Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Originally published on BigThink.comVideo also available via the link above
Why are homosexual acts illegal in Jamaica?
Bruce Golding: It is rooted in a number of things. Firstly, we are a predominately a Christian country and a fervently Christian country. It may not be reflected entirely in terms of how we live sometimes, but we are passionately committed to certain basic Christian principles, which [...] homosexuality.
But we have become quite tolerant. We are tolerant provided that homosexual lifestyle does not invade our space. And what do I mean by that? Persons who wish, because of their own inclination, to live in a homosexual relationship, do so in Jamaica and there are many such persons in Jamaica.
The society in Jamaica in general do not want to be… do not want it to be flaunted.
They don’t want it to be sort of thrown into the face, because there are some real fears.
There are some real fears.
The basic unit of a society is a family, and there is a passionate concern in Jamaica about protecting the integrity of the family.
And it is felt that encouragement or recognition of the appropriateness of the homosexual lifestyle is going to undermine the effectiveness of that family unit and, in that process, undermine the basic fabric of a society.
But I think much of what has been carried in the international media in terms of homophobia in Jamaica is grossly exaggerated. Homosexuals in Jamaica, they live and they enjoy their relationship.
They are intermingled with heterosexuals, they have normal relations with heterosexuals, but they do have their private relationships.
And so long is that is so, I don’t believe that the people in Jamaica are going to be particularly perturbed.
What is illegal in Jamaica is buggery, which is in fact making homosexual acts illegal. There have been very, very few prosecutions; very, very few. And in most instances, there are prosecutions because there is a complaint by a victim. So that it’s not the flashpoint issue that many people in the international media claim that it is.
Recorded on September 25, 2010
Interviewed by David Hirschman
Infections in the urinary tract are caused when bacteria from the rectum go into the urethra and into the bladder. Bacteria transfer takes place during sex, fondling and defecation and wiping. In women, the short urethra (a tube that connects the urinary bladder to the genitals) makes entry of bacteria into the bladder easier.
Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of candida, and are exacerbated by warm, moist conditions. Things like birth control pills, improper drying of underwear, use of scented soaps and the wearing of non-cotton underwear can help yeast to thrive. Many women get recurring infections, and more and more, they seek out at-home treatments to minimise the discomfort and to avoid repeatedly visiting the doctor.
Gynaecologist at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Professor Horace Fletcher said women who hold their urine are at greater risk of getting UTIs because the bacteria get a chance to grow and increase. The bacteria can even go into the kidneys through the urethra.
Dr Fletcher said one of the best ways to prevent a UTI is to empty the bladder regularly. This flushes out the bacteria. It also helps if the woman drinks a lot of fluids.
• Women should empty their bladders before and directly after sex.
• They should not hold their urine for an inordinately long period.
• They should wipe themselves from front to back after passing stool never back to front, as this will transfer faeces from the anus into the vagina.
• Drink adequate amounts of fluid to flush out bacteria. Cranberry juice is believed to reduce infections. However, most clear fluids like coconut water, spring water and apple juice will flush out the bladder. Some scientists, however, believe that cranberry juice (or dried cranberry or cranberry sauce) also prevents the bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.
For yeast infections
While there are ways in which you can tackle the problem of yeast infections at home, you have to first ensure that what you have is actually a yeast infection. You can usually tell this if you have had one, or several, before. If you’re unsure, it’s best to visit your doctor. Some symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are:
• An unusual thick, odourless, whitish vaginal discharge.
• Burning on the vulva during sexual intercourse.
• Uncontrollable itching and a burning sensation in the vagina and the skin surrounding the vagina (vulva).
• Unexplained swelling and redness of the vulva.
• Burning sensation during urination.
Home remedies for yeast infections
Some of these remedies have been tested and tried by women for ages. If symptoms persist, it’s best to visit your doctor.
• Yoghurt is said to be very effective in treating and preventing yeast infections when added to your diet and when added directly to the vagina. An easy way is to simply dip a clean tampon into yogurt and insert it into the vagina overnight. Ensure that the yoghurt used is plain with no flavourings, sugars or fruit, and that it also contains live cultures.
• Garlic is said to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Just like yoghurt, garlic may be used both as a dietary supplement and also directly applied to the vagina. Yoghurt and garlic are the two leading choices among yeast infection home remedies. Women who have used it advise that you either eat a clove of fresh garlic once or twice per day at the onset of yeast infection or apply garlic directly to the vagina. A fresh garlic clove can be wrapped in gauze and inserted into the vagina overnight for treatment, until the symptoms ease.
On September 18, UNAIDS reported that there was a more than 25 per cent decline in new cases of HIV in 22 of the most affected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS executive director, said that "the world was making real progress towards achieving the sixth Millennium Development Goal (MDG6) of halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
The picture is, however, not as encouraging among men who have sex with men (MSM). HIV epidemics are advancing among MSM in both resource-rich and resource-poor countries and also in countries like France where homosexuality has been legal since 1791.
In September 2010, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States stated , "Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately two per cent of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV and are the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily since the early 1990s ... MSM have consistently represented the largest percentage of persons diagnosed with AIDS and persons with an AIDS diagnosis who have died."
In 2006 the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Centre, recognising the unique challenge HIV presented to the gay community launched an ad campaign stating:
" HIV is a Gay disease. Own it. End it". The campaign was controversial and divided the gay community which had sought to change the stereotypical image of gay men being promiscuous and most likely to be infected. Despite the controversy, the LA Gay and Lesbian Centre insisted that their campaign was supported by fact.
In 2006 LA public health data showed that three out of four HIV cases were the result of gay sex.
Why are MSM in developed countries unable to achieve the successes of the resource-poor countries of Sub-Saharan Africa? What does the epidemiological data indicate about HIV in MSM? Was the LA Gay and Lesbian Centre correct in its conclusion?
HAVANA, Oct 12, 2010 (IPS) - Raúl Regueiro remembers every detail about the creation, 10 years ago in Cuba, of the project for the prevention of HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men, and the way the initiative crossed the boundaries of purely health-related concerns to address the question of social inclusion.
"Although homosexuality had been mentioned before, up to that point no work had been done with men," Regueiro told IPS. A co-founder of the project, Regueiro's idea is now applied in 14 provinces on the island and involves around 1,700 volunteer health outreach workers who act as direct links with Cuban communities.
"It was the first time the people most affected by HIV/AIDS participated in a programme that was focused on educating people and on other aspects as well," recalls Regueiro, who is now assistant to the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) programme to combat HIV in this Caribbean island nation.
"By using peer education as a tool, men who have sex with men (MSM) themselves urged each other to practice safe sex," said Regueiro, who was at the meeting that founded the MSM-Cuba programme in August 2000, at the National Centre for Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS.
The AIDS epidemic, which in its initial stages mainly affected gay men, rubbed salt in a particular wound in Cuban society.
After the period of state-sponsored homophobia in Cuba in the 1960s and 1970s, the appearance of the first cases of HIV/AIDS in 1986 became another excuse for the rejection of gays, who were already vulnerable members of society. This was exacerbated by compulsory quarantine of those who contracted the infection, a practice that continued into the early 1990s.
In Cuba, eight out of 10 HIV-positive people are men, according to official sources that have recorded about 13,000 cases in this country of 11.2 million people.
Out of the total male HIV-positive group, over 80 percent have sex with other men, equivalent to 7.6 percent of all Cuban males in the 12-49 age range, according to a 2009 study by the National Statistics Office (ONE).
And about 60 percent of the HIV-positive males said they were bisexual. The study also found an increasing trend within the group toward living with stable partners.
A previous ONE study in 2006 found that the MSM-Cuba HIV/AIDS prevention programme had saved about 3,000 men from becoming infected with HIV.
