Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gay Parody on Jamaican Senator Comments from Fascicle News Network



In case you missed it here is the hilarious funny clip above, it has been rebroadcast every now and again on Nationwide Radio. The Fascicle News Network is a feature of an evening program “Left, Right and Centre” that has parodies of matters that have made the news in recent times. However it was this morning that I managed to listen to it in detail and was floored and dying with laughter as the insinuations that the very Senator who made the disparaging comments about gays and violence is made out to be an undercover gay man himself. A cute spin on the issue and welcomed comic relief.


He is described as the President of the League of Quietly Gay Public Servants named Ernesto John where he objected to the feminine sounding voiced “Guy Incognito” (omitted on the first part of the clip) where he says he is a traitor and one of his own makes gay comments giving away insider secrets. Lest we forgot it was Ernie Smith who lashed out in Parliament on gays being violent and such in recent times it is alleged he received a letter from a gay man in the United States with suggestive photos messaging the Senator to kiss his unmentionables and pointing to his excretory orifice.

It is clear that the folks at the Fascicle News Network from Nationwide Radio are very much in tune with the parlance of the Jamaican gay community which makes me wonder if they themselves aren’t members as only when one is at a certain level those words such as “luddy” and “fierce” are used in such effeminate tones referring to the section where the voiced character Guy Incognito says “yuh luddy” (meaning your lucky in a carefree manner). “I love it when they slam me” suggests sexual activity predominantly anal sex with his proudness of doing so. So called uptown gay folks do not use such colloquial language with regularity and is more relegated to the downtown set of guys.

Interestingly the section that refers to by the effeminate voiced speaker Guy Incognito where he says “…..later fi you Mike…” suggests that a certain Minister who is named Mike ***** is a homosexual, this is a serious swipe at a public official given the comments made by the Prime Minister on BBC on having no Gays in his cabinet. Where Guy Incognito says he wants to talk on the mic suggests oral sex, talking on the mic is a term coined from the dancehall fraternity over the years from the plethora of anti oral sex songs from respective artists.

The reference to the so called All Gay Ex-convict Association with its speaker named Bubbalicious who has an American accent suggests that gay sex in lock-ups is an import to Jamaican culture to me, I may be wrong . where he says that we (gays) stab our spouses several times to death suggest or reinforces the general public’s belief that most homophobic violence or public cases of gays murdered are caused by gay on gay violence caused by jealous rages or lovers spats gone bad.

It seems that the public and by extension the gay community has not listened to this one carefully. Listen to it for yourself and arrive at your own conclusions. I used my phone to capture it so the quality may not be all that hot but the words are audible enough.

Look out for more audio posts as I try to re-up the old ones that were hosted on Snapvine which closed down its operations on March 31, 2010. I know many important audio clips and interviews were archived for you my readers to revisit where needed.

Peace and tolerance

H

Friday, April 23, 2010

Disingenuous arguments (Gleaner Letter)

The Editor, Sir:

When the argument for support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights is framed as a human-rights issue, thus giving it the right to co-opt children in its defence, it is palpably disingenuous.

The freedom to be is certainly different from the freedom to practise, I would assume. People who find their sexual orientation by birth or by choice to be homosexual, lesbian, bisexual or who are transgender cannot be castigated for this, no matter how distasteful we find their natural orientation. However, where do we get the right to haul children into the cut and thrust of this kind of debate?

It is the practices which engage this orientation which this group wants to publicly enforce that is very offensive to most Jamaicans. Jamaicans are not going around denying this group their right to be human and to fall into any of these categories of sexuality. However, the practice of their sexuality does not have to become a debatable issue in the public square involving our children anymore than the practice of heterosexuals is a public debate involving children.

Very offensive

I find it very offensive whether it is heterosexuals, homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, or for that matter any public display of one's sexual practice that would co-opt our children in its defence, and could not support that as a human right from any quarter.

Moreover, until an 'authority' 'said' that these were now acceptable lifestyle practices, which then made it possible for them to be equated with 'human rights' and 'being black,' they were practices that were held in private away from the glare of the cameras and from the curious eyes of our children, rather than acceptable public practices.

I am alarmed that all it takes to reclassify a human being's humanity is his or her sexual lifestyle practices. Which means to me that someone or some influential group, such as the American group MBLA (Men & Boys Love Association) who has the need to flaunt their pleasurable lifestyle practice of paedophilia, or for that matter any sexual practice now unacceptable to society, can lobby away standards of protection for our children and have their practice determined a human right to the detriment of our children's and for society's healthy development.

A march involving children, without their parents' consent, disguised under the genuine suffering of human beings with HIV, cannot be where groups seek legitimacy for the display of sexual preferences and be accepted, is it? Children and sexual lifestyle practices should remain distinctly separate.

I am, etc.,

YVONNE O. COKE

Hands Across Jamaica For Righteousness

Clyde Williams & Clyde McKenzie on Jamaican music

Mr. Clyde Williams Atty-at-Law, member of the Peoples National Party Human Rights Group and host of the morning program ‘Today with Clyde” on HOT 102FM interviewed well respected musicologist, Shocking Vibes Entertainment Director, Digicel Rising Stars Judge and Principal of Fimi Choice Productions Mr. Clyde McKenzie on the state of Jamaican music presently given the backlash from Caribbean as well as other countries towards Jamaican dancehall artists with Guyana and Barbados the most recent territories banning several acts from visiting and performing there. Mr. McKenzie’s views are not to be overlooked and when he speaks many in the industry and media listen.

He penned a recent article calling for a truce between dancehall and the gay community calling for dialogue as a way forward, here are the posts on GLBTQ Jamaica concerning some of his opinions, he also predicted the doom that we now see where the acts themselves are now in hot water over their violent and homophobic lyrics from as far back as the mid nineties. His stance on tolerance is moderate. He commented during the interview that we as a country need to take an introspection of the situation, the perceptions of how homophobic we are as a nation and how the gay communality elsewhere sees Jamaica as a place where gays are, do we need to self regulate the music industry so as to monitor the output to the various markets? this is an issue that he is known to be passionate about, he continued that at the level of the artist they need to reflect and make certain decisions as to how they want their careers to progress as he coined it the Artistic Freedom vs. the commercial imperative.

He commented on what he calls “the problem we are having with the gay community” and perception that Jamaican is rampantly homophobic with the dancehall acts being an integral part of the mix so much so that gays are alleged to be attacked on the streets openly “We are portrayed as a society where gays are hacked down in the streets”, he said he thinks there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the Jamaican society and how we actually treat gays. The host rightly reminded the listenership and Mr. McKenzie that the acts and song content themselves advocate death thus fuelling the perception he alluded to Buju Banton’s Boom Bye Bye with other materials that suggests gays are to die.

Freedom of expression and freedom of expression

Mr. McKenzie while being careful not to condone the materials alluded to he said that the problem flowing from the perception of how homophobic we are is almost a slander to say that Jamaica is unsafe for homosexuals to walk the streets because they are constantly being attacked, that’s a matter that requires attention. The question as to what the dancehall artists are doing or have been doing towards this perception Mr. McKenzie responded that over the years the lyrical output of anti gay material has fallen dramatically in years gone by it was a feature for many acts to release such materials with regularity.

