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, August 19, 2011

Jamaica's Gay Hypocrisy ...................

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The erudite Leighton Levy usually known for his simple yet profound analysis of issues has spoken out and added his two cents on the whole issue of the rejection of the tolerance ad done by JFLAG and snubbed by Television Jamaica TVJ.

Have a read of his peice that appeared in today's Star News, pity it was not published in more widely circulated paper for more coverage and readership.


with Leighton Levy

This ongoing debate about the apparent unwillingness of many Jamaicans to be tolerant of homosexuality is pretty interesting. It was in the news this week that both major television stations have chosen not to run a public service announcement urging tolerance of homosexuals. There is merit to their arguments, which I won't get into, but I believe both missed opportunities to help erase the stigma.

I find the whole thing rather hypocritical because if tolerating homosexuality was our only crime, Jamaica would be a lot better place for everyone. However, in this country, we tolerate corrupt politicians, we tolerate gunmen, we apparently tolerate the beheading of women and the murder of children, but when it comes to homosexuals, that is where we put our foot down. No siree. You can kill and maim and steal all you like so long as you are not gay.

political suicide

No politician in this country will ever call for the repeal of the buggery laws because that would be tantamount to political suicide. Jamaican politicians are even willing to face international ridicule just to prove to the local populace that they are staunchly opposed to the gay lifestyle. "Not in my Cabinet!" Prime Minister Bruce Golding declared on the British talk show Hardtalk a few years ago. This was in response to being asked if he would tolerate gays in his Cabinet. He was chastised in the international press but many people here loved him for it.

What I was interested in finding out is how did he know who was gay from who wasn't? Does the prime minister possess a gay test? How does he know who is gay from who isn't? It's not like people walk around with a sign that says 'Gay' stapled to their foreheads. In fact, contrary to popular belief and what Clovis would have you believe from his cartoons in the Jamaica Observer, gay men don't walk around in high heels and lipstick and not all gay women dress like tomboys.

Take a trip down to any of the local prisons and find the guy who has sex with the weaker inmates and see if he is wearing lipstick or in any way behaves 'lady like'.

There are men and women walking among us daily who go home to same-sex lovers every night and you and I don't know nor do we care, so what is the problem? Do we really think that if we accept gays it means death and destruction for us all? Officially, we have not but does that stop the murder and mayhem and economic malaise? No, it doesn't, so what's our problem?

more tolerant

And let's just put some other fears to rest. If we became more tolerant of gays, it doesn't mean that suddenly they're going to start having sex in the streets nor does it mean that our little boys are no longer safe from paedophiles. What intrigues me is that we literally turn a blind eye when middle-aged men - paedophiles - engage in sexual relationships with 12 and 13 years old girls, but all of a sudden we are so concerned over our young boys, many of whom end up being hardened criminals by the time they celebrate their 16th birthdays. So I guess its better that our boys become hardened criminals so long as they are not turned out by gay men.

The biggest hypocrisy of all is that many of the people who are most vocal against gays and the gay lifestyle are themselves closet gays but instead of advocating tolerance, they make it even harder for themselves and their partners who continue this counterproductive stance; that, and the fact that people seem to be more tolerant of lesbians than gay men.

Man, I just wish that we would all grow up because the bottom line is that we could huff and puff until the cows come home, gay people aren't going anywhere. They're here to stay. Like the sun, the moon and the air we breathe, they're not going anywhere.
ENDS

also see TVJ's response to the ad:


and my audio rant on the issues I have with the ad:


Here is the previous ad that was aired albeit after 11pm but it was a start. Was JFLAG over ambitious without testing the market place and the community's feedback?


Peace and tolerance

H

Glenda Simms on Beware Of Hatred In The Name Of God

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Glenda Simms,

The Sunday Observer of August 7 informed the Jamaican reading public that a gay TV advertisement has angered some of the clerics in the Christian Empire.

According to writer Nadine Wilson, the catalyst of the clerics' outrage is a public-service announcement which has been produced to encourage the Jamaican citizenry to love their homosexual family members and friends.

The centrepiece of the message is former Miss Jamaica World and Miss Jamaica Universe Christine Straw declaring her love for her brother, Matthew, who happens to be a homosexual.

The idea of loving, unconditionally, one's sibling is not rocket science. Indeed, it is the simplest interpretation of the biblical messages enshrined in the bedrock of Christian theology. As a dyed-in-the-wool, holy-rolling Anglican, I learnt at a very early age that I had no choice but to love my neighbour as myself. I also understood that the great man Moses of the Old Testament, in Exodus Chapter 20, defined the major sins for Christians as follows:

The choice of gods other than the God of Moses.
The creation of and bowing down to graven images.
The lack of observance of the Sabbath after six days of labour.
The refusal to honour our mothers and fathers.
The commitment of the crime of murder/killing.
The commitment of adultery.
The practice of stealing.
The practice of lying or bearing false witness against our neighbour.
The coveting of other people's wives, servants or their asses.
I can recall clearly my childhood as one of boredom and lack of interest in the interpretation of the Old Testament which was pontificated from the altar in the historical St Albans Anglican Church, which is still located in the district of Stanmore in St Elizabeth. I can also recall how enchanted I was by the redemptive interpretation of the messages of the New Testament which instilled in me the need to love others as I love myself.

I learnt early in life that the great God/Goddess created human beings in His/Her own image. This idea has had a tremendous impact on my personal journey of emancipation from the historical oppression of the black woman. This means that when I look in the mirror in the mornings, I see the reflection of God - a black, bald-headed woman - and I know that I need not seek my personal emancipation through the ideas of any other man or woman in the entire world - in the pulpit or in the pew.

Incompatible roles

Within this world view, I agree with Dane Lewis, the executive director of J-FLAG, that the church leaders who have voiced their objections to the message of love are demonstrating their role in the promotion of homophobia in the society. The Christian Church, in all its variations, cannot deny that, over time, it has tried to balance the incompatible roles of both dominator and redeemer.

In this noise which passes for a discourse of what is defined as sin by the Bible, one needs to be reminded of the historical truths that have demonstrated how the dominant classes have corrupted God's trajectory and spiritual redemption, in their treatment of the dominated.

Lise Noel's 1994 General Survey of Intolerance, which was published by McGill-Queen's University Press, reminds us of the following truths, rooted in the beliefs and actions of men who professed to be committed to the love of God and country:

Historically, there is no category of dominated individuals that has not been reduced to silence.
History was the exclusive preserve of five per cent of the population who made up society's upper class.
It was not until the mid-18th century that old age was recognised as a specific time of life in France.
In our historical past, indirect insights into the lives of women and children were gleaned from ideas about the family as an institution. Women's worth was not then envisaged outside their role as wives and breeders.
The adolescence stage in human development was 'discovered' by psychologists at the turn of the century.
Mental handicaps were unrecognised as legitimate issues of the human experience because "madness was regarded as a curse for centuries before it was defined as a form of deviance".
By the turn of the 12th century, American whites believed they had to defend themselves against the "Negro peril".
To justify the occupation of China during the turn of the 20th century, the West convinced the rest of the world that they had to act against the "yellow peril".
A later "peril" was homosexuality, labelled until recently "a social plague" in French law or a political "menace" by the US senator, Joseph McCarthy.
In Russia, homosexuality was seen as a "counter-revolutionary force".
It is interesting to note the responses of the Jamaican clerics in this historical moment when the discourse on the human rights of people of differing sexual orientation is being revisited.

