It never fails that it near impossible to keep up with the atrocities thrown at the Kingston populations of displaced and homeless MSM/transgender and their friends as well. It was only last Saturday a minor skirmish took place by the National Commercial Bank towers in Half Way Tree; an old haunt for years and chill out spot back when I was more walkfoot and beat the street. Bus crews, vendors and the two men then had a verbal spat with accusations and counter accusations of who is a battyman, who is to be shot and who is to leave town and other veiled threats. Sadly our homeless brethren are just having their issues spiral even further out of control and as news spread that a trans-activist who was previously displaced and was running a small outfit of her own called Colour Pink was allegedly attacked by some of the very guys when doing some interventions with some of them; but word has also come that there was a long standing split between herself and some of the men who do not respond well to the efforts and are more into having their demands for money and such met.
One has to be also careful when approaching these persons that an attitude won’t help as while persons may not be pleased with the behaviour of some and it must be made clear to them of such workers and outreach is not selective and may lead to unexpected events such as this. The trans-activist now is in Amsterdam I was reliable informed.
It was only a week and a half ago that DJ Colin Hines from FAME FM and the morning show crew spoke to the very issue of the homeless MSM/transgender with particular reference to the commercial sex worker sub group and the much rebuffed sexual advances being openly made by some of them quite early in the evening hours as well. There was an episode in February 2016 just nearing the Escape Club nightspot which has seen many such clashes in recent years; and even by the cleared Shoemaker Gully some of the guys still congregate there or by the park opposite to ‘catch something’ as they would say quite jokingly. I am distraught as you can tell if you are a regular reader to my blogs; we have had this challenge from so long, whappy a kill phillop as some would say but never at the scale and type as they are happening now, just go back to one of my older posts imported from another platform I had done in 2002 highlighting the issue, then it was a mere thirty of so persons we had to contend with; now we are talking almost double that these days who are fully homeless and another twenty or so as friends who hang out with them.
DJ Colin Hines said:
“A man who is 6’ 5’’ is walking through and a man says to him Biggaz ............” he then ended by saying “I am hearing from people telling me about what is going on by this group of men, we need to fix them.”
Other male guests in studio went to town sometimes erupting in laughter as they seemed to have found some of the matter funny seeing how gay men are openly calling to other men and a colleague of theirs supposed was the target of the admiration and solicitation. The latest clash I am aware of came on Holy Thursday night around 10pm just by the corner of Grenada Crescent and Knutsford Boulevard, adjacent to the aforementioned Club Escape and also an old haunting spot as well for cruisers in years gone by and female commercial sex workers. One of the homeless MSM reportedly made a pass at a man who had alighted from his car parked in the nearby car park for Victoria Mutual Building Society, VMBS in front the old FLOW Jamaica bill payment branch. The man was not pleased at this and words were said to which the men responded to in defence; the man threatened to leave and return to shoot them up and other members of the group gathered decided they would have none of it. The angry man made his way across the street to the Escape Club and brought back other men with him; they in turn also joined the word throwing exercise.
The exchange lasted a good while and then things cooled when a security team from the club came over including the gate guard who readily accused the men of mischief at nights making his and his colleague’s job more difficult. It took the subsequent intervention of the New Kingston police to calm things down but not before comments were made to the effect that gays were getting to upfront with their nastiness as it were and things are going to happen to them which to me sounds like a veiled threat. So many similar clashes have occurred in New Kingston I have stopped counting and since the accusation of the Megamart employee murder things have not been looking so good; threats have increased, the men have moved to another location only to be forced to move yet again in the constant here today or there tomorrow nomad like existence.
Then came some study of some sort claiming many LGBT Jamaicans wanting to leave Jamaica and although many questioned were not from the homeless community it was presented as if most of them were in subsequent reports. Of course persons will want to leave as they feel not free enough to exist and also as the austerity measures continue, economic development seems illusive, jobs are hard to find, combine all those and one is bound to feel frustrated in a sense and may want to leave no sooner the opportunity presents itself. Added to that is the ready available social media outlets where other Jamaicans who have left and are showing whether falsely or not a better image of living will create a desire to also aspire to such existence as more and more persons flee for asylum with or without genuine cases or reasons.
