I have returned to preparing a text component to this year’s entry along with a podcast to come as well, of course I will cover the issues that came to prominence via my blogs and my views from where I sit.
ALL original posts will remain as they are when originally published for your perusal.
Media’s coverage of us
The media landscape was replete with discourse on several fronts from the suggested buggery review from the Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller following the People’s National Party’s win at the polls in December 2011 and in the 100 days of the new administration to the public relations mess that followed with the advocacy group JFLAG got themselves into by granting an interview to the POWER 106FM newsroom which was carried on Go Jamaica’s website which was interpreted as a demand by other media houses. Letters to the editors proposing or opposing homosexuality themes or topics flowed non stop probably more so than any other year in recorded history following that. Media overall seemed to have become far more friendlier than years gone by with a guaranteed prime time spot at least once per month on issues including the problematic homelessness of some of our community members in predominantly Kingston on television.
The increase in visibility of persons coming out on issues also came the commensurate opposing responses as the “keep it to yuself” mentality message that was and is still being pushed, we can be heard in a sense, watched via entertainment mediums but don’t we dare to be open about it or outward in our displays of affection as that might lead to negative outcomes as we saw in one such case in March. The first major anti gay, anti buggery march took place in September which proved that the struggle is no longer in the passive forms as the religious right stepped up their campaigns.
Younger more vocal advocates also stepped up to the plate while outing themselves for the causes they claimed to stand for chief among them was blogger turned leading gay atheist front man Javed Jaghai and female blogger turned front woman for that section of the community as well Angeline Jackson in their appearance on Television Jamaica’s Religious Hardtalk in October. While secularism took centerstage as the latest feature of the LGBT struggle in Jamaica the gay Christian groups were quiet for the most part especially the remaining active chapters of Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica thus giving our main opponents the impression that an anti-religious strategy has been pinned to the general gay rights push and the repeal or decriminalization of the buggery law, in response groups such as The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS formalized their operation while long timers The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship aligned with other local groups and overseas anti gay cells cemented their unions to push against the supposed powerful local gay lobby. The main aims of the anti gay groups are to:
1) Block any attempt to have the suggested buggery review occur or any legal manoeuvres to have the law repealed or at least decriminalized
2) Neutralize any moves to have gay marriage rights agitation get off the ground despite no such rights or benefits have been formally requested or pushed for
3) Counter supposed normalization of homosexuality on the misguided belief that the orientation and paedophilia are linked
All kinds of strategies, suppositions without any proper basis in fact have been put forward with intellectual dishonest interpretation of facts to suit their agenda, for e.g the repeated reference by the front man for the JCHS Dr Wayne West of sexual practices by sub groups that carry out fisting, fishing, felching and others as if to suggest Jamaicans carry out such activities so we are undeserving of the buggery law being repealed as those acts will be legal, albeit sexual practices are mostly done and agreed upon in private and there are laws already that cover rape, carnal abuse, sexual assault and a precedence set for same sex activity done under duress. The awful scourge of paedophilia this year on the national front has left the msm community overall with a black eye as we have been blamed for many of the same sex paedophilia matters when the proper psychological explanations have been given to assist a cynical public on the issues also bearing in mind we have been fed a steady diet over the decades via tabloids the idea that gay adult men want children and nothing more when paedophiles are persons of a different ilk altogether and are attracted to pre-pubescent children despite their sexual orientation.