The Rev Peter Garth of the Hope Gospel Assembly argued that his objection to the message of love for homosexual persons was not based on the biblical direction entirely, but on the medical, psychological and social implication of the homosexual lifestyle.

Interesting comment

Bishop Herro Blair, the political ombudsman, was quoted as saying, "There are things that we classify as sins that we can't change, and homosexuality is one."

This writer finds Pastor Peter Garth's comments the most interesting. According to Wilson's article, the reverend gentleman would not marry a same-sex couple but he and his followers talk to homosexuals, counsel them, help them and spend time with them. Obviously, Pastor Garth encourages his congregation to love and support all human beings with whom they come into contact. In the name of God, he must be advocating love for all who turn to him for guidance. I would imagine that he also believes that God created and loves both homosexuals and heterosexuals.

Within this framework, why would local church leaders decide to stand up against an advertisement that tells all of us to love our family members and friends, including those who are gay?

We cannot love in the name of God while we advocate hate. The definition of love resides in a concept which is the opposite of hate.

In short, if we are opposed to messages of love, we are promoting messages of hate.

Glenda Simms, PhD, is a gender expert and consultant. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and glendasimms@gmail.com.
ENDS

A response came in a letter to the same paper:


THE EDITOR, Sir:

I read Dr Glenda Simms' article titled 'Beware of hatred in the name of God' and concur with her sentiments. As she puts it, "We cannot love in the name of God while we advocate hate." Having viewed the public service announcement, I can state that its wider social message is one of tolerance and accep-tance of our friends, family members, neighbours and fellow Jamaicans, who ought not to be discriminated against because of their sexuality.

We cannot continue to justify discrimination and state that homosexuals are abominations unto God, for He created us all. Nor can we continue to argue that preaching tolerance and acceptance of homosexuals is part of a wider gay agenda. The only issue here is a human-rights agenda, which should extend to all citizens of Jamaica.

Are we not all guaranteed equal treatment under the Constitution? Further, our buggery laws relate to just that: buggery. Being homosexual is not a crime, but as long as our buggery laws remain unchallenged, the wider society will not seek to make the distinction. I look forward to the time when we would have matured as a democracy and accept people for who they are and not for who they sleep with.

I pity our church leaders who, disappointingly, spew hate and intolerance from the pulpit and continue to feel ever more justified because it is the 'cultural norm' for Jamaicans to marginalise gay men. The thing about cultural norms is that they do change. It was not so long ago that our forefathers were slaves, blacks had no rights, Rastafarians were social pariahs, women had no place in the business society and reggae was the music of poor ghetto youths.

For Jamaica to hold true to its Constitution and truly honour its international human-rights obligations, so, too, will our 'cultural norm' of hate and intolerance for homosexuals have to change. Until such time, I laud Matthew and Christine Straw for their message of tolerance, acceptance and hope.

NATE

natelong88@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Attempted censorship from the advocates towards views on the JFLAG Ad campaign??

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It would seem so intended but let's examine the sequence of events:


So as the differing views as to Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG continues on the rejected Public Service Announcement, PSA on tolerance are forthcoming coupled with a brewing war of words over the way forward, what seemed to be an attempted muzzling on an opinion expressed by a leading influential voice in advocacy was challenged in an unusual way, no sooner than the following opinion below as was presented in a social network group was posted it was copied and sent to the one of the leaders in the JFLAG/HIV advocacy movement who in turn proceeded to make a telephone call to the individual who made the post and in effect telling them to keep their opinions to themselves in other words.

current ad

also see my comments on the ad itself on GLBTQJA on wordpress:

Have a read of the comment below that sparked the response from advocate central in Kingston on the ad's rejection and possible way forward and decide for yourselves readers:

My opinion (to which I am still entitled): The issue of the PSA and this late fervour around the 'homosexual agenda' while we will be discussing this later, I thought I would share my views...since many of you are usually too 'occipied' to attend...Jamaica is a complex state...socially, politically and economically...as with most caribbean states...I expected TVJ them to turn down the PSA...as under normal circumstances, I would then expect CVM to take it up and show it. These are not normal circumstances so if CVM did indeed decide to aire it, I would be eerily surprised. Jamaicans are generally very tolerant people but unfortunately we are crowd-mobilised/bandwaggonists...individual identities are feared and so socially not encouraged. Individual identities have historically been left to those we put above us...backra master, boss etc...the lil man has no voice until its a group voice..if ur voice is not seen to be coming from God.

With that being said and the hopes that you understand where I am coming from (will explain further later at OPEN SOUL at OASIS) Our advoccacy has to be very strategic...we cannot continue to ignore these very important dynamics...I think JFLAG should pull the advert, it was not consultatory...not with the community, the media houses and/or the same persons it is intended for. The PSA is a media campaign aimed at addressing widespread social behaviour and should be treated with the seriousness the issue of homophobic violence and loss of lives dictates, and certainly not left up to the gang of 10 (regardless of how chivalrous the notion seems).

I think the PSA should be pulled admitting its shortcomings and advising that it will be redone after a process...the intention is not at all wrong...but Jamaicans cannot deal with direct advocacy...as a result of this advert, the acceptance that LGBT ppl on the ground has been enjoying will be eroded..as there was no plan to introduce this idea in a way that people would be able to appropriately simulate the information...what is happening is that ppl with homophobic agendas now have the proof to spray propaganda to a crowd-motivated bandwaggonist set of ppl who act before they think and do not value understanding an issue and the importance of forming an individual opinion...and that is what is scary..it needs to be pulled and pulled now. In the same way a commisioner can be made to apologise for unfair statements about organised crime and the community...we should be able to step back."

ENDS

Two cents continued
Earlier on another forum and on my sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch I had commented on the Jamaica Observer's article on the Ad being rejected by one television station, Television Jamaica, TVJ entitled:

Blow to gay ad - TVJ rejects J-FLAG’s PSA ....... J-FLAG says rejection of PSA unfortunate

I wrote "I am not surprised, the previous ad was what the J should have stayed with until the market is fully penetrated (pun intended)...... then move to something else, I prefer the first AD with Yvonne McCalla et al as it was a soft entry into a cynical homophobic marketplace, clearly this rejection is an indication for a need to probably revamp the strategy or slow down for now."

Here is the previous ad campaign tied in with HIV issues and general human rights:


meanwhile AIDSFREEWORLD activist and letter writer Maurice Tomlinson responded:

"Your concerns are noted. Its just unfortunate that they were not raised at the launch of the PSA on July 28 to which I know you were invited.

In my opinion, this reaction to the PSA is going to test our unity as a movement. We need to pull together and make every effort to be present at spaces (other than the ones we control) where meaningful dialogue can take place. For example, despite my handing out my card to all the persons at Oasis and requesting that those interested in participating in a more 'racially representative' PSA (still not sure what that means) contact me so that we can produce same, I have not been contacted. Such an attitude of passivity leaves the few committed persons to push the work along."

the original opinion shaper then responded:
"I did not receive an invitation to the launch...just checked my email account in the event I had missed it. I was however on property at another meeting at the time, but unfortunately couldn't stay to participate in the launch. I would love you to go further into this test of unity...as it relates to a racially representative PSA, I want to make it as clear as I did last wednesday when yourself, Dane and a rep from UNAIDS visited and we discussed the PSA that my concerns are not of the 'race' of the people in the video...but that for every and any media campaign there are some due processes that must be followed that were simply not so done in this exercise, as was confirmed at OPEN SOUL last wednesday. I want to make it clear as always that I am for advocacy and a change for Jamaica regarding LGBT issues, I simply believe it needs to be strategic and contextually aware, as well as much as possible involve the community some more. Under the advice of someone I love and having once been bitten by the powers that be...I will lay my opinions to rest. A private phone call to me about my opinion on FB, even before any one has responded is appalling. I should be entitled to my opinion and given the opportunity to express same...unfortunately...things are not always as they seem...and I know this all too well from experience...kudos."

