Parts of this post Originally posted three years ago as "..after 47 years"
also see: Skewed and No justice after 48 years of Independence and Skewed and still no justice after 49 years
Happy Independence Day if you feel so moved but judging from the cartoon in the Gleaner this time around (seen below) by Lasmay we have come a long way indeed and three years ago in 2009 also the Observer toon from Clovis bearing the injustice versus justice theme it makes one question how independent are we yet? bearing in mind our Emancipation Day for this year was unusually quiet with no major national observations occurring with some resonance on the nation's psyche and our quarrel with using the Caribbean Court of Justice, the CCJ as our final court of appeal when homophobia in the Caribbean in rife where laws that ban consenting homosexual sex are on the books as marked colonial reminders.
(EMANCIPATION SQUARE [above and below] Spanish Town - to the left was where the proclamation was read freeing slaves in the British colonies)
(photo taken in June with my BB)
Yes we are free from colonial rule and are supposed to be managing our affairs while our former colonial masters left a template for us to use in the form of the Westminster parliamentary system and as far as freedom of choice and orientation goes they have removed the buggery and other related acts and laws to secure citizen's rights and privileges. Not to mention the other ills which I won't go into now. (see the blogs for more)
A law for the rich and and law for the poor is what we have ended up with for the past 49/50 years which still dogs us in however subtle forms it may present itself and as described by former Prime Minister Edward Seaga and his two Jamaicas theory. I mean I never expected things to happen overnight but one would have expected more enlightened legislation and thought from the intelligentsia on class, sex, sexuality and sexual orientation. With three major University campuses, various law schools and an additional 4 overseas institutions operating here all of whom offer some Psychological and related studies independent and liberal thinking are woefully lacking. The LGBT Noveau intelligentsia members could have and should have led the way more towards true tolerance but instead we end up with self centered individuals who are more interested in intellectually masturbatory debate in print and otherwise while not adding to or enhancing the others in our midst who need to be lifted up, hence leading to full and real tolerance despite class creed and sexual orientation within our own communities.
The two types of justice at least exists but for gay people in general as we all know there is very little for us when we have to unfortunately access the state mechanisms to achieve closure. We are ignored or vilified and accused of paedophilia even without proper investigative procedures while our agitations regarding homophobic and homo-negative incidents including some murders are brushed aside as figments of our imagination. It's only since a recent Police Commissioner stepped into office we have seen slight improvements as far as the police community relations are concerned while an outgoing one in the form of Les Green who berated us as liars. LGBTians still have it hard and to think our motto says "Out of many, one people" we are eons away from it, not to mention our own internal stigmas towards each other sometimes just by virtue of class. Older gay folk with tell you that in the sixties and seventies we never had this kind of trouble except for the occasional taunt by kids whose parents would discuss a suspected neighbour over their dinner table or some ostracism but that was as far as it went, now even under the slightest suspicion you can be beaten or killed at the least warned before the impending doom is enacted.
Justice!! where is it for us?, most MSMs for example are subject to ridicule and forced outings or evictions when allegedly caught in the act or even just suspected, we are dragged into court, cases are tried (if it gets to trial while stuck in the preliminary hearings stage) in open court instead of "in camera" proceedings meaning without the public present in the court room, names published in the papers, stories embellished for sensationalism to sell papers, cases languish in court that is if we persistently attend mention dates (if it gets so far as arresting officers scarcely follow up) we may get a sine die adjournment long after then the arduous task of clearing your police record if you want to access certain services or to clear ones name. Let us also add this time around the awful scourge of homelessness that abounds now in the younger generations of same gender loving men.
Is it that we are going to have to consider civil unrest in the long run and have martyrs among us to get the point across or to effect change and how many of us a are willing to take that stand? Our own Stonewall perhaps? We are so busy living in our own worlds and have become so individualistic we forget others because we are not poor so many feel we won't get beaten or hurt and are far removed from the realities on the ground, so we can hop on a plane and go somewhere else, the underground railroad or overly used asylum route when there are genuine cases that need attention and those persons should really be off the rock. Justice is a reciprocal process however and as I see it we can't just sit by and demand it, we have to act as well legally firstly and if needed, civil disobedience.
