I found myself ending yet again and somewhat reluctantly offering shelter assistance to a labourer and a long time party fan who ran into some challenges where he was living in St Catherine in November 2016. He lived alone and was not known to be a trouble maker or having unusually high visitors to his home and apparently was being watched by his attackers who claimed in their supposed justifications that he had no woman (suggesting a romantic relations) and that they did not want no “men” in the community. The word “men” is a term used colloquially to stigmatise or as a derogatory term towards suspected gay men in songs as one-liner stigma seeing that artists cannot do complete recordings as in the old days calling for the abuse of gays also known as murder music.
The incident that caused the man to take action by leaving occurred in late November where he was confronted by some men who questioned him about his perceived sexual orientation which ended then but the verbal spats continued over time as snide remarks were continuously made until the final threats were made leading to his quick removal. Persons would pass the home for example and loudly so he could hear the homophobic comments and make what appeared to be the usual gunshots sounds which suggests he should be killed or justified violence because he is different and the usual fear of the unknown comes into question.
Things came to a head when he was told in no uncertain terms that he should leave or else with one man supposedly waving a knife to suggest violence if he does not comply; hence he took the sensible actions to avoid such. Sadly he said he tried to make a report to one of the LGBT organizations but he said he was not satisfied with the customer experience and that the person on the phone sounded inexperienced and impatient. He was reaching out to other friends some of whom have since taken in some of his furniture and so on but cannot accommodate him for extended periods. The matter was not reported to the police despite several urgings to do same, but we cannot force persons eh; I had decided to take a break from some of this kind of activity as there are costs involved and not just financial ones. The numerous reports mostly unconfirmed from mid 2016 suggests a strangeness to some of this and yet similarities as well.
Clashes with the public in as far as homeless/displaced persons in the New Kingston area continue, the crack down on lotto scamming via the task force is still impacting how homelessness plays out and moves across the island especially to capital city Kingston; tokenism is still the order of the day being raised as a credible response to a decades old problem that only limits itself to addressing immediate service needs instead of more, arrests and clashes with the police still happen especially after the comments made by the former police commissioner at a town hall meeting after complaints from businesses and residents who worry about increased crime attributed rightly or wrongly to the homeless persons in the problematic Shoemaker Gully.
At least two forced evictions that are still unconfirmed occurred in St James and Hanover with one related murder linked to lotto scamming occurred, other young gay men who would have been recruited by kingpins who like using gays as their phone voices produce results are now finding themselves caught in the cross fire of infighting, police crackdowns and the fall from grace of some powerful persons in the illicit trade. The defining silence by some LGBT outfits on this issue is telling and suggests they either do not care (as per usual) or do not see that part of the populations as important in the bigger picture. A popular transsexual who is incarcerated abroad have been blabbing on other scammers and naming them hence leading to all kinds of sidebars and reprisals to include allegedly hired thugs sent to intimidate persons.
One transgender person recently was allegedly forced to flee from Jamaica to Amsterdam after she was the recipient of death threats by men who were armed; the fallout from that is that some of the friends network and younger drag and transgender persons she was helping put through school or offering shelter assistance to are now on their own or back on the streets where they were taken from. One person is said to be missing alongside a large sum of cash which they were supposed to be in charge of for another person, a strange shooting of three persons in November where it is now confirmed that a gay man was in the group only sought to show how problematic things can get. With some eight top players in the trade either having their cases heard in court or their extradition orders being signed I am worried that more fallout is expected as the displacement that follows these things is inevitable.
We are told of all kinds of online fund raising efforts that seem to go nowhere for the most part, we see republications of articles suggesting that some NGOs are trying despite they have been sitting on decades of empirical and anecdotal data on stigma and discrimination leading towards homelessness yet no sensible residential response to homelessness, however small or struggling. We must never forget the dubious closure of the safe house pilot in 2009 that was designed to address some of this but these groups for all intents and purposes turned their back on the homeless when they needed the interventions the most. An office space for one of the NGOs was more important that keeping the shelter opened and to date the truth has not been told by some who were involved in that egregious episode.
It is just disgusting to watch some of this go down even after so many years of interventions and aging NGOs who choose not to act despite they have access to funding and so on. Let us see where some of this is going to finally end but then again if operatives of some of these NGOs can be busy defaming persons using fake Facebook profiles after unsubstantiated allegations towards the defamed without using the appropriate channels to file such reports initially then I do not expect the ethics of advocacy to attend. Who cares about the dregs of the population, they do not have currency or value for the bigger picture except to be used and preyed upon to prop up persons’ profile and legacies. That operative by the way has since been slapped with a problematic lawsuit of which the General Legal Council has sounded off on as to how it was announced by the lawyer.
Strangely shelters have had ground breaking ceremonies with respect to abused women but the very chairman of the COMET II USAID project has not seen it fit to push through a similar shelter answer for an age old problem with regards to LGBT homelessness and given his connection to one of the oldest AIDS organizations one would expect such a push. But of course the manipulation continues and who suffers the most is the homeless in this instance.
Peace & tolerance