ENDS

Such is the top down and condescending tone these advocates take to dissenting voices under the guise of reaching out while demanding we must contact them instead of they engaging the community, it ought to be reciprocal process.

Here are my other views in audio on the campaign.

We have so far to go in terms of unity and proper genuine, ethical advocacy, yet another glaring example of the snobbery and contempt for the community.

Also see:


&



Peace and tolerance

H

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Havana Times’ Dmitri Preite Samsonov interviews blogger and activist Yasmin Silvia Portales Machado

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The readers of Havana Times probably know Yasmin Portales from her recent initiative in support of the LGBTI* community in Cuba: “The Rainbow Project” (Spanish: Proyecto Arcoiris). But the fact is that Yasmin a multifaceted activist and blogger, a defender of freedom of speech and of women’s rights and “peripheralized” groups (excuse me, a better epithet didn’t come to mind) – referring to people such as those of African descent or members of the LGBTI community.

A social activist who defines herself as a feminist and a Marxist, she signs her e-mails with a phrase by Carlo Frabetti: “Engels couldn’t have said it clearer: the first form of exploitation, the basis of all others, was the exploitation of woman by man; but not even Marx listened to him.”

HT: Yasmin, you begin one of your last posts with the brief and definitive sentence: “I’ve reached the saturation point. I have political rights, I have civic duties, I have a problem with the legal system of this country.” How do you generally assess the current situation in Cuba, particularly around the issue of people who are LGBTI?

YASMIN SILVIA: I can’t tell you how I “generally assess the current situation in Cuba,” because I don’t see it. Our “friends” of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union accustomed us to a lack of transparency, and our enemies from Washington prevent me/us from rightly knowing where we’re heading. For me this moment is, along with everything else, pregnant with hope. The president’s speeches refer to battles in his (our) hidden war with the bureaucracy and that it’s necessary to spell things out “slowly and carefully” to fix the government. But honestly, I don’t know where that combat is taking place or who’s winning. But judging by the newspapers Trabajadores from Bayamo, and Juventud Rebelde in the column “Acuse de Recibo,” the bureaucrats are racking up points.

In short, I don’t know where we’re going; I only know that I can’t stay still, because this is my government too, right?

In the specific case of politics among LGBTI people, diversity is flourishing, which is something good. In this way we’re struggling to learn how to respect ourselves in our sexual and political diversity. We are learning to debate with solid arguments in the face of a social norm that discriminates against us, while internally the LGBTI community has barely begun to think of itself as members of a citizenry with full and equal rights.

HT: How is all of that related to the “Project Rainbow” that you’ve just started? What do you think can be done?

YP: The Project Rainbow is precisely that: an initiative to unite LGBTI people around the idea that we should renovate resources so that our demands for recognition and protection before the Cuban government are heard. We are activists who, with differing educations and life experiences, have wound up assuming anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal, anti-discriminatory and environmentalist positions. From that political profile we are assuming dialogue with the government and civil society, and that will mark the way in which we are organized, act and propose alternatives.

Basing oneself on the exercise of critical reading, I believe that one can do a lot to recover historical memory and spread understanding of the current laws that establish our rights. Moreover, such readings can promote solidary action in diverse types of professional networks. All these fields of action are open. They’re natural spaces for the work of fraternal community organizations. In this sense of “scope,” Project Rainbow is only a small droplet in a potentially fertile sea of diverse associations. It’s not only an initiative of people with the desire to act; it’s also an invitation to action from distinct socio-cultural perspectives.

HT: How does this initiative differ from other ones? For example, those sponsored by CENESEX, the government organization that works around all issues related to sexuality; or the recently begun Observatorio LGBT de Cuba, whose logic seems to be in tune with that promoted by some anti-government opposition groups.

YP: I said it synthetically in a blog post that touched all this off, but I’ll try to explain it better: HxD, Oremi, the TransCuba project (I’ve just discovered that they have a blog, great!) belong to CENESEX. They’re part of the strategy of social networks that the institution has been promoting for almost a year to increase the capacity of its activists to organize themselves and to have an impact on the LGBTI community. Although it would be interesting to find out how much CENESEX has been energized based on this relative autonomy of its activists, none of the three groups are independent. Let’s say that they’re in line with the government (which isn’t good or bad per se), and as such it’s fair that they respect the policies of CENESEX, the tacit and/or explicit limits that the center maintains as a state institution.

On the other side is the “Cuban Observatory for the Rights of the LGBT Community” (a long name, right?). I agree with the blogger “Paquito el de Cuba” in seeing that the problem isn’t that they promoted a very well publicized “Gay Pride Parade” and could convince just nine marchers to participate (because with few people major changes have occurred). The problem is the way Leannes Imbert and his colleague Ignacio Estrada query CENESEX, assuming the position of a frontal attack and negating its merits, which has nothing to do with my idea of an appropriate debate on the means and objectives for struggling against discrimination.

Outside of that, there’s no known concrete action proposal by the Cuban Observatory for the Rights of the LGBT Community in which they’re contributing something new. There’s nothing that legitimizes them as true activists with well-conceived actions.

HT: Speaking of CENESEX (which operates under the Ministry of Health, or MINSAP), do you think that it’s legitimate to treat the issue of LGBTIs and the issue of gender generally as a matter of “public health”? Do you have any alternative ideas in this respect?

YP: For me it’s not legitimate, in principle, that issues of discrimination on the basis of one’s sexual orientation or issues of gender identity are in the hands of a health agency, yet in its field CENESEX has won the right to express itself and make proposals. Here’s a little history:

The way in which CENESEX arose within the framework of MINSAP is related to its origin, which was the Commission for Attention to Transsexual People, and which was around in the 1970s. Currently, part of its work continues being public health-related because it’s true that people who are transsexual and intersexual need support and accompaniment in dealing with the health care system and because medical consultations for people or couples with sexual dysfunctions are the responsibility of MINSAP. I have no doubt that sexual and reproductive health are public health concerns.

However, the Center has gone from arguing over the relevancy of overcoming certain pseudoscientific visions about sexuality in the Cuban health care system to sparking social debate concerning the social and political rights of the victims of hetero-normality. It’s an enormous qualitative leap that it has assumed because no other institution in the country has been able to take on such a challenge. But that no one else could, or wanted to, assume the problem, doesn’t mean that CENESEX is the most suitable to address it. On the other hand, it does indicate that they have courage, ethics and a sense of duty. Those are merits that no one can deny the CENESEX collective.

