The Safe House 2009 Pilot for LGBTQ Youth Explained & more

In response to numerous requests for more information on the defunct Safe House Pilot Project that was to address the growing numbers of displaced and homeless LGBTQ Youth in New Kingston in 2007/8/9, a review of the relevance of the project as a solution, the possible avoidance of present issues with some of its previous residents if it were kept open.
Recorded June 12, 2013; also see from the former Executive Director named in the podcast more background on the project: HERE also see the beginning of the issues from the closure of the project: The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes and The Ultimatum on December 30, 2009

Friday, December 7, 2012

Homophobia and HIV, Where do we go from here .........The Caribbean story?

Have a read of yet another article supposedly on our state headlined as a Caribbean story but as one reads it is a local one laced with all kinds of half truths as if this was the nineties as penned by a controversial Jamaican advocate. All the more reason why more voices need to speak out about our local challenges and not present half truths but the facts not for personal glory but for the community's growth and development.

Here is the piece as it appeared on Immigration Equality's site:

Coming from a country with possibly the highest HIV prevalence rate among men who have sex with men (MSM) (32.9%) and which some consider to be the most homophobic place on earth (in one survey 85% of the population self-identified as homophobic) I am hardly surprised that homophobia contributes to HIV.

My own personal experience as a law lecturer and a human rights advocate engaging in documenting the abuses against Jamaican LGBT has confirmed this clear nexus. My female students at the University of Technology, Jamaica readily told me that they purchase condoms for their male gender non-conforming friends who are afraid to do so themselves. In Jamaica, condoms are sold behind the counter and one has to ask a pharmacist or cashier to hand it over. Looking too “gay” will raise the inevitable suspicion that you MUST be purchasing the condoms for sex with a man, as “no self-respecting woman” would be willing to have sex with you.

Though my female students are clearly well-intentioned, they refuse to purchase lubricant, as that would be seen to be admitting a deficiency on their part. The MSM therefore resort to the use of products such as hairspray, saliva and petroleum jelly which all destroy the condom. I have, on occasion, procured condoms and lubricants for scared MSM since my relatively privileged position affords me a fair degree of insulation from the worst homophobic attacks. Instead of walking through a homophobic mob to the nearest bus stop, I could always drive away in my car. In 2008, an angry mob converged on a group of MSM at a pharmacy in the capital, Kingston.

Tragically, it was a woman who incited the attack.

I say tragically, because women are being directly impacted by homophobia and its link to HIV. Jamaican homophobia drives men to form relationships with women as a cover or “cure” for their sexuality. I married a woman thinking that would cure me. It didn’t and the marriage failed with painful emotional (but thankfully, no physical) consequences for both my ex-wife and me as well as our son. One married MSM we know of keeps the condoms he uses with his boyfriend in the trunk of his car so that his wife (who is on the pill) will not find them. It is easy to imagine what Jamaica’s relentless heat does to the integrity of these condoms. So, even though homophobia serves as an effective bridge for HIV to travel between the MSM and general populations, there is insufficient recognition by women of the immediate benefit to them — and their children — of supporting the rights of MSM to form their own relationships.

Finally, and most tragically, homophobia prevents effective HIV prevention, treatment and care messaging to MSM. In Jamaica’s prisons, where HIV is several times the national average, the availability of condoms and lubricants has to be done clandestinely as to advertise this fact would lead to a riot, which has happened with tragic consequences. In the absence of readily available condoms and lubricants, prisoners use plastic shopping bags and axel grease. Upon their release, these men are pressured to prove their heterosexuality and so they usually have multiple female sexual partners. Many children of these fathers are born within a very short time span.

When my own son was being born, a young man (only 23) was running ragged as 2 of his “baby mothers” were delivering at that hospital on the same day. He kept shuttling between the two 2 birthing rooms as neither woman knew of the other’s existence. This tragically funny story was made even more disconcerting by the fact that this youngster was expecting his thirteenth child.

