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

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

‘Who’s the Man?’: Heteronormativity and Queer Relationships

Originally published on Everyday Feminism and re-published here with their permission


Source: Jeff Shore

People in queer relationships are often subjected to a barrage of ignorance from the straight community.

Whether it be invasive sexual questions or unwanted criticism, nothing seems to be off limits to the innocently inquisitive straight.

Inevitably, one of the more repetitive and annoying debates will be the age-old question “Who is the man and who is the woman?”

Ah yes, because as queer-identified people, the first thing we want you to do is shoehorn normative gender roles into our relationship!

See, the straight community just can’t fathom a bond that could function outside of heteronormativity.
‘Straightening Out’ Queer Relationships with Gender Roles

More people are accepting gay relationships (and I say gay relationships because by and large, despite great strides, the mainstream’s knowledge of queerness is rudimentary at best), but at the end of the day, desire is still largely understood as masculine/feminine.

While your object choice might be easy enough to grasp, the idea that you could have a viable relationship without the balance of gender roles can be disconcerting.

Now, I don’t mean to belittle the validity of anyone’s gender expression.

If you’re traditionally masculine or feminine, it doesn’t mean you’re a stereotype or “bad” queer representation.

Admittedly, I first came to terms with my own queerness through the lens of gender roles.

As a feminine woman, I reassured myself that it was acceptable for me to also like girls – having presumed myself straight beforehand – because my first queer crush happened to be on an androgynous woman.

I reasoned that my understanding of my sexuality and my femininity was not threatened because I was still attracted to masculinity.

Of course, I soon realized that this line of thought was frivolous. I had internalized the superiority of the masculine/feminine binary as a means of smoothing out the social realities of queerness.

I had measured the authenticity of my own sexuality by how legible I thought it would be to the straight community, which brings us back to why straight people feel so compelled and entitled to hold us to that same standard.
The Toxicity of ‘Natural’ Gender Role Supremacy

Being in the majority leads some people to falsely assume that they have an inherent right not only to interrogate those who are marginalized, but to judge everything by comparing it to their own worldview.

When straight people ask queer people to “straighten out” their relationship via assigning normative gender roles, they’re essentially prompting you to prove the validity of yourconnection by making it recognizable to them.

The implication is that you and your partner(s) should be striving to emulate straight dyads.

This supposedly innocuous logic quickly snowballs.

If queer relationships are an oddball subset of gendered social normativity, suddenly we’re all reproducing the gender binary and (in the minds of straights) subconscious straight supremacy.

After all, queer relationships are just an off kilter parody of heterosexuality, right?

Female/female couples seem to bear the brunt of such ignorance. Our cissexist, phallocentric society remains aghast at the idea that two women could possibly have a fulfilling relationship in the absence of a penis.

As a result, there is a particular urgency and fascination around discovering who really wears the pants.

Aside from being intrusive, these quests carry unfortunate subtext about gender expression and correlating personality traits, with masculinity being associated with dominance and femininity being associated with passivity.

The impulse to gender queer relationships has become so pervasive that many young queer people internalize the false masculine superiority complex as a means of making their queer identity visible.

In my experience, I’ve noticed that masculine-identified women have a tendency to be misogynistic and objectifying in their interactions with feminine women.

Why is it that you have to degrade femininity to assert your confidence in your own masculinity?

I don’t intend to generalize. Obviously gender expression varies person to person and I don’t mean to imply that masculine tendencies inherently make you misogynistic.

However, you can express your gender without replicating all the problematic baggage that came along with it in its traditional form.
Don’t Let Gender Roles Dictate Your Identity

Here’s the awesome thing about being queer: We don’t have to imitate straightness because by definition, we exist to oppose and critique it.

It’s the salad bar of gender and sexual expression. Mix it up with whatever you want! Or don’t.

The point is that you shouldn’t have to worry about checking boxes to please a group that isn’t even part of your own community.

And to the straights who ask who’s the man and who’s the woman: Believe it or not, it’s none of your business! Maybe they’re both men. Maybe they’re both women. Maybe they’re neither. If it’s not your relationship, it’s not your problem.

The heteronormative appropriation of queer culture needs to stop. No, we’re not modeling our identities and our relationships after yours. Stop trying to flatter yourselves by trying to convince us that we are.

Again, casting queer relationships in a heteronormative light is an assault to their authenticity. You don’t need rigidly enforced gender roles to build a real connection.

Not to mention that this ideology marginalizes vast subsets of identity. What if you’re a femme who likes femmes? A butch who likes butches? What about agender/genderfluid individuals? Where do they fit in?

Internalizing the expectation for a gender dichotomy within your partnerships might also be subconsciously limiting your own sexual expression.

When I was first coming to terms with my identity, I only “allowed” myself to like girls if they were masculine.

I refused to consider more feminine girls, despite the fact that I was occasionally attracted to them, because they symbolized the point at which I would no longer be able to understand my sexuality within the constraints of the heteronormative belief system that I had grown up with.

Who knows what kind of relationships I missed out on because of that fear of illegitimacy?
Embrace and Respect Queer Agency

Don’t hold yourself to mainstream expectations. No queer identity is wrong. Queerness can always be in flux.

No one else but you can sculpt your identity and your relationships. They’re yours.

Additionally, straight people often use their fascination with queer gender roles to deflect from their obsession with queer sex.

Our society is so saturated with heterosexuality to the extent that people can’t imagine how sexual pleasure could possibly exist outside of the traditional penis/vagina geometry.

This perspective is obviously problematic for a number of reasons. First, asexuals are completely excluded from consideration in the assumption that people in relationships have to be having sex. Romantic orientation isn’t always indicative of sexual orientation.

Second, using someone’s adherence to gender roles or lack thereof to try and determine what they do between the sheets is laughable. Since when does gender expression translate automatically to specific sexual preferences?

The implication is that masculinity is dominant while femininity is submissive, but that isn’t always the case. Would you assume every heterosexual couple acts the exact same way in bed together based solely on their gender?

Also, not all heterosexual couples are going to have a penis and vagina, so their sex lives might be different from the sex lives of those who do.

Above all, asking about anyone’s sex life without their permission is just rude and creepy. We’re not here for your titillation, so please don’t contribute to already rampant queer fetishization.


Rather than investigating gender roles to arbitrarily rationalize someone else’s relationship, respect their rights as fellow human beings.

Instead of asking who’s the man and who’s the woman, ask yourself why that question matters to you in the first place.

Erin Tatum is a Contributing Writer at Everyday Feminism. She’s a feminist, queer theory lover, and television enthusiast living in Pennsylvania. She is particularly interested in examining the representation of marginalized identities in media. In addition to Everyday Feminism, she’s also a weekly contributor to Bitch Flicks. Follow her on Twitter @ErinTatum91 and read her articles here.


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.