Monday, January 31, 2011

So thugs do love too ...... After being caught in bed...Naked thugs pull guns on residents

So timely is this story about so called "thugs" or as we call them "heaviots" caught in a compromising position in a house in an inner city community with all the discussion around masculinity and skin bleaching juxtaposed to sexual identity. Skin bleaching done by men some years ago was once relegated to alleged faggots, battyman or gays.

The stereotype has since been directly challenged by entertainers such as Vybz Kartel whether he knows it or not coupled with the now very public metrosexual look of our Jamaican men. Gone are the days when effeminacy was the evidence needed to justify someones prying eyes to spot a suspected gay man, as this story in today's Star proves. Also the question of male rape as well and condoms in prison serves as the right time to really look at all these issues together.

Here is the story from the Star:

After being caught in bed...Naked thugs pull guns on residents

There was excitement in a section of Denham Town in west Kingston last week after the sexual affairs and preferences of three men were revealed when they were caught in an uncompromising position.

Information reaching THE STAR is than on Sunday morning, a friend of the three men walked into a house where they would normally hang out, and to his surprise found his friends enjoying each other's company a little too much.

THE STAR heard that the three men who are in their early 20's were seen on a bed, two in the nude and the other in underpants, and all sweating profusely.

Further arguments are that other residents were alerted and summoned to the house where some became irate and called for a proper beating of the men, but had to make a hasty retreat after the men drew guns.

"Di same set a man dem weh seh dem ago beat dem afii run up and dung when di man dem rise dem machine," a resident said.

It took the intervention of another set of men from the community who out of some form of respect for the men, urged persons to leave them alone before giving them an opportunity to leave the area.

The men have since taken heed and have fled the community with family members who came to their assistance this week.

According to residents with whom THE STAR spoke, the men are known gangsters who were even active during the clash with members of the security forces last May, during a massive operation to capture the then island's most wanted Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

Their actions have now left the entire community in shock.

"Yes man di yute dem did a do things, a yute dem weh a bad people. Everybody frighten fi see seh a dem life deh dem a live," another resident explained.

Checks with the Denham Town police found that the police have heard of the incident but no formal reports were made.

"Badmen" in our context are not supposed to be involved in any same sex activity or at least publicly depending of course on how powerful one is in the community then that power can shield one from any form of negative reactions from community members but for the men to allegedly pull their weapons shows the power they can wield to silence any opposition to their supposed lifestyle.

Very interesting developments in the inner city.

Also see two entries from my other blog GLBTQ Jamaica on these hyper masculine types or heaviots in local terms.

This story also came from next door to Denham Town last year suggesting same sex down low activity among so called gangsters or thugs and appeared in the Star News in June 2010:

Also see: Cross dressing Dildos and thugs as well

Peace and tolerance


Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Butt shaking" dance angers Mr Perfect

So a reggae artist has hit out at the continued change in dancehall presentations of dance and style in the form of the new single from Mr. Perfect. There are those who question if "swag" is actually a dance move or a kind of pose to show off or just "floss" as we say here in Jamaica which is an image one creates around oneself at an event to look good. Of course we have been following the new twists supposedly challenging the hegemonic views of masculinity in Jamaica for some time now and with the whole skin bleaching drama still in the public domain this song's release is timely. If it catches on it will add more voices and concerns from certain quarters in reggae and dancehall of note the Rastafarian community who have been always vocal about "burning out" supposed gay themed to linked lifestyles.

Mr. Perfect clearly re-affirms the stereotypical view that anything less masculine is considered gay so the moves and the supposed style of dress by the male dancers in particular is of concern to him. Read below the article from the Star of which I have translated the patios somewhat for better understanding for my non Jamaican readers.

See what you make of it:

Butt shaking angers Mr Perfect

Hasani Walters, STAR Writer

Reggae-dancehall artiste Mr Perfect is concerned about a dance move which he describes as a disgrace to the Jamaican male community.

Perfect thinks that the popular dance, called 'Swag', has what he considers to be 'questionable' movements.

He even went as far as to record a song about the dance. In the chorus of the song, Perfect deejays, Swag but nuh shake yuh bottom/Nuh man, nuh man, nuh shake yuh bottom.

He goes on to say in the first verse,

"Dem seh swag inna di dance now swag inna di ting/ (they say swag is in the dance moves but there is no swag in the thing)

But mi wonda weh some young man guh learn swaggering/ (I want to know where some man learn swaggering)

Dem a swagga like Sunshine, a swagga like Kim/ (they are swaggering like Sunshine and swaggering like Kim)

Come a dance inna tight pants an belly skin/ (coming into tight pants and belly skin - a form of female clothing showing the stomach and navel)

Video man a ketch di movie, a which dancer that a try tek Keiva duty?/ (videographers catching the moves [on cam] which [male] dancers trying to catch Keiva's duty?)

Suh mi seh swag if yuh a swag but jah kno it look bad fi a young man a shake dem booty. (So I say swag if you're swaggering but it looks bad for a man shaking his booty)

not right"

Speaking with THE STAR,

Mr Perfect explained the reason behind his thoughts saying: "Mi know the whole swag thing was made by the Yankees and the word meant, like, your personality and such. What you have found now is that it comes to Jamaica and becomes a dance. I've been to various hotspots and see them doing it. It's a movement where a lot of butt shaking is involved, it's not right for a big man to be shaking his butt like that. Leave the butt shaking to the ladies!"

He continued, "I'm not the first person to complain, but I'm the first to put it in a song. Even Keiva a seh Perfect, di man dem a tek ova mi ting. Of course yuh can swag in the dance, but nuh bodda wid the butt shaking."

small meeting

The creators of the 'Swag' dance is the Swag Team which comprises CP Inc, New Kidz, Singer J and Vybrant. Mr Perfect has no grouse with them, however, as he said he had a small meeting with them and they are not the ones with whom he has a problem.

"I've seen the Swag Team on the move before and I didn't see any of them behaving in that manner. I believe it's the other so-called dancers that add their own style to someone's move, that have turned it into that," he said.

When contacted, New Kidz of the Swag Team said, "Perfect know seh that a nuh our style, because we did already talk bout it with him. Swag was not even a dance, is just a boasy stand up weh mi come out wid, and after that wi turn it inna dance. Mr Lexx seh swag dag diggy weh a total different ting from we. Swag is not a thing for a man weh seh swag dag diggy."

Fans can look out for the SubKonshus Music-produced Swag Team Hot This Year from the group.

Mr Perfect recently finished his Chalice Palace Recording Studio in Bamboo, St Ann.

His latest album, Good Side Of Bad, was recently completed and he is working on a second album to be released in the last quarter of this year, as well.


So here we have it.