The surprising rates at which the anti gay groups are now being funded became clear that expensive full paged ads can be taken in print media here and in other Caribbean islands have not gone unnoticed, hosting of conferences and other activities has had many wondering if their supporters are in effect exporting hate from their own territories, in which they cannot oppose the LGBT groups there as they would like to due to state protections etc. This is of course all being done ignoring the visible social ills in society. The theologian community have gone as far as to call the homosexual community "dutty" in the recently launched translated King James version to patois of the new testament: The use of Jamaican dialect to further stigmatise homosexuals in the new patois Bible
Foreign media also played a key role in the ever expanding global LGBT information platforms but several articles left some in the community wondering who vets what is written about our struggle and a rush to publish news on us especially when they look sensational in some respects, when for example one such foreign publication presented the homeless issues as if the state was the one that caused the closure of the Safe House Pilot Project in 2009 this story came on the strength of the stakeholders meeting with the New Kingston business sector, the member of parliament for the division, the mayor of Kingston, JFLAG and others after the homeless MSM matter spiralled out of control yet again between August to November. Despite repeated concerns expressed about the story as published by Gay Star News with even comments by the 09 project’s conceptualizer the news agency has ignored the constituents response and the story ran as is to date.
This action had tacit support from one of the nations controversial gay lawyers although he was quoted in the piece as well and was contacted about the slant of the story he did not find it necessary as a matter of principle to have the piece amended to reflect the real timeline of the closure of the home. This was one of many instances where the ethical footing of our advocacy and the spokespersons thereto was tested and with each test they were found wanting.
The tabloid press was not to be quiet although a little subdued than in years past as they were forced to carry more balanced stories based on the some of the events that took centre stage in the year, such as the New York gay marriage rights passage, the public discourse on the homeless men and cross dressers in New Kingston (a favourite target of the papers, especially the Jamaica Star News) and the other matters surrounding homosexuality. However by the end of December we saw an article on supposed hebephilic behaviour allegations by some of the men at the problematic Trafalgar Park area although cleared of shrubbery that would block public viewing men were said to be allegedly showing their penises to schoolboys when in fact schools have been out for holidays since the second week in December and no time was given for these supposed shenanigans. No proof was offered to this effect.
Christmas day we saw cartoonist Clovis from the Jamaica Observer publishing a damning cartoon with an effeminate gay male and a child cowering in fear as opposed to the once feared junkanoo dance group and while it may reflect some sentiments of stereotyping and fear of the gay lobby by the public the piece has been described as homophobic from some advocates from yet another suspicious article from Gay Star News and the controversial gay attorney was once again quoted, the following truths however were subsequently observed:
1. The Observer never reported that the boys were sodomised, they quoted residents and they also reported what the police said in a previous report.
2. The Observer never alleged that the two homeless men who were murdered by one of their peers in June were lovers and were killed because of a quarrel; they simply reported that's what bystanders were saying.
3. The attitudes towards homosexuality survey reporting that 82% viewed homosexuality as immoral never concluded that this measured homophobia. There was a different scale used to measure that. There are many Jamaicans who view homosexuality as immoral and treat gay people as equals. The article from the Gay Star News makes it seem as though the Observer made that claim adding to the questioning of their motives in rushing to report on matters by this particular publication with some local advocates readily playing along in the dishonesty. If we expect to win the war on hate we can’t be using unethical and intellectually corrupt means to do so. The aforementioned story on homelessness safe house issue was also cause for concern as to the validity of the entries put out there by this same entity.
Possibly the bloodiest year on record for the population
Just by the repeated mainstream news items on the deaths of members of the community predominantly gay men left many with their hands at their jaws in shock and worry with some persons literally moving house to other countries and some contemplating such moves early next year. In my last count from the aforementioned mainstream reports plus other unreported cases and second hand information some of which has been confirmed I arrived at 19 persons who were murdered in 2012 with two lesbians among that figure. Bi-phobic mistrust was the main cause of one of the ladies to be killed in Eastern Kingston.
Homophobia or hate factored in just over half of those taken from us while intra/inter community violence aka gay on gay violence figured among the rest including serious challenges in the displaced/homeless msm community. The double murder for example in New Kingston and the throat slashing on the same day of a popular socialite as well in upper St Andrew in June were testament to that fact although the crisis communication surrounding the former gave an impression it was a homophobic killing when it turned out not to be so as the interview days after on RJR’s Beyond the Headlines where the Executive Director of JFLAG had to make an about face with interviewer Dionne Jackson Miller. That single act of what some deemed to be misleading the public on deaths involving MSM caused an avalanche of accusations from other anti gay groups and individuals such as Betty Ann Blaine who penned that damning piece called the “Big Gay Lie” published in the Observer in October and preceding her in August was the outgoing UK born Deputy Police Commissioner Les Green who poured cold water on previous claims of homophobic killings caused by hate, he interpreted them as simply jealousy among persons leading to violence almost instantly smashing the work of several advocates over the many years of the struggle.
