Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hypocrisy, Continued damage control via stands or a genuine call for inclusiveness in western Jamaica?

Hypocrisy eeeh? do you find this ironic that Maurice Tomlinson and the contemptuous incestuous associated groups now complain that the ongoing HIV conference in Montego Bay by stating that the way the organizers had gone about the workshop flew in the face of the internationally accepted principle requiring the Greater Involvement of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS in designing and implementing HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support interventions yet they exclude voices in an insular advocacy structure.

here is my short audio response to the stand:

Was this stand a quickly utilized damage control feature to soften the furor over the homeless MSM civil disobedience actions taken this very week August 23 and 24 after the very groups in this stand banned several of the men from getting care and treatment services for supposed "bad behaviour" so in other words screw them this stand also took place while the ban on the men is still in force and all in the absence of any resident social worker or psycho social services with only one crisis intervention officer serving the entire island.

Mr. Tomlinson was quoted as saying "While we hope the conference participants enjoyed their stay at the luxurious resort, we, therefore, question their commitment to the populations they purport to serve," yet when they practice the same purposeful exclusions to the lgbt community, influentials and dissenting voices some talk about it it is ignored as well, the groups have no moral authority to cry for inclusiveness when just look at how the organizations treated with the msm homeless matter as the latest glaring example, the same persons demonstrating here have pushed away the least amongst us as they are an impediment to the superstar staus quo that must be maintained, have a read of the piece below and decide for yourselves.

Maurice Tomlinson (right), legal adviser, Marginalised AIDS-Free World Group, Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, and Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays representatives staging a peaceful stand in front of the Hilton Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay during the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network, Caribbean Cytometry & Analytical Society (CCAS), Centers for Disease Control Third Joint Meeting and Eighth CCAS HIV/AIDS Workshop last Wednesday morning. -  Photo by Janet Silvera


Lamenting the absence of Jamaican men who have sex with men (MSM) from an international HIV/AIDS workshop that was on at the Hilton Rose Hall, Montego Bay, gays here staged a peaceful stand outside the gates of the resort last Wednesday.

Bearing placards which read "Homophobia breeds homelessness", "Homelessness breeds HIV & AIDS", and "Stop Homophobia", "Stop HIV & AIDS", the small group sought to draw attention to the plight of homeless Jamaican men who have sex with men and are vulnerable to HIV.

The men stood outside the Hilton Rose Hall, which was the site of the Caribbean HIV/AIDSRegional Training Network, Caribbean Cytometry & Analytical Society (CCAS), Centers for Disease Control Third Joint Meeting and Eighth CCAS HIV/AIDS Workshop.

The workshop was held under the banner, "Harmonising Quality Clinical Care and Laboratory Diagnostics on Behalf of Persons Most at Risk of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, however, international NGO, AIDS-Free World, and local partners from Jamaica AIDS Support for Life and the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays were not invited to attend.

"No members of the Jamaican MSM community were invited to participate in this conference, despite the 2009 UNAIDS findings that the HIV prevalence rate among Jamaican MSM is 32 per cent against 1.6 per cent in the general population," lamented Maurice Tomlinson, legal adviser, Marginalised AIDS-Free World Group.

Tomlinson criticised the organisers, stating that the way they had gone about the workshop flew in the face of the internationally accepted principle requiring the Greater Involvement of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS in designing and implementing HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support interventions.

"While we hope the conference participants enjoyed their stay at the luxurious resort, we, therefore, question their commitment to the populations they purport to serve," said Tomlinson.

The event reportedly boasted a top-notch programme with internationally acclaimed speakers, yet claims that it remains relevant to the everyday practice of HIV/AIDS care providers in the Caribbean and beyond.

The meeting opened on August 21 and ended last Friday, August 26.

The groups have NO ethical or moral authority let alone credibility to ask for inclusiveness this is just one big hypocrisy to get a shoe in to access funding as word has it that funds presently by the groups here are running low. This homeless issue needs addressing by the very group founded to deal with advocacy which is JFLAG as birthed from the parent NGO Jamaica AIDS Support for Life in 1998.

also see my commentary on the recent MSM civil disobedience and the cold response from the organizations in that protest above:

These persons have no shame, this is a dark week for our history, a disgrace indeed.
Many of the homeless men came from a party DVD going public as highlighted in this video report from 2009 when JFLAG kinda still meant something and even then the cracks were widening.

The hypocrisy continues as for overseas matters especially in Belize these same Jamaican advocates talk about bringing everyone to the table but locally they DO NOT practice what we preach.

from the debate in Belize on the Buggery Law:
Maurice Tomlinson, AIDS Free World
"This is about bringing everybody to the table, not leaving anybody out. Because when you exclude people, that is when you provide an opportunity for harm and hate and disease to spread. And these diseases don’t generally stay within the vulnerable groups."

Also what is also of  interest is the seeming competition with all kinds of agencies including governmental arms outside of the LGBT advocacy structure now jostling for creating programs for this group, all of a sudden homeless msms are now the next big thing to use as lightening rod for funding. This kind of opportunistic way or advocacy is just a disgrace.