Peace and tolerance


Gays Seeking Asylum in U.S. Encounter a New Hurdle

Romulo Castro considered attending his asylum interview in Rosedale, Queens, dressed as Fidela Castro, a towering drag queen in six-inch stilettos, a bright green poodle skirt and a mane of strawberry blond hair. In the end, Mr. Castro, 34, opted for what he described as understatement: pink eye shadow, a bright pink V-neck shirt and intermittent outbursts of tears.

After years of trying to conceal his sexual orientation back home in Brazil (where Fidela never made an appearance), Mr. Castro had been advised by his immigration lawyer that flaunting it was now his best weapon against deportation.

“I was persecuted for being fruity, a boy-girl, a fatso, a faggot — I felt like a monster,” said Mr. Castro, who reported being raped by an uncle at age 12, sexually abused by two police officers, and hounded and beaten by his peers before fleeing to the United States in 2000. “Here, being gay was my salvation. So I knew I had to put on the performance of my life.”

Amid international outcry over news of the Czech Republic’s testing the veracity of claims of purportedly gay asylum seekers by attaching genital cuffs to monitor their arousal while they watched pornography, some gay refugees and their advocates in New York are complaining that they can be penalized for not outwardly expressing their sexuality. While asylum-seekers and rights groups here expressed relief that use of the so-called erotic lie detector is impossible to imagine in the United States, some lamented in recent interviews that here too, homosexuals seeking asylum may risk being dismissed as not being gay enough.

The very notion of “gay enough,” of course, or proving one’s sexuality through appearance, dress and demeanor, can be offensive — and increasingly androgynous fashions and the social trend known as metrosexuality have blurred identities in many people’s minds.

“Judges and immigration officials are adding a new hurdle in gay asylum cases that an applicant’s homosexuality must be socially visible,” said Lori Adams, a lawyer at Human Rights First, a nonprofit group, who advises people seeking asylum based on sexuality. “The rationale is that if you don’t look obviously gay, you can go home and hide your sexuality and don’t need to be worried about being persecuted.”

Jhuan Marrero, 18, who was born in Venezuela but has lived — illegally — in New York since he was 4, said the immigration officer at his asylum interview last week challenged him about his macho demeanor.

“I was brought up by my parents to walk and talk like a man,” said Mr. Marrero, who volunteers at the Queens Pride House, a gay and lesbian center in Jackson Heights.

“The officer said: ‘You’re not a transsexual. You don’t look gay. How are you at risk?’ I insisted that if I was sent back to Venezuela, I would speak out about being gay and suffer the consequences.”

Victoria Neilson, legal director of the New York-based Immigration Equality, which provides assistance to asylum seekers, recalled the case of a 21-year-old lesbian who had been threatened with gang rape in her native Albania to cure her of her sexual orientation, but was initially denied asylum, Ms. Neilson said, because she was young, attractive and single, apparently not conforming to the officer’s stereotype of a lesbian. (A judge later granted her asylum, Ms. Neilson said.)

Chris Rhatigan, a spokeswoman for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, said each case is examined individually, both for evidence of sexual orientation and the conditions of the country of origin. While she declined to comment specifically on the examples cited by Mr. Marrero and Ms. Neilson, Ms. Rhatigan said such behavior by immigration officers would not be condoned.

“We don’t say that someone is insufficiently gay or homosexual, whatever that would mean, or that he or she could be saved by hiding his or her homosexuality,” Ms. Rhatigan said. “Sexual preference is an immutable characteristic. It is something an individual can’t or shouldn’t change.”

Citizenship and Immigration Services received 38,000 asylum applications between October 2009 and September 2010, but the agency does not track how many cite being gay or lesbian as a reason. People may qualify for asylum if they can demonstrate past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution based on membership in a particular social group; in 1994, the scope of the law was expanded to specifically include homosexuals.

Illegal immigrants seeking asylum are interviewed by immigration officers, who can either approve their applications or refer them to an immigration judge. Gay applicants must marshal evidence of their sexual orientation and their risk of persecution, like affidavits from same-sex partners or police and medical reports of abuse. But legal experts said that the burden of proof can be difficult for people from places like Saudi Arabia or Iran where homosexuality is punishable by death and it can be dangerous to be openly gay or report an anti-gay hate crime — or from Western countries that are believed to be sexually tolerant.

continue here to read the rest and to see the video interview on the NY Times page.

Trinidad happenings: Sex Lies & Leadership

Beyond the cliché; open and honest conversation, between UWI Deputy Principal and Caribbean scholar, Professor Rhoda Reddock and criminologist and journalist Renée Cummings. Sex, sexuality, alternative sex; how the Internet has changed the ways we have sex and gain sexual experience; gender and violence; gender and identity development; education and the grab for qualifications over the quest for knowledge; a crisis of leadership and whether the university is playing its role in national development; two women; two minds; explore the contradictions in Trinidad & Toba

go's society; the challenges, the changes and a new commitment to styling humanity.

Rhoda Reddock. Photos by Ishmael Salandy

"SEX is something we need to take seriously; just like food, it is pleasurable but it could kill you. We just can't keep sweeping it under the carpet." Rhoda Reddock is not mixing matters or mincing her words. "We learn how to cook so it's time for us to learn how to deal with our sexuality." She's won't skim the surface. "Ignorance and misunderstanding," she continues, listing the hurdles. "Parents never speak to boys about sex and both boys and girls say they learn about sex from their peers." In this conversation, there's neither deceit nor conceit; also absent is the clichéd litany of biases. It is not so much about sex. It is more about lies. "In the absence of structured sexuality and sex information in schools, young people are plagued by persistently dangerous and life-threatening behaviour." She's speaking her mind. "Sex, gender, practice and prejudice, sensational newspaper headlines, the whole attitude to alternative sex, it is all fuelled by ignorance."

Beyond the question of sex education in the promotion of healthy lifestyles is the question of fear— in a society as highly sexualized as Trinidad & Tobago—in exploring and examining attitudes and beliefs about sex and sexuality, openly and honestly. "With the absence of sex information, in schools, peer influence takes the lead." In many instances, peer influence equates misinformation. She explains that for teens and young adults, the world of sex has expanded way beyond the imagination to include hyper-interactive sexual experiences and new forms of social masturbation. "Sexual behaviours have changed, there are now chat rooms for sex and Internet sex," she adds, as we discuss virtual sex, sex texting, slut-texting, and text shaming of homosexual teens.