He continued that there are the artists who want to express their views through artistry or religious expression while the gay community wants their space for sexual expression as well, both gentlemen agreed that the artists or whoever cannot articulate for the violent solutions to homosexuals due to their sexual orientation and practices.

The decline of authentic reggae music was briefly examined Mr. McKenzie he said where Jamaicans are heavily concentrated overseas in the Diaspora follow dancehall but the purists in reggae form are still touring and have a fan base in other parts of the world such as Europe and Asia. The roots rock reggae acts are still active especially in the west coast of the United States. Dancehall is not the predominant form therefore overseas in as far as Jamaican music is concerned. The decline of the local vibe of pure reggae music is real but dancehall is more predominant with the side shows that distract the public giving the perception it is so.

The Ska form is resurging in Japan where young Japanese kids are following the movement but the perception that it is not an original Jamaican form of music is having a negative impact so we need to reclaim the history and ownership of the form. Lee Scratch Perry was highlighted with his oddities in the Ska form.

The induction of Jimmy Cliff in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has a positive impact on the nation and we should be proud he concluded.

The interview ends.

Peace and tolerance

H

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time for serious gay debate (Flashback)

ORIGINALLY published: Sunday December 5, 2004 Not much has changed it seems and the points remain as relevant now as they were then.

The article read as follows

Ian Boyne

HOMOSEXUALITY IS one subject which demands attention to philosophy and most people's incompetence in this area is excruciatingly and agonisingly evident in the puerile discussion which usually takes place on the subject.

The most philosophically incompetent, of course, fall back on prejudice, bigotry, received tradition, culture and religion to argue their case. Others simply argue from their own physiological urges and desires, narcissism and anti-religious biases. Most of the arguments I hear for and against homosexuality are facile, preposterous and glandular. It is not just the flaming Fundamentalists and culturally prejudiced anti-gay persons, but gay persons themselves are usually given more to emotive argumentation rather than reason.

Yet, if one is dispassionate and detached, it is evident that the discussion really turns heavily on some deep philosophical issues and can't be resolved without examining epistemological foundations. In simple terms, how do we know what we know? How do we determine right and wrong? How do we establish ethics? For most of the rabid anti-gay people, right and wrong are determined by the Bible. God has spoken infallibly and authoritatively in the Bible and the Bible condemns homosexuality, so argument done. It's an abomination, a stench in the sight of God (and man) and homosexuals must repent.

WHO IS RIGHT?

Even many non-Christians appeal to the Bible as the source of their opposition to homosexuality. But who says the Bible writers really represent God? How do you know God inspired the Bible? You simply accept it on faith without evidence? Is that good enough for everyone? And how do you know the Bible is any more the authoritative word of God than the Muslim Koran, the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita, the Moonies sacred book The Divine Principle, Joseph's Smith's Book of Mormon or the sayings of Confucius? If you can have faith in the Bible ­ without concrete scientific evidence ­ why can't someone else express faith in those other sacred books?

If the Bible is the major source of people's opposition to homosexuality, then the authenticity of that source is very relevant and poignant. And what about the Bible's equal condemnation of fornication and adultery, which are not criminalised in Jamaica? Shouldn't they be criminalised also if we are to be consistent with biblical ethics? Some people don't know that it was not just homosexuality which attracted the death penalty under Israel's theocratic laws, but also fornication and adultery. To argue against homosexuality based on the Bible requires a whole set of apologetics and justification of the Bible itself.

FAITH

As one homosexual wrote me this past week, "Having faith in God and faith in the Bible is not synonymous with each other. I believe wholeheartedly in God but not necessarily that God is limited to the God of the Bible." He goes on to needle the Fundamentalist: "I cannot use the Bible, which is the foundation of Christianity and by extension moral values, to substantiate any code of ethics where sexuality is concerned. David's copulation with Bathsheba was deemed wrong only because she was the wife of Uriah, for if she were single she would have been regarded as just another of David's concubines. Solomon was more promiscuous than he was wise, a nature that ostensibly God had no problems with. Numbers Chapter 31 speaks to the genocide of the Midianites as instructed by God which resulted in every Midianite man, boy woman, suckling cattle being murdered, but frighteningly, every virgin girl spared." These kinds of arguments pointing to the alleged moral incongruities in the Bible itself are becoming popular among gay apologists.

Others say nature itself shows that homosexuality is unnatural and perverse. First, they say that homosexuality threatens the species. Clearly, same-sex relationships do not produce offspring so humanity would be extinct if all of us were gay. But this argument misses the point. Gays have never claimed that everyone should be gay and that heterosexuality should be stamped out. They have simply said, let's "live and let live". Nature could still conceivably be overwhelmingly in favour of heterosexuality while still leaving room for homosexuality.

If nature is all there is and there is no transcendent Being, then how could you convincingly argue that nature does not allow for any expression at all of homosexuality? After all, the fact that some persons have homosexual desires ­ and began experiencing those feelings without consciously choosing them ­ could indicate that nature, indeed, allows for this variety in sexual expression. (For those who only read a few paragraphs, let me say that my personal position is that homosexuality is wrong, sinful and cannot in any way be harmonised with the Bible. But that is because I accept the Bible as authoritative. So don't run off and misrepresent me ­ or shoot me!).

UNNATURAL

The atheists, agnostics and Bible-bashers who stoutly oppose homosexuality have a hard time justifying their opposition to homosexuality. Talking about how the human anatomy is constructed and the natural use of this or that part of the human body strikes one as the kind of thinking which once lead many to condemn oral sex. We can't construct an ethical edifice on that kind of shoddy foundation. Bible-bashers like Mutaburuka say people don't need the Bible or any religious document to know homosexuality is wrong. But how would he know? Can he argue on sociological grounds? How?

Besides, there is evidence of some homosexuality in nature ­ in animals. The Christian can say that came through the fall of man, but Muta has no such answer for homosexuality among some animals. If nature is not uniformly heterosexual, only predominantly so, how can Muta and other Bible-bashers deny the allegedly 10 per cent of the world's population who are gay the legitimacy of acting out their orientation?

A lot of the arguments by non-religious people against homosexuality are pathetically weak and flawed. The Bible, even more so than other sacred writings in the world religions, is the greatest obstacle to the homosexual movement. This is why a concerted, vitriolic campaign is being waged against the Bible ­ at least conservative notions of it. The line of reasoning (for want of a better word) of gay people is also pitifully weak and intellectually soggy.

Gay apologetics is simple and simplistic: "I am born this way. It's natural. Sex is like breathing and eating so why should you heterosexuals have it and I can't?" If culture, custom and the democratic will of the people stand opposed to homosexuality, by what moral authority does the homosexual assert the inviolability of his sexual practice? If the majority of Jamaicans want homosexuality to remain criminalised, on what philosophical or political ground do you as a gay person demand its repealing? The natural world (human and animal) is overwhelmingly heterosexual. Civilisations and cultures throughout history have been universally heterosexual (in terms of being predominant). So what gives you, the gay person, the inalienable right to the expression of a sexual orientation which the majority deems unacceptable? Only the sovereignty of your urges and desires. Nothing else. The philosopher David Hume says "Reason is the slave of passion", and nowhere is that more apt than in listening to gays justify their sexual practice.

