Saturday, August 9, 2008
08.08.2008 3:00pm EDT
(Miami, Fla.) In what is regarded as a landmark ruling, an immigration judge has stayed a deportation order that would have sent a lesbian back to Jamaica because of homophobic violence in the Caribbean country.
The general atmosphere in Jamaica is a feeling of no tolerance towards homosexuals in general, and as such. . . the respondent’s life is definitely at risk,” Immigration Judge Irma Lopez-Defillo said, according to court documents obtained by the Miami Herald.
The 29-year old, identified by the paper only as “Nicole,” originally had been ordered deported by Lopez-Defillo, but stayed the order based on the climate toward gays in Jamaica.
She was ordered to check in regularly with immigration officials in Miami. The woman is staying with family in South Florida.
Although a number of people facing deportation have claimed they would be subjected to homophobic abuse if returned to their homelands, the argument is seldom accepted. In several cases, immigration judges have ruled the person could avoid trouble in their countries if they remained closeted.
Even though though “Nicole” has avoided deportation for now, she could still be removed from the country by the Department of Homeland Security, leaving her status in the U.S. in limbo.
Sodomy is illegal in Jamaica, with a sentence of 10-years in prison on conviction.
The country has been described by human rights groups as having the worst record of any country in the New World in its treatment of gays and lesbians.
Homophobic attacks are seldom pursued by police and even when charges are laid there are few convictions.
One of the most recent attacks occurred on January 29, when a group of men approached a house where four males lived in the central Jamaican town of Mandeville. They demanded that the residents leave the community because they were gay, according to Jamaican human rights activists who spoke with the victims.
Later that evening, a mob returned and surrounded the house. The four men inside called the police when they saw the crowd gathering. The mob started to attack the house, shouting and throwing bottles.
Those in the house called police again and were told that the police were on the way. Approximately half an hour later, 15 to 20 men broke down the door and began beating and slashing the inhabitants.
Human Rights Watch, quoting local activists, said that police did not arrive until a half hour after the mob had broken into the house – 90 minutes after the men first called for help.
One of the victims managed to flee with the mob pursuing. A Jamaican newspaper reported that blood was found at the mouth of a nearby pit, suggesting he had fallen inside or may have been killed nearby.
The police escorted the three other victims away from the scene; two of them were taken to the hospital. One of the men had his left ear severed, his arm broken in two places, and his spine reportedly damaged.
There have been no arrests.
The attack echoes another incident in the same town on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007, when approximately 100 men gathered outside a church where 150 people were attending the funeral of a gay man.
According to mourners, the crowd broke the windows with bottles and shouted, “We want no battyman [gay] funeral here. Leave or else we’re going to kill you. We don’t want no battyman buried here in Mandeville.”
Several mourners inside the church called the police to request protection. After half an hour, three police officers arrived.
Human Rights Watch said that instead of protecting the mourners, police socialized with the mob, laughing along at the situation.
A highway patrol car subsequently arrived, and one of the highway patrol officers reportedly told the churchgoers, “It’s full time this needs to happen. Enough of you guys.”
The highway patrol officers then drove off. The remaining officers at the scene refused to intervene when the mob threatened the mourners with sticks, stones, and batons as they tried to leave the service. Only when several gay men among the mourners took knives from their cars for self-defense did police reportedly take action by firing their guns into the air. Officers stopped gay men from leaving and searched their vehicles, but did not restrain or detain members of the mob, Human Rights Watch said.
More than 30 gay men are believed to have been murdered since 1997 J-FLAG says. In most of the cases the killers have never been brought to trial.
Arrests, however, have been made in several cases which received international attention.
In 2004, Brian Williamson, Jamaica’s leading LGBT civil rights advocate, was brutally murdered. He had been stabbed at least 70 times in the neck. A 25-year-old man is currently serving a life sentence for the murder.
In December 2005, Lenford “Steve” Harvey, who ran Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, was killed.
Harvey was shot to death on the eve of World AIDS Day. His organization provided support to gay men and sex workers. Four men were arrested almost a year later.
In 2006, the bodies of two women believed to have been in a lesbian relationship were found dumped in a septic pit behind a home they shared. The killers of Candice Williams and Phoebe Myrie have not been caught.
Students at University of the West Indies in Kingston rioted last year as police attempted to protect a gay student and escort him from the campus. The incident began when the student was chased across the campus by another student who claimed the gay man had attempted to proposition him in a washroom.
The same year, a young man plunged to his death off a pier in Kingston after reportedly being chased through the streets by a mob yelling homophobic epithets.