Critical to the interpretation of sex, in a modern society, is the intersection of media and sexuality. Gender, language and media offer an intriguing matrix, a unique intersection for the deconstruction of sexism and stereotypes. "Let's look at the sexualization of young girls in the media and its negative representation," she laments. "For youth, 18-30, sex is now learned on the Internet. Then there are all the taboos. We really need to study the taboos in sexuality because gender and sexuality have implications in areas such as HIV and AIDS. Why all the taboo," she asks, rhetorically, knowing that an answer may never be forthcoming in a society that often suffers from an odd case of muffle-mouth on issues that matter most. She continues to worry out loud. "Child sex abuse, incest, social services and its deficiencies, these are some of the common challenges we are facing."

"We still don't have an understanding of the complexities of gender, thinking it only means men and women and we have taken to replace sex with gender but it is more complex than just male and female. We need to clarify the misconception, in society." She subscribes to a school of thought that applies a more fluid and flexible definition of gender; that gender is not biologically determined but socially constructed; we are born female or male but we are socialised to be women or men by our exposure to gendered social roles which we learn through gendered language. "We are more open than other societies but a lot of change is still needed," she intimates; affirming that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer community, in Trinidad & Tobago, don't face the levels of discrimination in societies such as Jamaica or even Uganda.

However, gender-based violence remains relatively high, in Trinidad & Tobago. "The quality of relationships between men and women still haunt us." She worries that there's a lack of "a clear understanding" of interpersonal violence, particularly, domestic violence. "Sexual violence, criminal rape, and why men feel they need to use their penis as a weapon." How men construct their sexual identities and self-image through violence was a laboured point in our discussion. The proclivities and propensities to violent male personalities, violence against women, violence against other men and violence against themselves through the suppression of emotions were hot topics. "Violence is a gender issue. With men, it is about violence, power and influence. The less power men have, the more they seem to use violence." Then there's the issue of crime and the culture of violence, from gangland to gang rape. "The underclass use violence to deal with self-esteem. Males use violence to express their manhood. Violence is used as a means of gaining access to social and economic goods. We need to question the source of this violence."

Language, the way we speak to each other and the way we speak about each other, plays an active role in the construction of violence in society. Gender bias in language, particularly in media, from magazines and music to movies and mobile technology, perpetrate myths about gender and sex. The language of violence has infiltrated every layer of society. According to Reddock, it is now up to our leadership to style a new humanity and academia must lead the way. "The university has a major role to play in charting and setting direction within the society and to raise the level of discourse and the level of understanding. We must develop a new understanding, within a Caribbean reality, for future leadership."

But there's a major obstacle. "There's not enough knowledge in our society. This is really a pet peeve of mine. We have a lot of qualifications but little real education. The focus has shifted from learning to certification." But all hope is not lost. "We must change the way in which we teach and how learning is understood." On the question of the role of the university in national development and engineering a new breed of leaders, she's adamant that the university cannot renege on its promise. "It is the responsibility of the university to generate public debate and raise the level of public understanding. The university has a heritage and we must do a better job in terms of getting society to strive for a higher standard."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Do Prisoners Have a Right to Condoms? ............

As a follow up to the post below on male rape a conversation as started on the issue by a young concerned Jamaican advocate he wrote on Amplify Your Voice:

By Mr. J

It is no secret that some prisoners, whether male or female, worldwide engage in all forms of sexual intercourse. In fact, whether or not we agree with the engagement and how sex is solicited and negotiated in prisons, there are some very important issues that we must consider.

On Monday, January 24, 2011, I had the opportunity to dialogue with a woman who works in the prisons in Kingston & St. Andrew, Jamaica. I was shocked to learn that homosexual male inmates are placed separately from the others. Almost as if there were “special” and designated cells for homosexuals. Perhaps this is a good way of ridding the prison of gay men and preventing them from turning other men into homosexuals too. Or maybe it is one way of protecting them from the homophobes within the prison population. I have no problem with this and will refrain from making any further assumptions as to the logic behind this.

My concern is the fact that male sex in prisons is a reality and condoms are not distributed or accessible to prisoners in Jamaica. Certainly, this is a very delicate issue that must be approached strategically in hope of preventing a repeat of the 1997 killing of 17 men (both inmates and wardens) who were perceived and/or actual homosexuals. The death of these men was prodded by a debate on the possible distribution of condoms in our prison.

I acknowledge that Sections 76, 77 and 79 of the constitution prohibit anal sex and intimacy between two or more males. These are referred to as buggery and gross indecency. Nonetheless, if inmates are negotiating sex and unprotected sex (risky sexual behaviours as we call it) increases the likelihood of becoming infected with HIV, then the Government on advice from policymakers should deal with this issue.

In this context, even with global attention on halting and reversing the spread of HIV by 2015 sex is treated with very little importance. It is important to note, that each person, whether gay, straight, bisexual, lesbian or otherwise identified, has a right to a happy and healthy sex life. At least that is what our very liberal public health promotion in some circles.

Referring to the anti-buggery laws and banning the distribution or access to condoms in our prisons is not enough when HIV prevalence is about 3.3% among male inmates. I think this is a clear violation of the inmates’ human rights.

Jamaica has made good progress in controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic but is doing poorly in most-at-risk-populations (MARPs), such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and sex workers (SW).

We must, as concerned citizens of Jamaica, enquire of our elected representatives 1) what are the provisions in prison to control the spread of HIV, 2) are there relevant interventions to inform inmates about how to protect themselves, negotiate condom use in sex, how to use condoms properly and 3) what are the steps being taken to address the issue of distribution/access to condoms in prisons and 4) most importantly what support system is in place for HIV positive inmates and how are they prepared for re-engagement in the society after they have served their time, particularly for those who became infected through forced sex as an inmate.

This is good that another Jamaican voice has joined in the discussion with a direct take from a health standpoint.

It would be good to hear more from the psychological communities as well on situational homosexuality and behavioural bisexuality and how they fit into the culture on male rape in penal institutions and male sexuality.

Peace and tolerance


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Male Rape .... nobody wants to talk about it

So the issue of institutional rape, Buggery or assault has raised it's ugly head again through the Star News, when these things come up we must raise awareness and draw references to incidents past so we can have a record of what goes down. The story headlined Inmate Molested in Bathroom Attack was said to have taken place in a St. Catherine jail a months ago.

According to the Star:

Two inmates have found themselves in court after it is alleged that they held down and buggered another inmate after being given permission to use a bathroom in jail last month.
The men, who were inmates at the jail in the Portmore Police Station, St Catherine, have been charged with buggery. They were slapped with the charges after almost one month of intensive investigation.

It is reported that on December 27, after the men were released to use the bathroom they held down the other man and took turns assaulting him.
After the ordeal, the man is said to have made a report to the authorities at the station.
An investigation was launched and THE STAR learnt that the men were hurriedly transferred to preserve their safety.
THE STAR was told by the police that the matter is still being investigated.


