Do you think the Buggery Law should be?

The Safe House Homeless LGBTQ Project 2009 a detailed look & more


In response to numerous requests for more information on the defunct Safe House Pilot Project that was to address the growing numbers of displaced and homeless LGBTQ youth in Kingston in 2007/8/9, a review of the relevance of the project as a solution, the possible avoidance of present issues with some of its previous residents if it were kept open.
Recorded June 12, 2013; also see from the former Executive Director named in the podcast more background on the project: HERE also see the beginning of the issues from the closure of the project: The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes and The Ultimatum on December 30, 2009

Friday, March 12, 2010

Circumcision may not cut HIV spread among gay men says CDC in a new study

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Although studies in Africa have shown that circumcision can lower the spread of HIV among heterosexuals, it may not do much to prevent infections among gay and bisexual men in Western countries, a new study suggests.

A number of studies in African nations have found that circumcised heterosexual men were up to 60 percent less likely than uncircumcised men to contract HIV during the study periods.
But it is unclear whether circumcision could have an impact on HIV transmission in the U.S. or other Western countries, where much of the transmission is among men who have sex with men. There has so far been no good evidence that circumcision lowers HIV risk among these men.

In the new study, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at HIV infection rates among nearly 4,900 men in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands who took part in a clinical trial of an HIV vaccine.

They found that circumcised and uncircumcised men showed no difference in the risk of HIV infection over three years.

Moreover, while having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive partner increased a man's risk of infection, there was no evidence that circumcision altered that risk.

The findings, reported in the journal AIDS, come as the CDC is developing new recommendations on circumcision for reducing HIV transmission. The agency says it is considering whether to recommend circumcision for heterosexual men at elevated risk of HIV, and whether there is enough evidence to make any recommendations for men who have sex with men.

With regards to infant circumcision, the CDC says on its Web site, "many options are still being considered in this process, including simply recommending that health-care providers educate parents about the potential benefits and risks to ensure that parents have the information they need to make an informed decision."

Circumcision is thought to protect men from HIV infection because foreskin tissue appears particularly susceptible to the virus, and may serve as an entry point for it.

But circumcision may not make much difference in transmission among men in Western countries for a number of reasons, according to Deborah A. Gust and her colleagues at the

CDC.

One factor could be the fact that many HIV-positive people in developed countries are on powerful HIV drugs that reduce the chances of transmission, and may outweigh any effects of circumcision. In addition, Gust and her colleagues point out, circumcision would not affect HIV risk from receptive anal sex -- and that, again, could outweigh any protective effect of circumcision during insertive sex.

The findings are based on data from 4,889 men who took part in an HIV vaccine trial begun in 1998; 86 percent had been circumcised. During the three-year study, 7 percent of the men became HIV-positive.

When the researchers accounted for other factors -- including demographics, and HIV risk factors like drug use and having unprotected sex -- circumcision showed no effect on the odds of HIV transmission.

Still, Gust and her colleagues point to some limitations of their study, including the relatively small number of uncircumcised men overall and the small number of uncircumcised men who became HIV-positive during the study -- 43.

They say that future studies, with larger samples of uncircumcised men, should continue to look at the question of circumcision and HIV transmission among men who have sex with men.

The researchers also note, however, that other CDC scientists have concluded, based on their own studies, that circumcision would likely have only a "limited" impact on HIV transmission in the U.S.

SOURCE: AIDS, 2010.

Dancehall meets house music: Is Tolerance already there in the fusion but unrecognised?

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Just by basic observation wearing my other hat as a DJ there has been a growing fusion of sorts happening for some time now where dancehall acts and producers have been appearing on and releasing house based rhythms averaging 120 BPMs, beats per minute. Technically speaking this was not so in the early days of dancehall it was practically unheard of for dancehall acts to be doing disco sounding songs as a backlash of sorts was on in the late seventies to early eighties when rhythms were just 30 – 80 BPM with “Riddims” released on the spur from various production houses and producers. Could it be that the dancehall acts are experimenting with the sounds to stay relevant on the European and international scenes due to the pressures of the Stop Murder Music Campaigns in the respective areas?