In February 2007, three men in “tight jeans” and wearing what some witnesses described as makeup were cornered by a mob of 2000 in a drugstore. There were yells of “kill them” along with gay slurs and demands the three be sent out “to face justice.” Police had to fire tear gas into the crowd to rescue the three.
Reggae, or Jamaican dancehall music, is blamed for fueling homophobia in that country. Reggae star BujuBanton’s hit song Boom Boom Bye Bye which threatens gay men with a “gunshot in ah head.”
Friday, August 8, 2008
The need for reform has been highlighted at the International Aids Conference in Mexico City which was addressed by Caribbean delegates Thursday.
AIDS campaigners say laws and attitudes that frown on gay and commercial sex, fuel stigma and discrimination against groups deemed most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, making it harder to reach them.
Assistant Secretary General at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Edward Green says there are no plans to do away with entrenched laws.
"This now has been a discussion ongoing for a couple of years and what we are seeing is a regional trend towards accepting the need for modifying the laws,"
"In November of this year we are having a meeting of the Attorneys General to look at some of the proposals being put forward and have for the first time a serious discussion on these issues," said Dr. Green.
HIV-positive people make separate antibodies against gp120, but they usually are not strong enough to stop or slow the progression of the virus, according to the Post. Previous research on a vaccine using the protein did not stop or slow HIV progression.The researchers, led by Sudhir Paul at UTMS, found that gp120 is part of a 13-unit stretch of proteins located where the virus attaches to immune cells. Gp120 is hidden by the other proteins, making it more difficult for the immune system to make antibodies against it, according to the research.Planque screened antibodies made by lupus patients to determine if any produced catalytic activity against HIV's 13-unit protein stretch, which includes gp120. She found that antibodies derived from the lupus patients killed five strains of HIV.According to the researchers, the findings could be used to find a way to prompt the immune system to make its own supply of antibodies against gp120 before being exposed to the virus.
However, the "road is long before we reach that point," Planque said. The researchers are currently researching strategies to "presen[t]" the protein stretch to the immune system that stimulates catalytic antibodies more effectively than what happens naturally. If such an approach proves successful, it could produce a useful vaccine, the Post reports.Although drugs containing antibodies are expensive, a microbicide containing catalytic antibodies might be affordable for people in developing countries because only a small quantity would be needed to prevent HIV transmission during sexual contact, the researchers said. In addition, the protective benefit would only need to last hours, not days or weeks. According to the Post, the "broad effect" of catalytic antibodies is "important" and any microbicide or vaccine developed from the antibodies would need to prevent all HIV strains to be "useful" (Brown, Washington Post, 8/8).
An abstract of the study is available online.
It's good to be back, and good to see that the forum that was launched in Toronto two years ago is alive and expanding. I'm really proud that we are among your partners, as my nametag says.
The last two years have seen a mix of real progress and also of some major drawbacks and regression in our struggle. Progress, surely, in terms of access to treatment in many countries, and also in terms of reaching out to populations of men who have sex with men, or gay populations, as our UNAIDS report showed -- although the report, in a sense, gives a bit of an overoptimistic view of what actually is happening on the ground. Because when we say that there is now [about] 50 percent of coverage, with prevention services and activities for men who have sex with men, that's based on the information that comes from that countries that report. You can only think about the countries that do not report, and I should say here, it's often high-income countries that do not report.
I would like to commend publicly the human rights groups in Jamaica, especially Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) for their excellent work, despite the constant negative feedback.
I also commend their persistence and determination to continue to stand for what they believe in and what must be preserved at all costs - our rights as human beings.
As you know, it is sheer ignorance and frustration that propel the misguided voices claiming that human rights groups seem more interested in protecting the criminals. Nothing could be further from the truth. For those of us who know better, we are all too painfully aware of the pernicious nature of an unchecked and unbalanced system of state power - which is so clearly demonstrated in George Orwell's Animal Farm - in today's Zimbabwe run by the despotic Robert Mugabe, and in the many modern-day instances of gross human rights abuse which are so indelibly etched in the annals of history.
Your letter outlining some of these instances and defending your position, JFJ, though late in coming, was quite refreshing, reassuring and enlightening, and should be the start of a public education campaign to make everyone, including the media, aware of the mandates and mission of the human rights groups locally and internationally.
Thank you for being the voice for the poor and disadvantaged who are easy prey not only for criminals, but also for the perpetrators of state (police) excesses. You have given hope to them and to us that there is still an avenue for recourse when we are wronged by those who should be our protectors
Thank you for standing up and protecting what is fundamentally the core of our existence - our human rights.