In 2005 a Jamaican man who said he was raped and buggered released a book called the "Cries of Men" his name is O'Brien Dennis who also said he was the victim of a paedophile. Jamaicans as we know do not take kindly to that kind of crime at all.
O'Brien Dennis is 25-years old. He has never been to prison, but he has been raped three times.
"You weren't raped. You were buggered. A man can't get raped. You don't have a vagina," the policeman told him.
'When a child comes to you and says, so and so touched him, you needs to take him seriously.'
It's a woman's worst nightmare. Some people are unsympathetic to female rape victims, sometimes even blaming them. At least women have resources to help cope with rape.
But where does a boy or man go when he is raped? Who does he turn to? It seems men get no sympathy at all when they are raped. Added to that is disbelief and ridicule.

"Notten nuh go so," said a male to whom I tried to give an account of my interview with O'Brien Dennis. "Rape which part? A b_ _ _ _ boy dat. Him did want it. Nuh man nah go mek another man hold him down." He adamantly refused to see it any other way.

This is typical of society's response to the rape of men. But O'Brien Dennis is used to it. Society's attitude, he said, creates a vicious cycle, which permits the rape of men and boys to happen much more often than people know. No one believes it. No one wants to address it. And while society turns away from it, it destroys lives.
That is why O'Brien has written about his ordeal. His book is called The Cries of Men - Voices of Jamaican Men Who Have Been Raped & Sexually Abused. It was published in the United States by iUniverse, Inc.
"I've always been private. I decided to write my story because I wanted a book out there that could relate to black men especially Caribbean men." he said

Lest we forget the horrible prison riots and the whole taboo subject of condom use in prisons to include substitutional sex where it is theorised that many men who are incarcerated get involved in gay sex sometimes with full unprotected anal penetration in the absence of conjugal visits and lack of contact with the opposite sex which does not suggest the men are inherently homosexual by orientation.

In 1997, Lieutenant Colonel John Prescod(left in photo), then Commissioner of Corrections, suggested that condoms be distributed in the prisons as a means of stopping the spread of HIV. The suggestion sparked a riot that claimed the lives of 16 prisoners, some of whom were accused of being homosexuals and as it turns out many who died weren't actually gay but prior rivalry and a golden opportunity for a disturbance led the way to the attacks. The National AIDS Committee had recommended again in 2000 to the then Peoples National Party administration launch Mandatory medical examinations for all inmates, segregation of HIV positive inmates, legal conjugal visits, a health education programme for the prison, and permission for terminally ill patients to be allowed to die at home, were also among the recommendations made to the Government which were ignored.

Dr. Raymoth Notice (right in photo above) medical expert in the penal system had said at the time, "...We recognise that the incidence of HIV is increasing in the general population and not only that, studies have shown that the incidence of AIDS in prison is six to 10 times greater in prisons than in the general population," also he continued "the level of homophobia and ignorance as well as the lack of resources have hampered the education process a whole lot. Before we even get to the condom issue it is important first and foremost to educate the population about AIDS. But everyone has been too afraid to do anything since the riots. There is no analysis being done, no reliable data, inmates are leaving with the disease and taking it back to their communities."
Lambert Brown, the UAWU's the then first vice-president, had said that although he was still opposed to condom distribution in prisons, he had nothing against the other recommendations made.
"The fight against AIDS is not based solely on condom distribution," Mr. Brown said. "Those who are promoting condoms in prison are using the back door to promote homosexuality which is illegal." here suggesting fear.

What could drive a man to force another man to have intercourse especially the abominable act according to some of buggery if the Star News story is to be believed? Many blame the wardens who are maybe inclined towards preditory homosexual behaviour as a form of control, a study conducted in Australian prisons found that prison rape was experienced by at least 10% of male prisoners aged 18-25, with a small number of these victims reporting sexual assault on a daily basis. However, author Jeremy Prichard (2000) has contended that the incidence and frequency of prison rapes depends upon the unique social climate and institutional culture of the specific prison, and whether or not the prison houses certain individuals who may promote or spread sexually-abusive attitudes and the acceptance of prison rape within the prison subculture. Prison rapists, according to Prichard, sexually-abuse other inmates to gain a more powerful position in the prison sexual hierarchy, known as the "pecking order," and it is these "prisoner leaders" that must be targeted by correctional staff wishing to curb the incidence of prison rape. It is these individuals that "rule the roost," and maintain their dominance over their sex-slaves as an expression of their power and masculinity. (taken from

also see:

Situational Homosexuality Or Behavioral Bisexuality

Some social analysts believe that the concept of situational homosexuality is used to reinforce homophobia and biphobia by allowing those who perform homosexual acts in same-sex environments to continue to define themselves as heterosexual.
Often participants in same-sex activity in single-sex environments are differentiated between “true homosexuals” and those who retain the assumption of heterosexuality. In such cases, it is usually the “true homosexuals” who are stigmatized, while their partners are not. In making such a distinction, homophobia is reinforced even as same-sex sexual activity may be tolerated.
Although situational homosexuality is often both tacitly expected and to some degree tolerated, it is also expected to remain clandestine. When such homosexual activity is made public, even in venues where virtually everyone knows it is happening, punishment is usually swift and severe, though often the brunt of punishment is borne by the participant who is considered the “true homosexual” rather than the presumably heterosexual partner who ostensibly participates in same-sex activity only because of his or her situation.

In 2008 Minister of Justice Hon Dorothy Lightbourne addressed a church service where she outlined figures of male victims of rape she said among other things under the topic “Embracing Victims……Enhancing Communities” ..... "A summary of the island wide national statistics of clients served by Victim Support Unit officers during the past three years paints a disturbing picture. In 2005, Victims Support Unit officers saw six thousand eight hundred and fifty-six (6856) new cases involving females. In 2006 the numbers of clients jumped to 7436 and 7369 in 2007, while 2318 clients were seen for the period January to April this year. This translated to 580 more clients or an eight percent increase for 2006, and 513 more clients or a seven per cent increase in 2007. For the same period under review, male clients served by the Victim
Support Unit were 2395, 2711, and 2582 respectively while 1072 male victims were seen for the first quarter-January to April 2008."

This suggests a serious set of problems that are not being looked at.

Outside of the penal systems there are concerns as well have a look at this post from GLBTQJA Wordpress:

Down Low Gone Mad, Biphobia, Or Sexual Abuse?

a case that strongly suggests there are inter-community matters that need attention as well.

also see this older video on the subject

Peace and tolerance


Busy Signal recovers with "Too Many Men" in subtle messaged song

Lyrics as follows
Hold on deh,
Top gyallis, man a top gyallis, (fi real)
Top gyallis, man a top gyallis, (fi real)
Top gyallis, man a top gyallis, (fi real)
Mi nuh follow back a bwoy.
Hot head, yo Chi Ching
Beer gyal to me ting,
cause a so mi ting set
Mi nuh follow back a man, mi nuh trail inna step,
mi nuh accept number, beer gyal pin mi accept.
Some boy get di ting incorrect,
Dem a par wid ...