NO HOMOSEXUAL GENE

Suppose I have a powerful, overwhelming desire for young girls. I find a bright, precocious 14-year-old who consents to have sex with me. What would be wrong, apart from the fact that the society believes that a man in his 40s should not be having sex with a 14-year-old? There are some people who have an overwhelming, overpowering desire for sex with eight-year-olds. Pedophiles have strong sexual desires, too. How is your strong homosexual desire different in substance from the strong sexual desire of the pedophile? Don't raise the matter of consensual sex. For who says sex has to be consensual? What if the majority opinion is just backward and oppressive?

You say I am arguing as though we can't have ethics without God. Not saying that. But I am saying that the notion of ethics can't be just personalistic. It has to be determined by the larger community. Any group of rapists and pedophiles could come together to reinforce themselves in their 'ethics' but would that make it right? They have particular strong desires, too just like the homosexuals. The homosexual previously quoted went on to say, "Unfortunately for the world, I don't feel I have anything to justify." My life is my life, in other words, my gay correspondent says. But so could the pedophile and the rapist say, and don't tell me about breaking the law for there are oppressive laws, just like the one criminalising homosexuality, in your view.

There is no homosexual gene. The 1991 study by Simon LaVay did not establish that, nor did the 1993 study by Dean Hamer. Hamer's team did not locate a chromosomal marker for lesbians and bisexuals. Genetics does influence sexuality, but it does not determine it. Scientific studies have shown that genetics influences criminal behaviour but not in a deterministic sense. Yet people would not generally suggest that criminals are not responsible for their actions.

Says the 1998 book, The Perspectives of Psychiatry: "That genes have a role in behaviour can be demonstrated; that behaviours are influenced by other forces is also certain. Studies demonstrating a genetic factor in criminality have also acknowledged cultural/environmental influences shaping the behaviour." Says Neil and Briar Whitehead in their 1999 book My genes Made me Do It: A Scientific Look at Sexual Orientation: "Science has not yet discovered any genetically dictated behaviour in humans, far genetically dictated behaviours of the one-gene-one-trait variety have been found only in very simple organisms."

I could quote an abundance of studies debunking the gay propaganda myth of a genetic determination of homosexuality. This does not mean people choose their homosexuality. Why would most gays in a homophobic world? Many desperately want to change and find it hard. There are a number of early factors responsible for homosexuality. It's a complex issue and not as simple as either the gay bashers or the irrational, desire-driven gays make out.

The most comprehensive account of the social construction of homosexuality from the earliest times to the present has been done by David Greenberg. In his highly-acclaimed cross-cultural work, The Construction of Homosexuality, he rejects the view of those who see homosexuality as an unchangeable, genetic condition: "Where social definitions of appropriate and inappropriate behaviour are clear and consistent with positive sanctions for conformity and negative ones for nonconformity, virtually everyone will conform, irrespective of genetic inheritance and, to a considerable extent, irrespective of personal psychodynamics."

Gays just want to have sex and lots of it like most of us heterosexuals. They feel it's unfair that we should have it and they should have none. When you really press them (oops!), they have no intellectually unassailable defence. It goes back to the sovereignty of their irresistible desires. They are just helpless slaves to their passions. Their reasoning violates every rule in even naturalistic ethical construction.

* Ian Boyne is a veteran journalist. You can send your comments to ianboyne1@yahoo.com

In Africa ...A step backward on human rights (Desmond Tutu on hate)

Desmond Tutu, Contributor

The following article was first published by the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation.

Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity - or because of their sexual orientation. Nor should anyone be excluded from health care on any of these grounds. In my country of South Africa, we struggled for years against the evil system of apartheid that divided human beings, children of the same God, by racial classification and then denied them fundamental human rights. We knew this was wrong. Thankfully, the world supported us in our struggle for freedom and dignity. It is time to stand up for another wrong.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are part of so many families. They are part of the human family. They are part of God's family.

And, of course, they are part of the African family. But a wave of hate is spreading across my beloved continent. People are again being denied their fundamental rights and freedoms. Men have been falsely charged and imprisoned in Senegal, and health services for these men and their community have suffered. In Malawi, men have been jailed and humiliated for expressing their partnerships. Just this month, mobs in Mtwapa Township, Kenya, attacked men they suspected of being gay. Kenyan religious leaders, I am ashamed to say, threatened an HIV clinic there for providing counselling services to all members of that community because the clerics wanted gay men excluded.

Life imprisonment

Uganda's Parliament is debating legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment, and more discriminatory legislation has been debated in Rwanda and Burundi. These are terrible backward steps for human rights in Africa.

Our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters across Africa are living in fear.

And they are living in hiding - away from care, away from the protection the state should offer to every citizen, and away from health care in the AIDS era, when all of us, especially Africans, need access to essential HIV services. That this pandering to intolerance is being done by politicians looking for scapegoats for their failures is not surprising. But it is a great wrong. An even larger offence is that it is being done in the name of God. Show me where Christ said: "Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones." Gay people, too, are made in my God's image. I would never worship a homophobic God.

No one chooses to be gay

"But they are sinners," I can hear the preachers and politicians say. "They are choosing a life of sin for which they must be punished." My scientist and medical friends have shared with me a reality that so many gay people have confirmed, I now know it in my heart to be true. No one chooses to be gay. Sexual orientation, like skin colour, is another feature of our diversity as a human family. Isn't it amazing that we are all made in God's image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people? Does God love His dark- or His light-skinned children less? The brave more than the timid? And does any of us know the mind of God so well that we can decide for Him who is included, and who is excluded, from the circle of His love?

The wave of hate that is under way must stop. Politicians who profit from exploiting this hate, from fanning it, must not be tempted by this easy way to profit from fear and misunderstanding. And my fellow clerics of all faiths must stand up for the principles of universal dignity and fellowship. Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.

Desmond Tutu is archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

Making scapegoats of gays (Gleaner Letter)

The Editor, Sir:

Shirley Richards of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship has so far not commented on the recent spate of domestic violence being perpetuated against our women by men from all walks of life, including entertainers. She has instead, chosen to decry the 'deceptive' Walk for Tolerance, put on by Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, which sought to increase awareness of the need for tolerance for groups vulnerable to HIV/AIDS as an effective way to combat HIV/AIDS.

Love and tolerance

She has been silent on the beating and killing of women. She apparently spurns the biblical injunctions of love and tolerance of the marginalised, regardless of acceptance of their lifestyle. She utterly rejects legal and constitutional principles about the recognition and protection of rights for the most vulnerable in society. She takes on the gay issue because it is easy.

And then there are those like J.M. Fletcher (Gleaner, Saturday, April 17 ) who, preposterously ask gays to leave Jamaica. This is neither possible nor probable. Hitler tried the same thing during World War II with disastrous results for the German society and the world at large. The world is still paying the price for Nazi intolerance.

