The Safe House Project 2009 for Displaced & Homeless MSM/Transgender reviewed & more


In response to numerous requests for more information on the defunct Safe House Pilot Project that was to address the growing numbers of displaced and homeless LGBTQ Youth in New Kingston in 2007/8/9, a review of the relevance of the project as a solution, the possible avoidance of present issues with some of its previous residents if it were kept open.
Recorded June 12, 2013; also see from the former Executive Director named in the podcast more background on the project: HERE also see the beginning of the issues from the closure of the project: The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes and The Ultimatum on December 30, 2009

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jamaican buggery laws under attack - Gays appeal to int'l human rights body

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The Star News has joined the media coverage of the challenge to the buggery law via a former J-FLAG rep Gareth Henry and another individual but questions are being raised in certain circles as to the truthfulness of some of the parts of the challenge from within the community. 

Why are there two challenges one from IACHR and now this latest one? are some of the questions being asked to which no credible answers seem to be coming. One answer suggested the following " .....seek to read both petition, then we could have a conversation after, as you would be knowledgeable of the content of both and able to see the difference and understand why. So often we jump to baseless conclusions, fuelled by varying agenda.PS. There are no limits on number of petitions that Jamaica or any gay Jamaican can submit to IACHR once you have a case they will be deem admissible and the resources to do it, well why not?"

The hostility towards objective concerns being raised by ordinary LGBT citizenry is disturbing as former Jamaican advocates who now reside overseas tend to have a condescending tone to those on the ground here since this issue has made news.

October 26th last year I had posted that legal challenge on sister blog GLBTQJA on blogger  Here was the justification from AIDSFREEWORLD at the time.

Why isn’t AIDS-Free World challenging this Jamaican law in Jamaican courts?
The Jamaican constitution has a relatively unusual clause in it called the “savings law clause,” which protects Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law from being contested in Jamaican courts. When the new Jamaican Charter of Rights and Fundamental Freedoms was passed in April 2011, it contained a provision stating that any pre-existing laws relating to sexual offenses (such as the anti-sodomy law), pornography, or abortion were “saved” from constitutional review. This legal protection immunizes the anti-sodomy law from challenge in Jamaican courts, and made it impossible for AIDS-Free World to assist Jamaican lawyers to bring a case in Jamaica. Consequently, our only recourse for challenging the law was to go to the IACHR.

Where is AIDS-Free World challenging this law?

AIDS-Free World is challenging the anti-sodomy law before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), one of two institutions in the 35-country Americas region that exist to promote and protect human rights. (The other is the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.) The regional umbrella organization that brings together these 35 countries to discuss a wide range of issues, including democracy, human rights, security, and development, is called the Organization of American States (OAS). The IACHR and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights fall under the authority of the OAS. Their activities are focused on the human rights situation in the 35 countries that make up the Americas region. 

Meanwhile see the Star News headline, see what you make of it:


Two homosexual Jamaicans have mounted a legal challenge against the laws of the island, which in effect criminalizes the act of homosexuality, on the basis that they are unconstitutional and promotes homophobia throughout the Caribbean.

According to the article published on www.guardian.co.uk last week, this landmark action, which is being supported by the United Kingdom-based Human Dignity Trust, is aimed at removing three clauses of the island's Offences Against the Persons Act of 1864, commonly referred to as the buggery laws.

In Clause 76 of the act, while not formally banning homosexuality, provides for up to 10 years' imprisonment, with or without hard labour for anyone convicted of the "abominable crime of buggery committed either with mankind or any animal". Two further clauses outlaw the attempted buggery and gross indecency between two men.

culture of hatred

The mounting battle over the legislation is being blamed by critics for perpetuating a popular culture of hatred against homosexuals as is evidenced by the derision of these men in dancehall music, the article notes.

It continues that the legal challenge is being taken to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which is modelled on the European Court of Human Rights to which Jamaica is not a full member. However, any ruling being made by the court would only be advisory and would nevertheless send out a strong message of international disapproval.

The article quotes the executive director of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-Flag) as saying, "This year there has been nine murders. The violence in Jamaica is having a spillover effect on other parts of the Caribbean: St Lucia now has a murder every year or so," he said.

An executive chief of the Human Dignity Trust and a London barrister was also quoted as saying, "We want to ensure that Jamaica satisfies its international human rights treaty obligations. We are supporting J-Flag in this case," said the 


executive chief.

One body arguing to preserve the Offences Against the Persons Act is the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship of Jamaica. The Office of the Prime Minister in Jamaica did not respond to enquiries made by The Guardian, the article concluded.

In the meantime, other legal challenges have been mounting in recent weeks, as an attorney has taken the decision to bring two of Jamaica's major free-to-air television stations to court claiming a breach of his human rights for failure to air an advertisement.



ENDS

Meanwhile take a look at this:

Shirley Richards' Paranoia on buggery/possible future gay marriage rights in Jamaica


Jamaica Star: Jamaican buggery laws under attack - Gays appeal to int'l human rights body

0 comments
The Star News has joined the media coverage of the challenge to the buggery law via a former J-FLAG rep Gareth Henry and another individual but questions are being raised in certain circles as to the truthfulness of some of the parts of the challenge from within the community. 

Why are there two challenges one from IACHR and now this latest one? are some of the questions being asked to which no credible answers seem to be coming. One answer suggested the following " .....seek to read both petition, then we could have a conversation after, as you would be knowledgeable of the content of both and able to see the difference and understand why. So often we jump to baseless conclusions, fuelled by varying agenda.PS. There are no limits on number of petitions that Jamaica or any gay Jamaican can submit to IACHR once you have a case they will be deem admissible and the resources to do it, well why not?"

The hostility towards objective concerns being raised by ordinary LGBT citizenry is disturbing as former Jamaican advocates who now reside overseas tend to have a condescending tone to those on the ground here since this issue has made news.

October 26th last year I had posted that legal challenge on sister blog GLBTQJA on blogger  Here was the justification from AIDSFREEWORLD at the time.

Why isn’t AIDS-Free World challenging this Jamaican law in Jamaican courts?
The Jamaican constitution has a relatively unusual clause in it called the “savings law clause,” which protects Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law from being contested in Jamaican courts. When the new Jamaican Charter of Rights and Fundamental Freedoms was passed in April 2011, it contained a provision stating that any pre-existing laws relating to sexual offenses (such as the anti-sodomy law), pornography, or abortion were “saved” from constitutional review. This legal protection immunizes the anti-sodomy law from challenge in Jamaican courts, and made it impossible for AIDS-Free World to assist Jamaican lawyers to bring a case in Jamaica. Consequently, our only recourse for challenging the law was to go to the IACHR.

Where is AIDS-Free World challenging this law?

AIDS-Free World is challenging the anti-sodomy law before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), one of two institutions in the 35-country Americas region that exist to promote and protect human rights. (The other is the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.) The regional umbrella organization that brings together these 35 countries to discuss a wide range of issues, including democracy, human rights, security, and development, is called the Organization of American States (OAS). The IACHR and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights fall under the authority of the OAS. Their activities are focused on the human rights situation in the 35 countries that make up the Americas region. 

Meanwhile see the Star News headline, see what you make of it:


Two homosexual Jamaicans have mounted a legal challenge against the laws of the island, which in effect criminalizes the act of homosexuality, on the basis that they are unconstitutional and promotes homophobia throughout the Caribbean.

According to the article published on www.guardian.co.uk last week, this landmark action, which is being supported by the United Kingdom-based Human Dignity Trust, is aimed at removing three clauses of the island's Offences Against the Persons Act of 1864, commonly referred to as the buggery laws.

In Clause 76 of the act, while not formally banning homosexuality, provides for up to 10 years' imprisonment, with or without hard labour for anyone convicted of the "abominable crime of buggery committed either with mankind or any animal". Two further clauses outlaw the attempted buggery and gross indecency between two men.

culture of hatred

The mounting battle over the legislation is being blamed by critics for perpetuating a popular culture of hatred against homosexuals as is evidenced by the derision of these men in dancehall music, the article notes.

It continues that the legal challenge is being taken to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which is modelled on the European Court of Human Rights to which Jamaica is not a full member. However, any ruling being made by the court would only be advisory and would nevertheless send out a strong message of international disapproval.

The article quotes the executive director of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-Flag) as saying, "This year there has been nine murders. The violence in Jamaica is having a spillover effect on other parts of the Caribbean: St Lucia now has a murder every year or so," he said.

An executive chief of the Human Dignity Trust and a London barrister was also quoted as saying, "We want to ensure that Jamaica satisfies its international human rights treaty obligations. We are supporting J-Flag in this case," said the 


executive chief.

One body arguing to preserve the Offences Against the Persons Act is the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship of Jamaica. The Office of the Prime Minister in Jamaica did not respond to enquiries made by The Guardian, the article concluded.

In the meantime, other legal challenges have been mounting in recent weeks, as an attorney has taken the decision to bring two of Jamaica's major free-to-air television stations to court claiming a breach of his human rights for failure to air an advertisement.