Let us also put into perspective the 2007 MSM survey that suggested homelessness and HIV were closely related issues:

Another instance of the hypocrisy was when we unfortunately lost diva Charms who was found dead, the J released some press release at the time, go here for a post entitled "And The Machinery"  for more. A pilot housing project called the "Safe House Project" which was closed due to "bad behaviour" by the occupants led to the present major problems we now see with very little done by JFLAG to stop the implosion of the project hence leading to ostracism by the advocacy structure itself.

also see: MSM Homeless Issues from 2010 on this blog and The Quietus (safe house project closes)

and  Response to the Shelter issue from a concerned advocate

Think on these things people, listen to the audio commentary

UPDATE September 23

Peace and tolerance


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pensivemoods on "What is The Role of JFLAG?"

This question might seem utterly ridiculous given what you may feel you know but pause and reflect for a moment about what the organization represents to you, what you feel their role ought to be, and what they really do or are doing.

There exists a chasm between the expectations of the LGBT community (and even the Heteros ) of J-Flag and how J-Flag defines itself.

Indeed, the J-Flag of old had much more zeal in its public engagements, and the impression given through the smoke and mirrors was that this was a substantive lobby group with a clear position, and explicitly defined roles. They were the mouth piece for an invisible, disenfranchised community that wanted legitimacy through diplomacy and the provocation of critical thinking on the subject of sexual minority status in the hypocritical society in which they existed. They seemed to stand firmly beside their constituents and would defend and protect them by any means necessary including legal challenges, emergency housing assistance, and bare-faced public representation.

Based on dialogue with its current Executive Director I am left with the lingering feeling that J-Flag in its current dispensation, a decade after its conception, is an advocacy body with an affinity for government policy, intermittent interventions in the electronic media, building networks with international civil society organizations, and nothing more.

I will forgive the unfortunately inarticulate expression of the role and objectives of the organization given that the question was posed in a somewhat combative community consultation which had the ED in defense mode. However, the sentiment persists in the community that J-Flag is not fulfilling its role as the only lobby group acting on behalf of the LGBT community.

The acts of civil disobedience by the street boys that we have witnessed in the past few days in response to the executive decision taken to ban poorly behaving homeless MSMs from the JFLAG and Jamaica AIDS Support compound are but the tip of the iceberg in relation to the resentment the community has for JFLAG.

According to their website:

J-FLAG’s mission is to work towards a Jamaican society in which the Human Rights and Equality of Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays are guaranteed. To foster the acceptance and enrichment of the lives of same-gender-loving persons who have been, and continue to be, an integral part of society. J-FLAG holds the vision to move forward in a spirit of oneness, love, dignity and respect towards the establishment of a Jamaica, and world, devoid of prejudice, injustice, discrimination and oppression. And, furthermore, to ensure the human rights of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, as set out in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Pensive Moods

J-FLAG, among other things:

1. provides support in the event of a crisis or impending crisis; emergency housing assistance, counselling and assistance with medical bills

2. does significant personal development and community building in the gay community;

3. offers counseling and referral services to gay people and their families;

4. has consultations and collaborations with noted local and international figures and human rights/health/political interest groups, in the process of working for constitutional and other legislative changes;

5. has made written submissions to the Joint Select Committee of the Houses of Parliament for the inclusion of “Sexual Orientation” as a basis on which the Constitution of Jamaica prohibits discrimination;

6. has provided documentation for asylum cases based on sexual discrimination and violence in Canada, Great Britain and the United States;

7. maintains a library and archive of resource for academic research

The major challenge now is that the community demands front-line services that JFLAG is not capable of or interested in providing. The staff, largely administrators with the glaring absence of social workers or psychologists, is naturally going to call the police on rowdy and violent MSMs because they do not know how to handle such a scenario. They are not prepared.

Where JFLAG's board of governors has failed its staff and clients is by essentially giving them baskets to carry water. They have not birthed an organization capable of providing front-line services and neither have they groomed the organization to fulfill this role in its 10 years of existence. They as the architects for the type of advocacy JFLAG is supposed to execute have allowed the organization to hobble into redundancy.

What needs to happen now is a series of frank and unavoidably uncomfortable conversations about the present and future role of the organization in light of the fact that the community it intends to serve has in large part grown disenchanted, and in some cases bitterly so.

JFLAG must define itself, its roles and the type of advocacy it has the capacity to carry out.

One major criticism of the organization is that its architects have access to, and jealously guard, a large network of international NGOs and donor agencies that turn the cogs of HIV and sexual minority rights advocacy all over the world. They are the gate keepers. The sentiment expressed is that dissenting voices are forcibly silenced or black listed, that the status quo is ruthlessly enforced, and that the business of HIV and LGBT rights is one that does not always act in the best interest of the most vulnerable and more often than not takes economic decisions rather than moral ones. In other words, if they say they cannot do something they are lying to your face. They are not saying they cannot, they are saying they will not.

