TW: violence, bashing, slurs, brutality
Published on 28 Jul 2014
“In Jamaica, attacks, murder, and rape are common occurrences against LGBTI people, with little to no retribution or justice brought against those responsible.
After being forced from shacks, derelict buildings, and their own families, many homeless LGBTI Jamaicans have found refuge in the storm drainage systems of Kingston — known locally as the gully. For trans girls and gay men unable or unwilling to hide their sexuality, the sense of community and relative safety the gully provides acts as a welcome sanctuary, and for many, a hope of change to come.
VICE News travelled to the New Kingston area to see what LGBTI life is like in Jamaica — where just being who you are can mean living a life underground. “
TW: problematic language, transphobia, homophobia
BY KIMBERLY HIBBERT Sunday Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, July 27, 2014
In this April 4, 2014 photo, two of the young, gay and transgender men who mostly sell sex to make money hang their clothes in the Shoemaker gully in New Kingston where they live. (PHOTO: AP)
A senior police officer has proposed the establishment of a shelter where homeless gay men in New Kingston can access medication, psychological evaluation, counselling and skills training.
Commanding officer for the New Kingston Police, Deputy Superintendent Christopher Murdock, made the suggestion at a meeting last Thursday attended by residents of communities in New Kingston, some of the homeless young men, business operators in the financial district, and representatives of interest groups, including the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA).
The meeting, arranged by Government parliamentarian Julian Robinson, whose constituency includes the affected area, was called in an effort to address problems being experienced by residents and business owners in relation to the behaviour of the homeless gay men.
Police say they have received reports of murder, wounding, robbery, car break-ins, house break-ins, malicious destruction of property, one case of shooting, simple larceny, and assault occasioning bodily harm, most of which they have attributed to the young men who live in the Shoemaker gully on Trafalgar Road.
"The fact that you are homosexuals doesn’t mean that the behaviour has to be bad," Murdock told the homeless men attending the meeting.
But one woman suggested to Murdock that he needed to accept the fact that because the young men are thrown out of their homes, “they learn street culture”.
Until that reality is recognised and accepted, “we are going to always have this problem of finding the solution, because they are going to develop the behaviour to survive on the streets”, she said.
But Murdock, in his defence, said that other homeless men are not indulging in acts of criminality.
"Whilst we are mindful of the sexual orientation and the issues surrounding that, we don’t want to come to the meeting with that because we have other street boys and they do not give us the problem that we are having with these ones," he said.
However, Murdock’s shelter proposal was questioned by Jermaine Burton, founder of the group Colour Pink.
"You have come up with the idea of a shelter, but how have you reached a shelter, because you guys have been on the issue of the shelter… that is like reinventing the wheel from how long," he said.
"The culture itself doesn’t create an enabling environment to really go and get a shelter as well. If you put up a shelter and people know that this is a shelter [for homosexuals]… it is more problems," Burton said.
But Robinson quickly clarified the purpose of the shelter, saying that it would be a place for sustainable development.
"It’s not a home for you to carry on your activities," said the MP. "So when you think of a shelter, don’t think of a shelter for persons to carry on homosexual activities. The shelter we’re looking at is a centre where persons can get home training and skills training.
"There are quite a number of persons living there (in the gully) now who don’t even have a birth certificate, who have no form of identification, no skills training, no educational qualifications. The centre is to create that, not an area where you are going to say okay, this is where you are going to be carrying on with your sexual activities and carrying on with your lewd behaviour, which is associated with the group where they come out onto the streets, they strip themselves, they gyrate… that’s not what we’re about," he stated.
It reads in full:
I am writing you this letter so you have something tangible, something to hold onto, if you should ever need it, to always remind you that we love you.
I am pretty proud that we have the kind of relationship in which you felt comfortable coming out to met at 13 years old. I am hoping that we have created an environment in our house in which you know you are loved, you are safe, and that we will support you and fight for you.
Dad and I love you very much. You are growing into such an amazing young man. You are pure potential. We can’t wait to see where it takes you!
Love, Mom :D
"Debi shares the story of her daughter, who transitioned from male to female when she was four years old. She challenges the ignorant comments she hears."
"…persistently, insistantly, consistently…"
Measure passes 37-1
CBC News Posted: Jul 10, 2014 3:48 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 10, 2014 3:48 PM ET
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was the only member of city council to vote against a report looking into a potential homeless shelter for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth in Toronto.
The shelter report recommendation passed on Thursday by a vote of 37-1. Several councillors, including the mayor’s brother Doug, were absent for or abstained from the vote.
The vote means that council has requested a report on the feasibility of allocating 25 per cent of shelter beds to LGBT youth in an existing shelter for the coming winter.
Alex Abramovich, a research co-ordinator with the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael’s Hospital, has spent eight years studying the issue and proposed a shelter exclusively for LGBT youth.
