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

Equality doesn’t mean justice

I didn’t know if I should have entitled this entry as a question, a definitive statement or a mere headline so I left it for the latter but it can be all three given the circumstances that now obtain, I was struck by the above split photo though showing the differences in how equality versus what is just and fair is depicted. The word “Equality” has been banded about so easily by LGBT groups and influentials I guess as a rub off from the North American agitation for such in the business of same sex marriage in a far more tolerant society and a justice system that provides room for seeking redress though itself is not perfect but when the state or another citizen runs afoul of the law remedies come and come sometimes swiftly (the Boston bombings case comes to mind). What is equality though in a rights based sense? Some may say marginalized groups getting the same treatment if not rights as privileged groups, the Collins Gem English Dictionary I have at home defines the word as “State of being equal, uniformity” but is this really real given our local context and the struggle for overall justice.

It struck me as the photo above was posted in the Jamaica for Justice Facebook page some time ago and some comments on it since has had me thinking for real. JFJ has given support to a recently launched online campaign by JFLAG entitled “We are Jamaicans” while it looked sleek and laudable on the face of it the populations that are really affected by the societal challenges and indifference were nowhere present in the close to twenty videos released thus far almost presenting a false sense of who are LGBT people and their allies really when the lower socio-economic groups get overlooked coincidentally with the homeless MSM challenges and the agency themselves becoming office-less via an eviction notice from their landlord related to the behavioural challenges from the same homeless over the years. Just a small percentage of the “community” feeling the impact of JFLAG’s work while the vast majority out there either do not trust, are unsure of their role and or are totally ignorant of the campaigns and objectives. Community engagement is still low save and except for remote sanitized outreach via Facebook the real forumatic activity is nonexistent and may be so for a time to come as they hunt for new office space.

Some questions come to mind:

Is it coincidental or sheer consequence that the agencies are made to become homeless themselves following the failure of nerves to directly address homelessness in key representative populations?

Is the eviction fiasco an attempt to start afresh so as to avoid addressing some key issues, a different location and geographical change connotes isolation and insulation from the problematic homeless populations?

Do you believe equality must also be an ideal to strive for within the LGBT community?
Was Jamaicans for Justice clandestinely sending a message to groups like JFLAG that their agitation is a mere peripheral attempt to seek LGBT rights in Jamaica or the decriminalization of buggery?

Is mere equality just a hairy fairy schism ideal just to play catch up with the heterosexual privilege?

Is it that due to the inability for one to live ones truth one is forced to be pretentious hence this practice to live in stealth has becoming engrained in the population’s psyche?
Why not go for the greater goal that of justice and true fairness?

What about the context of a marginalized group being wholesome within itself before it attempts to reach out to more privileged populations?

Do we have a hypocritical advocacy then in terms of asking for virtues that are not espoused generally by them or leading the populations to such espousing?
Why are we afraid to really be truthful in our scope and ideologies towards truth inclusivity, equality and justice for ALL?

Should persons at leadership of the agencies by held accountable for the recent evictions and failure to properly address the welfare issues?

And if after all the proper agitation devoid of the schisms and buggery is repealed, what is next?

Where is genuine openness and truth in the scheme of things?

Are you expecting any resignations given the recent developments?

When campaign decisions are planned are the general community issues taken into account and a plan B in case of a fallout?

My mind has been changing on this call for equality in Jamaica by the LGBT lobby not even a name change to an old campaign has convinced me thus before seeing this photo and now it has sped up my resolve, the ideal is indeed JUSTICE not just to be mere observers by the fence struggling to see over it on tippy toes as captioned in the little boy or the centre figure. The left partition of the photo suggest mere playing to the needs or hue and cries of aggrieved groups more so than the right partition showing ALL on an equal footing but also espousing the correctness of it where the crates are not mere rights handed out to silence a noisy penny section but rights privileges and freedoms on a truly equal footing to all concerned.

If on the onset the least amongst us are not viewed as equal then it should not be surprising that the corresponding programs, systems, strategies, public relations campaigns and so on will reflect those ideologies which explains why the only time in essence there is serious attention placed on any individual is when their lives are at risk via near death homophobic fallout and even that is troubling as after a while when they recover there is hardly any follow up. Overall then we can deduce that the one of the self made reasons why we seem stuck with very little gains made over the three decades plus is the oversight, dithering and ignoring of some key front-line issues that affect the representative populations chief among them homeless MSM, same gender loving women and transgender persons as the buggery law gets first priority. The fact that the present advocacies are male dominated is an issue as far as SGL women issues are concerned and the leaders in the groups are often way removed from the realities while getting close to them after the fact when the aggrieved makes a report. The threat levels as well for most concerned is minimal so there is a feeling of distance from the on the ground matters in a “that won’t ever happen to me” mindset or a tragic case of individualism. The “followers” as it were and apologists for the agencies also seem occasionally display the contempt and disregard for the lower socio-economic groups sans any reprimand or correction by the leadership or superstar advocates, just check the social media landscape on any given day and you see the indifference spewed whenever the subject matter is raised, the thrust is all about repealing or decriminalizing buggery, who cares about some dirty gay men under our the radar?

The agencies have and seem to be continuing to systematically ignore queer homeless as legal challenges, media presence and how agencies look from a public relations and programmatic standpoint are prioritised as more important much to their peril and to the greater community’s peril.