House music, techno or disco as we label all beats with 120 BPMs or over as gay music so many dancehall acts at that time avoided such rhythms and stuck to the original formula of the double drop beats with the one clap as evidenced in songs like Little Lenny’s “Gun Inna Baggy” or Shabba Ranks’ “Trailer Load a Gal” a formula that is still used on some rhythms today but they hardly are becoming hits. Most tunes today are house or hip hop influenced such as Vybz Kartel’s recent hit “Life We Living”

It was not until a raft artists started signing deals with the major labels in the United States during the nineties such as Lt. Stitchie to Atlantic Records where his song “Man fi Know how fi Dress was remixed into a now hard to find commercially seven minute house stomper which went to number one on the billboard dance music charts then other artists started following suit of course the original 70s/80s disco beat is no stranger to Jamaicans DJs and singers present on it, there were older artists like Denroy Morgan father to the members of Morgan Heritage who delivered his big hit “I’ll Do Anything for You” in the eighties which although not reaching number one on the dance or pop charts is still a staple on radio and club DJ playlists especially the 12’’ extended play.

Jamaicans on a whole prefer the older disco songs like Madonna’s “Holiday”, Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” recent modern house updates like Robin S’s “Show Me Love” and Black Box’s “Everybody” are accepted in the dancehall setting as early spins by disc jocks. On the gay circuit songs like Amber’s “Sexual,” Pusaka’s “The Worst Thing,” Kina’s “Girl from the Ghetto” and a recent 2009 J. Verner remix of Wide life’s “I Don’t Want You” are all time favourites. I will do a complete list some time soon. (dj.howie1@gmail.com)
Let’s not forget other mainstream Jamaican artists and those of Jamaican lineage such as Gwen Guthrie with her worldwide smash “Aint Nothing Goin on But The Rent” another oldie but goodie and the eccentric Grace Jones with “My Jamaican Guy” “I Need a Man” and “Pull Up To My Bumper” who is worshipped by gay men everywhere, then there is Sheryl Lee Ralph (one of the original Dream girls, the Broadway production in the eighties) with her worldwide smash “In The Evening” which has been remixed and re-released on several labels including a serious stomper by Almighty Productions all are cult classics and revered by the gay community worldwide. Let’s not forget the queen of Reggae Marcia Griffiths whose smash “Electric Boogie” is known everywhere it has been adopted by dancers and kept alive by the gay community especially in the United States as we saw in the Noah’s Arc series in season two where at its end the guys danced together doing the Boogie.

Other artists who have been remixed as well include Johnny P, Shaggy and most recently Shabba Ranks who we can remember ran into problems with the gay lobby groups in the UK in the early nineties. His latest effort “Love Me No More” was a collaboration with Bob Sinclar (actual spelling) the song has a flat out Reggae beat at first but morphs into a straight out deep filter house madness which I have spun at a few gigs. Mr. Sinclar is a well respected French house DJ/producer who has been working with other Jamaican DJs and using yard influenced beats on his house tracks. His alliance with former Bob Marley & The Wailers member Gary Pine to produce the unforgettable “Love Generation” has re-launched the interest in the fusion, his biggest hit in my view is “World Hold On” with Gary Pine again on vocals so massive it was that it was used for ads and appeared on Noah’s Arc: Jumping The Broom” movie where Noah and other cast members vogued to it. Speaking of Bob Marley we have seen a steady stream of techno, trance experiments and deep house remixes of his songs chief among them is a delicious loop and sampling of “I am Rainbow Too” taken from his classic tune “Sun is Shinning” of course implying an Anthemic gay theme with its repetitious haunts, I personally love it. The latest bootleg release I have heard is “I Shot the Sheriff 2010” as done by an underground European team.

Even harder cult artists like Beenieman have been mixed by popular house music remixers one can remember “Dancehall Queen” a duet with Chevelle Franklin taken from the local movie of the same name which was redone for a promo CD by the infamous and influential Maurice Joshua, that was an unexpected surprise as the Jamaica stations at the time spun it like it was going out of style. The deep creative orgasmic looping of Chevelle’s voice was infections at the first 2 minutes of the track (Oooh Uh Uh Uh). Ini Kamoze during his short success in the nineties had his songs remixed including the secondary hit “Listen To Me Tick” by one of the early house music pioneers David Morales also other artists like Papa San before his sojourn into gospel had songs remixed and distributed by Mercury Records who at the time had Crystal Waters delivering massive dance stompers like “Gypsy Woman (la da dee la dee da) in 1994 which had a remix with a raga sounding chant. David Morales himself has done some experimenting with Ragga as they call dancehall delivery of the words or lyrics. His major release “Dance Inna De Ghetto” is still spun somewhere in the world on a dance floor. Lets not forget Real 2 Reel’s “I Like To Move It” which was a major New York underground track on an independent label (Strictly Rhythm) in 1994 which also has been remixed and re-interpreted with the infamous Ragga vocals which moves gay and straight floors alike. Classic dancehall DJ Eee-ka Mouse as well has experimented appearing on an underground dance track in 1991 the name escapes me now but the 12’’ vinyl release I recall very well. Big vocals and impressive delivery as Diana King ruled in the nineties as well with club/house interpretations of her hits “Aint Nobody” (Chaka Khan cover) and “Say a Little Prayer for You” (Aretha Franklin cover) the former remixed by David Morales while the other mixed by a UK based set of remixers known as Love To Infinity who has mixed everyone from MJ to Whitney, Diana King was one of the last Jamaican big voice sisters to score big on the Billboard pop and dance charts.

Modern artists who have been mixed despite their songs not becoming major hits include Tami Chyn’s “Frozen” as done by Ralphi Rosario (who has mixed Mariah) then there is Enur that featured the late Natajsha with this massive underground hit “Calibra” aka “Talk of The Town” which has been used by Beenieman and others for remixes of local songs.
The most recent release of Major Laser’s “Pon De Floor with samplings of Vybz Kartel, Busy Signal and others tearing up clubs and dancehall events everywhere in Jamaica I was struck by the impact hence this post. I think we already have fused both music forms at the cultural level then why can’t we just drop the homophobic crap? Other songs that have been doubled as house and dancehall on the turntables and CD mixers is Enur’s Calibra just the first lines get the crowds into a frenzy and people vouging or whining as they feel, it is one of those versatile numbers that have become unforgettable.

At the musical level and even at other levels of entertainment namely the stage productions with gay typed characters namely “The Oliver Samuels, Chu Chu and Shebada effects” on dramatic theatre the meeting of the cultures are proven beyond the shadow of a doubt it is hard to comprehend here some questions that come to mind:

Why this fusion has has not trickled down to the grassroots or to the actual messages in songs?

What could be holding us back as a people to recognise this clearly and just forage into tolerance?
Do we as gay community need to launch some public education drive to highlight the fusions?


So dancehall has already met house music and both cultures are walking parallel these days just listen to the speed, techno and filter electronic sounds of the new tracks from so called hard core acts like Vybz Kartel and others and the proliferations of instructional dance songs inviting the listener to dance via move by move outlines. The fusion though obviously present and which could have been recognised to some extent but as is expected coming out of this new feel are homophobic tinged criticisms and lyrics where males dancing together in groups have been severely criticised by several new songs notably a song “Ladies if You Ready to Party” while on a fierce 128 BPM techno feel track it specifically asks that other males stay far during participation on the dance floor so we still have a long way yet to go as evidenced here. Homophobia and fear have crept in, the perceptions that many of the dancers from the various houses are on the down low is also not lost to many, we have seen the vicious commentary levied at a recent popular dancer and his subsequent removal from his dance team and the physical attacks and feuds between groups with accusations of gaydom levied at each other.

One popular commentator has said something unexpected by hinting that most creative persons are gay and maybe we are going to have to start taking a look again at our entertainment structure, a rather progressive comment given the context here. Let’s watch the trend here folks it may change yet again as our music has always done. Maybe the very call for tolerance my come from the dancehall community itself.

Peace and tolerance

H

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Women for Women still on the move.

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In response to the recent International Women's Day celebrations in recognition I found it fit to highlight a group of active Jamaican lesbian and bisexual women who are working for change on the ground.