ENDS

Meanwhile take a look at this:

Shirley Richards' Paranoia on buggery/possible future gay marriage rights in Jamaica


Friday, October 26, 2012

MoBay Church Fraternity Says No To Buggery Review

0 comments
Powell

Powell

Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

THE ST JAMES Ministers Fraternal has joined forces with Pastor Conrad Pitkin of the Faith Temple Assemblies of God in Montego Bay, in declaring total opposition to any consideration being given to repealing Jamaica's existing buggery law.

"I join with you (Reverend Pitkin) and your colleagues wholeheartedly, as a person and as an association (minister's fraternal), in the fight against the consideration of the repeal of the buggery law," said Reverend Glendon Powell, chairman of the St James Ministers Fraternal and pastor of Flanker Open Bible Church.

Powell, who was addressing Sunday night's Diamond Jubilee (75th anniversary) commemorative Service of the Faith Temple Assemblies, said the Bible stands as the moral authority of the church and nation, and the fraternal was strident in its stance that biblical principles must ultimately be observed and upheld as the standard for the nation.

"The Bible is still our guidebook," said Reverend Powell. "...so we stand on the principles of the Bible, and we will continue to stand on the principles of the Bible, and we will not surrender, and we will not bow to anything that the Bible is opposed to. The fight may not be easy, but it is necessary."

Pastor Pitkin and his Associate Pastor Everton Lawrence recently denounced the lobbying efforts by gay rights activists to have the buggery law repealed, while affirming the churches unwavering stance against the buggery, which the church considers to be non-Christian.

Harshly criticised

Local television stations, Television Jamaica and CVM Television, have been harshly criticised by gay rights advocacy group, Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-sexuals and Gays, for refusing to broadcast a public-service announcement from the group, calling for a repeal of the buggery law.

Only recently, the New York-based Human Rights Watch wrote to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, calling for a repeal of the buggery law after an incident in Jones Town, Kingston, in which an angry crowd converged on a house where five homosexuals were staying with a view of doing them harm.

According to Section 76 of the Offences Against the Person Act of 1864, a maximum sentence of 10 years can be issued for the committing the crime of buggery.

During the leadership debate in the lead-up to last December's general election, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (then opposition leader) spoke out against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and intimated a possible review of Jamaica's buggery law. 
ENDS

Meanwhile:

also if you missed the recent news item by CVM TV on October 20, 2012 which looked at gay marriage when locally gay marriage rights has not been agitated for but more so for the buggery law's decriminalization or repeal, here is the story:


Jamaican Church says it won't support same sex unions (as if LGBT Jamaicans asked for that)




see a recent post I had done in response to a Gleaner letter on gay marriage being a misnomer, As for the high divorce rates in Jamaica why defend an institution that clearly is not being engaged properly by heterosexual couples yet via religious imposition deny other who want to make their lives together permanent?

check out the latest figures from the Statistical Institute last updated May 2012 a fact overlooked alot when pro hetero marriages proponents come forth.

Also recall Mrs Simpson Miller defense of her comments regarding the buggery review suggestion in December 2011:



also DO NOT forget the PNP's press release immediately following the leadership debate:


 


Kingston, December 22, 2011: The People’s National Party notes that following Tuesday’s leadership debate, some persons have been suggesting that PNP President Portia Simpson Miller, has given a commitment to “repealing” the Buggery Act. The PNP uses this opportunity to state clearly that Mrs. Simpson Miller gave no such commitment.

The PNP President said it was time that the Act be “reviewed” and all members of the House of Representatives provided with an opportunity to vote on the matter based on their conscience.
It would be expected that in such a vote, Members of Parliament on both sides of the House, would take into consideration the views of their constituents.The PNP President remains committed to her pledge to make appointments to a Cabinet led by her on the basis of competence.

UPDATE 28.11.12:
Buggery law review gets tacit support from the Minister of Health

Peace and tolerance

H

LGBT History Month - Rupaul

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As we continue to look at LGBT History Month here is another icon who has made an indelible mark locally although Miss Ru is from the United States. Rupaul is the most famous drag queen in the world and nearly every other queen that there is models there image careers or even hair off her style and aesthetic. She has not landed here yet but we hope to have her one day perform in the flesh.

An Entertainer

b. November 17, 1960

“With hair, heels, and attitude, honey, I am through the roof.”

RuPaul is one of the world’s most famous drag queens. He is a successful actor, singer and television host.

Born RuPaul Andre Charles in San Diego, California, RuPaul learned about fashion from his mother and three sisters. His parents divorced when he was 7. At 16, he moved to Atlanta to live with his sister and brother-in-law.

In Atlanta, RuPaul studied acting, performed as a bar dancer and sang with a band. He gained national exposure with a cameo role dancing in the video for the B-52s’ “Love Shack.” In 1987, RuPaul moved to New York, where he became a popular entertainer in the Manhattan nightclub scene. He was crowned “Queen of Manhattan 1990.”

In 1993, RuPaul collaborated with Elton John on a remake of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” The following year, RuPaul had his first solo hit single, “Supermodel (You Better Work),” which topped the dance music charts. Three more dance hits followed: “Back to My Roots,” “A Shade Shady” and “House of Love.”

His appearances in “The Brady Bunch Movie” (1995) and Spike Lee’s “Crooklyn” (1995), along with the release of his autobiography “Lettin It All Hang Out” (1996), landed RuPaul a talk show on VH1. He described the “The RuPaul Show” as “the most creatively satisfying, fun-filled working experience I’ve ever had.” That same year, he became a spokesperson for M.A.C Cosmetics, making him the first drag queen supermodel. In six years, RuPaul helped raise over $22 million for the M.A.C AIDS Fund.

RuPaul had a role in “To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar" (1995). In the late 1990’s, he co-hosted the morning show on WKTU-FM, a New York dance music station. He produced and starred in the film “Starrbooty” (2007), which he adapted into a nightclub act. He is the host and executive producer of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and hosts “RuPaul’s Drag U” on Logo.

In 1999, RuPaul was named Entertainer of The Year at the GLAAD Media Awards. In 2002, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Most Beautiful Transsexuals in the World Association.



More on his 
Career

In 1993, RuPaul recorded dance/house albums which included Supermodel of the World. They were released through the rap label Tommy Boy, spawning the dance track hit "Supermodel (You Better Work)". The music video was an unexpected success on MTV channels, as grunge-rock (Nirvana) and gangsta rap were popular at the time. The song peaked at #45 on the Billboard Hot 100. It further charted on the UK Singles Chart, peaking on the top 40 at #39. The song found the most success peaking at number 2 on the US dance music charts (known as the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart). Airplay, heavy rotation of the music video on the MTV network and television appearances on popular programs like The Arsenio Hall Show popularized the song.

“ What other people think of me is not my business. What I do is what I do. How people see me doesn't change what I decide to do. I don't choose projects so people don't see me as one thing or another. I choose projects that excite me. I think the problem is that people refuse to understand what drag is outside of their own belief system. ” 
—RuPaul,

His next two songs/videos, "Back to My Roots" and "A Shade Shady (Now Prance)" both went #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and furthered his campy persona. Between them, "House of Love" was released without a video. It failed to place on any US charts, despite rising to #68 on the UK Singles Chart.

RuPaul caused a controversy at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards when he presented an award with actor Milton Berle, who performed an altogether different type of drag early in his career. The two had conflicts back-stage, and when Berle touched RuPaul's false breasts, RuPaul ad-libbed the line "So you used to wear gowns, but now you're wearing diapers." A surprised Berle replied, "Oh, we're going to ad lib? I'll check my brain and we'll start even." The press portrayed the exchange as a crack in the "love everyone" message RuPaul presented, and as a young newcomer treating a legend poorly. RuPaul would later describe the situation in his autobiography, describing Berle's behavior backstage as sexually inappropriate and rude. He did regret the situation, saying: "Of course, what I should have done backstage is told him 'Get your dirty hands off of me, you motherfucker!', and then gone out there and been Miss Black America." That same year would also mark his biggest hit on the UK Singles Chart, a remake of "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with Elton John, which went to number seven. It was around this time that RuPaul co-hosted the BRIT Awards in London, also with Elton John.

RuPaul was signed to a modeling contract for MAC Cosmetics, making him the first drag queen supermodel. Various billboards featured him in full drag, often with the text "I am the MAC girl." It also released his autobiography, Lettin' It All Hang Out. He promoted that book in part with a 1995 guest appearance on ABC's All My Children, in a storyline that put it on the set of Erica Kane's talk show "The Cutting Edge".

The next year he landed a talk show of his own on VH1, called The RuPaul Show, interviewing celebrity guests and musical acts. Diana Ross, Nirvana, Duran Duran, Pat Benatar, Mary J. Blige, Bea Arthur, Dionne Warwick, Cyndi Lauper, Olivia Newton-John, Beenie Man, Pete Burns, Bow Wow Wow, and the Backstreet Boys were notable guests. His co-host wasMichelle Visage, with whom he also co-hosted on WKTU radio. On one episode, RuPaul featured guests Chi Chi LaRue and Tom Chase speaking about the gay porn industry.

