Monday, May 31, 2010

Buju Banton's trial put off again

Entertainer Buju Banton, who has been in a Florida jail awaiting trial on drug charges since last December, will have to wait a bit longer to know his fate.

The trial was again rescheduled on Friday, this time to September.

According to the Tampa Tribune newspaper, district judge James Moody moved the trial without giving a reason.



The new development reportedly angered Banton's attorney David Markus who argued that the latest date change is costly for the defence which will have to re-arrange travel plans for witnesses.

Markus also said the date change violates the Speedy Trial Act which requires a defendant's trial to start within 70 days of them being arrested.

Objections overruled

Moody overruled Markus' objections.

This is the third time the trial has been rescheduled. It was originally set for April 19 but two weeks before the start, Moody set it back to June 21.

The Tribune reported that a new date will be set in August.

Moody's surprise switch is another setback for Banton and his legal team which is led by Markus, a high-profile Miami lawyer. In March, Markus lobbied for Banton to be removed to a facility where conditions are more suitable to his Rastafarian diet. That request was denied.

Banton has been incarcerated since his arrest by Federal agents in Miami on December 10. He and two other men were charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine, and face lengthy prison sentences.

The entertainer and his attorney have challenged the agents' story, saying he was set up.

Banton (Mark Myrie) is best known for songs like Browning, Deportee and Driver. His 1995 album, Til Shiloh, is regarded as one of the great reggae albums.

He has had several clashes with gay rights groups in the United States and Europe, largely over his 1993 song Boom Bye Bye. Last year, his Rasta Got Soul tour of the US was marred by protests from gay activists.

Several shows in major cities had to be cancelled.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lubricant Use May Raise HIV Infection Risk During Unprotected Anal Sex

Lab study found some products have a toxic effect on cells, tissue

(HealthDay News) -- The use of lubricants during unprotected anal intercourse may indirectly raise the risk of HIV transmission in the receptive partner, among both men and women, new research warns.

Click here to find out more!

Concern about the possibility is being raised in the form of two new studies, and revolves around the fact that HIV infection risk rises if other infections are already present in the rectal lining of the receptive partner, the study authors noted.

In that light, indications that some lubricants may contribute to a generally increased risk for sexually transmitted infections, and therefore in turn for HIV, are scheduled for presentation this week in Pittsburgh at the International Microbicides Conference.

Conducted between 2006 and 2008, one study -- which focused on approximately 900 residents in the Baltimore and Los Angeles region -- observed that men and women who use lubricants in general are three times more likely to have some form of a rectal sexually transmitted infection. The finding held regardless of gender, HIV status, condom use, and the number of sex partners the study participants had had in the prior month.

Although no specific lubricants were identified as particularly problematic, most study participants said they used a water-based lubricant (76 percent), while 28 percent used silicon-based products, 17 percent oil-based lubricants, and 6 percent said used a numbing lubricant.

The second study -- led by Charlene Dezzutti of the University of Pittsburgh and the Microbicide Trials Network -- looked at five of the most popular over-the-counter and/or mail-order lubricants, identified as such through a survey of 9,000 men and women living in 100 different countries.

All the lubricants were water-based, except for one silicon-based product.

The research team -- including collaborators from International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA) -- did not examine the effect of lubricant use during actual sex. However, in laboratory testing, some of the lubricants were found to have a toxic effect on cells and rectal tissue, perhaps as the result of the dissolved salts and sugars the products contained.

PRE and Wet Platinum were found to be the safest lubricants in terms of toxicity, whereas Astroglide and KY Jelly appeared to be the most problematic.

"We know we can't make any conclusions based on this one small study," cautioned IRMA lubricant safety advocate Marc-Andre LeBlanc, in a news release. "Further research is absolutely necessary to understand the potential role of sexual lubricants in HIV transmission. We should be able to provide consumer guidance regarding lubes that are found to be safer than others."

"Some lubes are probably better than others, but we don't know where any of the currently available products fall along the spectrum from good to bad," added IRMA chair Jim Pickett.

"We must ensure that existing lubes don't facilitate HIV transmission," he added. "People have a right to this kind of information, and it's very past due."

Conference organizers pointed out that in the United States, 90 percent of men who have sex with men -- whether self-identified as gay or not -- engage in receptive anal intercourse. Between 10 percent and 35 percent of heterosexual women have done so at least once. And in either instance, condoms are often not used, while lubricants are.

Source

Using ARVs to Prevent HIV Could Result in Drug Resistance

Their scientific methods may have been quite different, but their conclusions were not. In asking whether drug resistance could be a problem if antiretroviral (ARV) drugs become a mainstay for HIV prevention, the two studies - one involving a mathematical model and the other assays of cells and tissue - arrived at the same answer. Resistance could happen if people who are unknowingly already infected use the approach. The results of these studies, which were reported today at the International Microbicides Conference (M2010) in Pittsburgh, USA, underscore the importance of incorporating routine HIV testing and ongoing monitoring of infection status in any prevention program that involves the use of ARVs. Read more


Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), as the approach is called, involves the use of ARVs by HIV-negative people in order to reduce their risk of infection. Several clinical trials are testing whether PrEP can prevent HIV in different high-risk populations. With PrEP, a single ARV is used, typically once a day. While one ARV has the potential to prevent HIV in someone who is uninfected, one drug alone is not enough to suppress virus in someone who is infected, which is why at least three different ARVs, used in combination, are required in the treatment of HIV. If a person who is infected continues taking a single drug, the concern is that virus would become resistant to that drug or drugs in the same class, thereby limiting treatment options in the future.

The current research does not diminish the promise of PrEP and other ARV-based prevention approaches, the researchers say. What the studies provide is a more clear view of what is likely to be needed to ensure that PrEP can offer the most benefit to as many people as possible and with the least amount of risk. It is likely that any successful HIV prevention program which includes the use of ARVs will require routine screening for HIV in order to prevent HIV-infected people from inadvertently using PrEP when they are already infected.

Mathematical model identifies key factors that would influence spread of HIV drug resistance
if ARVs are used for prevention
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a promising HIV prevention approach that involves use of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs by HIV-uninfected individuals to protect against infection. But, should clinical trials find the strategy successful and PrEP is then rolled out as a prevention approach in at-risk communities, there is concern that virus resistant to the ARVs potentially would emerge and spread. Indeed, a mathematical model found that if people who are already HIV-infected inadvertently use PrEP, drug resistance is very likely to occur. The finding underscores the importance of routine HIV testing and ongoing monitoring of infection status being a part of any PrEP program, says Ume Abbas, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who led the study.

Dr. Abbas and colleagues developed a model to simulate the impact of PrEP on HIV prevention and drug resistance in a region of sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV rates are among the highest, and to identify the determinants contributing most to HIV drug resistance prevalence. The model singled out two factors having the most influence, finding that the greater number of people who use PrEP who shouldn’t be and the longer they keep using the ARVs, the more prevalent drug resistance would be.

The model looked at different scenarios, including ones representative of the most pessimistic and the most optimistic situations. The optimistic scenario assumed that PrEP reduced the risk of infection by 75 percent, that 60 percent of the at-risk population used it, and 5 percent of the population of individuals who are already infected inadvertently used it. Under these conditions, the model predicted the prevalence of resistance after 10 years to be only 2.5 percent of the population. Under the pessimistic scenario, which assumed a 25 percent reduction in HIV risk with PrEP, 15 percent of the at-risk population being covered and 25 percent of those already infected using PrEP, resistance was expected to affect 40 percent of the population in 10 years. The model took into account age, gender, sexual activity, HIV status, stages of disease and PrEP use and discontinuation and HIV drug susceptibility.

