Such are the challenges and hence my frustration with the systems of advocacy in Jamaica. The SCJ blog then highlighted theological, introspective and reflection posts with a view to affirming Christ’s love for all people at that time to including LGBTQ persons as well in Jamaica and seeing we never had a space nor a church of our own to worship it was an opportune moment seized by many who would make the monthly trek to the various venues for such services. The blog also had some entries I as it administrator with some management approval looked at homophobic and other related matters in Jamaica. Readership then was on the rise as with contributions via submitted articles from the then SCJ Chair and church flock alike with some of my musings.
So overwhelming the homophobic violence reports became that the SCJ blog started to resemble a list of infractions towards LGBT people more so than the original intent of God centred principles, quotes and verses with testimony. So I decided to add another blog under the JFLAG name of which there was approval from the then management committee, over time however challenges came my way as administrator of both blogs as my writing style and that of content was not only about LGBT issues such as entertainment, homophobic, lesbophobic, transgenderism and violence but also bisexuality also I took the bold step of critiquing the very advocacy or lack thereof in certain respects in basically the same style as I do today with the blogs renamed from SCJ and JFLAG to Gay Jamaica Watch.
The renaming came about when several differences of opinion as to content mysteriously became an issue and an attempt to muzzle my entries was the last straw where I decided to rename both blogs to reflect my opinions. The inherent need to control the narratives about Jamaican LGBT issues by the establishment soon became clear and it did not sit well with myself and some of my long time followers who also transitioned with me to Gay Jamaica Watch, GLBTQJA on Wordpress and GLBTQ Jamaica (formerly JFLAG blog) on blogger. Sadly in the face of the added advantage of social media predominantly Facebook but we now see the same psychology at work amounting to a cynical labelling of representatives as “facebook advocates’ suggesting they are not in the realm of reality and or stuck in conference rooms than in the field. The more things change the more they stay the same it seems.
There have been over time some meshing of the old posts from the Yahoo groups Gay Jamaica and Battybusiness (hence the battymantings blog today); old posts that bear some relevance today have been either referenced or brought over on GJW.
And so the tradition continues with over 1500 posts to include videos and exclusive original content coupled with news stories and my two cents on current affairs matters of the day. No subject seems off limits as over 100 tags bear witness everything from hyper-masculinity to LGBT family life to the controversial MSM homelessness issues which I have been following prior to leaving JFLAG fully in 2010 as my contract expired. I since then worked elsewhere and have also been greatly assisted via donations from readers who pitch in when asked for crisis interventions for persons who I come in contact with.
I continue to express my opinions and indeed that of others as contributed pieces are also shared but move towards far more frontline work than just the investigative aspects in verifying information for entries. As before the unease by some of the open expression of ideas, opinions and so on is still alive even after all these years; suggesting we have an inherent need to control the narrative on LGBT Jamaican matters, despite the advent of social media allowing more visibility of the populations. Thanks to you my readers Gay Jamaica Watch in the 8 plus years according to the good readership figures on the Google tracking map. Apparently there were some errors prior to the last numbers I saw before. Listenership to the audio posts and podcast recordings have also been slowly rising as persons tend to be gravitating to that medium although your noted concerns that the audio is sometimes too long, the urgency of some materials do require lengthy presentations so forgive me.
Persons have been asking to also make the podcasts/audio posts downloadable especially the older ones which I may reconsider soon but for now they are not.
Flash player and Skype crashes still annoy a few of my readers, again platform related issues although the mobile viewing capabilities have been greatly enhanced
Verifying information that has been reported by shady sources can be tedious in establishing truth versus grapevine depleting authenticity to matters
Meeting the needs of an ever demanding readership for content outside of text for e.g. audio, video and even live streaming requests
The need for more resources such as tools and aids to prepare more digital content
The slow movement towards one of the goals of a related website and very low funding and donations
The flood of responses via email instead of commenting directly on the blog often laced with vitriol
The limitation in the use local parlance far more than normal as mostly overseas readers do not understand them
Anti gay responses and vitriolic answers from other bloggers on the platform and members of the public
Attempts to soil reputation by surprisingly persons within the ‘LGBT community’
The overly lengthy and repetitious responses from a few readers, some trolling and stalking by so called admirers (for sex mostly) or closeted individuals who want some contact.
Competition for news space from overseas stories that seem to attract local LGBT person’s attention and a lack of following local LGBT issues saved and except for the subject matter having shock value or sensationalised. This partly due I feel to our slow divorce from the tabloid press continued tropes over the years on ‘gay matters’, after all it sells papers and raises listenership/viewership when in new media.
But all in all I and my occasional sidekick (Battyboi Bob) have weathered the storm and after eight years, several blog awards nominations both locally and abroad I press on with now four spots each with their own focus. Being one of the first gay bloggers inside Jamaica sharing some of the issues it has been a honour to have done so and I hope to continue serving as best as possible, to be honest I am proud of what has been accomplished thus far, now there are other Jamaican gay bloggers and with the blogosphere creating its own news content mainstream media has sat up and took notice which was what we wanted from the beginning, as to consistency that is another matter; but the recognition or visibility of “smaller” voices is important. Vigilance is key if we are to keep persons on their toes and the public informed of matters that would otherwise be swept under the carpet or hardly looked at.
GLBTQJA on Wordpress - is a compendium of posts from the old SCJ blog, the present Gay Jamaica Watch and GLBTQ Jamaica (blogger) with some exclusive content on entertainment and religiosity.
GLBTQJA on blogger – opened in February 2013 continues the tradition of Gay Jamaica Watch and GLBTQ Jamaica on blogger with emphasis on lesser important stories but exclusives as well on advocacy matters; opened as a temporary blog as GJW was under extended maintenance.
Gay Jamaica Watch – carries the real hard hitting materials covering advocacy review, homophobia, biphobia, HIV/AIDS matters, Buggery matters, legal issues, theocracy and religiosity, anthropologically tinged entries on hypermasculinty, press releases, effeminacy, studies, videos, party reviews and highlights, Stop murder music exclusives, metro sexuality and entertainment as well as exclusive LGBT Historical entries, audio posts and podcasts with slides and downloads
GLBTQ Jamaica - also with be eight years old this year is a more formal look at international LGBT affairs and my position on selected issues, to include asylum issues, letters to the editor, legal changes on same sex laws, European happenings, entertainment, lesbian, Years on review, transgender and bisexual issues, medical matters (to include transitioning), Jamaican/US/UK/Caribbean LGBT Historical entries, lifestyle matters, relationship issues, publications and research and advocacy (or the lack thereof) boosted with videos, slides, downloads, audio and podcast embeds.
Battymantings – is the ex-rated outlet for photos videos of an adult nature for 18 and over. It nearly got removed as blogger had adjusted their adult content policy in 2015 but much backlash from bloggers worldwide forced that decision to be reversed.
It has been a pleasure though good and rough at times serving you my dedicated readers and I hope my attempts to change the way the conversation has been had on many issues about our LGBTQIQ2S experiences has worked, judging from feedback over the years it seems so.
Be vigilant be safe – an old way I used to end my posts with as at the time the frequency of attacks were very high and was the tag on GLBTQ Jamaica on blogger. Thank you so much for your support and remember to tuck a love gift via the donation buttons.
Peace and tolerance