Scientific research into MSM behaviour and the training given to health outreach volunteers through the programme also led to greater recognition and visibility for this segment of the population. Educational strategies for MSM about HIV/AIDS were discussed at the "highest level of the government," Regueiro said.
The expert, who was national coordinator of the project until early last year, described how specific prevention actions targeting gay and bisexual men were adopted by provincial and municipal governments, organised as the Working Group to Prevent and Fight HIV/AIDS (GOPELS).
The actions have had the greatest impact among gays, as they tend to be more open than bisexual men about their sexual orientation.
This may be the reason for the considerable increase in condom use by MSM, either with their stable partners or in occasional encounters, which was documented in the 2006 and 2009 ONE studies. However, consistent condom use is still below the 75 percent level necessary for controlling the epidemic, according to a 2003 Canadian research study.
Yoire Ferrer, who helped launched the programme in Santiago de Cuba in the southeast of the country, said the initiative has been "extremely useful" for the national health service and is unique in terms of its "coverage level and the links established with sexual minorities."
"We have capacity-building and management programmes at all levels, and we promote recognition of sexual diversity and encourage respect for and acceptance of gay, bisexual and heterosexual men," Ferrer told IPS in an e-mail from Santiago de Cuba.
Health interventions among populations suffering from discrimination encompass "the whole range of sexuality-related elements, and help improve quality of life by addressing issues like self-esteem and empowerment, focusing on the individual as a social and sexual being," Omar Parada, a co-founder of the project, told IPS.
Parada, a mechanical engineer by profession who coordinates the MSM-Cuba programme in the eastern province of Granma, regretted that "many MSM are staying the closet." In his view, community work and social inclusion efforts should be expanded.
"We should not limit ourselves solely to issues related to STIs, HIV, self-esteem and empowerment," said Parada, who added that what is needed is "a multi-directional agenda that embraces advocacy, discrimination and human rights."
In the past 10 years, the programme has done a great deal of research on sexual minorities, especially MSM, in spite of the fact that within academia "there is still a lot of discrimination, rejection and fear about these issues," Andrey Hernández, the present national coordinator of MSM-Cuba, told IPS.
According to Hernández, the programme has a constantly updated map of MSM meeting places that men frequent in search of spontaneous or paid sexual encounters with other men. Although some work has been done to understand this segment of society, sociological approaches are still very timid.
Over time, MSM-Cuba "has become a voice, a representative, an open door to generate relationships, including friendships, while fomenting personal growth," Regueiro said.
"The HIV/AIDS epidemic has shown how important community participation is for any effective response," he said. (END)
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
DietHigh-fat, low-fiber diet increases the risk of Breast Cancer. The risk also increases with women who are overweight. (Nearly 30 percent of lesbians are obese, compared to 20 percent for women overall.)
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Click here for: How to reduce your risk for breast cancer:
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Thanks for your Donations
thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venure 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.
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 and otherwise
- Track human rights issues in general with a view to support for ALL
Information & Disclaimer
Individuals who are mentioned or whose photographs appear on this site are not necessarily Homosexual, HIV positive or have AIDS.
This blog contains pictures that may be disturbing. We have taken the liberty to present these images as evidence of the numerous accounts of homophobic violence meted out to alledged gays in Jamaica.
Faces and names witheld for the victims' protection.
This blog not only watches and covers LGBTQ issues in Jamaica and elsewhere but also general human rights and current affairs where applicable.
This blog contains HIV prevention messages that may not be appropriate for all audiences.
If you are not seeking such information or may be offended by such materials, please view labels, post list or exit.
Since HIV infection is spread primarily through sexual practices or by sharing needles, prevention messages and programs may address these topics.
This blog is not designed to provide medical care, if you are ill, please seek medical advice from a licensed practioner
Thanks so much for your kind donations and thoughts.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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