The turmoil in that period brought into sharp focus the need to tidy up the crisis communication activity by the LGBT lobby(ists), again the efficacy of our posturing on homophobia in Jamaica, taking each case by their own merits and engaging the public on the homo-negativity in our national psyche all factors it seems the advocacy structures have not properly taken into account by virtue of the subsequent murders that made news including the most recent surprise killing of a prominent Justice of the Peace, Roy Beckford JP, while arrests have been made no definitive statement has come on this matter so as to put forward the truth regarding his death hence conjecture has been leading to rumours then to all kinds of speculations.
The downlow phenomenon factored greatly in some of the cases and there has not been any proper full discourse on record to my knowledge of how our version of the DL, highly valued machismo and masculinity affects the response to effeminacy, class issues in gay relationships and the repulsive nature of some men towards any feminization of their character or egos. The anthropological work in those departments are yet to be done to factor into how and why we have some of the outcomes we see in same gender male relationships be they transactional or not despite a study on attitudes towards homosexuality commissioned by JFLAG suggests more Jamaicans are tolerant of homosexuals yet the issues on the ground suggest otherwise.
Most of those persons killed died by the knife used as the weapon of choice, the victims were found with their throats slashed or multiple stab wounds, methods seemed preferred for MSM which calls into question a suggestion I made some time ago about self defence classes especially for the more docile or effeminate among us, at least five of the men were shot at close range or execution style as in the case of Eric Liscombe who was murdered on November 17 from due to 11 shots all from behind at point blank range as he was accused of being to open in his community with entertaining male company. A murder most strange in St Catherine in July that still has persons baffled as the victim was found nude in his bed, the house unperturbed so robbery was not a motive and his family has since moved from the area leaving the ancestral home vacant at first but now occupied by squatters. The story which was carried on CVM news has since been removed from their video archives which some like myself who were tracking it puzzled however on the ground leg work revealed much on the matter for me to put the pieces together, the house was allegedly spray painted with anti gay messages but quickly repainted to erase them or to remove the aura surrounding the property probably so that the new occupants could move in.
Other more non conventional methods were used to take out other persons such as the case of food poisoning by a family on a young man who was profiled by them and took matters into their own hands. Other challenges in Western Jamaica where an alleged gay higgler was also poisoned by his detractors who allegedly were jealous of his popularity and his alleged sexual orientation after what was described as months of profiling prior to his demise.
Homeless community continues to spiral
As the year began we saw challenges and almost every month since there has been some issue negatively impacting on their image in the community and the mainstream at large, almost every week there was a report of some young individual being displaced at all socio economic levels but more so at the lower end. The see- saw struggles between the agencies namely Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, JASL and Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG continued in 2012 as well with very tense moments in June, August, September, October and December in particular the last month as a major stoning incident at the JASL office and a fight involving a JFLAG staff member and one of the men after a World AIDS Day function at the property that has forced the agencies to re-institute the apartheid looking security measures that of armed security guards and a canine team and by the looks of it they seem as a permanent addition to the property’s feature (more precious funding). The public removal by the local authorities of the men after taking up residence in any open space they can turn into a residence in August and again in November were proof of how the issues still abound.
