Displacements or forced evictions are on the rise anecdotally; as I typed this entry a young man who I am housing barring any strong finances was in the kitchen finishing frying an egg for a sandwich breakfast; I can only offer two weeks or so to him as money is low on both our parts, a challenge faced by some who want to help; I was prevailed upon by a senior statesman who also offered the client some shelter for two weeks but cannot go further and asked me to assist him as he was kicked out of his house by his father in March of this year after a smartphone was left unattended and other perceived profiling by siblings which led to the final edict. I was only made aware of this case upon the request being made of me which raises the issues of under-reporting or low knowledge of such matters as impacted persons suffer in silence and do not reach out until too late of screams for welfare become relevant as a last resort. The unattended phone in this matter was reviewed by siblings, a cousin and again as in previous cases carried on this blog the numerous likes by males of his photos and listed as friends was used a confirmation of his perceived homosexuality; so he was given marching orders though less violently than other cases. With social media making corresponding far more easier than in my younger days when face to face or phone contact was the modus operandi it is just still too easy for mishaps like this one to occur to brethrens out there who just want to navigate gay life peacefully.
Sadly the forward thinking interventions for safe social media navigation by LGBT people is so missing yet still despite so many cases linked to fallouts from that medium or their misuse.
The longstanding tense relationships between genuinely displaced or homeless MSM/transgender individuals and who also practice commercial sex work in open/outdoor spaces versus cruisers or those whose sex seeking behaviour are of a non commercial type but for the pure pleasure of the outdoors has produced some disastrous results these many years I have been involved as an active member of the latter grouping. In so called homophobic Jamaica it is remarkable to me the kinds of men I run into in such spaces where otherwise one would be judging that same person in other spaces as heterosexual based on their demeanour or public homophobic attitudes. Men who hunt other men literally in open spaces aside from a plaza or street dance/outdoor event patroller are usually territorial in the hunt and do not take kindly when their spaces are ‘invaded’ or polluted by genuinely or even friends of displaced groups. The scenes vary and each have their own unique variables.
As numbers increase dramatically still since recent years and loss of some spaces in recent years to development or demolition of spaces and buildings once patrolled as good hiding places, exposure by mistakes from previous cruisers and invasions from homophobic persons that territorialism has become more intense than ever before with some in-fighting as well as men jostle for partners and a good ‘catch’ for some quick but intense fun. The mantra of ‘the closer one is to danger is further one feels from harm’ drives the man as a form of aphrodisiac who wants that good time however short it may be; personal intimate contact is key for us cruisers. Homeless MSM/trans often scorned by other MSM in open spaces and looked down upon due to the sometimes scandalous pigeon-holing by some media and even so called LGBT advocates or undisciplined behaviour of some as shown in numerous newspaper reports, indeed previous blog posts here makes the entire group an anathema so cruisers not interested in CSW type liaisons avoid them as all costs and sometimes chase them away when they are seen to be too close for comfort to spoil the safety and occupation of such safe and valued spaces; especially when the archetypes are effeminate or perceived to be cross dressers they are seen as persona non grata and by mere public association and for protection from any attacks .
Jamaican cruisers who migrated but make occasional visits to Jamaica sometimes return to old haunting spots and that can have some unexpected outcomes as ew faces and gaydar strategies change locally and the visitor may not have known the new styles in train. Smart returnees ask around before visiting a space they once frequented prior to leaving to find out how are things.
The last report I received was in my down period nursing my leg injury and one I was able to confirm in August with some other unconfirmed skirmishes within the MSM populations; thankfully no homophobic instances have occurred to obfuscate the spot’s relevance then but since a popular spot in downtown Kingston has had several challenges as nomadic populations are forced to go there and reside as pressure from police towards the group formerly occupying the Shoemaker Gully and who since relocated to the old cholera cemetery (always a cruising spot and CSW spot as well back in the day) frequented by gays and females alike for commercial and non commercial sexual liaisons. I will declare interest as I resided on an apartment complex nearby at Gore Terrace and we all knew the shenanigans of the guys at night or by the gate of a certain deceased Ambassador or the Sandy Gully nearing the Marketplace complex (when the bridge was single with two lanes). The groups would keep their distance with some cross fertilization but since homelessness in Kingston had become so chronic the lines have been blurred. Another report came to hand some weeks ago where so called protectors of the Cholera cemetery crew had a heated clash involving stone throwing in that valued and longstanding cruising spot in West Kingston. So incensed were the subject of the stone throwing that they had thought of paying the cemetery population a visit to return the favour. There were no injuries but the regulars upset by the incident have curtailed their visits or simply stopped and conduct their hook-ups by phone and social media for now while lamenting their loss as they or I should say we had done so many times before.
Earlier this year a smart phone was stolen by one of the homeless guys (or their friends) downtown in the same spot by knifepoint I since gathered, incidents of which never occurred by MSM perpetrators with regularity but moreso by decoys who know or suspect that ‘battyman’ always traverse the spot so they plant themselves as attractive bate; despite the unwritten rule that persons must not be robbed in certain parts of downtown or West Kingston for that matter. One robbery report I can recall by a decoy the man was fully nude to attract his prey and then the dartstardly deed was done. The failure of agencies such as JFLAG (my frustrations and disappointment noted on this blog and elsewhere) to address homelessness as it ought to be dealt with instead we are left with years of explain-aways and public relations gimmickry. Discomfort comes to folks like me who also in or sex seeking behaviours or practice go ‘out-a-road’ for some good dick to suck of jack off or in some cases a full anal ride with cautious review of the surroundings to void being caught.
