Thursday, June 30, 2011

Projected Vote Share for same sex Marriage Bans in the US.........

I found this very interesting take and breakdown on how the other stated may go since New York's passage of the Gay Marriage, it was taken from the New York Times Blog and written by an eminent authority on the subject it seems. By Nate Silver.

As you can see, there are four different versions of the numbers for each state: the Linear Model and the Accelerated Model respectively, as applied to initiatives that either would or wouldn’t ban civil unions in addition to gay marriage. The vote shares projected by the Linear Model generally run about five percentage points ahead of those projected by the Accelerated Model. What that means, in essence, is that within the last couple of years, opposition to same-sex marriage has declined by about 5 points more than would be expected based on the longer-term trend. Also, measures that seek to ban civil unions in addition to marriage perform about seven points worse at the voting booth than those that single out marriage alone.

These are, needless to say, meaningful distinctions. The most generous set of assumptions for gay rights advocates are that the ballot initiatives would seek to ban civil unions in addition to same-sex marriage, and that the Accelerated Model most accurately reflects current sentiment about marriage. Under these assumptions, all but 15 states would be projected to reject such a ballot initiative if one were on the ticket next year.

The most restrictive assumptions, by contrast, are that the ballot initiatives would single out marriage only, and that the Linear Model is correct. Under these rules, all but 14 states (and the District of Columbia) would be projected to find a majority for a ban on same-sex marriage.

In addition, there is the margin of error to consider. When applied to the historical data, the model’s margin of error is roughly plus or minus eight percentage points — a reasonably wide interval — and for a variety of theoretical and practical reasons, that may somewhat underestimate the error when the model tasked with making projections about new cases. Perhaps only when the model projects a vote share of over 60 percent or under 40 percent would I consider the forecasts truly “safe,” given the idiosyncrasies from state to state. Also note that it is not necessarily the case that a ballot measure needs a simple majority to take effect — many states have quirky rules.

The most basic conclusion is simply that a lot of states should be considered “swing states” on the question of same-sex marriage right now. But let’s get into a few more specifics.

Minnesota. The Minnesota measure, which would ban same-sex marriage but not domestic partnerships, should be considered something of a tossup. Under the Accelerated Model, it would fail with about 49 percent of the vote, while under the Linear Model it would pass with 54 percent — both forecasts well within the models’ respective margins of error.

One additional factor, however, is that Minnesota rules require a majority of all voters to cast a ballot in favor of a constitutional amendment in order for it to pass. So someone who turns out to vote next November and punches her ballot only for the presidential election is essentially a “no” vote. Historically, about 5 percent of Minnesota voters undervote constitutional amendment proposals despite casting ballots for other races, so what this means is that the ban on same-sex marriage will de facto need something like 52 percent of the vote in order to pass. For this reason, I’d conclude that the Minnesota measure is a slight underdog.

In addition, the most recent poll in the state finds that 55 percent of voters oppose the ban on same-sex marriage while 39 percent support it. Polls on this issue have historically underestimated the support for bans on same-sex marriage — but not by such a wide margin to account for this discrepancy. Instead, the rule of thumb is that you should assume that all undecided voters will vote for the marriage ban. But since an outright majority of Minnesotans oppose the initiative in the poll — even after accounting for the undecided — it provides some meaningful guidance.

The ban is certainly not a heavy favorite to be defeated: see this blog post for someone who thinks it will pass, and consider that there are two plausible Republican presidential nominees from Minnesota, which could affect the dynamics of the vote. But I’d set something like 5-to-3 odds against its passage.

North Carolina. The other state that is most likely to consider an initiative against same-sex marriage in 2012 is North Carolina — the only remaining Southern state that does not ban same-sex marriage in its Constitution. A ban on same-sex marriage alone would be a heavy favorite to pass in North Carolina: although the state is becoming bluer, it is still fairly socially conservative, and many of the voters who allowed Barack Obama to win the state in 2008 were African-Americans, who have historically been opposed to same-sex marriage.

The proposed text of the amendment would seem to apply to domestic partnerships in addition to marriage, however, which makes its prospects more tenuous. We’d project such a measure to receive about 60 percent of the vote under the Linear Model, but 54 percent under the Accelerated Model, making it a favorite but not a prohibitive one.

New York. New York’s new law is unlikely to be overturned. If a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage were on the ballot next year, we’d project it to receive 40 percent of the vote under the Accelerated Model or 44 percent under the Linear Model, making its passage doubtful but not impossible.

But New York law is quite unfriendly to constitutional amendments, and even groups that would like see the law overturned are unlikely to get a proposition on the ballot before November 2015. Unless the trend toward greater acceptance of same-sex marriage abruptly reverses itself, such a measure would probably be defeated, perhaps by a wide margin.

Iowa. Among the six states where same-sex marriage is allowed today, Iowa is the only one in which the model projects a majority of voters would want to overturn it — either 52 or 58 percent of voters, depending on which model is used.

But Iowa is another state in which the constitutional amendment process is cumbersome. Ballot initiatives must be approved by both chambers of the Legislature for two consecutive sessions, and with Democrats having held onto control of the State Senate, it is likely to be at least 2013 before the initiative passes through the Legislature the first time, let alone the second.

If and when an amendment eventually makes the ballot, Iowans will have lived with same-sex marriage for several years at a minimum, during which time support for marriage equality is likely to increase both within the state and nationally. Therefore, the law is relatively likely to stick, the more promising route for overturning it perhaps being a court challenge.

New Hampshire. New Hampshire is another state in which there are discussions about overturning the new marriage law. Public opinion, however, is more likely than not to resist to such measures. Although the state can be fiscally conservative, it is also highly secular, and the models would project around 60 percent of the voters there to reject a ban on same-sex marriage if one were voted upon next year.

Maine. With the important caveat that the model had incorrectly deemed Question 1 to be an underdog in 2009, the results might be different if a similar measure were voted upon again. Between the growth in support for same-sex marriage over the past three years and the fact that the ballot initiative in 2009 may have benefited from standing alone on the ballot rather than being coupled with other races, the model thinks Mainers are likely, although not certain, to affirm same-sex marriage if given another chance.

California and Oregon. These are the states in which there has been the most discussion about overturning an existing ban on same-sex marriage. The model suggests that these are the right targets: of those states where there is a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, they are by some margin the most friendly toward gay rights.

However, there is not yet a precedent for overturning a constitutional amendment that the voters in a state had previously approved, and the model might or might not be reliable in such cases.

Nevertheless, even the relatively cautious Linear Model predicts that 54 percent of Californians would vote against a measure like Proposition 8 if one were on the ballot next year, while 55 percent of Oregonians would vote against a ban on same-sex marriage like the one the state’s voters approved in 2004. Neither prediction seems too far out of line: Oregon’s marriage ban was rejected by 43 percent of voters seven years ago, and California’s by 48 percent two years ago, and public opinion has shifted meaningfully in favor of same-sex marriage since then.