Members of the population who were incarcerated returned to the scenes and thus came even more challenges as well owing to their strong personalities and the related group dynamics leading to all kinds of antisocial behavioural problems and the “battyman entitlement phenomenon” raising its head with the aforementioned agencies refusing at some points to engage them as the men allegedly use the safe spaces inappropriately. The lack thereof or refusal to properly implement other social justice themed interventions outside of HIV prevention activities has been a key issue as the longer the men remain unengaged is more the challenges seem to come, an observation the relevant Programs managers seem to miss. The promised shelter idea from JFLAG hinted to via a television interview then a town hall meeting on November 7 did not materialise as it turned out the announcement was most premature, no confirmation was had with the owners of the property that was eyed to be the site for the three month pilot project, the relevant due diligence and legal work was obviously not done as the main reason for the scrapping of that idea was the zoning laws and insurance to cover certain issues.
The basic psycho social, pycho sexual interventions outlay that was promised by the J has also not been forthcoming. The men now have taken up another section of uninhabited space again while others who can find shelter have been doing so, community assistance or what little of it is left these days is very remote in some sense as old friends keep almost at arm’s length just providing enough help such as food and maybe clothes and shoes but no sustained assistance any more the overall membership of the group has gotten yet another bad rap due to the disruptive behaviour of a few at a Christmas party that had to be cancelled after a stoning event as the promoter refused to allow entry to selected members of the homeless.
Members of the displaced/homeless groups outside of Kingston have also had their fair share of challenges in 2012 from forced evictions by thugs to beatings to threats to vacate illegally inhabited premises and hunger. Some of the men who are also HIV positive have been inconsistent with adherence to their HIV regimes leading to serious health issues. Their inability to have a proper diet as well has affected a few of them with co-infections of other lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and STI’s in addition to the age lifespan index increasing as older MSM are living longer even while being positive we are seeing more problems from those diseases. In December a treat was arranged by an interfaith group in St Catherine for five of the men in continuation of a series of social interventions by them in providing temporary employment and clothing etc. Reparative therapy seemed out of the types of engagement used by the group as it seems to be purely a humanitarian effort. Displaced Montegonian MSM have been seeing their numbers grow by leaps and bounds due to mainly the penetration by the state agencies on the illegal lotto scamming which some persons indirectly benefited in addition to forced evictions by intolerant families a feature occurring repeatedly on a national scale. Several persons have migrated to other parishes or crash with friends where possible. One could expect a report every month of some young man being made displaced due to such family rejection and usually egged on by just the slightest supposed infraction.
Community housing outreach via influentials and ordinary LGBT citizenry who offer temporary shelter seemed to have fallen as persons have become either weary of the repeated challenges, deep mistrust after negative outcomes post shelter offerings, lack of financial where-it-all for extended assistance, other reports of thievery and misuse of assistance given and the behaviour of the persons. The arson attack in Waterhouse in November also has left a serious damper on community housing assistance. I have assisted persons in my home with the spare room I have available but for lack of resources and other psycho social help in the process I like other influentials can only offer limited assistance. All this barring any community assisted counselling typed interventions or street based interventions from the respective agencies with embedded diligence building exercises. At the aforementioned town hall meeting a model used in New York of financially assisting persons and building capacity for those who are willing in the community to share living space was laid on the agenda, no response has come since.
There were two attempted suicides that came to light one involving a displaced gay man with serious family rejection issues in September and another with a same gender loving sister in April. The former has since been assisted by a concerned businessman and has received counselling and residential assistance while holding down a temporary job. The young lady in the meantime is still on the mend after having to relocate due to her circumstances surrounding her case.
As implied above the social justice issues are still not a priority with the urgent need for rehabilitation for the displaced and homeless not just a bed, it is clear to most concerned these days that it is only buggery or the review as suggested by the Prime Minister and the limelight it gives that is of interest. Homelessness does not command soundbites so it does not get the attention it requires and is only reacted to when the media carries a story albeit for the wrong reasons. We are told repeatedly there are no resources yet we see other activities carried out with great ease for e.g. the very security detail that the agency now has to use to ‘protect itself’ from the group it claims to speak on behalf of in a paradox that is just unexplainable. We are told that spaces cannot be found by JFLAG to set up their version of a pilot housing idea because of the population’s behavioural challenges but one wonders if the proper psycho social development activities or stabilization plans for the intended residents were ever included as a main reason in approaching the owners/managers of those spaces to prove or convince them that the behaviours will be dealt with or curtailed over time via well structured activities for the men, in other words no work for idle hands. One gets the feeling the shelter idea is to incarcerate and punish the men because of their ‘rowdy behaviours’ more so than to facilitate rehabilitation ironically a similar debate exists nationally as the housing of juveniles and vulnerable persons as Jamaicans for Justice and others bat for the proper responses to such populations.
