Saturday, November 15, 2008
I am learning to see my love partner without distortion; to value her as highly as I value myself; to give without expecting anything in return; to commit myself fully to her welfare. Only then can love move freely between us without apparent effort. It’s unconditional love between best friends.
When we are able to love in this selfless manner, we experience a release of energy. We cease to be consumed by the details of our relationship, or the need to operate within the artificial structure of exercises; we spontaneously treat each other with love and respect. Love becomes automatic.
My forever lover is my very best friend!
I believe that friendship among lovers is essential to unconditional love and is the primary ingredient for a deep and lasting love relationship. I trust her with the deepest murmurings of my soul. She knows the best and the worst of me and yet loves me through and through -- a friend as well as a lover.
In order to experience the kind of relationship I want, I accept the fact that, in order to understand each other, my love partner and I must have clearly developed channels of communication. I cultivate transparency of myself by being a master in the art of self-disclosure. I know that when the inclination to reveal myself to the one I love is blocked, I close myself to her and experience emotional difficulties. I promise to never hide behind a facade.
I will forever practice telling my love partner exactly what pleases me, decreasing her reliance on mental telepathy. I express preferences instead of demands. I believe that I can never know myself except as an outcome of disclosing myself to her.
In ways I may not fully understand, self-disclosure helps me to see things, feel things, imagine things, hope for things that I could never have thought possible. The invitation to transparency, then, is really an invitation to authenticity. It is also an invitation to allow myself to be vulnerable.
When I allow my love partner to see me for who I really am right now, I am less afraid I will be rejected in the future. When my love partner accepts and loves me unconditionally, I know I will never have to hide in the relationship in the future.
To have inner peace it is necessary to be consistently loving in what I think, in what I say and in what I do. I think thoughts of love. I speak words of love. I demonstrate unconditional love for my love partner in all that I do.
Openness means being willing to communicate my deepest feelings. There can be no intimacy without conversation. The only way my love partner and I can truly communicate is to tell the truth. Truthful communication moves love partners and creates a condition of unity, love and satisfaction.
For intimacy to grow in a healthy love relationship there can be no withholding; feelings - both positive and negative - must be shared equally between love partners. The act of withholding the truth is always potentially a lie.
The energy required for the self-discipline of honesty is far less than the energy required for withholding. My love partner and I are dedicated to the truth and live in the open, and through the exercise of our courage to live in the open, we become free from fear. Fear cannot exist whenever insight is valued above feeling frightened.
I listen when my lover shares without making judgment. My heart is always open to hear what my love partner has to say.
Someone said that it is possible to be together so much that we suffocate each other. Perhaps. I do not allow this to happen in my love relationship. I believe that love includes letting go when my partner needs freedom; holding her close when she needs care. I am committed to creating space in my relationship when needed.
At the heart of love, there is a simple secret: the lover lets the beloved be free. My love partner and I require different mixes of independence and mutuality, and the mix is freely discussed and renegotiated from time to time when necessary.
When two people in a love relationship are complete within themselves they do not experience the love they have for others as diminishing, detracting, or threatening to the love they share. They are secure within the relationship.
Insecurities bring forth jealousy, which, in effect, is a cry for more love. It is within your rights to ask for more affection when self-doubts surface, however, the indirect way that jealousy asks for it is counterproductive. Excessive possessiveness is inappropriate. Jealousy is the surest way to drive away the very person you may fear losing.
It is an irony that the more possessive I am, the more love I demand, the less I receive; while the more freedom I give, the less I demand, the more love I receive. I take great pleasure in watching my love partner be fully free and fully alive!
We encourage each other to widen our circle of friends. We each seek to ever expand our horizons. We enjoy celebrating life together and with friends!
I know that if I expect to be the only person who matters to my love partner I am setting myself up for disappointment. As wonderful as true love can be, no one person can meet all your needs. My love partner is, and will always be my very best friend, and she is not my only friend.
I fully expect my love partner to have other passionate interests other than me. To extend the freedom to develop her own interests in other people and hobbies can only empower our relationship. Freedom can never confine. It can never be detrimental to the relationship. It can only open up many exciting and previously undiscovered opportunities to enjoy life.
When my lover is pursuing areas in which she excels, she is happy. I enjoy her most when she is happy. People are easier to love when they are happy.
Trust is forever present in our love relationship; trust and deep commitment to each other, and loyalty and devotion. This allows us the freedom to care about people of the opposite sex and to enjoy friendships with them, and when we sit down together in the evening to share the events of the day, we do not have to ask if our love partner has been faithful.
The stronger and more secure we become, the more we are willing to be ourselves while encouraging our love partner to do the same.
