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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Decade Of Hate And Homophobia In Jamaica: Country Conditions

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.[1]

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.”[2] 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.[3]

In April 2007, a cross-dresser was set upon and severely beaten by an anti-gay mob in Falmouth’s Water Square, Jamaica.[4]

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.[5]

In December 2010, the body of a reported cross dresser was found with stab wounds in St Andrew. However, the murder remains unsolved.[6] 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.[7]

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).[8]

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.[9]

A gay student from the University of Technology was mobbed and beaten by security guards on campus in November 2012.[10] On January 23, 2013 a homeless gay youth was set ablaze in sleep and left to burn by six unknown assailants.[11]

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,[12] 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.[13] On the 10th of August police rescued a transgendered woman after a mob gave chased in Portmore.[14] On August 22, 2013, five gay men were trapped and barricaded by an angry mob in Green Gully Manchester.[15] On August 23, 2013, two men were trapped by a homophobic mob for ‘appearing ‘gay.[16] 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.[17]


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. 


References:


[1] 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
[2] Hated to Death: Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic. 2004. Report http://www.hrw.org/reports/2004/11/15/hated-death-0
[3] Jamaican gay activist murdered.2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3795247.stm
[5] 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
[6] J-FLAG Calls for investigation into Cross Dresser’s Death.2010. http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=24735
[7] Homophobic Violence on the increase in Jamaica.2011. http://www.jflag.org/2011/07/homophobic-violence-on-the-increase-in-jamaica/
[10] Caught on tape! Utech Security Guards Beat Alleged Gay Student.2012. http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=40911
[13] Two Homosexual men attacked and mobbed in Jamaica.2013. http://www.minority-insight.org/2013/08/two-homosexual-men-attacked-and-mobbed.html
[15] 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
[17] 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



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

41-year-old Gay Man Was Murdered and Burnt By Unknown Assailants In Jamaica

41-year-old Dean Moriah (Tourist industry)
41-yeay-old Dean Moriah, an openly gay man and entertainment coordinator of Bogue Village, Montego Bay, Jamaica body was found with stabbed wounds, his house was set on fire with his body inside and his car was stolen ,about 4 O'clock this morning.

According to the Jamaica-Gleaner News paper citing the Western Bureau stated that "renowned Monetgo Bay hospitality worker, Dean Moriah was early this morning killed at Bogue Village home in Montego Bay, burnt by unknown assailants. The police say Moriah was stabbed several times before the house was set on fire with him inside. Moriah, who worked for several years as an entertainment manager with the SupperClubs group, last worked with Margaritaville Caribbean."

Additionally, the Jamaica Observer reported that, "his Toyota Camry motor car was also stolen during the incident."

In the same parish/location in Jamaica, on July 22, 2013 16-year-old Dwayne Jones, a transgender woman was mobbed, stabbed, beaten and shot after he attended a local party. His body was found early in the morning. Since the murder of Dwayne Jones, there has been a rise in mob attacks on gays in Jamaica. Dean worked in the Tourism industry in Jamaica for almost his entire life to welcome and entertain visitors/tourists. The country and it's economy which he helps to build, killed him. Homophobia killed him! Hate killed him!

Based on the news report, unknown assailants (more that one person) stabbed Dean Moriah to death and set his house on fire with his body inside. It was alleged that Dean was killed because he was gay, due to the how the cruel act was carried out. This is barbaric and a moral obscenity. How many more gay men in Jamaica should be brutally murdered before Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller led government, stand up to the hate and murderous anti-gay culture and it's people?

How can we continue to stand and ignore the atrocities meted against our brothers? How can we continue to encourage tourists to visit Jamaica, when gay workers and citizens are not safe there?