Laboratory studies find ARV-based gels protect against infection with resistant virus
Researchers testing whether antiretroviral (ARV)- based candidate microbicides are effective against strains of HIV known to be resistant to these ARVs and/or drugs in the same class found they were indeed protective in laboratory studies. And in other tests trying to determine whether use of ARV-based microbicides could contribute to the emergence of drug resistant virus, they determined the possibility could exist if HIV infection was already present. Granted, experiments conducted in a laboratory cannot with any certainty predict what will be true in real-life settings, but the results are encouraging nonetheless, says Susan M. Schader, a doctoral student at McGill University and the McGill AIDS Centre in Montreal, Canada. Four ARV-based candidate microbicides were studied, including tenofovir and dapivirine, which belong to a class of ARVs called reverse transcriptase inhibitors that act on a key enzyme HIV needs for replicating itself. Tenofovir gel has already been tested in one clinical trial and another large clinical trial is underway, while a phase III trial of dapivirine is being planned. The researchers also looked at DS001 and DS003, which are in earlier phases of development as potential microbicides for preventing sexual transmission of HIV. Both are entry inhibitors that prevent HIV from getting inside cells by targeting specific docking stations on the cell surface.

There are at least nine known genetic subtypes of HIV-1. In the United States and Canada, most HIV infections are with the B subtype strain, while elsewhere in the world all other subtypes are predominant. Resistant virus is categorized accordingly. As the availability and use of ARVs increases in places like Africa, drug resistance will increasingly be more common. And people who develop resistance could feasibly infect others with virus that is drug-resistant. So, the researchers looked at how well each of the ARVs worked alone and in different combinations against cell cultures containing B subtype drug-resistant virus and three strains of non-B subtype resistant virus. They found each of the four candidate microbicide ARVs potent against the drug-resistant strains, although the ARV combinations (dapivirine plus tenofovir and dapivirine plus DS003) were more effective than any one drug. Interestingly, dapivirine and tenofovir used together was more effective against HIV resistant to dapivirine when compared to each drug used alone and to wild type HIV. To evaluate whether the ARV-based microbicide compounds could cause virus to become drug resistant, the researchers infected blood cells with different subtypes of HIV and exposed the infected cells to dapivirine alone and to dapivirine plus tenofovir continuously for more than 25 weeks to induce drug resistance. Drug resistance emerged only if HIV infection was present before the candidate microbicide ARVs were introduced and continued to be used.

Published in:
Citizen News Service (CNS), India/Thailand

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Why hate your gay brother? (Gleaner Letter)

The Editor, Sir:

In 1992 the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses, putting an end to over a century of institutionalised homophobia in the medical field. In 2003, the American Psychiatric Association stated that "homosexuality is not a disease that can be cured or altered," it is just another expression of human sexuality". And while no "gay gene" has been isolated, there is evidence that homosexuality occurs in many species in nature.

Yet, many Jamaican churchgoers believe in and preach deliverance for homosexuals. Some go further and claim that the right of consenting adult males to conduct their sexual relations in private should not be recognised as a civil right. To these persons, Reverend Clinton Chisholm among them, homosexuality is fluid and unstable as gays choose to sleep with men or women as their desires dictate. The irony is that these same persons accept that religious expression is also fluid as you can be born into one faith/denomination and change many times over your lifetime. Yet, the right to such fluid religious expression is constitutionally recognised.

It is highly hypocritical to say that your freedom to worship an invisible deity should be recognised while your right to love and engage in private consensual adult sexual relations with a visible human being is not. But doesn't the Bible warn of such persons who claim to love a God who they can't see but hate their brother who they see everyday?

I am, etc.,

MAURICE TOMLINSON

maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com

Montego Bay, St James

... Biblical abominations? (Gleaner Letter)

The Editor, Sir:

For Jamaicans unsure that homosexuality is a sin and that homosexuals should be ostracised even to the point of attack we need to look no further that the good book for ratification of this view. Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination as many God-fearing contributors have taken great pains to point out.

In fact, so clear and unswerving has been your contributors' resolve around this point I am hoping they can help clarify some other points of God's laws as well. For instance:

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Trinidadians, but not Americans. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Americans?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord - Leviticus 1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

4. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

5. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

I am, etc.,

ALEXIS MICHAELS

lcrimsondawn_98@yahoo.com

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Real Threat to the Family (The Gay Pastor)

I'm getting really irritated with the ludicrous arguments people continue to use in condemning homosexuality and gay marriage as an affront to the family, and as a force that will eventually destroy the family unit in society. These arguments are stupid on so many levels that I hardly know where to begin.

First of all, let me deal with the extremes. Are there extremists amongst the advocates of gay marriage who are anti-establishment to the point of opposing the family unit altogether? Absolutely. They see it as a vestige of an outdated social construct, the intent of which is to hold people captive to relationships that were never chosen, to authorities that haven't necessarily earned the right to power (vis-a-vis mothers and fathers).

Now, the truth is that this is a ridiculous perspective. In fact, I don't believe that most of these extremists actually believe the foolishness they spout. To the contrary, I think they do long for a family unit, and that it is their history of hurt and disappointment that has led to their surface-level opposition to this universal structure that is inherent to our very nature as human beings--the family.

But, even if some of them truly do hate the family unit, who cares?!?! Are you going to tell me that a few kooks on our side actually characterize the vast majority of gay people and allies? Who in their right mind believes that we actually want to destroy the family? To the contrary, the very fact that we advocate gay marriage proves that we honor the family unit and desire, with all of our hearts, to have families of our own! What moron can't understand this?

I'm in the process of reading Straight & Narrow: Compassion & Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate, by Thomas E. Schmidt, and I've gotta tell you, his perception of the so-called gay agenda is as uninformed and bigoted as they come. I started out reading with a certain respect for the author because in chapter 1, he made it a point to talk about the error of highlighting extreme points of view on either side and using them as an argument against the other side. I thought, Well finally, a reasonable critic. But, as I continued to read, that's exactly what this man is doing--taking extreme views and pointing them out as the intention of the gay community in relation to society.

Schmidt says, "...the homosexual population continues to rely on the procreative population for familial support, patterns of relationship and of course the production of more homosexuals. It is as if someone's spleen had declared its independence, departed through an incision in the abdomen, and then periodically returned, leechlike, to draw nourishment from the same body. Are the critics spleenophobic, or is this misplaced organ living in a dream world?"

What the hell?!?! Yeah, that's the antigay version of compassion for you. First, they claim that we're out to turn straight people gay, but then they turn around and say that we're dependent upon the straight population for the production of more homosexuals. Hmmm... Sounds to me like he almost believes that people are born gay!

And then we get to the word "leechlike". We're leeching from the family structure that we supposedly hate. We hate the fact that we have mothers and fathers. We hate the fact that we have siblings; yet, we leech off of their love, and off of the unchosen relationships that we detest so much. Oh my God!

Who exactly is living in a dream world--gay people who don't have a problem with family and even want families of their own, or antigay people (some of whom are, themselves, gay), who can't resist from caricaturing the gay community as "the evil, big-nosed Jews who are intent on either ruling the world or destroying it!" Too bad we don't have another Hitler around to exterminate these familial leeches before they suck all of the life out of the family unit.

I just don't understand the logic. We hate the family so much that we want our own families? We hate fathers and mothers so much that we want to adopt children and provide them with loving fathers or loving mothers that will support and care for them? Why can't Schmidt and those like him understand that it's not the family we hate. It's the notion that their version of the family (one father and one mother) is the only possible one that can exist, to the exclusion of same-sex families or single-parent families.

But, then again, at least the Bible is on their side, right? Wrong! In both the Old and New Testaments, the family unit took multiple forms. There were units with one father and one mother (vis-à-vis the Adam and Eve paradigm), multiple mothers in a single family unit (vis-à-vis the Jacob, Leah, and Rachel paradigm, not to mention the concubines Bilhah and Zilpah), and even single-parent households, like Mary, after the death of her husband, Joseph. Even polygamy is affirmed by the fact that only bishops and deacons were commanded to be the husband of one wife, while nothing whatsoever was ever commanded of the rest of the Christian population!