The tense relationship in the meantime with the regular cruising guys is ongoing and some of the homeless persons have been warned to stay away from well treasured cruising spots for quick sex; an unconfirmed tussle took place in the end of February I was told as I have been so busy with other matters as of late; newer displacement reports still come in and a recent Facebook message from a young man asking for some assistance had me perplexed as his mother claimed she wants him out of the house if he does not change his lifestyle as it were. Other unconfirmed reports have surfaced as well such as one in Mandeville where a man was accused looking gay and trying to make a pass via eye contact towards another man; it turns out he was a member of the Kingston homeless group who had made his way to the parish for some assistance. Other temporary spots such as Pirate’s Cove downtown are no more as demolition and construction work is on and also by the old Oceana Hotel building formerly the Ministry of Health offices 2 – 4 King Street which was sold by the Urban Development Corporation, UDC. Such spots and hideaways helped to give some cover but no more as they die off one by one. Also a key change over the years is that of the demeanour of the populations who are no longer in the shadows in terms of visibility as their older counterparts who would have been far more introverted and only surface when they need to.
Many folks as highlighted in previous posts have simply stopped offering any shelter assistance and more just offer remote help such as clothes or food; a shelter outfit only assists newer displaced persons and not the older guys as to them it is easier to navigate; there is some truth in that as I have had firsthand experience in offering some shelter myself at my home but costs and the usual head bumping of personalities can be a major drawback as well in the assistance being meaningful.
Spanish Town has sort of calmed down somewhat as some of the fellas have been helped by a weed whacking project and other income generating help with some intervention from GLBTQ Jamaica in cash to buy bag juices and other small items for sale so persons can turn a buck; others have simply moved on to other parishes or back to Kingston for now. Others yet still offer commercial sex favours and have been successful at making living in arrangements with so minded persons who are willing to pay for such services.
Announcements for shelters have become the norm in a sense with loud cheers from the penny section who do not ask where are the previously heralded ones yet no such help bearing in mind the one shelter pilot in 2009 known as the Safe House: A Benevolent Society was closed under dubious circumstances prematurely by the board of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, JASL while a numb JFLAG stood by and did nothing to stop it given the management arrangements of both entities at the time so incestuously linked. Maybe if that shelter was allowed to flourish from a pilot to a full residency the issues we now face could be far less and at least addressed in some sense.
Colour Pink Group and AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Jessica Burton and Kendra Frith
Colour Pink Group and AIDS HEALTH Care Foundation Transgender Media Launch
Redefining Support Health Education and Employment (SHEE)
Colour Pink Group is a Non-Government Organization whose sole mission is to improve the lives of the homeless/sofa surfing Transgender Woman and Transgender sex-worker in Jamaica through Support Health Education an Employment (SHEE).
Through AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Colour Pink Group has developed the Tran’s Healthcare and Wellness Manual, Trans Ecological Tool Kit and Work Environment Safety Techniques (WEST) for Transgender Sex-workers the FIRST OF ITS KIND in Jamaica.
This project has succeeded the community’s expectation, not only providing the tool they need to combat against current health care system but they have also received training on Gender and Sexuality, Human Rights Laws, Gender Base Violence and Intimate Partner Violence, training around Grooming and Makeup Tutorial by MAC Cosmetics and Linguistic (Voice Training) by allies at the University of the West Indies.
What we hope to seek for the upcoming year (redefining (SHEE), the Support Health Education and Employment (SHEE) which will uphold dignity of the Homeless/ Sofa Surfing Transgender Community in Jamaica.
Supporting Partners: AIDS Healthcare Foundation, J-FLAG, UNAIDS, HOPE WORLD WIDE, JASL, CSRG and representative from National Family Board and other private allies.
But the outfit is not a full transitional shelter which is what is so badly needed.
Peace & tolerance
Fred Phelps’ Granddaughter Starts Fund To Feed Persecuted LGBT Youth In Jamaica
Jamaican edition of Gaycation TV series angers viewers (bear in mind the actual film is locked as at posting)
The Challenges of Running a Queer Homeless Shelter in Jamaica