That appears to be the general consensus on the ground as it relates to this homeless MSM issue. The idea that there is no money to tackle the problem is inexcusable and it really is a lack of will and initiative that lands us in this predicament, which of course speaks to the sinister self-serving attitude that the gate-keepers are accused of having.

What do we do now?

I maintain that either JFLAG holds itself accountable and responsible for the advancement of the rights of the LGBT community, including the provision of the front-line services that they demand, OR remain as back-seat advocates while fostering an environment of collaboration, inclusion, and the development of alternate voices that can carry out the functions that they are unable to.

If the former is to be realized it will be a revolution, a mutiny, an earthquake, and a complete overhaul of the organization and how things are done. Most observers are very cynical that this will ever take place given the personalities that are involved.

Therefore the latter is a more likely reality to come to fruition... though the same cynicism persists for many.

Very interesting times are ahead.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Settle the Score on CVM TV's Live @ 7 (26.08.11)...the JFLAG ad campaign

Elon Parkinson started off the short discussion with the video being rejected by another station that being Television Jamaica and he asked why not this PSA?, he also said he was not sure of host station of his show CVM TV's position on airing the new ad calling for tolerance with actors former Miss Jamaica Christine Straw and her brother Matthew.

Patricia Donald of Women's Media Watch was live in studio, she said the media was hypocritical as they air violence and stigmatised items making women passive beings for example and men strong, overbearing sexual beings with masculine prowess the main messages.

She questioned what was wrong with the ad why the television stations would not air the clip?

It's high society persons who are presenting this announcement and she continued that it was the whole family who may be going through this outing of sorts. Where does the right of one person stops, she said the ad challenges us to ask what is love?

Persons questioned on camera basically disagreed that the media was not hypocritical many agreed that homosexuality is wrong many feared that young people may interpret the ad the wrong way thinking its normative, Miss Donald commended CVM TV however for airing the issue on live television. In the matter of accepting or condoning homosexuality she said the three issues are not related and differ as each member of the public interprets it. Out of five persons all said no they didn't think it was hypocritical by TVJ.

Meanwhile Dr. Livingston White media consultant and lecturer at Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication who was also live in studio echoed my sentiments in my previous posts that the Jamaica Forum for Lesbian Allsexuals and Gays JFLAG used the wrong colour folks for this ad as it may rub some persons the wrong way. The ad had too much "noise" possibly drowning out the real message of tolerance which is a good idea but the timing maybe wrong and the strategy seemed not well thought out, possibly suggesting some proper study or consultancy in this regard, noise here meaning distraction from what the real meaning of the intended message(s) is/are. Patricia McDonald agreed and said that other issues on the horizon may cloud the message as well such as how we relate to sexualities with emerging identities and orientations as transgender and intersex which she implied were missing from the main discourse.

Mr. White continued that proper research should have been done as persons may not have identified with the characters, the audience must also be considered carefully in planning any campaign. His answer to the airing of the previous ad with other rights activists, a reverend and more he said that it had a mixture of actors and messages based on HIV/AIDS Miss Patricia Donald agreed he continued that the shock appeal can work with this new ad with Miss Straw and her brother but other social interventions are needed to support the campaign, suggesting possible fallout from such campaigns, a kind of unneeded martyrdom as I interpret it, he said it seemed as a rush campaign not properly thought through and thus executed without proper guidance or planning, social change may not occur overnight and there must be a long term plan and the ad in its present form may also hurt the progress made if any in terms of the public discourse now more mature than years before.

Are we addressing the behaviour or the actions he asked as since certain acts are illegal under law. Tolerance, condoning and accepting are three different issues or descriptions, here echoing Miss Donald's earlier point.

Here is the question asked on Live @ 7 Facebook Page
Settle the score: Do you think the Jamaican broadcast media is being hypocritical by not airing the Public Service Announcements on gay tolerance?

Here are some answers:

Anything god against i'm also against it so mek them goweh wid them dirty acted. Them must not air nthng bout dem. Under the earth dem fi live where real people cant c dem!!

Wow! This is a very touchy topic! People should learn to accept each other even if u don't agree with each others sexual preference so if airing these announcements teach acceptance which inturn stem voilence, why not?

No they are not,i think they reserve the right to broadcast what is legally accepted. On the contrary,why would the gay community want it to be aired and they have spent so many years behind the walls.

No i don't think so. In Jamaica it is still considered taboo for a man and woman to be "affectionate" in public. Nobody wants to see homosexuals do that. I have no problem with someones sexuality, just don't try and throw it in my face. We have rights too.