As an organization committed to removing all barriers to an effective HIV response, AIDS-Free World has been working assiduously to tackle homophobia in the Caribbean. We have therefore launched the first ever legal challenge to Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law; sponsored research into the level and drivers of Jamaican homophobia; successfully challenged the sponsorship of homophobic “murder music”; conducted LGBT sensitization training with police on how to respond to victims of homophobic attacks; met with, and when necessary, publicly challenged politicians, policymakers and UN officials about showing leadership on the issue of tolerance for LGBT; developed media products to promote tolerance; trained LGBT groups on how to document and respond to LGBT human rights abuses; and initiated legal action against Jamaican TV stations who have refused to air our tolerance ads as well as against the homophobic immigration law of Trinidad and Tobago that bans the entry of marginalized groups such as homosexuals.

While our work is a long-term one, we know we are making headway, as seen from the tremendous increase in the level of public discourse around the repeal of the Jamaican anti-buggery law; the surprising statement by the new Jamaican Prime Minister during an election campaign that she will support a Parliamentary conscience vote on the review of the anti-buggery law; and the measured reduction in national homophobia.

The reduction in homophobia is not proceeding quickly. Neither is it expected to. This is because there are many structural barriers to tolerance messaging and these barriers have largely been erected and sustained by powerful bigoted religious fundamentalists that have infected all levels of Caribbean society. Over the past 30 years, these churches, with tremendous financial and technical assistance from North American groups, have been working assiduously to subvert the national ethos of tolerance for diversity, as found in Jamaica’s motto “Out of Many, One People.” Breaking the logjam of religiously inspired homophobia will require bold advocacy. We are up to this David and Goliath battle. The stakes are too high for us to fail.


My comment which I suppose may get published was as follows:

This is a Jamaican story not a Caribbean one as headlined, so much for misleading persons.

Oh so here is Maurice Tomlinson yet again using the community in this wave the old narratives to the world ploy while he is out of touch with the real world and has to rely for the most part on reports as he parades himself as the LGBT spokesperson while not living in Jamaica anymore or so he says at the expense of a gullible population on the ground. The LGBT community especially the MSM group is not the same as the years gone by and as for HIV rates of infection the agencies named ALL have direct access to the community all they have to do is have far more presence and do the necessary work to bring down the numbers but instead they expect the community to come to them then they say that the community is underground when the groups can be easily found, some of the those group members are on the properties of some of these agencies everyday literally speaking as they have no where else to go, the poor outreach and frontline work (condom issued mostly) by the agencies themselves are to be blamed for those high figures too. The groups suffer from condom fatigue and HIV prevention message overkill sometimes.

The agencies also continue to ignore the real issues affecting the homeless for example mostly the pyscho social ones they are yet to be dealt with just yesterday the police had to deposit several homeless msms on the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life property in a bid to take them off the streets due to challenges on the roads and internal conflicts but as was promised by JFLAG on television to find a space for them to be housed as the authorities have become impatient with the anti social behaviours (see video above) and sheer numbers of them in the business district and entertainment strips we still await a shelter response following a townhall meeting on November 7, only on December 3 there was an ugly brawl with some of the men and staff of JASL there while the JFLAG employees looked on terrified as the drama unfolded. The men have been using other properties to get shelter without water for that matter so they access water from the JASL office. That tense situation has been off and on since 2010.

As for the buggery law and the charter of rights the parliamentary submission was the last time that JFLAG had a real presence in challenging the law on the ground way back in 1998, they were absent during the intermittent charter of rights debate and allowed the church groups to control the conversations and clauses, their adding or removal chief among them the discrimination by sexual orientation protection even as the invented gay marriage rights opposition ploy was used by the previous government to deny us any recognition in the charter and we sat and watched it all go down, very few of us kept the agitation alive.

