published: Sunday June 13, 2004
By Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer
IN JANUARY, Brian Williamson wrote what would be his last letter to the media concerning the welfare of Jamaica's endangered homosexual community. In it, he criticised the Government's proposed anti-terrorism bill calling it hypocritical.
"I find it shocking that we can seriously be considering a terrorist plan without dealing with the basic safety of our homosexual citizens especially as homosexuality is not against the law in Jamaica," wrote Williamson in the letter, published in The Gleaner.
The safety that Williamson had long advocated for homosexuals in Jamaica eluded him Wednesday as he was murdered at his home at Haughton Avenue in New Kingston. His blood-splattered body was discovered by Desmond Chambers, the caretaker of the apartments Williamson owned.
The police report that the 59-year-old Williamson was bludgeoned to death, his home ransacked and a safe where he reportedly kept money, was stolen. They surmise that the motive for his death was robbery and have since picked up a suspect in the case.
But members of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) organisation Williamson founded six years ago do not support the police's theory. They believe Williamson, who was open about his gay lifestyle, was the victim of a hate crime.
Though he was not afraid to show his sexuality, Alexander Gordon (not his real name), a J-Flag representative, says Williamson was guarded about his private life. J-Flag affiliates knew he had a sister and that he operated a business centre but little else was known about him outside of the organisation.
Williamson consistently hissed at Jamaica's rigid homophobia by appearing on television talk shows and penning several letters to newspapers without using a pseudonym. That vigilance, says Gordon, will be missed.
Tributes and more stories: http://www.globalgayz.com/g-jamaica.html