The urgency that this issue requires does not seem clear to the group or the individuals involved, the shelter idea is set to be attempted again in January 2013, if a space can be found, one hopes they learn from the premature announcement of the previous space that was identified and not confirmed on paper. It turned out that the zoning laws, lack of insurance for fire and other matters were some of the reasons why the deal did not go through. With the limited funding windows available albeit for HIV prevention and not real social issues from the global fund many are concerned even for their own jobs overall in the national systems as well. Will the shelter materialise? That is yet to be seen and if and when it does it will be in a pilot project form only to close again after maybe three months as the roll over period to convince the funders to permanently fund it is unknown.
Even with the other so called stakeholders to include child rights agencies who sit on this committee to assist the homeless men it is all about HIV prevention more so than serious rehabilitation and personal development.
The transgender, bisexual and lesbian communities continue to be overlooked and not get the visibility and public outreach needed commensurate to the legal aspects of the struggle. “LGBT” are just convenient call letters to sound good in articles and interviews by agencies and supposed spokespersons but the real work on the ground by the advocates is yet to be seen. Given the five year strategic plan as outlined by JFLAG in November which includes their intention to be the proactive leader in the struggle the bi/trans/SGL female oversight and invisibility are disturbing, who will they lead ...just MSM? Will “Allsexual” in the acronym finally mean something in 2013?
The asylum assistance seems to be the only part of the activity that seems to be functional in a sense but then again one can apply for such without any direct assistance from groups like JFLAG. A record number of Jamaicans left our shores this year to take up asylum openings in other states, the numbers are preliminary but some nearly 100 persons left us based on estimates for the US, Canada and Holland. The crisis interventions seems limited as well as the excuse continues to be the funding available for financial assistance but with the seriousness of some cases and relocation costs for persons who have been forced to change addresses is a major factor, so serious is this issue that the former Office Administrator now reside in New York due to his own issues.
The media engagement continued via the letter writing campaign, the television and radio interviews as the discourse seemed to have improved in some respects, the matter of homelessness for example got ample coverage with all the positive variables involved including the tolerant positions of the police, the member of parliament and others we thought we could have capitalised on these once problem areas impeding the struggle and the community’s development. As indicated above the ethical footing of the struggle seems shaky at the least, half truths in some areas of crisis communication is a major challenge that must be addressed, the accusations of intellectual gymnastics against certain personalities casts a cloud over the struggle with the anti gay establishment aspiring dishonesty on the “gay agenda” but such gymnastics also seem to be coming from corners or the anti gay groups themselves as well hence the continued standoff as both sides hold strain. With the added challenges to the conversations being atheism the religious right now say an anti Christ or secularist agenda is now mixed with homosexuality’s normalization is now at hand hence their stepped up campaigns to block any such actions as theocratic as it maybe. The perception of a world view that nothing is wrong and it just life is the belief some theologians say they are fighting.
The stop murder music campaign continues with a life of its own as Sizzla and Beenieman featured mostly in the year with events where both artists were involved were picketed and successfully cancelled in some respects. Sizzla seemed to have retaliated in December after a so called olive branch was offered by JFLAG to reformed murder music acts, earlier in the year his concert in Europe was cancelled after gay groups there were successful in convincing the promoters to do so based on the hate lyrics the artists still stand by although himself and others claim not to perform them. His STING 2012 Boxing Day performance in Jamaica proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is no reformed act. Beenieman’s half hearted apology which turned out to be a fake as he was made to do in order to gain a performance contract in Amsterdam, it turns out that persons like myself were not fooled and the proof of his dishonest posture came on television Jamaica’s Entertainment Prime program where the artists himself said he did not apologise to the gay community for the songs he did. So we were duped it seems.