The fact is that Cuba — its legal, institutional and political part — isn’t designed for the systematic exercise of social criticism from the position in which we LGBTI people find ourselves, the exercise we can label as “politics of identities.” Our institutional designs have to group you as a part of a government-dependent organization or atomize you to the extreme, because in the official logic there’s only one identity: the national one. So, without transforming the model that governs the policies of Cuban associations, we couldn’t break out of the CENESEX-MINSAP orbit relating to matters of hetero-normality, just as we were unable to escape the CITMA (Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment) – MINCULT (Ministry of Culture) orbit regarding race-related issues.

That is my proposal, which admits that people not only link up due to professional, spiritual or political, reasons, but also because they’re united as victims of discrimination, and that’s a reason to come together. It’s a legitimate method for emancipating ourselves.

HT: Yasmin, you identify yourself in your e-mails as a “Marxist, feminist blogger.” What does that triple identity mean to you? Is it perhaps a triple project of resistance?

YP: This is the first time I’ve stopped to look at it like that! Resistance? Yes – that’s one way to put it. When I conceived of it, it was more a matter of how to explain it to people that certain matters shouldn’t be played with in your presence. To me, one doesn’t play around with money, the class struggle, patriarchy or freedom of speech. You can talk but you don’t play. These are words that came to me years apart.

To believe in Marxism at the end of ‘90s, when I entered the university, was an “antiquated” position, unless you planned to pursue a political career. I began very successfully as a student leader, but I realized over time that I didn’t want to be a “leader,” but a “Marxist intellectual.” I was in an intense “Young Pioneer” phase, stuck in “We will be like Che” and without the capacity for negotiation.

Being a feminist in Cuba has never been “politically correct.” I took offense when Julio César Guanche called me that in 2002. To calm me down he told me, “You’re a feminist, you just don’t know it.” Only after reading certain writings, seldom recommended to marriageable young ladies sheltered in their homes, I had to agree with him. Up until then I didn’t know I was actually a feminist.

To be a blogger — defending my/the right to express personal reflections in a public space — generates a lack of understanding in a culture whose informational paradigm is based on a monopoly. Since 2005 I haven’t stopped running into people who ask me “So you put your thoughts there for everybody to read them?” To which I respond: “Of course. Isn’t that my right?”

This is connected with resistance, isn’t it?

HT: By the way, in your opinion, what’s the limitation of Cuban feminism?

YP: Cuban feminism? That’s the first news I’ve heard it exists. For me there are Cuban feminists and there’s a women’s movement in Cuba, but as for a specific line of explanation concerning the relations between the genders from a specific sociocultural perspective (like black feminism, Islamic feminism, one that’s different or radical feminism), it doesn’t seem that we have something like this on the island. Maybe you should adjust the question.

HT: Ok – what are the limitations of Cuban feminists?

YP: The logic of feminism is so revolutionary that it doesn’t fit into the structure of the Federation of Cuban Women. Like anti-racism and LGBTI activism, it remains in institutional limbo. And in Cuba, this is equal to political limbo and permanent suspicion. That’s why, though there’s a great team of women and men with excellent preparation in matters of gender whose actions barely go beyond the limits of academia. These people could do so much in social politics, public debates or managerial strategies!

HT: At the 2011 Social Forum of the Critical Observatory, you introduced the notion of a “personal political agenda.” What does this involve? Can there exist such “agendas” within the customary calls for revolutionary unity in Cuba? Also, I’d like you to talk a little about what your own participation in the Critical Observatory Network has meant to you.

YP: Tell me something, is that phrase going to continue sticking with me for long? Frankly, I’d hoped they would have keyed in on other parts of the presentation.

You have to realize that the phrase was used in a context of confrontation. I explained the confrontation between a paradigm of control over pre-Internet knowledge and the possibilities for exchanging experiences as well as the establishment of resistance with the resources of the Internet.

“Personal political agendas” are not things that emerged with the web; this refers to peoples’ identities, how much they’re willing to invest — materially, spiritually and temporally — in their dreams for public space. What the network facilitates is the search for peers who may help you in involving with issues such as changing the educational system, organizing an initiative around non-violence or repairing the neighborhood cultural center.

Of course such a thing can exist within a revolutionary unity; we’re people, not objects, therefore we have goals, opinions and perspectives. All of that makes up people’s “personal political agendas,” which is summed up through a process of constant negotiation with whoever accompanies us on the path to action. To me, a person without a “personal political agenda” has stopped dreaming.

That’s what I like about the Critical Observatory Network: it brings together people who dream. My experience with those who make it up, people from diverse fields of knowledge, is that they don’t give up trying to transform ways of doing things or the spirit of those who do. With more or less sophisticated languages, joining the Network implies a daily commitment from people to work for emancipation, transcending the cultural logic of the late capitalism in which we live and outlining of a new paradigm – one that I call communist.

I know that everything doesn’t work as well as I would like. There are external pressures, the social logic in which we live, as well as internal contradictions in which we members all fall into as we attempt to act, which slows down our advance. However the Critical Observatory Network isn’t above me, it’s within. That’s why it suits me.

HT: In that same Critical Observatory Social Forum, a brief video was filmed where you argue with great emphasis and emotion that “the revolution has to be taken to its final consequences.” What is a/the revolution for you? Is it commitment to a historic leadership, a government, a tradition of struggle? – or does it mean not giving into enemies “not even a little”? Or is it something more than that?

YP: Can you copy the video for me? The problem is that I don’t have access to YouTube…

HT: Me neither, Yasmin. We don’t have the bandwidth for that. But there’s a copy around here on a pin drive…

YP: Well, seriously: What is a Revolution? You saw me looking like Rosa Luxemburg or Alexandra Kollontai? How do I define revolution? More or less, I know that it’s a process, a sociopolitical one, that always brings with it a little bit of blood and a few decapitations – to make it clear that we’re talking about something serious. The idea is to change the whole economic system in a short period of time to satisfy the needs of a class, which up until then has been deprived but wants its part of the pie…its part of the means of production.

That’s how it is, revolutions are forward movement. The model can only call itself that if the class that takes power is wider and more democratic than the one beheaded. That’s what guillotines and firing squads are for. Revolution has to succeed at implanting a new logic, one that’s more flexible and more efficient in its mechanisms of satisfying the needs of society as a whole. The revolution has to be able to explain the world and justify itself in an almost coherent way. Do you like that?

Therefore, revolution involves the commitment to ideas, with models of the country and the society that you try to concretize. Commitment is not to a group of people, no matter how much you respect them, nor to the government’s model, because it can become obsolete.

Commitment is to a tradition of struggle for independence, sovereignty, the emancipation of people and everyone’s access to what humanity’s knowledge can offer so as to make life full – physical and mentally. The commitment is to social justice, not personal comfort.

Of course, what I’m describing is a process marked by the violence of classist confrontation. That’s why someone once said that we will leave prehistory behind when we supersede capitalism. There’s an enemy with as many faces as illusions of domination — capitalism is the first economic system that succeeded in making autophagy a virtue — and not giving it “even a little bit,” is complicated. This implies making ideas essential but practice very reflective. One of the few things that I’m sure of is that to stop in the process of forging change is to give them the advantage.

HT: How are you able to reconcile motherhood, marriage, family life and economic difficulties with that agenda? And, well, what’s the idea of family that you profess?

YP: That’s like asking the centipede which leg it uses first to dance. Every day, Roge (my husband, Rogelio) and I try to coordinate our work schedules with our son’s care. The rest we come up with as we go along.