Genuine unconditional love not only respects the individuality of the other but actually seeks to cultivate it, even at the risk of separation or loss. The ultimate goal remains the spiritual growth of my love partner, the solitary journey to peaks that can be climbed only alone.
I believe that no matter how committed my forever love relationship, I will always be "single" as well as a part of a couple. Unconditional love is a special, intense connection, and it is not an answer to all or even most individual problems. No one can make me happy but me.
The visit will be the commission's first on-site visit to an English-speaking Caribbean country since 1994.
"The commission will observe the human-rights situation in Jamaica, paying special attention to the situation of citizen security, the conduct of the country's security forces, the administration of justice and prison conditions, as well as the situation of women and children, among other topics," the IACHR said in a release. "With this purpose, the delegation will interview government authorities and meet with representatives of various sectors of civil society in Kingston and in the interior of the country."
The IACHR will also sign an agreement to strengthen institutional cooperation with the Norman Manley Law School at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The commission's mandate is to promote the observance of human rights in the region in accordance with the parameters established in the American Convention on Human Rights, which Jamaica ratified in 1978.
The IACHR will also sign an agreement to strengthen institutional cooperation with the Norman Manley Law School at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus
I watched news reports of a Senate hearing debating Senator Warren Newby's motion on family issues. Senator Basil Waite in his contribution was suggesting that we define and legislate the nation's "preferred family options" to prevent homosexual unions from being so defined.
What Senator Waite seems to be doing is taking the 'boom bye bye' culture of the dancehall and 'senatising' it.
Families are created due to the choice of individuals, and no amount of legislation can change that.
People cohabiting and dedicated to the (emotional, financial, etc) happiness of each other are a family, whether you choose to call them so or not. To suggest that the time of the legislature should be spent cherry-picking preferred families is ridiculous.
Ironically, the motion was to address the breakdown of the Jamaican family structure. If someone was mischievous, they could argue that the traditional family type can't be all that great if it is prone to such failure.
But, seriously, government ought not to get into the matchmaking business. There are too many real issues to be tackled for us to be wasting time on fluff.
And Senator Waite, if you are against gay marriage, here is a simple solution: The next time you are proposed to by a gay man, just say no.
- Oliver Hunter, firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, November 14, 2008
Their comments however became more formal when I asked the young man if they were wearing their service vest numbers as required by law, the young man repeated my question audibly for them to hear and they became more formal in their approach for a time......I guess on the account that they felt some action was going to follow from this. Interestingly the so called police officers were in an unmarked vehicle, a white Toyota Corolla licenced number 0023 EW as described to me by the young man.
The formalities soon died down and the young man foolishly in error became boisterous and hurled expletives at the men after they seized his car documents, saying he was a "fish" (gay) and demanded that he open the vehicle for them to search, the exchange continued for about a half a minute then the officers said they were going to arrest the caller for use of indecent language (curse words which are often used by officers themselves to citizens), they ordered him into his vehicle without returning his papers and demanded that he follow them to the Police station, all this happened after they physically removed him from his vehicle before the call was made.
By now, 4:17secs into the call (I checked my time on the screen) I asked the young man again to look for any identifying numbers that can be used in case the situation got out of hand. He could find none as they weren't wearing their numbered vests as the law requires while on duty or on a patrol. I instructed him to obey and go to the station with them but not to hang up the phone which as it turns out was an earpiece. He did just that, as he was nearby the station based on his description of where the original encounter took place.
They finally asked who he was speaking to on the phone so long and he said JFLAG proudly, he then said everyone started being formal to him again and they told him how to get released from the station - a citizen with a valid ID or a Justice of the Peace to present themselves at the station to declare his identity.
A little networking followed from my part and he got released soon after by volunteers.
However this incident, minor as it seems is a clear indication that all is not well inside our Police ranks and with allegation after allegation of members of the force involved in illegal activities, chief of which bribery from motorists to destroy or avoid traffic tickets, this in a way does not surprise me and does not auger well for us a nation on a whole, gay or straight.
This is a cause for concern.
The rain started to pour and the woman, her 2 brothers and male friend sought shelter on the car porch, her 7 year old daughter and the daughter of her older brother were inside the house and the other family members were away.
Upon approaching the porch sounds of gunshots began to ring out and she soon realised she was hit in the right side of her abdomen, it penetrated her kidney and exited her body, she proceeded to run into the house and was struck twice, on the left buttocks and leg, she fell and played dead, where she called the police from her cell phone while in that lying position. The gunmen were overheard saying "yes we get di lesbian, but the battyman dem get weh" they were intent on finishing the job and were in search of the two males. Her brothers were not known to be gay but guilt by association was the motive as presented to us in the victim's account of the incident.
