Western Jamaica has been having its share of challenges for some time as my last trip to that side of the world proved when I was raked over the coals by some of my readers there who wanted me to highlight those issues in more detail; alot has happened since that last direct expose with even two unsolved murders linked to the lotto scamming activities allegedly carried out by some gay men who in a bid to leave the trouble of being homeless take on the illegal act to supposedly “eat a food” a recent news item highlighted the issue and Mr Stevenson’s own image has taken a beating since his murder as persons twin the illegal activity with him and his links to the People’s National Party, PNP.
One community influential in Montego Bay directly reported on the weekend when we met at the Kingston leg of the memorial events planned for Bebe that some seven youths to their knowledge are now wandering the city, one drag diva was attacked some time ago in the town as she traversed fully presenting as a woman but was apparently recognised by persons who verbally abused her then moved to make it physical but she made good her escape, in-fighting in the groups and group dynamics have only sought to make it more difficult as alleged lotto scamming earnings cause major uproar and stand offs as well where “house mothers” defend their broods as to who earns more than the other and so on.
The fellas were in good spirits despite the reasons surrounding the memorial as the party swung, there were some good performances by Rosheeka Walker, Macey Antibellum Grey and tributes by others including a short moment of silence.
At least two HIV positive persons who were close to Bebe have been left out in the cold literally and Jamaica AIDS Support for Life Montego Bay and JFLAG came in for some serious vitriol by the inflentials in the morning hours after the party where persons openly recalled the good days with Bebe and the work he had done alongside the parties he hosted, chief among them the LGBT version of the Oscar awards. Persons have arrived at a conclusion that the agencies are not interested in real frontline rehabilitation for displaced persons and when it was revealed by “Chrissy” aka who appeared on a recent Channel 4 Uk documentary on the homeless LGBT persons in New Kingston that no one from JFLAG has directly spoken to her since her coming out via the film and addressing some of the challenges; this news did not go down well with persons in earshot of it while others defending the J claimed the entity had no money, a heated exchange ensued for aw while then things calmed with most agreeing that Chrissy should speak to them about some serious assistance as she has put her face out there not only on behalf of herself but the rest of the cohort.
Bear in mind no one from JFLAG or the other LGBT groups were present at the memorial party which also had some persons fuming as to the respect that should be accorded to Bebe despite the questions of his integrity. So much for community outreach and connectivity.
One party promoter who flew in from London said he has taken in one person who was being assisted by Bebe but he does not know how long he will be able to sustain the assistance, Macey Antibellum already has been assisting persons from as far back as the Safe House Pilot when she bought food and clothing for a few of the residents as well but she too is concerned about the fallout from the loss of Bebe and who will fill the gap was the major question of the morning as the opinions flew. With more displacements adding to the already large numbers on the streets and in benefit of shared housing what is going to happen, other persons are also exercising the asylum route as a means of recovery but of course only persons with genuine cases benefit and there have been some dishonest folks who have made attempts to leave with some negative repercussions including deportations from the UK and the US.
The murder of the RIU entertainment manager and a man from the Maxfield Avenue though marketed by some foreign based activists as homophobic killings was not lost as part of the concerns as well and the whole question of exploitive same gender issues, safety and how these mistakes play out in the public domain were looked at briefly. The Dwayne’s house idea and limited assistance by its Chair Yvonne McCallah Sobers who also was highlighted in the Channel 4 UK film also came in for some criticism by the very youngsters who are benefitting as they said it has to be more than just a plastic bag of food although they are grateful for a while the feel that they are not moving.
To further add to the challenges there was a major brawl in the morning after the event between two of the displaced men over a longstanding matter, bottles were broken (to inflict some wound) harsh words thrown and threats made, myself and an influential from the Sankofa Party promotion team had to intervene which only seeks to highlight the reasons why other sections of the LGBT community stay away from this sometimes explosive issue of homeless LGBT youth as tempers, rage, anger and other behaviours are a turn off for some. Then there are the survival issues and lifestyle matters such as the recent issue in Montego Bay proper of a male commercial sex worker missing a mobbing by seconds literally.
Talks continue with influentials, advocates, party promoters and others including surprisingly the police I am told as some concern was raised by them as to how to clear the men from the streets, the fear is that the same visibility of homeless LGBT persons in New Kingston may very well also become a feature in Montego Bay proper. Other memorials or “nine nights” are being planned for Bebe it has been said and his internment is set for June 27th.
May his soul rest in peace, even though his legacy is clouded with criminal allegations.
also see previous socialite loss:
The loss of a long-timer tragically 2012
The Loss of another community socialite ..
Peace and tolerance