No I dont think the media is being hypocritical the tolerance level of GAYS in our pretty little island is quite low enough already airing persons disgust will only heighten violence against those who support them, against the homos and against the media house that should choose to broadcast homosexuality whether or not the views express are not those of said media this will irate a lot of person

I don't think so,but at the same time everybody entitled to their own lives and opinion,and I think it would have a great impact on the innocent young men coming up.

i'll deal with the issue when/if it presents itself but i'm not into the whole desensitization of our nation's children...we're a Christian nation and if we don't stand for something we're going to fall for everything...i'm by NO means homophobic, but that doesn't mean I like sexually suggestive behaviours being flaunted in my face, gay straight or curved...selah

Here is my advice to the gays. Word an add like this, homosexuality is unnatural, repulsive, reprehensible nd abominable, however any1 is welcome to join at their own risk. Im sure the media wouldn't have a prob with that.

The gay community already know how jahn public feel mi nuh tink dem waah wax cleana fi clean out dem ears hole r eye glass fi read an less dem waah a beatin den dem can go demanstrate fi freedom a peech an chice jahn public cyah talarate hunga an bruk u waah bring adam & steve to dat de frustrashan well as mi seh dem waahnta beatin dem cyah go out deh go tan up pan treet side wid kiard bode rite up den wi

whatever the case may be, buggery is illegal in ja so to broadcast gay acceptance msg is sorta supporting illegal activities

ppl oonuh nuh affi worri dat deh media house a go shet dung if dem wonce carry nuttin fram dem mi guh pan dem website it seh new ad fi hit augus encouragin ppl fi luv gay pickni well tank gad augus dun it ahlso seh vielence pan de inkreese inna jamdung tek note HOMOPHOBIC VIOLENCE ON THE INCREASE IN JAMAICA wha mure oonu waahnt

So tell me now, men who love men and women who love women want us to accept and tolerate them; who the hell is gonna be next? - men who love children? Men who love goat? Men who love their own daughters? We need to send a strong message to all those abnormal pleasure driven perverts, no one was born a faggot. You chose that way of life. You, those who have sex with children, animals and birds are all the same.


Clearly it's a start to the continued discourse on this campaign it would be good though for JFLAG to consider with drawing the ad as it stands which was hinted to by Dr. Livingston White as he said the Youtube version may not be the one the television station rejected as he said that version is too raw and needs major dressing up, in effect that version could not have been used for television but JFLAG has the advantage of the matter getting some traction from the furor so persons can go to the major social media sites including YouTube to see the ad which he suggested they should use to their advantage.

An influential had called for the ad to be withdrawn for reasons of the non consultation with the wider LGBT body politic or seven persons deciding for the rest of us but an attempted muzzling took place, see more on my sister blog GLBTQ Jamaica on Blogger:

Attempted censorship from the advocates towards views on the JFLAG Ad campaign??

There was a call-in section afterwards most callers had mixed feelings some agreed that there was some hypocrisy but also added their ought to be considerations for tolerance.
Christine Straw and her brother Matthew who appear in the ad did not appear on the show as was previously thought they would have. Mr. Parkinson went a little controversial near the end when he said the Bible may be inaccurate in some cases in a response to a caller who said the Bible says homosexuals should be killed.

I feel JFLAG's credibility is however shattered as with regards to the recently concluded civil disobedience by sections of the MSM homeless populations after they have been banned from going to certain NGOs associated with JFLAG.

Peace and tolerance


With Gay Abandon by Peter Espeut ..........

The gay lobby have a point: violence against homosexuals, lesbians and all-sexuals is morally wrong and illegal, and no well-thinking person should condone it, overlook it, or give it tacit acceptance. If this is all that tolerance of the gay lifestyle means, we all should be tolerant.

I have not seen the public service announcement (PSA) the gay lobby wish to have aired on public television, asking families to love their relatives who are homosexuals and lesbians. It was that great fifth-century bishop Augustine who said that "God loves the sinner, but hates the sin", and Mahatma Gandhi, the great Hindu philosopher and pacifist, took the same approach in the 20th century. If this is the only message that the PSA carries, who could reasonably object to it?

But the gay lobby want us to go further; they want more than tolerance and love. They want everyone to accept that homosexuality, lesbianism and any other type of unusual sexual behaviour (the 'All-Sexuals' in J-FLAG) is normal, and natural, and morally right; and they have been campaigning to attain this goal for some time now.

Campaign strategy

The first step in the campaign was to use the word 'homophobia' to refer to persons who disagree with their lifestyle, suggesting that being against homosexuality is some sort of pathological mental illness (like claustrophobia or agoraphobia or xenophobia). The term 'homophobia', invented by activist George Weinberg in 1969, has become an important tool for gay and lesbian activists to attack their detractors.

The second step in the campaign was to claim that homosexuality is not a choice, but that people are born that way. "Would someone in Jamaica choose a lifestyle that makes them a social reject," they argue, "and a target for verbal and physical abuse? No! Gays are born that way." For this to be true, there must be a gay gene, but none has yet been found. "Science is making new discoveries every day" is the retort.

But the 'nurture' hypothesis is well argued in the literature; in Jamaica, masculinity is under stress from several sources (domineering mothers and teachers, ineffectual fathers, aggressive and demanding actual and potential partners, feminism, and more). People who are socialised into a gay lifestyle will not feel that they are making a choice; they will feel they are born that way; in sociological theory, socialisation is so effective at transmitting norms and values that it operates unconsciously. There are enough testimonies from former gay people to argue that change is possible, where there is the will. People can overcome their socialisation.