Later in the year he released his second album, Foxy Lady, this time on the L.A.-based Rhino Records label. Despite his growing celebrity, he failed to chart within the Billboard 200. However, the first single "Snapshot" found success in the dance market and went to number four on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. It also enjoyed limited mainstream success, charting at number ninety-five on the Billboard Hot 100 (which was its second and only other Hot 100 entry). The second single "Little Bit of Love" only charted at number 28 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. The album featured covers of a 1981 Diana Ross song "Work That Body", co-written by Paul Jabara and "If You Were a Woman and I Was a Man", originally recorded by Bonnie Tyler. Because of his strong fan base within the gay community, RuPaul has performed at gay pride events and numerous gay clubs. During this time RuPaul helped launch the return of WKTU radio in New York City and would serve as host (with Michelle Visage) of the morning show until 1998.

In 1997, he released his third album, a Christmas album entitled Ho, Ho, Ho. He has had guest appearances in many films, including both Brady Bunch movies, in which he played Jan's female guidance counselor. In 1997, RuPaul teamed with Martha Wash to remake the classic disco anthem, "It's Raining Men". The song was included on the 1998 compilation CD RuPaul's Go Go Box Classics, which was a collection of some of his favorite dance songs by other artists; this would be his third and final release through Rhino Records and a major record label. It was during this time that he appeared in Webex TV commercials and magazine ads. In 2002, he recorded with Brigitte Nielsen, credited as Gitta, the Eurodance track "You're No Lady".

In 2004, RuPaul released his fourth album, Red Hot on his own RuCo Inc. label. It received some dance radio and club play, but very little press coverage. On his blog, RuPaul discussed how he felt betrayed by the entertainment industry, particularly the gay press. In one incident, it was noted that the magazine Entertainment Weekly refused to review the album, instead asking him to make a comedic contribution to a fashion article. He likened the experience to "a black person being invited to a party, but only if they'll serve." Despite his apparent dissatisfaction with the release, Red Hot showed RuPaul returning to the top of the dance charts in the US with the lead off single "Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous" hitting number two on the dance chart. The second, "WorkOut", peaked at number five. The third and final single from the album "People Are People" a duet with Tom Trujillo peaked at number 10. The album itself only charted on the Top Electronic Albums chart, where it hit number nine. When asked about this in an interview, RuPaul said, "Well, betrayed might be the wrong word. 'Betrayed' alludes to an idea that there was some kind of a promise made to me, and there never was. More so, I was disappointed. I don't feel like it was a betrayal. Nobody promises anything in show business and you understand that from day one. But, I don't know what happened. It seemed I couldn't get press on my album unless I was willing to play into the role that the mainstream press has assigned to gay people, which is as servants of straight ideals."

related news:RuPaul speaks about society and the state of drag as performance art


On June 13, 2006, RuPaul released ReWorked, his first remix album and fifth album overall. It features reworked versions of songs from his back catalog, as well as new recordings. The only single released from the album is a re-recording of "Supermodel (You Better Work)", reaching number twenty-one on the U.S. dance chart. June 20, 2007 saw the release of Starrbooty (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) on iTunes in the US. The single "Call Me Starrbooty" was digitally released in 2007. The album contains new tracks from the singer as well as interludes with dialogue from the movie. The film was released on DVD in October 2007.

In mid 2008, RuPaul began producing RuPaul's Drag Race, a reality television game show which aired on Logo in February 2009. The premise of the program has several drag queens compete to be selected by RuPaul and a panel of judges as "America's next drag superstar". The first season's winner was BeBe Zahara Benet, and first runner-up Nina Flowers was chosen by fans as "Miss Congeniality" through voting via the show's official website. In publicity preparation for the new show, RuPaul made appearances as a guest on several other shows in 2008 including as a guest judge on episode 6 of season 5 of Project Runway and as a guest "chef" on Paula's Party.

In March 2009, RuPaul released the album Champion to iTunes and Amazon. The album topped the iTunes dance album chart at #1 and features the dance singles "Cover Girl" and "Jealous of My Boogie", both anthems from the reality show RuPaul's Drag Race. Logo's second annual NewNowNext Awards in 2009 were hosted by RuPaul. There he performed "Jealous of My Boogie (Gomi & RasJek Edit)". In March 2010, RuPaul released his second remix album, Drag Race to iTunes. The album features remixes of songs from the 2009 album Champion and the brand new song "Hit the Floor".

In April 2011, coinciding with the finale of season 3 of RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul released his fifth studio album Glamazon, produced by Revolucian, who previously worked with RuPaul on his album Champion. The album charted on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart and the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart at #11 and #8 respectively. In July 2011, RuPaul released another remix EP on iTunes entitled SuperGlam DQ, which features remixes of tracks from Glamazon, remixes of the "Drag U Theme Song", and a new song, "Sexy Drag Queen". Starting in June 2011, the second season of RuPaul's Drag U aired. Late 2011, promotions for RuPaul's Drag Race (season 4) began. RuPaul made appearances on The Rosie Show and The Chew, and also attended a Drag Race NY Premiereparty at Patricia Fields store in New York. Season 4 of RuPaul's Drag Race premiered on Logo (TV Channel) on January 30, 2012, with RuPaul returning as the main host and judge.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Intolerant View Of Tolerance ...............

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Sometimes we have to breathe and also pay attention to concerns from allies and opposition equally and learn from them. Ian Boyne is one just voice I think, here is a piece from the gentleman:


Ian Boyne, 

I am increasingly disturbed by a growing - indeed, galloping - intolerant view of tolerance. Tolerance is being subtly and manipulatively redefined as a mask for crass intolerance. Liberals are the main purveyors of this illiberal view. It is pernicious. And it must be called out.


An excellent demonstration of this new prejudice masquerading as sophisticated, enlightened thinking is atheistic social psychologist and gay rights advocate, Dr Keon West's piece in last Tuesday's Observer titled 'Out of Many, One People'. Keon, son of anti-gay, anti-abortionist fundamentalist Christian Dr Wayne West, is a Rhodes Scholar with an impeccable academic record.


West begins his article innocuously and captivatingly enough: "In June this year, I got married. One of my best men was Nawaz Ahmad. He is one of the kindest, wisest, most principled people I have ever met. Nawaz is a devout Muslim. I don't think Allah exists. Still our relationship is characterised by mutual respect and admiration ... . We appreciate each other's advice and respect the other's intelligence and morality. I think highly of his wife, who covers her hair. He thinks highly of my wife, who does not.


"I would vigorously oppose any law that prevented him from praying to Mecca or respecting Ramadan, as he would vigorously oppose any law that forced me to do so or prevented me from drinking alcohol." Lovely, touching story of friendship and respect, indeed.


West is telling us this story for a reason: "I say this to help you understand the sharp contrast between real love and respect and what happened on September 15, 2012, on the streets of out-of-many-one-people Jamaica. During this act with the Orwellian name 'Love March', a group of Christians demanded that the private sexual lives of all Jamaicans be subject to their religious prejudices and that our laws punish those who do not conform to their prejudices."


Notice the clever use of emotive words - "Orwellian", "prejudices". But, more important, note the massive leap in non-sequitur reasoning: If I really love and respect you, there is no way I could march against anything you embrace. So tolerance is redefined as public non-resistance to anything you, my respected friend, accepts.


So if I really love you as a Republican and respect you, there is no way I would participate in a march against your Republican ideas or demonstrate against your trickle-down economics. If you are a prostitute, I can't march against prostitution and love you.


Is democracy still alive?


On September 15, a group of conservative, fundamentalist Christians who are convinced by their reading of Scripture that homosexuality is sinful and morally degenerate came together to march against that. I had thought that was their democratic right. I thought that as citizens in a free society they had the right to demonstrate against something they found abhorrent - whether it is or not.


They peacefully demonstrated and spoke against homosexuality. Why is "real love and respect" counterpoised to that? This is the reasoning from a PhD from Oxford! He gives this mushy story about an atheist and a Muslim, parading himself as a paragon of civic virtue (tolerance) and contrasting his own enlightened, tolerant view with those of those bigots who were on the streets of Kingston acting out their prejudices against fellow Jamaicans.


West goes on to exhibit his intolerant and jaundiced view of tolerance: He is back to his friendship with Nawaz. Says West: "Nawaz believes some of my personal decisions are morally misguided; I think the same of some of his. But where we disagree we debate each other like rational, respectable adults. And if we fail to convince each other, the disagreement and the respect need not cancel out each other; friendship is not contingent on agreement."


I agree totally, but notice this other leap of logic from our Rhodes Scholar: "Neither of us would dream of marching to demonise the other's lifestyle, as though increased volume were an appropriate substitute for sound reason or good evidence."


West is not done: "Neither of us would be presumptuous enough to pretend that we 'loved the other too much to let him continue in his misguided ways'." We would see such a thinly veiled attempt at social control for what it was - arrogance and hostility." What? Notice the emotive words - "demonise", "presumptuous", "social control", "arrogance" and (it gets worse) "hostility".


