Gay Jamaica Watch’s 5th blogoversary
Started in 2008 on May 8th as Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica the blog was a part of an action item following a series of stake holders and management meetings between board and parish committees of the aforementioned church which was a local branch of the Metropolitan Community of LGBT churches in Florida. The aim then was to raise awareness of the SCJ with local as well as foreign supports via an internet presence using an accessible platform little did I know or even perceive then that it would end up where it is today. In that same series of marathon meetings several other action items that were agreed upon and committed to by others were never carried out to this day and the reports remains on the paper or digital file it was saved on as mere archive material. Here is a clip with Reverend Robert Griffin from the mother church in Florida talks about some of the challenges.
Such are the challenges and hence my frustration with the systems of advocacy in Jamaica. The SCJ blog then highlighted theological, introspective and reflectional posts with a view to affirming Christ’s love for all people at that time to including LGBTQ persons as well in Jamaica and seeing we never had a space nor a church of our own to worship it was an opportune moment seized by many who would make the monthly trek to the various venues for such services. The blog also had some entries I as it administrator with some management approval looked at homophobic and other related matters in Jamaica. Readership then was on the rise as with contributions via submitted articles from the then SCJ Chair and church flock alike with some of my musings.
So overwhelming the homophobic violence reports became that the SCJ blog started to resemble a list of infractions towards LGBT people more so than the original intent of God centred principles, quotes and verses with testimony. So I decided to add another blog under the JFLAG name of which there was approval from the then management committee, over time however challenges came my way as administrator of both blogs as my writing style and that of content was not only about LGBT issues such as entertainment, homophobic, lesbophobic, transgenderiism violence but also bisexuality also I took the bold step of critiquing the very advocacy or lack thereof in certain respects in basically the same style as I do today with the blogs renamed from SCJ and JFLAG.
The renaming came about when several differences of opinion as to content became an issue and an attempt to muzzle my writing was the last straw where I decided to rename both blogs to reflect my opinions. The inherent need to control the narratives about Jamaican LGBT issues by the establishment soon became clear and it did not sit well with myself and some of my long time followers who also transitioned with me to Gay Jamaica Watch, GLBTQJA on Wordpress and GLBTQ Jamaica (formerly JFLAG blog) on blogger.
And so the tradition continues with over 1100 posts to include videos and exclusive original content coupled with news stories and my two cents on current affairs matters of the day. No subject seems off limits as over 100 tags bear witness everything from hypermascilinty to LGBT family life to the controversial MSM homelessness issues which I have been following prior to leaving JFLAG fully in 2010 as my contract expired. I since then worked elsewhere and have also been greatly assisted via donations from readers who pitch in when asked for crisis interventions for persons who I come in contact with.
I want to not only continue to express my opinions and indeed that of others as contributed pieces are also shared but move towards far more frontline work than just the investigative aspects in verifying information for entries. Thanks to you my readers Gay Jamaica Watch now almost at 700,000 hits in the four years according to the figures on the Google tracking map and I hope it can garner a million hits soon. Apparently there were some errors prior to the last numbers I saw before. GLBTQ Jamaica in the meantime has more though while GLBTQJA on Wordpress increased by 45,000 last year over 2011, an impressive jump since I recommenced regular entries and audio/podcast embeds on there. Listenership to the audio posts and podcast recordings have also been slowly rising as persons tend to be gravitating to that medium although your noted concerns that the audio is sometimes too long, the urgency of some materials do require lengthy presentations so forgive me.
Persons have been asking to also make the podcasts/audio posts downloadable especially the older ones which I may reconsider soon but for now they are not.
These include technical ones such as posts appearing in draft sometimes when after correcting errors and spelling, Multiple HTML clash issues with version 4 & 5 and slow loading time which are not the fault of administrators but the blogger platform itself.
Flash player and Skype crashes annoy a few of my readers, again platform related issues
Verifying information that has been reported by shady sources
Meeting the needs of an ever demanding readership for content outside of text for e.g. audio, video and even live streaming requests
The need for more resources such as tools and aids to prepare more digital content
The slow movement towards one of the goals of a related website
The flood of responses via email instead of commenting directly on the blog
The inability to use local parlance far more than normal as mostly overseas readers do not understand them
Anti gay responses and vitriolic answers from other bloggers on the platform
Attempts to soil reputation by surprising persons within the community
The overly lengthy and repetitious responses from a few readers
Competition for news space from overseas stories that seem to attract local LGBT person’s attention and a lack of following local LGBT issues saved and except for the subject matter having shock value or sensationalised. This partly due I feel to our slow divorce from the tabloid press continued tropes over the years on gay matters, after all it sells papers and raises listenership/viewership when aired in the electronic realm.
But all in all I have weathered the storm and for four years, several blog awards nominations both locally and abroad I press on with now four spots each with their own focus. Being one of the first gay bloggers inside Jamaica sharing some of the issues it has been an honour to have done so and I hope to continue serving as best as possible, to be honest I am proud of what has been accomplished thus far, now there are other Jamaican gay bloggers and with the blogosphere creating its own news content mainstream media has sat up and took notice which was what we wanted from the beginning, the recognition of “smaller” voices. Vigilance is key if we are to keep persons on their toes and the public informed of matters that would otherwise be swept under the carpet or hardly looked at.
GLBTQJA on Wordpress - is a compendium of posts from the old SCJ blog, the present Gay Jamaica Watch and GLBTQ Jamaica (blogger) with some exclusive content on entertainment and religiosity.
GLBTQJA on blogger – opened in February 2013 continues the tradition of Gay Jamaica Watch and GLBTQ Jamaica on blogger with emphasis on lesser important stories but exclusives as well on advocacy matters
Gay Jamaica Watch – carries the real hard hitting materials covering advocacy review, homophobia, biphobia, HIV/AIDS matters, Buggery matters, legal issues, theocracy and religiosity, anthropologically tinged entries on hypermasculinty, press releases, effeminacy, studies, videos, party reviews and highlights, Stop murder music exclusives, metro sexuality and entertainment as well as exclusive LGBT Historical entries, audio posts and podcasts with slides and downloads
GLBTQ Jamaica - also with be three years old this year is a more formal look at international LGBT affairs and my position on selected issues, to include asylum issues, letters to the editor, legal changes on same sex laws, European happenings, entertainment, lesbian, Years on review, transgender and bisexual issues, medical matters (to include transitioning), Jamaican/US/UK/Caribbean LGBT Historical entries, lifestyle matters, relationship issues, publications and research and advocacy (or the lack thereof) boosted with videos, slides, downloads, audio and podcast embeds.
Battymantings – is the ex-rated outlet for photos videos of an adult nature for 18 and over.
It has been a pleasure though rough at times serving you my dedicated readers and I hope my attempts to change the way the conversation has been had on many issues about our LGBTQIQ2S experiences has worked or is making an impact, judging from feedback over the years it seems so.
Be vigilant be safe – an old way I used to end my posts with as at the time the frequency of attacks were very high and was the tag on GLBTQ Jamaica on blogger. Thank you so much for your support and remember to tuck a love gift via the donation buttons.
Peace and tolerance