Friday, June 18, 2010
An extra special thanks to them as well for granting the permission to publish selected aspects of this positive outcome which are few and far in between, usually most cases of this nature aren’t cleared up so quickly and with so many unexpected players involved. This is indeed wonderful news given the ugliness of our homophobic landscape.
Another final special thanks to the Guidance Counselor at his school whom despite her Pentecostal faith saw a life interrupted and professionally did what she could given her parameters on which to operate to intervene.
In early October of 2009 a then 16 year old youth was apparently outed through an incident which occurred at his gate where a friend of his had come to confront him about an exchange with other friends about private matters, his mother and stepfather who resided at the home at the time were present in the house but overheard the argument between the two which amounted to accusations of homosexual conduct.
He was questioned by both parents and chastised he denied the accusations and was warned if it were true he would have to leave the home, unfortunately the rumour which quickly spread through the neighbourhood was confirmed in his parents’ eyes with another loud exchange occurring a few days later at his home this time with other teens and adults from the area demanding the “batty man” leave the community. His stepfather ordered he vacate the home and so he did. His phone was searched and alleged suggestive messages were said to be contained therein, his mother though angry was not so quick to dismiss her son but with the hard hand of her hubby he had to leave as at the time they resided at his home in essence, he vowed if he saw him again he would hurt him, his two other brothers one older and one younger were also in a way saddened that he had to leave with his older brother visibly upset and also calling him a batty man. He has since relented.
Time passed and he tried to find shelter with friends who were accommodating to a point but based on the kind of accusations he soon ran out of options. At school the rumour was not so pronounced probably because he was not effeminate and in fact is very masculine and muscular according to the descriptions provided by my sources. Here is where the two sources came into play a lesbian sister and her male cousin a university student engaged to be married took the boy into their rented house that they were sharing and made him aware of the rules, they tried to reason with both parents during this time. While his mother was more conciliatory his stepfather was hardened and adamant he is not to return as he wants no batty man around his kids (he has two children from a previous relationship) he also demanded they never call him again on the subject.
His school work started to fall from the impact of his displacement and so came in the guidance counsellor who at first engaged the boy in a couple sessions where he withheld the true nature of his dilemma, however at the insistence of the lesbian contact she said he should tell her and see where it goes. So he did, she suggested he tried to concentrate on the work and regaining his averages. She did at one stage spoke about homosexuality being wrong and referred to her Pentecostal faith and biblical suggestions but she was also very tolerant in the end according to the sources as she said she was not there to judge. There was a minor skirmish at school at one point where a girl tried to smear him but he quickly diffused the situation as he may have to also change schools if it got out of hand. He maintained a low profile as best he could.
He continued to reside at the lesbian’s home and was supported by his brothers at first who knew where he was and maintained phone contact with him. They as it turned out never liked their stepfather either so he got emotional support from that angle. The boys would share their lunch or pocket money with him when they could and the lesbian friend provided food where she could with shelter. It was not until things started to sour between the stepfather and the boy’s mother that she (the mother) was made fully aware where her exiled son was as she long suspected her two sons at home were in contact with him but didn’t want to tell her, she only saw him at school a few times afterwards when she could unbeknownst to the stepdad. Their relationship ended on a bad note in March of this year and she moved from the stepfather’s home to her own rented flat. It was from this angle the reuniting of the family was planned and eventually took place.
According to the two activists as I will now call them it was an emotional reunion in May 2010 so much so that there was not a dry eye around by all concerned including the guidance counsellor who was there in Kingston to witness the event.
We don’t get this kind of closure of cases of displacement so often in fact this is the second one that has come to my knowledge so far this year there maybe others eh?, given I cannot cover all the happenings but a good renewal of a family none-the-less. I hope that the issues though doesn’t rears its ugly head again in future disagreements as we have seen in the past, the strong Jamaican monotropic bond between mothers and sons may just keep things in check and seeing he is near the age of adulthood he may soon have his own will to sort things out but I would imagine for now with the guidance counsellor and the friends network involved there should have an eye kept on proceedings.
Thanks so much again to the two sources for this story and for getting involved with a positive outcome.
Peace and tolerance
International Network for Trans Despathologization
The advocates and groups who sign this document, and are part of the International Network for Trans’ Identities’ Despathologization, publicly denounce once again the psychiatrization of our identities and the serious consequences of the so called “Gender or Sex Identity Disorder” (GID). In the same way, we want to make visible the violence done to intersex people throughout the current medical procedures.
With “psychiatrization” we name the practice of defining and treating transexuality under a mentally disordered label. We are also speaking about the mistaking of non normative bodies and identities (those out of the cultural dominant order) for pathological bodies and identities. Psychiatrization gives the medical-psychiatric institutions the control over gender identities. The official practice of these institutions, motivated through state, religious, economical and political interests, reflects and reproduces the male/female binomial on people’s bodies. Making believe this exclusive position is a “true” and natural one. This binomial, supposes the solely existence of two bodies (male or female), and associates a determined behavior to each one of them (male or female). At the same time it has traditionally taken into consideration heterosexuality as the only possible relationship between them. Today, as we denounce this paradigm, which has justified the current social order with nature and biological arguments, we evidence its social effects so as to put and end to its political pretentions.
Those bodies which do not anatomically correspond to the current western medical classifications are classified under the label of intersexuality, a condition that by itself is considered pathological, whereas the medical classification is nowadays not yet questioned about it. Transexuality is also conceived as a problematical reality by itself. However, the gender ideology which psychiatry develops, is still not questioned
The legitimization of social norms that are part of our life experience and our feelings, implies the invisibilization and pathologization of all the other existing options, setting one single path that doesn’t question the political dogma around which our society is built: the solely and exclusive existence of only two ways of being and feeling. If invisiblizing means performing violent and normalizating surgeries on intersex newborns (those with ambiguous functional genitalia) it will be done. Especially when its’ goal is to eliminate the possibility of these bodies and to veto the existence of those differences.
The paradigm, in which the actual treatment procedures for transexuality and intersexuality are inspired, makes them become medical procedures of binary normalization. It is “normalization” because these procedures reduce the diversity to only two ways of living and inhabiting the world: those considered statistically and politically as “normal.” With our critique to these procedures we also resist to having to adapt ourselves to the psychiatric definitions of man and woman for being able to live our identities, so that our life’s value is recognized without giving up the diversity in which we constitute ourselves. We obey no kind of label or definition imposed on us by the medical institution. We demand our right to name us by ourselves.
Nowadays transexuality is considered a “Sexual Identity Disorder” mental pathology classified in the ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases from the World Health Organization) and the DSM-IV-R (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders from the American Psychiatrist Association). These classifications are the ones that guide psychiatrist all around the world when establishing diagnosis. In them, we find a less tan casual error: the mistaking of the transphobia effects for those of transexuality. Social violence against those that don’t follow the gender standards is invisiblized. This way, it is actively ignored that the problem isn’t gender identity but transphobia.
The DSM-IV-R revision is a process that started two years ago, which aims to determine the changes in the list of disorders. Few months ago the names of the psychiatrist who will determine the future of de Gender Identity Disorder (GID) were published.
In charge of the GID work-group are Dr.Zucker (the group’s director) and Dr.Blanchard , within others. These psychiatrists are well known for using reparative therapies on homosexuals and transexuals, and are linked also to clinics where operations on intersexual people are done. What they propose, is not only not withdrawing the disorder, but expanding its treatment to children who present gender-variant behaviors, and applying them reparative therapies for them to accept their original role. Because of this, the North-American trans movement has started to demand their expulsion from the group in charge of revising the DSM. The International Network for Trans’ Identities’ Despathologization supports wholeheartedly this demand.
Transexuality’s pathologization under the “Gender Identity Disorder” is an extreme exercise of control and normalization. This disorder’s treatment is carried away in different centers around the world. In some cases, like the Spanish State, it is compulsory to go through a psychiatric monitoring in the Gender Identity Centers. In some cases it is linked to a weekly control of our gender identity through group therapies, family, and all sorts of derogative procedures which infringe our rights. While referring to the Spanish State’s case, it is important to highlight that anyone who wishes to change their name in their official documents, or who wishes to modify their body with hormonal treatment or with some operations, has to go through a psychiatric monitoring.
Finally, we are directly speaking to all politicians. Our demands are clear:
•We demand the retirement of transexuality from the mental disorders’ manuals (DSM-IV-R and ICD-10). To bring the treatments on intersex babies to an end.
•We demand our right to change our name and sex in the official documents without having to go through any medical or psychological monitoring. We also think that the State should have no jurisdiction over our names, bodies and our identities.
•We take here the words from the feminist movement in their fight for the right to abortion, and the right to your own body: we demand our right to freely decide whether if we want or not to modify our bodies. Our rights to be able to carry on with our decision, with no bureaucratic, political or economical impediments, nor any other type of medical coercion. We want the sanitary systems to take positions regarding the Gender Identity Disorder, for them to recognise the transphobia that this classification implies, and for them to rethink their healthcare programs regarding transexuality, making the psychiatric monitoring an unnecessary step, and the psychotherapeutic monitoring a voluntary option. We demand too that the surgeries on intersex newborns stop.
•We denounce the extreme vulnerability and the difficulties, when accessing the labor market, of the trans community. We demand granted access to the labor market and that specific politics are engaged to end marginalization and discrimination of our community. We also demand health and security conditions for sex workers and the end of the police’s besieging to these persons, as well as sexual traffic.
•Vulnerability situations are stressed in cases of immigrant trans persons, who reach our country fleeing from extreme violence situations. We demand the immediate concession of political asylum in these cases, and at the same time we claim that the rights of migrant people are brought to the same level. We denounce the effects of the actual politics on foreign nationals over the most vulnerable social sectors
•While we shout that we are no victims but active beings and with the capacity of deciding over our own identities, we want to remember too all the aggressions, murders, and suicides of trans people due to transphobia. We signal the system guilty of this violence. Silence is complicity.
We finish showing the extreme rigidity with which the male/female binomial is imposed as the solely and exclusive option. Binomial that is built and therefore can be questioned. Our solely existence proves its falseness and points to a plural and diverse reality. Diversity that we dignify today.
When medicine and State define us as disordered, they are proving that our identities, our lifes, deeply disturb their system. That’s why we say that the illness is not in us but within gender binarism.
We make public that the International Network for Trans’ Identities’ Despathologization is born to consolidate a worldwide coordination of our first goal: the retirement of transexuality from the DSM-TR the year 2012. A first step for diversity, a first knock to transphobia.
For the diversity of our bodies and identities!
Transphobia makes us ill!
INTERNATIONAL NETWORK FOR TRANS’ DESPATHOLOGIZATION
Visit their facebook page
Calling together to "END TRANS AND INTERSEX PATHOLOGIZATION" --STP2012.
Another point of view on the Despathologization issue.
Peace and tolerance
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Commendable though somewhat late in coming is civil society’s new found energy in becoming far more participatory in our democracy by leaps and bounds following the above mentioned problems we do have an integral role to play in shaping how we do business as a nation however a dangerous precedence seems to be in motion within the movement as when one peruses the letters in the newspapers, examine the points of views espoused by some and listen to particular talk shows especially those skewed towards a religious right agenda these hosts have a theocratic view of fixing Jamaica’s ills in their eyes forgetting person’s freedoms to choose.
Words and phrases such as re-socialization, social re-engineering, regaining manhood, transplanting of ideas of the family, removing homosexuality, re-education of garrison community residents are used next we may hear such terms being applied to the LGBT community in a bid to straighten us out. It seems Jamaicans who do not fit the mould of how persons should act or even dress specific solutions are offered daily on the airwaves with pastors, specific callers who call daily (one wonders if they are set up to do so) and so called moral leaders interviewed on a regular basis evangelizing and damning non compliant persons to hell who basically aren’t Christian like in nature. The “REs” as offered above are supposed to fix the cancerous crime problem but their ideas of solving the issues also stretch to include how women should dress in public, the stopping of ganja smoking by men, the prohibition of tight pants wearing men, the prohibition of bleaching creams, the censoring of performing and recording artistes, the stopping of supposed loud music listening culture and of course last but by no means least stopping the so called scourge of homosexuality and the powerful gay agenda as one so called psychological expert who was interviewed as recently as June 16, 2010 on radio said as it is a threat to masculinity and the family. They complain about everything that irks them that they can find whilst devising a “wipe out” type of solution to them. The family where one man and one woman is the structure is the only way to go and must be held up as the model for our society as one pundit for the proposed change (in their eyes) puts it. It is clear the Christian right is seizing the moment to mount its theocratic agenda.
Yes I agree that there needs to be changes to how we do business in certain respects, crime being a main factor and political de-garrisonization of inner city communities that have long been held under such an awful grip from firstly corrupt politicians to now independent powerful rich and clever dons. Holding politicians accountable as well is also of great importance, we all know it’s partially their fault why we are where we are, the very quality of how they debate and do business in parliament on our behalf is atrocious as just recently on June 15th we heard the shouting match between both sides on the cancellation of the local government elections yet again which have been moved to mid 2011 a poor show of representation for a dazed public who have become tired of the tomfoolery in the name of democracy.