Friends without opinions


According to the West Doctrine of Love and Respect, if you are his friend, you can't participate in any public march or demonstration against any lifestyle he embraces or against any ideology deeply held. That's demonising him, disrespecting him, being arrogant and, indeed, being hostile.


To be his true, respectful friend, you can debate him vigorously, but stay in your yard or on your verandas; don't you dare venture out to take your disagreement public. That's disloyal. That's demonising, unloving; indeed, hostile. Welcome to the new definition of tolerance! Philosopher John Locke must be turning in his grave - as must Sir Karl Popper, and those ancient philosophers who graced early Athens with their lively, contentious debates. Now debates must be private.


West, not satisfied with his previous leaps and non-sequitur turns, continues the intellectual gymnastics: "If you find it unbearable that other people do not agree with your world view, I feel sorry for you, because there's a lot of difference out there, and it's not going away." But West would certainly like the "prejudices", "arrogance" and public demonstrations of anti-gay activists to go away. No tolerance for such "homophobic" acts. That's what should be outlawed, Dr West would perhaps advise.


There are militant atheists like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and John Loftus and that firebrand, the late Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens fervently believed - and other militant atheists fervently believe today - that their counterparts have been too passive and quiescent and have allowed too much religious bigotry and plain obscurantism to run wild. Religious ignorance and nonsense, say these militant atheists, have been allowed to run unchallenged by no-rock-the-boat atheists who have adopted a live-and-let-live approach.


But people like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have contended in their books and public utterances that religion is not harmless or benign. It is downright dangerous, harmful to humans, especially children, and should be vigorously, strenuously opposed and campaigned against.


Why couldn't a Harris or Dawkins be a respectful friend of mine, my being a theist? I could well have as a friend a militant atheist who respects me and wonders every day how someone supposedly as bright as I am can be so foolish to believe in a god or a "contradiction-ridden", "morally problematic" book like the Bible. That atheist could love and respect me, but believe that for psychological reasons I hold on to religion and have allowed my heart to rule my head.


That does not mean that friend could not march to have prayers banned in Jamaican schools and at civic and parliamentary functions; march to ban devotions at public-sector offices; march to take Christ out of Christmas and replace it with just secular Xmas. Respecting me and loving me does not mean he can't lobby actively against my views. He might think my views on sexual morality are absolutely idiotic. He might lobby for prostitution and polygamy to be legalised - the very opposite of my ethical positions.


But my view of tolerance means that I respect his right to public advocacy against my views and even against what I hold as more precious than own life. (And there are some things that I personally believe are worth dying for.)


So this view that I can tolerate anything but the denial of my being (whether my sexuality or something else) is not a very tolerant one. Why should a Christian march in a free, democratic country to retain the buggery laws be deemed an act of hostility? These Christians believe homosexuality is an abomination, an evil punishable in eternal hellfire. They want to save homosexual sinners - some of whom are their friends - from that fate.


If it's okay to shout, "Fire! Fire!" to save some person genuinely threatened by fire, why if these persons believe that an eternal fire awaits those who engage in homosexual conduct, should they not peacefully demonstrate and draw attention to this consequence?


'Right' worth protecting


They might be misguided, blinded and foolish. But in a democracy, people have the right to be misguided, blinded and foolish! Or do people like Rhodes Scholar West believe that it is the duty of the intellectual elite to paternalistically force enlightenment on these noble savages?


Give people the right to their way-out, outdated, foolish views. You then enter the public domain and show up their silliness and stupidity. And doing that does not mean you disrespect them and don't love them. Tolerance does not mean our views converge. It means precisely that we really disagree substantially and fundamentally but, like Voltaire, we would defend your right to your views and we hold that right sacrosanct.


In some of my religious presentations, I criticise religious groups by name when I disagree with their theological doctrines. Many are deeply offended by this. Some never return to hear me again. They resent the fact that I call names of denominations which teach what I consider biblical errors. They say that's discourteous, rude, arrogant and intolerant.


But economists, political scientists, philosophers and biologists routinely criticise certain theories and even name academic colleagues who hold those views. And that is considered academic freedom and, indeed, academic rigour. Religious people and pro-gay activists, though, are deeply offended and easily rush for emotive language as a fig leaf to cover their intolerance and emotional immaturity.


West concludes his Observer piece in Manichaean terms: The struggle is not between gay and straight, he says. "It is being fought between mature adults who will treat each other with respect, despite their differences, and the bigots who will not." I agree, Keon, but who really is the bigot in this picture? I suspect my answer is as far from his as the East is from the West.


Ian Boyne is a veteran journalist. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and ianboyne1@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

LGBT History Month - Allies & Friends Posthumous recognition 2012 .... "Tanus" or "Ally"

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Alton "Tanus" Lawrence left us in August of this year after a brief illness and hospitalization, he has done it if ever from being integral with the male netball teams on and off the court, administration, scoring goals when he could at matches, starting teams, organizing training and recruitment, volunteer for various projects, short term member on the GLABCOM Steering Committee and even one time model for a popular diva's agency in years gone by.

He was more known for his work with Jamaica AIDS Support for Life as the trusted driver in the latter years and also jumping around in the office apart from the sports work. Many male netballers gay or straight have either been trained, play alongside, played opposite to him or have been influenced by his sneaky style on the court where he was either centre or sometimes goal attack when that person was not available. His style at the management meetings a few of which I have been able to see where cute at best as he reserves his comments and then smashes any opposition with his unusual style.

I can remember matches in mostly Kingston when I could get to see them, there were exciting and members of the public would stand in awe watching real men playing what was considered a woman's game despite the snide remarks and snickering sometimes the men would play even harder to show their stuff and the cheers from the mostly gay crowd was loud. I can remember an infamous match at Stadium East where a basketball match was happening at the same time and that match literally stopped as their supporters curious as they were looked over in disbelief as the two male teams went at it, he intervened as some of the comments were less than flattering but the game continued with both fans watching until it ended, then the halted basketball game recommenced.

Even selected Sunshine Girls from the old squad would admire and ask for training time to sharpen their own skills as the boys were fierce and fast on the court. 

The teams which shall remain nameless for now have won several local and international awards and have gotten some local media attention but not nearly enough as they really deserve. 


Here is a poem from a distant friend:

A Prayer for Alton: A fallen Soldier

We laughed, we joked we share time and space we had many fights and so equal were the make ups. We called each other silly names and we all wanted the same for a community that we belong to. There were days i wanted to just kill you but I would always kill for you because you were my brother and friend as the years passed by we often times didn't see each other and when we did it was like the breaking dawn of spring. Last night I laid in bed just gazing out my window at the lights when another soldier of love and life Yvonne Artis wrote a message to me saying you were gone from us.



In the words she wrote I felt her heartache and I saw her tears because you were no longer in the room next door but you were gone to rest with your God. Fly on brother enjoy the splendours of the after life for I know not when but You and I will meet again,When we're least expecting it,One day in some far off place, I will recognize your face,I won't say goodbye my friend,For you and I will meet again but until that day comes Rest in Peace................ and the words of this song carry you over the mountains to the other life on the other side........and I never thought I'd feel this way and as far as I am concerned am glad I got the chance to say that I do believe I love...............keep shining keep smiling knowing you can always count on me for sure that's what friends are for.................Rest well and may light perceptual shine upon you.


LGBT Sports development has been the better for his presence along with others gone before him such as Michael Johnson whose shoes he tried to fill after his untimely death after a netball stint in the Caribbean.


see also: Remembering Mickey J from GLBTQ Jamaica
RIP Ally and thanks.

Here is one of his favourite requests when he would come out to party or order CDS from me (wearing my DJ hat here) (smile)


Whitney Houston - You'll Never Stand Alone (Tony Moran Remix)


Peace and tolerance

H

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The vacuum nature hates: Grassroots activism ... the bargain mall acid incident follow up

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On the weekend preceeding the Heroes Day holiday an acid throwing incident occured at the bargain mall in Half Way Tree at a popular bar, this is the same bargain mall that featured in the so called k12 threat some time ago which I had done an extensive post on, there seems to be never a dull day in Jamaica well at least other members of the community are now taking this blogging thing seriously which is good for the forumatic activity and venting of the issues is required.

also see:



Also on Sunday afternoon as I walked passed a group of taxi drivers and others the issue was still being discussed and a member of the community who operates a clothing store and a gay club elsewhere (how they knew is strange to me) hurled veiled threats that "no battyman ting roun' ere"

Here is a post where the acid thrower was interviewed by the writer of the post on the queen's yellow brick road:

It is said you wont know what it feels like, until you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoe.