Our flawed advocacy has repeatedly failed to deliver on several fronts with the lack of principled centred leadership, reinforcing societal deficiencies, lack of proper planning and strategizing in community issues versus the national platform, poor timing and roll out of programs (or lack of relevant programs), warped ideologies both within the structures and outside of them in the LGBT populations itself on the backdrop of a national psyche that evokes separatism, classism and elitism. Anancyism is also a major problem in many respects many of us LGBT people have been forced over time to be circumspect or operating in stealth normalizing ourselves to fit the hetero-normative and hetero-patriarchal constructs and in so doing we adopt a deceptive way of living which seems to have crept into every other facet of our lives. Ideally one would have imagined an advocacy that would be far more open and indeed honest about many of the tiers of issues affecting us yet we tacitly support half truths, deceptive methods of toying with very important international support while advocates ingratiate themselves in spots and play on a gullible LGBT population in the name of speaking on or behalf.

And then we wonder why that after some thirty plus years of agitation between the two major groups that have been at the forefront of this be they Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG and its predecessor GFM, Gay Freedom Movement and we seem stuck in a groove hardly moving from where we were with more social welfare challenges than ever and a roofless JFLAG presently along with its parent Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, JASL? The escapists response is the usual rebuttal for scrutiny inclusive of historical references in abid to dismiss criticisms about the stewardship of the groups/individuals with strong support from the apologetics. Then how are we to ever achieve over freedom with this kind of mindset. NGOs these days in HIV/AIDS and LGBT agitation look and feel more like quasi-political bodies mimicking the political directorate’s indecisions and bereft of new objective thought along with bureaucratic committees, bi-laws and organizational systems that impede more than assist with service delivery, program development and rollout, funding accessibility, fiduciary responsibility, flawed ideological positions, poor and slow decision making and execution of same, non community based consensus, corporatism and elitism.

That could also possibly explain the now disturbing 34% rate of HIV infection in the MSM populations despite a robust and well funded national program of which the NGOs do part take via Global Fund. When the target groups for such programs are not seen as equals to those in the annals of power and influence. Leadership is all off here to me why we cannot build on what has been laid down over the three plus decades and we just merely settle for “Equality” as our main demand. The decriminalization of buggery is the penultimate goal in JFLAG’s mind as I see it having been in the system myself any other activities are obviously distractions or secondary in the scheme of things, case in point the homeless msm in New Kingston and the agency’s dithering on developing meaningful programs to address that massive problem that was allowed to get so.

True equality has to come from within the so called community as it now stands and how we treat with those who are the least amongst us at every level – socially and the NGOs that claim to stand for the representative groups yet barely address the concerns via the needed programs/objectives and if so it is usually for PR to deflect scrutiny on the face of it, inclusivity and true equity not just a piece meal approach for show to impress our foreign allies and funders to get continued assistance. It is interesting for example in the middle of a tolerance campaign in 2011 by JFLAG with help from AIDSFREEWORLD and JASL that JASL was already effecting a ban on homeless MSM from their offices due to the behaviour of a few yet no rehabilitation, engaging and behaviour change responses came from any of the aforementioned agencies and the public spat that played out left the editors of both major newspapers, the opposing religious right and the public the impression that the men were “abandoned” by the NGOs. 

Another disturbing perception on the ground is that persons who do come through the systems do so to their own advantage, a young MSM in his early twenties recently asked (paraphrasing) why are so many older gay activists seem so well off and or reside overseas and don’t seem to care about the other persons locally? It shows that there are some who are watching and wondering hence the mistrust as well and the apparent lack of engagement even refusal to make reports to the NGOs by those persons who have suffered at the hand of abuse. Far too many persons are becoming more aloof and cynical at the whole set up.

Where is the credibility therefore or the moral authority to launch sleek and flowery worded campaigns on such virtues as tolerance and equality (outside of a justice call) and on what ethical strengths can such campaigns seek to make any impact on a cynical society about male homosexuality. That cynicism is fuelled also by the poor crisis communication over the three plus decades as well or half truths on issue by some who seem to be on a narcisstic quest to win awards, pats on the back and praise at the expense of the rest of us while no real change is happening on the ground due to their farcical agitations. The rejected tolerance adverts even after the initial one based on an HIV/AIDS premise was more acceptable for example was the clearest case yet that proved to those within the LGBT populations who were observant and objective and the opposition in the religious right movement as well as secular anti gay voices that we have a serious class problem and related ideologies within. The use of an Italian Jamaican face who hardly resides here or is remotely affected by direct homophobia to try to soften same in Jamaica ended up reinforcing the already hardening positions towards homosexuality from the anti gay voices and that the agitation was foreign/uptown influenced support and that Jamaicans were being forced to accept a foreign lifestyle with the added ingredient of disbelief that homophobic violence is real, most persons on the face of it still believe the sometimes public gay related incidents are gay on gay related violent episodes. Here again the quality of leadership and the decisions at the campaign levels have to be questioned, were they not cognisant of the “not our culture” perception over all these years and why are they still reaching for campaigns devoid of the new realities being taken into considerations.

Despite the fact that our motto says Out of Many, One People

The point is therefore that if we expect to gain such virtuous goals and ideals as tolerance (in the purest sense of the word), inclusivity and justice to include equality then the change MUST begin within the populations, systematically and at the leadership levels. Fiduciary responsibility these days at the leadership and influential levels is much to be desired just the recent evictions of JFLAG and JASL has brought his front and centre or at least it ought to but the code of silence (anancyism) has set in and then we expect laws to be changed to suit us, a society to suddenly accept homosexuality, HIV/AIDS infection rates to go down and the other problems to suddenly disappear? Lofty mid range objective in a restructured JFLAG for that matter as mere equality in not enough as equality is part and parcel of a greater whole that of JUSTICE. I am surely expecting far more sophistication and a total paradigm shift on advocacy overall, the “community”

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.