Empty moralising

The third step in the campaign was to link the struggle for gay rights in the 21st century to the fight for emancipation of the slaves in the 19th century, and the struggle against racism in the 20th century. "Slavery and racism were considered normal and natural then," they argue; "the Church supported slavery and racism then, with arguments from the Bible, just as now the Church condemns homosexuality; the battle for the rights of homosexuals, lesbians and all-sexuals is the modern battle for freedom and justice; in a few years, we will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about, just like with slavery and racism."

It has been an effective argument, with an aura of logic about it. It has convinced a lot of people. It has the Anglican Church in the United States ordaining an active homosexual as a bishop, with his boyfriend in the front row of the cathedral, which has the local Anglican Church in a tizzy trying to explain it. It has human-rights groups like Amnesty International out to bat for gay rights, and local groups like Jamaicans for Justice struggling to find the words to defend it.

But it is ad hominem argument, seeking to attach the gay agenda to the successful moral campaigns against slavery and racism, and win support by emotional means. It does not provide any actual argument to support homosexuality itself. One could just as easily claim that bestiality or incest is the 21st-century moral issue, with just as much force of legitimacy.

We must be aware of how special interests seek to manipulate us with spurious arguments, and make us a part of their agenda. We should not be quick to put aside our traditional values with gay abandon.

Peter Espeut is a sociologist and a Roman Catholic deacon. Email feedback to

also see a lesbian blogger's response to a previous article from Mr. Espeut:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shirley Richards breaks silence .......... "Sustain Buggery Law!"

It was just some days ago I blogged to ask how is it during all the public debates on homelessness, the beleaguered tolerance ad campaign by JFLAG with TVJ refusing to air it that the leading anti gay voice from the Lawyer's Christian Fellowship was so silent?

Well here she is at it again in a letter to the Gleaner, we are expecting more putrid writings to follow along with her allies but one of them the Reverend Al Miller who was with her at the Charter of Rights debate and has recommended reparative therapy for homosexuals has his own woes following the mysterious missing gun case that is on trial now, it started on Monday of this very week and has been going on, these are some of the questionable charactered persons the most holy Shirley Richards associate herself with then comes to tell us the whole abomination bit. We are supposed to believe that private ass fucking will have an impact on the national health, when most men who indulge in anal penetration use condoms? GET REAL!

satire at Rev Al Miller for aiding the then fugitive Dudus Coke who was found cross dressed in his company some time ago. In June, Reverend Miller and his attorney Leslie Campbell, had indicated their willingness to shorten the proceedings and plead guilty, if the Magistrate agreed not to record a conviction against his name. However, the Magistrate was not moved by the request, prompting the Reverend to announce that he was going ahead with the trial.

Investigators reported that on January 22, Reverend Miller parked his vehicle on the playing field of the Shortwood Practising and Primary School in St Andrew to pick plums.

On his return to the vehicle, he discovered that his pouch containing his firearm had been stolen.

If convicted, Reverend Miller faces a maximum fine of 500 dollars.

Reverend Miller was charged, last year, with harbouring a fugitive, after former Tivoli Gardens strongman, Christopher "Dudus" Coke, was found in his vehicle, along the Mandela Highway.That trial is pending before the same court. (RJR News)

See more on Al Miller's legal woes:

Have a read of the letter linked below

Shirley Richards, Guest Columnist


I refer to the Letter of the Day titled 'Redefine buggery law and promote tolerance', published Wednesday, August 17.

The idea of keeping the buggery law but redefining it may appear attractive at first blush, but problems arise on closer examination. The intrinsic feature of this act of buggery for us in this country is that it is wrong, regardless of whether it is done consensually.

A change of the law, as suggested, would not reflect this perspective. This is the same concept as regards laws relating to incest. It is also wrong to inflict physical harm on another person, albeit that the other person consents to the act. Obviously, involuntary involvement is more repulsive than the acts when done consensually.

We need to be careful in thinking that our private acts are without consequences. Private consensual acts have public consequences: certainly, there is an impact on the health sector. Further, when adults are allowed to do what they want, children seeing the lifestyle as distinct from even the actual act of buggery grow up confused as to distinctions in this area.

Addressing intolerance

My problem with the principle of 'tolerance', as it is being used in the homosexual debate, is that it has been divorced from the principle of truth. Therefore, even discussing the actions and behaviour of others is labelled 'intolerant'.

We are not just being asked to be non-violent to towards homosexuals, which we all agree with, but we are being asked to mentally accommodate buggery as normal behaviour. Thus, a more valuable ethic in this debate is self-control. In this way, we are allowed to comment on the behaviour of others, but at the same time, we are constrained and restrained in our response.