The United Nations' goal of achieving "universal access" to anti-HIV drugs and care by 2010 is unlikely to be reached.
Speaking on the sidelines of the International AIDS Conference, Global Fund chief Michel Kazatchkine and UNAIDS head Peter Piot said that China and other fast-advancing economies could shoulder more of their own burdens in the future, freeing up resources for poorer countries.
"When we look at global targets, none of us believes that it will be 100 percent everywhere," Mr. Kazatchkine told a group of reporters.
"But if you look at individual countries, and if you look at the percent that have achieved universal coverage or [will] be close to universal coverage, there may be much more than you may think of."
The 2010 target, enshrined in a June 2006 UN General Assembly resolution and supported by the Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations, is emerging as a touchy political issue.
Three million poor people now have been able to grasp the drug lifeline, thanks to a big increase in the past two years, but this is still two-thirds short of the total in need and time is running out to meet the deadline.
As a result, activists have closely scrutinised the July G8 summit statement and last week's UNAIDS report on the state of the pandemic.
Some see a weakening verbal commitment to 2010 and a dangerous slippage to 2015, which is also the goal date for the United Nations' Millennium Development Goal on reversing the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Mr. Piot, UNAIDS' executive director, said, however, that the 2010 commitment has not changed.
"2010 is 18 months from now," he noted. "What we've seen is that in a number of countries, they've already reached their universal access targets, others not."
Some countries could achieve universal access in 2011 or 2012, in line with their national programmes, Mr. Piot's spokesman explained.
33 million people around the world are infected with HIV, 90 percent of whom live in developing countries.
By some estimates, universal access will cost $54 billion (£27bn) per year in 2015 - and the bill will endure for decades, as the treatment is for the rest of one's life.
Mr. Kazatchkine said he looked to the G8 countries, which account for 90 percent of contributions to the Global Fund, to meet their commitments.
A leading Cabinet minister in India has said that laws that criminalise gay sex should be overturned.
Anbumani Ramadoss made his remarks at the 17th International Conference on AIDS in Mexico City last week. India has the greatest number of HIV/AIDS patients in the world, an estimated 2.5 million.
"Structural discrimination against those who are vulnerable to HIV such as sex workers and MSM (men who have sex with men) must be removed if our prevention, care and treatment programmes are to succeed," he said, according to the Times of India.
"Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises men who have sex with men, must go."
Mr Ramadoss is the country’s health minister.
The 39-year-old Tamil doctor is the youngest member of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Cabinet and is tipped as a future leader.
He told the conference that "we are seeing the beginning of the stabilisation of the HIV epidemic in India."
Last month the High Court in Bombay said that the controversial Section 377 needs revision.
The law punishes anyone who "voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal" by imprisonment and criminalises a whole range of sexual acts from mutual masturbation, to fellatio and anal sex.
"There are lots of changes taking place in the social milieu and many people have different sexual preferences, which are even not considered to be unnatural,” said Justice Nazki.
"Therefore it is high time that the provisions of law which was made more than a century ago, is looked at again.’’
The judge’s remarks are not binding, but the city’s lesbian and gay community welcomed the progressive views of the judge as they are the first time any court in the country has spoken about changing the law.
Section 377 was enacted in 1860 under the British Raj in line with the anti-sodomy laws in England at the time.
In June more than a thousand people took to the streets of three major Indian cities to celebrate Pride.
The largest turnout was in Bangalore, where 600 people marched.
An estimated 300 LGBT people took part in New Delhi's first ever Pride parade, while 400 marched in Kolkata.
Fears that the events would be targeted by religious groups proved to be unfounded.
Some participants wore masks to protect their identities.
The expanding economy of India has created the climate for a growing and visible community of homosexuals and transgender people.
The gay scene in larger cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai is increasingly vibrant.
Time Out Delhi was launched last year with a homosexual section and listings featuring gay nights and social gatherings.
In India there are huge social and legal pressures to live a heterosexual lifestyle but in recent years, the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality has strengthened.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
"There are difficulties we experience in terms of the Caribbean society discriminating against certain practices which we know are associated with HIV/AIDS," St Kitts & Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
"We've got the difficulty of men having sex with men, and we've got the difficulty of commercial sex workers," Douglas said. However, he said the Caribbean society was divided on whether buggery and prostitution should be decriminalised.
"These are still actually on the law books and such practices are still considered to be criminal activities that are punishable through the laws," Douglas added.