Obviously, Genesis 1-2 isn't as indicative of the divine perspective on marriage as our opponents so monotonously claim--that is, unless you read it in isolation from the rest of the Bible and force commands upon all humankind where none exist in the text. Yet we're the ones who are accused of twisting Scripture.

And what about the famous argument that children need a mother and a father? On its surface, this argument is an affront to the many families that were forced to endure with a single parent, either as a result of abandonment or widowhood. Should we teach single parents that it is their Christian duty to get remarried as soon as possible, so as to recreate the structure that God requires of all legitimate families; or, on the other hand, is there some measure of grace that extends to people who may not meet the biblical ideal because of the circumstances involved?

And what exactly is this biblical ideal? Antigay Christians require a model of one man and one woman; but I've already demonstrated that Scripture, itself, doesn't contain such a rule. I would argue that the ideal has nothing to do with a person's sex, and more to do with a person's support structure. With two parents in the home, the weight of child-rearing and provision doesn't fall squarely upon one person's shoulders. Partnership is demonstrated in its best light by two people working together to provide a stable home environment, a stable social structure in which to raise children.

But, isn't it important for children to have the parental perspective of both a man and a woman? Isn't that a pertinent part of their childhood development? I don't believe that it is. The social construct of gender (man and woman) is not universal or enduring. Even since biblical times, the role of the man as provider and head of the household, and of the woman as housekeeper and helper to the husband, has morphed into a more equalized partnership in which both people contribute in all aspects of a healthy family environment. Some may claim that this is unbiblical, but if you ask me, it's a more accurate representation of the fact that in Christ there is neither male nor female. Truly, society has finally caught up with the perspective that God has always held of the divisions between man and woman--that there is no division at all! Wasn't that the pre-Fall intent, after all?

Besides, the argument always circles back to single-parent homes. Is the fact that single-parent homes have a greater chance of producing children who wind up troubled in adolescence and even later in life indicative of a need for a male and a female in the home; or is it, rather, indicative of the need of two adult figures to be present to help share the burden of child-rearing? I argue that it's the latter--that the sex of the people don't matter... It's a matter of quantity--is there someone there to help shoulder the burden? Is there someone there to help reinforce the authority of the other parent? Is there someone there to help provide a supervisory presence to children, ensuring that they aren't required to raise themselves while a single parent works his/her butt off trying to keep a roof over everyone's head?

Same-sex couples are every bit as capable of providing a stable home environment to children. In fact, one needn't theorize about it. There are plenty of living examples of such homes right now. We need only consider the development of these children.

It has been my experience that the only downside to such homes is the pressure brought to bear on children in the school system because they come from households with same-sex parents. Some claim that such bullying proves how heartless it is for parents to raise their children in same-sex households. But, it's interesting how they never consider how heartless it is for bigots to instill their antigay sentiments into yet another generation of children. It's obvious that these bully children got their cruel attitudes from somewhere; yet nobody ever calls their parents on the carpet to account for the fact that they've taught their children--explicitly or by antipathy--that it's okay to treat people in such ways. No, it's the same-sex parents who are at fault. Unbelievable!

Gay people are not the threat to the family unit. I'll tell you what the threat is. The threat is the Church's misguided efforts to oppose same-sex marriage, or same-sex adoptions. The threat is the fact that the Church is expending all of its time, energy, and resources fighting families that don't look like them, rather than trying to strengthen the crumbling families that already exist in their own local congregations. No, they're too busy picketing same-sex marriages, rather than divorce courts. They're too busy stopping families from existing, rather than preventing those that exist from falling apart.

Gay people don't hate the family. Gay people aren't out to destroy the family. We affirm family every day in the process of coming out so that our loved ones can have the chance to know and love us for who we are, as we know and love them. We affirm family every day in our pleas for the right to have families of our own. We affirm family every day by striving for the right to marry the person of our choosing. We affirm family every day by our desire to have children (via surrogacy) and/or to adopt children into our families, providing them with stable environments in which to be nurtured and to grow.

Oh no, my friends, we aren't the threat to the family. The antigay wing of the Church is!

Smallpox demise linked to spread of HIV infection


The worldwide eradication of smallpox may, inadvertently, have helped spread HIV infection, scientists believe.

By 1980 smallpox had been eradicated

Experts say the vaccine used to wipe out smallpox offered some protection against the Aids virus and, now it is no longer used, HIV has flourished.

The US investigators said trials indicated the smallpox jab interferes with how well HIV multiplies.

But they say in the journal BMC Immunology it is too early to recommend smallpox vaccine for fighting HIV.

Kill no cure

Lead researcher Dr Raymond Weinstein, from Virginia's George Mason University, said: "There have been several proposed explanations for the rapid spread of HIV in Africa, including wars, the reuse of unsterilised needles and the contamination of early batches of polio vaccine.

"However, all of these have been either disproved or do not sufficiently explain the behaviour of the HIV pandemic."

It is a plausible explanation

Jason Warriner, clinical director for the Terrence Higgins Trust
Dr Weinstein and his colleagues believe immunisation against smallpox may go some way to explain the recent rises in HIV prevalence.

Smallpox immunisation was gradually withdrawn from the 1950s to the 1970s, following the worldwide eradication of the disease, and HIV has been spreading exponentially since then, they say.

Now, only scientists and medical professionals working with smallpox are vaccinated.

To test if the events may be linked, the researchers looked at the white blood cells taken from people recently immunised against smallpox and tested how they responded to HIV.

They found significantly lower replication rates of HIV in blood cells from vaccinated individuals, compared with those from unvaccinated controls.

The smallpox vaccine appeared to cut HIV replication five-fold.

Immune boost

The researchers believe vaccination may offer some protection against HIV by producing long-term alterations in the immune system, possibly including the expression of a receptor called CCR5 on the surface of white blood cells, which is exploited by the smallpox virus and HIV.

Jason Warriner, clinical director for the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "It's impossible to say whether the withdrawal of the smallpox vaccine contributed to the initial explosion of HIV cases worldwide, but it is a plausible explanation.

"This is an interesting piece of research, and not just as a history lesson. Anything that gives us greater understanding of how the virus replicates is another step on the road towards a vaccine and, one day, a cure.

"Further studies into the role receptor cells play are needed, and even then any discoveries are likely to be just one part of the solution.

"Until we find a way to eradicate the virus from the body, the focus should remain on stopping it being passed on in the first place."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Line in the sand for the JLP? Part 3

the pic taken from the BlameBruce Facebook Group Page

So we now have the Prime Minister's apologetic speech and by the looks of it just a cursory glance on social network pages where one can test the temperature on issues it seems there has been a lapse of the calls for his head on a platter. The Opposition Peoples National Party hopes to pass a no confidence motion today in the house but judging by the relaxation on the fervent calls I wonder if they will get the support and maintain the momentum they had gained within the last few days with the leader Portia Simpson Miller's address to the National Executive Committee meeting on Sunday last. The PNP continues to call for his resignation as they feel the signing of the extradition papers is a desperate attempt to save Mr. Golding's political career.

The line in the sand for the JLP therefore is disappearing in sections it seems given the last 12 hours or so.


A leader must be decisive but his back and forth on signing the extradition papers and his convenient knowledge of the Manatt Phelps Phillips issue is disturbing still in my view. It is a long time we have seen a public speaking as one in as far as the quality of the holder of the highest office in the land. There are consequences still to be had, will you decide???