The overseas groups have been active with some help from advocates on the ground targeting known hate music vocalists despite the cry of aged materials and their non-performance of them by the artists themselves or their managers, while the earnings of the artists dwindle due to pressure from the LGBT lobby and the poor economic times the songs remain on platforms that earn royalties for them none the less despite their non performance of them. A report in 2008 for example that ITunes had removed such artist’s material was conciliatory then but recent checks prove some of the materials are still available on compilations and in the bootleg market the cheap $100 mixed CDS reflect the songs still have a life and interest from the public.
Uncertainty exists also in the coming months as to the availability of funds for some activities including HIV prevention work as the Global Fund round is set to end by March or so.
The University of Technology incident in November involving the alleged gay student seen in a compromising (non penetrative) position and the subsequent videotaping of the response from the student population showed the world the reality of the homophobia that can easily translate itself into violence, the case has received international attention and the two guards involved were relieved of their jobs and charged by the police, however when the case came for mention in the courts the complainant did not show (which is understandable) the next mention date is in February 2013. The discourse however as to the perceived tolerance by virtue of one’s socio-economic class could easily be described as fickle continues as many observers express that the response from the student body was most inappropriate.
LGBTQIQ2S Family Life
With all the discussion of gay marriage internationally, adoptions and coming out in 2012 many Jamaicans took the plunge locally and abroad in tying the knot although locally no state recognition would come to such unions. Who can forget that lesbian wedding at a popular resort that made news? I was asked to witness or intervene four such unions this year from finding or suggesting venues to getting the pastor or official to carry out the ceremony. Many Jamaicans who had US and Canadian citizenship or visas took the trip to those states that opened the door for same to happen. New York seemed to be the preferred state of choice for locals to do so as that state allow gay marriage rights and benefits. Other reunited with children and or lovers from previous relationships via asylum or immigration processes, one such case was highlighted in a documentary filmed in Canada on asylees there which included a lesbian who I had assisted during my time at JFLAG and her settling in her new home. One very emotional reunification case was also highlighted in an ad that was run earlier in 2012 for a specific immigration law firm.
The part of LGBT life that survives no matter the day or hour, as entertainment assists greatly via cathartic release for us and a chance to live parts of our truth, several new entities joined the fray with disc jocks as well, I celebrated 16 years in the business but with the economic slump making a major impact in the availability of disposable incomes for many frugality was and still is the name of the game despite many entertainment offerings. The advent of new DJs as well has more musical offerings available. Promoters also have been feeling the economic pinch hence changes to how parties are planned and executed with most times the old system of one DJ spinning for an entire event making a comeback so as to save on costs but leaving the jocks tired and beat. Persons choose carefully where they go for parties or liming these days. The club scene saw changes yet again following the successful rebirth of Heavens in North Western Jamaica in February only to see it make the news for the wrong reason that being alleged lotto scamming in a most public raid by the police. Other negative news in March came as a party was infiltrated by men posing as guests and launching an attack thereafter realising it was a gay event which made many party-goers sceptical about attending events especially from not so popular promoters.
My last conversation with the present managers suggests uncertainty as to if and when the club will reopen. Elsewhere the lesbian community in Kingston now has a space to let their hair down but the fighting phenomenon that existed in the early days of events in the nineties in predominantly MSM attended events now seem to be repeating itself as the regularity of disruptions have been coming fast and furious.
A younger more astute audience is now out and about and mainstream offerings have been sleekly tailoring their events to cater to the more affluent homosexual. Fashion themed activity, raves and related concerts also have been steadily on the rise as the recognition of the pink dollar, the discriminating tastes of LGBT people and the rise in tertiary level middle class numbers has not gone unnoticed by planners who constantly scope out their demographics.