Jamaica's intolerance and homophobia has also blighted the world in the form of our violent music, and the world is now reacting by banning our artistes and implementing hate-speech legislation.

For those who think that gay rights are not civil rights, look carefully at the wording of the international treaties created after WWII in reaction to Nazi brutality. Courts as far flung as India, South Africa and Brazil have found that gay rights are indeed civil rights.

Jamaica needs to focus on the real threat to its peace and security, which is a poorly performing economy, instead of seeking to make scapegoats out of a marginalised and vulnerable group. That would be Nazism all over again.

I am, etc.,

MAURICE TOMLINSON

maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com

Montego Bay St James

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Miss Richards breaks her silence? Deceptive activists (Gleaner letter)

by the looks of this letter to the Gleaner editor looks as if the leading anti gay lobby lawyer and head of the Lawyer's Christian Fellowship (known for striking down the orientation rights issue during various parliamentary deliberations by leading discriminatory submissions) has broken her silence on the recent Walk for Tolernace issue specifically the marching band controversy. Also of note is that the Gleaner itself hasn't published much on the matter.

She wrote:


Deceptive activists
Saturday April 17, 2010
The Editor, Sir:

I want to express support for parents who are upset that their youngsters participated in the Montego Bay homosexual rights march without their knowledge and consent.

The organisers of the march ought to have made it clear to both the youngsters and to the parents that this was what the march was all about.

The march for homosexual rights under the guise of support for HIV/AIDS awareness confirms, in my mind, what I have long believed -
which is that HIV/AIDS is being used as a disguise for promotion of the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.

I am, etc.,

S. RICHARDS

9 Cecelio Avenue, Kingston 10

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sharing the Light: Danger for Gays in Jamaica, Nigeria, and Uganda




Sharing the Light is an Internet talk show where Reverends Durrell Watkins, Robert Griffin, and others discuss theological questions of interest to our community.

In this episode of Sharing the Light, Sunshine Cathedrals Senior Pastor Durrell Watkins speaks with Director of Media and Justice Ministry Robert Griffin. We invite you to watch for an enlightening conversation on Sharing the Light.

Robert Griffin discusses the situation as he sees it on Jamaicas homophobic situation and religion inclusive of the governments attitude.

Mob violence is also looked at with the police response

HIV issues

Christianity and homosexuality are addressed as well

Nigeria and Uganda are also looked at

Religious homophobia is examined where religious leaders are deemed as dehumanising homosexuals

The American conservative imports in Africa are briefly touched


see also
Sharing The Light: The Danger of The Closet

Allow homosexuals basic human rights (Observer Letter)

Dear Editor,

On April 7, Jamaica Aids Support for Life conducted the first "Walk for Tolerance" in Montego Bay. I applaud this initiative particularly since Montego Bay has the second highest HIV prevalence rate in Jamaica and is home to marginalised communities such as homosexual men who don't receive the outreach and treatment necessary to address this epidemic because of discriminatory laws in a homophobic society

As a heterosexual Christian woman, I want to ask, how long are we going to hide our ignorance behind the guise of Christianity, a religion that preaches tolerance and respect for others? What is so wrong with allowing homosexuals basic human rights and at least tolerating the idea that two consenting adults should be allowed to love one another when it doesn't hurt anyone else?

Just last year a black man was sworn in as president of a country that less than 50 years ago wouldn't even have allowed him to sit in the front of a bus, a notion that is unfathomable today. Isn't it time that we examined our unfounded claims that homosexuals don't deserve the right to live and love without fear and rejection?

Given the homophobic climate they face in Jamaica and elsewhere, if they could choose to live any other way, do you think they would choose this persecution?

People do not choose a life that relegates them to the back of the bus, a life that leads them to maltreatment and rejection and to punish them, for this is unjust and unwarranted.

Tolerance is as simple as allowing people the right to be themselves when their actions do not harm anyone, especially when our inaction continues to harm them.

Cathryn O'Sullivan

cathy_osullivan@hotmail.com

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Unacceptable no matter who does it (Paedophilia)

Michael Burke (Observer)

Paedophilia and wilful homosexual practice are sins and totally unacceptable no matter who does it or where it happens. The international media has bombarded us with cases of paedophilia among Roman Catholic priests in the United States of America, Ireland, Germany and Australia. Although it is an embarrassing scandal, many Roman Catholics are happy that our church is being cleansed by the exposure.

There have even been attempts to sully the name of the pope by accusing him of covering up such deeds when he was an archbishop in Germany. God alone is his judge as to whether this was so. Is this an attempt to discredit the pope no matter what he does or says? Who but the devil himself would want to do that, especially as the pope speaks in the name of Jesus Christ? But Jesus Christ did promise that the gates of hell shall never prevail against the church.

It is the duty of the media to report such crimes but there has been a general lack of balance in the international media reports. These cases do not amount to more than 1.5 per cent of the priesthood. Jamaica Association of Evangelicals President Peter Garth is reported to have said it is roughly an equal percentage to the ministers of religion outside of the Roman Catholic Church who are guilty of these sex crimes.

If there are a million Roman Catholic priests worldwide, 1.5 per cent is 10,500. That is enough to talk about one paedophile priest every day for 21 years and give the impression that everyone is involved. That is most unfair. Still, it is unacceptable no matter who does it. Some years ago, the Muslim Louis Farrakhan correctly complained about stereotyping Muslims as terrorists. He was correct to ask the question: when Timothy McVeigh was arrested in Oklahoma, why did no one said that he was Roman Catholic? Had he been a Muslim, we would have heard that before we heard his name.

The same is true of the Roman Catholic Church when it comes to paedophilia. Here in Jamaica, the names of the Protestant and Evangelical ministers of religion guilty of such acts are published and broadcast but seldom do we hear the names of the churches. When Roman Catholic priests are accused anywhere in the world, even if they have not been convicted (some have actually been found not guilty), we hear or read "Roman Catholic" before we hear the names.

In Africa, homosexuality is regarded as abominable. The fastest-growing church in Africa is the Roman Catholic Church. But the way in which the paedophilia reports are presented, one would believe that the Roman Catholic Church exists only in Europe and the United States. Actually, Europe is "post-Christian" today as many do not go to church and many churches have closed down. One statistical agency stated that 61 per cent of all homosexuals are white males. The majority of Roman Catholic priests in the world today are either African or Indian. Fiji has a Catholic majority.

In a news report in the Gleaner last Thursday, "Gays told to avoid Jamaica", we read that Jamaica is listed along with Fiji, Poland, Nicaragua and Mauritius as countries that are not friendly to gays. But only Jamaica and Mauritius on the list have majority populations that are not Roman Catholic. Poland is 88 per cent Roman Catholic and Nicaragua still has a Roman Catholic majority. And Mauritius which has a Hindu majority is 28 per cent Roman Catholic.

Number 2357 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states about homosexuality: "Under no circumstances can it be approved." This is why the "gay lobby" targets the Roman Catholic Church, a fact unknown to most Jamaicans. Those who say that if the Roman Catholic celibacy law for priests were removed the sex crimes would stop should answer some questions. How is it that there are incidents of homosexuality among Protestant and Evangelical clergy who are all free to marry? Which psychologist says that homosexuality and paedophilia ceases entirely when people are free to marry?