‘My name is Orlando Burcham, I am 11 years old and I would like to know why you don’t allow ‘gay marriage’ in Australia
'Because the majority of Australians are happily married, so why are you stopping all the gay men/women to be married in this beautiful country?
‘My mother is gay and even worse your own sister is gay! And thousands more are as well.
‘You have actually met my mum Councillor Cordelia Troy who is a member of the Liberal Party and she was deputy major at the time.
‘It is so pathetic that you aren’t letting the gay people of Australia and other countries get married here.
'Millions of people in the world and when they come to Australia and think “wow this place is great! Let’s get married here!”
‘And then they remember that they can’t. So they spend thousands of dollars to go somewhere they can get married. My mum is married but she had to go to New York, which took a lot of money.
‘You were elected to represent our country, not yourself.
‘Just because you think it’s wrong, does not give you the right to make it illegal.
‘Doesn’t our opinions matter to you? Just because you’re the Prime Minister, which by the way does not give you all the power.
‘I hope you change your mind.’
Read more at the soure link.
Youths reveal what’s really happening to LGBTIs in Caribbean
Barbados: In response to an appeal from the local LGBTI group B-GLAD, Prime Minister Stuart declared he will remain dedicated to lobbying, both regionally and internationally against discrimination against any Barbadian citizen, including LGBTIs.
Yet Donnya Piggott from B-GLAD says: ‘The laws still discriminate and sometimes the police do not take attacks or threats against LGBT people seriously. The situation causes great physical, emotional and psychological damage.’
Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bisessar said in 2012 she wants the National Gender Policy to ‘forge the way forward for Trinidad and Tobago as my government seeks to put an end to all discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation’.
Rian Merrick of the Silver Lining Foundation said: ‘Despite the PM’s words young LGBT persons and LGBT advocates were compelled to argue before a National Constitutional Reform Commission that their recognition under the law should not need to be up for discussion.
‘The priority is to find ways in which discrimination and prejudice can be reduced.’
St Lucia: Same sex intimacy can be punished by up to 10 years in jail. Christian fundamentalists continue to fight every effort to change attitudes and the law.
Jassica St Rose from United and Strong in St Lucia said she believed change was driven by the actions of youth who by their very nature are revolutionary, always challenging norms and values.
Jamaica: Often described as one of the most homophobic nations in the world. The summit saw footage of LGBTI youths forced to live in drains under the city.
Jae Nelson of the Jamaica Youth Network said: ‘Young people are visibly defiant to status quo – a kind of way being that says there is only one way of being; that some of us are more equal than others and that those who are LGBT do not belong in our society.
‘Many young people are doing this by just embracing their lesbian and gay friends, being open about their sexuality and declaring they believe in equal rights and justice for all.’
Belize: Caleb Orozco, who is challenging the discriminatory laws in his country was unable to attend the summit. In a speech read on his behalf he reported LGBTI youths had been physically attacked and faced mockery, ridicule and a denial of their rights to free expression.
He said: ‘The struggle of the Caribbean LGBT youth is a struggle of invisibility, quiet resistance and passive protest that has its foundation in the need to protect individual expression and dignity.’
Guyana: The conference heard testimony from Ceara Roopchand of Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness (CADVA).
She said same sex couples and transgender people were able to enjoy the freedom to socialize in some parts of Georgetown and other areas, but abuse and harassment were still common, including from police officers.
Click on the source link to read the full article.
2nd April 2014, 6:47 PM
Joseph Patrick McCormick
The campaign hopes to keep Jake in the custody of his mother The campaign hopes to keep Jake in the custody of his mother
A campaign has been started to raise money towards a lawsuit to allow a woman to keep custody of her trans son.
The campaign was started by the grandmother of the boy, Jake, who says his father initiated the custody battle “solely because she supports her child’s self-proclaimed gender,” and that his father intends to make him go to school “as a girl”.
Grandmother Beth, states that Jake’s mother can’t afford the attorney bills on her own, and that without help, she will lose custody.
The page states: “Right now, Jake goes to school and is treated just like any other first grade boy. His teachers and friends are 100% supportive, everyone calls him by his chosen name and I’ve never seen him happier. If my daughter loses this legal battle all of that will change. Once Jake’s father gets full parenting rights, he will force my grandson to go to school as a girl—or as Jake calls it, as ‘his false self.’”
The campaign has so far raised just over $7,000 of a $19,000 (£11,000) goal.
According to the page, Jake has lived with the support of his family as a boy for over a year, and that he had “thrived”.
A student’s speech for the Hokkaido Prefectural English Speech Contest, held in Sapporo, December 2013.
Click on the source link for the full transcript and video.
A follow up to the article I posted on March 10th in which a Jamaican judge rule that homeless LGBT youth were allowed to live in the Kingston sewers. (http://qbits.tumblr.com/post/79175166897/jamaica-rules-gay-teens-can-live-in-the-sewer).