Mr. Golding said among other things:
"I wrestled with the potential conflict between the issues of non-compliance with the terms of the treaty and the unavoidable perception that because Coke is associated with my constituency, the government's position was politically contrived. I felt that the concepts of fairness and justice should not be sacrificed in order to avoid that perception. In the final analysis, however, that must be weighed against the public mistrust that this matter has evoked and the destabilizing effect it is having on the nation's business. Accordingly, the Minister of Justice, in consideration of all the factors, will sign the authorization for the extradition process to commence."

Address to the Nation By Prime Minister Bruce Golding

There is talk of road blocks in parts of downtown as I prepared this post and as we saw yesterday downtown closed on the strength of a rumour that the extradition proceedings papers were signed, well they were rumours until last evening when the Prime Minister hinted they would be signed with confirmation coming in the form of an email read on air on the ever dependable Nationwide Radio which they received from the United States Embassy. While the attorney for Mr. Dudus Coke issues what could be deemed a veiled threat to the security authorities that they must not use the opportunity to murder residents of Tivoli Gardens this is of course in light of the killings there some years ago by police in what was described as a shootout. He is expected to appear in court to litigate the issue to stay the move. He has questioned the basis on which the extradition order is to be signed when the Attorney General had said there was not enough evidence was present but now it will be signed when public opinion cannot influence these decisions.

Fallout:
The car of a member of the African Caribbean Pacific States Civil Society Forum, Mr. Norman Lynch was firebombed this morning in Allman Town and it is alleged that men are openly walking in parts of downtown with high powered weapons, so the unfolding that's unavoidable has begun. The police have asked members of the public to be calm and not to create panic or false rumours or to call the high command of any untoward movements are seen or suspected on - 927-7778. Many businesses are worried that they may loose money due to prolonged closure over this matter as downtown heats up. There is talk of possible internal conflicts in the Jamaica Labour Party following the PM's speech last night as it seems heads may roll because certain instructions he gave were never carried out. He has hinted at a cabinet reshuffle as well.

If the PNP succeeds in their no confidence vote what next? that is left to be seen, they called for unity but here they are not trusting each other going to further disturb the nation now.
meanwhile: PNP looking at steps to release leader as defendant in 'Dudus' matter

This matter has taken up so much of the nations energy and time that matters on the table of the house amount to something like a 100+ how will we go through these quickly. The speech alone added a few, will the house meet for longer hours to effect these matters?

Matters such as the Impeachment of Parliamentarians, the new security measures, The Charter of Rights (going on for some 15 years+) and other relevant bills need to be addressed soon.
He mentioned in his speech
. Provisions for the impeachment of public officials
. Term limits for the office of Prime Minister
. Vesting constitutional authority in the Contractor-General and Electoral Commission
. Laws to regulate political party financing
. Enacting into law certain provisions of the Political Code of Conduct with appropriate oversight and penalties for violations
. Criminal sanctions for breaches of the award of contracts
. Parliamentary oversight in the appointment of certain statutory positions


Since the PM has become so conciliatory in a sense what about the matter of the Charter of Rights and the inclusion of discrimination of persons due to their sexual orientation and disabilities which do not appear in the Charter's draft at this time, the former was removed following submissions by the Lawyer's Christian Fellowship, it is now a matter of civil society, GLBTQ groups old and new to demand these important pieces to be re-infused in the document. I plan to do my part by writing more, researching and communicating with the PM's office.

IDAHO
With all the drama going on the small silent International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia protest in Emancipation Park got overlooked by mainstream media save and except for the Jamaica Observer which carried an breaking story clip on their website. Interestingly many of the calls for Mr. Golding's head came from the GLBTQ community as was suspected as hinted in parts 1 and 2 of this series the PNP has far more GLBTQ support.

Social media:
I wonder what will happen now to all those facebook and other social media with anti Bruce activities? as it becomes clear now that he is not resigning. Are they going to sleep as other issues before has riled people up then persons lapsed into quiescence?

All these matters now are just a wait and see.

The line in the sand for the JLP therefore is disappearing in sections it seems given the last 12 hours or so.

It can be redrawn by us if we become a vigilant public and guard our votes.



Peace & Tolerance



H



SEE PART 1

SEE PART 2

Monday, May 17, 2010

No Major IDAHO activity today .....except



So with today being International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia worldwide the main activity for today was public kissing or holding hands by same sex persons but given our caustic environment towards homosexuality let alone public display of such it was be hard pressed for some of us to do same given the damage literally one may suffer from possible violent attacks.

I for one just went out on the town to get some personal effects and saw some friends, we hugged and greeted each other and talked about the whole gay scene and the present Manatt Phelps Phillips drama and the Prime Ministers' predicament of groups and the opposition calling for his resignation. We also discussed the pending NING network decision to now charge free using member sites including LGBT non-profits such as GLBTQ Jamaica Linkup an annual fee to host such sites and their content. We also discussed what we can do as individual gay people in terms of rights based issues and personal contributions to advocacy.


Splintered advocacy at work?:
A small gathering I now learnt was arranged by a group of persons at Emancipation Park (not sure if JFLAG or CVC were directly involved and never bothered to check as the groups are upset at this blog's direct criticism of their poor stance on GLBTQ issues) to mark the day earlier this morning but it seems it was a well arranged hush hush move. The IDAHO interactive activity map for the day never mentioned Jamaica on it's list of countries with planned actions for the day. This to me only shows we have a long way to go as to the fixing of the splintering of our so called gay rights advocates in being selective on acting on issues, this is deeply disturbing. I would imagine some persons maybe left out of activities like that due to their strong criticisms of the paltry representation of the GLTBQ community by these persons, their class and one wonders if this is not another attempt at grandstanding over nothing to get the funder's attention as those funders are now stringently demanding evidenced based advocacy in order to qualify for such funds. Such actions were never forthcoming before from these organisations hence we now see needed activity late in coming in terms of for example the Walk for Tolerance which in essence turned out to be a front for agitation for GLBTQ recognition which nearly backfired in their faces.

"This day should have been one where despite the differences of opinions and ways to move forward ALL should have been brought to the table if it is even to decline the invitation sent so lest it be said as is the case now that no invitations at all were sent yet an IDAHO event took place.
This is extremely sad and heartbreaking."

Individual suggestions:
There are some things we can individually continue to do all year round in dealing with homophobia outside of the skewed advocacy structure for now such as making your voice be heard, sound off on network pages, letters to the editors and call in programs. Read and apprise yourself of what's going on in the GLBTQ scene, don't just take the word of a few including this blogger's two cents although opinions of others also help to shape your own.

If you feel so moved to show or share your love for your same sex partner before day's end or at reading this post by all means do so of course bearing in mind the crackpots near you, don't put yourself in danger in order to prove a point. The airwaves seem to have overlooked this one so far as no radio or television interviews were heard as at the development of this post on the subject as the Manatt Phelps and Phillips issue dominate nearly all formats.
My telephone conversation earlier today with the JFLAG Programs Manager on the day never brought to light any planned radio appearances. Their website sadly has not been updated as it still has the old press release from last year's IDAHO displayed on the main page.
So our IDAHO wasn't such a happy one but HAPPY IDAHO to you none the less and be safe out there folks.
Celebrate yourselves despite the homophobia not just today but EVERYDAY!!!!
Peace and tolerance
H

Friday, May 14, 2010

Is Jesus relevant for LGBT People? + more



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




Baptist Minister Rev. Peter Gomes discusses why he believes Jesus would have supported the idea of gay marriage.

"What did Jesus preach?" asks Harvard pastor Peter J. Gomes, who believes that excessive focus on the Bible and doctrines about Jesus have led the Christian church astray.

To recover the transformative power of the gospel - "the good news" - Gomes says we must go beyond the Bible and rediscover how to live out Jesus's original revolutionary message of hope.

With eloquence and insight, using examples from ancient times as well as modern pop culture, Gomes shows us why the good news is every bit as relevant today as it was when first preached - Grace Cathedral

The Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes is an American Baptist minister ordained to the Christian Ministry by The First Baptist Church of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Since 1970 he has served in The Memorial Church, Harvard University; and since 1974 as Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in The Memorial Church.