Drag Queens/Transgenders are perhaps the most maligned of the LGBT community, both within the community and within the straight world. For a very base appreciation of who/what a drag queen transgender is, a drag queen is a born male who is happier and most comfortable dressed and being female. This is a hard to swallow concept for many. why would a man want to dress and feel like a female? How is it that he only feels complete and whole if he walks and talks, looks and feels like a woman, and doing anything else would be fake? Who knows, it is what it is, and perhaps the same confusion is the cause of the marginalisation of gay people, as straight people struggle to justify how a woman can please and love another woman, or how a man can find masculinity sexy. For many of us as gay people, being attracted to the same sex is what is natural for us, where attraction to the opposite sex is unnatural. We would not feel complete or whole doing anything else?

The church says it is a demon, and perhaps like the inquisition against witches who were really normal women hunted and killed at stakes, the church orders/supports/influences such murders and then stay quiet while it happens. Families are ashamed, and try to ignore the ‘signs’, but can not help but convey the disgust, whether influenced by their fear of their loved ones being hurt or the pain that maybe they did something to cause it. The state ignores them and those sworn to serve and protect, abuse. A mile in these shoes would leave anyone with severe corns, manifested in anger, resentment, abandonment, hate and perhaps all the trappings of a wild life, living without the opportunity to have or believe in dreams…a constant nightmare.

Amber Rose:

I had the opportunity to meet one of the most beautiful young promising gay men, just entering the scene about 3 years ago…Rojae, he had the sweetest shy smile, gorgeous skin, nice body…clean and pretty attending school, not knowing much gay men, hanging with a bunch of lesbians and begging for the chance to go to a gay party, even if its all girls. I turned him down, because Pandora: The Magic City was strictly for women. I saw him staring at this pretty pink princess looking short dress, he wanted to try it on, giggling and blushing all the way…I zipped the dress up on him in the changing room, taking sad note of how excited he was to be in the closet at the back of the store, see himself in a pretty pink pumpkin dress. Looking at him, I never imagined his eyes would light up as much at the thought of putting on a dress, I had met the issues of transgenders and the struggles involved in living in the skin they knew was not theirs as it didn’t match how they felt inside. Seeing the peace in the smile of someone who is allowed to settle into themselves is heart warming and Rojae warmed my heart. I lost touch with him for a while, and then turned up Amber Rose…fierce drag queen very unlike his alter-ego in attitude, great dresser but unfortunately always in arguments and fights. The transformation from Rojae to Amber was hugely contrasting…night and day, black and white. In our 30 minute discussion about the incident at Bargain Mall, on Saturday October 13th, I tried to understand what happened. Rojae/Amber is now 19 years old, and has been living the fast and furious life of Jamaican drag queen. He has never been exposed to programmes at JASL or JFLAG (the leading agencies with access to and ‘working ‘ with gay Jamaicans , it has been a long held criticism that JFLAG and JASL only works with certain classes/types of gay men…whiles the others (like Amber) are ignored/marginalised.

Drag Queens and Butches arguably face the most challenges in attempting to survive everyday in this homophobic society, the poor ones, without family support have it even harder. In trying to find a solid enough base/launching pad in the absence of family and social acceptance from which to begin exploring life, the start off is usually shaky with support garnered from the available source of equally marginalised gay youth without guidance and launching pads.

When I asked Amber, what happened, what caused the change? His simple reply without thought was:


‘Mi just fed up, Mi just fed up of straight people a tek disadvantage ah wi, and mi just feel like a stoppage must put to it, and that’s why mi a stand up fi my community and a defend my community’.

The reaction to Amber’s standing up to what is regular and expected by so many gay people is met with varied degrees from appreciation to outright disgust and anger. Some people say the straight guy deserved what he got for attacking Amber and that they should start leaving gay people alone, saluting Amber for not backing down after being attacked in a club knowingly frequented by members of the LGBT community; while others are blaming Amber for her activities that will make straight people more mad at us.

According to Amber, she went into the club as she usually does, the bartender calls out to her, she wasn’t sure and turned to ask if the bartender actually called her, the answer was ‘no’. However, a straight patron decided to make his disgust with ‘battyman’ known and felt as he hurled a bottle at Amber. The typical response would be for the gay man and every other gay person in the club (despite the ratio of gay to straight) to leave, with common sentiments of ‘this is Jamaica and we don’t belong here anyway’. Not the evolved dragon Amber, she asked him what he knew of her and the guy threw another bottle, and the fraca began, Amber claims that in self defense she took out her weapon and stabbed the guy in his hand before he could hit her again. She said she only became aware of the acid incident on leaving the mall and feeling her own skin as if it were set on fire.

Amber has single-handedly, and it would seem by some supernatural power and divine influence, at 19 years old, decided to take on this fight with straight people as she is simply ‘fed up’. She is adamant that Jamaica is as homophobic because of the amount of illiterate people who populate it and that the government must recognise that gay people are people too and leadership is needed to address this. She acknowledges JFLAG’s presence but believe that the ordinary gay and lesbian need to chip in, and stop running and hiding, as they are also part of the struggle for change. She thinks more presence in the media, a peaceful and secured demonstration, as well as meetings with public and government officials sensitizing them to the plight of gay Jamaicans is what is needed now. She is very aware, and though she won’t readily admit it, that many people see her and her attitude as a curse to the gays being accepted. Despite that like Joan of Arc she is confident that this is something she must do, almost like its her purpose.

I shudder to think how this will turn out, will Amber get the support, guidance and partnership from JFLAG and the rest of the community to fulfill her passion for a Jamaica where gay people are free to be, or will her radical attitudes render her just another dead saint, who becomes a fable.

There are ripest opportunities in deepest darkness, it is just a matter of perspective, Amber has been on radio programmes and is willing to become a visible drag spokesperson, willing to do TV or whatever it takes to move this forward. Would it be better if we engaged her, exposed her to the big picture and try to see if, where or how she might be able to positively help create the change, or will we operate as normal, ignoring the true issues but focusing on the personalities we like or don’t like, to the detriment of arriving at a solution that is for as much people as possible…inclusive and not marginalizing?

Whose call is it? There is a vacuum.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Coming Out (or outed) 2012

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Two years ago I did a post on 'coming out' in February 2010 way before the October Coming Out recognition period with this month being LGBT HISTORY MONTH as well and a long time blog follower brought it to my attention as I had posted an entry with suggestions for coming out transgender on sister blog GLBTQJA on Wordpress this year and they were reminded of that msm angled entry made here. Interestingly with all the happenings since this year several positive historic outings have occurred including activists making public appearances although being atheists which is really good to see and hear independent voices representing LGBT issues.


Anyway back to the coming out issue as October 11th is recognized as coming out day almost everywhere is the old post then and strangely the same issues abound today. With the almost daily accounts of displacements for the slightest mistakes made on the internet or at home there is some cause for concern as to how to engage young LGBT people in particular to come out in a way they see fit and not BE OUTED by mistake with disastrous consequences. Given our environment these days however can we be really "Out" as we would like to be?





The post from 2010 February:


These days in the Jamaican context one can imagine the difficulties same gender loving men young and old alike have in the coming out process. That can be defined as either voluntarily doing so or forcibly outed by just family members and friends prying into the private lives of persons who do not have a member of the opposite sex romantically present in their lives and publicly displaying their affections to each other. The proverbial questions asked by usually inquisitive older family members like, where is your girlfriend or boyfriend? as the case maybe or when are you going to produce children or grandchildren? These annoying taunts sometimes are brushed off with convenient answers like soon or he/she doesn't want to come to my house yet so as to avoid the pestering.


Many homosexuals or MSMs in Jamaica end up being outed after the above issues go on for a protracted period and when the family membership, friends or nosy neighbours don’t see the partner of the opposite sex forthcoming then the all too familiar rumour and whispers increases usually unbeknown to the subject. There have been cases as well where the desire to prove their suspicions leads to searching personal effects such as cell phone message inboxes or emails if they get access to those communication areas. I distinctly recall a case a couple years ago where a young man was rebuffed by his family and thrown out of the house with his belongings after his mother instructed his younger brother to search his phone for suspicious gay activity, her suspicious were confirmed when several private messages were discovered, she proceeded to hold on to the phone as proof and showed the damming messages between himself and alleged male counterparts to his father and other neighbours thus occasioning their demand for his exit. He eventually moved out of the community under some police protection.


Our socialization is much more closely nit as neighbours are more friendly than other jurisdictions so people tend to knowingly (“Fass”) pry into affairs of the heart if needs be, if a single man for example lives alone and has no female companions visiting or over nighting then he is watched closely for suspicious clues of his sexuality. Disturbingly sometimes other undercover gay and bisexual persons participate in this rumour mill of sorts to cover their own tracks especially if they have no visible clues of gayness for e.g. effeminate aesthetics, metro sexual attire or association with the subjected individual(s) in question. Certainly over time many gay men who had suffered this forced outing process have complained that other gay men have outed them by pointing them out to the prying audience and with very little way of defending oneself at this point the outed person(s) usually for their own safety quietly and quickly relocate to avoid problems.