In as far as entertainment and music are concerned censoring of lyrics maybe needed in certain respects where it’s directed towards violence to a specific group as we have seen in the Stop Murder Music campaigns against anti-gay artists who promote death and where it concerns public broadcasting such as radio but to take it also to the slightest sexually suggestive song and prohibition in an adult space and from adult ears as suggested is going too far in my view, persons must be allowed the right to choose where they wish to consume that kind of material in a private setting despite the musical content. We must tread carefully here.
But whilst we seek solutions to these issues freedom of choice specifically personal freedoms seems to eroding right before our eyes, if we don’t guard this one inherent right we may find ourselves under the thumb of a few though they say they are the majority but that is questionable as saying one is Christian or a country being so and actually living the life are two different things. Clearly tolerance is being crushed and will be thrown out the window if we don’t join the voices that are already loud and imposing just now. There seems to be no sign soon of a lull in this quest to push for change on their terms, one radio show now has a permanent feature which started recently in having an anthropologist present who has a Christian agenda on his pronouncements. I am not anti-Christian by no means but it is the way the points are being hoisted unto the public by such proponents as if everyone else who aren’t so are somehow deviant or deficient in thought and therefore do not qualify to exist, when one listens to the contemptuous tone taken by these voices then they say we are all God’s children.
The steady stream of letters to the Editor that came from a certain gay gentleman from the legal fraternity in western Jamaica have dissipated since following a Walk for Tolerance (or hidden gay rights march as some call it) and a silent protest by JFLAG for IDAHO with had a whose who in Human Rights with ambassadorial level support but our limp wristed advocacy representatives have gone silent again, probably there are no more instructions at this time from the powers that be to continue the short new found zeal to agitate which is not surprising. Rise and sleep phenomenon.
We shouldn’t stop now but be consistent throughout seeing there was a reawakening.
The sixth anniversary of Brian Williamson’s murder on June 9, 2010 and his valued contribution to the formation of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG of which I remember well the early meetings at his home, his appearance on National television thus putting a face to gay rights with his subsequent open challenge to homophobia in Jamaica were not even recognised by the said group not even so much as a press release as is customary or then again maybe there is a fear of the continued labelling of them as the press release factory hence no action to avoid same.
Maybe they are too concerned about the decor of their new offices they just moved into which coincidentally is the now defunct controversial MSM homeless shelter space. There has been private commentary on face book and other social networks as concerned persons question what is their purpose and how can we move forward together when they profess to be LGBT advocates yet cannot produce any substantive results overall not since the submission to Parliament over a decade ago. They have gone as far as to censor persons who host such comment threads on face book by writing letters to them demanding their removal in a bid to save face or to hide the political drama and dirty linen behind the scenes from us and the international community. Only on June 16, 2010 a former resident of the homeless shelter who is still homeless following the closure and subsequent displacement went to seek some help from the group of organizations housed on the property and he was rebuffed and the security team called to escort him off, he tried calling others in tears and disbelief as he couldn’t believe he would have received such a reception as they refuse to entertain his requests, further proof that the LGBT cohort overall and particularly the lower socio economic sections of the community are representation-less with a self perpetuating bureaucracy at work.
The very few persons who may call in to talk shows or write letters or blog are not enough to pack a serious punch into the wide theocracy web slowly engulfing us there has to be a cohesive effort with intent to reach tolerance and understanding between the sides involved or who may become so. Other persons are terrified in a sense of taking on such a task of publicly speaking out fearing repercussions and possible life threatening occurrences. One cannot be forced into action though but I implore us to think about where one can fit in the scheme of things.
I suggest we don’t just read blogs, newspapers and listen talk shows but participate become your own active advocate no matter how small so as to create some balance in the struggle or we may get lost in the crowd and loose the small strides made in terms of visibility and tolerance over the turbulent years. Sadly we have to now also be vigilant in regards to those who say they are our advocacy representatives who in turn should be vigilant for us out there in the first place, what a mess? It is true that we are at a different place in terms of impact of homophobia and tolerance towards us from general society but that can slip at any time all too easily I fear as the anti-gay movement from a Christian right sense is on the move and the dancehall community may not be far behind given the perceptions still out there that the gay community is responsible for Buju Banton’s current legal woes in the United States.
Stand up speak out.
Peace and tolerance.
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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
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- 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
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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.
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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
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