Too many many many many many men, men, man

Too many many many many many men, men, man

Too much man, too much man.

Nuff boy a road dem a get di ting wrong, dem a par wid.

Too many many many many many men, men, men

Too many many many many many men, men, men

Too much man, too much man

Nuff boy a road dem cyaan understand sey.

Verse one
Me look and see one gal and 20 man.
to me, that's more than plenty man,
whole of dem couldn't mek up and find 20 gran.
Dem fi look a farm work on an empty land.
Nine man squeeze up inna one Corolla,
Kingfish yuh nuh waan smell di aroma.
Some of dem so musty and have bad odour.
Man a gyallis, as gyal see me dem hang ova.

Rept Chorus

Verse two
It nuh look good fi have a bagga man a trail yuh
some of dem nuh real, dem quick fi fail yuh.
Waan yuh pop down, fi pass yuh and nuh hail yuh.
Go a jail get lock up, dem nah go bail yuh.
No man nuh follow mi, nuh follow back a dem
Gyal to me ting, so mi neva lack a dem.
Have a whole bunch, whole pack of dem
gyallis from mi born, from mi root to me stem.
Di gyal dem sey dem love how me flex,
from di way how mi gwaan, to di way how me...
Sey dem love off di way how mi dress, hot head
mi braids dem a di hottest.
Nuh man nuh have fi tell sey no new fren mi sey
nuh bagga circle wid mi, mi like no pig pen mi sey
Because a nuff man a pose as artiste defender,
but mi know dem a pretender.

Rept Chorus
Rept Intro
Rept Chorus


In a move on the face of it to recover from a stinging set of criticisms from fans, bloggers, dancehall forums online and entertainment insiders The Busy Signal has released "Too Many Men" in December 2010 in counteraction to a song he voiced and released earlier entitled "I Love Girls Who Love Girls" that caused him some problems, many suggested at the time he was sneaking in homosexuality through the back door with particular emphasis on lesbian group sex which in real terms is happening out there through bisexual contacts in the public domain. Stories of orgies and group sex parties are not uncommon and many exotic night clubs do offer or tacitly allow lesbian entertainment as many males find it intriguing.

In case you missed that previous "Love Girls" song here is a snippet of it:
Busy Signal - I Love Girls Who love Girls by Urban Islandz

Mr Busy Signal by the way is not new to Gay typed controversy as many may recall he had recovered from the whole mix up with the line in a song he recorded called "One More Night" it was a spin off from Phil Collins' eighties hit of the same name. The line that caused the brouhaha then was 'BABY GIRL GIVE ME ONE MORE NIGHT” while some persons said they heard "“GARY GIVE ME ONE MORE NIGHT” in the recording some questioned if it was a gliche during the post production and mixing process while others have suggested it was deliberate to create controversy and attention to the song which incidentaly went to the number one spot here in Jamaica and reggae charts overseas and is a staple now on some radio formats. The song has sinced been remixed and re-released.

This new track though as in "Too Many Men" I feel is designed to reposition him and silence his critics on the gay issue and his supposed turn in the previous release, as noted in other posts dancehall acts usually rely on songs of this nature to appeal to the charged feelings the public has on male homosexuality although those feelings seem to be changing painstakingly slow to more of a leave them alone or gays are here mentality. "Men" used in the Jamaican colloquial parlance usually refers to gays so the very title or hook is telling where he expects the listener to go in interpretation. The "top gyalis" sections in the song refers to the hegemonic masculine ideals in the local context of being a man is having more than one female sexual partners at once with gives him prowess and vindicates his heterosexuality as if bisexuality does not exist.

Lest we forget we have a homophobic yet homosocial set of standards of socialization and songs like this serve to separate the apparent closeness of males in that setting avoiding any sexual inclination or moves. In a quote from one of the more sensible articles published in the Jamaica Star on the 26.11.08 entitled Jamaica Homophobic Yet Homosocial the writer hit the nail on the head,

"Now, compare that with your quality engagement and time spent with the opposite sex. I'll bet all the money I lost in Cash Plus that when the situations are objectively compared, many men will find that they spend more time and energy dedicated to activities with other men than with women. Isn't that funny? But, as I'm never tired of saying, we are a case study in contradiction. Is true, man! Many Jamaican men seem to be violently homophobic, yet passionately 'homosocial' at the same time. Check it, dem burn fire on men who sleep with men but di only company dat dem keep is men.

Some roughneck, macho men seem totally happy to spend 20 hours of one day socialising with a bag a man and then share the remaining four hours with a woman. And, those four hours are likely to involve maybe 15 minutes of talk, 45 minutes of sex and three hours of sleep. In fact, one man made it clear to me that, as far as he's concerned, the main thing to do with the opposite sex was sex."

So see if it all makes sense to you now as we begin to understand how dancehall works with anti gay lyrics even in their subtle forms and bearing in mind even Busy Signal has a right to object but in a respectable form as in this song which does not seem to incite violence directly.

Peace and tolerance


HIV drugs shortage - Medication being rationed ..... update .... Ministry receives HIV drugs

Senior staff reporter

A shortage of two antiretrovirals (ARVs) to treat persons infected with HIV has resulted in rationing of the medication with persons only being able to receive a week's supply of the life-saving drug instead of the monthly dosage or none at all.
The drugs which are said to be in short supply are Lopinavir/Reponivir, the generic forms of Alluvia, and Entracitabine/Tenofovir, the generic forms of Truvada.
Tony Hron, programme development manager at Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, told the Observer that the organisation's clients have been complaining since last November that they have not been able to get the drugs at some public pharmacies.

"These drugs are central because persons who have been prescribed those ARVs have a strict regime and you may only miss one dose for the month," he said. According to Hron, failure to comply with this regiment will result in a rebound of the virus.
"These drugs require 90 to 95 per cent adherence," he told the Observer.
Head of the National HIV/STI programme, Dr Kevin Harvey admitted that there has been a rationing of the drug Lopinavir but said persons should begin receiving full supplies by next month.

"The stock is still not up to where it should be but we are hoping another supply will come in February, and so by the end of February everyone would be able to get their full supply," Harvey explained.
He told the Observer that the inclement weather in the United States and Europe, which saw the grounding of a number of flights, caused a marked delay in the arrival of the drugs from India last November and December.
"In December, the airline refused to take the large cargo so we had a shortage of lopinavir," Harvey said.