There are more positive accounts however of persons coming out to more tolerant family members and friend but usually these accounts come from persons who are travelled and exposed to other cultures predominantly the United States and the UK. Social class has a lot to do with this as well as many of these accounts come from upper middle income earning households who have a different take on the coming out process almost mimicking a North American approach but sometimes the negative impacts include exclusion from a will (loss of access to the trust fund), ostracism from the home, malice, loss of privileges and family breakups.

I doubt if there is anything on record at JFLAG that properly documents this phenomenon or track the persons involved most of what I have garnered is from memory or my own tracking of past cases I am aware of.

Another tragic outing process is through the mass media when sometimes embellished stories make front page news like the recent Barbie episodes or persons forcibly evicted from their homes and the actions justified in some sense by the writers of the respective articles. Who can forget the very public outing of two gay men in western Jamaica several years ago when they were allegedly escorted by police to the station on foot in the nude after neighbours called the cops under suspicion that the men were gay and having sex in their home. The police were said to have entered the home and ordered the men to undress then told them to follow them to the station much to the jeering and laughter of the public looking on. Respect for the precinct or sanctity of the threshold of ones home is usually smashed when invaders be they arms of the law or rowdy members of the public seem to think they have a right to mame alleged gay individuals anywhere and anytime.

Probably a set of programs or courses need too be implemented to aid experts in human sexuality gays, lesbians and their families about the coming out processes, its implications and tolerance that could include the tenets of the law where privacy, freedom of choice, sexuality and basic rights are concerned.

Mi a wonda a who a go dweet doh ? As di people dem who fi dweet nah seh nuttin.

Public comments please or email lgbtevent@gmail.com.



Original posts ENDS

Some suggestions in Coming out to family members

Some reactions you may want to prepare for:

■ Some parents may react in ways that hurt. They may cry, get angry or feel embarrassed.

■ Some parents will feel honored and appreciate that you have entrusted them with an important piece of truth about yourself.

■ Some parents will need to grieve the dreams they had for you, before they see the new, more genuine life you are building for yourself.

■ They may ask where they “went wrong” or if they did something “to cause this.” Assure them that they did nothing wrong.

■ Some may call being GLBT a sin, or attempt to send their child to a counselor or therapist in the baseless hope that they can “change.”

■ Some parents will already know you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender — or they might have an inkling. They may have been waiting for you to tell them, and find your doing so a relief.

■ It may take time for a parent to absorb or come to terms with the information. Good or bad, their initial reaction may not reflect their feelings over the long term.

Remember that your parents grew up in a time when some of the stereotypes about GLBT people were more prevalent than they are today.

Remember, too, that they’re probably trying to keep you safe from something they do not understand.

Finally, keep in mind this is big news, and there’s no timetable for how long it takes parents to adjust.

Deciding to Tell Others

Most people come out because, sooner or later, they can’t stand hiding who they are anymore. They want their relationships to be stronger, richer, more fulfilling and authentic. Once we do come out, most of us find that it feels far better to be open and honest than to conceal such an integral part of ourselves. We also come to recognize that our personal decision to live openly helps break down barriers and stereotypes that have kept others in the closet. And in doing so, we make it easier for others to follow our example.

The Benefits of Coming Out:

■ Living an open and whole life.

■ Developing closer, more genuine relationships.

■ Building self-esteem from being known and loved for who we really are.

■ Reducing the stress of hiding our identity.

■ Connecting with others who are GLBT.

■ Being part of a strong and vibrant community.

■ Helping to dispel myths and stereotypes about who GLBT people are and what our lives are like.

■ Becoming a role model for others.

■ Making it easier for younger GLBT people who will follow in our footsteps.

Along with these benefits, there are also risks. As constructive as the decision is, the reaction of others can be difficult or impossible to predict.

The Risks of Coming Out:

■ Not everyone will be understanding or accepting.

■ Family, friends or co-workers may be shocked, confused or even hostile.

■ Some relationships may permanently change.

■ We may experience harassment or discrimination.

■ Some young people, especially those under age 18, may be thrown out of their homes or lose financial support from parents.

You’re in Charge:

When you weigh the benefits and risks of being open about who you are, it’s important to remember that the person in charge of your coming out journey is you. You decide who to confide in, when to do it and how. You also decide when coming out just may not be right, necessary or advisable

Keep in Mind That:

There is no one right or wrong way to come out or live openly. Choosing to come out or to be open does not mean you have to be out at all times or in all places — you decide how, where and when based on what’s right for you. Your sexual orientation and gender identity are important pieces of you, but they do not have to define you. Living openly doesn’t change all the many unique things that make you, you.

Making a Coming Out Plan

When you’re ready to tell that first person — or even those first few people — give yourself time to prepare. Think through your options and make a deliberate plan of who to approach, when and how. You may want to ask yourself the following questions:

What kind of signals are you getting?

■ You can get a sense of how accepting people will be by the things they say — or don’t say — when GLBT-related issues come up. Try to bring them up yourself by talking about a GLBTthemed movie, TV character or news event. If a person’s reactions are positive, chances are he or she will be more accepting of what you have to tell them.

Are you well informed about GLBT issues?

■ The reactions of others will most likely be based on a lifetime of misinformation, and in some cases even negative portrayals of GLBT people. If you’ve done some reading on the subject, you’ll be prepared to answer their concerns and questions with reliable and accurate information.

Do you know what it is you want to say?

■ Particularly at the beginning of the coming out process, many people are still answering tough questions for themselves and are not ready to identify as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. That’s okay. Maybe you just want to tell someone that you’re attracted to someone of the same sex, or that you feel uncomfortable with the expectations of cultural gender norms. Maybe you just want to tell someone about a new same-sex attraction, or that you’re feeling that your true gender does not align with cultural “gender norms.” Labels aren’t important; your feelings are. Also, you may want to try writing out what you want to say, to help organize and express your thoughts clearly.

Do you have support?

■ You don’t have to do this alone. A support system is an invaluable place to turn to for reassurance. Sources of support can be other GLBT people who are living openly, GLBT hotlines, school guidance counselors, a supportive member of the clergy or, if you are coming out for the second or third time, perhaps the first person you opened up to initially. A supportive mental health professional often helps people become more comfortable. In fact, these are the first people some of us come out to.

Is this a good time?

■ Timing can be very important. Be aware of the mood, priorities, stresses and problems of those to whom you would like to come out. Be aware that if they’re dealing with their own major life concerns, they may not be able to respond constructively to yours.

Can you be patient?

■ Some people will need time to deal with this new information, just as it took time for many of us to come to terms with being GLBT. When you come out to others, be prepared to give them the time they need to adjust to what you’ve said. Rather than expect immediate understanding, try to establish an ongoing, caring dialogue.

■ Remember, the whole reason you chose to be open with the person is that you care about them. If they react strongly, it’s likely because they care about you as well. Keep that in mind as you navigate trying times.

Having the Conversations

Fostering strong, deep relationships with your friends and family begins with honesty. Living openly is important because it allows for closer relationships with the people you care about — and ultimately a happier life for you. For most people coming out or opening up to someone new starts with a conversation.

It’s normal to want or hope for positive reactions from the people you tell, including:
■ Acceptance
■ Support
■ Understanding
■ Comfort
■ Reassurance that your relationship won’t be
negatively affected
■ Confidence that your relationship will be closer
■ Acknowledgment of your feelings
■ Love
All or some of these positive reactions can result from your coming out conversation, but they may not happen immediately. Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes may also be helpful.

A person who has just had someone come out to them often feels:
■ Surprised
■ Honoured
■ Uncomfortable
■ Scared
■ Unsure how to react
■ Supportive
■ Disbelieving
■ Relieved
■ Curious
■ Angry
■ Anxious
■ Unsure what to do next

Give the person you’re telling the time they need. It may also be helpful to remember that the person you’re really doing this for is you. When you’re ready to tell someone, consider starting with the person most likely to be supportive. This might be a friend, relative or teacher. Maybe you will tell this person that you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Maybe you will simply say that you have questions about your sexual orientation or gender identity. Again, there is no right or wrong way to do this. You are the expert in knowing what’s best for yourself and what you are feeling. When you are ready, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
■ Find a relaxed, private place to have the conversation, and allow adequate time.
■ People will usually take their cues from you in how to approach this — so be open and honest and say that it’s okay to ask questions.

Appropriate and gentle humour can go a long way to easing anxiety for both you and the person you are speaking with.

Telling Friends

When you’re ready to come out to friends, you may be lucky enough to have some who are already out themselves, or who have a GLBT friend or relative of their own. Oftentimes, however, coming out to a friend can be a leap of faith. Here are some things you may want to consider:

■ Your friends may surprise you. Those you thought would be least judgmental may be the first to turn away; those who seem least likely to be accepting sometimes offer the strongest support.

■ Don’t assume prejudice. Earlier we mentioned that signals can help indicate someone’s level of support, or lack thereof. While that’s true, it is just as possible to read too much into an off-the-cuff remark. Give your friends a chance to be supportive.

The Coming Out Continuum

Coming out and living openly aren’t something you do once, or even for one year. It’s a journey that we make every single day of our lives. There are three broad stages that people move through on the coming out continuum. For each person it is a little different, and you may find that at times you move backward and forward through the phases all at once.