Even our advocacy has been tainted by this elitist stance in a sense, the powers that be aren't from the larger LGBT body politic and are immune or far removed from the matters of homophobic violence etc of which they speak on or the really marginalized groups that are agitated for, which is not to say they cannot speak but we have to include those voices directly in the mission but often times they are missing from the agitations over these many years let alone our crisis communication has been found wanting, just take a look at the last video campaign some two years ago which had persons of a "lighter shade" who may never know save and except for reports what violent homophobia is all about, the video would have made a better impact if real victims were used if it means concealing their identities that has been done before. Many in the community are still not pleased with the video although the intent is noble and is a start from the rigor mortis that had set in over the years, thankfully vigilance by us is also forcing the sleeping giant to act as was evidenced in several party interventions which JFLAG booths have been seen lately a feature that was not present before but have died down once again which reflects a knee-jerk reaction towards criticisms from those who wish to see more happen with meaningful results. The recently hinted to MSM homeless shelter as it turns out is only a stop gap with supposedly only 5 - 6 beds in its set while the homeless spiral with some persons incarderated, others beating and chased these many years and other seemingly self destructive behaviours.
Hmmmm some questions for us to consider:
Are you comfortable as a GLTBQ citizen in this country?
Will there be justice for the least amongst us?
How long will it take to achieve an ethically sound LGBT advocacy?
What has happened to the legal agitation that started in 1998 to decriminalize buggery?
What about the public engagement for tolerance and understanding?
Why do gay politicians ignore who they are and join the band waggon in the name of political correctness?
Will the buggery review suggestion by current Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller ever come to pass or was it a political ploy to get LGBT votes seeing the PNP enjoys a much larger LGBT support?
Why are we hiding in the shadows (DL) instead of coming out?
Is JFLAG doing a good job on our behalf?
How can we mobilize ourselves to become effective?
If and when buggery is repealed, what is next, where is the long term vision?
Independent? I think not as far as LGBTQ people are concerned or are treated, we are second or no class in our own country and the step and fetch it advocacy is not helping any, we have imprisoned ourselves in certain respects as well there are powerful movers and shakers in this land from the LGBT community itself who can help to shape a more tolerant society instead they sit and are quiet or in some instances find themselves involved in intellectual dishonest posturings and as in some cases it clouds our thrust for rights and freedoms. Even as we celebrate there are reports of only continued homophobic violence but gay on gay violence as well and a oblivious advocacy system that seeks to heap praise on itself more than directly engage certain sections of the LGBT body politic that are deemed undesirables, namely the least amongst us being our homeless and displaced but excuses are made to reflect a lack of resources or money to operationalize well needed social interventions.
Yes our athletes have done us proud as now in the London Olympiad, yes our political systems have matured to a certain extent and universal adult suffrage is on with an electoral system that has certainly come a far way but the political polarization continues as was seen in July of this year in the disgraceful shouting match in the sanctity of parliament with "Fish" references (gay man) evidencing subtle homophobia at the level of our parliamentary representatives. Our REGGAE music indeed has placed on the map of cultural dominance but our derivatives since to include dancehall has done the opposite in the form of murder music literally outlining how gay men in particular should be disposed of. Even as the self described King of Dancehall Beenieman supposedly apologized for his anti gay lyrics to get in on a European show as his pockets and that of others have been burning due to the backlash to local acts with a murder music track record, yet he later on still confuses same sex paedophilia with consenting adults of course pandering to his fans who have criticized him of his "sellout" to battyman.
Despite a suggestion by the present Prime Minister Mrs Portia Simpson Miller to review the buggery law with strong emphasis from her party that they made no promise to repealing buggery many are hopeful it will come through but with the seeming interference from some agencies overseas we have to mindful that we as a nation are not being forced into affording this move but more so a change in position from within by proper debate and agitation in the halls of parliament where is rightly belongs.
Real tolerance is what counts we all can co-exist, we can't go asking for it from John public and we can't even extend or agree on the cohesive way forward or regard those who are the least amongst us as brothers and sisters.
Out of Many ........... One People but here comes more prejudice ....
Out of place
Jamaicans are outraged that entertainer Tony Rebel used the nation's 50th Independence at the stadium to launch into another of his tirades promoting his prejudices. They complained that the managers of the event fouled up as his microphone should have been turned off instantly.
FREE UP YUSELF