Jamaica is seen as one of the most homophobic countries in the Caribbean, and the pressure group Jamaicans for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) said that the island has a long-running tradition of rampant homophobia and anti-gay violence.
Appearing on a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) programme earlier this year, Jamaica's Prime Minister Bruce Golding made it clear that while each Jamaican should have the right to privacy and equality before the law, the Government would not bow to international pressure for the recognition of gay rights.
"Jamaica is not going to allow values to be imposed on it from outside. We're going to have to determine that ourselves, and we're going to have to determine to what extent those values will adapt over time to change - change in perception, change in understanding as to how people live," Golding said then.
Golding's stance has been applauded by some sections of the Jamaican society, while J-FLAG and other human rights groups have condemned it.
"What we are seeking to do at this level in the Caribbean is to raise the level of debate and information-sharing with regards to these practices and how there is a need to seriously discuss decriminalisation and how this can impact positively on our fight to reduce stigma and discrimination within the Caribbean region, and generally I would say within the AIDS global fight," Douglas said.
"In fact we've been saying that there is need for the attorneys-general of the Caribbean region to come together to begin to look at the laws and to see how we can engender the necessary debate and discussion in the wider community as to how we can tackle this particular problem," he added.
Dr Carol Jacobs, who heads the HIV-AIDS Commission in Barbados, told the CMC that the island's attorney general Frundel Stuart has agreed to host the meeting, but no date has been set.
Douglas is also the chairman of the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) and has lead responsibility for health in Caricom's quasi-Cabinet.
He was the only Caribbean leader to attend the 17th International AIDS Conference which opened here Sunday and ends on Friday.
Some 23,000 delegates are attending the conference, the largest in its history. This is the first time that the conference is being held in the Latin American and Caribbean region.
Host country Mexico is in the midst of a major anti-homophobia campaign, and leaders attending the conference have saluted the initiative calling it one of the boldest and most creative in the world.
The statement was made primarily to protect positive people in Switzerland, where HIV exposure laws enable the state to prosecute HIV-positive people who had unprotected sex with HIV-negative and fully informed partners. Vernazza affirmed that the statement could be used in court to show that positive people on effective treatment could not expose or transmit the virus.Vernazza says the statement was made to clear up discrepancies between what some doctors tell their patients privately and what they say in public to eliminate what he calls the “risk of uncontrolled diffusion” of information regarding HIV transmission.
According to the article, experts claimed that most countries do not implement prevention programs where they are needed most, which they attribute to a shift in focus and resources from prevention to treatment as antiretroviral medications have transformed HIV/AIDS. Researchers in the prevention and treatment field “need to get married today,” Myron S. Cohen, MD, of the University of North Carolina, told the Times.
Stressing a more comprehensive two-pronged AIDS response, Dr. Cohen added, “We need to be one community.”
The detention of suspects for a maximum of 72 hoursThe denial of bail for serious crimes for up to 60 daysA majority of 9 jurors out of 12 can decide on non-capital murderThe police to be allowed access to restricted informationThe use of DNA evidenceTestimonies to be allowed in court from secure and remote locationsSo far, the main groups that have publicly stated their opposition to much or most of the recommendations are the human rights groups (namely The Independent Jamaica Council of Human Rights, Jamaicans For Justice, Families Against State Terrorism) and the Council of the Bar association of Jamaica.
On the other hand, the main group that has publicly stated its support for most or all of the recommendations is the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), while notable sections of the media and the Church have also given their support.LESSER OF TWO EVILSThose opposing much or most of the PM’s proposals basically contend that the proposed measures are short term and will only result in curtailing the rights of citizens and reducing constitutional protections which were essential to the preservation of the nation’s democracy.
The Independent Jamaica Council of Human Rights (IJCHR) for example, in responding to the proposed detention of criminal suspects for up to 72 hours without being charged and denial of bail for serious crimes for up to 60 days, stated: “The imposition of a mandatory remand undermines the constitutional provision of the presumption of innocence and the discretion of judges…We reiterate our commitment to the constitutional principles of separation of powers and that the citizen’s rights are not to be interfered with or abbreviated without reasonable cause and credible evidence…” It is to be noted however that there are those who oppose the proposals because they regard them as not far-reaching or tough enough! I believe that sections of the security forces and some media personnel fall into this category.