In short, the future for same-sex marriage looks to be reasonably bright. Most of the states that were fertile ground for passing a constitutional ban on it did so long ago. Minnesota and North Carolina are potential exceptions, but the six states that have gender-neutral marriage laws on the books now are unlikely to see them reversed, while some of those that don’t are in a position for gay rights advocates to go on offense.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cubans stage ‘independent’ Gay Pride march



(old photo from 2009 Mariela Castro)

A small group of “independent” Cuban gays and lesbians strolled down a Havana boulevard Tuesday to celebrate Gay Pride Day — and mark their distance from pro-government LGBT groups controlled by Raúl Castro’s daughter Mariela.
Waving rainbow colored flags, dozens of LGBT activists and supporters joined what was described as Cuba’s first gay street demonstration not sponsored by the government in recent memory. The event drew a strong police presence but went off without incident.
Leannes Imbert, whose Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Observatory organized the event, had said that she was inviting everyone, even Mariela Castro, to the stroll — not a protest or a march because those might have required police permits.

But the event was clearly designed to highlight differences with the “official” LGBT groups backed by the first daughter, who has argued that Gay Pride parades are “protests” not needed in Cuba because the country’s laws protect gay rights.
The stroll also highlighted the growing activism of varied independent groups — gays, blacks and farmers, among others — seeking a stronger voice in the nation’s affairs as the communist government tries to overhaul a stumbling economy.
“People are a bit more daring each day. We’re hearing critical expressions that were unthinkable before,” blogger Yoani Sánchez wrote in a Tweet as she joined the 90-minute demonstration.
In turn, the independent groups are receiving growing attention abroad. Imbert attended former President Jimmy Carter’s meeting with civil society leaders in Havana in March, and the U.S. State Department is planning to spend $300,000 this year to help the LGBT community in Cuba.

Imbert told reporters after the event that Mariela Castro and her National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) in Havana had organized several events Tuesday to divert attention from the stroll. Security officials also had warned gay rights activists in recent days to stay away from the Observatory’s event.
Several El Nuevo Herald calls to Imbert’s cell phone Tuesday appeared to have been blocked.
In an interview published earlier on the website Cuba Encuentro, she declared that her group organized the stroll primarily to cast a spotlight on the LGBT community in Cuba, “which has been in the shadow for so long.”

She acknowledged some improvements in gay rights in recent years but argued that not all the credit should go to Mariela Castro, who has been the face and the voice of the pro-government LGBT community on the island for more than a decade.
“This is the time when we have to come out into the light and show everyone the LGBT community in Cuba, which is not only CENESEX,’’ Imbert was quoted as saying.
The Observatory will “demand” respect for the rights of gay Cubans, she added, “which up to now have been denied. There are many violations still — although the form has changed somewhat if we compare it to past years.”

Herb Sosa, head of the Unity Coalition, a Hispanic gay rights group based in South Florida, remained skeptical of the Observatory, arguing that if the Cuban government allowed the stroll it must be part of a government propaganda effort.

“Almost every day I get reports of LGBT community people being beaten, arrested, dragged off to jail because there’s no freedom of expression at all in Cuba,” Sosa told El Nuevo Herald.
Imbert told Cuba Encuentro that police have broken up efforts to mark Gay Pride Day in past years and pointed out the stroll was held on Paseo del Prado — a pedestrian boulevard in central Havana where police cannot accuse participants of disrupting traffic.

New York author Armando Lopez recalled in a column in May, shortly after Mariela Castro had led a CENESEX-organized conga line down Havana streets for her version of a Gay Pride march, that Fidel Castro had harshly attacked gays in a 1963 speech.

“Homophobia became state policy” that year, Lopez wrote, quoting Castro as saying that gays “use public spaces to organize their feminoid shows … Socialist society cannot permit such degenerate actions.”
Castro added, “I always noticed that the countryside never gave rise to that subproduct.” Two years later, he sent thousands of gays, priests and others he did not want to draft into the military to the notorious hard labor camps known as UMAP.
Cuban gays, Lopez added, “are victims of an absurd revolution. Just like you and me, my dear reader.”

Read more:

The Line in the sand for the JLP? part 10

Cartoon For: Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In less than 24 hours of the previous post in the Line in The Sand series (Part 9) there was a surprise announcement by the Prime Minister through his Information Minister Daryl Vaz of a cabinet reshuffle late yesterday evening which saw the expected casualties gone that of Dorothy Lightbourne as since the Manatt afair she has been under serious pressure.

The last time we saw Golding having cabinet trouble was in September 2009, I made a cute post then on it here:

Here is a list of the changes now in effect:

Clive Mullings: Energy and Mining

Dorothy Lightbourne

Ministerial changes:
Robert Montague, Agriculture and Fisheries
Dr Christopher Tufton, Industry, Investment and Commerce
Arthur Williams, Without portfolio - public service
Delroy Chuck, Justice

New juniors
Gregory Mair, Education
Othneil Lawrence, Transport and Works
Dr St Aubyn Bartlett, National Security

More duties
Shahine Robinson, Takes on local gov't
Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, Tapped for House Speaker
Dr Horace Chang, Takes on environment

Effective July 1

According to the OPM, the appointments will take effect on Friday, July 1 and will coincide with the reassignment of subjects, departments and agencies based on the recommendations of the Public Sector Master Rationalisation Plan developed by the PSTU and approved by the Cabinet.

"This includes the transfer of responsibility for the public sector from the Ministry of Finance to the Cabinet Office and the redesignation of the Ministry of Water and Housing as the Ministry of Housing, Environment and Water," the OPM said, noting that this ministry would be headed by Dr Horace Chang.

"With the appointment to the Cabinet of the Honourable Delroy Chuck, the position of speaker of the House of Representatives will become vacant," the OPM noted. "It is proposed to nominate at the next sitting of the House the deputy speaker, Mrs Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, for election as speaker of the House, and Mr Tarn Peralto as deputy speaker."

National Security Minister Dwight Nelson will assume responsibility as leader of Government Business in the Senate, replacing Lightbourne.

The new ministers are scheduled to be sworn in at King's House today at 3 p.m.

The OPM said the prime minister has expressed appreciation to Samuda and Lightbourne for their services to the Cabinet since the start of the administration.

(Mike Henry & Greg Christie GC)
Meanwhile Minister of Transport and works Mike Henry has issues to think about with the Office of the Contractor General and the JDIP road funds, Lasmay made sure to remind us of it today (2nd cartoon above from top)


Also at around 4:30 pm yesterday as well embattled MP Sharon Hay-Webster from the opposition benches resigned from the party but not from Parliament as she intends to run on an independent slate she said in an interview with Dionne Jackson Miller's "Beyond The Headlines" host on Radio Jamaica, she also did not rule out the possibility of crossing the floor to the ruling JLP and by the sounds of it she seems very hurt by how the PNP heirachy has handled her dual citizenship matter when it came to light she was not born here. see also the Observer headline:

As both parties adjust and jostle for favourable positions in the eyes of the voters it is early days yet to predict but this might be a close race seeing now the Jamaica Labour Party has acceded somewhat to public pressure post the Manatt report thus avoiding further erosion of their credibility.

also see the Gleaner's: 'PNP Trying To Gain Points'

The PNP in a surprise move has demanded that Miss Hay Webster resign from the seat as well, a rather nasty way of showing the underbelly of the party to openly reject ones own. I am a little disappointed that Chris Tufton (Agriculture) was moved as he has made that sector so sexy with all the local produce on our shelves or high organic quality and the farmers market, I hope that Robert Montague will build on what he has left as the formulae seems to be working well.