There is no scriptural command for celibacy but there is certainly a scriptural basis, if we look at the life of Jesus Christ and many of the prophets as well as John the Baptist and certain scripture references like Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7. But how can one knock celibacy yet praise the work of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Father Richard Ho Lung, Father Gregory Ramkissoon and the Marist Sisters who eradicated leprosy from Jamaica? Could they be good parents and spouses while giving that painstaking dedication to their apostolates?

Concerns are raised that homosexuality is on the rise in Jamaica where only three per cent of the population is Roman Catholic. Other denominations are growing, Roman Catholic numbers are dwindling, but homosexuality is increasing although it is presented as a Roman Catholic problem. How come? Still, paedophilia and wilful homosexual practice are sins and unacceptable, no matter who does it or where it happens.

ekrubm765@yahoo.com

Jamaican MP GETS NASTY LETTER IN PARLIAMENT - Gay man sends him naked photo

Parliament erupted into a frenzy yesterday after Member of Parliament (MP) for South-west St Ann, Ernie Smith, revealed the lewd and shocking contents of an envelope that had been delivered to him.

While Smith was sitting in parliament yesterday, a small envelope with his name and the address of parliament neatly type-written, was delivered. The stamp suggested that it was mailed from Stockton, California, in the United States.


But this letter, as the member of parliament discovered, was not sending best wishes from his admirers on the West Coast. Instead, it bore a picture of a nude white male, with his legs spread wide. A small hand-drawn arrow, pointing towards the man's anus, was bordered by the instructions, "Lick Here!"

overrun by homosexuals

The member of parliament, who had created quite a stir during the 2009 debates about the Sexual Offences bill, when he declared that gays in Jamaica were becoming too brazen, has made no apologies for his strong stance against homosexuality.


In fact, Smith had declared that the Jamaica Constabulary Force was overrun by homosexuals and had also said he was very concerned about the fact that gays in Jamaica were becoming bold enough to form themselves into organisations.

Upon receiving the crude letter, the MP was visibly annoyed and infuriated. He later told THE STAR, "Homosexuality is in itself one of the most vulgar practices that can be engaged in, so I am not surprised that homosexuals would descend to acts of vulgarity, such as this one. But such vulgarity will not stop me from speaking out against homosexuality."

He added that the letter was clearly meant as an attack against him because of his strong stance. He also suggested that the homosexual community in Jamaica was trying to "destabilise" his constituency.


He said, "They believe that if they can have persons in parliament who support their indecency that the day may well come when we descend into the immoral state of legalising homosexuality."

The MP declared that he was in no way shaken by the letter and said, "No prince, no king ... no combination of powers can stop me from having the view that I have. My position is clear.


If my father was a homosexual, I would not have been born and if my mother's father was a homosexual, my mother would not have been born and I wouldn't be here to make the contribution I am making to this country, and to the world at large."

The Walk for Tolerance aftermath mistakes and suggestions

After the April 7th 2010 Jamaica AIDS Support for Life’s and others historic Walk for Tolerance which was supposed to be HIV specific dealing with acceptance and tolerance of persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) irrespective of sexual orientation instead has raised a fire storm in the public arena with hints that it was front for the GLBTQ community to launch a gay pride in Jamaica.

“De gay dem a force dem ting pon wi again” one female caller to a popular talk show said. Similar negative comments have been made both in writing and verbally on talk shows and on mostly Jamaican chat forums online.

Some have hinted to the fact that since the controversial Dudus Coke extradition affair, the current economic climate, a weak majority government struggling to stay afloat and dancehall acts feeling severe pressure from their all important international markets the gay community has taken the opportunity to jump in and flex its muscles supposedly capitalising on the weakness of its opponents.

One particular online publication, The Kingston Chronicle in a subtle form reminded us of the proposed Half Way Tree March some years ago and the call for machetes suggesting gays ought to be attacked if we tried to launch any such supposed bold attempt, they cleverly insinuated that message again in their latest homo hate post. That particular blog post clearly hints to calling for persons to arm themselves with weapons of any sort so as to attack gays and lesbians if they should come out publicly. A letter demanding gays to leave Montego Bay was published in the Jamaica Observer and Jason Macfarlane of JFLAG has answered the same paper’s editorial “On Tolerating Homosexuals and such.” Half hearted letters alone won’t do Jason there has to be a Jamaica AIDS Support on their own in response to this situation on television to separate the issues as that's where the crap started in the first place

With the presence of international religious and gay groups in the tolerance march that has just added fuel to the fire of speculation as to whether it was really a walk for HIV/AIDS or GLBTQ issues. The publication on Michael Petrelis’ blog, Petrelis Files of the actual invitation letter circulated to groups and individuals in its entirety days before advising them of the intended walk on the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life’s letterhead over the signature of its Chairman, Mr. Ian McKnight added more dangerous gas to the firestorm I feel, the letter including the names of individuals and telephone number of JFLAG and not JASL listed as the contact point were major blunders in my view, Mr. Petrelis’ blog like my blogs and other such pro gay blogs are read by homophobes as well so they know well before hand and are able to plan whatever sinister strategy they wish to enact.

The online publication referred to above mentioned Petrelis Files in their scaving hateful post on Homosexuals Marching openly in Montego Bay. While I can concur with Mr. Petrelis for providing information to his readers and making his blog stand out it was grossly irresponsible for publishing a private correspondence in such a fashion knowing the sensitivities involved here
I am no Public Relations expert but a proper press release should have been done and let that speak for itself instead of inviting the press as was done only for them to speculate with negative outcomes. It is clear to me that Television Jamaica has an agenda here they are the only television station that carried the Walk repeatedly and they deliberately showed the rainbow flag several times with the follow up story on the controversial issue of the hired marching band’s upset of them allegedly not being properly informed of JFLAG persons being present in the Walk.

As I had suggested in a previous post on the Marching band controversy Jamaica AIDS Support for Life and who ever else who hired this band missed a golden opportunity to sensitise a vibrant group of teens on HIV/AIDS issues and tolerance which were the main thrusts of the walk according to the JASL Chairman when he was interviewed on Nationwide radio that very evening. They, the band members could have been used to become outreach ambassadors in their respective communities instead on the face of it no serious preparatory work seemed to have been done in having all the would be participants on one page.

If that was done I feel the unfortunate interview aired on TVJ the following day with a female Rollington Town band member complaining that her and other member’s family and community compatriots were upset that they were involved in a gay march without prior knowledge as it is now known in the public’s opinion. They are being accused of supporting homosexuals in this effort, the life of the band is also under threat as several parents are considering removing their children from its membership. Days after the controversy aired on television there is still talk of the issue in Rollington Town and its environs persons are upset that their marching who has developed a reputation of being one of the more respected ones in the eastern part of the country has now lost its good image it took so long to build according to one parent of a member I managed to speak to. Several of the mainly teen band members themselves are trying to live it out and defend themselves from their accusers by rebutting that they never knew that it was as was reported on television and that other groups were present outlining that HIV tests and talks were done suggesting it wasn’t all a gay thing.