Those supporting the PM’s proposals tend to do so on the basis that the crime situation in Jamaica has reached crisis proportions and thereby necessitates the temporary restriction of some of our human rights, as the lesser of two evils. As a release from the PSOJ President states: “It is apparent that the entire nation is of the view that we are in a crisis and it is therefore imperative that the Government moves expeditiously to enact the necessary legislation which will allow for the swift implementation and effective monitoring of the crime-fighting measures…” He further appealed for “the co-operation of all Jamaicans as we strive to return law and order to this country.”HEAT VERSUS LIGHTIt is obvious that both camps are viewing the measures from two distinct and different perspectives. One focuses on the necessity of securing those human rights which are still present within our nation. The other focuses on the urgency of stemming the human wrongs that are so prevalent within our nation.Both camps need each other in order for there to be balance, prudence, objectivity and rationality within our public moral discourse and debates.
Isn’t that what constitutes the heart of democracy, where we can disagree and agree to disagree without becoming contentious or disingenuous in our comments?It is with this in mind that I call upon spokespersons from both camps to calm down and simply allow all views to contend without making false-allegations and faulty-assumptions against each other. I therefore consider it unfortunate that last month one of our major newspapers thought it fit to write an editorial which in essence generated more heat than light as it made disingenuous statements about certain groups who oppose the PM’s proposals. That editorial has subsequently created a situation where some key representatives from both camps are seemingly at loggerheads with each other, at least in the media. Indeed, words such as “misleading and dishonest” have been thrown into the mix. Again, while all this is taking place the murder rate continues to climb!Let us all remember who the real enemies are. Let us bear in mind that we do not have to always see eye to eye in order to walk hand in hand. Let us focus more on our similarities rather than on our differences as together we seek to effectively confront our human wrongs without compromising our human rights!
Have a peaceful and meaningful Independence Day. Shalom.
Mexico City, Mexico:
The United Nations says unprotected sex among men, who have sex with men, is one of the main causes of an increase in HIV infections in the Caribbean.
UNAIDS yesterday released its 2008 report on the global AIDS epidemic, which gives a comprehensive overview of the progress made by countries worldwide in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Global approach weaknesses
The report also looks at weaknesses in the approach to the global epidemic, which is fuelled by different things in different countries.
According to UNAIDS, while unprotected sex between men and women is the region's main driver of HIV transmission, unprotected sex between men is also a significant factor.
Unprotected sex between men reportedly represents the main driver of the HIV epidemic in Cuba, and studies in Trinidad and Tobago have found 20 per cent HIV prevalence among that group there.
Jamaica's country report for 2008, submitted to UNAIDS in January this year by the Ministry of Health, indicated that the HIV prevalence rate among Jamaican men who have sex with men is between 25 and 30 per cent.
Fuelling the epidemic
According to UNAIDS, the Caribbean's HIV/AIDS epidemic is also fuelled by high levels of poverty, unemployment, gender and other inequalities, including considerable stigma.
AIDS remains one of the leading causes of death among people aged 25 to 44 years in the Caribbean. Approximately 25,000 persons in Jamaica are HIV positive but, of that number, only half are aware that they are infected.
The report has been released a week ahead of the International AIDS Conference which will be held in Mexico City this year from August 3-8.
Approximately 20,000 delegates from around the world are expected to attend the biennial conference.
As many as one in eight, or 12 per cent, of reported HIV infections in the region occurred through unprotected sex between men.
Known HIV infection in the region has increased by almost 50 per cent.
At the end of 2007, an estimated 30,000 people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral treatment in the region.
At the end of 2006, only 20,000 people were on treatment.
INGRID BROWN, Senior staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, August 07, 2008
MEXICO CITY, Mexico - Jamaica came in for a lashing as "a homophobic society that discriminated against homosexuals", at the International AIDS Conference underway in this Mexican capital.
Executive director of the little known Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVCC), Robert Carr, used a PowerPoint presentation to graphically paint a picture of Jamaica as a country where cops attack and chase away homosexuals who go to police stations to report crimes against them.
Pointing to a picture of a recent mobbing of gay men at a plaza in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew, Carr showed the police holding weapons, and a media videographer filming the event.
"In a context where people denied homophobic violence, the police show up armed and the media show up to take pictures," he declared.
It was not immediately clear why the AIDS conference was used to provide a forum for homosexuals, but Carr claimed that both the Government and the media denied that there were human rights violations against this group.Carr, who is also a senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies, was armed with newspaper clippings and photos to support his presentation to delegates attending the International AIDS Society (IAS) XVII Conference.
Under the heading "Structural interventions to challenge homophobic violence in Jamaica", Carr outlined an initiative recently launched to change Jamaicans' attitude towards homosexuals, noting that it involved working with civic leaders and government members, initiating media campaigns and members of the Catholic Church.