Where are the Pink votes in all this? that is left to be seen post these overnight changes.

Peace and tolerance


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Line in the sand for the JLP part 9

With all the cartoons out on the Manatt report now and the national uproar about the lack of teeth in the report, let us try and make some sense of it all in simple terms.

The PNP seems desperate to do all in their power including a threat by Cowboy KD. Knight to launch a one man protest if the report was not to his liking, he is yet to do such. Then the smaller agitations by the People's National Party in their own rural constituencies under the guise of misappropriated road repairs funds not spent properly seems very coincidental and with an election looming for 2012 they are at it. The Jamaica Labour Party though seems to have a few feathers in it's hat going for it.

The farmers' market success nationwide with the local industry doing well

The Jamaica Debt Exchange Program working still

The drop in crime rate by some 45%+

The tourism product improvements and the Trelawny Pier bringing in record numbers of cruise ship passengers.

But the ticklish wage bill issue is now on the front burner still despite some of the groups under the union coalition accepting the latest offer the Police Federation is the only one holding out, a Federation that on the face of it seems to have direct PNP influence in its hierarchy.

Will the JLP be able to get the pink votes required as well knowing how the PNP has a larger LGBT following?.

On June 27th on Televsion Jamaica News TVJ a report was carried where the Prime Minister was said to have broken his silence on the Manatta Report.

He among other things said at an outdoor meeting:
"I had said to the nation in a nationwide broadcast, from the 17th of May where I expressed regret that I had allowed the party to become involved that I authorised any emissary to intercede in the matter and I tendered an apology to the nation." ......... "The action that preceded the extradition request constituted not only a breach of the law but a violation of the constitution of Jamaica" ...... "There were several people who appeared before the enquiry were told that they were only allowed to speak when he asked them a question (referring to K. D. Knight) he was rude enough to put the same argument to me until I had to remind him that there was no sheriff in this."

Other thorns in the JLP's side are the contractor general's reports on JDIP's road repairs and the expensive Christiana highway construction in Finance Minister's Audley Shaw's constituency. The $400 Million contract for China Harbour one of which CG, Owen Christie has been sharing his concerns said recently that it never went to tender he said "it represents the first time a major road works has been awarded without competition to a single entity"

Let's not forget the red herring of the bird shooting funds from Y. P Seaton & Associates.

So the struggle to stay above the problems continues but it is still unclear where the line is in the sand given the public's perception of the party via a recent poll suggesting that the party has been damaged by the Manatt issue/report A majority of Jamaicans gained a less favourable impression of Prime Minister Bruce Golding following his appearance at the Dudus/Manat Commission of Enquiry, according to a RJR Group/Boxill poll. Of the 1,015 persons polled islandwide, 53.7 per cent said they now view Golding in a less favourable light.

A similar trend was observed for information minister Daryl Vaz, security minster Dwight Nelson and justice minister Dorothy Lightbourne. Lightbourne and Nelson fared the worst with 53.7 and 69.4 per cent of respondents having gained an unfavourable impression of them since appearing as witnesses.
Peter Phillips suffered the least of the politicians with 34.4 per cent now having a less favourable impression of him. Solicitor-General Douglas Leys performed the best among all witnesses with a 30.3 per cent response.
Of the testimonies, 43.7 per cent believed the prime minister's to be the least believable, followed by Lightbourne with 29.4 per cent.

On the PNP side however another poll suggested that the PNP would not have gained -

A Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson national opinion poll has found that nearly a quarter of Jamaica's voting population said the Manatt-Dudus affair would not affect the way they would mark their ballots in the next national elections.

The poll was conducted among 1,008 people across Jamaica's 14 parishes on May 28 and 29 and June 4 and 5, 2011. It has a margin of error of plus or minus four per cent.

A sizable 34 per cent of the persons sampled said they were less likely to vote as the Manatt-Dudus affair has impacted the way they feel about politics in general in Jamaica.

The governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), which commingled with the government apparatus in a bid to influence the outcome of the extradition request for Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, one of its key supporters, has attracted an additional 14 per cent of the voting population who say they are more likely to vote for the party.

But 22 per cent of those polled say they are now more likely to vote for the Opposition PNP.

At the same time, five per cent of those persons sampled said they are less likely to vote for the JLP. On the other hand, one per cent of the respondents said they were less likely to vote for the Opposition PNP in the elections constitutionally due by September next year.

Let's watch folks

Peace and tolerance


(cartoons from Lasmay and Clovis from both major newspapers)

Brawl on Coaster Bus from Portmore ... man accused of riding another's ass while in transit

This morning on a Portmore coaster minibus it was high drama on the toll road leaving from Passage Fort and the Portmore Plaza/town centre around 9am reports from a passenger who said that as the bus proceeded from Independence City passengers boarded the bus at various points until it was full to capacity as is normally the case with these informal typed buses, persons are sometimes willing to be squeezed or packed tightly together all in the name of getting to work on time also many persons are still used to the old days of the awful "minibus system" where this cramming practice was quite the norm.

The "ass rider" as I will call him for purposes of this post boarded the bus and the reactions were clear as he entered and took his place in the aisle, he was wearing very close fitted clothing, his face was bleached or lightened and his hair was well groomed with some sort of styling gel. The center row seats that would normally be unfolded so passengers could sit are usually unfolded in peak hour traffic so as to accommodate more standing passengers thus more money to collect for the "boss" or the bus' owner, such is the hustler system that operates under or alongside the formal government run transport system.

example of a typical Coaster bus with aisle seats up, these are kept up during peak hour traffic on some routes in Jamaica to accommodate more standing passengers hence more fares collected. Here one can "ride ass or dry hump/rub while being driven

The man who was standing in the aisle of the bus was first directly infront of a woman but a man who was formally dressed was to an angle from the ass rider on the bus, a woman who was one of the last to board the bus took a small space beside the ass rider he moved and allowed her to take his spot thus putting himself in direct line with the well dressed gentleman, as the bus proceeded and as is customary persons would shift themselves to become comfortable as the vehicle is driven (usually fast and carefree as many passengers like that with loud playing dancehall music by the driver) the ass rider reportedly made use of the adjustment periods and made a full 180 degree turn to be behind the gentleman' rear, as the bus proceeded my source said that they became suspicious as with every angled move the bus made the "ass rider" would move to be on the gentleman.

Other passengers said they noticed this when the shouting match began.

This did not sit kindly with him and an argument began where the ass rider was described as a battyman among other colourful Jamaican parlance. He in turn became boisterous and blows were exchanged as the bus proceeded. Passengers eventually demanded that the bus come to a halt and the offending "ass rider" battyman be put off, this was not before he declared his innocence, the bus crew also wanted in on the act and proceeded to find any item along the road side to beat the battyman but due to his aggressive nature it was clear according to the
eyewitness many wouldn't test him as he too when he disembarked the vehicle along the busy highway also seemed to be foraging for any item that could have been used as a weapon.

(not the actual bus) - Example of a typical former NTC Coaster bus, they still keep the Blue colours but notice the dark tinting, it is under those tints that very strong allegations come forth that school girls sometimes willingly go to be involved sexually with bus crews and other men, the transport authority has since attempted to curve the tinting practice.

The bus proceeded to the toll booth with passengers expressing their anger and without the "ass rider" as he walked back to the overpass at the bus stop.