As for buying condoms and distribution there are 5 agencies now (including anti gay faith based linked groups surprisingly) that reach MSMs including the various regional Health authorities of the Ministry of Health in particular and all distribute condoms with some peer educator training and the former stigma associated with condom and lube purchases (KY) and indeed fleet enema purchases as well have almost disappeared as more and more pharmacies carry fleet enemas now and one DOES NOT HAVE TO buy them under the counter. Even street side vendors have got in on the business realising that the MSM commercial sex workers also need their condom "stash" while swallowing their once homophobic positions they know the men are gay but for business they engage them.(despite the saturation of the market with the cheap looking brands the men will purchase brand named ones once they have cash) The old programmatic agenda that gay men do not have access to condoms is out the window. I purchase my fleets at the leading Kingston Pharmacy, York, and they have them displayed openly on the shop floor along with the KY lubes all one has to do is purchase and leave. Times have changed!!!!!!!! the most effeminate of men walk in as well and do business unimpeded. Other pharmacies are following suit and also have them displayed openly as I have found fleets at out of Kingston shops as well.

Sometimes the homeless msms complain that they are overstocked with "boots" the colloquial name for condoms and seem weary of the overkill of HIV prevention messaging, HIV testing and condom distribution which makes one wonder where are the other self efficacious activities for personal development? Plastic bag use as condoms are a thing of the past and does not happen with the regularity as before not even in prisons if one were to be truthful despite the item is a major contraband creative ways are found to get them in. What needs to be improved are the anal hygiene knowledge levels for MSMs in particular.

The tolerance ads of which he writes while having the right message are also poor in production value an observation made by several media experts including an executive of the leading media communications institution. 

As a former board member of Jamaica AIDS Support for LIFE he along with the others sanctioned the closure of a homeless shelter pilot project in 2009 where MSMs were to be housed and assisted to recovery but other agendas were more important and also bearing in mind some of the men were HIV+
We always knew of these religious groups with overseas contacts but we sat complacent and did not properly rebut their anti gay and anti buggery posturings it is now when they have turned up the heat persons like Maurice now realise they exist?

Enough of these narcissistic people who use intellectual dishonesty to push their agenda. We need to speak the truth when we want to engage the world to assist the cause but the old programmatic narratives are not working anymore. STOP THE DISHONEST LINES and present the PRESENT TRUTHS. We find ourselves here because we have failed to address some of the key issues but the way how some activists parade themselves as victims to mislead international agencies one wonders for how long this strategy will last? 

This is 2012 for God's sake not the 1990s.

Things have changed and are still changing slowly. Where the emphasis needs to be placed is on personal development for vulnerable groups not just seeing such groups as potential HIV+ persons via HIV prevention messaging and condom distribution targets only. 

Mr Tomlinson must stick to the evil that he knows.


Aphrodite's P.R.I.D.E Jamaica, APJ launched their website

Aphrodite's P.R.I.D.E Jamaica, APJ launched their website on December 1 2015 on World AIDS Day where they hosted a docu-film and after discussions on the film Human Vol 1

audience members interacting during a break in the event

film in progress

visit the new APJ website HERE

See posts on APJ's work: HERE (newer entries will appear first so scroll to see older ones)


CVM TV carried a raid and subsequent temporary blockade exercise of the Shoemaker Gully in the New Kingston district as the authorities respond to the bad eggs in the group of homeless/displaced or idling MSM/Trans persons who loiter there for years.

Question is what will happen to the population now as they struggle for a roof over their heads and food etc. The Superintendent who proposed a shelter idea (that seemingly has been ignored by JFLAG et al) was the one who led the raid/eviction.