What’s my idea of family? It’s supposed that the family is a genetic condition, but death, poverty or extreme intolerance can force you to have to build your family from scratch. In general terms, I believe that a family consists of those people with whom you have such an intense positive sentimental bond that you prefer to have them close to you with certain regularity. They are people who you know and accept as they are – even above ideology. They are people for whom you would run risks and who you consider when you make plans that affect life, such as bringing about a revolution or organizing a girl’s “Sweet ‘Fifteen’” party at the Hotel Nacional.

HT: Could you tell me about your experience as a blogger…about the Bloggers Cuba collective? What’s the profile of your blog and why does it have such an unusual name?

YP: I became a blogger in September 2005 because I wanted to have a place online for my demons, for the dirty stories that I compulsively wrote but didn’t have anywhere to publish. Gradually an explicit political practice emerged in the content of those posts, because just being a blogger is already a political gesture. Back then it was rather a solitary matter. I came to Bloggers Cuba through Boris Leonardo (who blogs at “Los rumores”), and starting from there the experience became rich thanks to an internal discussion about what it is to be a blogger in Cuba, and because I collided with comments and what other people “expected” to be written from Cuba. Anyway, I tried to function in a way so that the commentators wouldn’t put the screws on, because they accused me of being a “state security agent” and other nonsense.

As for the profile of my blog, to begin with, there are three of them.

I started up Palabras robadas (“Stolen words”) in September 2005. It’s dedicated to “fanfiction.” It’s basically homosexual erotic literature, but there’s something political in it because in those stories I often begin to speculate about what is a relationship between a couple, what is family and what is power or obsessions, all these being topics of feminist thinking, as you can imagine.

In 2006 Bubusopia emerged. At first it was a blog for gathering news, but later I convinced Roge to fire off his political diatribes in posts. At the moment I’m publishing very little on that site.

It wasn’t until 2007 that the third site arose. It was first called himself Solo mis palabras (Only My Words), until one day I thought it sounded like a teenager’s diary name, so I looked for something abstract. The title “En 2310 y 8225” refers to the geographical coordinates of our house. It’s a personal and reflective blog of my interests, opinions, sentimental jolts and academic readings. If we were to label it, it will be “Marxist and feminist,” like me.

HT: There’s talk in Cuba of (self-described) “revolutionary bloggers” and “alternative bloggers.” Similarly, there is “a merciless digital war” being waged, at least according to the sides in that conflict: the alternative and the official sides – or, inversely, between good Cubans and the enemy’s mercenaries. On which side of that dispute do you place yourself?

YP: On neither, of course. This war is invented and maintained by people who live off of war, whose goal is war, not peace. That’s why they’re determined to move Cuban blogs under the same dualist premise that marks our politics, along with the rhetoric of violence and threats they use in other older fields. These people choose to forget that the nature of blogs is diverse, like the people who generate them.

HT: You participated actively in the controversy unleased as a result of Ted Henken’s research on the Cuban blogsphere, which also involved Havana Times. Why such an emotional defense of an initiative that you don’t belong to? What are your desires for the Cuban blogosphere and for each of the groups that comprise it (according to Ted Henken)?

YP: You see, it’s like in the poem by Bertolt Brecht that ends, “And then…they came for me…And by that time there was no one left to speak up.” As part of Bloggers Cuba (BC), I share with HT the vocation to engage in civic journalism from platforms open to the public’s involvement, with the objective of diversifying the vision that we have of our society inside and outside of Cuba.

The people in the previous response (those on one side or the other living for war), they don’t want these alternatives. They know we’re putting their hegemony in danger. So defending HT from persecution and attacks on its credibility is a minimum common sense reaction. We are close as bloggers, claiming the right of the people with HT to exist – as long as it’s not proven that they’re agents of the CIA effectively involved in subversion acts against Cuba. This support is to defend the right of all of authentic civil society to exist, and that includes me. Did you think I did it as a do gooder?

Following this logic, the only things I want for the Cuban blogosphere is for its bandwidth to increase, the prices of spare parts to go down, the migration to open-source software to be generalized and that we learn how to respect bloggers’ and commentators’ opinions — sexual, political, economic and aesthetic…in short, their ideologies.

In terms of Ted Henken’s research, I’ve already solved that problem: I’ve done my own.

To me, the Cuban blogosphere has four parts: exiled, “insilio” (“in-xiled”), official and resistance.

The “exiled” are those who migrated and work against the government, therefore they extend their objectives and belligerency to the blogosphere.

I owe Isbel Alba Duarte for the term “insilio” (“in-xiled”), which refers to the blogs of those who reside in Cuba and oppose the government.

The blogs in exile and in insilio can be contrasted to the “Bloggers of the Revolution,” which can be called “official” for their hard line in defense of the identification of Cuba with the current government.

I’m adding to these terms the category of “in resistance,” referring to the small niche of people who work inside and outside of Cuba attempting to unmask the previous dualist tradition. This category operates for emigrants and residents, and it is expressed above all in thematic choices and focus. For more details, see my report: “Voces femeninas en la blogosfera cubana. ¿Cambió algo más que el soporte?” (Female voices in the Cuban blogosphere: Did more than just support change?)”, presented in June at the Universidad de Madeira.

HT: What will be the next actions of Project Rainbow and of Yasmin Silvia as a blogger?

YP: Project Rainbow is consolidating. We’ve already had a working meeting and now we have to come to a consensus on the founding document. Also, we’re thinking about initiatives to foment international and national LGBTI historical memory in Cuba. This is something we consider basic for our long term objectives. We’re in agreement that a community without consciousness of itself cannot act autonomously, nor can it affirm or deny its representatives. To be legitimate — politically speaking — we therefore need a community that is aware.

As a blogger, then…you know that even when I was little they told me that I was always quarrelsome. The thing is that I can’t just turn the other cheek, and the blog is one way for me to strike back.

For the original report go to http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=48707

Homosexual relationships devastating (Observer Letter)

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Dear Editor,

Jamaicans are not immune from the rolling tide that is shaping the debate on homosexuality in our world. The article, "Gay TV advert angers clerics" in the Sunday Observer of August 7, 2011, and other postings in the Gleaner leave no doubt that the tide is on the shores. Buoyed by recent successes, especially with the passage of same sex marriage law in New York, the local lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders believe the time is ripe to test the waters.


Who wants to deny love among family members? Is it love that is being projected here or is it a lifestyle? No church leader or member can promote hate of anyone and call themselves a follower of Jesus.The Bible teaches that He died for all sinners because of His great love. Still, sin is the act that is unacceptable, homosexuality and other deviant behaviours are called sin. Loving each other is good, but it's hypocritical to pretend that acceptance is the same as love. It is impossible for a Christian to accept homosexuality as lifestyle because the Bible clearly states that it is a deviant behaviour.

Who wants to deny love among family members? Is it love that is being projected here or is it a lifestyle? No church leader or member can promote hate of anyone and call themselves a follower of Jesus.The Bible teaches that He died for all sinners because of His great love. Still, sin is the act that is unacceptable, homosexuality and other deviant behaviours are called sin. Loving each other is good, but it's hypocritical to pretend that acceptance is the same as love. It is impossible for a Christian to accept homosexuality as lifestyle because the Bible clearly states that it is a deviant behaviour.

It is not homophobic but a belief that is grounded in the truth of the Bible. Far from being irrelevant and antiquated, the Bible's warning regarding homosexuality are eerily relevant and up to date. The book of Romans aptly describes both the perversion and the penalty: Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. And receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due (Romans 1:26-27).

