clunis, the police is not interested in one’s sexuality or sexual preference, yet an officer armed with a camcorder and flashlight took video footage of the persons lying on the ground in the building.

I must commend the few officers (from both the JDF and the JCF) who acted in a professional manner throughout the operation. I recall seeing the disgust on one officer’s face at the manner in which another officer was behaving. It would appear, though, that the senior superintendent and his team need to better review operational procedures and ensure that all members of the team understand what these are, as well as what their individual roles are in the process.

Our police force needs to move away from media hypes and focus on real crime fighting.

DISAPPOINTED SCAMMER

Jaysean97@hotmail.com

Editor’s Note: The pen name, “Disappointed Scammer” was inserted by the editor because the letter writer requested anonymity.

Meanwhile

A proprietor of a nightclub in St Ann who was hauled before the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court on Friday for fraud was granted $150,000 bail.

He is Lorindo Powell from Kingston 13, who has been charged with conspiracy to defraud, obtaining money by means of false defence, conspiracy to defraud, possession of criminal property and involving in transaction that includes criminal property.

Powell is to return to court on September 6, when the matter will be mentioned for plea and case management hearing.

Allegations are that the accused conspired with other persons and defrauded a 75-year-old woman in the United States of several thousand dollars.

The court heard that the accused told the victim that she won US$5 million and she was to send money to him to process her winnings.

Sexual orientation

In applying for bail, Powell’s attorney told the court that his client desperately needs bail as he was beaten by other inmates while being detained because of his sexual orientation.

“Your Honour, I went to look for the accused while he was detained and the amount of “blanks” that were fired at me, if those were live rounds I would have been a dead man today,” the attorney told the court jokingly.

As a condition of Powell’s bail, he is to surrender his travel documents and report to the Hunts Bay Police Station on Mondays and Thursdays between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.