Parties for the year could easily go between the Grammy Awards after party, Club Heavens the Rebirth, Romain's Birthday Bash, Sin City's Anniversary event, Cockiness Part II, Fushia’s New Year’s Eve event and or Santas List by the Sankofa team. There were some flops in the year as well with the last one seeing a brawl bringing it to an end on December 28 where factions clashed over a long-standing feud, testament to the careful selections made by party goers these days also the possible poor planning of some events by newcomers on the circuit given the aforementioned shrinking disposable incomes, security concerns and behavioural challenges.
Other national and legal issues
Cabinet confirmed in November an already hinted to delay in looking at the suggested buggery review by the PNP administration, the hint came in the form of first time member of parliament Damion Crawford who in February in a television interview and subsequent newscast dismissing the urgency of the review as not essential he made satirical remarks at a function where he gave a speech side-lining possible gay MPs on both sides being afraid to come out of the closet. While coming out may not be an option on that strength he said that no member of parliament would side readily with repealing the buggery law. It came as no surprise to some when Minister of Information Sandrea Falconer in a post Cabinet press briefing made the delay announcement.
Other members of parliament hinted if ever so clandestinely how they felt about the suggestion such as Daryl Vaz former information spokesperson for the opposition made it clear where he stood, first time MP and Union man Lambert Brown held on to an old viewpoint he has been carrying for years that homosexuality is being snuck in through the back door, he first made that comment after the prison riots due to the suggestion of condom distribution there although they are considered contraband. Minister of Health Fenton Ferguson while not speaking directly to the repeal of buggery tip toed as to his support of the buggery review in a speech he gave on Word AIDS Day whilst outlining some of the figures for rates of infection and tying the reason for the repeal to the HIV prevention methodology for respective populations.
Buggery cases involving a homo-paedophilic slant seemed to be on the rise in the year which affected the thrust for the review and or repeal of the law, the necessary psychiatric evaluation for accused persons are still missing although the sex offenders’ registry legislation has been passed which would among other things list persons who are convicted for such crimes. Child rights activists such as Betty Ann Blaine continue to misconstrue the call for the repeal of the buggery law as opening the flood gates for abuse of children.
The conundrum that exists with the image of consenting same sex attracted adults wanting to live their truths versus the same sex predatory behaviour of adults as paedophiles despite their heterosexual orientation needs to be addressed with the assistance by the experts. The paedophile who abuses his same sex victim does not necessarily suggest his orientation to be a homosexual a fact that has been repeated by experienced persons in the field.
Another challenge to the buggery law came from an action taken by former JFLAG Program’s Manager Gareth Henry who resides in Canada via a UK based group, this is although a separate challenge already came from the ICAHR the year before which we are yet to hear more on. The team behind the first challenge allegedly only heard of this second move via the media after a series of presentations in the UK, a subsequent BBC interview with Mr Henry also raised some issues regarding the efficacy of so called homophobic murders locally again raising the strength or lack thereof in the crisis communication strategy over the years as Brian Williamson’s murder was referred to by Mr Henry. Many surmise his death was not a homophobic killing as his assailants were known to him.
Calls for the buggery review came fast and furious post the December 2011 election results and the eagerly lapped up review suggestion by then opposition leader now Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, sympathizers and so called more tolerant commentators have been speaking out on the issue repeatedly and possibly equally comes the opposition on the religious platform as well. Tolerance however seems to have been misinterpreted as acceptance with the repeated push for such probably by the wrong voices, the heterosexual supporters ought to be the ones espousing this essential virtue and not persons who wish to control the narrative for their possible own narcissistic agenda, an advertisement yet again was produced with Yvonne McCallah Sobers of Families Against Stated Terrorism, FAST as one of the actors therein but it never flew with the television stations and as such a lawsuit has been filed against both television stations despite the production value is much to be desired as well, the previous ads were the learning curve for us but we did not take into account those experiences it seems in the zeal to push for rights as is interpreted elsewhere as foisting homosexuality on the nation. The unsolicited advice from an executive of CARIMAC, The Caribbean Institute of Media and Communications as to how NGOs can tailor their message and how to approach television was not taken up and adopted in the media strategy by the conceptualizers of the ad.