It would be difficult to miss the relationship between homosexuality and the health crisis in the black community in the US.


AIDS is advancing in that community among young black homosexual men than any other sector of the population. The homosexual lifestyle causes a host of complications including haemorrhoids, prostate damage and infectious fissures.

This is just scratching the surface. Non-viral infections transmitted through homosexuality activity include gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis. Viral infections include herpes and hepatitis A and B. While there are obvious moral and medical problems with sexual promiscuity in general, it would be homophobic in the extreme to obscure the scientific realities concerning homosexuality.

It is a hate crime of unparalleled proportions to attempt to keep the population in the dark concerning these issues. It does not need a degree in physiology to realise that the human body is not designed for homosexual relationships. Spurious slogans and sound bytes do not change the scientific reality that homosexual relationships are devastating not only from psychological but also from a physiological perspective.


I am suggesting that Pamela Bridgewater keep her opinions to diplomatic issues between her country and Jamaica.

Ray G Stennett
ray4rs2000@aol.com

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gay man marries transsexual woman in Cuban first

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In July 2011 I had carried a hint to this story here entitled

Trans-homo Couple Plans to Wed on Fidel Castro’s Birthday in Cuba

Now it has come to pass:

By Jeff Franks of Reuters Canada

Photo

Gay rights activist and dissident Ignacio Estrada and transexual Wendy Iriepa hold hands during their wedding in Havana August 13, 2011.REUTERS/Desmond Boylan
HAVANA (Reuters) - A gay dissident and a transsexual woman married on Saturday in what was said to be a first for Cuba, then draped themselves in the rainbow flag of gay pride and rode through the streets of Havana.

In a simple civil ceremony surrounded by much hoopla, Ignacio Estrada, 31, and Wendy Iriepa, 37, signed a marriage certificate, exchanged rings and kissed before a state official, who wished them much happiness.

It was not technically a same-sex marriage, which is prohibited in Cuba, and drew no interference from authorities

because Iriepa is legally a woman after undergoing Cuba's first state-sanctioned sex change operation in 2007.

But the wedding, held on Fidel Castro's 85th birthday in what the couple had called a "gift" to the former leader, was aimed at advancing homosexual rights in Cuba and tinged with politics as some of Cuba's best-known dissidents participated and U.S. diplomats attended in a public show of support.

Wendy Iriepa arrives for the ceremony.
Photo: Jonathan Wolfe

It also signaled changing attitudes on the island, where homosexuals were placed in camps in the 1960s for being "counterrevolutionary" in a part of history that prompted a mea culpa from Fidel Castro last year.

Applauding supporters, a throng of reporters and dozens of curious Cubans awaited the couple as they arrived at a government marriage office in the Havana suburbs.

The bride, wearing a strapless white wedding dress, made an exuberant arrival in a 1950s Ford convertible, sitting up on the backseat and holding the gay pride flag high with both hands as she smiled with happiness.

"I'm very happy and very nervous," the statuesque Iriepa said as she stepped down from the car. "This is really the happiest day of my life."

Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada exchange rings in Havana.
Photo: Jonathan Wolfe


'A STEP FORWARD'

Estrada, decked out in a white suit and red tie and arriving separately in a white Mercedes, said he was also happy and nervous, but that the day's importance extended beyond him and his bride. "This is a step forward for the gay community in Cuba," he said.

The couple met three months ago and fell in love, said Estrada, who has AIDS.

After the ceremony, they had their photographs taken in front of a two-tiered wedding cake, kissed again and then followed Cuban tradition by riding through the streets in a convertible, the horn blaring a few notes of wedding music.

The only difference was the rainbow flag they draped across their shoulders.

They were to honeymoon in an undisclosed location.

The reaction of Cuban onlookers, who crowded the sidewalks and watched from apartment windows, ranged from applause to derisive laughter to bewilderment.

"What does she have here, mami?" a young girl asked her mother, putting her hands to her chest.

"I don't think they should be able to marry. It goes against nature," said middle-aged Iris Gonzalez, who also asked "Where did she get those breasts?"

Prominent dissident bloggers Yoani Sanchez and husband Reinaldo Escobar participated in the wedding, while Laura Pollan and Berta Soler, leaders of the dissident Ladies in White attended.

"We are very happy with what has occurred today. A big step in a small Cuba," Sanchez twittered from the ceremony.

The United States government has spoken of giving financial aid to gay dissidents as part of its long-standing campaign to promote political change in Cuba, but it is not known if money has begun to flow.

Notably absent was Mariela Castro, Cuba's biggest proponent of gay marriage and daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro.

Mariela Castro, who heads Cuba's National Center for Sex Education, said earlier she had not been invited to the wedding, but congratulated the couple.

Iriepa recently left a job at the center.

(Editing by Todd Eastham)

Photo

Gay rights activist and dissident Ignacio Estrada and transexual Wendy Iriepa salute waving a LGBT flag from a convertible
car after their wedding in Havana August 13, 2011.REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

Talk 'bout what you love (Observer)

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WELCOME back, family, friends and fans. I can't believe a whole week has swept by us and here we are once again.

Some of you must tire of reading about my total ignorance of current affairs with my BlackBerry being my main information source, but that's just how things cook up in Elva Land so bear on with me for a few minutes.


Some righteous individuals decided to advocate for a public ban on an alleged commercial the JIS has plans to air or is airing on television depicting a homosexual couple. Whether this is so or not I have no idea. My beef is neither with the JIS nor the sanctimonious saver of the world who drafted the mail, but with individuals on my messenger service who took it upon themselves (some of them who sin more than Satan himself) to forward it to me. I am not a homosexual advocate nor am I saying the lifestyle is moral or justifiable, since only God can judge us, but I was not in favour of the tone of the broadcast which suggested that we needed to stand up for our rights as Jamaicans and call for a ban of the ad, since it was going to plunge us as a nation into the pit of hell. Now the last time I checked, the motto said 'Out of many, one people," so go figure.

That is what I got from the broadcast and remember, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, so maybe I interpreted it wrong.

A Bible verse was also cited which alluded to such persons being stoned in the book of Leviticus. What struck me as funny is, from my Sunday school memory, the stoning punishment was rampant throughout the books of the Old Testament, being applicable to men who stole; coveted their neighbour's wife or that woman at the well who was engaging in the world's oldest profession. How come none of those other ungodly 'abominations' were listed in the broadcast? It just didn't seem fair. The way I see it, sin is sin and he who is without sin, and only he, can cast stones. Based on the Bible and its teachings that I grew up on, homosexuality is against God's law, but I don't see it as the main contender for what is destroying the fibre of our beautiful little island.

Are homosexuals or a homosexual lifestyle responsible for the national debt; garrison in-fighting; corruption in high and low places; the increasing crime rate; the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar; Air Jamaica's sale; bad mind?... well, you get the picture.

I think we should strive to fix the major problems our country faces by acting less selfishly; insisting our children get an education; demanding better services from our elected officials; and taking pride in ourselves as Jamaicans -- gay or straight. Send out a BB broadcast about that if you dare! Since I'm on a roll here, let me add that homosexuality has always been around, hence the town of Sodom; it is nothing new. What is new is the emphasis we have placed on it in this country over the last two decades.