He cited an Observer story entitled 'Inside a gay church' and a letter to the editor which, among other things, said homosexuality was "contrary to natural law", as evidence of the country's attitude to homosexuals.
Furthermore, violence and discrimination against gay men were celebrated in popular music, and the police refused to protect and at times even joined in violent attacks when homosexuals went to seek refuge at the stations, he said.When politicians were confronted, he said, their response was that Jamaica was a Christian country.
But he acknowledged that the situation was "more promising" now than four years ago, based on the favourable response the gay lobby group Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) had received to a letter written to Police Commissioner Hardley Lewin.
The letter, which was shown in the presentation, gave a promise to change the culture of the police force, accepting that it was their responsibility to protect the rights of all people.
"He has since followed through because we are seeing the impact on the ground," Carr said.He added that the group was also seeing improvement in its relationship with religious leaders on the Caribbean island.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
It comes from repeated exposure to the individual and being very familiar with their patterns of behaviour.We use it today to challenge members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to develop the reputation of being reliable and trustworthy; it challenges us to become someone who is true to our word. Many of our LGBT brothers and sisters would love to be able to say about us:- "Mi can put on mi pot pon fire dat you going to be there for me; tell the truth; be impartial; respect my relationship"
"I will put mi pot pon fire dat you will return the money you borrowed; play the part that you said that you would play; help build the community; treat other LGBT member with respect and honour.Today is a brand new day that allows us to start all over again and begin to develop a reputation of being someone for whom others can put on dem pot pon fire. Prayer treatmentFather Mother God, please help me as I develop the skills of reliability. Help me to trust myself and therefore to allow others to trust me.
Written by IGM
See if you agree with the piece below:
Is your child a homosexual?
HOMOSEXUALITY IS a strong taboo in Jamaica, and although many persons condemn the practice, it appears to be on the rise.
With that seeming increase, homosexuality could reside closer to you than you expect.
So, if as a parent you found out that your child is uncertain about his or her sexuality and may have the tendency to become a homosexual, how would you deal with it? Would you condemn, ridicule or seek counselling for him or her?
Psychologists say it is common for parents of homosexuals to blame themselves. Others resolve to disown their children, some try to 'pray it away', while some others resort to over involvement in activities or seek to be distracted.
It is difficult for a parent to understand a child when he or she is active in the gay lifestyle, they argue. It is even more painful when the child ignores and rages against the parents when they are not supporting their choice or even seem to understand.
What advice is there for the parents whose children are gay? How can they put aside their dislike of the behaviour and still have hope of a loving and productive relation-ship with their children?
The American Psychological Association has stated that "There are probably many reasons for a person's sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people." It also stated that for most people, sexual orientation is determined at an early age. However, The World Health Organisation has listed homosexuality as a mental illness.
Tips for parents who are struggling with a child's homosexuality
1. Try not to get defensive or angry when your child says, "I'm gay." This only fuels the fire. Realise that some children go through stages of self-doubt about their sexuality. Some go though experimental stages and sexual fluidity. While you may not condone your child's behaviour, getting in his or her face about it will only confuse him or her more and push you further away from him or her.
2. Do not blame yourself for your child's homosexuality. Some children struggle with same-sex attraction, which is not necessarily due to familiar influence. Remember, it's not up to you to convince them of anything. Your healing can come from forgiving yourself for any misperceptions they may have about you. Your child's healing may come from confronting you or working with a therapist.
- James E. Phelan, psychologist
A 37-year-old delivery man accused of holding a man at knife point and having forced sex with him, was charged with buggery recently.
The accused, from Christiana, Manchester, was charged after he and the complainant were found naked in a car and he told the police nothing was wrong with having sex with a man. The complainant is a 23-year-old farmer from St. Ann.
The accused appeared in the Mandeville Resident Magistrate's Court last Thursday and was granted bail to return on November 26.
See the rest HERE
This Story was already carried by the Star under the headline deviant bugger charged, is the Star running out of gay stories to create excitement???
See the original story HERE as carried on July 30, 2008
Tourism stakeholders, the lecturer declared, must determine if they could continue to ignore this market estimated at US$65 billion, or five per cent of the annual US$1.3 trillion global tourism market.
"Can Jamaica afford not to market itself to lucrative gay travel in an increasingly competitive global tourism market?" Chambers, a lecturer in Tourism at the University of Surrey, asked in a speech at the 2008 ACS Crossroads seminar last week at the University of the West Indies, Mona.