Some things become more valuable with time. The anti-buggery law is one such. If ever there was a time it was needed, it is now! The value of established principles is that they provide us with a reference point in times of confusion. This is what will guide our educators as the contents of textbooks and our media persons as to what is acceptable for public viewing. For us, this principle of ours, the anti-buggery law, still provides a beacon of light in this age of moral darkness.


Kingston 10


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The dark side to the homeless issue ..............

THIS POST MAY BE UPDATED occasionally please keep in touch by logging on now and again.

As this post was created disturbing reports (now fully confirmed) of unruly and outlandish protests by some of the homeless men are coming in as twice since this morning the men visited the premises of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life offices for reasons that are unclear, yesterday morning as well the security detail that is contracted to protect the property was summoned to quell what would have become a MAJOR disturbance as I had updated a post on GJW:

original update August 22, 2011

"Reports suggests at around 9:15 am a set of the homeless men went to the property adjacent to the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life offices where a gaping breach is in the bordering fence and created a temporary scene calling the occupants gays and battymen and other negative connotations so much so that the security detail contracted to provide surveillance had to be called in to maintain order, the men reportedly entered from the rear of the premises via an adjacent property but were kept back by the security, a shouting match ensued for some minutes. There seemed to be a zero tolerance approach the security detail however was professional who for all intents and purposes are usually summoned via a panic button or some other digital signalling device. According to the eyewitness while one of the men behaved very badly, almost defrocking infront of the detail the other men were more subdued and seem to cooperate in retreating to the neighbouring property.

The reason given for the visit was to see the Crisis Intervention officer for JFLAG who was said to have been at the office or expected to be so but they were told she was not there, they interpreted the reasons to be untrue so they felt they needed to react, in my view that is not a good enough reason and only serves to weaken their position in terms of finding a solution and quickly.

The behaviour of the men is a cause of concern for the residents as they fear needed attention to the property a view that is fear but given the article in The Jamaica Observer and the hint to where certain offices are there is some concerns as well. Certainly I am on record as to the behaviour of the men and would be unfair if I did not bring that part into question but if the only way to deal with this rebellious population is to not engage them and besides the major LGBT body politic is not engaged anyway then I am afraid more reports like this may be forthcoming or worse."

today however ..............

JASL Offices

If these continued outburst occur as one angry resident of the property puts it then serious action would have to be taken which may include getting the landlord involved and I think that this only hurts their case and those who support them in terms of looking at long term solutions but also it proves at the same time that if they were engaged to begin with then we wouldn't be at this juncture now. JFLAG staff who happen to be on the property are trying to quell the situation as motorists passing by are being directed to the property by the screaming men. This is indeed a sad day and by extension time as this could have been avoided if only we heeded the early warning signs but this group was to have just faded I think the powers that be thought now the backlash is right at their doorstep literally.

In fairness ALL SIDES have to be taken into account on this, safety concerns are of the utmost importance as well for all parties who use the premises.

A resident said that as they were returning from doing business on the road they came across the men outside hurling insults at them and again saying the property is a "battyman place" as if to suggest they have or should have unfettered access to the grounds and services. Even if the guys were upset this is the wrong line to be taking instead of saying they are not being heard, to put the idea that the homophobia should be directed at the organization now is worrying, I am also worried and so too are others that this may get really violent and there maybe harm coming to the men from whatever quarters. Feedback from some taxi drivers as well who are known to me who sometimes park alongside the road as a rest stop suggest cynicism as they are asking amongst themselves where would an organization to serve gays push away their own when they are calling for rights in general? and they also had scaving remarks for the unruly men as well saying they are making their own case weak, one driver who I spoke to yesterday suggested we should work it our quickly as we do not know who may be in the wings watching, which to me makes sense.

Calls have been made that some intervention should urgently come as well to help to quell this tension now and some names have been suggested, frankly it is not our fault in essence why this backlash now comes the groups and individuals who should have gotten their hands dirty to begin with in real interventions are now being forced to consider same. The Executive Director of the J went out personally to speak to the men as a police presence is maintained on the property, for how long it is not yet clear.
Since then the influentials provided meals out of pocket and according to observers the JFLAG team even at this juncture seemed aloof to the whole thing, the crisis intervention personnel arrived and headed straight for the offices without engaging the protesting men who say they will continue their agitations albeit in a more peaceful manner (word of mouth actions yet to prove otherwise) the men say they are asking for meals, a place to shower etc.

Let us wait and see, if this quells I will try to see the men tonight as my day schedule has me at a fixed location. Please pray if you do so for this to ease down soon so we can work out a speedy solution. Interim solution is for influentials to visit the scene and calm nerves then move to a secure location to start dialogue as the advocates have not been able to control the tempers.

13;26hrs confirmed the arrival of television crew
A television crew from TVJ the same station that refused to air the ad from JFLAG was on the scene as well.

audio post (PART 1) after speaking to persons on the other side of the equation on August 22, 2011

Here is a side effect of what can occur due to the neglect by the powers that be of the population

AUDIO PART II of the actual events concerning the civil disobedience at Jamaica AIDS Support for Life

Gay Campaign Must Be Resisted & Help Our Homeless letters to the Gleaner

Help Our Homeless


The words 'gay', 'HIV' and 'homeless' struck a chord among many last week. Whether newsworthy or not, these particular terms have become popular buzzwords. Rising unemployment, soaring utility and food prices, the growing elderly population, teenage pregnancy, as well as community and family ostracism, all contribute to the increasing homeless population.