When I was growing up, there were persons living among us known as 'Maama man' or the female version 'Man Royal'. They went about their business just like everyone else, they weren't the centre of attention and dancehall/reggae music and our culture focused and fostered man to woman relationships. Nowadays, as a member of the female species, I have to wait for an allotted segment to 'bruk out' at a party, because all night long the music being played is about men, whether bad man, gunman or gay man.

And they do appreciatively hog the video light, sometimes bouncing away the true divas, because they are the feature act. My granny used to say "shoemaker talk bout shoes". Shouldn't our social commentators, be they selectors, artistes or BB broadcasters promote that which they know and love? This homophobic obsession is probably what led to the JIS' alleged acknowledgement. I can't blame them if that is the case; since they must be royalty the way we focus on the lifestyle of that group. Kudos everyone, if a so it really go, mission accomplished!

Correct me if I'm wrong but is there a separate hell for homosexuals? Last time I checked all sinners whether thieves, murderers, liars, drunkards, overeaters and fornicators are going the same place come Judgment Day to spend an eternity together, so we might as well start living good with each other from now or get right with God, obey ALL his commandments in order to enter Heaven and avoid the bangarang.

Well, that's my time, I've officially run out of allotted space to prattle on, so I'll end here. Hope you got the point.

Tweet me @ElvaJamaica or send comments via email
"mailto:elvachatalot@yahoo.com" elvachatalot@yahoo.com.


Ian Boyne on ....... Storm Brewing Over Gay Ad

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Ian Boyne, Contributor

It's an indication of our backwardness, appalling intolerance and bigotry that an ad calling for "unconditional love" of our homosexual family members and friends is unlikely to be shown on local television because the stations are just too scared to show leadership in this area.

The decision-makers there know better, but they also know Jamaica, and they know the backlash and outrage that would overwhelm them if they dare transgress in this area. It's profit over any principle of pluralism, and concern for ratings over reason. I understand their dilemma. I am taking daredevil risks with my own popularity and 'ratings' for writing this column. It takes courage to write any such lead in a Jamaican newspaper, for it is bound to generate rumours that I myself am gay, bisexual or at least uncertain about my own sexuality.

For in the thinking (I need a better word!) of large numbers of Jamaicans, for me to even dare to suggest that an ad 'soft' on homosexuals should come on television in this Christian, God-blessed country must be an indication of a perverted, sin-sick and debased mind. Homosexuality, I have always maintained, is not a subject that can be rationally discussed in Jamaica, for even among well-schooled people, emotions completely drown any semblance of reason.

Palpable fear

The one time I could ever interview some gay people on 'Religious Hardtalk', they had to be from overseas, and I had to say several times during the show, "Don't bother to come down here at TVJ, for this show is taped and the guests are already back home!" For it would be life-threatening for them to stay in the island for the luxury of watching the show here, as I could not guarantee their safety to the airport. (After all, doomsday preacher Michael Lewis had to wear disguises on the streets of Jamaica before he left for the United States (US), and his sin was just proclaiming passionately that Jesus would return on May 21!)

Last Sunday, the Observer, in a page-one story, 'Gay TV advert angers clerics', reported the difficulty gays and non-gay civil libertarians had been having in getting a public service announcement carried even after a public launch involving US Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater and others from the international community.

It is to our shame that Jamaican gay people cannot come on television, show their faces, debate their homosexuality with heterosexuals, go back home in peace and to their jobs and live normal lives the next day. If we lay claim to being a pluralistic, democratic society and not an autocracy like Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Burma, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, gay people should be free to express their views without fear of violence, harassment or victimisation.

But what about the view that homosexuality is against Jamaican law and, therefore, it would be improper to show such blatant disrespect for Jamaican law by parading gay people on air, or showing an ad effectively calling for a softening of attitudes to these persons engaging in lawbreaking? First, it is not homosexuality that is illegal, but buggery or anal sex. Lesbians cannot be punished under our buggery laws.

Hypocrisy regarding lesbians

So, from a Christian point of view, Jamaican law does not really reflect, absolutely, the biblical prohibition of same-sex intimacy. It leaves out lesbians, and my information is that lesbianism is growing by leaps and bounds in Jamaica and is reportedly prominent in our high schools - unfortunately, in my view.

And why, I ask our passionate anti-gay men, are they generally so soft on lesbians and don't treat them and despise them the same way they despise gay men? If you are talking about morality - and especially biblical morality - you have to be consistent. If it's a cultural matter now - and there are some interesting sociological theories on how male homosexuality offends our notion of masculinity - well, stop citing morality and the Bible. (Ever notice how these fornicating, adulterous 'old dawg' men like to rush for their King James Version of the Bible in condemning homosexuality? Why don't they apply that same Bible to themselves?)

So the argument about 'not promoting something which is illegal' does not hold water. A homosexual man can avoid buggery but is still, in the biblical and scientific definition, gay. (Those who know their Bible know it condemns sexual lust, not just physical penetration outside of man-woman marriage.) So then, would you be okay with homosexual men who are not engaging in buggery coming on television to be interviewed? No, you would not, and it has nothing to do with law - it just has to do with prejudice and emotion.

Besides, isn't ganja smoking against our law? Do we, as journalists, interview people on television who openly admit to smoking ganja and hence to breaking the law? Do the decision-makers at our television stations not carry artistes who smoke ganja? Some are even carried smoking weed and puffing the smoke in Babylon's face!

There's another point. There have been many laws which have been and are unjust and immoral. Apartheid was law in South Africa. It was unjust and immoral. Slavery was legal in many societies. So was discrimination against women. (This continues in some societies today.) It was once illegal to sell liquor, to criticise the king and other public officials (the sedition law). Interracial marriage was illegal in some places, and so was divorce.

Free speech

The fact that something is illegal should not prevent lobbyists in a democratic society from speaking out for change. I am a free-speech libertarian, and here I am going to part company with perhaps most gay people who, if they had their way, would become the new oppressors and opponents of free speech. There are gay people who believe religious people should not have the right to call homosexuality an abomination and an evil which will be punished with everlasting hellfire. Though I don't believe in everlasting hellfire, I believe preachers must have the right to say that homosexuals will burn in hell forever if they don't repent of their sin of homosexuality.

Homosexuals and other opponents of free speech will call that 'hate language' and would seek to ban it, calling attention to the 'emotional hurt' and 'pain' such language causes to people. And lest you think I am inconsistent, I also believe racists should have the right to publicise their racist views too. The Ku Klux Klan should have the right to promulgate their racism, and the Aryan Brotherhood and racist Christian Identity movement should be free to publish and broadcast their sick racist views to whomever would listen. To quote that memorable phrase representative of free-speech philosophy, the answer to hate speech is 'more, better speech', not censorship and repression.

I detest how the gay lobby has manipulated language to classify any opposition to homosexuality as 'homophobia'. That's absolute nonsense. There are rational, sophisticated people who believe homosexuality is morally wrong and philosophically and theologically unjustifiable. (As much as arrogant gays find that hard to believe). I, personally, believe that if the Bible is read as authoritative, and if any plenary inspiration is ascribed to it, you cannot come away with any justification whatsoever for homosexual conduct.