Here openly gay lawyer and activist Maurice Tomlinson takes us on a tour of the sewers. TW neglect, abuse, inhumanity
Jamaica’s crushing homophobia has resulted in several LGBT kids as young as 12 years old being evicted from their homes. Some of these kids now live in the sewers of the capital and sell sex to survive. Many are paid extra by their rich (often married) clients to have condom-less sex. This increases their risk of contracting HIV. Dwayne’s House is providing these youth with food and clothing. Eventually we will establish a home for them. Please consider supporting this venture by visiting www.openarmsmcc.org. Thank you.
This is heartbreaking. TW violence, abuse, neglect.
Jamaica gay teens thrown out by their families, chased out of shelters and abandoned by the state have been told they can live in sewers.
A New Kingston judge has advised police that LGBTI teens are allowed to stay in their last option for refuge as sewers are public spaces.
Police have repeatedly tried to evict the youngsters from the sewers and gullies, on the pretext they ‘attract criminals’.
Last week on 5 March, officers once again raided the gutters and demanded the youth leave immediately.
Yvonne McCalla-Sobers, a Jamaican LGBTI rights activist, said: ‘The youngsters were understandably upset and some put up quite a struggle as they literally have nowhere else to go.
‘Police had already chased them from every abandoned building they previously occupied and the buildings were then torn down.’
She added: ‘Some of the youth were arrested for resisting their forcible eviction. They were also charged with using swear words (which is still an offense under Jamaican law).’
On 7 March, the teens were brought before the court to fine them for their language.
However, the judge has told police the sewers are a public space so the youngsters have every right to be there.
Maurice Tomlinson, a lawyer and LGBTI rights campaigner in Jamaica, told Gay Star News:
‘Although the Jamaican Commissioner of Police has issued a directive that LGBT victims are not to be discriminated against…it is clear that there is a lot of work that needs to be done with the police in order for them to respect and support the human rights of vulnerable gay Jamaicans.’
And in September, four gay men in the resort city of Montego Bay had to flee their home after a mob firebombed it. They asked the police to take them in and protect them but were refused.
The property was thought to be the last place where trans teen Dwayne Jones lived before she was ‘chopped and stabbed’ to death after a party in July.
And yet another study showing same-sex parents can be good parents.
About 11% of Australian gay men and 33% of lesbians have children. Children may have been conceived in the context of previous heterosexual relationships, or raised from birth by a co-parenting gay or lesbian couple or single parent.
Overall, research to date considerably challenges the point of view that same-sex parented families are harmful to children. Children in such families do as well emotionally, socially and educationally as their peers from heterosexual couple families.
Some researchers have concluded there are benefits for children raised by lesbian couples in that they experience higher quality parenting, sons display greater gender flexibility, and sons and daughters display more open-mindedness towards sexual, gender and family diversity.
The possible effect of important socio-economic family factors, such as income and parental education, were not always considered in the studies reviewed in this paper.
Although many Australian lesbian-parented families appear to be receiving good support from their health care providers, there is evidence that more could be done to develop policies and practices supportive of same-sex parented families in the Australian health, education, child protection and foster care systems.
Additional key messages, relating to specific family structures and psychosocial outcomes for children raised by lesbian and gay parents, are included throughout the paper.
Student-led clubs and anti-homophobia policies found to lower odds of discrimination
By Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun January 20, 2014
Gay-straight alliances reduce suicide risk among all students: study
Both gay and straight students in Canadian schools are less likely to have suicidal tendencies when explicit anti-homophobia interventions such as school-based gay-straight alliances (GSAs) are in place, according to a University of B.C. study.
“This study looked across school districts provincewide and looked at gay-straight alliances and anti-homophobic polices, suicidal thoughts and attempts by both gay and heterosexual students,” said Elizabeth Saewyc, lead author of the study and professor with the UBC school of nursing.
“What we found was when these policies were in place for three years or longer, discrimination based on sexual orientation had lower rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts, and also for heterosexual boys,” Saewyc said Monday.
“For heterosexual boys, the odds of suicide attempts dropped by 48 per cent, 28 per cent for suicidal thoughts.”
She said her study concluded that there was no specific effect on heterosexual girls where school-based GSAs were in place.
Gay-straight alliances are student-led clubs that aim to make the school community a safer place for all students regardless of sexual orientation. Their members include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their straight allies.
Dr Ussher warned that if schools failed to act it would lead to a “hugely increased risk of bullying and abuse; isolation and rejection – all leading to significantly increased levels of depression, self-harm and suicide”.
He added: “We must acknowledge we are facing a crisis. Schools have a key role to play in providing inclusive environments for all young people with zero tolerance of bullying and discrimination and by eliminating the fear of it through education and support.”
LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell said the project’s findings “should be a wake-up call for the Education Secretary, Michael Gove”. “Every school should be required to teach sex and relationship education that addresses LGBT issues.”