Dean Moriah is my dear FACEBOOK friend and it saddens me to know that his life was taken by a group of people or assailants. He is my brother. Friends, co-workers and family are finding it hard to come to terms with his brutal death. Injustice towards mankind or an individual, regardless of his or her sexuality, gender, creed or sex is injustice towards all. Joins as we cry out against the inhumane treatment of the forgotten gay and lesbians people in Jamaica as well as BOYCOTT Jamaica's tourism to urge goverment to put an end to the violence towards gays and repeal its sodomy law.

We are tired of waiting! We are tired of being patient! Gay Jamaicans want their freedom and they want it now!

41-year-old Dean Moriah (Tourist industry)














41-year-old Dean Moriah (Entertaining tourists)


















41-year-old Dean Moriah (Tourist industry)
















References:




Friday, August 23, 2013

5 Gay Men Were Trapped And Barricaded By An Angry MOB: Homophobia In Jamaica (VIDEO)

Anti-gay mobsters armed with bats
The fear of homosexuality and perceived contagiousness as well as communicability resulted in five (5) homosexual men being trapped and barricaded by an angry anti-gay lynch mob at their home.  Community members were deeply troubled by their belief that these gay men are going to spread their homosexuality to vulnerable young boys within the community.

According to CVM TV NEWSWATCH on August 22, 2013 “men said to be homosexuals had to be rescued by a strong attachment of police. The men were marooned in a house after earning the fury of residents. The sleepy community of green gully Manchester was angrily awakens on Thursdays after the actions of an alleged homosexual man. Residence became riled up when the man allegedly made statements which made them gravely concerned. The residence would have none of it. As the story spread like wild fire throughout the community, the residents annoyance spilled over, the five (5) men and a vehicle belonging to them were barricaded.  The five (5) men were rescued and escorted out of the community by police.”

video
CVM TV NEWSWATCH (August 22, 2013)

One of the angry residents stated, “we have young youth growing up, and what they (gays) want to do is take them and put them in a different direction. When we can bear the hunger and don't stoop to certain level, the youth really cannot do that. That is what really started all of this.”

One shall question the rationale behind the residents fear; and possibly conclude if their fears are plausible. In what way did the alleged homosexuals earn the mob’s fury?  What were the alleged action and statements made by the accused homosexual man? These critical questions remain unanswered. Yet still, the actions taken by the mob were justified in their own regards.  

The fear, ignorance and misconceptions of homosexuality are the primary causes of rampant anti-gay violence and pervasive intolerance towards gays living in Jamaica. The church sows and nourishes this seed of hatred within our society. Clearly, to impede the cycle of hate and misconception of homosexuals in Jamaica, education and sensitization outreaches are necessary and imperative. Hence the role of the church and family are critical in the fight for tolerance and equality.

Finally, ignorance breeds fear and violence. Relying on the police to save every gay and lesbian Jamaican trapped, surrounded and attacked by a lynch mob across Jamaica is inconceivable, unpredictable and risky. Imagine the outcome if no police officers were in reached to save homosexuals from the deadly force of Jamaica’s anti-gay lynch mobs? “Many more Dwayne Jones (Gully Queen),” is that our answer? Something needs to be done immediately to stem anti-gay attacks and vigilantism in Jamaica. The time is NOW!


police patrols at the scene











mobsters followed police patrol while the gays were
being escorted out of the community













Reference:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Murdered For Being Gay: Justice For Dwayne Jones (Protest) In New York

Protesters in front of the Jamaican Consulate in New York, USA















                                                                                                                                                                 
A large group of protesters including Human Rights Activists, Jamaican LGBT members and International Allies protested against the brutal murder of 16-year-old Transgender Teen, Dwayne Jones and the inhumane treatment of homosexuals living in Jamaica today August 19, 2013 at the Jamaican Consulate in Manhattan, New York.