Typical Encava 600 model that traversed our streets in the late nineties, the door would have been on the opposite side as we are left hand drivers here

This one ended up a little better than a similar incident in Half Way Tree some years ago, where a young man did not escape a proper thrashing after he was accused of "ass riding" on a then Encava Bus that was the standard for the day. From memory he was said to have been watched by other passengers as he rode another male passenger in transit every chance he could get. If both men are guilty then we are just going to have to encourage the discontinuation of this practice as it just reinforces the justification that we must be beaten or abused due to the perception that we are trying to convert everyone else into gays.

Don't go riding a man's ass on a bus please, why do we like danger so much is other fundamental question?

Peace and tolerance


Gays Must Leave Jamaica Alone (Gleaner Letter) ....... my response

So the homophobes are out and lobbying to match the agitation from the letter writing campaign from Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays among others. The letter this writer is responding to was written by the Advocacy Coordinator one Corbin Gordon (not his real name). I responded in the comment section of the Gleaner's page I hope the administrators publishes it in time but here it is below the letter (excerpted)

Have a read and see what you make of them:

Gays Must Leave Jamaica Alone


I read Corbin Gordon's crap article in The Sunday Gleaner titled 'Governments have failed to mitigate risks of homophobia'.

So what? If you want to be recognised as gays and lesbians, go to the land of Sodom, for example, New York, where you can practise your filth as much as you like.

Leave Jamaica alone and go where you're accepted and/or wanted. We don't give a hoot. Of course, homophobia exists, and it doesn't affect us, the majority of Jamaicans, only you.

You can dialogue with God when you meet him. Our Parliament may not be the best or the brightest, but in that respect, they know what we Jamaicans want. Leave our Parliament alone.


My response on the Gleaner's comment page: (pic not included)

"I am sorry Mr. Hall but we are here, we are queer ,but have no fear as the issue is not about turning everyone else in Jamaica into same gender loving people or gays as you seem to have a fear of but to look at redress/compensation for persons who have suffered abuse and even been killed in some instances due to ignorance and unwanted homophobia and associated violence.

Rape of same gender loving women or those perceived to be such is also on the rise since 2007

There are local politicians who are gay and bisexual that goes without saying but because of playing to the majority to remain in power BOTH political parties play the hypocrite when they very well know better, they know very well that if ALL Jamaican citizens are to be afforded equal rights then same gender loving people MUST be included as a part of that but if they agree to changing the buggery law they will become unpopular overnight, so the game continues.

Sodom & Gomorrah by the way was doomed for destruction long before the two angles turned up at Lot's door Mr. Hall it was because of how they treated early Hebrews and idol worship among other things why that happened not due to purely exploitive same sex relations which I will admit do exist as many men get into gay activity to make money as they perceive we are rich. There are some who thrive on the homophobic culture are they be downlow and make money while publicly blasting it as you are here doing through this letter, it is a complex issue and not as simple as you have written it here.

You say "Practice our filfth" - I imagine you are talking about anal sex between men well NEWSFLASH!!!! heterosexual couples also practice anal sex and with the abundance of personal hygiene devices now available at our pharmacies one can prepare properly for any penetrative sexual activity anally or otherwise, ALSO not all same sex attracted men practice anal sex as many like you would like to think (many go for partnered masturbation or oral sex) or as if we are hunting down some tight bottom to fit into, it doesn't work that way Mr. Hall and we are certainly not paedophiles, real paedos are the ones who are harassing our pubescent daughters on the back seat of coaster buses quite openly I might add, they are the ones you need to go raise hell about.

One is either born gay, str8, bisexual, Asexual (not interested in sex) or in gender disorder terms Transgendered so we each have to exist based on our sexual orientation assigned to us at birth.

Get over it Mr. Hall some people are gay!!!!!, we have more important issues nationally that need the anger we so easily direct as LGBT people as we are perceived as weak and unresponsive physically well that is also changing as a younger more no nonsense generation is coming up and they are not afraid to express themselves,

The amount of missing children is disturbing

Public transportation has become roving sex brothels

The indiscipline in schools

to name a few focus on those and stop getting all worked up over who is zooming who when it is hate such as what you have shown here in this letter that is tearing our country apart.

Peace and tolerance"


Monday, June 27, 2011

Remembering Donahue Jimmy Bulgin: April 11, 1966 - April 14, 2005

Donahue Jimmy Bulgin: April 11, 1966-April 14, 2005

Thanks to a fellow DJ/Queen from Toronto DJ Relentless I was reminded of this awful event in 2oo5 and like me Relentless also made a decision to desist playing certain dancehall tunes in protest against murder music, here is one of many poems that were dedicated to Bulgy as he was also known at the time of his murder in western Jamaica.

Thanks Relentless for this.

The poem:

Jamaican Birthday

By Monday the missing person flyer I designed was unnecessary The dogs had already found you

Everyone said you looked stunning at Grandma’s funeral wearing the blue Yves Saint Laurent suit I gave you compliments of the Salvation Army thrift store

Breathtaking it would be to see you now in moonlit rain styled with the passion of
machete fire and hate adorned in a plain bed sheet a gift of the police

For your 39th birthday your mother roasted breadfruit (although you preferred it boiled)

I reopened a credit card that flew me to you with birthday presents undeclared at the Jamaican Customs house I returned to New York with my complexion no darker from the sun’s fire

No anti-gay fire burned we chi chi men even as the new CD player I carried down
blasted Carl Bean’s disco declaration I’m happy I’m carefree and I’m gay I was born this way 1

The dogs found you in your own yard in a fatal reversal of your 39th birthday to nine night in three days with an offering of flesh to tear from bones for guard dogs that never barked at strangers dogs whose tails wagged with the satisfaction of a full belly

A boy half your age half your size drives your missing car What music does a killer listen to in his victim’s car? He wears your clothes
clothes twice his size clothes carefully removed from their hangers in the bedroom closet while your body was burning behind your house in the bushes underneath the birds of paradise

The blue Yves Saint Laurent suit remains in the closet You won’t be wearing it at your own funeral Breathtaking it is to see you now skeletal organs exposed through browned bones
ashy skin no lotion can soothe nor hand will touch after the dance of flames rode your body
to the twilight rhythm of crickets and frogs

Quiet is fire Loud was your voice balling out to neighbors down the hill who did not call the police
because your yelling stopped before the last cutlass chop drew blood that rain washed away
away away away

Four nights of rain cleared the stains of eight cervical lacerations but did not wash away our love
my tears the assassin’s intent your ashes You are ashes and memories of your smile never before so painful to see You skinned your teeth permanently but I can’t hear your bellowing laugh only the gasps of your name exclaimed in horror that four nights of rain can never carry away from your death night to your earth day

The Biphobia in the community (Gay, Lesbian) maybe higher than thought

As we continue to delve inwards to find out a little more of where we are unofficially of course we are learning more especially from a younger more vibrant LGBT body politic.

