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?
Having been forcefully removed from the Shoemaker Gully in New Kingston little over a year ago, a group of homeless men, some of whom are cross-dressers, has resorted to living among the dead.
The men have made the Cholera Cemetery, which is across from the Canadian Embassy on Waterloo Road in St Andrew, their new home.
But as has been the case wherever they have settled, they are unwelcome neighbours.
"The Gores own that property, and as long as they are aware that anybody is on it, we actually get calls or some emails from them," said Town Clerk Robert Hill.
"[The] Public Health [Department] has squared it (Cholera Cemetery) off that it no longer poses a public-health threat. It is mainly used for billboard advertising now, but there are some plans for developments there. So the persons (homeless men) have really been causing some amount of disturbance, and it is in the confines of an embassy, which may cause some sort of security issue," added Hill.
According to Hill, his office has been working with the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, and meetings have been held with that organisation, the mayor, and representatives of Jamaica Aids Support as they seek to identify long-term accommodation for the particular set of homeless men.
TRYING TO FIND LOCATION
"We are still going through the technical ramification of trying to find a location. We really haven't found anywhere, but we are also monitoring the situation at the Cholera Cemetery and getting them removed," said Hill.
"We know they are hanging out clothes and all kinds of things up there and causing some amount of discomfort and disquiet with the surrounding neighbourhood."
"We have, on more than one occasion, moved them from there, and, of course, the report is that their families don't want them and they don't have anywhere to live," added Hill.
The Kingston and St Andrew Corporation is also looking at lands it owns with the aim of identifying a suitable location for accommodations to be built for the group of nomadic young men.
"If we give them four or five locations within the municipality and they select the one they want, some funding agency would have to find the money, whether an international lobby group or whatever, and they find their engineers and architects and build what they wish within the permissions of the city engineer department and my department," said Hill.
But according to South East St Andrew Member of Parliament Julian Robinson, who had, through his role as a member of the board of the Peace Management Initiative (PMI), moved to provide an intervention for the group of young men, it is difficult to find a solution for them due to their behaviour.
Robinson intervened after the homeless men were accused of carrying out robberies and incidents of public disorder in the New Kingston environs, which forms part of his constituency,
"There are not many people who want them to be housed anywhere near them because of their behaviour. That's just the hard-core reality," Robinson told The Sunday Gleaner.
He said the focus has been dealing with the issue of their behaviour, a task that has been undertaken by the PMI through funding from the British High Commission.
But not all the men have reacted favourably to the intervention, according to Berthlyn Plummer, the PMI's senior social worker.
"The psychosocial intervention has included counselling, personal development, conflict resolution, and mediation," said Plummer. "It is 30 of them that we have been working with on and off. Some of them are very receptive, some are a little hesitant, and some are not receptive at all because they have different issues and different expectations of anything you are doing with them."
Plummer pointed out that the PMI has been working with them since last year because they are a marginalised group as the organisation is neither an activist nor an advocate for homosexuality.
"We have worked with other marginalised groups and we will see family [members] come forward and they are embraced by their community and things like that, but not this group," said Plummer. "It is either they don't want to stay in the communities or the communities don't want them."
Reports continue to come to hand of fights, new additions to the group in Kingston, Montego Bay and St Catherine with all kinds of ghastly outcomes as recent as two weeks ago in a injury matter where someone was cut with a knife after an incident involving two persons over money. Why are the populations still appearing in the news such as the above mentioned article when were told of interventions and what can now be described as deceptive public relations dress-ups. There was a shelter lest we forget and the same organizations named as seeking solutions were the very ones who turned their backs on the then populations so much so that it descended into both Jamaica AIDS Support, JASL and JFLAG getting kicked out their rented office space as the deteriorating relationships and outright indiscipline by a few of the persons.
Homelessness and forced evictions have still not yet risen to level of importance as it should instead it has become a black eye on LGBTQ advocacy; law reform and more formalised middle class imaging of homosexuals and transgender folks in particular has superseded the concern required and honestly rolled out to the benefit of such persons. The tokenism and piecemeal interventions handed out to the populations and paraded as long term is only a piece of deception that lasts until the next major article such as today’s shows up the truth.
Smaller outfits who want to try to help are shunned or not paid attention especially if they cannot be penetrated or controlled by the powers that control the cogs of HIV and LGBT advocacy and they are usually one in the same persons as they cross sit on boards and committees that govern said entities; so how can we ever find a viable solution to this ugly business of spiralling homeless LGBTQ brethrens and sistrens?
Other so called advocates are more interested in ramping up social media likes and managing their online images of addressing issues more so than meeting the populations directly and genuinely caring about their needs; it is sad that this is what it has become and it is such a turn off for older folks like myself both locally and abroad; thankfully more and more the eyes of the previously duped persons who criticised my concerns about the lack of real genuine interest for our homeless and their welfare is now opened especially since today’s article and the comments I have been able to see; questions are being posed as to the relevance of a JFLAG or the parading advocates and their impact on the ground in such matters.
Please check out my previous posts and podcasts below on the subject as my opinions then still stand today and it is sad I have to say that but it is what it is given how they our displaced and homeless colleagues have been treated and sidelined.
Peace & tolerance
New Kingston Cop Proposes Shelter for Shoemaker MSM/Trans homeless persons
MP Julian Robinson claims he wants help for New Kingston homeless gays 2013
And we continue to reap the world-wind for not addressing homelessness when it was manageable 2013
The toss up between MSM homelessness & public order makes news again
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 mostly youth in New Kingston: Rowdy Gays Strike - J-FLAG Abandons Raucous Homosexuals Misbehaving In New Kingston
Why did CVCC & JFJ not Fund a Project/Home for Homeless LGBT Youth in New Kingston instead of the Children’s Home Fiasco that now obtains?
JFLAG has no moral authority to speak on homeless gay men in New Kingston says members of the public. 2014
Tense stand-off between homeless MSM and Security team in New Kingston
'Don't come back here' - Maxfield residents warn gay man after publicized eviction
More forced evictions reported for 2013
Children’s Advocacy & LGBT Agencies inconsistent approach to Homeless MSM Youth
The Quietus ......... The Safe House Project Closes
Homeless MSM to feel the pinch as JASL issues ultimatum (where it all began to go downhill in 2008/9 onwards)