He said in order to prevent persons from running out of the drug totally, a decision was taken to ration the supplies to weekly instead of monthly dosages.
But according to Harvey, a shipment has since come in and that will soon be distributed, even as efforts are being made to fully replenish the stock in short order.
He said the treatment sites which were most affected by the shortage are the Kingston Public Hospital, the University Hospital of the West Indies and the Comprehensive Health Centre.
Cabinet, he said, has recently approved two contracts amounting to approximately $215 million for the continued purchase of ARVs.

But Hron said if it is a case that the inclement weather delayed the arrival of the drugs into the island, then there is cause for great concern. This, he said, has raised the issue of what would happen if Jamaica should experience some natural disaster which would disrupt the local distribution of the life-saving drugs.
As such, he said, persons living with the disease have been advocating that they be given two months' supply of the drugs instead of the 30 days supply they are currently given. This, he insisted, would save persons having to take an entire day out of the month just to have their prescriptions filled, a task which can take up to two days because of the strain on the public health sector.

"Why not give two or three months' supply of the drugs to those persons who have been on the drug for some time and are known to be adhering," he said. He explained that those persons just coming on the drugs would need monthly monitoring and would be required to receive their supply monthly.
Hron said he was not sure if there was a shortage of the drugs at private pharmacies but maintained that most persons now on ARV would not be able to afford the private cost which could run into thousands of dollars.

The Jamaica Network of Seropositives, an association for HIV-infected persons, admitted that some of its members are having difficulty accessing the drug, with many pharmacies only issuing a week's supply.
A member of the executive, who chose to remain anonymous, said the shortage has been on and off but has been more severe since earlier this month. Persons, he claimed, are becoming ill for not being able to adhere 100 per cent to the life-saving drug.
"An individual is not supposed to run the risk of not taking the drug for even one or two nights," he said.

Some of its members, he said further, are also unable to afford the bus fare to make the weekly trek to the pharmacy to collect the drug.
"Many persons are complaining that they don't have fare to be going every week to collect it, yet if they don't adhere (they) will find (themselves) getting sick," he told the Observer.
He said it is not easy for persons to have their prescriptions filled in other parishes which are not as badly affected.

"If I have a prescription from a Kingston hospital it is not easy to go to [a] hospital in St Thomas to fill that prescription because they are not going to fill it," he said.
He argued that many of its members only discover that there has been a shortage of the drug when they show up to fill their prescriptions at the treatment sites.

Ministry receives HIV drugs

HEALTH Minister Rudyard Spencer says the Ministry of Health has received a shipment of the drug Lopinovir/Ritonavir for the treatment of persons infected with HIV.
A second shipment of the drug is expected to arrive in the island in early February.
Lopinovir is one of ten drugs available in the public health sector to treat HIV. Senior Medical Officer in the Health Ministry and Director of the National HIV/STI Programme, Dr Kevin Harvey, said that the substitute for Lopinovir is in adequate supply.
“If a patient cannot get Lopinovir, they should ask their doctor to prescribe the substitute,” said Dr Harvey. He added that only 10 to 15 per cent of patients are prescribed Lopinovir and that the shortage was only restricted to public pharmacies in Kingston.
"We took the decision to ration the drug to ensure that it would be available to all persons who need it so that no one would potentially have gaps in their treatment if they did not switch to the substitute,” Dr Harvey said.
The Ministry said the shortage of the drug, as reported in the Observer today, was due to weather conditions in the United States and Europe which caused a number of flights to be grounded and resulted in the delay in the arrival of the shipment from India.
Cabinet recently approved two contracts valued at approximately US$2.5M to purchase antiretroviral drugs including Lopinovir/Ritonavir.

Read more:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some considerations ..... would you assist someone who has been displaced ???

So with the new year rolling on and some of the old displacement issues carrying over from previous years let us pause for a moment and take a look at what we can do or have been done in the meantime until some serious intervention or response is forthcoming or put together by who knows? maybe us, we may just have to begin to address these issues of homelessness ourselves, of course by those who are really concerned to deal with the continued displacement and the fallout coupled with other social problems arising from all that. Suffice it to say we can't solve ALL of them as capacity is a serious issue with the lack of expertise in certain areas such as the psychology of the whole situation and the persons involved.

Please also consider if a friend of yours or just a member of the community was displaced for genuine reasons of Homo, Lesbo, Trans or Bi (phobia) what would you do?

Squaring it down to the homeless MSM group since 2011 there are already reports of new persons joining the existing population of homeless MSMs or temporarily displaced and basically "kotching" or jamming by friends. As late as December we saw where a young man was asked to leave his family home as pressure from neighbours and community members increased on them so to avoid any problems they were left with no other choice presently, the family fears any reprisals. He now is left to fend for himself on the streets and of course persons like myself can do so much and no more in as far as little assistance we can offer. Some of the men do have alot to offer and loaded with potential however their development is thwarted due to interruptions from homophobia, low self esteem and a felling of helplessness in some instances that are close to me.

The constant:
1) text messaging and please call me requests for phone credit,

2) complaints of abuse from other guys on the streets as turf war or personal differences mount,

3) complaints of police harassment on the rise again with renewed reports and allegations of beatings

4) requests for a night's stay at some friends' home or somewhere safe to catch a shower or just some food in the case of the really low ones.

5) requests for food money on a slow night from those in the population who engage in commercial sex work.

All the above are all too glaring and are regular features for those in direct contact with this group and frankly speaking this sponging business cannot continue, so how do we teach these persons to "fish" for a day or for life and not just "fish" for men and sex while asking for trouble?

One of the bones of contentions in assisting the group at a personal level separate from the nonchalance from the advocates is that many fear to offer direct assistance for several reasons.

1) The mistrust issues due to previous problems and issues (including robbery and physical attacks towards the good Samaritans) from some who were assisted through a temporary stay or financial help

2) The raucous behaviour and discipline issues that abound with the group bearing in mind they are used to a certain "freedoms" without restrictions, a structured environment or confinement.

3) The seemingly lack of interest in improving themselves when some assistance is given (here is where specialized expertise would be needed in my view for self empowerment)

4) The limited resources to follow-up or have long term empowerment drives for those who really want to put a dent in this problem in our community.

5) The negative impact of the homeless men on some GLBTQ entertainment events has been felt by some party promoters who are concerned that there are a number of them who turn up occasionally at venues very unkept and asking for complimentary passes or even create unnecessary drama hence chasing away potential patrons after all they are in it to make money and it costs to keep such events.

6) The identity issues and feeling of low self worth

7) The interpersonal conflicts resulting sometimes in very public brawls thus exposing the population to possible homophobic violence

8) The tabloids exposure of the group and sensationalist reports even coining a name for homeless gay men as "Homeless Sexual" as appearing in an article on a man who was arrested some time ago.