On the strength of a series of discussions on bisexuality and how persons felt during April and May of this year we saw the obvious signs that many same gender loving persons have a perception that somehow persons who are double gender lovers or bisexuals are untrustworthy, more risky in regards to sexually transmitted diseases with HIV/AIDS and may not be able to be monogamous. The opposite also is true for the bisexual representatives who have responded some in very tersely worded responses. The poll photographed above was floated on social networking site Facebook to get a further glimpse into what persons were thinking on the issue a large percentage the respondents saying yes to the question:

"Do you believe bisexuals should declare themselves so prior to entering a long term relationship?"

The other comments are not as kind and will not be posted here but suffice it to say we have to begin to address this issue I feel, if we as lgbt people are asking the mainstream to be tolerant of us then why aren't we tolerant of a section of the community that has their own orientation issues to deal with, this is also sadly with the absence of the main advocates who are more interested in the Buggery Law than the inter community cohesiveness as well, biphobia by default as I have termed it.

The invisibility of not only bisexuals but the transgender community in real terms not just using the call letters for press releases and posters is worrying. Bisexuals according to the HIV response from the Ministry of Health act as a bridge between the same gender loving and mainstream in moving HIV in the said populations maybe that could also be a factor in persons feeling they are hype sexed persons who are more promiscuous than homosexuals.

Some other comments include:

"this ENTIRE discussion and the idea that it is even OK to take some sort of poll on us is just so totally wrong and demeaning

this is like india or japan where the family insists on checking out your pedigree as if you are some sort of prize doggy, to make sure your background is appropriate and you do not in Any Way have any "untouchable" blood

(or like being Trini and watching people poke around slyly to see if you have any East Asian relations to give it a more West Indian flavour!)"

"People who I choose to be intimate knowing me and the things that matter to me the most almost require me to be out to all partners--and long before the relationship becomes so serious we are talking about hooking up long term. The idea that a relationship would require me to be silent about who I am is so odious to me, I can't think of the value of getting involved in one."

"Honesty is such a lonely word; everyone is so untrue.

I have been broken up with because I am bisexual. I am glad I found out that he was a biphobe before it got serious"

"Yeah well in my experience I find that most people who are in favor of this question are usually biphobic people who want to know who is bisexual so that they can discriminate against them.... they happen to be the biggest voice in this debate so they tend to influence other people who havent developed an opinion on this question...."

"I'm a strong believer in the notion that everybody has a right to privacy, and a person's sexuality is a private matter. Contrary to popular opinion, nobody has a RIGHT to know anything."

Some questions that come to mind and from BINET USA

Q: Aren’t bisexuals “oversexed”?
A: Attraction does not necessitate acting on every desire. Just as there is a range of behaviors within heterosexual society and the lesbian and gay communities, there is also a range within the bisexual community. Some have one partner; some choose to be single; some have multiple partners; some bisexuals are celibate. The bisexual population has the same variety of sexual activity as other groups.

Q: Can bisexuals be counted on for long-term committed relationships?
A: A bisexual, like a lesbian, gay, or heterosexual identity is independent of relationship choices: monogamous; polyamorous; non-monogamous; or whatever the parties agree upon. Bisexuals are as capable as anyone else of making a long-term monogamous commitment if that bisexual is also a monogamous person.

Q: Isn’t calling oneself bisexual just a phase a person goes through because he or she is afraid to “come out” as lesbian or gay?
A: Some people do go through a transitional period of bisexuality on their way to adopting a lesbian, gay, or heterosexual identity. For many others, bisexuality remains a long-term orientation. In fact, researchers have found that homosexuality and heterosexuality are often transitional phases in the coming-out process for bisexual people.

Q: Aren’t bisexuals just “confused”?
A: It is natural for bisexuals, gays, and lesbians to go through a period of confusion in the coming-out process. Historically, society has stigmatized same gender/sex attractions and denied the possibility of a bisexual orientation. In this situation, confusion is an understandable reaction until one is able to come out and find a supportive environment. Most bisexuals are absolutely clear about their sexual orientation.

Q: Do people choose to be bisexual?
A: For bisexuals the choice is to live openly and honestly or to be silenced by the invisibility of the closet. No one really knows the origins of sexual orientation, including bisexuality. However, whether it is biologically determined or not, sexual orientation should not determine one’s access to full participation in society.

Q: Do bisexuals want “special rights”?
A: Bisexuals want to live their lives without the threat of discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation, and the military. To ensure their basic civil rights, bisexuals are seeking equal protection under the law, including same-sex marriage.

Q: Do bisexuals spread AIDS?
A: Bisexuals have been scapegoated as “carriers” of HIV/AIDS to heterosexuals and lesbians. The fact is, risky behaviors spread HIV, not one’s sexual identity. HIV is transmitted when the body fluids of an infected person (e.g. blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk) enter someone else’s body. Practicing safer sex and not sharing injection drug paraphernalia is important for everyone – bisexual, heterosexual, lesbian, gay, or transgender – who is interested in stopping the spread of AIDS.

Q: Should the lesbian and gay communities be inclusive of bisexuals?
A: Bisexuals have always been a part of, as well as apart from, the lesbian and gay communities. Bisexuals are part of the generic definition of gay in the same way that lesbians are. Because heterosexuals lump them all together, bisexuals encounter the same kinds of harassment and discrimination as gays, lesbians, and transgender people. Bisexuals lose their jobs, their homes, and their children, and are discharged from the military when they are honest about their sexual orientation. It is important that bisexuals be included to accurately describe the larger gay community.

Q: When the going gets tough, won’t bisexuals hide in the heterosexual community? Don’t bisexuals dump their same gender/sex partners for different gender/sex partners to pass as straight?
A: People leave relationships for all kinds of reasons, and not just because of the gender/sex of their partner. Anyone regardless of sexual identity who is unable to make a commitment to a relationship may use a person of any gender/sex to leave. To “pass” for straight and deny one’s bisexuality is just as painful and damaging for bisexuals as it is for gays and lesbians to stay in or re-enter the closet. Bisexuals are not heterosexual.

Q: Do some bisexuals identify as heterosexual? What about lesbian or gay?
A: All human sexuality studies have found that there is a notable disparity between what people do (sexual behavior) and what people call themselves (sexual identity). Many people are unaware that identifying as bisexual is even an option. (Significantly, no studies have measured the incidence of bisexual feelings and fantasies that have not been acted upon.) Many people who have sex with more than one gender/sex do not identify as bisexual for a number of reasons, including fear of discrimination and social stigmatization from both heterosexual society and the lesbian and gay communities.

The matter of fluidity also was brought into the discourse and the "Gay with conditions" mess is not sitting well with bisexuals who have been lashing out in some of the groups online locally. Clearly the real forumatic activity is on in earnest as persons use the opportunity to express their own opinions which is a healthy thing although the more "elite' amongst us call it "bickering" maybe because they cannot control the flow of information anymore and use their influence to keep a formerly subjective lgbt people in check. Maybe if we were "bickering" as we are now so vociferously and not over intellectualising the subject of homophobia with its related matters over the years then the ordinary LGBT body politic would have been included more and may have picked sense out of nonsense to reach a better place collectively than where we are now. This is great for all of us I say, let's continue the "bickering" as probably the more "bickering" is the more independence we will find to develop solutions.

