Lesbophobia never really did create the excitement or accord the level of importance as repealing the buggery law and men who are victims of beatings and other serious happenings get from the male dominated agencies so they do not get the articles and media spotlight and subsequent on the ground attention required. We know that MSMs issues are far more pronounced locally but in as far as the responses to same gender loving women's issues they are woefully lacking even after a total of thirty plus years of combined advocacy over respective groups, individuals and organizations.
The article below appeared on an overseas website showing yet again that news about us has to be generated off shore maybe in a bid to impress folks that work is somehow being done locally and which plays into the criticism about certain voices and that persons play on the reputation that Jamaica has gained, and using it to their own ends to push themselves as superstar advocates while persons on the ground suffer literally and counting on the silence and gullibility of lgbt Jamaicans as well as the fears of straight people to help them. All elements of the elitist culture at work.
By Branka Juran and Maria Caspani
LONDON (TrustLaw) - Lesbians in Jamaica face attacks such as gang rape due to rife homophobia in the country, but few of these abuses get reported, Jamaica’s leading gay activist said.
“In Jamaican culture women are generally expected to be quiet about harassment and abuse,” Maurice Tomlinson, Jamaica’s leading gay activist and HIV/AIDS campaigner, said in an interview with TrustLaw.
Women are not the only victims. Tomlinson said 70 percent of attacks reported to rights organisations between 2009 and 2011 concerned gay men.
Under Jamaican law it is legal to punish any act of physical intimacy between men with jail and the possibility of 10-years hard labour.
Tomlinson was in London this week to receive the inaugural David Kato award for gay human rights activism.
“When we find out about these cases (involving gay women), they are usually so horrible that they rise up to the level of having to be reported,” he said.
Tomlinson works as a legal advisor for rights group AIDS Free World, helping them forge a structured way to address homophobia in the country and documenting human rights abuses against LGBT people.
When he first started recording accounts of abuses, Tomlinson was appalled by the sheer brutality of some of these acts.
“There was one instance where a gang of four men raped a lesbian because they said she was ‘taking over all good looking women’, Tomlinson recalled.
“They cut her genitals, so she could ‘better take men’ because ‘that is why she was a lesbian’, they said.
With 82 percent of its citizens opposing homosexuality – according to the results of a recent survey – Jamaica is one of the most dangerous places in the world for gay people.
"The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays (J-FLAG) reported in June (2011) that 51 homophobic incidents had been registered in Jamaica between January and June 2011, representing a rise compared to the same period over 2010,” according to a report released in September 2011 by Amnesty International.
Endorsement of homophobic behaviour used to come straight from the country’s political establishment. Former PM Bruce Golding was openly homophobic and stated he would never appoint a gay person to cabinet.
Now, some – even if feeble – signals of change are starting to emerge.
In January, the newly elected Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has made some promising statements regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT).
“I think she (Simpson-Miller) genuinely does not have a problem with LGBT people and does not pry to people’s bedrooms,” Tomlinson said.
Nonetheless, homophobia still permeates almost every aspect of the Caribbean island’s society.
People go to church where they listen to pastors preaching that homophobia causes diseases, then they turn on the radio and hear popular Jamaican musicians Buju Banton and Beenie Man using anti-gay lyrics.
Tomlinson himself has received numerous death threats.
After news of his marriage to a Canadian man sparked a row in Jamaica, it was deemed best for him not to return home. He is waiting on Jamaican authorities assure him it is going to be safe for him to travel back.
(Editing by Rebekah Curtis)
Lesbians and bisexual women have been getting their share of drama for decades as many suffering in silence as they feel their pleas may fall on deaf ears but even with a stark increase in reports in 2007 onwards of corrective rape, arson, forced evictions and even displacement/homelessness, even with an arm of the J named WomenforWomen they are tied, resource starved and cannot stand up to the male dominated executive structure of JFLAG, parent organization Jamaica AIDS Support or the other associated groups, the men call the shots. Butch lesbians in particualr have been feeling the pinch but why should women report anything when they feel they are ignored by the groups? and now to use their plight to sure up image is so unethical.
We need to put women's issues and I dare say homelessness on a equal footing to that of their male counterparts in the struggle in a transparent way and not try to sneak it in the backdoor as the rare let's give them some attention ploy. A loud cry here for proper and meaningful frontline interventions as it is not all about repealing buggery.
Want more evidence of the gloss over of same gender loving issues for women then check this post on sister blog GLBTQJA done in December 2011 of the murder of two lesbians and the non response from the so called LGBT rights groups:
here is the corresponding audio for that post:
also here is the audio from the original shocking news of Mr Tomlinson's departure:
Peace and tolerance