With the departure of the active and vivacious former Chairman of the only lesbian and bisexual group in Jamaica who left “very large breasts to fill” according to one of the present Co-chairs shared jokingly in an interview at their offices on March 3, 2010 the group has refocused its attentions on issues affecting lesbian, bisexual and special transsexual community members. Of note the transgendered community that of Female to Male preoperative individuals have been very active themselves and have formed important alliances with the WFW and other small activist typed ventures to work on their respective objectives.

Women for Women is a Jamaican not for profit unpaid membership organization which focuses on issues relating to and supports the needs of lesbians. Their mandate is to unite and assist in the educating of persons within the Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered community by implementing programs focussing on but not limited to personal and career development, general deportment and family issues. Through edutainment and sports, the objective is to assist in reducing the negative and in many instances self destructive practices within the local community.


Their Motto: In Support of Sisterly Love, Unity


They embrace transgendered persons despite specifications be they Male to Female or Female to Male variants. They intend to focus on the real issues affecting the community they have already begun to address pertinent issues in the form of interventions with workshops and other forumatic activities directed at their membership.


They have launched a special award named the “Simple” Award as named after the former chairperson for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2010 which will become annual feature to recognise women who make significant contributions to the development of the sisterhood and are active in general women’s issues. Their first actual private presentation ceremony is expected to occur on March 8, 2010.


They intend to continue the programs as started under the previous administration with several new initiates added since the appointment of two new Co-chairs. They are seeking funding to support said programs those that are active include the Sport program to include as much sporting activities as possible, Developmental programs including Career choice activities, motivational speaking on several issues including human rights issues and recreational activities to include outings and other cathartic based activities. They are also seeking to collaborate with other women’s rights groups to arrive at formidable cooperative initiatives at empowering women from all walks of life and sexual orientation.


For further information on this active Jamaican women’s group please send an email to womenforwomen1999@gmail.com

Good luck to my sisters in the struggle as we have seen since recently the awful scourge of the episodes of “Corrective rapes” and other forms of deviant violence and discrimination meted out to women in general be they lesbian bisexual or heterosexual as reported on this blog and elsewhere, the various groups under the GLBTQ variants must begin to cross fertilise ideas and concerns albeit they may not be those directly related to the other groups concerned. The recent Armadale incident and subsequent damming inquiry as well is a clear indication as to the “hatred” towards the female gender even in our so called homophobic society where several female wards of the state lost their lives to basically due to state neglect and women deemed as outcasts and unworthy as possible productive citizens, issues and societal ills that have yet to be properly dealt with in terms of the perception towards women in general society in the so called age of information women still suffer bouts of outward discrimination.

As I left the short interview process with the Co-chair the executive and other committee members were preparing for what turned out to be a spirited meeting as we were in earshot on the vibrant but muted exchanges. In a way this active group is showing the rest of us in advocacy how it really ought to be done.


A word to the wise is sufficient.


They have promised to and wherever possible to provide and contribute direct lesbian centred articles as a sign of cooperation.

Peace and tolerance


H

Missed Opportunities in HIV-AIDS outreach on the social scenes.

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In another follow-up post on the recent release of the (MSMGF) The Global Forum on MSM & HIV February policy report for 2010 I would like to put some of the suggestions and concerns in the context of the subjected title where I feel we have missed key opportunities for the local level that require very little funding if any and simple approaches that could have been effective which may have helped to reduce our rates of infection in the MSM population here.
We now have an infection rate of 30%.

It is well known that the social events such as lymes, parties and meetings are where larger numbers of GLBTQ persons can be reached in one go or repetitiously. Despite the fact that the MSM population has always been naturally migratory due to several negative homophobic and social causes in our environment these social events offer a chance to do some serious interventions that ought to have the assistance of the party promoters themselves and other key volunteers who are willing to work, the difficulty with the volunteers as I have come to realize is that they do not necessarily wish to engage the present set of groups and organizations that operate just now as many feel disillusioned by the systems over the years.
The recommendations as provided in the MSMGF document entitled “Reaching, Men who have sex with Men in the Global HIV Aids Epidemic,” are still worth exploring despite many of them have been espoused before and worded differently in other reports and documents from various groups and individuals.