1) Opening Up to Yourself

The period when your journey is beginning — when you’re asking yourself questions, moving toward coming out to yourself and perhaps the decision to tell others.

2) Coming Out

The period when you’re actively talking for the first time about your sexual orientation or gender identity with family, friends, co-workers, classmates and other people in your life.

3) Living Openly

The ongoing phase after you’ve initially talked with the people closest to you about your life as a GLBT person, and are now able to tell new people that come into your life fluidly —where and when it feels appropriate to you.

further references also see: 

and


Jamaican singer Diana King comes out


Peace and tolerance


H

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Bad Man Nuh F*** Batty (Masculine Men Don't F*** Ass) (The Fear of The Feminine in JA ) 16.04.15


A look at the fear of the feminine (Effemophobia) by Jamaican standards & how it drives the homo-negative perceptions/homophobia in Jamaican culture/national psyche.



After catching midway a radio discussion on the subject of Jamaica being labelled as homophobic I did a quick look at the long held belief in Jamaica by anti gay advocates, sections of media and homophobes that several murders of alleged gay victims are in fact 'crimes of passion' or have jealousy as their motives but it is not as simple or generalized as that.

Listen without prejudice to this and other podcasts on one of my Soundcloud channels

hear recent pods as well:

Information & Disclaimer


Not all views expressed are those of GJW

This blog contains pictures and images that may be disturbing. As we seek to highlight the plight of victims of homophobic violence here in Jamaica, the purpose of the pics is to show physical evidence of claims of said violence over the years and to bring a voice of the same victims to the world.

Many recover over time, at pains, as relocation and hiding are options in that process. Please view with care or use the Happenings section to select other posts of a different nature.

Not all persons depicted in photos are gay or lesbian and it is not intended to portray them as such, save and except for the relevance of the particular post under which they appear.

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Other Blogs I write to:

Recent Homophobic Incidents CLICK HERE for related posts/labels from glbtqjamaica's blog & HERE for those I am aware of.

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APJ Website Launch & Link


Aphrodite's P.R.I.D.E Jamaica, APJ launched their website on December 1 2015 on World AIDS Day where they hosted a docu-film and after discussions on the film Human Vol 1




audience members interacting during a break in the event


film in progress

visit the new APJ website HERE

See posts on APJ's work: HERE (newer entries will appear first so scroll to see older ones)

The Hypocrisy of Jamaican Anti Gay Groups & Selective Actions of Societal Ills


The selectivity of the anti gay religious voices on so called societal ills is examined in this podcast as other major issues that require the "church" to have spoken up including sexual abuse by pastors in recent times yet mere silence on those matters is highlighted.

Why are these groups and so called child rights activists creating mass hysteria and have so much strength for HOMOSEXUALITY but are quiet on corruption in government, missing children, crime in the country and so much more but want to stop same gender loving persons from enjoying peace of mind and PRIVACY?

Also is the disturbing tactic of deliberately conflating paedophilia with same gender sex as if to suggest reforming the buggery law will cause an influx of buggered children when we know that is NOT TRUE.

MSM/Trans homeless - From gully to graveyard



When are lives interrupted be allowed a real honest chance to move from interruption to independence and stability? I just cannot tell you friends.

An article appeared in the gleaner today that just sent me into sadness mode again with this ugly business of LGBTQI homelessness. The author of the piece needs an intervention too as he (Ryon Jones) uses terms such as cross dressers and or homeless men which if transgender persons are present they cannot be described or seen as such, sigh another clear display of the lack of impact and reach of so called advocacies and advocates who are more interested in parading as working but really aint having much impact as they ought to or claim.

We are told of houses being put together from time in memorial; the Dwayne’s House project seems dead in the water, the Larry Chang (named after a JFLAG cofounder) seems stuck in the mud and Colour Pink’s so called Rainbow House seems insignificant in relation to the size and scope of the national problem. JFLAG as presented on this blog is obviously not interested in getting their hands dirty really on homelessness save and except for using the populations as cannon fodder and delegating same; as far as I am concerned presenting them as victims of homophobia which is true but where are the programs and the perceived millions donated or granted since President Obama’s visit to address LGBTQ matters?

More HERE

Dr Shelly Ann Weeks on Homophobia - What are we afraid of?


Former host of Dr Sexy Live on Nationwide radio and Sexologist tackles in a simplistic but to the point style homophobia and asks the poignant question of the age, What really are we as a nation afraid of?


It seems like homosexuality is on everyone's tongue. From articles in the newspapers to countless news stories and commentaries, it seems like everyone is talking about the gays. Since Jamaica identifies as a Christian nation, the obvious thought about homosexuality is that it is wrong but only male homosexuality seems to influence the more passionate responses. It seems we are more open to accepting lesbianism but gay men are greeted with much disapproval.

Dancehall has certainly been very clear where it stands when it comes to this issue with various songs voicing clear condemnation of this lifestyle. Currently, quite a few artistes are facing continuous protests because of their anti-gay lyrics. Even the law makers are involved in the gayness as there have been several calls for the repeal of the buggery law. Recently Parliament announced plans to review the Sexual Offences Act which, I am sure, will no doubt address homosexuality.

Jamaica has been described as a homophobic nation. The question I want to ask is: What are we afraid of? There are usually many reasons why homosexuality is such a pain in the a@. Here are some of the more popular arguments MORE HERE

also see:
Dr Shelly Ann Weeks on Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation


Sexuality - What is yours?

The Deliberate Misuse of the “Sexual Grooming” Term by Antigay Fanatics to Promote Their Hysteria



Just as I researched on-line in NOT EVEN five minutes and found a plethora of information and FACTS on Sexual Grooming (and thanks to Dr Karen Carpenter for some valuable insight I found out what Sexual Grooming was) so too must these fanatics go and do the same and stop creating panic in the country.

The hysteria continues from the Professor Bain so called protests to protect freedom of speech and bites at the credibility of the LGBT lobby collectively continues via Duppies Dupe UWI articles when the bigger principle of the conflict of interest in regards to the greater imperative of removing/preserving archaic buggery laws in the Caribbean dependent on which side one sits is of greater import when the professor’s court testimony in Belize went against the imperative of CHART/PANCAP goals is the more germane matter of which he was former head now temporarily reinstated via a court ex-parte injunction. The unnecessary uproar and shouting from the same hysterical uninformed quarters claiming moral concerns ....... MORE CLICK HERE

also see if you can

JFLAG Excludes Homeless MSM from IDAHOT Symposium on Homelessness



Reminder

In a shocking move JFLAG decided not to invite or include homeless MSM in their IDAHO activity for 2013 thus leaving many in wonderment as to the reason for their existence or if the symposium was for "experts" only while offering mere tokenism to homeless persons in the reported feeding program. LISTEN TO THE AUDIO ENTRY HERE sad that the activity was also named in honour of one of JFLAG's founders who joined the event via Skype only to realize the issue he held so dear in his time was treated with such disrespect and dishonor. Have LGBT NGOs lost their way and are so mainstream they have forgotten their true calling?

also see a flashback to some of the issues with the populations and the descending relationships between JASL, JFLAG and the displaced/homeless LGBT youth in New Kingston: Rowdy Gays Strike - J-FLAG Abandons Raucous Homosexuals Misbehaving In New Kingston

also see all the posts in chronological order by date from Gay Jamaica Watch HERE and GLBTQ Jamaica HERE

GLBTQJA (Blogger): HERE

see previous entries on LGBT Homelessness from the Wordpress Blog HERE

Steps to take when confronted by the police & your rights compromised:


a) Ask to see a lawyer or Duty Council

b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist

c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tense

d) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation

e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports

f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)

g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible

h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violated

i) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions

j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it

Vacant at Last! ShoemakerGully: Displaced MSM/Trans Persons were is cleared December 2014





CVM TV carried a raid and subsequent temporary blockade exercise of the Shoemaker Gully in the New Kingston district as the authorities respond to the bad eggs in the group of homeless/displaced or idling MSM/Trans persons who loiter there for years.

Question is what will happen to the population now as they struggle for a roof over their heads and food etc. The Superintendent who proposed a shelter idea (that seemingly has been ignored by JFLAG et al) was the one who led the raid/eviction.

Also see:

the CVM NEWS Story HERE on the eviction/raid taken by the police

also see a flashback to some of the troubling issues with the populations and the descending relationships between JASL, JFLAG and the displaced/homeless GBT youth in New Kingston: Rowdy Gays Strike - J-FLAG Abandons Raucous Homosexuals Misbehaving In New Kingston

also see all the posts in chronological order by date from Gay Jamaica Watch HERE and GLBTQ Jamaica HERE

GLBTQJA (Blogger): HERE

see previous entries on LGBT Homelessness from the Wordpress Blog HERE


May 22, 2015, see: MP Seeks Solutions For Homeless Gay Youth In New Kingston


New Kingston Cop Proposes Shelter for Shoemaker Gully LGBT Homeless Population




Superintendent Murdock

The same cop who has factored in so many run-ins with the youngsters in the Shoemaker Gully (often described as a sewer by some activists) has delivered on a promise of his powerpoint presentation on a solution to the issue in New Kingston, problem is it is the same folks who abandoned the men (their predecessors) from the powerful cogs of LGBT/HIV that are in earshot of his plan.

