I can personally attest to said kindness and am all too familiar how relieved one can feel when such help comes devoid of any inappropriate conditions (mostly sexual ones) the late great party promoter Donald ‘Fay Donnaway’ Thompson opened his apartment at Gore Terrace to many a gay man and drag queens being a queen himself in late 1996 when I was released from prison during my buggery trial and short incarceration years. It worked out so well that I ended up gaining a job and DJ duties at Club Heavens and was able to help with the rent in the long run until Donald’s passing on Good Friday 2001. As a true survivor and still living in Jamaica I understand some of the issues and indeed have opened my own doors where possible to persons over the years. Funding for a more formal arrangement has slowed but the allies over the years have been ambivalent due to the pigeon-holing of the New Kingston populations by media and others coupled with the anti-social behaviours of some in the group.
Honesty and trust between the parties involved has always been glue that holds the grantor and the benefactor together in the arrangement but when deception on one or both parties creep in then it is a cause for concern, when the issue hits the road it tends to lead to mistrust on all fronts and a refusal to assist or seek assistance in fear of an embarrassing refusal and persons being duped under the guise of assistance. Previous posts have brought this to bear this inappropriate sexual advances or indeed sexual abuse in the form of the other side of homelessness apart from the lack of proper interventions by the numerous NGO republics, Foundations who you do not feel on the ground but are very active via Twitterverse and hashtag heaven, persons have been ‘assisted’ only to have the shock of their lives in the assistance by persons forced to grant or perform sexual favours to the grantor of the help under pain of eviction or loss of the gift.
Two such complaints came to hand earlier this year, one in Portmore and one in Manchester that can be confirmed, other unconfirmed instances were floating around on social media and in private groups.
Case 1: Portmore
23 year old male reached out on Facebook earlier this year for help as his mother found out he was gay and had a more social media savvy relative scout his profile only to tell her he had too many male friends who look ‘funny’ which in turn over time led to him being forced to leave home; ‘assistance’ came his way under the guise of concern and the party involved did not outright disclose his sexual interest in the young man only for him to run into challenges as the grantor started making advances at first that appeared to be a joke, they eventually became more aggressive and so serious that a pot came into play as the young man had to defend himself. He eventually was forced to reach out yet again and was able to relocate. It turns out the ‘grantor’ only grants help with ulterior motives as his photo at one point ended up in circulation and a warning issued to avoid him as he is a repeat offender of sorts.
Case 2: Manchester
A so called pastor of the pocomania faith was aiding a man in his early twenties from the deep rural parts but similarly to the above matter he found himself becoming the subject of unexpected inappropriate advances, bathroom door visits while in the shower, slaps on the buttocks by the kitchen for example and other moves. Demands in the same breath of taking on more household chores which is understandable but when it gets to strict demands becoming the norm the situation became strenuous. The man was struggling due to issues with family members and subsequently residents in the small rural area where he hails, as everyone there knows everyone else it became difficult to continue to stay there, hence he had to move just to avoid drama. After the encounters from displaced to a brick wall effectively with the pastor he was forced to go searching again and was aided by a community influential until recently after an aggressive job hunt exercise (printed resumes and walked the roads handing them out) he was successful at gaining a chef job after an audition at a small restaurant. He now is sharing a rented space with another guy.
There is not much one can do though to forewarn folks in a desperate situation to sniff for (mis)trust when assistance comes forth, these overtures are as rear as they are already and to have such one usually jumps at the opportunity. To be left with disappointments due to mistrust is heartbreaking I imagine but as always hope remains while company is true. While on hope, the weed whacking project is still going on, the now 9 persons (7 males, 2 females) have been working the four whacker machines in rotation to make some money; the issues of sporadic rainfall with drought issues were all but absent to more work came in with some growing support from LGBT and non so clients. The temporary living arrangements they had were adjusted but they have a roof over their heads at different points. The guys who had left the crew when things were slow and they entered alternate higglering in bag juices, biscuits and such have seen their business grow save and except for the police and local authorities pressure on public vending rules and anti litter act legislation.
Other displaced persons though have been struggling in Spanish Town and Portmore especially, some have resorted to squatting with makeshift huts and so on which I visited in March of this year; the three men were warned about the idea but they insisted they do not have a choice.
Peace & tolerance