On July 22, 2013 Dwayne Jones a Trans-gender otherwise known as "GULLY QUEEN" and "Dwayne Gagastar Trensetta" was mobbed, stabbed and shot to death in the Irwin community, St James after an angry anti-gay mob discovered he was not a woman but a male. No arrest was made.
The brutal killings and public execution of gay, lesbian and trans-gender Jamaicans is a disheartening reality for many who live in the open and shadows. In December 2010, the body of a reported cross dresser was found with stab wounds in St Andrew. However, the murder remains unsolved.  In January 2011 the local gay advocacy group in Jamaica recorded fifty-one incidents of attacks against LGBT including, home invasions, physical assaults and mob attacks.  In June 2012, members of the Jamaican LGBT community reported that eight gay men had been murdered in the prior three months and a gay student from the University of Technology was mobbed and beaten by security guards on campus in November 2012.

Since the murder of Dwayne, a mob called for the head of an alleged gay constable on July 31th in Kingston. On August 1st, two homosexual men was mobbed and wounded in St Catherine, and on the 10th of August police rescued a transgendered woman after a mob gave chased in Portmore.

video
Video interview of Dwayne Jones. The 16yr old cross dresser gives his account of the harassment and abuses he and his friends have faced because of their sexuality, only weeks before his murder.

Dwayne may not be with us in flesh, but he is in our hearts and will not be forgotten. He is a fighter, and so shall we continue to stand up for justice in his name as well as for all victims of homophobia in Jamaica.

IMAGES FROM THE PROTEST

Protesters in front of the Jamaican Consulate in New York, USA













Protesters in front of the Jamaican Consulate in New York, USA













Protesters in front of the Jamaican Consulate in New York, USA













Protesters in front of the Jamaican Consulate in New York, USA













Protesters in front of the Jamaican Consulate in New York, USA













Protesters in front of the Jamaican Consulate in New York, USA

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Another Jamaican Cross-Dresser Attacked By An Anti-Gay Mob: Rescued By Cops


Another cross-dressing Jamaican attacked by a mob in Portmore, St Catherine, Jamaica on August 10, 2013.

According to The Jamaica-Star (local news paper), "Police personnel had to rescue a man dressed as a woman in Portmore, St Catherine, last Saturday after an angry mob who had seen him in the community threaten to flog him.Reports are that about 9 p.m., the the police were called to Portmore Drive in the municipality. When the team arrived , they spotted a person in an orange wig, b...rider shorts and a blouse with brassier showing. We learnt that the cross-dresser was spotted by a group of persons who attacked him. The individual ran on to a premises and the police were called. When the team arrived, reinforcement had to be called in as the mob as the mob decided to harm him. The police managed to take him to safety.

Persons told The Star that the man's action had provoked the wrath of those who had to attack. A senior police officer told The Star that last week the a man had to be rescued from another section of the parish. Just two weeks ago, a teenager was killed by a mob in St James after he dressed as a woman and danced with another man."

While many Jamaicans continue to deny or ignore the existence of anti-gay mobs and attacks on homosexuals in the country, Dr. Alvin Bailey, Bishop of the Portmore Holiness Christian Church, in Portmore on BBC World Interview (August 13, 2013) reinforced the erroneous perception and belief that "majority of the gruesome killings of and attacks on gays in Jamaica were done by gays themselves," even with recent evidence and news reports of numerous anti-gay attacks prove otherwise.

Surprisingly, Prime Minister Portia Simpson still remain silent on the rising attacks on homosexuals. So far, no efforts are being made by the government of Jamaica to stem the occurrence of mob attacks on gays in Jamaica.


Related Links
http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20130814/news/news1.html#.UgvWveMek_w.facebook
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01drjjg



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Two Homosexual Men Attacked and Mobbed in Jamaica on August 1, 2013: Emancipation Day (VIDEO)

Police officers escorting victims from home
The rise in homophobic mob-attacks on homosexuals living in Jamaica is alarming and disheartening. As Jamaicans celebrate Emancipation Day on August 1, 2013, two alleged homosexuals narrowly escaped the wrath of an angry mob when police officers came to their aide.