9) The reported life threatening attacks on members of the group see HERE for more on that entry on the WordPress Edition

Those are just some of the reasons we are at a stall for now, there are cases however of some persons getting involved to at least talk to the gentlemen about their conditions and not just have them as materials or references for study for conferences or statistics. Several of the men have been assisted by private citizens (some under questionable circumstances as allegations of a "trade" of sort have been leveled at the intervener) There are four of the men to my certain knowledge who have left that life and are working and two are in some sort of private after work study program or classes. There was the case of the lesbian couple who assisted a teen after he ran into some problems at home with his step father.

There have been party promoters who have tried to host events in aid of raising some funds and awareness of the situation but given the very public exposure of the group coupled with the rude behaviour of some in the Kingston region there is a backlash of sorts to that idea for now thus persons are hesitant or just not interested. Maybe with the continued state of homelessness as hinted to above and the unrestricted way of existing even if a shelter, program response or drop in facility maybe difficult at first to get off the ground the hardened lifestyles are not easily curved or mobilized to be empowered that easily. One former advocate suggested empowerment as the main thrust behind any initiative for this population.

Hesitation is my answer to the entry's question above given the circumstances outlined above and the limited resources. The fund raising efforts can continue through the parties and continued awareness raised through blogs such as this one with discussions rapping our heads around how to deal with this, there are ideas floating for some new typed entity for the long term let us see how that plays out.
Some other group work was done in early 2009 just before the initial fallout where a meeting was convened to talk about the issues and to the men. However the ideas flowing from that never materialized.

however please consider these questions too:

How would you help if your could?

Are you prepared to offer repeat assistance and if so in what form(s)?

Would you encourage others to chip in and how?

Any other ideas as to how to go about this issue of homelessness?

Should empowerment be a critical factor in the response?

send answers preferably to: or

Somethings to think about this year as we move forward, while we do that I strongly suggest we also bring pressure to bear on the persons and groups who already have direct responsibilities in this regard and have failed to deliver.

Peace and tolerance


Observer's step n fetch it on metrosexualism & tight pants in Jamaica

So in today's Observer January 24th the writer in the piece excerpted below tried to ask if Jamaican men were embracing their feminine side?, at first when I read the article I thought how empty, late and basic it is, to be just having a piece about this when their competitor at North Street the Gleaner is way ahead in looking at the issues it tight or close fitted jeans and men bleaching their skin more openly than before through pieces from writers, the quality of this one however is lacking and should have been properly put together.

Certainly this and GLBTQ Jamaica blogs have carried some coverage of the tight pants issue ever since certain talk show hosts from as early as 2008 started equating it to gay men trying to go public, she confused the stereotype with aesthetics she being non other than former talk show host and now Founder and President of the New Nation Coalition NNC almost creating panic through her alarmist type discussions. Certainly other mainstream dancehall acts including former anti bleaching and anti tight pants advocates such as Bounty Killer and Vybz Kartel have made both practices mainstream as we too here do conduct hero worship of our entertainment stars and follow their lead even if it goes against the grade, one wonders if one of them came out at the right time if we wouldn't see mass outings by their closeted fans too ? at the rate we are going these days.

see previous entries on my take on metrosexualism in Jamaica and the linkages to Jamaican dancehall culture with profound changes over the years. Also see an entry on forced feminization as well on GLBTQ Jamaica (blogger edition)

Have a read of the article below and see if you are in agreement the writer also to me seems poorly informed or at best knowledgeable I was expecting better analysis of the whole scene to include the rapid changes in dancehall culture towards taboo subjects such as tight pants wearing

Here it reads

"Tight jeans and fitted - Are Jamaican men embracing their feminine side?"

A Man's Diary

with Dameon EUNICK

THE year 2010 brought some interesting trends in male fashion, and after much prompting from a female friend, I’ve decided to add my two cents to the discussion.
Now in the past few years, fashion in Jamaica has undergone many transformations, some of which I find to be ridiculous and disturbing. First there was the baggy pants, this is where some men chose to wear their pants a long distance away from their waists — to almost touching their knees or falling off completely. As such, they ended up walking in a very ‘wide’ manner in order to keep their pants from falling off.

It seems the ‘baggy pants’ have paved the way for the tight pants or the ‘fitted’... (Photo: Observer File)

My first reaction was, WHY? I have had the misfortune of once putting my pants on to go to the shop and forgetting to put a belt in it. Now let me tell you, that was one of my most uncomfortable trips to the shop. I had to be walking with my feet in wide manner, and I had to be pulling my pants up every five steps. This experience has led me to conclude that something must be wrong with a man who puts himself through that much trouble for the sake of ‘fashion’.

Having gone through that phase, Jamaican men have now moved on to another so-called fashionable way of wearing their pants, which has led me to question if they are embracing their ‘feminine’ side. It seems the ‘baggy pants’ have paved the way for the tight pants or the ‘fitted’ as Kartel says.
However, the last time I checked it was the women who were supposed to be wearing tight pants or ‘pencil foot’ jeans. Some men have even taken it further and have been taking their pants to the tailor to be ‘taken in’ in order to make them tighter, and based on reports from some stores, some men have been buying women’s jeans in order to get the tight pants look.
Now this is taking it a bit too far now! Why would a man want to be wearing female jeans? Are the Jamaican men now trying to be more of a woman than the women… are they embracing their feminine sides?

It would seem to me that more and more Jamaican men are moving in on the females’ territory under the guise of fashion and this is not acceptable! This is also evident in the fact that the Tshirts being worn have also gotten much tighter and now resemble the ‘body blouses’ that women usually wear.
Also, the introduction of the man purse was another fashion statement which came to prominence. A man purse was usually seen being worn by metrosexual males in the US and other developed countries. This trend quickly caught on in Jamaica and was embraced by many Jamaican men.

I think as individuals we can’t let so-called fashion dictate what we see as acceptable, good sense should prevail in this aspect of our lives. While some fashion trends are acceptable, others are not as they border on the disturbing. But it seems to me that some men will take the opportunity to not only follow the fashion trends, but use it as a means to express their hidden femininity.

On the other hand, another interesting new trend among Jamaican males is the act of bleaching. This trend started out as a predominantly female trend but has now been taken over by the males. For me this is just an example of men being too caught up with their looks. Mark you, there is nothing wrong with a man taking care of himself and wanting to look dapper or dressing good, however, when it goes to the extreme of wearing female’s jeans and wearing tight shirts, one has to stop and question what is really happening with the males in Jamaica.

further readings:

Some of the pieces above also have hints of cross dressing and feminization in entertainment and otherwise.