She said that Jamaica could earn a sizeable percentage of the market based on its comparative advantage in tourism. But she cautioned that first a "sanctioned gay space", must be established, otherwise "it cannot happen".
Two years ago, a transsexual porn star berated a risque hotel chain for cancelling its planned party in Jamaica.
"I thought it would be great, unique, and something that would be profitable (since it has never been done before)," the porn star blogged on an online forum. "It really makes me angry, but it's their loss. ENTIRELY."
Chambers noted that gay travel brochures warned about the risk of visiting countries such as Jamaica and claimed that this "anti-gay perception was not confined to homosexuals but fed into heterosexual minds as well".
"And that image will impact not only on the gays attracted but on the straight visitors attracted, particularly as the gay lobby comes down more and more powerfully," she charged.
Chambers further asked: "To what extent can Jamaica say it embraces global tourism and at the same time exclude an important and lucrative niche market? [Also] can the economic imperative precipitate cultural change?"
The fight is made doubly difficult by the fact that most times there is no scarlet letter pinned to the chests of these perpetrators and so we may have no way of knowing or even suspecting them of any wrongdoing. Being our children’s permanent bodyguard is also out of the question. Try as we might, there are times when we have to be a part from our family whether it is to be at work or to take care of some business and our children have to attend school and other places without us being present. Therefore, the best we can do is to educate our children as to which touch is normal and which is representative of a red flag.
The perverts do not believe that a three year-old or a four year-old is too young for his advances so as parents we have to combat against that. Tell them to tell you if anyone touches them there. We cannot afford to wait until it is too late because research has shown that children, who are sexually abused, are almost never able to resume normal lives. So often, boys who are abused by males become engaged in homosexual practices despite efforts to refrain from it. Many of them hate themselves and seek counselling throughout their adult lives and very few receive any type of respite. So taking the time to offer a few cautionary words to your little ones just may end up saving them from a shattering experience.
As difficult as it may be, we cannot afford to be naïve not when the safety of our children is on the line. No one is worthy of our undying trust in this matter. We cannot afford to be so kind, when pastors, priests, teachers and even care givers have been known to commit this unfortunate crime. Nothing and no one should be more important than the safety of our children.
The 17th international AIDS conference opened here Sunday night with a warning to the CARICOM countries that it would not be business as usual in their efforts to achieve the goals associated with universal access.
St Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas who is also chairman of the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), said while there were many success stories in the HIV/AIDS fight in the Caribbean, several challenges remained.
The Caribbean remains second only to sub-Sahara Africa, which has two-thirds or 67 per cent of all people living with HIV worldwide.
UNAIDS says an estimated 20,000 persons in the Caribbean were infected with the disease and some 14,000 died of AIDS-related illnesses last year.
"Many successes have been achieved in individual Caribbean countries in areas such as care and treatment and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. However, as a region, there is no certainty that we will achieve universal access goals if we continue to do business as usual," Douglas said. "Understanding that fact, PANCAP is starting a major advocacy activity in close collaboration with UNAIDS and its co-sponsors."
In outlining the plan, Douglas, who has responsibility for health in CARICOM's quasi cabinet, said it would involve the use of available information to support countries using evidence-based research to implement action in a national context where human rights are respected and promoted, stigma and discrimination are dramatically reduced, and most-at-risk populations are the priority of HIV-prevention programmes.
Monday, August 4, 2008
By next year, the New York Times reports today, more people will be enrolled in preventive-drug studies than in trials of HIV vaccines and microbicides — gels or foams that would be used during sex to destroy the virus or prevent it from causing infection.
As many as 15,000 people are expected to take part in the pre-exposure prophylaxis trials, also known as PrEP, by mid-2009, according to a report by the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition that was presented yesterday at the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. The trials are testing two existing AIDS drugs, tenofovir by itself or in combination with emtricitabine, according to the Times.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose foundation is spending $93 million on PrEP studies, told the Wall Street Journal that the drug regimens are the most realistic, up-and-coming prevention tools.
“If you ask me what will come first,” Gates told the Journal, “something like PrEP has a good chance of becoming available before we have a 100%-efficacious vaccine. The challenges are a little less daunting. If we have that tool, it could have a very big impact.”
While early PrEP trials have shown promise in staving off a virus similar to HIV in primates, and the drugs are safe in humans, it remains to be seen how the medicines would work best as a form of prevention, the Times notes. Would they need to be taken every day, or only before sex? And would they be used in combination with existing preventive methods, such as condoms?