Here are a few:
Under the heading - Expanded coverage of quality HIV-related services for MSM
Services and information tailored to the needs of gay men and other MSM are essential for the effective prevention, treatment and care of HIV and AIDS. HIV prevention messaging focusing exclusively on heterosexual transmission has led to misconceptions among MSM in various parts of the world that sex between men carries no risk of HIV transmission.13 14 Similarly, the word “sex” in certain contexts can indicate reproduction,15 again leading to dissociation between male-to-male sex and an understanding of HIV risk.

Clear and targeted information campaigns that appropriately address the risk of HIV transmission between men are necessary tools for effective HIV prevention. This must be coupled with access to a full complement of HIV prevention technologies, including condoms and water-based lubricants, that enable MSM to protect themselves and their sexual partners. For instance, when water-based lubricants are expensive or not widely available, oil based products like Vaseline and body creams are more commonly used instead4 which break down latex condoms and render them ineffective.

“MSM are considered to be a hard to reach group. For those of us working with this community, we have noted that it is large in size, and found across the nation in rural, peri-urban and urban centers. The current HIV programmes within the country are exclusively for heterosexuals. This prevents MSM from accessing prevention materials and other services that they require to address their health needs.”
Samuel Matsikure, Programmes Manager- Health,
Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), Zimbabwe, MSMGF Steering Committee Member

This is not much of a difference here in Jamaica as mot of our healthcare systems are designed for a heterosexual operated environment.

MSMGF Recommendations
• As highlighted in the 2009 AIDS Epidemic Update, programs to address HIV among MSM should constitute an important part of any national AIDS control plan.
• All nations should provide a minimum package of services for HIV prevention among MSM adopted. The Bangkok experience, documented in a 2009 consultation convened by UNDP, WHO, UNAIDS and others,16 includes five categories of interventions:
o peer and outreach education,
o free distribution of condoms and lubricants,
o use of targeted media,
o sexually transmitted infections (STI) screening and treatment, and
o voluntary HIV testing.
• Programming should ensure that HIV service providers have the necessary knowledge, tools and training to provide services to MSM, including the transfer of specialized clinical skills and anti-homophobia training. Furthermore, these must be made available and accessible to MSM in all areas, including urban, peri-urban and rural.

Under - Increased investment in effective HIV prevention, care, treatment, and support programs for MSM

Since the beginning of the new millennium, an unprecedented amount of attention and funding has been channeled toward combating the global HIV & AIDS epidemic.8 This has allowed tremendous progress to be made. Over the last ten years or so, a steadily growing response to this crisis from public, private and non-profit agencies globally,9 has made available significant financial resources to HIV-disease initiatives particularly in mid- and low income countries. A recent UNAIDS report10 documents the many successes of the heightened AIDS response, namely an increase in ART coverage from 7% in 2003 to 42% in 2008 among children and adults, and in one year, a 35% increase in the number of health facilities providing HIV testing and counseling in low- and middle-income countries from 2007 to 2008

However, while UNAIDS estimates that sex between men accounts for between 5 and 10% of HIV infections worldwide,11 only 1.2% of all HIV prevention funding is targeted toward MSM.12 Although transmission rates vary considerably between countries, this is still a clear indication of global priorities in HIV investments therefore necessitating a more evidence-informed strategy for the future.

MSMGF Recommendations include:
Country governments, humanitarian and global health institutions, donors, and national and international AIDS control organizations should ensure that financial and human resources committed to addressing HIV among MSM are proportional to HIV disease burden.
• In countries and regions where HIV prevalence data among MSM does not exist or is inadequate, capacity building for research to map the epidemic must be urgently prioritized. This will inform optimal targeting of HIV programs, as well as the allocation of public health resources.
• Key donors, including the World Bank and the UN, should prioritize a global ‘mapping analysis’ of funding investment in MSM programs in order to assess current levels of investment and provide a baseline for evaluating forward progress.

While there is a need for financial investments to carry out the well needed programs and interventions I feel we have not been seriously using the ideas and human resources available on the ground as part and parcel on these programs and strategies. Many persons who have been trained for peer to peer work etc are hardly utilized to carry out specific responsibilities on a volunteer basis for short periods in an effort for continuity of said interventions. MSMs are not readily visible and many who are already HIV+ do not necessarily access public health care readily and usually wait until they are at a crisis stage before doing do so they wont be reached by any direct interventions soon. The intricate network on event planners and social cell groups around are fertile ground for this kind splintered intervention that may well come together after some time.

