Friday, May 17, 2013
I held on to this post until today International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, IDAHOT and also Children’s month to highlight another challenge and related social issue out there for LGBT people here in Jamaica. In a follow up discussion on LOVE 101FM’s Morning Watch hosted by theologian Reverend Clinton Chisholm dealt with the issue of supposed heterosexual spouses of homosexual partners known or unbeknownst to them on the strength of a letter to the Gleaner’s editors on May 13, 2013, the poll question of the day dealt with the issue as well and some of the answers were as expected espousing sheer ignorance and indifference:
“It should never even by thought of by anyone”
“There is no way to stop a person from being a gay, that’s not the church business”
“That only shows that they have no knowledge of the dark kingdom, being gay is caused by a spirit”
“The only treatment for sin is repentance”
“.......... Homosexuality cannot be cured by marriage it is a demonic force of darkness............”
“ ........... a scriptural biblical mockery ................”
“Marriage does not fix that behaviour it can worsen it .................... "
Guests on the show were (anti gay) Psychologist Dr Leachim Semaj (formerly known as Michael James) who seems not to follow the DSM’s guidelines on homosexuality, Dr Reverend Neil Walker – a Guyanese living in the states who also runs a reparative outfit, the letter writer a Jamaican living in Miami Florida nurse Mrs. Debbie Thomas Brown who also runs a faith based outreach and advocacy site South Florida Connect Inc for other wives or women who have found themselves in marriages or relationships with a down low man or vice versa.
The discussion for the most part seems level but what bothered me was there were no guests representing the MSM side of the equation but I shouldn’t be surprised supposed discourse like this tends to be one sided although the letter’s author made her position quite clear very early in the exchange which to be fair to her was respected as her tone did not come across as homophobic although she did hint to a possible cure without saying it in so many words, although she also used the word “orientation” as opposed to “lifestyle” as done by other anti gay voices.
“..................... my letter to the editor was to bring awareness .............. to open a dialogue that we never seem to have that we should have had a long time ago ................ people misunderstood what I was trying to say ............... as the men who are gay they seem to understand that they can do that to hide their orientation and to make themselves look stronger and appear more effective .......”
“....... because of our culture in Jamaica that treat homosexuals in a bad way ......”
She continued that the church is not paying attention to what has been happening and women are being hurt. Dr Semaj weighed that deception is the issue as persons use that reality to cover up their behaviour. He mentioned the married but just for the record bit as well that exists in social circles. He said persons deliberately or consciously set out to destroy another person’s life as persons present themselves as one entity he then made the disease connection where he said many wives were at risk at HIV/AIDS, I found that a bit problematic as it tacitly presents the disease as a homosexual one even after all these years although we must take into account the high rates of infection in the MSM population. My other concern was innate bisexuality was never brought up in the exchange even though the cross infection was hinted to.
What if the partner was innately bisexual but due to fear or recrimination did not or could not disclose his same gender attraction as well?
Would that be deception altogether on his part or the withholding of information with disastrous consequences? Many persons would fear that during courtship that might be the end of the formation of the union and other more far reaching consequences with family and social standing.
Dr Semaj continued that in the development of the relationship all the cards must be dealt face up, that is easy for him to say as a psychologist tell that to the man who has a decision to make knowing our own homophobia and indeed biphobia from within the gay community as well as they are also seen as disease carriers and misguided or confused, there are many other layers that this exchange never even came close to addressing. The denial or ambivalence upon learning the information was briefly examined where Dr Semaj juxtaposed the issue of incest as well where blame has to go somewhere in that case the child in a down low case however self blame or hate may set in and the feeling of competing with a man for another man or the acceptance or tolerance of another woman as the extra marital partner works to find out it is a man is too much in some case, it also raises self esteem concerns for the woman involved. “The purpose of the defence mechanism is to preserve ego, preserve the self ...... you have to put the blame somewhere else ...........” after a while the whole thing starts to crumble. He said women require a lot of work to put the blame where it really should be and move on to healing.