Show up wi self eeh?
Behaviour patterns on the road during the walk is a key factor as well a recent talk show has some callers allegedly from Montego Bay who witnessed the Walk and they complained slightly of the behaviour of some of the male participants one caller said she thought it was a gay thing the way the men were acting carrying a sign that said freedom or something to that effect as she couldn’t confirm when pressed by the host as to what it read. I don’t think Jamaica AIDS Support for Life and its allies should take this issue lightly as it has serious implications I fear.

Innocent persons may well suffer the consequences out of this episode almost becoming involuntary martyrs for a cause they never subscribed to. Some of the male participants in the walk are allegedly under threat or at the very least under siege in their own homes as they fear from venturing into public on a regular basis. One particular male participant was said to be under threat from family members demanding that he not return to their space. So the fallout has begun ladies and gentlemen not surprising but I hope it doesn’t escalate.

World AIDS Day would have been better
World AIDS Day would have been a better occasion to do this kind of HIV specific sensitization I feel then one could include all the various groups affected including MSMs, JFLAG could probably highlight the pride section of it during the same month of December where they celebrate their anniversary on the 10th.
The selection and preparation of participants would also be of import and how to sensitise the public on such an action too. I don’t know if Jamaica AIDS Support for Life will recover from this latest public relations blunder as I see it. If the walk is to be HIV specific then let it be so while tempering how the GLBTQ messages are delivered in Jamaica’s controversial homophobic setting. The so called gay in your face attempts won’t help anyone at this time, yes I agree the public needs to be made aware of the impact of the disease on individuals but there must be other ways to engage the public over time. Of note the JASL website like JFLAG’s has not had any serious updates so why have such a powerful medium up and running at your disposal and not use them effectively to facilitate discussion and field queries from the public on these and other sensitive issues? Half hearted advocacy I say as I have always had that criticism of them and others.

Many ordinary gay persons here in commenting on the issue are not pleased either at the outcome many complain that while they welcome the support of the overseas groups namely Metropolitan Community Church (MCC Florida), Interpride and the others who were present many never knew their names or even that a walk of any kind was being planned until seeing it on television, they the visitors can always jump on a plane and return to their respective safe spaces while we have to live this out. “What help is that?” one gay person who I quizzed on the matter asked. Others suggested they donate funds to help JFLAG or even JASL to deal with the related social problems with HIV/AIDS and advocacy. Others asked why wasn’t it properly advertised around the community so they could decide to go or not? This hints to another criticism of mine where the powers that be are out of touch with sections of the community whether intentionally or not. Others persons however are in agreement with the walk and said that if gays were involved then so be it as it was about time gays made their voices heard.

Public backlash
Since this latest negative episode in our GLBTQ history the plethora of anti gay songs being creatively infused on radio by looping and one liners mixed into playlists by disc jocks has increased with fervency. Songs like TOK’s “Chi Chi Man” are used where the first middle and end parts are carefully injected over another song in a set mix for example. I have been making the rounds at some of the major weekly dancehall events and it’s clear that this issue has struck a nerve. Dancehall events Disc Jocks and sound selectors are venting over their microphones on the JASL issue and marrying it to the visa revocations of some major dancehall acts such as the self proclaimed king of dancehall Beenieman who has since responded in song obviously trying to capitalise on the occurrence as he is known for and the legal troubles now faced by Buju Banton, the low wearing pants and bleached faced issues as well as resurfaced all being brought together to reinforce the Jamaican gay stereotype.

Nearly all the main anti gay songs including Buju Banton’s “Boom Bye Bye” and Beenieman’s “All Batty man fi Dead” have been drawn from the storage shelves dusted off and returned to playlists in full earnest in response to all of these occurrences. I am afraid that the walk for tolerance has set us back some five or so years in as far as the climate for tolerance is concerned. I wouldn’t be surprised unfortunately if we saw an increase again in homophobic violence on the ground.

A walk that was to help has instead inadvertently created some problems.

Anyway let us keep hope alive that someday we will see tolerance and learn from this another in our GLBTQ chapter.

Peace and tolerance.

H

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Older men and Andropause or senior slump

Andropause is the equivalent to or mimics the menopause condition that older women have in their years of life. It is basically a steady drop in the male hormone testosterone below the normal levels over time which affects nearly every other thing in the males’ body which can lead to erectile dysfunction, mood swings similar to menopause in women and fat deposits around the mid section of the body which may eventually lead to other lifestyle diseases and problems such as diabetes.

It is also called ADAM – Androgen decline in the aging male,

SHAM – shifting hormones in the aging male and another colloquial name is macho pause.

Symptoms and suggestions

Symptoms include loss of desire for sex as interest in sex falls otherwise known as the senior slump, erectile dysfunction and paranoia due to lack of sexual desire with frustration setting in. Irritability and depression with loss of sleep are spin offs as well due to the problems in their respective relationships. Hot flashes and severe mood swings with more frequency as the problem ages. On an average andropause may set in as the testis shrinks slowly and the adrenal gland that produces testosterone begins a slow decline of production of the hormone thus decreasing the availability in the male body usually in the early to mid fifties in most men, it can be earlier but it progresses as one gets older. It unfortunately a natural process for the testosterone levels in a man to fall but there may be some things one can do to maybe delay or significantly slow this occurrence.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle is one broad way then exercise and nutrition come into play as well. Avoid smoking, proper stress management skills, resting well, lowering or eliminating alcohol intake and eating well are recommended though simplistic as they may sound. Avoid or seek to decrease the physical condition of central obesity or fat around the tummy although our Jamaican culture prides “Big Belly Men” as sugar daddies or a sign of prosperity in life it can be dangerous especially as it relates to andropause. As the belly gets bigger the testosterone levels get lower and the testis get smaller as well. The actual belly fat is a sign that a man is actually producing less testosterone among other ailments and conditions as well.

Back pain is not necessarily a sign of andropause as Jamaicans like to attribute sexual prowess by the conditions of the back there may be other reasons why an older man may have back pain such as heavy object lifting or improper posture while seated and took much weight by the pot belly pulling on the rest of the body. There is no specific diet that promotes testosterone production one has to manage every day diet reducing fat intake, carbohydrates and sugars. A test is available known as a Testosterone Level which can determine the levels of the hormone in the body and possible limited testosterone treatment but not all men qualify for this kind of intervention. If a man has a very large prostate or signs of prostate cancer, heart disease, liver disease then they do not qualify for testosterone treatment. However if one doesn’t have those predisposing factors then there are dosages of testosterone that can be administered by a qualified professional.

Cardiovascular effects
The fall in testosterone levels has a number of negative effects on cardiovascular health it modifies the system, it can accelerate hardening of the blood vessels, the belly fat around the tummy area often time seeps into the bloodstream which speed up the levels of cholesterol which causes impaired circulation to the heart or long term heart disease.
Andropause can speed up the aging process tremendously. The emotional and behavioural changes can lead to violent reactions which paranoia men are usually very unhappy due to erectile dysfunction and with both partners in a heterosexual sense having meno and andropause it can be very confrontational. Services are available through sex therapists and Urologists (specialist who looks at problems of the urinary system) who can determine and recommend ways to resolve the issues, the urologist can test for testosterone levels and prescribe treatment where appropriate.