His most recent work, The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus, includes extensive commentary and observation on the interrelations of Church and State throughout history and particularly in recent US history.

Alan Jones, Ph.D., has been dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco since 1985. Jones was formerly the director of the Center for Christian Spirituality and Stephen F. Bayne Professor of Ascetical Theology at General Theological Seminary in New York City. Born and educated in England, Jones was also on the staff of Trinity Institute of Wall Street's Trinity Church. He became a citizen of the United States in 1975.Jones is the author of several books, most notably, Soul Making, The Desert Way of Spirituality, Passion for Pilgrimage and most recently, The Soul's Journey: Exploring the Three Passages of the Spiritual Life with Dante as a Guide.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

IDAHO - International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia May 17, 2010

The GREAT GLOBAL IDAHO KISS-IN stretches across the world

IDAHO - International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Australia, Cameroon, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, News, United Kingdom
This year, IDAHO will be marked by Kiss-in events organised in several cities around the world in a global celebration of love ! Features of these events, and messages from people around the world, will be edited into a global video for MAY 17th.

You can be part of it !

Record a video of you with your partner and/or friends featuring friendly kisses in a creative way. Put these videos on Youtube or other video shareware and share them with kissin@idahomophobia.org or go directly to our special site www.gays.com/idaho
French speakers can also go to our partner YAgg.com ’s website to upload their video and watch kiss-in events videos for inspiration !

Organisations wishing to join in and create an event in their city should consult the frequently-asked-questions or write to contact@idahomophobia.org


The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated every May 17 around the world.

It is coordinated by the Paris based "IDAHO Committee" founded and presided by French academics, Louis-Georges Tin. It is celebrated in more than 50 countries in the world, and recognised officially by the European Union, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Mexico, Costa-Rica, etc.

The international day against homophobia aims to coordinate international events to call respect for lesbians and gays worldwide. Unlike the LGBT Pride Day, which is meant to emphasise proudness of one's sexuality and refusal to be ashamed of it, IDAHO is held to highlight:“ "... that in reality it is homophobia that is shameful and must be deconstructed in its social logic and fought against openly."

May 17 was chosen as the day of the event because homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 17, 1992.

Gay marriage a "dangerous threat", Pope warns

Pope Benedict has called gay marriage and abortion "dangerous threats to the common good" during a visit to Portugal.

The pontiff is on a four-day visit to the country and gave a Mass today to 500,000 people at Fatima, which is considered the Portuguese Lourdes.

Fatima is one of the most revered sites in Catholicism after three shepherd children claimed in 1917 to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary. Catholics flock to the site in search of miracle cures and to worship there.

Addressing followers today, the Pope called for pastoral action to tackle abortion and same-sex marriage, which he called "some of today's most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good".

He called abortion a "tragedy" and urged for protection of the "family based on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman".

Portugal approved gay marriage earlier this year. In January, speaking just after Portugal's parliament voted in favour of the move, the Pope called it an "attack" on the natural differences between men and women.

He recently criticised gay rights measures contained in Britain's Equality Act. He said measures designed to ensure churches were not discriminating when hiring staff were against "natural law".

Following his attack, the government backed down on pushing the measures through.

The Pope is due to visit the UK this September for four days, although protests have already been held by groups angry at his stance on gay rights, abortion, women and contraception.

In an end-of year address in 2008, he said that the existence of gay people threatens humanity as much as the destruction of the rainforests does and that "blurring" genders through acceptance of transgender people would kill off the human race.

He has also attacked the use of condoms to tackle HIV, saying they may make the problem worse.

Source

The ass-pects of anal sex

By Jon Tingley

Anal penetration used to be a taboo topic. In fact, for some of you, it might still be. What used to be relegated to men playing in bathhouses and Bally’s locker rooms is now a widespread form of sexual intercourse enjoyed by all different sexual orientations and genders.

Yep, that’s right, women can be stimulated by anal sex too. While it can be a fun experiment for you and your partner, it is incredibly important to incorporate safe practice into your anal sex explorations.

Let’s start with the basics. Anal penetration can be pleasurable for everyone, regardless of gender mainly due to the high amount of nerve endings concentrated in that area. A common misconception is that women don’t experience pleasure because they don’t have a prostate.

This is true, women do not have a prostate, but their clitoris do have legs; these legs extend back to the anus making anal penetration pleasurable for some women. Men do have a prostate and the location of which is often referred to as the male G-spot. Rubbing the prostate through anal penetration can often lead to an orgasm.

Many people decide not to participate in anal penetration with their sexual partner or even on their own because of the pain associated. This kind of sexual pleasure actually doesn’t have to be a pillow-biting experience when done correctly. I’m often surprised by my sexually active gay male friends who are still experiencing extreme pain during sexual intercourse even though they have experience. It just goes to show you that even those with apparent sexual know-how can have it wrong sometimes.

There are a few things to remember when considering taking it up the butt:

Communication & Comfort

Like I always say people, communication is key and before you and your partner can have pleasurable anal intercourse, both of you need to be fully willing and ready to take this step. Trying to coerce your partner into having anal sex with you is just going to leave you both unsatisfied.

Relax

Your anus has two barriers to get through called sphincters in order to achieve penetration. You have full control over the exterior sphincter and the only way anything is getting through with limited pain is if you allow yourself to relax. Relaxation is critical to safe and pleasurable penetration.

Use Lube

I’m not talking about sticky, latex-based gels. Make sure to use plenty of water based lubricant during anal penetration. Water based lube is the safest kind of lubricant and will not leave a film like other lubes that can harbor bacteria and cause an infection. The anus does not naturally lubricate itself, so it is important to adequately lubricate both the penetrator and the penetratee.

Take Your Time

Trying to jam a penis or object into an anus quickly will only result in pain and possible damage to your partner. It’s important to take your time and make sure that you’re going slow enough to not only be comfortable, but also to let the muscles in the anus relax and allow for penetration to happen. Taking your time can also mean experimenting with smaller objects like fingers or toys and work your way up to anal intercourse. Practicing with things of a smaller size may make you and your partner more comfortable when trying out the real thing.
I’ve talked for a few hundred words now about “your partner,” but you don’t to be partnered to have great anal pleasure or any pleasure for that matter. In fact, when it comes to anal sex, it might be a good idea to take a test drive when you’re in control so you know how it needs to be done for you. There are plenty of devices out there to assist you in your pleasure-seeking adventures and they come in all shapes, sizes, colors and wattages. Toys aren’t just for women and they aren’t just for the gays.

Many people think that anal penetration is something only gay men can enjoy, but as I told you earlier, women can enjoy it too and, well straight guys have prostates too. While having vaginal intercourse, it can often heighten a man’s orgasm when his partner massages his prostate through his anal wall. There are also toys available that are meant to stimulate a man anally while having vaginal intercourse. If you’re tired of the same old sexual routine, maybe it’s time to try a little ass-play.

While it can be very fun, anal sex is considered a high-risk sexual activity. When not done properly, anal penetration can lead to damage of the sphincter, rectum and anal wall and can open the body up to infectious micro organisms found in fecal matter. Using alcohol or drugs to make anal sex easier can often lead to damage of the anal tissue because these substances temporarily lower the sensitivity of the area. By using safe sex practices and following guidelines for healthy anal sex, you limit both you and your partner’s risk.

If any of this is scary to you, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t necessarily need to penetrate the anus to get pleasure in the area. Stimulating the area around the sphincter can also heighten or induce an orgasm and for men, rubbing the patch of skin between the anus and the scrotum can often have a similar effect of anal penetration.