One hardly hears of any regularly planned or occurring focus or support groups for HIV positive MSMs while done in a social setting or via private cell groups at all. The idea was reestablished under the former Jamaica AIDS Support for Life’s GLABCOM’s Steering Committee (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Community Outreach under the aegis of the Targeted Interventions Dept. drawn from the GLBTQ communities) of which I was a member, where it was agreed and formulated that selected committee members themselves would have identified their own peers and gone in to enact the Targeted Interventions initiatives at the time, it was beginning to bear fruit as all participating members had to report at every meeting what was accomplished or discussed at the cell group level this in turn was to be fed into a larger monthly and then annually published document but as we saw the GLABCOM program was closed in Kingston and the regularly held general populations meetings would have acted as a conduit if the ideas were allowed to flourish. There was some concerns raised at the Board level of JASL that the GLAB Steering Committee ought to concern itself with policy development at the Management level and not in direct activities as a committee to which I strongly disagree, we are also a part of the community and hence we must not only be developers but direct participants in order to engage others.

The apparent lack of autonomy as well at the GLABCOM Steering Committee level to function was another hindrance as at that time we had to operate in the purview of the T.I’s goals and objectives so many other social support ideas that were not adopted or carried out by JFLAG were left on paper because they couldn’t be supported by the structure.

It is only recently we have seen some presence of Peer Influentials (P.I) at a few events and they only seem to just operate at a basic level that of a condom station and very little interactions with the patrons present. The identification of willing volunteers is a critical first step then the planning and roll out of very simple yet effective initiatives ideas of which reside in the very communities that are to be reached, volunteers must feel a sense of worth in participating where their ideas, plans and objectives form part of the solutions (GLABCOM or similarly typed semi-autonomous structure).

The other communities have very little direct interventions to tackle HIV/AIDS issues save and except for the heterosexual designed messages from the national programs. There is very little exposure to GLBTQ messaging via US cable television and the internet but that will not and has not sufficed to make a meaningful impact as I feel persons feel removed from their cultural differences.

Please download the PDF version of the report from MSMGF and peruse it carefully.

Recommendations welcomed also no matter how simple, sometimes it’s those that work.

Peace and tolerance.

H

my rants and rave:

Authorities put pressure on male and female Commercial Sex Work

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Reports that commercial sex workers most of whom are female who operate in sections of Kingston have been coming under pressure from the (KSAC) Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation through the mayor’s office and the police have been confirmed. Police have been regularly patrolling the New Kingston strips recently and arresting ladies and men of the night. According to a source the nearby drug base as well in the business district has been targeted and the authorities have been getting information allegedly from this arena about the individuals who sell sex for a living on the roads.

So called massage parlours that are perceived by many to be undercover commercial sex operations have also been coming under scrutiny with a small operation in Portmore relocating to a new address after they feared they would be raided due to public pressure from citizens in that region, the numerous ads that appeared in selected newspapers have been decreasing, the hip street on the back road in Portmore (Port Henderson)as well has been coming under pressure ever since the debate came to light that the area may be declared a red light district a call that the Portmore citizenry has sent a strong backlash to.


Decency and advocacy.


While I can concur with the rule of law and maintaining public decency removing the commercial sex workers be they male or female from the street without any commensurate social support systems is foolhardy. They will just take their trade to other places and continue whilst putting themselves at further risk by engaging in risky behaviour by improper condom negotiating skills in a bid to secure any customer who may come by some of who ask for bareback sexual activities to be performed on them or any other unusual requests in a bid to secure funds. One commercial sex worker I interviewed said she has had one of her former clients move in as he proposed to help her as he is romantically interested so she has been able to become stable in a sense for some months now, not an usual occurrence but rarely happens to a few CSWs, most others however are not so lucky they have to be plying their trade at bars and other spots doubling as exotic dancers as well with very little success as the economic situation has already made a fledgling business even less fruitful. Male sex workers on the other hand cannot do exotic dancing as supplemental income hence they become more overt wit h their side of the craft in a bid to secure business fortunately at a time when some fragile tolerance seems to have come from not only their female counterparts on the respective strips and their pimps but also men who seek such services by meeting them in these spaces.


