The melee lasted for some twenty minutes before the upset trans/msm persons who were defiant did not back away as they felt they had a right to be there and repeated reportedly that they were not interfering with anyone. Bad reputations over time though has not helped their image as residual and present accusations of inappropriate public advances to total strangers asking or soliciting ‘business’ in exchange for some sort of payment is still an issue. Downtown on the waterfront is an old haunt for not only homeless, displaced or their friends of LGBTQ persons but with the sharp increase in numbers and visibility accompanied by elements in the group(s) showing rowdy behaviour, a recent video that made viral status of some persons described as gays (some formerly homeless in Jamaica) as successful asylum seekers in Amsterdam with similar rowdy behaviour with a security guard, despite this is a country seen as far more open and free has made their image the target of disdain.
The rainbow flag and ‘rainbowing’ actions by the United States Embassy in Kingston in support of JFLAG’s pride activities a week ago has not gone down well with some members of the public and as per usual the ripple effects accompany the raised visibility. The comments by some on this latest incident reflects such sentiments and is being combined with the slippery slope paranoia of gay marriage and such in the aftermath of the aforementioned Belizean court ruling. The actions of the US embassy have also irked some LGBTQ members as they have expressed some concern regarding the same ripple effects of the most exposed being the homeless; they have no or very little defence when it comes to backlash typed incidents.
With still no residency response some seven plus years after the dubious closure of the only shelter pilot, with the truthful reasons are yet to be told the various populations island wide have been struggling with very limited interventions by some who harp on registration status more so than any strong momentum to address one of the oldest outcomes of stigma and discrimination specific to MSM/trans. Bear in mind we have never had a residency in all the near forty plus years of combined organised LGBTQ activity. If it were not for the conscientious interventions of private individuals and party promoters or the unfortunate involvement of some in illegal activity such as lotto scamming then homelessness would have been much larger than it is; and it is already bursting at the seams. So called feeding programs which only last at the time when they are held and are then held up as satisfactory is simply not enough. Those of us who want to move in a different direction are seen as shaking the status quo or upsetting the apple cart. It is clear that some only want to keep the displaced at a certain level for use as data collection materials; as I commented some years ago how convenient that when studies are to be done the homeless are readily found but when said studies are completed and published professional profiles get boosted while the same homeless is left as they were.
The few who break through and move on to betterment is a drop in the bucket when compared to those left behind but who cares really?
Other such clashes have occurred in New Kingston as before and have become so numerous I have simply lost count. Then there are the encounters with the police even at the now infamous Shoemaker Gully despite their removal in December 2014, some of the guys still use the space at nights or near it to gather and in some instances allegedly sell sex. A recent shooting incident of a legendary queen in New Kingston shows us that not much has changed in terms of challenges. A fight almost leading to a brawl on Grenada crescent in the adjacent car park to Victoria Mutual is another such example that occurred in July. Sister Blog Gay Jamaica Watch is replete with reports prior that have been confirmed, unconfirmed issues near equal said confirmed reports.
The usual carnival challenges were also a feature this year as well, persons were blocked from entering some venues while skirmishes with homophobic individuals continued as they do year in year out.
Help where you can, I and others are doing what we can given limited resources and lack of funding as the usual constraints despite some fund raising efforts; some persons simply have stopped as well, claiming they are burnt out which is understandable as well.
Peace & tolerance