The important thing to know is that you should be having safe educated fun. If you don’t know how to do something correctly you owe it to yourself to ask someone or seek that information from a knowledgeable source. The more you know about safe and positive sex practices, the better your experiences will be.

The Line in The Sand for the JLP? part 2

Opposition Spokesman Peter Phillips (clothed) was the one who led the initial question in the house on the Manatt issue on March 16th 2010.

See part 1 HERE

So we now see the Manatt issue has just boomed right before our eyes in less than three months we have gone from it's not a government matter to the PM on his feet in parliament saying among other things,

"On March 16th, I stated in this House that The government of Jamaica has not engaged any legal firm, any consultant, any entity whatsoever in relation to any extradition matter other than deploying the resources that are available within the Attorney-General’s Department”. That was the position then. It remains the position to this day, save and except for the engagement of Dr. Lloyd Barnett to which I have referred.

The initiative which led to the engagement of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips by Mr. Brady started within the Jamaica Labour Party in September when he was approached to see whether, through his contacts with persons in the American political system, assistance could be obtained in finding a way to resolve what was seen as a treaty dispute between Jamaica and the US. Mr. Brady is a member of the Party and a former Executive-Secretary of the International Democrat Union, an organization of centre-right parties including the US Republican Party founded in 1983, currently headquartered in Oslo, Norway and of which the JLP is an associate member.

I sanctioned the initiative, knowing that such interventions have in the past proven to be of considerable value in dealing with issues involving the governments of both countries. I made it clear, however, that this was an initiative to be undertaken by the Party, not by or on behalf of the government."
He continued that what was wrong was that Manatt misinterpreted their role as that of representing the government instead of the Jamaica Labour Party. Their moral authority (JLP) has been damaged severely and one wonders if they will ever have authority to rule, Professor Trevor Munroe of the National Integrity Action Forum says the authority to rule has to be determined by the public in the end, he continued that the technical distinctions are important i.e. the role of government vs the party actions but where are we in relation to controlling criminal enterprises in as far as governance is concerned?

Read the full Statement by Prime Minister Bruce Golding on the Manatt Affair here

Since part 1 of this post the Casino Gaming Bill has been signed by a deputy Governor General in the absence of the other who was away on business a smart move by the administration they may have learned from the PJ Patterson administration there, you have a bill that needs signing set up the timing properly so it can be signed. The nurses still haven't seen a dime of their money owed, the teachers struck again and the above mentioned revelation in parliament by the administration has the nation numb. Crime continues to plague us with two major entertainers shot in one week and a suspect in one of the shootings found dead. The line is now definitely drawn for the administration and last night May 12th there was a meeting with the JLP executive to discuss the impasse. Probably they thought it would have died down and gone away, no punto finale here Bruce.


Morals and hypocrisy
Let us not forget the grandstanding on not having gays in his cabinet as we now know it was a move to present himself and pontificating as an upright leader, boo hoo Bruce, let us not forget he cleverly infused an invented gay marriage debate during the Charter of Rights and Sexual Offences Bill tabling in the houses of Parliament, that lead to the removal of original clauses of discrimination on sexual orientation from the draft Charter coinciding with a submission to the debate by a group named the Lawyers Christian Fellowship who used the Prime Ministers so called christian principles to push their anti gay agenda. He, Bruce in turn pandered to the gallery so as to gain popularity.
Not to be outdone was the opposition party the PNP who for obviously political reasons and in a rare move agreed with the Prime Minister in the invented gay marriage debate asserting that they cannot agree to gay marriage, a right that no gay groups outrightly asked for. The opposition as we know hardly ever agrees on anything proposed by the ruling side of the house.

Track posts on the Charter of Rights Bill debate HERE

More posts on Charter of Rights Bill from GLBTQJA Here and make up your own minds.

While I cautiously call for his resignation who will stand in his stead the Peoples National Party I am sure though strident in their call for his departure would not want to take this up at this time and they clearly have not presented any viable policies to carry on the country's business. Both parties presently suffer from a lack of visible persons suited for succession to top posts in their ranks. Clearly in as far as Portia Simpson Miller's stead is concerned her charismatic feel has wained and she is not clear to me in her positions of governance and national issues. The National Democratic Movement (NDM) of which the Prime Minister was once it's President and a founding member itself has called for his resignation but they have been quiet for so long that it doesn't seem to matter or of very little import. A representative of the NDM on radio this morning said they had hope in him based on the principles Bruce Golding espoused while there.

With the plethora of voices and organizations calling for The Prime Minister's resignation and all of a sudden everybody now has morality fever where were these voices when other ills faced this country?

When the Armadale fire happened and seven girls perished where was the outcry that is so loud now for blood?

Where was the outcry for rights for ALL citizens despite of race class creed or orientation? yes while I may concur that the PM has slipped up many calling now for his head are mere political john crows (not saying this letter writer is) hovering over nearly dead meat waiting for it to die and begin rotting so they can feast.

Why are some human rights groups are so silent so far on this issue?

The Peoples National Party must not forget their own set of scandals and amongst their midst is one who presently is being tried for alleged embezzlement as we all know the Kern Spencer affair where Cuban light bulb money allegedly cannot be properly accounted for, lest we forget he is on tape and by the looks of it he tried to cipher off some of it by false paperwork in collusion with others. The case now dangles in court with all kinds of legal manoeuvres taking place with judicial review after judicial review and delays, justice delayed is justice denied I tell you.

Let us not forget the taped presentation by former Finance Minister Dr. Omar Davies in as far as questionable handling state funds. Bunched into that is the trafigura scandal. Also see Police investigating Davies’ action sale of in Heathrow slots. Google the captioned items to see the rest.

Let us not forget the Operation Pride Scandals read more HERE The Patterson legacy?

Straight hypocrisy no pun intended I tell you that's what happening here amongst the real honest citizenry. They do not have the moral authority or political credibility to speak.

In as far as calling for Bruce Golding's resignation I am on the fence, to ask for his head is one thing but what would be the viable alternative? and to ask for an alternative we as a population cannot just leave it to chance, a wing and a prayer in governance of a country we would have to become exceedingly vigilant.

Peace and tolerance

H

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Longbench Blogger writes:Bruce Golding, you are fired!

My fellow blogger Longbench her montage captioned below sounded off on the bombshell that was dropped in Parliament yesterday by our Prime Minister read more or go to her blog by clicking the bench photo below other wonderful posts await you there. She has been known to be a regular contributor of letters to the editor(s) as well.

Also see my May 5th post on "The Line in The Sand for the JLP?"

see also:Statement by Prime Minister Bruce Golding on the Manatt Affair














From dodging to denial….

Just in case you don’t realise it yet Brucie, your days as PM are numbered less than 10.

When a political leader boldly LIES to both its citizens and those who make up the government that one is expected to preside over, purposefully misrepresents one’s relationship to criminals, abuses one’s access to power by using it to negotiate arrangements that have little to do with governance and national interest, and everything to do with preserving one’s political status and authority, and where the use of such power reflects a glaring conflict between two competing roles that the head of state does not acknowledge or understand as problematic, then there can be little confidence in that leader’s ability to govern.

Through his actions – from overt arrogance and disdain for the people’s point of view, to the bare-faced lying when even his colleagues felt it necessary to tell the truth - all public trust has now evaporated and there is little left to assure Jamaicans that we have not been similarly misled in the past, and will not be treated in similar fashion in the near future.

Not only has Bruce Golding’s unethical behaviour disgraced the position of PM, but he has shown himself to be of questionnable character and a failure at providing the model of leadership that Jamaica needs right now. And, at a time when we are struggling about what to do about the widespread crime – in terms of both direct violence and corruption – that is enveloping Jamaica, we can scarce afford to ignore the real damage that Bruce Golding’s conduct will have on such efforts.

The best think that Bruce Golding can do for the country right now is to resign, effectively immediately.