One of the other sad parts about this is that some of the CSWs are HIV positive with very little support systems on the street despite the availability of a Commercial Sex Workers Association that with little funding and resources it too has its share of issues to attend to. There was a project launched earlier last year through a private entity to assist some Commercial Sex Workers of female persuasion to train and find work in other parts of the world as household technicians and other similar typed positions. It was met with some cynicism by public commentators and the sections of the religious community, not surprising as many feel commercial sex workers cannot improve their lives and are always so despite whatever progressive changes they embark on, so much for religion and inclusion.


There are no such known programs for MSMs who engage in sex work that is of great significance that would seek to help them rehabilitate towards gainful employment and assimilation into general society. The peer group sessions that used to occur some time ago seem to have waned.


Happenings


There was a report of an incident just recently where an alleged male Commercial Sex Worker was approached by would be clients in a tinted green motor vehicle as described a friend of the alleged victim he made his way to the vehicle but obviously was not versed in the ways of the road and leaned onto the window frame of the car he was grabbed by occupants in the vehicle, a struggle ensued where he managed to get away from his would be kidnappers as it were. There are also reports of two MSMs who frequent the streets in the business district as missing for some time without any verification as to what may have occurred to them. Such are the dangers on the roads with our homeless MSMs another set of possible sad outcomes for this seriously overlooked and really marginalized group. With the patrols by the police on in earnest the trade has been severely hampered, possible clients themselves are scared of coming onto the road to seek sexual favours as they too fear being arrested according to the female sex worker I spoke to. Many of the sex workers are known to me from my previous dispensation as an Outreach Officer in the public health system where our responsibilities included empowering them with condom negotiating skills and self efficacious activity plans.

Other sources on the ground including route taxi operators informed GJW that they have witnessed chases by the police and men on a few occasions in the same area where they normally ply their trade. “The exhibitionist route” as I call it which was shown to me by a gay route taxi operator late last year is a spot where men in the late hours of the morning offer open masturbation sessions or shows in public have also been closed as the particular area is empty. The practice is said to be an offshoot of an area in United States and some parts of Europe where the same kind of exhibitionism occurs by both sexes for payment of for fun by the persons involved.


There must be possible solutions to empower this group of at risk persons, but with all the other social ills, economic and political fallouts who has time to seriously pay attention to this group with meaningful results and not just talk. I hope the project that was started by the private entity continues and may eventually reach the male workers as well so as to get them occupied in something else.


Peace and tolerance


H

National Gender Policy being Reviewed by Human Resource Committee of Cabinet

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Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Hon. Olivia Grange (right), presents Dr. Leith Dunn with her certificate for contribution to gender and development in the area of teaching and research at the Institute for Gender and Development at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus. Occasion was the observation of International Women's Day and the launch of the Inter-American Year of Women, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, in downtown Kingston, today (March 8). The event was hosted by the Bureau of Women's Affairs.

The National Gender policy document has been submitted to Cabinet, and is now being reviewed by its Human Resource Committee.

In addition, the Sexual Harassment policy is being redrafted, to allow for a joint presentation to Cabinet by Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Hon. Olivia Grange, and Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne.

Minister Grange made the disclosure this morning (March 8), at the launch of the Inter-American Year of Women, and the observation of International Women's Day, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, in downtown Kingston. The event was hosted by the Bureau of Women's Affairs

The legislative action by the Government is aimed at enhancing the welfare of women in Jamaica, as well as to ensure that there are equal opportunities and equal rights for both women and men.

"The development of the Gender policy is one step in ensuring that there is equal opportunity and rights for all," she said. Miss Grange said submissions have also been made to Cabinet regarding the Domestic Violence Act and the adoption of the new Sexual Offences Act.

"These legislative measures are gender neutral and will ensure the protection of both men and women against acts of gender-based violence," she stated.