As for the brothers, one was shot five times and the other three times. The brothers one of whom is gay made their way with the help of friends and family living nearby to the hospital for treatment. Our lesbian victim by now had managed to drag herself into the house after calling for help from onlookers & hiding her daughter and niece under clothing and sheets with a breath-hole and instructed them to remain there until the police arrived.
The male friend was unharmed.
The neighbours and onlookers were unsympathetic and were even expressing no remorse for the act being done to the victims. They accused her of being a lesbian and her brother of being a "battyman" and that the family was condoning it, so all of them should have been killed. One of her brothers was even taunted at work by his coworkers about the incident that his lesbian sister and "battyman" should have died.
The police were helpful in this matter, they took the victim to the hospital and visited her afterwards there where she underwent an operation to remove a kidney and a damaged section of her liver. She was unable to walk at the time but is Glad to be alive and recovering well.
She has done follow up treatment and tests as her doctor has ordered.
She has relocated to family and friends who are very supportive. The brothers have also received medical attention and had the bullets removed and are recuperating.
One of the gunmen was captured after the police picked up on intelligence that he was boasting about the incident, he has previous charges pending of other shootings in and around the area. (not of LGBT people) the other is still in the run. The case is to be mentioned again soon in court.
Naturally the three are scared to go to court as they are in fear of their lives and knowing the holes in the witness protection program they are hesitant to pursue the issue presently. Her performance on her job has been affected so her income has depleted but she is cheerful non-the-less. She is thinking about what is her next step.
Her gay brother is presently not employed but is assisted by friends, the children of the two were traumatised for several weeks after the incident but are recovering well it seems after we spoke to them over the phone.
We are praying that all goes well with her and her brothers as they rebuild their lives.
We have intervened financially to assist them and have sourced counseling services for them.
A recent visit to our offices by the the two LGBT victims saw them in good spirits.
(photos withheld by request)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Download the PDF version of the UNFPA's 2008 report HERE
Main Page: http://www.unfpa.org/
Building Support for Human Rights
Download chapter in pdf
The Debate Over Human Rights
The Evolving Nature of Human Rights
Building Cultural Legitimacy for Human Rights
Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering Women
Download chapter in pdf
Gender Equality, Women’s Empowerment and Culture
The Many Faces of Power: Examples from Africa
Cultural Struggles Against Domestic Violence in Latin America
Culture, Gender and Human Rights
Seven Lessons from Experience
Gender and Reproductive Health in Conflict Situations
Download chapter in pdf
Cultures, Gender Relations and Armed Conflicts
Addressing Gender Relations in Armed Conflicts: United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000)
Culturally Sensitive Approaches, Gender Relations and Armed Conflicts
Culturally sensitive approaches are essential for understanding men and women’s experiences in armed conflicts
Impact, Analysis, Response
Negotiating Cultures Within Development Organizations
State of the World Population Report 2008 (video)
Caribbean Laws Criminalizing Homosexuality Hampering Efforts To Fight HIV/AIDS Should Be Repealed Officials Say
Figueroa said that repealing such laws could help decrease discrimination against MSM by sending a signal that they should not be excluded from society. He said inclusion of the MSM population is "important because when people see themselves as excluded or discriminated against and stigmatized, it promotes risky behavior," which could increase the possibility of HIV transmission. Figueroa added that repealing the ban would help "promote personal responsibility for safe sex."
According to Figueroa, it is "difficult for [people in the region] to understand the public health argument" that such laws are "outdated" and "contribut[e] to the [HIV] epidemic" because many people in the region believe homosexuality is "immoral." He said his motives for supporting the repeal are based on public health concerns. Although Figueroa said officials are "respecting whatever views there are concerning the morality of [homosexuality]," policymakers, health workers and advocates should look at the act "from a public health perspective, ... recognizing that [a repeal] will help to reduce the spread of HIV."
According to the CMC/Sun, the "next major hurdle" in the effort to repeal such laws is to persuade politicians, such as Jamaica's Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who "have long maintained that they would not commit political suicide by taking actions not popular with their constituents." However, political support for repealing such laws is increasing, with political figures like Dominica's Health Minister John Fabien offering support, CMC/Sun reports.
Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland, a Barbadian lawyer, said that although she is not convinced the "political will is there" to repeal the acts, she does think the "awareness building is there." Bynoe-Sutherland said that "what is increasingly going to happen is that there is going to be a constructive discussion using public health, using approaches to improving the health systems...that would allow the politicians to do what they have to do for all communities" who are at risk of HIV/AIDS (CMC/Antigua Sun, 11/10).
Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
by Andy Liburd
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (CMC) – Two and a half decades after it was branded “the gay plague” AIDS is again taking a toll on certain vulnerable groups within the Caribbean Community (Caricom), one of them being men who have sex with men.