US spending more on HIV treatment in the Caribbean

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The United States is providing an additional US$100 million to Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries to combat the deadly HIV virus over the next five years.

Charge d'Affaires at the US Embassy here, Karen Williams and Caricom Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite yesterday signed the agreement to extend the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). .


"On this day Caricom will sign a Partnership Framework agreement with the United States to chart a path for sustained support in the fight against this devastating disease."

"This new collaboration, worth up to US$100 million over five years, is made possible by the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)," according to a statement issued by the Embassy.

It said the funds will be available as of June this year and will focus on programmatic cooperation in prevention, laboratory strengthening, strategic information, capacity building, and sustainability.

"As the region with the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS prevalence in the world, second only to Sub-Saharan Africa, the United States recognises that a regionally targeted programme for the Caribbean could directly meet critical public health needs and support the outstanding work already ongoing in the region to combat this disease.

"The AIDS epidemic continues to be a leading cause of death among Caribbean adults age 25-44 years of age and has left nearly a quarter of a million Caribbean children orphaned," the Embassy said.

It said similar signing have taken place in Suriname, Barbados and the Organisation of Easter Caribbean States (OECS), with Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Bahamas and Jamaica joining soon.

PEPFAR was launched in 2003 to reduce the incidence and limit the spread of HIV/AIDS while assisting persons living with the disease.

Washington said that the programme has so far treated more than two million infected persons as well as providing care for over 10 million. It has also prevented an estimated seven million new infections.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jamaica: Commonwealth of Hate says South Florida Gay News







In November 2004, the international watchdog group Human Rights Watch issued a devastating report that cited Jamaica as the most virulently anti-gay bigoted nation in the Western Hemisphere.



The report, aptly and grimly titled “Hated to Death,” exposed the pervasive homophobia that both drives and permeates the former British crown colony – including the country’s popular culture, law enforcement apparatus, and much of its health care system.



That bias has for generations put at further risk some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens; setting up barriers both external and internal to seeking medical care, and in the process making it extremely difficult to acquire condoms and other items that would help LGBT persons combat the spread of STDs.



The island’s prevailing attitudes have made their mark across the region. “As Jamaica goes, so goes the Caribbean,” says The Reverend Robert Griffin, Director of Religious Education and Christian Social Action at MCC Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale.



Griffin says, too, that the local pop culture only fans the flames of bigotry, homophobia and violence.



“When it comes to gays and lesbians, ‘if you see one, kill one’ is the conventional wisdom you hear coming from the ‘dancehall’ crowd,” Griffin says, referring to the Jamaican genre of popular music.



A version of reggae, dancehall also includes sometimes vicious lyrics that sound off on politics and religion.



Dancehall music has been criticized by international groups for its violent and often homophobic lyrics.



Among the more outspoken anti-gay dancehall artists is Buju Banton, a Kingston-born musician arrested in Tamarac last December by the DEA on charges he tried to sell five kilos of cocaine to undercover agents.



Banton, whose trial in Tampa is scheduled to begin June 21, came under fire from human rights groups because of the lyrics to his song “Boom Bye Bye,” released in 1988 when he was 15 years old.



They include references of distaste towards same-sex intimacy and the threat of violence. (“Two man hitch up on an rub up on, an lay down inna bed; Hug up on another anna feel up [the] leg: [instead] fi[nd] an [auto]matic an[d] [an] Uzi instead.”)



Although a teenager when he recorded the song, Banton has never renounced it and has pointedly refused to sign the Reggae Compassionate Act, a musicians’ pledge to refrain from performing homophobic songs or making homophobic statements.



Under Jamaican law, homosexuality is a crime punishable by ten years of hard labor. Victims of gay-bashing cannot go to the police for fear of official abuse, assault and arrest.



Gays and lesbians who are taken to the hospital following a hate crime often face the added ordeal of openly-hostile hospital staff: badly hurt victims of gay-bashing have been insulted by doctors and nurses and made to wait as much as 24 hours for treatment.



Amnesty International reports that LGBT persons have been “beaten, cut, burned, raped and shot on account of their sexuality.” The organization further confirms that Jamaican authorities, instead of assisting victims, are often themselves guilty of homophobic “violence and torture.”



Since 1997, Amnesty International has documented the murders of 35 LGBT Jamaicans, and since 2008 it has catalogued more than 30 incidents of anti-gay mob violence.



Sadly, much has failed to change in the more than five years since the release of “Hated to Death.” In the Spring of 2010, the data still suggests that the AIDS epidemic may be deepening in Jamaica and that unprotected sex is far more common than hoped.



On April 7, leaders from the international movement of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) participated in the first public HIV/AIDS march in Montego Bay, Jamaica.



The Walk for Tolerance was sponsored by Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, the largest and oldest Jamaican non-profit organization providing support services to persons with HIV and AIDS.



The Caribbean, including Jamaica, has the second-highest HIV infection rate in the world, behind sub-Saharan Africa.



The United Nations estimates that 25,000 Jamaicans are infected with HIV; a significant number do not know that they have the virus.



The goal of the public walk was to engender goodwill, support and tolerance for persons living with HIV and AIDS. The march drew 150 participants, and was hailed as a historic first for the Montego Bay community.



Among the participants were Rev. Nancy Wilson, Presiding Elder and Moderator of MCC, along with Rev. Pat. Bumgardner, who chairs the church’s Global Justice Team, and Fort Lauderdale-based Griffin, who serves additionally as Staff Pastor for Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica and MCC Liaison to Jamaica.



Wilson landed in Jamaica fresh off the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast chat-and-chew with President Barack Obama. Having spoken privately with the American chief executive prior to her departure, Wilson arrived in the British Commonwealth nation with the afterglow of the Presidential Presence.



“The members and adherents of Metropolitan Community Churches stand in solidarity with all persons with HIV and AIDS,” said Wilson.



“Jesus stood with those who were marginalized and rejected by their societies. Jesus loved those who had been made to feel like outcasts; Jesus welcomed such, embraced them, loved them and cared for them. Those who would be Jesus’ followers today must show God’s same extravagant love,” she added.



Griffin notes the importance of gaining the support of members of government and media, and of identifying straight allies, of all political persuasions.



“We want to influence the culture in a positive way without threatening all the good that Jamaica has to offer,” Griffin adds.
-ENDS-



my two cents:
Old news, old facts as covered so many other publications, places, this blog and on GLBTQ Jamaica or is it just another attempt at damage control for JASL following the image problem they have now acquired following the Walk for Tolerance or gay march whatever you want to call it?
Where are the real advocacy issues in this piece when two homeless MSMs are in the hospital suffering from an attack late last month where they were chopped for allegedly soliciting sexual favours from men in public or the lesbian sister who was raped in April as well.
We need more than just old alarms raised overseas now while one can appreciate the need to highlight the issues.
Peace & Tolerance
H




Friday, May 7, 2010

Traits of a good mother-in-law

Of course taking into account our homophobic environment there are gay and lesbian relationships however that are tolerated or accepted by parents of the parties involved. I am aware of a few and the orientation of the individuals is secondary to the happiness of the persons who form the union.

Only recently I was a witness to a lesbian commitment ceremony right here in Jamaica so life goes on despite the bitterness in some quarters on same sex unions. Most individuals enter into ultra private unions with careful selection of witnesses and passing on such knowledge to associates and family members.

Here is an Observer article on some expectations from Mothers-in-Law but I always believe that even when parents of gay and lesbian people seem supportive one must never take for granted it will be smooth sailing as persons can change their minds about approvals given to their siblings' relationship engagements.

H

JACQUELINE CHAMPIER

WHEN last have you heard someone boasting about just how much they love their mother-in-law? Maybe a good while back, if ever. If you are one of those persons who really get along well with your mother-in-law, consider yourself blessed, since the more common occurrence is for people to exclaim that they do not like their in-laws and in particular, their mothers-in-law.