Peace and tolerance.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cuba Goes Both Ways on Gay Rights: United Nations vote opens room for dissent


In its 52 years, the Cuban Revolution has had a less than stellar queer history, complete with on-the-record anti-gay statements by Fidel Castro, sanctioned anti-gay persecutions and purges, and labor camps in the 1960s created specifically for LGBT people.

The daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, Mariela Castro (C), marches in a gay parade in Havana, on May 15. (Photo by: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Officially, all that has changed. Fidel Castro apologized for the persecution of gays on his watch, there are no explicitly anti-gay laws on the books, and LGBT rights have found an unlikely champion in Mariela Castro, President Raul Castro’s daughter, a sexologist who runs the National Sex Education Center (CENESEX, as its known by its Spanish acronym).

But, unofficially, there’s still plenty of police harassment of LGBT people (documented by both pro- and anti-government bloggers, mostly for foreign readers), and no recognition of LGBT citizens and their families, which effectively frustrates, if not denies, access to housing, certain medical services, adoption and travel.

Cuba’s split personality on LGBT issues came onto the international stage at the United Nations in November, when it was the only Latin American country that voted to have “sexual orientation” removed from a list of discriminatory motivations for extrajudicial executions. The amendment would have changed the LGBT-specific language to the vague phrase, “for discriminatory reasons, whatever they may be.” Citizens around the globe raised such an outcry that, a month later, the international body reversed itself and passed an inclusive resolution.

In a second round of voting, to re-insert the original inclusive language, Cuba abstained.

Breaking with Cuban officialdom, pro-government Cuban bloggers joined dissident bloggers—in defiance of a complete blackout on the matter in official Cuban media—in criticizing the Cuban U.N. delegation for the anti-gay vote.

Usually, the U.N. resolution on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions is a routine, biannual (and, as it is nonbinding, purely symbolic) referendum. In 2008, Cuba supported it without the slightest controversy even though it included the language it voted to repeal this time around.

The resolution against unjustified killing of vulnerable people in several categories—ethnic, racial, religious and sexual orientation—ultimately passed with 122 yes votes (including Cuba), 62 abstentions (including the United States) and only one vote against (Saudi Arabia).

So what happened with Cuba’s confusing series of votes, especially in light of its eventual support of the resolution?

Last month, in an unusual press release, Mariela Castro parted company with the party line on Cuba’s first U.N. amendment vote: “Even though in [the approved version of] the amendment, our nation expresses support for condemning [these executions]…in practice we have voted alongside those countries whose laws view homosexuality as a crime, five of which apply the death sentence.” (Of the 79 countries that voted in favor of the language change, 76 criminalize homosexuality.) She reminded Cuba’s U.N. diplomats that the island is a signatory to the 2008 General Assembly declaration of rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity (her complete statement in Spanish can be read at

The president’s daughter was not alone. Bloggers immediately joined her disapproval, but none went so far as Francisco Rodriguez Cruz, an editor at Trabajadores, Cuba’s labor newspaper. Cruz wrote a letter to Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, the foreign affairs minister, and published it on his blog. He wrote:

As a Cuban citizen, communist militant and member of the LGBT community on the island, I wish to express my total and passionate disagreement with the Cuban delegation’s vote. I wish to point out how incomprehensible this diplomatic exercise seems in light of the policies our nation has in place to deal with these issues.
Shortly after, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a short note re-affirming its pro-LGBT commitment and explaining its position: “Cuba voted in favor of the amendment…because it considered it sufficiently general and inclusive.”

Amazingly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs then invited Cruz and a couple of activists associated with CENESEX to a meeting with the minister himself. “The minister attributed the first vote to ‘an unforeseen and temporary circumstance’, ” Cruz said. “I interpreted this, including the quick meeting at the ministry, as a diplomatic way of letting us know that it was a mistake on the part of the Cuban U.N. delegation. I can’t think of any other explanation.”

But in the second vote, Cuba only softened the mistake by abstaining. It could have done otherwise: 23 nations changed positions from the first to the second amendment vote, including Cuban allies Bolivia and Nicaragua, who went from absent to yes.

“Votes like Cuba’s on this occasion imply that sexual rights, reproductive rights and sexual diversity, which are all part and parcel of the same anti-patriarchal package as far as I’m concerned, are negotiable and disposable to make whatever political alliances,” Yasmin Portales Machado, a Cuba-based, self-described Marxist blogger, told the Inter-Press Service.

As the United States rallied the General Assembly to take up the language change amendment a second time, their role in the resolution was assailed by Cuban diplomats at the U.N. as a “manipulation”; they pointed out that the U.S. has a long history of being accused of extrajudicial executions at home and abroad. Mark Kornblau, spokesperson for the U.S. U.N. delegation, told Politico that the U.S. abstained on the final resolution, as it always does, because it “obscures the relationship between international humanitarian law and human rights law “

In Miami, Herb Sosa, president of Unity Coalition, a LGBT organization that has provided materials and resources to gay groups on the island, accused the Cuban government of also engaging in extrajudicial executions. “There are tens of thousands of documented executions within Cuba that continue to occur without…legal representation or any sense of fairness,” he says. “Gays are routinely picked up en masse on the streets, beaten, jailed indefinitely…and persecuted by the very government grandstanding at the U.N. The U.S. also has a long way to full equality for its LGBT citizens, but at least we do have freedom, a vote and a voice here.”

Police harassment in Cuba, including arrests, has been reported on gay Cuban blogs, particularly the Reinaldo Arenas Memorial Foundation, whom Cruz accuses of being dupes for anti-revolutionary interests. But Cruz himself has also reported problems with police on his blog. “It’s not like everybody here likes what I’m doing,” he says. “But things are getting better. Not as fast as some of us would like, but not as slow as some Castrophobes say either.”

For Alejandro Armengol, a Miami-based commentator and veteran observer of Cuban politics, what is most significant about the U.N. incident is less Cuba’s vote than the machinations behind it. “The most important thing to me is to see how forceful the gay movement in Cuba has become,” says Armengol. “This is the second time that gays in Cuba have demanded their rights and been heard. The first was the ‘little e-mail war’. “

(The “little e-mail war” broke out in January 2008 after a retired bureaucrat known for gay purges was being prepped for a return to government service, and gay Cubans and their supporters began a successful e-mail campaign to keep him from being brought back. The discussion quickly evolved into a more involved and wrenching exchange among hundreds of readers about past purges and possible reforms.)

“There are times when Cuba uses gays, or certain gays, especially writers and artists, to show how things have gotten better,” says Armengol. “That’s how they throw the focus off matters of censorship and repression, for sure. But that can’t erase that there’s real progress in this area, sometimes even more than the government bargained for.”