Globally, homosexual and bi-sexual males are 19 times as likely to contract HIV than the rest of the population and data released at the 8th Annual General Meeting of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) in October show that in this part of the world, the HIV prevalence among that group is very high.
While data was not available for every member country, the available statistics showed the Bahamas with a prevalence rate of
"We believe that pre-employment screening is unnecessary and could lead to discrimination," a coalition of HIV support groups has said.
The umbrella body comprises the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life and the Latin America and Caribbean Council of AIDS Service.
The Government is pushing for the introduction of the Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS by year end. A joint select committee of Parliament has been set up to examine the Green Paper and make a report to the House of Representatives.
Right of the employer
Last week, Minister of Water and Housing Horace Chang and Opposition Senator Sandrea Falconer said it was the right of the employer to pretest recruits for HIV/AIDS.
"If an employer wishes to pretest a potential employee for medical problems - AIDS, hypertension, diabetes - it's their right to do so, they are employing them," Chang said.
Falconer echoed Chang's sentiments but noted that Parliament, in determining law, must ensure there is no discrimination against employees.
Labour code breaches
But the HIV support groups say allowing employers to pretest for HIV/AIDS is a contravention of the International Labour Organisation Code of Practice on HIV and the World of Work/ UNAIDS guidelines.
"We wish to point out that studies done by the Global Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS have revealed that pre-employment testing usually fails to achieve the desired results of significantly reducing HIV prevalence in a workforce and doesn't lead to any reduction in risk-taking behaviours to reduce HIV infection rates once employed," the HIV support groups said.
The Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition is also against pretesting.
"This move is a clear violation of the human rights of indivi-duals," the coalition said.
"Testing ... does not in any way inform the personal sexual practices by persons living with HIV, neither does it reduce exposure of co-workers to sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV."
Sunday, November 9, 2008
HABS, together with “Stop Murder Music Bern”, opposed the concert because Capleton has performed songs encouraging violence against lesbian and gay people, in violation of his commitment to abide by the terms of the Reggae Compassionate Act (RCA) – an agreement that he signed in early 2007, whereby he undertook to not perform “murder music” songs any more.
“Stop Murder Music Bern” was able to prove that after he signed the RCA Capleton has performed songs that incite homophobic violence, including during last year's Christmas Extravaganza concert in Jamaica.
Capleton, a Jamaican dancehall singer, was booked to give a concert in the Kaserne, an alternative music venue in Basel, Switzerland.
Because of his act of bad faith in violating the RCA, which he signed and promised to uphold, the venue cancelled his performance.
HABS and SMM Berne are now demanding that Capleton publicly apologise and make a renewed statement in support of the rights and welfare of gay, bi and transsexual people.
“The Stop Murder Music campaign gave Capleton a chance to continue his career unimpeded if he agreed to stop inciting the murder of lesbian and gay people,” said Peter Tatchell, UK coordinator of the Stop Murder Music campaign.
“He signed the RCA and promised to abide by it. But he has carried on as before, stirring up homophobic hatred and violence. We feel tricked, betrayed and cheated.
“Congratulations to the Swiss campaigners for getting his concert pulled. Performers who promote the killing of other human beings should not be rewarded with concerts, money and stardom,” Mr. Tatchell said.
“This is the latest of scores of concert cancellations secured by our SMM activists around the world. We have targeted eight Jamaican dancehall singers whose lyrics glorify, encourage and promote the murder of lesbian and gay people. Their incitements are criminal offences.
“Our aim is to show these artists that homophobia doesn’t pay. It has a damaging financial consequence,” added Mr Tatchell.
HABS has sent an open letter to Capleton:
There is a concert planned with Capleton in Lausanne, Switzerland, tomorrow (November 8). Different Swiss organizations are now calling for cancelling this concert
In addition, more than a dozen Capleton concerts are scheduled in France, starting next week.
Different Swiss organizations are now calling for cancelling the concert in Lausanne.
Reggae Compassionate Act agreement broken – Concerts in France next week
Urgent Need to discuss sex & sexuality II
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Violence and venom force gay Jamaicans to hide
Violence and venom force gay Jamaicans to hide a 2009 Word focus report where the history of the major explosion of homeless MSM occurred and references to the party DVD that was leaked to the bootleg market which exposed many unsuspecting patrons to the public (3:59), also the caustic remarks made by former member of Parliament in the then JLP administration. The agencies at the time were also highlighted and the homo negative and homophobic violence met by ordinary Jamaican same gender loving men. The late founder of the CVC, former ED of JASL and JFLAG Dr. Robert Carr was also interviewed. At 4:42 that MSM was still homeless to 2012 but has managed to eek out a living but being ever so cautious as his face is recognizable from the exposed party DVD, he has been slowly making his way to recovery despite the very slow pace
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
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Recent Homophobic Incidents
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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