|Jamaica's Flag stained with the blood of Gay victims|
JAMAICA: Country Conditions
Jamaican law contains specific prohibitions on certain sexual activities. These prohibitions have been used to target LGBT individuals. The law prohibits “acts of gross indecency” (generally interpreted as any kind of physical intimacy) between persons of the same sex, in public or in private, which are punishable by up to 10 years in prison. There is also a “buggery” law that prohibits consensual same-sex sexual conduct between men, but it is not widely enforced. Homophobia is widespread in the country and through the songs and the behavior of some musicians, the country’s dancehall culture helps perpetuate homophobia. Government officials, religious leaders and news media have been known to make derogatory comments toward the LGBT community, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is widespread.
The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG) continues to report serious human rights abuses, including assault with deadly weapons, “corrective rape” of women accused of being lesbians, arbitrary detention, mob attacks, stabbings, setting on fire, harassment of LGBT patients by hospital and prison staff, and targeted shootings of such persons. Police often do not investigate such incidents. During one year J-FLAG, received 68 reports of sexually motivated harassment or abuse, which included 53 cases of attempted or actual assault, including at least two killings, and 15 reports of displacements. J-FLAG data shows that young people, ages 18 to 29, continue to bear the brunt of violence based on sexual orientation. This violence creates a climate of fear that prompts many LGBT persons to emigrate, while the “gross indecency” laws mean those who remain are vulnerable to extortion from neighbors who threaten to report them to the police as part of blackmailing schemes.
In 2004 Human Rights Watch published a report about the treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS and the situation for LGBT people in Jamaica, “Hated to Death: Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic.” The report, which documented a grim landscape of human rights abuses against LGBT people, was undertaken at the behest of local Jamaican advocacy organizations.
Since the Human Rights Watch report, attacks on homosexual people or people perceived as being homosexual or transgender appear to have remained commonplace. For instance, Jamaican gay activist Brian Williamson, 59, was murdered in the same year (2004) and at least 30 gay men are reported to have been murdered in Jamaica since 1997.
In April 2007, a cross-dresser was set upon and severely beaten by an anti-gay mob in Falmouth’s Water Square, Jamaica.
On September 9, 2009 John Terry, a British diplomat was murdered in gay hate attack at his home in Montego Bay, Jamaica. His body was found by his gardener, with a handwritten note on his body describing him as a 'batty man', local slang for a homosexual.
In December 2010, the body of a reported cross dresser was found with stab wounds in St Andrew. However, the murder remains unsolved. The local gay advocacy group in Jamaica, Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) reported more than fifty (50) men and women who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual have faced various human rights violations between January and June 2011. Since January 2011, fifty-one incidents, including mob attacks, physical abuse, home evictions, and discrimination were reported with forty-seven of these meted out to males. Similar to national statistics on crime and violence, young people, 18 to 29 years, continue to be the main victims of violence based on sexual orientation. Young people made more than 30 of the 51 reports.
The Jamaican media reported two homophobic incidents in June 2012 in which violence was threatened or used to injure innocent civilians, simply because they were suspected of being homosexual. On June 21, in Jones Town, Kingston, the police had to intervene as an angry crowd gathered in front of a house where five homosexuals were staying as reported on CVMTV News (3:15-5:35 of the footage).
Within the same month, members of the LGBT community reported to J-FLAG that eight gay men have been murdered within the last three months, bringing to the fore the reality that despite progress towards greater tolerance, the LGBT community continues to be at great risk of violence. Among the most recent attacks against the gay community was the savage killing of two young men.
A gay student from the University of Technology was mobbed and beaten by security guards on campus in November 2012. On January 23, 2013 a homeless gay youth was set ablaze in sleep and left to burn by six unknown assailants.
The recent increase in mob violence and attacks against homosexuals living in Jamaica, has unearthed great fears of being mobbed and murdered by foreigners seeking to visit Jamaica for vacation, especially those who identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, as well as their family members, friends and children.
The assurance and safety of visitors in Jamaica, during the midst of a customary violent mob culture is profoundly uncertain and dangerous.
Since the brutal murder of Dwayne Jones, 16-year-old transgender woman on July 22, 2013, a mob called for the head of an alleged gay constable on July 31st in Kingston. On August 1st, two homosexual men were mobbed and wounded in St Catherine. On the 10th of August police rescued a transgendered woman after a mob gave chased in Portmore. On August 22, 2013, five gay men were trapped and barricaded by an angry mob in Green Gully Manchester. On August 23, 2013, two men were trapped by a homophobic mob for ‘appearing ‘gay. And on August 27, 2013, 41-year-old gay man was murdered and burnt by unknown assailants. Dean Moriah was stabbed several times before the house was set on fire with him inside.
Coupled with Jamaica’s gross intolerance of homosexuals, anti-gay laws and lynching homophobic mob culture gay and heterosexual tourists (foreigners) are not safe in Jamaica. Help us stand for human rights, Justice and dignity for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jamaicans.
NB: The summery of incidents and attacks on gays living in Jamaica, does not include unreported cases/incidents.
 U.S.A Department of State. June 21, 2013. Travel Advisory to Jamaica: Special Concerns for LGBT Travelers http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1147.html
 Hated to Death: Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic. 2004. Report http://www.hrw.org/reports/2004/11/15/hated-death-0
 A bashing in Jamaica. 2007. http://www.republicoft.com/2007/04/30/a-bashing-in-jamaica/
 British diplomat murdered in ‘gay hate attack’ at his Jamaica home.2009. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1212528/John-Terry-British-honourary-consul-murdered-Jamaica.html
 J-FLAG Calls for investigation into Cross Dresser’s Death.2010. http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=24735
 Homophobic Violence on the increase in Jamaica.2011. http://www.jflag.org/2011/07/homophobic-violence-on-the-increase-in-jamaica/
 Gays saddened by resent muders.2012. Press Release http://www.jflag.org/2012/06/gays-saddened-by-recent-murders-call-on-prime-minister-to-act/
 Caught on tape! Utech Security Guards Beat Alleged Gay Student.2012. http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=40911
 Jamaican transgender teen murdered. 2013.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2389284/Dwayne-Jones-16-year-old-transgender-teen-latest-die-Jamaican-mob-violence-LGBT-community.html
 Two Homosexual men attacked and mobbed in Jamaica.2013. http://www.minority-insight.org/2013/08/two-homosexual-men-attacked-and-mobbed.html
 Another cross-dresser attacked by an anti-gay mob.2013. http://www.minority-insight.org/2013/08/another-jamaican-cross-dresser-attacked.html
 5 Gay Men Were Trapped And Barricaded By An Angry MOB.2013. http://www.minority-insight.org/2013/08/5-gay-men-were-trapped-barricaded-by.html
 2 men trapped by mob in Jamaica for appearing gayhttp://www.queerty.com/watch-2-men-trapped-by-mob-in-jamaica-for-appearing-gay-20130829/
 41-year-old Gay Man Was Murdered and Burnt By Unknown Assailants In Jamaica.2013. http://www.minority-insight.org/2013/08/41-year-old-gay-man-was-murdered-and.html