The women became victims of this circumstance after one was told to leave the inner city area in which she was living as they were supposedly watched by neighbours. The other sister who lived close by in another community would occasionally visit her friend from time to time and this aroused the suspicion of curious or as we say in Jamaican terminology "fass"(very intrusive or inquisitive) persons who wanted to know why this girl kept visiting and if they were sodomites? They nosy ones also questioned if her other friends were gay too as she said she was told by them that a male friend who comes by as well looked "fishy" and they don't want that type in their midst.
When I questioned the ladies whether they thought they were profiled because of how they looked they said yes, the inner city sister was clearly very feminine and reserved while her friend aesthetically speaking was the dominant of the two if we are to go by society's stringent stereotypical measurements of gay couples. Her "butch" dynamic was strong to the point of intimidating in a sense. The matter of profiling is not a new phenomenon and is a feature of how Jamaicans stereotype gays and lesbians especially in the lower socio-economic sections of our society, if one presents aesthetically as the opposite sex then one could be in deep trouble literally speaking.
What was even more unfortunate was that they felt they never needed to go to any advocacy groups or individuals as they among other reasons:
(1) didn't know of the services available by such and
(2) wasn't sure if lesbians would be covered as the impression they have is only gay men's issues are looked at in a public sense. What a perception eh?
Clearly now we are seeing a section of the younger LGBTQI community (the ladies are in their very early twenties) who are not exposed to interventions or knowledge at all or know of the limited avenues available to engage such services or simply to get advice. I suggested they go to JFLAG none the less they said they would think about it but the persons who introduced the ladies to me strongly discouraged that move and were surprised that I even placed it as an option as they are aware of my and others openly expressed criticisms and mistrust coupled with the fallout from the controversial closure of the MSM shelter.
The women however seemed in good spirits and actually have some plans in place to put themselves on a new footing. Wonderful news in as far as self efficacious activity is concerned. As for family members they have been isolated by them as the news spread of the fallout of the first sister the other soon suffered a similar fate given her close proximity to her friend's house she was cautioned as well, to put it mildly. The ladies and their male friends who introduced them to me were out for a stroll on the town I guess in a bid to just relax and temporarily ease the worry of what to do next given their present issue.
I think seriously we need to look at developing something more formal to capture persons who fall in this category but with money such an ever growing scarce commodity these days and funding proposal submissions taking forever to be reviewed what does one do in the meantime?, to stand and watch scenarios like this go on is heartbreaking at times but we ought to press on none the less. Talk therapy does help in a way if it is even just a light hearted exchange about the issue with possible solutions included. The community networking concept has worked as friends help friends out when they can as several other cases before this have proven so we are not so bad a community after all but it would be good to know that when one gets in a rut there are a proper set of systems and professionals in place one can trust to guide and assist with getting ones life back in order. Looks like we have a long way to go yet.
Help your brother or sister out where possible in case you hear anything of this nature friends and look out for yourself too, things aren't easy.
Peace and tolerance.