The teen said at one point he responded to his father that if he did not see that he had a girlfriend and that she came by the house at times to which the elder would dismiss with a hmph and words to the effect “ ..... girlfriend nuh?” or girlfriend eh? Unbeknownst to the teen his immediate brother was actually set to monitor the youth’s movements and literally report to their father what he was about, so after school shenanigans or conversations and so on were watched and passed on, in one of the heated arguments the ostracised teen was surprised to learn that his father knew of a fight he was in at a bus stop one afternoon with another boy which surfaced in the cross talk several months after the fact which led him to suspect he was being informed on. While the young man’s mother was slightly more tolerant in a sense she too would warn him that if he was “battyman” he had to leave the house as she did not want that kind of nastiness around her.
Things came to a head however in September of 2013 when a male student who the teen was friendly with had met the ostracised teen first online then face to face and have been seeing each other for some time mostly away from the reporting brother but apparently other eyes were at work and word somehow got back to the brother, the teen had tried not to make this contact known to his younger informer sibling but the secret could not have been kept for long, the other party was said to be girly in a way and their meeting at a burger king store was told the father of the boy who confronted him of this other “battyboi” The ostracised teen’s neatness, order in his room and so called “prim and proper” ways were also made mention in the confrontation session where chastised the teen for being too “clean” implying that it is not a masculine trait for men to be so neat, the exchange grew in intensity according to the written report and a physical tussle ensued where the teen said he had to defend himself as his father lunged towards him with a frying pan to which he responded with the nearest thing he could find a large Jergens lotion bottle which he threw in retaliation, the matter continued where homo-negative curse words and warnings that if it was found out he was gay he would have to leave the house or change his ways in order to stay. Such are some the circumstances I have seen over the years which is sad for our young LGBTQ teens who have to exist under pain of some punishment be they psychological or physical abuse if not for some evidential reparative change.
Fast forward to March of this year where the straw that broke the camel’s back came in a fight between the teen and his prying brother to whom cordial relations had deteriorated in his bid to please his father while pressuring his bigger brother, the fight landed the ostracised teen facing an ultimatum among other things contained in the written report; since then he had reached out to other Facebook friends and so on prior to the forced eviction of sorts, he is able to return home at set times for clothing and so on in the absence of his father as his mother seems more sympathetic although she cannot speak to openly or outwardly. Such tense standoff can only last for a time and now he has found some community shelter assistance with an older influential thankfully and he has access to some finances from his mother who still gives the teen his pocket money not as often as before though when his father contributed to the amount.
This case is just one in a series of many that are sometimes hard to confirm but the reports are out there and the numbers of displaced youth climb all over the island, in my home parish of St Catherine there has been a spike in homo-negative cases and the numbers have gone up, just last month I was told of another matter where a male had to literally flee his home after some physical abuse, he is now with a friend for now; thank God for community shelter assistance I am all too aware of that informal avenue as my own shift way back in 1996 was interrupted and aided by such a phenomenon, good friends and caring people are hide to find but kindness matters out there despite the fallouts that can occur when such a helping hand is extended; my own drama in July of last year is picture proof where a young man I was offering assistance erred and I had to take strong action only after three days at my home and a strong sit down session explaining my expectations and house rules.
How else can the displaced youth be helped? When none state actors such as JFLAG, JAS do not want to directly addressed this longstanding matter yet they rejoice with a flowery promise by youth minister that homeless youth will be helped without questioning if the ministry will have as part of the response any reparative therapy interventions?
It has been clear for many years to some of us that corporatist typed NGOs who in public advocacy cry stigma and discrimination yet with all the clout they have simply refuse to do or implement the frontline response to homelessness. The Safe House Pilot 2009 is all the proof we need and the refusal way back in the day when the AIDS hospice became irrelevant given the changes in the cohort of infected persons’ suffering was greatly reduced as anti-retrovirals became more sophisticated hence persons living longer, it was repeatedly suggested by those in the know then that although the hospices were closing as they were also expensive to run; the displacement issues were also real then in the late nineties into 2000s yet all three spaces were subsequently closed; yet another easy way out was chosen instead of addressing the issue with some sort of residency response one of which was situated in the very area where the present homeless MSM/Transgender persons were at the shoemaker gully nearing the middle class Golden Triangle residency.
Is there really any interest in solving the homeless issues when everywhere else especially the US as of late under the President’s PEPFAR directive states are addressing their least populations. Something to think about.