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

Monday, May 13, 2013

Community based crisis sheltering is still an option for the displaced

Jamaicans have a funny way of being resilient in many respects and as the hardships hit us generally speaking via tax rises, murky job market, a trimmed budget, fiscal cliffs and wage freezes we find ways to survive despite politically messy systems, corrupt leaders, bankrupt politicians on all sides who are more interested in feathering their own nests and holding on to power than doing what is just and right by and for the people, inadvertently microcosms of the society seem to have imported the bankruptcy of ideas named the LGBT group, the thirst for power, manipulation of systems for personal gains more than to serve the representative groups who are to be serviced and defended when required for the overall improvement of the quality of life of said individuals and indeed groups.

The LGBT community (if there is a cohesive one) is no exception and in a follow up to a most interesting thread on two Facebook pages I am apart of on in essence corporate social responsibility from LGBTQ party promoters who are accused of being greedy and more interested in profits, aloof to the issues that abound on the ground with the least amongst us and poor entertainment offerings. As scrutiny of the systems, social spheres and advocacy seems to be rising as it does every now and again questions are being asked and resolves are being arrived at as a benchmark for support of some party promoters’ events is whether they are interested in donating genuinely or supporting some sort of advocacy/welfare related matter that have become far more visible in recent times. Homelessness again takes center stage and as the news of the eviction of the two main agencies namely JFLAG and JASL make the rounds with some persons just catching up to the reality persons are asking what do these agencies represent for them to have reached this stage? Pity it had to take such a long time and an embarrassing situation as the very homelessness of the agencies themselves to raise concerns when the scrutiny should have always been there to cause proper leadership with results.

Tongues have been wagging but while that is happening many more young gay and bisexual men are finding themselves teetering on homelessness for varying reasons, several unconfirmed reports suggest more and more persons are finding themselves exposed on the frontline with no support systems apart from the few that benefit from the very limited feeding program offered devoid of the properly structured psycho social interventions to compliment the street based interventions since the shelter residency is not a reality. Despite the deep mistrust in assisted living at the community level with some well publicised incidents of pilferage, high visibility of the problematic New Kingston homeless men via the press, the perception that the men are irredeemable of the anti-social behaviours they are accused of, tabloid press stories of issues and noted embarrassing scenarios on the social scenes there are some who still have faith and the belief in assisting those who need it and can be trusted to benefit from such assistance. I can understand clearly the need for the hesitation in opening ones home to sometimes a stranger despite their plight at the time, the costs also that one has to absorb is a major concern these days with the two hundred percent rise in property taxes, electricity fuel charge climb and other new taxes imposed on us that spending dollar is shrinking and affording shelter to another who is not working especially is a serious decision and when that help can only be for a short time to avoid the consequences that can follow. I have stopped assisting persons for now as it is too expensive to do so seeing I am on a limited income but would love to help. The advocacy systems do not over financed community assisted living programs as well which shows the lack of forward thinking in creating programs that respond to the immediate service needs of a growing homeless MSM cohort. To add insult to injury I suggested such a concept at a recent town hall meeting that JFLAG hosted prior to their eviction in November 2012 and they seemed repulsed by the idea even on the face of a promised shelter that never came to fruition.

I received a message on Facebook from an individual not on the friend’s list who wanted to know what to do in assisting someone who is displaced in their homes, this is not an unusual request but in this case what was different was the variables that were involved, what was to have a been a commercial sexual transaction ended up in a deep conversation between the “client” and the “buyer” a solution was being contemplated if only for a short period. In furtherance the gentleman wanted to continue some sort of remote assistance but being not used to engaging this section of the population and hearing of the other persons who extended such assistance getting burnt he is treading most carefully and rightfully so. I am hopeful once again that all is not lost and the classism that so pervades our society and even seems more so pronounced in the LGBT population though real has some exceptions. I do not suspect ulterior motives hidden in the gentleman’s intentions as that too are also an issue via this kind of community based crisis intervention method; I had warned of this in a podcast/audio post on a question on would listeners assist someone who was displaced?

I had hoped that by now we would have had an improved residency program following the launch of the only full residency concept idea for transitional rehabilitation for LGBT persons who are displaced or homeless but was summarily closed by the JASL board in 2009, funny they are now on the hunt for office space while the populations are nomads. The lack of forward thinking frankly visionless leadership is what has landed us in this mess over the years and to think MSM displacement and homelessness pre-dates any agitation for LGBT rights or homosexual tolerance over the past thirty plus years. With a population of displaced persons growing and it seems the only time they get help is when they become material for the homophobic public relations narratives after the fact when they are beaten or chopped up.

Even with multiple solutions sitting on the paper they were recorded on for this group of MSM and the other HIV prevention related matters (yet we have a 34% infection rate) many of the homeless men are also HIV positive and with limited service delivery now since JASL’s temporary closure the health of some of the men lie in the balance, also what is even more disturbing is the code of silence on their closure that not even in the press has no mention of their closure (JASL & JFLAG) made known. Instead foreign matters take centre stage, namely the UNIBAM trial in Belize, who could care less about our own down trodden?

The gentleman in question has expressed some concern for the numbers of men on the streets and why are they not getting the correct tailored response to the prevailing issue which I agree is a powder cake, concerns are also being raised by some frontline persons that the men are now relocating to other parts of town nearing other residencies that may cause a backlash unlike what occurred in New Kingston where the residents and business district populations were up in arms were very passive and did not resort to a more violent resistance. There are other community influentials who have been trying despite the difficulties and challenges with both finances and the behaviour of the men themselves but a more formal solution is long overdue with so many MSM who have fallen through the cracks over the life of the agencies. Temporary housing is one thing but the requisite counselling for both the client and the shelter provider is critical to navigate their co-existence over the period but as was said above the forward thinking is just not there despite more funding available to the agencies and an increase in the staff compliment with separation of roles and responsibilities. Those of us older in years and experience who in part or in full were apart of the various branches of the systems were and are expecting far more in both results and in leadership but what have we to show for it? Hardly any serious movement on anything if one were to just take a cursory look, not building on what has worked, poor judgement on programs or the lack thereof to respond to the ever widening challenges.

While we hail the interest by this gentleman some tuff decisions have been made by others who have opened their doors as well to discontinue the arrangement due to the mostly behavioural issues of the temporary resident. If not a managed street based initiative, controlled and monitored community based assisted living response or a full on transitional living and or transitional independent living housing all will happen it was has obtained over the past five or more decades with MSM forced evictions. God knows the umpteen incidents with the men too numerous to mention in this post as all kinds of crap happen.

I thought prevention was better than cure in just avoiding fallouts or even allowing self-made mistakes to overtake or impede activities but apparently not as the decision makers dither on the proper responses to MSM homelessness and displacement, now here we are wondering. For those who feel so moved we should continue to help where we can it is in the true caring spirit we should act.

Think on these things

Peace and tolerance



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.