Sorry for the late posts but holiday scheduling and DJ duties took up some of my time and a family reunion was also in the mix which had me busy as a bee.
Hope you all enjoyed the season but even in the midst of it crap can happen as this latest entry will reveal.
I ran into an old foot as we say here in Jamaica for longtimers in Kingston on November 17 where he related his challenge as he was seeking a temporary shelter to house his furniture and belongings and also stay as he was involved in a heated debate and tussle with men in a tenement like residence he has been living in for more than twenty years. He had heard of talk behind his back as per usual in these kinds of living arrangements but after such a long spell he never expected such a response and judging by the comments he heard he said the opposition had been building or simmering if you will over time only to explode on him last month. He had not approached JFLAG he said when I asked as like many older MSM look away from the entity in disappointment; a feeling that runs deep for some. I still encouraged him to lodge a report formally for the record and GLBTQ Jamaica also has lodged one hence this post. Of the MSM reported cases and those I have been privy to almost half of them are involved older men.
Readers you will also forgive me but I cannot list all the incidents happening out there I am aware of as was suggested by a reader as honouring the clients request for sharing the matter is crucial in my book; if the client says no it means no. Besides the numbers are staggering and the blog will end up looking like a homophobic report one than the wide subject matter range on gay issues here in Jamaica.
My old foot brethren said the challenge all began from as early as June last year when an argument developed after a dog that some other tenant had brought into the residence made cries at night after being tied to a post outside where he was not used to; things came to a head as himself and other neighbours complained of the noise and a tense situation ensued since leading to other challenges such as the non payment of a water bill which required tenants putting together their flat rate to make it up and more arguments followed for non cooperation. Of course the usual ‘battyman’ comments came in several such arguments but in this case it was used for its intended purpose; such terms usually outside of an antigay motive are used to belittle ones male opponent alongside other terms such as ‘pussyhole’ and ‘bomboclaat’ linking the issue of menstruation of a woman and the perceived grossness of it to describe one’s enemies detractor.
The surprise for the longtimer is that he was awakened one morning by a man residing on the premises in September about another water bill and other distractions though small in his eyes were blown out of proportions and that was when it came clear to him that a homophobic agenda was in order in subsequent verbal exchanges. My longtimer friend lives alone but hosts infrequently male friends who come by and an aunt who may stop by as well and cook for him. The other parties made clear their observations of the absence of women or a steady female partner and one particular male who visits him occasionally; profiling was happening all this time unbeknownst to the longtimer until it was revealed to him. Things got serious in October when an altercation went physical with one man who lives opposite him and threats were made from both ends; my old foot friend said he was not intending to take it lying down so he went for a weapon (a machete) and warned the challenger but in the same breath the man sought support from others on the premises to seek to instruct him to relocate.
Of note the landlord despite having no challenge from this man did not support him to quash whatever was the matter instead he remained mute and simply said he was sorry. So he ended up losing a good paying tenant in the name of pandering to a homophobic mob so as to continue collecting his money, even as some of the tenants are in arrears according to the report from the longtimer.
He has been on the bounce about ever since and was able to remove his furniture to a friend but such an avenue has an expiry date and he is now on the hunt for a place. He ran into one of the tenants in a nearby community and he was pointed out by the woman as the battyman who dem runweh (the gay man who they ran away). I have been asking around since and he is checking the papers for a good priced flat, he is also a little dazed he says which is understandable as he was not expecting this ball from left field to hit him. I advised him though that one can never be too comfortable or complacent in these matters and people are fickle and can spring on one in a heartbeat. As settled as I am in my community despite the high knowledge of my orientation due to my buggery case in 1996 I still do not take things for granted; even as some of my ‘thuggy’ friends say they will stand by me if anything untoward such occur I am aware how things can change rather quickly.
Another case that rang out for me is that of a pastor who had relocated as well as his same sex leanings was revealed he has been struggling since and is in his fifties. He had managed to have his house rented and placed his relative as the agent so as to avoid personal visits to the community as he is seen as a laughing stock and embarrassment to the community church. I am concerned that so many older brothers are running into challenges but with age comes experience and persons seem to be able to adjust more comfortably than younger guys do. One observation I notice is that the risk of physical attacks to older men especially those who are not effeminate seems low as attackers may not be sure how to handle a mature man in such encounters. Effeminacy is a key component for homophobes who feel justified in launching their attack as the subject is considered weak and or defenceless against such eventualities.
Another older man in an unconfirmed report was asked to leave his brother’s property after a report was made to the brother or suspicious activity involving the aggrieved man and other men visiting the site.
Some other cases in brief:
A gentleman on an apartment complex on Mannings Hill Road area earlier this year as well was involved in a spat with residents as after he was assisting a young man by providing accommodation did not sit well with some who verbally expressed their outrage among other things.
A handcart man was involved in a fight downtown in the market district with another and was grazed with a knife from his opponent, an attempt was made to destroy or seize his cart on several occasions but the plot was discovered and the attempts thwarted.
Older gay cruiser was robbed in a spot in West Kingston as a decoy presented himself in an encounter for a sexual liaison in March of this year
The now confirmed murder of Frankie and my ex sex partner from way back in the day and a fellow cruiser had his throat slashed at the once popular cruising spot known as ‘boil up’ also in West Kingston nearing the water treatment plant behind Tivoli Gardens and the train lines out of Kingston.
Unconfirmed report of a robbery of another older man unemployed who resided temporarily in one of the old train carts in the Jamaica railway yard as robbers had been targeting displaced men who use the space for sleeping and escape from the public’ gaze.
Torching and removal of the roof of a premises in July that was used for not only sexual activities but temporary shelter and hiding as evidenced in the photo (and series of photos in a previous post during Homeless Awareness Month) the older men who were using the space have since relocated to another old building for now and ways have been found to send money and small bags of groceries to them by other cruisers and friends.
Teacher with longstanding service forced to resign at a St Catherine school allegedly as he is accused of inappropriate touching of a male student without due hearings and evidence. He has been in hiding in a sense since to avoid any challenges. He has also sought some legal advice I am told.
House mobbed in Kingston in late 2014 and subsequent challenges from attempting to access the furniture and removal being interrupted by more mobsters and items thrown at the man and the movers coupled with threats and minor injuries. He has since sought and successfully gained asylum in the US this year.
I’ll resort to an old adage I used to use on this blog, be vigilant and be safe.
Peace & tolerance