Also see:

the CVM NEWS Story HERE on the eviction/raid taken by the police

also see a flashback to some of the troubling issues with the populations and the descending relationships between JASL, JFLAG and the displaced/homeless GBT youth in New Kingston: Rowdy Gays Strike - J-FLAG Abandons Raucous Homosexuals Misbehaving In New Kingston

also see all the posts in chronological order by date from Gay Jamaica Watch HERE and GLBTQ Jamaica HERE


see previous entries on LGBT Homelessness from the Wordpress Blog HERE

May 22, 2015, see: MP Seeks Solutions For Homeless Gay Youth In New Kingston

War of words between pro & anti gay activists on HIV matters .......... what hypocrisy is this?

War of words between pro & anti gay activists on HIV matters .......... what hypocrisy is this?

A war of words has ensued between gay lawyer (AIDSFREEWORLD) Maurice Tomlinson and anti gay activist Dr Wayne West as both accuse each other of lying or being dishonest, when deception has been neatly employed every now and again by all concerned, here is the post from Dr West's blog

This is laughable to me as both gentleman have broken the ethical lines of advocacy respectively repeatedly especially on HIV/AIDS and on legal matters concerning LGBTQ issues

The evidence is overwhelming readers/listeners, you decide.

Other Entries you can check out

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Homeless MSM Challenges and relationships with agencies overview ........

In a shocking move JFLAG decided not to invite or include homeless MSM in their IDAHO activity for 2013 thus leaving many in wonderment as to the reason for their existence or if the symposium was for "experts" only while offering mere tokenism to homeless persons in the reported feeding program. LISTEN TO THE AUDIO ENTRY HERE sad that the activity was also named in honour of one of JFLAG's founders who joined the event via Skype only to realise the issue he held so dear in his time was treated with such disrespect and dishonour. Have LGBT NGOs lost their way and are so mainstream they have forgotten their true calling?

also see a flashback to some of the issues with the populations and the descending relationships between JASL, JFLAG and the displaced/homeless LGBT youth in New Kingston: Rowdy Gays Strike - J-FLAG Abandons Raucous Homosexuals Misbehaving In New Kingston

also see all the posts in chronological order by date from Gay Jamaica Watch HERE and GLBTQ Jamaica HERE


see previous entries on LGBT Homelessness from the Wordpress Blog HERE

Newstalk 93FM's Issues On Fire: Polygamy Should Be Legalized In Jamaica 08.04.14

debate by hosts and UWI students on the weekly program Issues on Fire on legalizing polygamy with Jamaica's multiple partner cultural norms this debate is timely.

Also with recent public discourse on polyamorous relationships, threesomes (FAME FM Uncensored) and on social.

Popular Posts

RJR - Surprise Yes vote by Ja on Sexual Orientation Removal from Summary Executions Resolution

Beyond the Headlines host Dionne Jackson Miller has Arlene Harrison Henry and Maurice Tonlinson on Human RIghts Day 2012 on the the removal of language in the form of sexual orientation on the Summary Executions UN Resolution - On November 21, 2012, Jamaica voted[1] against resolution A/C.3/67/L.36 at the United Nations condemning extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions which urges States “to investigate promptly and thoroughly all killings, including… all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation

Homeless MSM evicted from Cargill Avenue (evening edition)

28/08/12 CVM TV again rebroadcast a story of homeless MSM and the deplorable living conditions coupled with the almost sensationalistic narrative of the alleged commercial sex work the men are involved in. Gay Jamaica Watch has been following this issue since 2009 when the older populations of MSMs who were for the most part displaced due to forced evictions and homo negative issues and their re-displacement by agencies who on the face of it refused to put in place any serious social interventions to assist the men to recovery CLICK HERE for the CLIP

Information, Disclaimer and more

Not all views expressed are those of GJW

This blog contains pictures and images that may be disturbing. As we seek to highlight the plight of victims of homophobic violence here in Jamaica, the purpose of the pics is to show physical evidence of claims of said violence over the years and to bring a voice of the same victims to the world.

Many recover over time, at pains, as relocation and hiding are options in that process. Please view with care or use theHappenings section to select other posts of a different nature.

Not all persons depicted in photos are gay or lesbian and it is not intended to portray them as such, save and except for the relevance of the particular post under which they appear.