Bone density issues
Bone density may be affected as well as testosterone is a substance produced in the testis and the adrenals that an effect on several other parts of the body’s function. The hormone with the adrenals helps to build protein and influence the production blood cells in the bone marrow and bone formation so if one testosterone levels begin to fall one can loose bone mass thus affecting cell production which may lead to osteoporosis where the bones themselves become porous making the individual proned to fractures easier than normal.

So fellas begin to adjust your lifestyle as you get older we too have our challenges as we age not only the ladies.

Peace and tolerance

H

more reading on Andropause

Friday, April 9, 2010

Marching Band controversy on not being informed about gays in the Walk for Tolerance

Judging from the previous YouTube clip, television footage and photographs as exampled above The Rollington Town marching band seemed unperturbed by the presence of gays as highlighted in a television interview last evening, April 8, 2010 with one of the band members about problems they have encountered upon returning home in their respective communities.

Most of the members are teens.

Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, JASL says that everyone who participated in the Walk for Tolerance that occurred in Montego Bay on April 7, 2010 was informed that homosexuals and persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS which include gays, bisexuals and lesbians would have been present in the march but the Rollington Town marching band that participated during the session is crying foul. Television Jamaica TVJ during its seven o’clock newscast showed a female member of the band who complained that they are being chastised in their community for participating in a gay march and the parents of some of the members are threatening to pull their kids from it as they think the kids were too young to be exposed to that kind of homosexual activism.

She continued that when they met with the leadership of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life they were never told that Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays (JFLAG) representatives would be present as if they had known they may not have entered into the agreement to participate in the walk. Some members of the band are said to be keeping a low profile until it dies down. The intermediary who contracted the band for Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) also said she was not told that homosexuals would be there either.

Obviously the photographed rainbow flag that was so intimidating in its size would have clearly shown what was what as everybody knows the rainbow flag and what it means, if the contracted band members and their management upon reaching the destination realised where they were and with whom they were working with why didn’t they protest then instead of waiting till it’s all over? Of note when Television Jamaica, TVJ showed the original footage on their main seven o’clock newscast yesterday, April 7, 2010 they blurred the faces of the band members and showed mostly their feet and body sections. The media may have been up to something here and here is the headline, embellished story to sensationalise the issue to generate interest. According to several participants it was peaceful through the whole exercise where it culminated in a presentation and press conference of sorts.

Also curious was when the Chairman of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, Ian McKnight was interviewed on Nationwide Radio 90 FM by seasoned journalist Cliff Hughes following the walk he was pressed by Mr. Hughes as to any unusual events taking place before during or after the walk had occurred. Was Mr. Hughes aware of something before hand? Mr. McKnight denied ever knowing of any such untoward incident occurring. Yet the following day as in yesterday this turns up as a main news story by TVJ, in fact they are the only television medium to carry it apart from the YouTube video uploaded by someone associated with the Walk for Tolerance. It could be surmised that TVJ is trying to paint a picture that JASL has duped the band into offering services under the guise of a walk when really it was a secret gay agenda hidden behind a HIV marketed cause. I guess ratings is the goal post for this one.

Some of the guys who participated in the walk who were photographed or videoed are now said to be fearful of their lives, one young man in particular was exposed on both occasions footage was shown on TVJ while he was under the rainbow flag, one of the other male persons has reportedly receiving death threats from cousins who say that he must not return to the family home as they saw him on the television newscast where he was under a rainbow flag alongside other persons, so the fallout as is to be expected has begun less than twenty four hours after the historic Walk for Tolerance event. Other male members are said to be temporarily hold up in their homes and only coming out where absolutely necessary as a safety precaution.

If the accusations are true that the Rollington Town Band was not properly informed of the possible presence of homosexuals in the planned walk then that is a serious error on the part of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life as they could have used that opportunity to properly prepare and educate a vibrant set of young people about HIV and its non respect for individuals whether gay or straight with strong emphasis on tolerance using the planning itself as an intervention strategy. If the opposite is true however and they were told that gays would be included in the march but still went to complain on camera about their unease then there seems to be some mischief at work here or the band’s management never passed the information to the parents and marchers in the group or the band members never expected to be met in their communities with this vociferous opposition to their participation in the walk.

Albeit that there are allegations of improper conduct on the part of some of the MSM members who participated in the walk, they were said to be very open and playful sometimes in full view of the public while dancing and singing along the way. Maybe some preparatory work ought to have been done to sensitize the would be participants, there is a decorum or uniformity that must be displayed when taking part in a protest or public sensitization exercise such as this. The last thing we would have expected after such a historic event is to hear of complaints geared towards homophobia when the spirit of the walk was to call for tolerance. JASL you didn’t do a good job preparing the people for the march, all should been made to decide whether they want to be tolerant by virtue of being in this exercise.

The television station is also irresponsible in my view to deliberately use the rainbow flag footage twice back to back newscasts and possibly putting a young man’s life in jeopardy if what is being reported is to be believed. Lawyers were said to be present during the walk I hope they look carefully into the situation if it gets any worse, it would be sad if because of sensationalism we end up with unnecessary harm reaching a citizen when the intent of the walk in the first place is to promote tolerance.

I am keeping my fingers crossed here and hope it dies down and we can move on to other urgent matters that need attention.

also see the negative comments on the Kingston Chronicle HOMOSEXUALS MARCH OPENLY IN MONTEGO BAY APRIL 7, 2010

Peace and tolerance

H

On tolerating homosexuals and such... (Observer Editorial)

Almost two decades ago, a group of mostly men proposed to march through Half-Way-Tree in Kingston in support of tolerance for homosexual rights. When the news got around, the group was forced, in the interest of its safety, to abandon the plan.

That we've come a long way since then is evident from the report in yesterday's edition of our sister title, the Observer West, concerning the inaugural tolerance walk sponsored by Jamaica Aids Support for Life (JASL).

According to JASL, the march was designed to engender goodwill, support and tolerance for persons living with HIV and AIDS.

However, the truth is that many of the marchers were homosexuals and prostitutes, groups that have not quite gained wholesale acceptance in our society. Indeed, if we care to be honest about it, the practical difference between yesterday's carefully worded exercise and an outright march for gay rights would have been razor-thin at best.

Yet march they did -- safely -- through a very public route in a country that is still largely intolerant of homosexuality and judgmental by any standard. Now that is progress worthy of comment. Because the years of hostility towards these particular minorities, as well as others, have done little to better our society.

Jamaica is no safer, holier, or healthier than it was decades ago when these groups were further back in the closet.

Indeed, there is a valid argument that the suppression of these groups through legislation and other societal pressures has facilitated the spread of the deadly HIV/AIDS virus which is often mistakenly associated with them.

The coarsening effect of our culture of intolerance has made our society almost impossible to govern.