Continue to speak your minds friends

Peace and tolerance


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Amnesty International (Caribbean) removes paper documenting Jamaican anti-gay violence in early 2000

Humboldt Against Hate has made a startling revelation via a post on June 20, 2011 - "The Caribbean Office" of Amnesty International had a straightforward answer when it was asked why a document about homophobia in Jamaica was removed from its website:

The document you made reference was not an Amnesty International public
document but an internal document for action from AI membership. It is the reason why you cannot access it anymore (it should not have been on Internet for public).
Here's a link to the "Wayback Machine" archive of the document. It is reproduced in full below:
"Battybwoys affi dead:" Action against homophobia in Jamaica

In January 2004, around 30,000 people attended a huge stage show and Rastafarian celebration, Rebel Salute, in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. Some of Jamaica's most celebrated artists were present. Throughout the night, Capleton, Sizzla and others sang almost exclusively about gay men. Using the derogatory terms for gay men - "chi chi men" or "battybwoys" they urged the audience to "kill dem, battybwoys haffi dead, gun shots pon dem... who want to see dem dead put up his hand" (kill them, gay men have got to die, gun shots in their head, whoever wants to see them dead, put up your hand).
Elephant Man, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, TOK, and Capleton are amongst the stars who have written lyrics variously urging the shooting, burning, rape, stoning and drowning of gay people.

From Buju Banton's Boom Bye Bye, which threatened "batty boys" with "ah gunshot in ah head", to Beenie Man's "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays" to Babycham & Bounty Killer's "Bun a fire pon a kuh pon mister fagoty, Ears ah ben up and a wince under agony, Poop man fi drown a dat a yawd man philosophy" (Burn gay men, til they wince under agony, gay men should drown, that's the yard man's philosophy), the exhortations to kill and maim seem to know no bounds.
"When yuh hear a Sodomite get raped...
But a fi wi fault...
It's wrong
Two women gonna hock up inna bed
That's two Sodomites dat fi dead."

(Sodomites -- A derogatory term for lesbians)

– Elephant Man"When you hear of a lesbian getting raped
It's not our fault
It's wrong
Two women in bed
That's two Sodomites who should be dead."

Although the singers are Jamaican, their records are widely distributed abroad. Recently organisations in Jamaica such as J-FLAG, Jamaica's only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group, have been joined by others around the world targeting the artists themselves, as well as radio stations, record labels and music stores that have distributed and promoted the songs.
The groups have sought to bring the lyrics to the attention of the public and the authorities. In December 2003, campaigners from the British gay rights group OutRage called on the British police to arrest Bounty Killer for incitement and conspiracy to commit murder, amongst other offences, during a UK tour. As the group stated in a letter to the Metropolitan Police, "in a democratic society people have a right to criticise homosexuality, but they do not have the right to encourage queer-bashing violence and murder."

The problem of homophobia in Jamaica goes far beyond any single artist however. Here, reports of violence regularly meted out to members of the LGBT community have reached such an extent that they have started to attract international headlines. Action is needed on a much wider scale to systematically tackle the prejudice that inspires the attacks and the laws which facilitate them.

"My experience as a gay man living in Jamaica is one which is marked by periodic incidences of abuse, both verbal and physical. I have lost count of the number of times I have been verbally abused, called ‘battyman', ‘chi-chi', ‘sodomite', ‘dirty battybwoy' (all derogatory terms for homosexual men)."
-- Gay man, talking to J-Flag, 2003.

The reports that AI has received range from vigilante action by members of the community to ill-treatment or torture by the police. Gay men and women have been beaten, cut, burned, raped and shot on account of their sexuality. In the past two years at least 5 Jamaicans have been granted asylum in the UK because their lives had been threatened as a result of their sexual identity; others have been granted asylum in the USA and Canada. AI believes that these reports are just the tip of the iceberg however. Many gay men and women in Jamaica are too afraid to speak of their experiences to human rights organizations or to the authorities.
One man described to J-FLAG how six men from an infamous "garrison community" (poor, inner-city communities controlled by either of Jamaica's two main political parties) blocked a road to beat a local gay man.
"The crowd stood around watching, chanting "battyman, battyman, battyman" before gathering around him as he lay on the sidewalk. The crowd beat, punched and kicked him. They threw water from the gutter and garbage on him, all the while shouting "battyman, battyman." Then they dragged him down the road for half a kilometre. They shouted "battyman fi' dead." As I stood across the street I realised there was nothing I could do to help him. Some mothers were actually in tears at what they were witnessing but there was nothing that they could do either. ... The crowd was saying "Give him to us! Let us kill him! He's a battyman!"
When police arrived they had to call for back-up. Three police jeeps arrived and fired shots into the air to clear the crowd.
The story is typical. Once a person's sexuality becomes known to family or community, they are at risk. Amnesty International has interviewed many people who have been forced to leave their areas after being publicly vilified, threatened or attacked on suspicion of being gay. They face homelessness, isolation or worse.
In a particularly egregious recent example, a national newspaper reported in February 2004 that a father had encouraged students to attack his son after he discovered a picture of a nude man in his rucksack. One student described the attack on the 16-year old on 18th February 2004 by other students: "him get nuff lick, kick, box and thump from other boy and girl." School authorities were forced to call police to escort the boy off the compound. Police were also attacked. Students received a "stern warning" but, at the time of writing, no-one had been charged in connection with the assaults.

One man was forced to leave his community in 2003 after his friend was murdered and he was threatened by local gunmen. He is still homeless and living a hand-to-mouth existence.
"One morning, at about 2 a.m., my friend was at a dance in the community. He was enjoying himself and dancing and suddenly there was a gunshot and a bullet hit my friend in the back of his head. He turned around after realising he was shot and they shot him in his face again three more times. He fell, but they continued to shoot him as he lay on the ground. Then they announced that I was next and "battyman fi' dead."
Protection is often denied by the police, who in many cases appear to tacitly or actively support such violence. Amnesty International has received many reports of police failing to investigate homophobic-hate crimes. In some cases they fail even to take written or verbal reports of incidents. One man called the police after running into a supermarket to escape from an attack in Half Way Tree, Kingston:
"We waited more than half an hour and still the police did not come. The police station is less than five minutes away. We eventually realised that the police were not in fact on their way and decided to see if we could leave safely. We were shaken by this incident, but doubly upset because the police had not responded to this homophobic attack."
In many instances, the police have tortured or ill-treated LGBT victims of crime seeking assistance from the police. AI has received numerous reports of police arresting and detaining
men overnight whom they suspect of being gay, or charging them with offences such as loitering. In some cases individuals have appeared in court several times before charges were dropped. In other cases known to the organisation, police have stopped passers-by or placed gay men in the holding-area of police station, informing those present of the "batty-men" and encouraging further verbal or physical abuse.

An example of the kind of treatment LGBT individuals can expect from the police occurred in 2003 when a group of gay men were attacked, beaten, ill-treated and detained by plain clothes police officers as they socialized together in a bar frequented by the gay community in Kingston. One of the victims described what happened to J-FLAG:

"All of a sudden, a white van pulled through the gate and men armed with firea
rms jumped out of the vehicle and starting to fire shots into the crowd. We scattered in all directions, jumping fences and dividing for cover. A group of three of my friends and I began to run. They could jump the fence, but I had difficulty so they had to drag me over the fence with men chasing us and firing at us. This happened three times and each time I was dragged over the fence I fell on my head. Finally, we got to a residence and I hid behind a tree. My friend was not fast enough to find a hiding place and the two men who had been chasing us caught him and began to beat him with their fists and their weapons, kicked him as he lay on the ground, calling him a battyman. They took him away.
I met up with some of the guys from the crowd on my way home, and found out that my friend had been taken to the police station, and that the men who had attacked us were plain-clothes policemen. When I saw my friend later, he told me that they verbally abused him at the station and had told their co-workers that he was a battyman and they began to verbally abuse him as well. They held him overnight and released him. He was not charged with any offence."