Scientists have been trying to develop a vaccine against HIV since nearly the start of the quarter-century old epidemic. More recently they turned to microbicides, but those, too, have proven disappointing.
go here for more
Around 3am on Sunday a 6 male and 1 female Police patrol with a bailiff arrived at the popular venue in the height of the party session. They instructed the DJs to stop the music but it was noticeable that they were not present to stop the party under the Noise Abatement Act.
Three of the officers had flashlights combing the crowd and they asked for the promoter/owner.
Several of the officers had their vest numbers covered and one assumed officer in particular who was not so friendly was out of uniform, when questioned by patrons as to why they weren't displaying their numbers as required by law, the plain clothes officer left the interior and stepped outside the building. The female officer however proceeded to explain that they were called to find and detain the party promoter and they asked for him by name, by this time numbers were displayed by 3 of the officers who were on the inside, the others waited outside the club.
The party promoter identified himself and after changing out of his drag attire was escorted to his car, by this the female officer continued to explain that he was wanted for questioning for fraud and other matters.
The officers left soon afterwards and the party continued incident free.
Up until post time it is not yet known if the charges were filed and by whom.
We will keep you posted.
It is simplistic to think that the JFJ, IJCHR and FAST only have the JCF and JDF as the common target (the latter as the author points out "to a lesser extent") The reality is that recognizing Jamaica's crime problem, one has to also recognise that the JCF and JDF are employed to "protect and serve", not to add to the crime problem.
Only with a relatively clean force and a fair, efficient judicial system will Jamaicans have the confidence to trust in state security as opposed to private security firms (for those who can afford it) or the local don (for others who can afford this- as there is always a cost whether financially , socially or otherwise)
In case the writer of the Observer article forgot, in trying to excuse the JCF and JDF by shifting the focus to the Human rights Groups, the Police and Defense Force are employed by the State to ensure that our human rights are protected and not infringed (insofar as the country's laws enshrine human rights).
Admin - Thank you for that comment reader
Urgent Need to discuss sex & sexuality II
Newstalk 93FM's Issues On Fire: Polygamy Should Be Legalized In Jamaica 08.04.14
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Thanks for your Donations
thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going, my limited frontline community work, temporary shelter assistance at my home and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venture that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part while raising more real life issues pertinent to us.
Activities & Plans: ongoing and future
- To continue this venture towards website development with an E-zine focus
- Work with other Non Governmental organizations old and new towards similar focus and objectives
- To find common ground on issues affecting GLBTQ and straight friendly persons in Jamaica towards tolerance and harmony
- Exposing homophobic activities and suggesting corrective solutions
- To formalise GLBTQ Jamaica's activities in the long term
- Continuing discussion on issues affecting GLBTQ people in Jamaica and elsewhere
- Welcoming, examining and implemeting suggestions and ideas from you the viewing public
- Present issues on HIV/AIDS related matters in a timely and accurate manner
- Assist where possible victims of homophobic violence and abuse financially, temporary shelter(my home) and otherwise
- Track human rights issues in general with a view to support for ALL
Information & Disclaimer
Individuals who are mentioned or whose photographs appear on this site are not necessarily Homosexual, HIV positive or have AIDS.
This blog contains pictures that may be disturbing. We have taken the liberty to present these images as evidence of the numerous accounts of homophobic violence meted out to alledged gays in Jamaica.
Faces and names witheld for the victims' protection.
This blog not only watches and covers LGBTQ issues in Jamaica and elsewhere but also general human rights and current affairs where applicable.
This blog contains HIV prevention messages that may not be appropriate for all audiences.
If you are not seeking such information or may be offended by such materials, please view labels, post list or exit.
Since HIV infection is spread primarily through sexual practices or by sharing needles, prevention messages and programs may address these topics.
This blog is not designed to provide medical care, if you are ill, please seek medical advice from a licensed practioner
Thanks so much for your kind donations and thoughts.
As for some posts, they contain enclosure links to articles, blogs and or sites for your perusal, 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.
Recent Homophobic Incidents
CLICK HERE for related posts/labels and HERE from the gayjamaicawatch's BLOG containing information I am aware of. If you know of any such reports or incidents please contact email@example.com
What to do if you are attacked (News You Can Use)
Try to reason with the attacker: Establish communication with the person. This takes a lot of courage. However, a conversation may change the intention of an attacker.
Do not try anything foolish: If you know outmanoeuvring the attacker is impossible, do not try it.
Do not appear to be afraid: Look the attacker in the eye and demonstrate that you are not fearful.
This may have a psychological effect on the individual.
The police 119
Crime Stop 311
Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police
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 tensed) 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 violatedi) 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