Kingston is not Jamaica and other spaces in central and western Jamaica seem to be undergoing this clash of populations and violence as outcomes according to the cruiser grapevine. A man was said to have suffered blows from another man when they clashed at a beach front space in Montego Bay aka Dump up over a ‘catch’; that space has been an old one from way back in the day; both men lost out as the ‘catch’ moved on to another man he found attractive nearby and both apparently left the scene to conduct their affairs; in blaming each other for the loss of the prospect a fight ensued. I too have had that kind of clash but not violently over a ‘catch’ or prospect in sight but is also seen by another in the space. Spots in St Ann such as Ocho Rios have had the intervention of the local government authorities changing an old space cleared by bulldozers and it is to be used for concerts in the wake of the Noise Abatement Act impact on hotels and guest houses; while another spot is now occupied with vendors. An older beach front resort (sorry cannot call the name) that was once a party spot I DJed at several times and doubles as a cruising spot for more mobile middle class gay/bi men on the hunt has been bought and refurbished late last year hence that one has gone forever I suppose.
St Catherine has seen the most in my view disappearance of spaces maybe due to residing there but major changes have come from squatting by persons on old sugar cane lands and river/canal bankings as some of them have been evicted from elsewhere to the almost done new highway by China Harbour (CHEC) have effectively chased away seekers of some testicular fun. Such spaces hardly had any cross-fertilization of homeless MSM/trans as the numbers were not so high prior to 2007 and even if men jumped the scenes the outcomes were not so confrontational. Men of all classes would flock to one particular water way if just to see the endowed ‘thugs’ in the open bathing or the occasional lucky break where one of them may be interested. I was lucky such some years ago and we had a good time for some months before he was forced to move away. One can recall the old rice mill or other spots in the town of Spanish Town itself (now the JUTC/Bashco area) that were frequented by again men of all classes surprisingly with an extortion system of sorts by the hetero-thugs who squatted in shacks across a rail line and who became aware of the shenanigans of lovers of men when a publicised incident in the nineties exposed it; so they capitalised on it by charging the hunters a small fee to access the old structure with time limits too imposed. Younger turks have stepped up their game and a claiming new ground I have gathered in recent years along the waterway spaces; recent robberies generally on said areas and subsequent police patrols in response however have shut down some of the action for now.
Curtailment of outdoor hunting may be the temporary solution for now to avoid clashes and also for safety reasons as general crime is of concern. With more displacements coming especially since the heightened public LGBT advocacy barring any serious redemptive or catchment interventions for the expected spike in numbers of homophobic cases I am wondering how long will the peace between the sub groups be maintained? Some cruisers find normalized sex seeking behaviours boring and lacks the excitement that is the driver for him towards eroticism. I can switch from scene to scene but some of my colleagues in the game do not or simply cannot adjust; there seem to be a psychological issue so well when they have become so used to acting in that regard; especially men who do not have spaces where they live to enjoy sex so they are forced to go out in other spaces and operate in outdoor spaces.
There seems to be an attraction to masculine spaces where there is part concreted areas with shrubbery and old or aged structures that pulls in men for sex in the outdoor. I can recall a space in St Catherine where old buses were parked and it had unusual traffic when compared to other spaces be they beach front or old structures in urban areas. Strangely my visits there as a hunter and HIV outreach back in the day resulted in meeting men who I would not see at other scenes such as parties when I am wearing my DJ hat or other MSM/trans attended gatherings such as the old bi-weekly GLABCOM meetings at an older NGO.
Guess we have to wait until the dust settles on this and the populations have a truce of some kind and things can come back to near normal.
Peace & tolerance
Homeless Awareness Month: Flashback to New Kingston's Displaced MSM 2013
MSM/Trans homeless - From gully to graveyard Oct 2015
New Kingston Cop Proposes Shelter for Shoemaker MSM/Trans homeless persons
MP Julian Robinson claims he wants help for New Kingston homeless gays 2013
also see some previous post from as early as 2009:
On homelessness, evictions, hypocrisy & now JFLAG's own displacement ...............
The Safe House Project background from the conceptualizer …………………
The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes
The Ultimatum on December 30, 2009
And MSM continue to be ready material for data collection
Street MSM Stone J-FLAG – After Being Cleared From Gov’t Property
Kingston’s Homeless MSM challenges scream for proper attention
And we continue to reap the world-wind for not addressing homelessness when it was manageable
Utmost hypocrisy , J-FLAG
A claim on How to help homeless LGBT Jamaicans ..... let us not forget it was the same Jamaica Observer who accused JFLAG of abandoning the homeless MSM specifically in New Kingston in an older editorial:
Marauding homosexuals and J-FLAG (Observer Editorial) ……………………
Homelessness, rape and HIV (Observer)
Think on these things people, lots of our lessers have fallen through the cracks right under the very noses of the ones who shift responsibility and just basic concern and well funded agencies who simply do not care. All this happenings when exactly a year ago in a town-hall meeting JFLAG's Executive Director said a space was identified yet no follow up to actually tell the community the deal fell through due to legal challenges.
also see: Homeless impatient with agencies over slow progress of promised shelter (with a podcast included)
Interfaith group treats homeless MSM in St Catherine
With images such as that one above of one of our homeless MSM and the obvious emaciated state more evidence of the lack of interest in addressing homelessness and HIV/AIDS. I am reminded of when friends, colleagues and party patrons at my parties I DJ or promote used to drop like flies in the early nineties; when one would wonder who will be off the scene this month or week or if someone is missing the guess would be they are in the hospital; then when one actually finds them they are mere skin and bones. Sigh
We are told repeatedly of promises to deal with it or flimsy excuses that a space cannot be found etc