This ugly business of LGBTQ homelessness and displacements or self imposed exile by persons has had several solutions put forth, problem is the non state actors in particular do not want to get their hands dirty as the more combative and political issues to do with buggery's decriminalization or repeal have risen to the level of importance more so than this. Let us also remember this is like the umpteenth meeting with the cops, some of the LGBT homeless persons and the advocacy structure.

Remember JFLAG's exclusion of the group from that IDAHO symposium on LGBT homelessess? See HERE, how can we ask the same people who only want to academise and editorialise the issue to also try to address their own when they do not want to get their hands dirty but publish wonderful reports as was done earlier this month, see HERE: (re)Presenting and Redressing LGBT Homelessness in Jamaica: Towards a Multifaceted Approach to Addressing Anti-Gay Related Displacement also LGBT homelessness has always been with us from the records of Gay Freedom Movement(1974) to present but the current issues started from 2009, see: The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes and The Ultimatum on December 30, 2009 as carried on sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch. CLICK HERE for FULL post of this story.

Gender Identity/Transgederism Radio discussion Jamaica March 2014





Radio program Everywoman on Nationwide Radio 90FM March 20th 2014 with Dr Karen Carpenter as stand-in host with a transgender activist and co-founder of Aphrodite's P.R.I.D.E Jamaica and a gender non conforming/lesbian guest as well on the matters of identity, sex reassignment surgery and transexuality.

CLICK HERE for a recording of the show

BUSINESS DOWNTURN FOR THE WEED-WHACKING PROJECT FOR FORMER DISPLACED ST CATHERINE MSM



As promised here is another periodical update on an income generating/diligence building project now in effect for some now seven former homeless and displaced MSM in St Catherine, it originally had twelve persons but some have gotten jobs elsewhere, others have simply walked away and one has relocated to another parish, to date their weed whacking earning business capacity has been struggling as previous posts on the subject has brought to bear.

Although some LGBT persons residing in the parish have been approached by yours truly and others to increase client count for the men costs such as gas and maintenance of the four machines that are rotated between the enrolled men are rising weekly literally while the demand is instead decreasing due to various reasons.



Newstalk 93FM's Issues On Fire: Polygamy Should Be Legalized In Jamaica 08.04.14



debate by hosts and UWI students on the weekly program Issues on Fire on legalizing polygamy with Jamaica's multiple partner cultural norms this debate is timely.

Also with recent public discourse on polyamorous relationships, threesomes (FAME FM Uncensored) and on social.


What to Do .....




a. Make a phone call: to a lawyer or relative or anyone

b. Ask to see a lawyer immediately: if you don’t have the money ask for a Duty Council

c. A Duty Council is a lawyer provided by the state

d. Talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police

e. Tell your lawyer if anyone hits you and identify who did so by name and number

f. Give no explanations excuses or stories: you can make your defense later in court based on what you and your lawyer decided

g. Ask the sub officer in charge of the station to grant bail once you are charged with an offence

h. Ask to be taken before a justice of The Peace immediately if the sub officer refuses you bail

i. Demand to be brought before a Resident Magistrate and have your lawyer ask the judge for bail

j. Ask that any property taken from you be listed and sealed in your presence

Cases of Assault:An assault is an apprehension that someone is about to hit you

The following may apply:

1) Call 119 or go to the station or the police arrives depending on the severity of the injuries

2) The report must be about the incident as it happened, once the report is admitted as evidence it becomes the basis for the trial

3) Critical evidence must be gathered as to the injuries received which may include a Doctor’s report of the injuries.

4) The description must be clearly stated; describing injuries directly and identifying them clearly, show the doctor the injuries clearly upon the visit it must be able to stand up under cross examination in court.

5) Misguided evidence threatens the credibility of the witness during a trial; avoid the questioning of the witnesses credibility, the tribunal of fact must be able to rely on the witness’s word in presenting evidence

6) The court is guided by credible evidence on which it will make it’s finding of facts

7) Bolster the credibility of a case by a report from an independent disinterested party.

Notes on Bail & Court Appearance issues


If in doubt speak to your attorney

Bail and its importance -

If one is locked up then the following may apply:
Locked up over a weekend - Arrested pursuant to being charged or detained There must be reasonable suspicion i.e. about to commit a crime, committing a crime or have committed a crime.

There are two standards that must be met:

1). Subjective standard: what the officer(s) believed to have happened

2). Objective standard: proper and diligent collection of evidence that implicates the accused To remove or restrain a citizen’s liberty it cannot be done on mere suspicion and must have the above two standards

 Police officers can offer bail with exceptions for murder, treason and alleged gun offences, under the Justice of the Peace Act a JP can also come to the police station and bail a person, this provision as incorporated into the bail act in the late nineties

 Once a citizen is arrested bail must be considered within twelve hours of entering the station – the agents of the state must give consideration as to whether or not the circumstances of the case requires that bail be given

 The accused can ask that a Justice of the Peace be brought to the station any time of the day. By virtue of taking the office excluding health and age they are obliged to assist in securing bail

"Bail is not a matter for daylight

Locked up and appearing in court

 Bail is offered at the courts office provided it was extended by the court; it is the court that has the jurisdiction over the police with persons in custody is concerned.

 Bail can still be offered if you were arrested and charged without being taken to court a JP can still intervene and assist with the bail process.

Other Points of Interest

 The accused has a right to know of the exact allegation

 The detainee could protect himself, he must be careful not to be exposed to any potential witness

 Avoid being viewed as police may deliberately expose detainees

 Bail is not offered to persons allegedly with gun charges

 Persons who allegedly interfere with minors do not get bail

 If over a long period without charge a writ of habeas corpus however be careful of the police doing last minute charges so as to avoid an error

 Every instance that a matter is brought before the court and bail was refused before the accused can apply for bail as it is set out in the bail act as every court appearance is a chance to ask for bail

 Each case is determined by its own merit – questions to be considered for bail:

a) Is the accused a flight risk?

b) Are there any other charges that the police may place against the accused?

c) Is the accused likely to interfere with any witnesses?

d) What is the strength of the crown’s/prosecution’s case?

 Poor performing judges can be dealt with at the Judicial Review Court level or a letter to the Chief Justice can start the process

Human Rights Advocacy for GLBT Community Report 2009

Popular Posts

What I am reading at times ......

Thanks for your Donations

Hello readers,

thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going, my limited frontline community work, temporary shelter assistance at my home and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venture that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part while raising more real life issues pertinent to us.

Donations presently are accepted via Paypal where buttons are placed at points on this blog(immediately below, GLBTQJA (Blogspot), GLBTQJA (Wordpress) and the Gay Jamaica Watch's blog as well. If you wish to send donations otherwise please contact: glbtqjamaica@live.com or Tel: 1-876-841-2923 (leave a message just in case)




Activities & Plans: ongoing and future

  • To continue this venture towards website development with an E-zine focus

  • Work with other Non Governmental organizations old and new towards similar focus and objectives

  • To find common ground on issues affecting GLBTQ and straight friendly persons in Jamaica towards tolerance and harmony

  • Exposing homophobic activities and suggesting corrective solutions

  • To formalise GLBTQ Jamaica's activities in the long term

  • Continuing discussion on issues affecting GLBTQ people in Jamaica and elsewhere

  • Welcoming, examining and implemeting suggestions and ideas from you the viewing public

  • Present issues on HIV/AIDS related matters in a timely and accurate manner

  • Assist where possible victims of homophobic violence and abuse financially, temporary shelter(my home) and otherwise

  • Track human rights issues in general with a view to support for ALL

Thanks again
Mr. H or Howie

Tel: 1-876-841-2923
lgbtevent@gmail.com








Peace

Battle Lines Javed Jaghai versus the state & the Jamaica Buggery Law



Originally aired on CVM TV December 8th 2013, apologies for some of the glitches as the source feed was not so hot and it kept dropping from source or via the ISP, NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED and is solely for educational and not for profit use and review. The issue of the pending legal challenge in the Constitutional Court in Jamaica as filed by Javed Jaghai an outspoken activist who happens also to be openly aetheist.

The opposing sides are covered as well such as
The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society
The Love March
Movement Jamaica

The feature seems destined for persons who are just catching up to the issues and repositioning JFLAG in particular in the public domain as their image has taken a beating in some respects especially on the matter of the homeless MSM front. They need to be careful that an elitist perception is not held after this after some comments above simplistic discourse, the use of public agitation as beneath some folks and the obvious overlooking of the ordinary citizen who are realy the ones who need convincing to effect the mindset change needed and the national psyche's responses to homosexuality in general.


John Maxwell's House