Within the last few days and in the middle of an ongoing seismic shift towards more homo-negativity in the forty year LGBTQ rights struggle in Jamaica as anti gay groups and individuals change their outlook on the issues of homosexuality by more strident public advocacy the integrity of a named advocate in the recent cancellation of Queen Ifrica’s show in the United States which also has only served to anger the same anti gay groups and voices as evidenced in at least four groups on Facebook and even on Twitter as well as tersely worded exchanges and literal vitriol (a word JFLAG likes to use) fly about. This latest free speech threat or muzzling makes the matter of ethics in advocacy centre stage in all this as the struggle is now being made to look as an ethically baseless, characterless fight for dirty sex (anal penetration) with no basis in morals (hence the moral nihilism criticism by the likes of Dr Wayne West of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS).
I know all too well the attempts from even within the LGBT community as well surprisingly where persons try to smudge or smear ones image, ascribing motives and smearing ones integrity, deliberately especially when one speaks the full truth also it came to my attention as well that there has been a fair amount of discouraging party promoters from hiring my services as a DJ as one who helped to open the door for LGBT parties to thrive as they now do; to suggesting my death by drowning some two years ago and even trying to supplant my old Facebook profile reporting it as offensive, rumour mongering, caustic responses and threats by commentators as well, thankfully my INTEGRITY in nearly all cases was the saving grace as persons did not go for or believe the thrusts made by some. I am well aware that my open commentary has not sat well with many but my work is not about towing any lines or pleasing anyone.
‘Advocates’ need to be oh so careful when taking on public persona and issues and MUST have an aire of good standing when doing so and be willing to stand by your work as long as it is based on truth, so that accusations such as this or revelations to this effect will not impact the overall struggle. With very little emphasis however of ethics and integrity placed in recruiting and training advocates I am not surprised in a sense by this latest embarrassment of sorts and is another piece of evidence of unpreparedness of the advocacy structure overall and now when it matters most some cannot stand up to scrutiny albeit with hard evidence to boot their flaws. With the Professor Bain matter in full view of all to see and the links whether real or imagined being used as justification for attacks in public on gay rights activists person’s character have now come up for scrutiny, we already have seen the colouring of the discussion in regards to the dishonesty accusations of the likes of Maurice Tomlinson of AIDSFREEWORLD by Shirley Richards of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship and the aforementioned Dr Wayne West et el, I too have been concerned about this as it does indeed affect the work of the persons involved and by extension the overall look and feel of the struggle.
Persons questioned whether someone who has left Jamaica with debt depriving others of getting access to a student loan so as to also reap the benefits of an education can speak to rights when he has absconded his civic responsibility, the connection being made is if he cannot make such responsibility tantamount to social responsibility then how can he be making demands on the Prime Minister as he did earlier this year when he and others heckled the PM in New York after a UN meeting. In other words if he cannot pay his student loan then don’t make demands for anything as one owes to the state and said state cannot provide benefits to him and others when it is deprived via delinquency and avoidance.
As we witness the selectivity of gay issues being opposed by religious voices who find millions of dollars for full pages ad in print media within the last few days I find it remarkable that integrity is being used to question sections of the LGBT struggle yet children murdered do not get so much traction and strong public advocacy, indeed some of these same voices’ integrity can also be challenged if truth be told, how can persons claiming to be subscribing to Christian values be so selective when welfare issues scream for attention right before our eyes? Homelessness on all fronts to include LGBT persons are right before our eyes yet these Christians are nowhere in sight in being just as strident as they are on the perceived LGBT agenda as it were, even the LGBT groups combined they cannot make one either in regards to a legitimate response to the same issues indeed but I can frankly say that not all voices in the struggle are tainted what I can say is Dwayne Brown has lost some face terribly in the face of this revelation and even I am stunned as I never saw the picture/scan since I often read the online version of the papers instead of the printed editions which carry more materials in them.
‘Advocates’ of whatever stripe MUST be as clear or clean as possible in as far as character and must be able to stand up to scrutiny when challenged, I wonder if Dwayne Brown’s supporters were aware of this and how will they feel upon seeing this coming to light? There has to be some emphasis on ethics and integrity in as far as training, mentoring and preparation for public advocacy or else ones work would be in vain even with the greatest of intentions, it cannot be business as usual and to not mention it is also a deceptive way to operate seeing that one is out and open about the sensitive issues he is said to cover in regards to LGBT rights. Each negative revelation perceived or real directly linked to the struggle only serves to wipe out years of work made by his predecessors and progress made thought small along the national psyche’s trajectory on defeating homo-negativity overall. Massive ground has been lost since the Professor Bain matter from May 18, 2014 when the story first broke in the Gleaner and in such a short time the power has shifted in a sense, how does the dialogue continue after all this when the dust settles (or if); case in point the article “Man to Man is So Unjust” published May 25 2014 by Professor Carolyn Cooper in the Gleaner who despite appearing on JFLAG’s IDAHOT Symposium on May 16, 2014 on Personhood and Sexuality as a speaker she has described some advocates as “Belligerent gay rights activists bringing down disgrace on a distinguished academic who has done so much to protect the health of MSM. Man to man is so unjust. Who di cap fit mek dem wear it.” Who was Miss Cooper addressing here? Some have surmised a certain lecturer who is also aligned to the lead group Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, CVCC calling for Professor Bain’s head, I do wish if persons feel so strongly on issues that direct naming would be far better but character assassinations are now on?
Even old occurrences that I would have thought probably forgotten by some or not so closely monitored have been nestled as justification for stronger anti gay positions/public advocacy as the homeless LGBT persons in the Shoemaker Gully in New Kingston for e.g. has made the list of castigations and how more wealthy gay men abandoned their own but use them for LGBT rights call and convenient HIV agitation with the support of some pastors who have been “brainwashed” by “charismatic gays”; that one has really hit home for me as having been involved in that work most intimately it just hurts to know that the lack of interest from JFLAG, parent organization Jamaica AIDS Support’s board closing of the Safe House Pilot Project 2009 et al has now led to a resurgence of the abandonment premise as had by even Editorials by both major newspapers back then still resonates for some all due to the integrity of one newer advocate being brought to question. Someone suggested that this last point should also be used as a reason for the call of a referendum on buggery and that churches get involved with a view with some reparative therapy for them as part of their rehabilitation. Obviously some folks still see this matter of orientation as a “lifestyle” that can be curbed.
I can imagine that some older advocates must be feeling somewhat defeated in a sense as work done to leave the brick road for others to follow looks destroyed. Sadly more of them are not strong enough to speak openly as I have, even though they are not in the field anymore influence and guidance is crucial none the less.
Integrity needed out there.
and the latest
Yea who have ears to hear let them hear.
Peace and tolerance