The other guest Rev Dr Walker spoke to his familiarity with the down low phenomenon in the United States as he runs an outfit that address such issues, the rift also between mega churches versus small churches where pastors are sometimes labelled as mumblers came through as he made the point that it is easier for a down low man to camouflage himself in larger populated congregations that his smaller outfit. After declaring his heterosexuality (with full support from Dr Semaj – “heterosexual body, mind & spirit” other guests laughing) as it were he continued on the point of his referral system where churches send him clients where he addresses the females who suffer from the fallout of the secret coming to light. He highlighted the emotional rollercoaster and the devastation the women feel. Reverend Chisholm brought the down low clergy ambit in the mix where Dr Walker again touched on the mega church versus small church issue and Bishop Eddie Long’s recent troubles, he lamented that pastors such as Bishop Long consider themselves superstars as they command mega churches and are immune to the issue of the down low phenomenon, he criticised Bishop Long saying he had an opportunity to come clean instead resorting to the infamous five stone comment he made in response to the allegations of inappropriate behaviour with male members.
Nurse Thomas Brown brought her own experience to bear with her near miss marriage to a down low man and her emotional turmoil that led to her research and formation of her advocacy group. She lamented that local churches have this issue and it is the place where other down low men come and use the covertness to meet and hide their relationship. She pointed out clearly that a gay man cannot recover from his homosexuality through marriage, “ .......... that will never happen through marriage ......” one thing was clear that she was not one of those guests as is customary to be spoon fed points in the thrust to drive the point home. She continued that it was a public health issue but the figures she quoted seem unverifiable as she said about 56,000 MSM may be here and of down low men 50% of them are in relationships with heterosexual women, she never provided her source for this data that flowed easily of her tongue.
She continued on the point of social pressure and the noveau intelligentsia who marry into a heterosexual set up to become accepted or regularise themselves although she seemed to have overlooked the commensurate side to this in that many single men are known to be gay and do exist unperturbed by open hostility at the upper socio economic levels it is when one starts to descend the ladder that the caustic responses sometimes translating itself via violence get more pronounced. The aesthetics was briefly examined as well where she rightfully looked at effeminacy, masculinity and profiling and that most down low men bear no discerning signs. “They can hide in a mega church, they can hide in any church because they look as macho and as masculine as the next straight guy, you cannot look at them and tell our women don’t understand that because Jamaican women are accustomed to them being effeminate ... and they are not like that.......you will never see it if that’s what you are looking for.” She then promoted her website.
Nurse Brown concluded that for women who find themselves in this situation that there is nothing wrong with them and that they should try to move on as best as possible, she said “......... you cannot change him, you did not make him gay, don’t listen to ignorant people who are gonna ask you, he married you so he must not have been gay when he married you? He was, he just did a very good job of hiding it from you and everyone else, so don’t blame yourself for your spouse being gay, it has nothing to do with you and don’t ever think that you can change him because yes you cannot compete with a man .........” she went on that heterosexual men also complain about having lesbian wives meeting them in church in some instances but are afraid to expose them. Dr Semaj brought up the threesome piece or ménage-a-trois which locally for all intents and purposes I dare say is very popular just go to any strip club and see open erotic lesbian themed entertainment.
Reality coming to the fore here has brought some sense to an exchange about homosexuality it seems only when it hits very close to home that theologians or anti gay voices have to face such reality, as for the deception aspect of this coming out open and honest is still a major issue across the board and in intimate relationships be they gay, bisexual or heterosexual couples, disclosure is also a major complaint I have heard a lot over the years. The matter of advocacy here in Jamaica not matured (only in age it seems) and sophisticated enough cannot be overlooked as my expectations for a fifteen year old agency would be to address if by a tight referral system issues such as this but again another possible outcome of poor leadership and program development crops up again.
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
VACANT AT LAST! SHOEMAKERGULLY: DISPLACED MSM/TRANS PERSONS WERE IS CLEARED DECEMBER 2014
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.
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
GLBTQJA (Blogger): 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?
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?
Newstalk 93FM's Issues On Fire: Polygamy Should Be Legalized In Jamaica 08.04.14
Also with recent public discourse on polyamorous relationships, threesomes (FAME FM Uncensored) and on social.
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Information, Disclaimer and more
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.
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.
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
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.
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.