In my considered opinion, the Bible condemns homosexuality and homosexual practice. I believe it is a fruitless attempt to try to use the Bible to show that God has no problem with homosexuality. I have read the finest exponents of pro-homosexual biblical exegesis and hermeneutics and I find them utterly unconvincing. For anyone who wants a thorough and comprehensive refutation of any attempt to harmonise the Bible with homosexuality, I recommend Robert Gagnon's masterpiece, The Bible and Homosexual Practice', as well as his indescribably devastating anti-gay hermeneutics website.

Tolerance isn't endorsement

Gay people need to learn that tolerance does not mean endorsement. Many of them seem to believe that those of us who are free-speech and civil-rights libertarians are still 'victims of prejudice' because we still see homosexual practice as sinful and against the will of God. I am prepared to debate with any homosexual on philosophical and theological grounds to show why I reject homosexual practice. I find most of their arguments justifying homosexual behaviour as gnawingly simplistic and a violation of a cardinal principle in philosophy: You can't derive 'ought from is'. The fact that you have these desires, impulses and drives doesn't mean that they should be satisfied. In other words, because something is natural does not mean it is necessarily moral.

I recommend to my gay friends evolutionary psychologist and atheist, Professor Steve Stewart-Williams', Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life: How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew. It's priceless. See, especially, the chapter 'Remaking Morality', which notes: "Several of the alleged ethical implications we've considered so far rest on a hidden assumption: The idea that if something is natural, it must be good."

We need to embed in this society what the philosopher John Locke called "toleration". We need a pluralistic democracy, not just an electoral democracy such as we have. I would describe what we have as an illiberal democracy. Our tribalism affects our politics, our sociology, our religion - everything. (I mean, we had one man calling for the resignation of our governor general because, as a conscientious Seventh-day Adventist, he felt bound, or so we surmise, to be absent from Independence ceremonies. In this bigoted, intolerant and illiberal society, diversity and difference must be punished and banished).

Some of us will have to step out of that cocoon and show some leadership at some point. The Gleaner has already called for the decriminalisation of homosexuality. We might not agree with the paper, but we must concede it is showing guts in this intolerant society, and a courage that elude its counterparts in electronic media. But then the masses watch far more than they would care to read.

We must reach a point in this country where we can discuss homosexuality rationally; though perhaps not in my lifetime. Gay people, though, must understand that "unconditional love" does not mean unconditional acceptance of their sexuality. That's another form of bigotry.

Ian Boyne is a veteran journalist. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and ianboyne1@yahoo.com.
ENDS

TVJ RESPONDS:

UPDATE 18.08.11
Here is a response to the piece



THE EDITOR, Sir:

IAN BOYNE in his column, 'Storm brewing over gay ad', on August 14 stated the following: "Some of us will have to step out of that cocoon and show some leadership at some point. The Gleaner has already called for the decriminalisation of homosexuality. We might not agree with the paper, but we must concede it is showing guts in this intolerant society, and a courage that elude its counterparts in electronic media. But then, the masses watch far more than they would care to read."

It seems that Mr Boyne may be suggesting that some in the electronic media (CVM and/or TVJ) are shying away from airing the gay-friendly ad because of the public opprobrium that may be directed at the various television or radio channels. I wasn't aware that there was some brouhaha within media boardrooms regarding sanctioning the airing of the ad.

It is a disgrace to, and travesty of, the notion of a free press for CVM or TVJ to stonewall the efforts of the gay lobby. To the point, when did the electronic media become a repository for the collective prejudice of Jamaican society? The ad in question is entirely innocuous. It is one that every reasoned Jamaican, especially Christians, should advocate. The ad only asks that family members show love to their gay relatives. Isn't this consistent with the Christian ethic of love - the same love shown by Jesus to the woman at the well? The ad, as I've seen it, is not asking Jamaicans to accept homosexuality. Contrarily, it begs for unconditional love, in spite of human vices.

The Church is gravely mistaken that the ad is a duplicitous tactic to normalise homosexual behaviour. And, for the Church to lend its voice to its opposition ironically obstructs, rather than aid, the principle at the heart of the Judeo-Christian message. For the church to sound such a false alarm is nothing but a transparent attempt to stir a tempest in a teapot.

I sincerely hope the electronic media - radio and television - find the ethical and political willpower to stand on journalistic principles and give the people equal opportunity to have their voices heard, no matter how unpopular those voices may be.

J.D. Lewis

Kingston

also see
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War of words between pro & anti gay activists on HIV matters .......... what hypocrisy is this?



War of words between pro & anti gay activists on HIV matters .......... what hypocrisy is this?

A war of words has ensued between gay lawyer (AIDSFREEWORLD) Maurice Tomlinson and anti gay activist Dr Wayne West as both accuse each other of lying or being dishonest, when deception has been neatly employed every now and again by all concerned, here is the post from Dr West's blog

This is laughable to me as both gentleman have broken the ethical lines of advocacy respectively repeatedly especially on HIV/AIDS and on legal matters concerning LGBTQ issues

The evidence is overwhelming readers/listeners, you decide.


Urgent Need to discuss sex & sexuality II

Following a cowardly decision by the Minister(try) of Education to withdraw an all important Health Family Life, HFLE Manual on sex and sexuality I examine the possible reasons why we have the homo-negative challenges on the backdrop of a missing multi-generational understanding of sexuality and the focus on sexual reproductive activity in the curriculum.

Calls for Tourism Boycotts are Nonsensical at This Time




(2014 protests New York)


Calling for boycotts by overseas based Jamaican advocates who for the most part are not in touch with our present realities in a real way and do not understand the implications of such calls can only seek to make matters worse than assisting in the struggle, we must learn from, the present economic climate of austerity & tense calm makes it even more sensible that persons be cautious, will these groups assist when there is fallout?, previous experiences from such calls made in 2008 and 2009 and the near diplomatic nightmare that missed us; especially owing to the fact that many of the victims used in the public advocacy of violence were not actual homophobic cases which just makes the ethics of advocacy far less credible than it ought to be.


See more explained HERE from a previous post following the Queen Ifrica matter and how it was mishandled


Newstalk 93FM's Issues On Fire: Polygamy Should Be Legalized In Jamaica 08.04.14



debate by hosts and UWI students on the weekly program Issues on Fire on legalizing polygamy with Jamaica's multiple partner cultural norms this debate is timely.

Also with recent public discourse on polyamorous relationships, threesomes (FAME FM Uncensored) and on social.

Some Popular Posts

Are you ready to fight for gay rights and freedoms?? (multiple answers are allowed)

Do you think effeminate men put themselves at risk by being "real" in public?

Did U Find This Blog Informative???

Blog Roll

What do you think is the most important area of HIV treatment research today?

Do you think Lesbians could use their tolerance advantage to help push for gay rights in Jamaica??

Violence and venom force gay Jamaicans to hide

Violence and venom force gay Jamaicans to hide a 2009 Word focus report where the history of the major explosion of homeless MSM occurred and references to the party DVD that was leaked to the bootleg market which exposed many unsuspecting patrons to the public (3:59), also the caustic remarks made by former member of Parliament in the then JLP administration. The agencies at the time were also highlighted and the homo negative and homophobic violence met by ordinary Jamaican same gender loving men. The late founder of the CVC, former ED of JASL and JFLAG Dr. Robert Carr was also interviewed. At 4:42 that MSM was still homeless to 2012 but has managed to eek out a living but being ever so cautious as his face is recognizable from the exposed party DVD, he has been slowly making his way to recovery despite the very slow pace

Thanks for your Donations

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

This Day in History

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