Police appear to also target healthcare providers working with LGBT individuals and there have been several reports of nurses, community workers or others being unlawfully detained and ill-treated by the police. In 2003, three men were detained and searched by the police in Half-Way Tree. When asked by the police why they had condoms on them, they reportedly stated that they were promoting safe sex to both men and women. Police told the men that they were to be locked up for promoting "battybusiness". The men were crowded into the back of a police car as none of the officers wanted to sit next to them. They were not allowed to let their bodies touch
the policeman who was also sitting in the back of the vehicle. At the police station, other officers told them that they should be dead and that policemen should have killed them rather than bringing them into the station. Police pointed them out as "battymen" to everyone who came into the station. The men were released after three hours.

"We did not report this to the police because my friend felt, based on past experience, that the police would be unsympathetic and possibly abusive too." -- Man attacked with rocks by three armed men in 2003.

This kind of behavior from police officers means that an accurate picture of the number of victims of homophobic violence in Jamaica is impossible. Since so much shame and disbelief surrounds violence against the gay community – and since victims can not expect to receive the protection of the law - the number of men and women who report abuse is assumed to be many times fewer that the number of actual incidents.
The police are not the only authority to actively discriminate against non-heterosexual individuals. Reports of individuals losing their jobs once their sexuality has become known to their employer are common. Sometimes medical staff have reportedly joined in abusing gay or lesbian patients. When a group of gay men accompanied their friend to hospital after he was attacked, stabbed and robbed, they were verbally abused by staff in the accident and emergency department. One told J-FLAG that:

"The porters, janitors, and even some of the nurses laughed at us. They took a much longer time than usual to attend to us; we got to the hospital at about 10 p.m. and they did not attend to us until the next morning."Although lesbianism is not a criminal offence under Jamaican law, gay men are not the only targets of this kind of violence in Jamaica. Amnesty has assisted in several cases of lesbian women from Jamaica who have sought asylum abroad following persecution at home. Amnesty International has received reports of acts of violence against lesbians, including rape and other forms of sexual violence. There are reports of lesbians being singled out for attack on the grounds of "mannish" physical appearance or other visible manifestations of sexuality. Some reports of abduction and rape emanate from inner-city garrison communities where local NGOs have already expressed concerns about very high incidences of the prevalence of violence against women. There are some reports that lesbian women have been forced to carry drugs by community gangs, on threat of, or after having been abducted, beaten or otherwise degraded or

Perhaps fuelling such acts is the widespread public misconception that lesbianism is illegal. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the public is largely unaware that this is not in fact the case. This perception is reinforced by comments made by authority figures, such as politicians, the media, religious leaders and dancehall musicians. A Gleaner/Don Anderson poll of September 2001 posed the question "do you think that homosexuality should be legalised?" – drawing no distinction between male or female same-sex relations. According to the Jamaican NGO J-FLAG, the derogatory Jamaican word for lesbian, "sodomite", further underlines this misconception, as the word derives from an imputation against males.
Against this backdrop of high levels of violent crime - including murder - against gay and lesbian people in Jamaica, tacitly accepted by the police, are the laws that continue to criminalise consensual gay sex between males. Article 76 of the Jamaican Offences against the Person Act punishes the "abominable crime of buggery" by up to ten years' imprisonment with hard labour. Article 79 of the same act punishes any act of physical intimacy between men in public or private by a term of imprisonment of up to two years and the possibility of hard labour.

Jamaica is not the only country within the region that retains laws criminalising consensual sex between adults of the same sex. Only two English-speaking Caribbean countries do not criminalise this at all: the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. Here, reports of discrimination and ill-treatment are still common. In July 2003, a Bahamian Bishop threatened to become the first "live Guy Fawkes" if the Government passed legislation legalizing same sex marriage. "The devil and every demon in hell can expect the church to react because God has done too much for us,"
he reportedly said. Jamaican and Guyanese laws are silent on lesbianism, whilst in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Saint Lucia, all acts of homosexuality are illegal.

Such acts of violence are set against a public which appears to strongly endorse the idea of differential treatment. A recent poll showed that 96% of Jamaicans were opposed to any move that would seek to legalise homosexual relations. Many churches have released statements indicating their support for the retention of current laws. In December 2001, Roman Catholic bishops in the Caribbean stated that they would be against decriminalising consensual sex between consenting adults. In 2001, the Jamaican Prime Minister reiterated his support for the exclusion of gay men from the Boy Scouts movement.
The risks facing LGBT people in Jamaica are increased because of the lack of effective governmental programmes catering to the needs of the gay and lesbian community. From the lack of effective victim support or witness protection schemes, to ineffective and oftentimes brutal policing, to an absence of refuges, the authorities are, in the organisation's view, unable to protect LGBT people in need.

In such a climate, the activities of J-FLAG are crucial. At the forefront of lobbying and campaigning on the issue in Jamaica, their work supporting LGBT people and promoting an agenda of inclusion and equality in extremely hostile conditions is essential. Their activities include running a telephone helpline, workshops and training of authorities, including health care workers, media and students . However the NGO has very limited funds and their activities can not and should not replace actions by the state to fulfil its international legal obligations to
protect citizens from violence (the "due diligence" concept).

The way forward?
Is there an impetus for reform from within Jamaica? The Prime Minister of Jamaica has publicly confirmed his intention to retain legislation which discriminates against homosexuals on many occasions.

In 2000 the Jamaican parliament discussed J-FLAG proposals to amend the current bill of rights to the Constitution to include prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexuality. Section 24(3) of the Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed. The proposals were rejected in June 2001 by a Parliamentary
Special Select Committee. The Committee reportedly feared that the provision would force reform of other laws, such as those on marriage and taxation.

In December 2001, a parliamentary Select Committee recommended that Parliament review laws criminalising consensual gay sex. The proposals were rejected by Parliament in January 2002.

What has also irked myself and others as that JFLAG itself since its revamping of the old website many of the older accounts of violence and historical data has been lost or not replaced, stories such as the Parliamentary submissions on Buggery, the Male netball founder and activist,
Michael Johnson's account of his work with MSMs, the accounts of homophobic abuse by the agents of the state plus many more items. We seem to have a total disregard for archiving and preserving history.
Thankfully the GFM, Gay Freedom Movement archives that myself and others were concerned about were finally reposited (sadly overseas) at an online archiving facility this June 21 in the United States where Larry Chang (GFM Co-Founder now resides.

Study shows street youths more accepting of gays according to the Jamaica Observer

HOMELESS youth are more tolerant of homosexuality than their counterparts who live with their families at home, according to the 2010 Jamaica National Youth Survey (JNYS) released earlier this month by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).
"Street youths proved more tolerant of homosexuals. A quarter (25 per cent) of the street youths interviewed indicated that they had friends who were homosexuals, compared to 11 per cent of youths in households," said senior statistician in the STATIN's surveys division Leesha Delatie-Budair, as she revealed the summary of findings of the study recently.