Homelessness is nothing new; however, the means through which attention is brought to this population requires a second look. Irrespective, of how an individual ended up on the streets is irrelevant. The outcome is the same: these persons lack shelter, food and clothing.

Ian McKnight, chairman of Jamaica Aids Support for Life, has called on the Government to provide for gay, homeless men in the New Kingston area. McKnight acknowledged that Government's potential involvement might be problematic among taxpayers.

I understand that marginalised groups like gay men tend to fall through the cracks; however, in order to garner the support of both the taxpayers and Government alike, the focus ought to be on trying to reduce the number of homeless persons.

Using emotive words in headlines encourages readers to deduce several possible scenarios, one being that men on the street are homeless because they are immoral and have rightly been disowned by their families and communities due to their sinful lifestyles.

How to gain support

This sort of thinking will yield little support from anybody, especially for a people whose religious disposition is largely Christian.

Instead of harping on some of the interpersonal aspects or alleged reasons that caused people to take up residence on the streets, we should prioritise reducing homelessness because it is essential to a country's development and standard of living.

The issue of homelessness ought not to fall on just one entity; it is a social responsibility not only of the Government, but also relatives, religious and service groups, and the private sector.

Stella Maris has a feeding programme where members of the congregation prepare a cooked meal and bottled water for street people in Cross Roads and downtown Kingston. While one meal a week is not nearly sufficient, this is a small example of how different members of the community can pitch in to help not 'the homeless' but 'OUR homeless'.



Over the last couple of months, the topic of homosexuality has risen again and again in the local media. There are cries for loving your gay relative, cries of abuse in the New Kingston area by homosexual men. Then there are alleged statistics speaking to homosexual lottery scammers.

Where does this all end, and why are the media houses giving so much time to these non-issues? In reality, if the police said that straight men are the main proponents of the lottery scam, would there be an outcry? Would we be offended if they said it was mainly Jamaicans?

Would the police seem foolish to make such a statement? If straight, homeless men ogle and harass female drivers at stop lights in the Corporate Area, is there a similar outcry? Would the newspapers publish such an article or the television stations carry such a story?

Why aren't the ads simply asking us to love our family? Are they less loved than the homeless kids on the streets? What makes homosexuals so special?

The fact of the matter is that heterosexuals do not go around complaining about everyday facts of life. Heterosexuals do not march on the road saying they are straight. Most crime towards homosexuals are by homosexuals. Other crimes towards homosexuals were just as likely to occur, regardless of sexual preference.

The media houses need to stop carrying these skewed stories and J-FLAG needs to 'straighten' its perspective.


Liguanea, St Andrew

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rowdy gays banned by J-FLAG, JASL .......... (Jamaica Observer)

SEVERAL homosexuals who have been cast out of their homes and communities and are now living on the streets of Kingston, including some with the dreaded HIV virus, have been banned from the premises of the two most prominent advocacy groups in Kingston for bad behaviour.

These males, some of whom are commercial sex workers, are complaining that they no longer have the full support of advocates Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) and Jamaica Aids Support for Life (JASL), charging that they had left them defenceless against attacks from hostile 'homophobes' and even police officers bent on getting them off the streets.

Homeless homosexuals in New Kingston say they have been deprived of medicine and other assistance from JFLAG and JASL because of the bad behaviour of a few.

"They say we are not allowed on their property because you have some 'girls' who go up there and behave bad," a gay man admitted to the Sunday Observer in an interview at one of their popular hangouts in New Kingston.

He declined to be named, but gave examples of lewd brawls — some of which resulted in physical confrontation between gay men on J-FLAG's Kingston premises — as the reason for the ban.

He said that as a result, those among them living with HIV had been struggling to access the vital and cost-free medical treatment they used to get.

Several of these homeless gays have also felt the chill of the night air as they are forced to sleep in abandoned buildings, their cries for help falling on deaf ears.

The JASL was established in 1991 with a mandate to provide stigma-free prevention, treatment, care and support services to Jamaicans living with HIV/AIDS islandwide.

J-FLAG is an advocacy organisation which provides support and intervention programmes for those who are victims or potential victims of violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination.

The premises of advocacy groups Jamaica Aids Support for Life (above) and Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All Sexuals and Gays have become off limits to some unruly homeless gay men.

Read more:

Both J-FLAG executive director, Dane Lewis, and his JASL counterpart, Kandasi Levermore confirmed that some persons had been barred from visiting their organisations' premises, but the ban only applied to an overly unruly few numbering seven.

"Yes, we have banned those who have violated the space because of their bad behaviour, but it's not everybody that is banned from accessing our services," said Lewis. "And it's not that we don't still look out for them," he added.