The courts are creaking under a case load that owes much of its weight to murder and other violent crimes; the behaviour of the executive has, over the years, descended into a crassness that makes for embarrassing reading; and our legislative legacy is replete with anachronistic laws which are simply being ignored by much of the society.

That we cannot continue this way is beyond dispute.

We will, eventually, fulfil the prophesy in the very late great crooner Sam Cooke's lyric, A change is gonna come.

Maybe the change won't take the drastic and sensational format of a complete overhaul of the buggery laws just yet, but over time the dialogue will become more informed and the stigmas which have undermined our progress will continue to fall away.

Wednesday's walk was but another stage in the process.

In time there will be other such events.

It is our hope that they will meet with the same amount of tolerance, not because we carry any brief for them, but for the sake of our development as a nation.

Because whether we like it or not, the fact is that even as we continue to hang on to the past, the world is moving on... without us.

At the same time, the homosexual community needs to cease its offensive attempts to ram acceptance of that lifestyle down the throats of the majority of people in this country. For that will only perpetuate the hostility that people feel towards them.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vatican says cover-up accusations due to Pope's opposition to gay rights

Vatican officials have refuted claims that the Pope was involved in a cover-up of the child abuse scandal, saying that the allegations are part of a "hate campaign" against him.

Two senior cardinals suggested on Tuesday that the claims were revenge for Pope Benedict's opposition to gay marriage and abortion, AP reports.


Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, head of the disciplinary commission for Holy See officials, said on Vatican Radio: "The pope defends life and the family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, in a world in which powerful lobbies would like to impose a completely different [agenda]."


Meanwhile, dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, told Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romana: "The pope embodies moral truths that aren't accepted, and so, the shortcomings and errors of priests are used as weapons against the church."


The Pope recently launched an unprecedented attack on UK equality legislation, saying it went against natural law. He also said in 2008 that gay and trans people were a threat to humanity and has criticised gay marriage laws in countries such as Portugal.


He has refused to comment on the paedophile priests scandal, despite the numerous allegations aired in the last month in Ireland, Austria, the United States and Germany, the Pope's home country.


There have been allegations that he was aware of paedophiles continuing to work as priests and allowed them to do so.


He was Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982 and it was alleged earlier this month that he sent one paedophile priest to therapy in 1980. The priest reoffended and was convicted, although he continues to work as a priest to this day.


Abuse victims have spoken of being made to sign confidentially agreements about their experiences under the threat of excommunication.


They say they want an apology from the Pope and compensation.


http://gay.pinknews.co.uk/2010/04/08/vatican-says-cover-up-accusations-due-to-popes-opposition-to-gay-rights/

US pays star witness $270 million in Buju case (says Herald)



The US government’s star witness in the case against Jamaican singer Buju Banton is being paid US$3.3 million.

The convicted drug trafficker who provided information used by Federal Law Enforcement agencies in the case against the reggae singer, travelled with him on a flight from Barcelona to Miami.

Mark Myrie, popularly known as Buju Banton, is languishing in a US jail awaiting trial for charges of possession and intent to distribute cocaine.

The informant, who sources alleged should have been deported, was permitted to stay in the US after deciding to co-operate with US law enforcement in the prosecuting the Jamaican singer.

Based on information disclosed in US District Court Middle District of Florida Tampa Division early last month, the informant has not paid his taxes and another judge found him to be untruthful in another matter. Additionally, the court on March 4 ordered full disclosure off all cases in which the informant has testified.

Recommendations or other favourable treatment from prosecutors or law enforcement with regard to the informant’s immigration status and the civil matter involving a tax lien and debt currently being negotiated between him and the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) Buju’s counsel David Oscar Markus said, “I’m still awaiting specific information relating to law enforcement assistance to the informant concerning visas to continue cooperation.

In addition, two agents appeared at the deportation hearing on the informant’s behalf. Markus disclosed that the prosecution was tardy in handing over important details such as the informant’s plea agreement from his original criminal case and agreements with law enforcement, and transcripts of his testimony.


The attorney argued that the trial was fast approaching on Tuesday April 20 and he needed the immigration information to effectively cross-examine the government’s witness. In addition, defense attorney Markus said the informant has not turned over items that were acknowledged that must be disclosed.


If the DEA has provided any assistance to the informant, Markus said, such information including the quantum and the government’s position must be disclosed. All of this, the attorney argued, goes to honesty, bias and motive to curry favour with the government.

US promoters worried over artistes visa woes (Star News)



Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

With the United States visa of several artistes being revoked, promoters of reggae and dancehall events in the United States are very worried.

Only last week, the Fraud Prevention Arm of the United States Embassy in Kingston, in a document obtained by THE STAR, said the visas of Bounty Killer, Mavado, Beenie Man, Aidonia and selector Ricky Trooper were in the process of being cancelled. This only adds to the list of top local artistes, including Busy Signal and Vybz Kartel, who no longer hold US visas.

The news shocked many people in the reggae/dancehall industry, especially promoters in the US who regularly host shows with these artistes.

Bobby Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Media, said he is concerned about the future of his event, Irie Jamboree, and other events that are held in New York.

"As a promoter, I am very concerned, very nervous. I am very unsure of the future promotions of reggae events in the New York area. This is a very sad day in the history of reggae. About 85 per cent of the people named for revocation were acts we were in negotiations with.," he said.

Adding, "The promotion (of Irie Jamboree) would not be effective if we don't confirm artistes early. If we don't have anything confirmed, we can't promote," he said of the event that is scheduled for September.

not pleased

"I am hoping that it will be resolved as soon as possible. We need to find a way to fix our industry that we started."

Clarke said the timing was especially bad for his counterpart in Florida, Jabba, who will be hosting Best of the Best in May.

While he remains optimistic, Clarke said he is not pleased with the situation and how it will affect everyone.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of revenue for anybody in this music fraternity," he said noting that a lot of people depend on these entertainers for their survival.

In the meantime, he said promoters will have to find alternatives for events like using sound systems.

An alternative is what G City, of Road Block Radio in New Jersey, said one of his associates will have to find if he is to host his show this week, as the two headliners were Bounty Killer and Beenie Man.

"They are basically fishing around to try and find a substitution," he said.

With his event, New Jersey Fest scheduled for August, G City is also in a tight spot.

"It is gonna affect us tremendously. This is a big setback for the concert community in the tri-state area. We wish all the artistes a speedy recovery 'cause of course it's a damage right now. That's gonna be a big blow for the dancehall/reggae scene. Summer time is when they put in a lot of their work," he told THE STAR.

Dave Rodney, a media and events marketing consultant, said the timing was especially bad.

"It is not good news at all. It comes at a bad time. It comes when tours are being prepared for the summer season," said Rodney, who has worked with events like Irie Jamboree, World Creole Music Festival, New Jersey Reggae Fest and Sweet Auburn Spring Festival.

"The economy is still bad, so concert promoters had already been hurting in terms of trying to bring out maximum numbers. If there are more cancellations, it will be a big blow for the reggae concert circuit."

Rodney said people are already spending less of their income on entertainment. In addition, he said it is hard to get sponsorship for events in the very challenging economy.

"It really makes the tour circuit very challenging. It paints a grim situation for reggae," he told THE STAR.