The 2010 JNYS, the first survey of its kind in Jamaica focusing on street youth, was conducted by STATIN in association with the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD) and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. The research and data collection was sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Jamaican government.

Two types of street youths were interviewed -- youths of the street (street-wise), and youths on the street (homeless).
Between 150-200 youths from ten parishes across the island were polled, most of them between the ages of 15 - 24 years who were from cluster areas or street corners where youths normally congregate, or who were living, eating, working on the streets and were detached from households. These youngsters were found on the roadsides, bus stations, parks, abandoned houses and other public places.

A total of 5,426 youths participated in the 2010 JNYS including 2,726 females (50.2 per cent).
Delatie-Budair also noted that in addition to admitting to having friends who were homosexual, the street youths surveyed were just generally more accepting of the lifestyle.
"In relation to accepting friends who were homosexuals, 31 per cent of the street youths indicated that they would, compared to 25 per cent of youths in households," she said.
Of those youth who had homes, the survey said, "When respondents were asked if they had friends who were homosexual, approximately 85 per cent said "No" and 11 per cent said "Yes"."
It went further to report on the reactions of youth in households.
"When asked if they would accept a friend who is homosexual, the majority (68 per cent) said they would not accept a friend who is a homosexual, while 25 per cent stated that they would accept such a friend."

Director of NCYD, Roberta Brown-Ellis, emphasised that although more street youths proved more tolerant of homosexuals, there is no evidence from the JNYS to brand them as homosexuals.
"The survey did not speak to the issue of them engaging in homosexual activities. So I don't believe the street youths that responded were engaging in homosexual activities," Brown-Ellis told the Sunday Observer in a recent interview.
"I believe street youths were more tolerant of homosexuality than household youths because they are more exposed to the realities of life. They are on the streets more often and, by virtue of that, they have become more open-minded and tolerant," Brown-Ellis added.
NCYD, the organisation that Brown-Ellis heads, is the arm of the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture that executes the National Youth Policy through its various programmes and initiatives. The NCYD is responsible for implementing and overseeing the JNYS and will use the survey's findings to inform the revision of the current youth policy.

Gender specialist, Danielle Toppin, is in agreement with Brown-Ellis. She says that street youths are more widely exposed than youngsters who enjoy the comforts of a stable home, hence the responses they gave in the survey.
"I think there are a number of dynamics that could be at play. It could be that the issue of survival would lead greater numbers of street youths to engage in sexual activity, both heterosexual and same-sex for money, rather than a child whose material needs are met by parents or guardians," Toppin said.

Toppin currently works with Sistren Theatre Collective -- a non-governmental group that serves the inner-city communities of Allman Town, Fletcher's Land, Hannah Town, Barbican/Grants Pen, Rockfort, Parade Gardens and Tivoli -- communities whose youths have a vast knowledge and understanding of the streets.
However, the experts feel it is not unlikely, that given their greater tolerance of homosexuality, these youths could adopt the homosexual or bisexual lifestyle, especially if they are pressured to sell their bodies for economic reasons.
Brown-Ellis said that to prevent them falling prey to this, the challenges facing the country's homeless youth should be aggressively tackled.

"We need to create preventative programmes with opportunities to empower the street youths. Those programmes need to be more tailored and designed, unlike programmes for household youths. We need to find their parents and get them off the streets. We have to look at their literacy levels and how they currently earn an income," she added.
Toppin said that there needs to be greater cohesion of programmes between governmental and non-governmental groups that cater to the needs of not just street youths, but youths on the whole.

"Street children are preyed upon by adults -- male and female, gay and straight. They (sexual predators) use power to take advantage of children. That is a crime, no matter who is doing it and whom they are doing it to," Toppin said.
The JNYS was conducted to highlight the economic and social condition of Jamaican youths. Its findings will inform the revision of the existing youth policy as regards health, education, training, employment, entrepreneurial opportunities, participation and empowerment, care, protection and living environments.
STATIN, in association with the NCYD and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture will host a series of workshops to address the findings and challenges presented by the survey.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Scaling-up HIV services for men who have sex with men & transgender people, new recommendations from WHO

New public health approaches aim to reduce the spread of HIV and save lives of men who have sex with men and transgender people

GENEVA - New public health recommendations from WHO and partners aim to help policymakers and doctors scale-up access to treatment and prevention services for HIV and sexually transmitted infections among men who have sex with men and transgender people. These are the first global public health guidelines to focus on these specific population groups.

There has been a recent resurgence of HIV infection among men who have sex with men, particularly in industrialized countries. Data are also emerging of new or newly identified HIV epidemics among men who have sex with men in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. Generally, men who have sex with men are nearly 20 times more likely to be infected with HIV than general populations. HIV infection rates among transgender people range between 8–68% depending on the country or region.

Stigma, criminalization remain barriers to accessing services
One reason for this is the stigma experienced by many men who have sex with men and transgender people. In many countries, criminalization of same sex relationships drives such relationships underground, making people afraid to seek HIV prevention and treatment services. WHO and its partners advise more inclusive approaches and suggest some practical ways to improve their access to HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care services.

"We cannot imagine fully reversing the global spread of HIV without addressing the specific HIV needs of these key populations," said Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, WHO's Director of HIV/AIDS Department. "We are issuing these guidelines to help countries and communities scale-up the services needed to reduce new infections and save lives."

"Men who have sex with men and transgender people everywhere face huge difficulties in accessing HIV services," said George Ayala, Executive Director of the Global Forum MSM & HIV (MSMGF), a key partner in producing the recommendations. "The guidelines both present evidence for effective prevention interventions for these populations and provide recommendations to help ensure that pervasive barriers like stigma and criminalization no longer stand in the way of life-saving services.”

Information and tools to protect against HIV and gain access to therapy
The new guidelines Prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among men who have sex with men and transgender people: Recommendations for a public health approach provide 21 recommendations for actions to be taken by multiple stakeholders, in close cooperation with men who have sex with men and transgender people.

For national policy-makers
To develop anti-discrimination laws and measures to protect human rights and to establish more inclusive services for men who have sex with men and transgender people based on their right to health.

For health service providers
To develop anti-discrimination laws and measures to protect human rights and to establish more inclusive services for men who have sex with men and transgender people based on their right to health.

For communities
To scale-up behavioural interventions for the prevention of HIV and STIs among men who have sex with men and transgender people.

For affected individuals
Practice consistent condom use over choosing partners based on HIV infection status (sero-sorting).

"Urgent action is needed to ensure that the basic human rights of people most at risk of HIV infection are respected and that they have the information and tools to protect themselves against HIV and gain access to antiretroviral therapy if needed,” said Mariângela Simào, Chief, Prevention, Vulnerability and Rights, UNAIDS.

The WHO guidelines have been developed over the past year through global consultations involving public health officials, scientists, representatives from donor organizations, civil society and health service providers.

download the guidelines here:

For more information, please contact:
Tunga Namjilsuren
Telephone: + 41 22 791 1073

Sophie Barton-Knott
Telephone: + 41 22 791 2511

Jack Beck
Global Forum on MSM & HIV
Telephone: + 1 510 271 1956