Really and truly though, it doesn't have to be this way.

When in-laws are appreciative of each other, there is much more love and happiness in the family. It is really such a joy to see mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law acting civilised with each other and getting along very well.

Those mothers-in-law who get it right do understand that there are certain traits that are necessary in order to be a good mothers-in-law, and they go out of their way to show them. Listed below are some.

*A good mother-in-law is not nosy. She understands her role clearly and does not pry into what does not concern her. Even when she is privy to confidential information, she keeps it to herself, since she knows that 'silence is golden'.

*A good mother-in-law is not biased. If and when she is called to settle a dispute, she does not take sides. She listens actively and if necessary, encourages the couple to seek professional help. If she has to speak, her words are those of wisdom. Oftentimes, she listens more and speaks less.

*A good mother-in-law is kind. She treats her son/daughter-in-law with love and respect, like she would her own child. If something is good enough for her child, she knows that it is also good enough for her son/daughter-in-law.

*A good mother-in-law is not jealous. She knows that even if she has a special place in her child's heart, when the child takes a partner, that position may not be the same. Regardless of what is happening, a good mother-in-law encourages her children to love their spouses with a love that is everlasting, instead of worrying herself about position.

*A good mother-in-law is a peacemaker. If she senses that war is about to break, she encourages all parties to make peace. Her motto is always as follows: 'let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me'.

*A good mother-in-law knows how to go out and when to come in. She usually calls before she visits and at no time will she ever overstay her welcome. She knows when to visit and when to end the visit.

*A good mother-in-law is as wise as an owl and harmless as a dove. She tries at all times not to do or say anything to offend her children. Her words are well timed and are thoroughly thought out and so too are her actions.

*A good mother-in-law is a reservoir of strength. She knows that she is a source of strength for her children. Therefore, she is always ready to give positive advice and encouraging words that are building blocks for life's journey. Finally, she knows that her strength does not lie within herself, and is very much aware that her help and her strength comes from the Lord.

Jacqueline Champier is a counselling psychologist from Mandeville.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Line in the sand for the JLP?



The above cartoon by Lasmay Jamaican Gleaner cartoonist reminds us of the imaginary line drawn in the sand by Prime Minister Bruce Golding during the turbulent times following his “not in my cabinet” comment on the BBC in 2008 but one wonders now if that same imaginary line is not now being or already drawn for him and his administration with all the hubbub eating away at the Jamaica Labour Party’s political capital.

The Manatt issue in relation to Jamaica Labour Party strongman and alleged drug dealer Dudus Cooke with strong accusations of persons in the JLP acting on their own validity to try and skirt the Extradition Treatise with the United States and the opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller calling for the resignation of Minister of Justice and Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne dominate radio and television newscasts since it first debuted some two months ago, a controversial casino gaming bill has been sitting on the Governor General’s desk which was passed in both houses from March 2010 the GG who happens to be a staunch Seventh Day Adventist may be opposed to the bill but he has no choice but to sign as the bill is already passed, then there is the issue of the high crime wave affecting the psychological profile of the country with the latest awful story of the five year old whose throat was slashed shaking up the nation right in the middle of child’s month and over 500 murders since the start of the year, the almost twenty year old Charter of Rights Bill dangling on a lifeline of whether to hang or not is pending with the deliberate exclusion of discrimination clauses in regards to sexual orientation and disabilities as hinted to in a recent Jamaicans for Justice public forum on the issues.

The apparent closure of Air Jamaica on April 30th in a bid to meet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) tests so as to curtail our debts and expenses has not gone down well with many in the population and former Air Jamaica workers, the strike actions taken by Nurses repeatedly for their reclassification exercises to continue and pay increases following negotiations have been hounding both previous and present administrations with the JLP promising the nurses their fair share during the election campaign in 2007 which to date cannot materialize, the two day strike action by teachers on May 3rd and 4th demanding their retroactive salaries as stupid as they sound with a political agenda the Jamaica Teachers’ Association with known top brass members linked to the opposition Peoples National Party is complaining that money could have been taken from the Air Jamaica redundancy and pension funds to pay them, imagine the teachers still have their jobs while Air Jamaica workers are being made redundant and they want a piece of their pie?, then there is the strike action by the National Water Commission workers on May 4th still unresolved as at the preparation of this post, the poor results in the grade four literacy tests and the Ministry of Education’s scrambling to solve a public relations firestorm launched by sections of the media all point to the nails being driven in the political coffin of the present administration.

But one wonders of the opposition People’s National Party PNP is capable as they have not yet fully demonstrated the capacity in my view to take the reigns of governance and with all the present problems some caused during their eighteen year rule how they will solve them is unclear they seem reactionary more than suggesting any new ideas as the utterances of the leader Portia Simpson Miller though well written and well presented orally lack that charisma she once had in her early days even up to when she took over as Prime Minister following P.J. Patterson’s departure.

They certainly have far more quiet support by GLBTQ people than the Jamaica Labour Party with many GLBTQ occupying places of power in the structure but they often play the hypocrite and are mum on LGBT and advocacy issues so as to keep their political structure in place and not ruffle feathers of leaders or the population given the political sensitivities involved it could mean suicide for any regime that may try to take on these issues in any direct way with the public’s knowledge. Such inferences have been made by both members of the opposition and JLP, the Prime Minister himself and even the Attorney General. In a recent interview on HIV interventions in the MSM community issues the former Chief Epidemiologist of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Peter Figueroa said he knows that many politicians disagree with the buggery law in private but in order to save face they publicly follow the homophobic lines as now reign in the public domain.

The recent incident where member of Parliament Ernie Smith noted for his caustic stance on buggery and homosexuality was said to have received nude photos in a letter from a white male suggesting he the MP eat the photographed Caucasian male excretory orifice as messaged he should kiss his *** clearly there are sections of the gay community that are incensed. The community and by extension the disgruntled members of the public may just very well vote the Jamaica Labour Party out of power making them a one term government a rare occurrence in our political history just to see their backs leaving the parliament as relief from the pressures today. However as had happened before many voters don’t really take stock of the parties and what they say they can offer while in governance in their manifestos and persons vote on emotional lines.

The gay community on a whole certainly does not speak with one voice politically despite the presence of powerful persons of such persuasion around. It is well known from top to bottom that there are gays in the very cabinet where Bruce Golding says he doesn’t want them in. We know though that the stance took by Bruce then was to sure up his perception in the public’s mind since he had just won the election and the challenges were on in earnest by the opposition for the citizenship issue of Members of Parliament holding US and other nations Visas and green cards along with the just concluded boycott issues in San Francisco.

It’s two years plus though into the life of the JLP let us see if they will be able to redeem themselves from all the issues not plaguing them and if they will turn on the sexual orientation matter being included in the Charter of Rights. We also require a mature debate on homosexuality in Jamaica with a close look at the Buggery Law’s decriminalization or repulsion, privacy and individual rights.

What say you on the issue?

Peace and tolerance

H

More from The HIV Research Catalyst Forum: Treatment, Prevention, Advocacy Symposium



Webcasts and Presentation Slides


SYMPOSIUM WEBCASTS NOW AVAILABLE! CLICK HERE

The HIV Research Catalyst Forum: Treatment, Prevention, Advocacy Symposium

Held on April 20-23, 2010
Renaissance Harborplace Hotel
Baltimore, Maryland


Some topics covered included:
Overview of HIV Treatment Research
Confronting the Social Drivers of HIV Incidence in the United States
Overview of Biomedical Interventions for HIV Prevention
Beyond HAART
Treatment-as-Prevention, Test and Treat
Comorbidities

Here are some Slide I created from some of the materials for review purposes only.







see also GLBTQ Jamaica Blog for more slide examples.

Peace & Tolerance

H