The Minister, who is also responsible for Women's Affairs said International Women's Day "reminds us that women play an integral role in the development of a country, and in this regard when we ensure that our women are empowered, and we are moving towards the achievement of gender equality, we know that we are of extreme importance to our nation".

She said the day is an opportunity to highlight the situations of women and girls across the world, as well as honour the achievements made by women in all spheres of life, especially in Jamaica

Miss Grange said this year's observance is particularly important in the face of increasing economic hardships, as it is crucial to recognise that many women have been able to rise above these difficulties and continue to make important contributions to the various sectors of society.

"Let us encourage our young women to take advantage of opportunities to empower themselves, and let us encourage our young women to continue to stand tall, and to make the right decisions, and the right choices," Miss Grange urged.

Meanwhile, she pledged Jamaica's continued support for the women of Haiti, which lost three of its women's movement stalwarts in the devastating earthquake of January 12 - Myriam Merlet, Anne Marie Coriolan, and Magalie Marcelin.

"They were female leaders and founders of three of Haiti's most important advocacy organisations working on behalf of women and girls. These women and others have championed the cause of women, as they paved the way for Haitian women to have a voice in the midst of challenges. They also fought against various forms of oppression, including violence in general and gender-based violence in particular," she pointed out.

The observance was held under the theme: 'Equal Rights Equal Opportunities: Progress for All', and saw remarks from Her Excellency, Lady Allen; Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) sub regional office in the Caribbean, Dr. Hernando Agudelo; and Assistant Community Liaison Officer, Historian and Education specialist with the United States Embassy, Ms. Lea Flowers Baker.

There was a wide cross section of attendees at the function, including representatives of various women's and special interest groups, and members of the diplomatic corps. Some 53 women from various fields were awarded certificates for their outstanding contribution in their careers, and to their communities.

Are Jamaicans homophobic with good reason?

0 comments
Dear Editor,

Reggae artistes whose shows are being boycotted in the United States and whose records are being blacklisted in Europe must be hurting financially.

We are often reminded that it is not only the artistes who suffer, as many of them contribute to the care and upbringing of numerous underprivileged children in their communities.

At a recent public lecture dedicated to the late Professor Rex Nettleford, Professor Carolyn Cooper -- a recognised authority on Jamaican culture and music -- stated that there is a need for the Jamaican Government to form a lobby for the protection of these artistes as a pushback against gay lobbyists. In her opinion, the world needs to be told that Jamaicans are homophobic "with good reason". Due to time constraints, I was unable to ask her if she believed Professor Nettleford would have approved of her statement. Instead, I have pulled together some responses to my recent letter to the editor enquiring why Jamaicans are so homophobic, in order to identify if the blacklisted artistes in fact reflect a general homophobic society and the reasons for such homophobia.

In summary, Jamaicans don't accept the gay lifestyle because they fear it will unleash a Sodom and Gomorrah cataclysm on Jamaica, such as the recent Haitian or Chilean earthquakes. There is also the perception that gays will want to recruit young boys and as a result the human race willdecrease as there will be less heterosexual relationships. They also believe that gay sex is "nasty" and as such must spread disease.

It is clear that the rationality of these expressed objections to the gay lifestyle is suspect. What was surprising, however, was that the private sex act of consenting male adults was largely felt to be nobody's business and no longer worthy of legal regualtion.

Maurice Tomlinson

maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com
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Thanks for your Donations

Hello readers,

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.

Donations presently are accepted via Paypal where buttons are placed at points on this blog(immediately below, GLBTQJA (Blogspot), GLBTQJA (Wordpress) and the Gay Jamaica Watch's blog as well. If you wish to send donations otherwise please contact: glbtqjamaica@live.com




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

Thanks again
Mr. H

Tel: 1-876-8134942
lgbtevent@gmail.com








Peace

Information & Disclaimer

lgbtevent@gmail.com

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 lgbtevent@gmail.com

Peace to you and be safe out there.

Love.

What to do if you are attacked (News You Can Use)

First, be calm: Do not panic; it may be very difficult to maintain composure if attacked but this is important.

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.

Emergency numbers
The police 119

Kingfish 811

Crime Stop 311


Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police

a) Ask to see a lawyer or Duty Council

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

Sexual Health / STDs News From Medical News Today

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