Please use the snapshot feature to preview by pointing the cursor at the item(s) of interest. Such item(s) have a small white dialogue box icon appearing to their top right hand side.

God Bless

Other Blogs I write to:
Recent Homophobic Incidents CLICK HERE for related posts/labels from glbtqjamaica's blog & HERE for those I am aware of.


Steps to take when confronted by the police & your rights compromised:

a) Ask to see a lawyer or Duty Council

b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist

c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tense

d) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation

e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports

f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)

g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible

h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violated

i) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions

j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it

Notes on Bail & Court Appearance issues

If in doubt speak to your attorney

Bail and its importance -
If one is locked up then the following may apply:

Locked up over a weekend - Arrested pursuant to being charged or detained There must be reasonable suspicion i.e. about to commit a crime, committing a crime or have committed a crime. There are two standards that must be met:
1). Subjective standard: what the officer(s) believed to have happened

2). Objective standard: proper and diligent collection of evidence that implicates the accused To remove or restrain a citizen’s liberty it cannot be done on mere suspicion and must have the above two standards

 Police officers can offer bail with exceptions for murder, treason and alleged gun offences, under the Justice of the Peace Act a JP can also come to the police station and bail a person, this provision as incorporated into the bail act in the late nineties

 Once a citizen is arrested bail must be considered within twelve hours of entering the station – the agents of the state must give consideration as to whether or not the circumstances of the case requires that bail be given

 The accused can ask that a Justice of the Peace be brought to the station any time of the day. By virtue of taking the office excluding health and age they are obliged to assist in securing bail

"Bail is not a matter for daylight"

Locked up and appearing in court:
 Bail is offered at the courts office provided it was extended by the court; it is the court that has the jurisdiction over the police with persons in custody is concerned.

 Bail can still be offered if you were arrested and charged without being taken to court a JP can still intervene and assist with the bail process.

Other Points of Interest:
 The accused has a right to know of the exact allegation

 The detainee could protect himself, he must be careful not to be exposed to any potential witness

 Avoid being viewed as police may deliberately expose detainees

 Bail is not offered to persons allegedly with gun charges

 Persons who allegedly interfere with minors do not get bail

 If over a long period without charge a writ of habeas corpus however be careful of the police doing last minute charges so as to avoid an error

 Every instance that a matter is brought before the court and bail was refused before the accused can apply for bail as it is set out in the bail act as every court appearance is a chance to ask for bail

 Each case is determined by its own merit – questions to be considered for bail:

a) Is the accused a flight risk?
b) Are there any other charges that the police may place against the accused?
c) Is the accused likely to interfere with any witnesses?
d) What is the strength of the crown’s/prosecution’s case?

 Poor performing judges can be dealt with at the Judicial Review Court level or a letter to the Chief Justice can start the process

Human Rights Advocacy for GLBT Community Report 2009

What Human Rights .............

What are Human Rights?

By definition human rights are our inalienable fundamental rights. Inalienable means that which cannot be taken away. So our human rights are bestowed upon us from the moment we are born and, thus we are all entitled to these rights. Because we are entitled to our human rights and they cannot and should not be taken away from us, we as a people must strive to protect them, government should protect them and breaches of our rights should be highlighted and addressed appropriately.

Human rights are the same for everyone irrespective of colour, class or creed, and are applicable at both the national and international level. In Jamaica, our human rights are enshrined in and protected by our Constitution. Internationally, there have been numerous laws and treaties enacted specifically for the protection of human rights.

Milestone document

Most notably of these is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration is seen as a milestone document in the history of human rights. It was proclaimed by the United Nations, in 1948, as a common standard of achievements for all nations, and sets out the fundamental human rights to be universally recognised and protected.

The Declaration sets out the following rights:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Equality before the law

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Everyone has the right to freedom of movement

Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government;

Everyone has the right to education.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.