But, another gay male, who also declined to be named for this article, but who sported women's tights and spoke with the customary feminine drawl during the interview with the Sunday Observer, questioned the organisations' decision even as he defended his friends.

"There is no way you can take on 20 to 30 gay persons from different backgrounds, different homes, with different personalities and expect them to behave perfect. It can't go so," he said while gesticulating wildly.

"You are going to have fights, you are going to have fuss, you are going to have quarrels, 'cause even in a normal family that happens. You understand? There is no way everything will go smoothly," he said.

"If somebody start something you don't ban the whole group! They need to 'tan tuddy' and make sure that the rules and regulations are applied."

"Even on Thursdays they used to have a thing they called the K-package (at JASL). This was a programme they set up so that the homeless could go there and get lunch on a Thursday. Now the homeless can't go there anymore," said another member of the group.

"You have a number of homeless gays living in an anti-gay country, so to now have your own turn against you is not easy," one of the men told the Sunday Observer.

They told stories of how they ended up selling gay sex for money and living in abandoned homes and on the streets and gullies in the capital city.

"Some of them on the streets have nowhere to go, their families put them out, they can't go back to their communities and so they just out there suffering," said one of them.

He claimed he knew a 15-year-old gay youth who was chased from his home and community after his sexual preference was discovered. One night, while on the streets, the police accosted him, beat him and chased he and others like him away from their corner. The teen reportedly took refuge in the home of someone he knew, sleeping in a back room. However, even there he was not safe as he was stabbed to death in a mysterious incident.

"He didn't have anywhere to go, or anyone to help him. If JFLAG or JAS(L) did help him when him family put him out, he would still be alive today," said his friend.

"...That organisation was built to protect the rights of gays in Jamaica, but now we are not able to go there and access anything. They not protecting us at all. Once we could go there and access services and make reports and then they would try to venture out and see what they could do to uphold the rights of the gays," another young man said.

But Lewis insists that his organisation still does what it can for those gay males in need as long as they are well-behaved.

"Anyone who has not violated the rules because of bad behaviour has not been denied access to our services as far as I know."

For JASL, Levermore said: "We have generated a list of about seven guys that are, in fact, banned from the AIDS Support property," she said.

"However, that does not prohibit us from bringing the services to them. And from time to time we do have outreach where we take some of the services out to the guys. The seven in particular, they fight, they quarrel, they stab up (each other) and you name it. And they just behave in a manner that is just not appropriate for even in your home."

She said the ban had to be imposed as their outrageous behaviour was a turn-off to those legitimately seeking help from the organisation.

"It pushes our other clients away from seeking our services because of these same guys... when the other clients come, they have to put up with the kind of behaviour that these guys carry on with. Other than that, it makes it a very unhealthy environment for the staff at Jamaica Aids Support for Life. We have in many ways asked, begged, solicited, (be)friend(ed), we have tried everything to get these guys to understand that their behaviour is unacceptable and we have asked them to amend, adjust, all of that to no avail."

She said as recently as last August 6, there was an altercation involving some MSM (men who have sex with men) that resulted in someone being stabbed on the property.

She insisted that it was not a permanent ban and her organisation had not cut its services to the gay homeless population in New Kingston.

"Usually a ban is for a period of time. It's not that they are totally restricted. Depending on the offence there would be a time frame affixed. Many times we have had to call the police or the security company that does monitoring for us. We have to be panicking every minute when these guys are fighting on the property.

"So once it gets out of hand, it's usually things that are an offence against the law, and then we have to put some restrictions in place, especially after we would have intervened and asked them to cease and desist and the behaviours continue."


UPDATE: August 22-08-11

Reports suggests at around 9:15 am a set of the homeless men went to the property adjacent to the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life offices where a gaping breach is in the bordering fence and created a temporary scene calling the occupants gays and battymen and other negative connotations so much so that the security detail contracted to provide surveillance had to be called in to maintain order, the men reportedly entered from the rear of the premises via an adjacent property but were kept back by the security, a shouting match ensued for some minutes. There seemed to be a zero tolerance approach the security detail however was professional who for all intents and purposes are usually summoned via a panic button or some other digital signalling device. According to the eyewitness while one of the men behaved very badly, almost defrocking infront of the detail the other men were more subdued and seem to cooperate in retreating to the neighbouring property.

The behaviour of the men is a cause of concern for the residents as they fear needed attention to the property a view that is fear but given the article in The Jamaica Observer and the hint to where certain offices are there is some concerns as well. Certainly I am on record as to the behaviour of the men and would be unfair if I did not bring that part into question but if the only way to deal with this rebellious population is to not engage them and besides the major LGBT body politic is not engaged anyway then I am afraid more reports like this may be forthcoming or worse.

Updates to come where available

Level heads are needed now. Meanwhile August 23rd history was created when the same men hinted to in the article launched a civil disobedience action two days in a row on the property of JASL, more in the audio posts below:

Peace and tolerance