The Time Magazine award for the Prime Minister for supposedly securing gay rights in Jamaica at the time and seen as a promise to review the buggery law was praised at first by most of the lobby however after the delay news and the silence of her on the issue many are now cynical as I was from the beginning it was nothing more than pandering to the community in the midst of the malaise that was tiresome political issues being the previous administration problems and the IMF/wage challenges hence the snap election call by the JLP.
The education ministry led by the Reverend Ronnie Thwaites overlooked an important missing piece in the education of generations of Jamaicans all because of a failure to recognise the need for sex and sexuality to be properly introduced in schools instead he pandered to the religious right after the release of the Home and Family Life Manual for specially trained teachers and counsellors Instead ulterior motives were said to be the reason for the manual based on the guided imagery questions on anal sex, homosexuality and HIV/AIDS. Scapegoats were found to supposedly punish the persons responsible and looking good to those who were complaining. It is due to the many years of missing instruction on sex and sexuality for generations I say why we have the homo-negativity and homophobia for all this time from our national lack of understanding of difference and the conflation with lifestyle versus orientation issues.
Blogging continued into the fourth year
With 2012 being my fourth full year of blogging some reports have come to hand via the stats for readership for example the Wordpress people sent me a report via email revealing some interesting numbers for the GLBTQJA edition there. In 2012, there were 67 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1,055 posts. There were 81 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 8 MB. That's about 2 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was November 11th with 211 views. The most popular post is International Day of Transgender Remembrance . The blog had 38,000+ views for the year which is a decent number given the platform although my blogger blogs have far more traffic albeit the types of ways to direct traffic to them. GLBTQJA the blogger edition was opened on November 28th to carry more items and free Gay Jamaica Watch to become an archive blog with relevant new posts added. Readership remained stable for Gay Jamaica Watch with The Urgent Need to discuss sex & Sexuality locally is the most read post for 2012 with the HFLE matter a close second, the most read post of all time is The World Map of Penis Sizes made from May 2011 with over 20,000 hits for the year alone showing that older entries still have a life of their own. Homelessness posts also have a growing steady readership as interest in the issues increase. The double murder issue for example that occurred in June had 18000+ hits.
GLBTQ Jamaica on blogger also saw steady traffic numbers similar to last year with an old 2010 post on Intersexuality still the leading post of all time while the 2012 post that made it to the top is a Trans Patholization entry while two of the most read local stories was the Lesbians in Schools matter by Dr Heather Little-White and the under reported violence of lesbians each capturing over ten thousand hits.
Your donations via paypal also were on the up and up despite the economic challenges worldwide with assistance coming mostly for the homeless MSM challenges I have been responding to when I can. You gifts are greatly appreciated and do continue to support me and my allies in this respect. Thanks again and please continue with your support.
Podcasts were added in increasing numbers as per requests but the clicks seem to have dwindled via the soundcloud platform hosting but on blog radio the numbers still remain impressive and thanks again for all your support.
As we grieve the loss of the many persons and friends who were taken from us especially the stalwarts and contemplate how are we going to overcome the challenges that presented themselves in 2012 let us hope and work towards making 2013 a more honest, successful and less violent year and embrace true tolerance while not only expecting it from others but reach out more and respond to the least amongst us far more pro-actively and genuinely. Honesty and integrity seems outside of how business is done in the struggle.
In 2013 I hope to continue to assist where possible those amongst us who need assistance and covering the issues that require exposure and objective honest analysis and your support will be welcomed as we seek to strike a balance on the struggle. Truth is the ultimate weapon in the war. The LGBT leadership is a reflection of the follower-ship and vice versa if we are to grow the missing vigilance and objective approaches need to be improved.
More in an upcoming podcast.
Peace and tolerance