According to CVM TV News Watch (1/8/2013) "the police had to be called on to rescue two alleged homosexuals from an irate crowd, which claimed the men were engaging in an illegal activity in an house in central village St. Catherine. Prior to the polices arrival, one of the accused men was attacked by other occupants of the very house he was staying."

video
CVM TV- News Report (August 1, 2013)

Among the mob, an angry male patron voiced, "we need the Fish (Gay) to come out of the house because the police cannot save him." He further uttered a popular phrase "not in our cabinet", Jamaica's past disgraced Prime Minister Bruce Golding shared in a 2008 interview on BBC world news, when asked if he would appoint gay members to his cabinet. The outrage and sentiments expressed by the mob toward gays are similar. 

 A day before this incident "a group of citizens descended upon a police patrol unit at the Chester Lane/Beaston Street intersection in western Kingston. The residents were in a militant mood, claiming they had spotted a member of the police team whom they claim was the officer in a compromising position with another male in a picture being circulated. Other members of the security forces on the ground had to intervene and warning shots and pepper spray were released when the crowd became boisterous and things threaten to get out of order. Civilians were heard calling for the head of the look-alike police officer as they were sure he was the one in the photograph," (CVM TV News Report, 31/7/2013).

Patrick Bryan (1994) suggested that, "emancipation has from time to time, including now, has been used as a calender date for assessment of achievement or non-achievement. It is a day on which to recall the history of our fathers, and to contemplate the destinies of our children. It should be utilized to the end that the Negro subjects of the British Crown will rise to the full dignity of their national privileges, and enjoy without any distinction, the full political manhood." 

Since the passage of the Emancipation Act (1838) in Jamaica as a result of the Slavery Abolition Act (1833) which ended slavery in the British Empire on August 1, 1834, ex-slave Jamaicans enjoyed the fruits and pride of "Full freedom". Yet still, in the 21st century gay sons and daughters of ex-slave Jamaicans continue to be held by the ideologies and inadvertent actions of modern day slavery and bondage carried out by antagonistic anti-gay/homophobic sons and daughters of ex-slave Jamaicans.

Homosexuals are seen as 'run-away slaves' in modern day Jamaican society. How can ex-slave Jamaicans be fully emancipated from the reality, mentality and conditions of slavery when tolerance, acceptance of diversity and respect for others are lacking? How can we then deem Jamaica as a free and equal society, when gays in the privacy of their homes are being publicly beaten and crucified for engaging in an illegal act as our laws stipulated (Buggery)?

Furthermore, due to the recent murder of Dwayne Jones who was found dead on July 22 after being attacked at a party he attended in women's clothing, the Human Rights Watch, international lobbying group advocated that "the Jamaican government should be protecting everyone's rights and safety. The government has a poor record of investigating and holding to account those who commit violence because of the victim's sexual orientation and gender identity," (TVJ-Prime Time News, 1/8/2013). 

Finally, in the true meaning and assessment of Emancipation, Jamaica has yet to achieve 'Full Freedom', equality and justice for all Jamaicans, especially for homosexuals who are still deemed and treated as "slaves" and outcasts since the passage of Jamaica's Emancipation Act (1838). Since then, countless gay and lesbian Jamaicans has been beaten, evicted, ex-communicated, murdered and forced to seek refuge in other countries. Now, how can we as a nation then proudly celebrate Emancipation when homosexuals, women and children are not equal and free in today's society? 

The demonstration of violence and dismay towards homosexuals is inconceivable and inhumane. The Neo-Nazi treatment of homosexuals living in Jamaica is a true reflection of Jamaica's culture and Identity. It is appalling, and doesn't symbolizes true Emancipation. It is time for change. Once again we are strongly urging the government and church leaders in Jamaica to emancipate all Jamaicans from violence and injustice.

Police fending off the mob












Home where the alleged homosexuals were held up












Angry Anti-gay Jamaican mob











Related Links: