Monday, June 4, 2012
She wanted to let persons know that she experienced lesbophobia first hand and that it does not matter where one lives the hate will follow if it wants to, a fact that some activists and influentials have been pointing out but some persons are of a different opinion and so there is a kind of complacency in certain upper middle income lgbt groups. The women who recently rented the flat in upper St. Andrew and are working professionals were pleased they had a home to quietly live away from the hustle and bustle of noisy streets, prying eyes and some privacy in a secured gated setting with a security detail at a button's pressing to summon them. Both had also gone through some rejection from their own families as they made known their decision to cohabit and have a long term relationship, this did not sit well with members of their families but they persisted non the less, now this.
Their new neighbours, mostly males with occasional female visitors who moved in some two months after the ladies settled in their comfi flat however had a different idea of living in an apartment complex, the SGL female couple began to notice the previously absent prying eyes phenomenon, the very thing they were trying to escape, whispers as they alight from their car in the evenings after coming in from work or at early mornings if the ladies had a night on the town. The series of peepings as it were and whispers persisted for some time and even other neighbours began to warn the ladies to be careful after what was alleged to be a spirited conversation by the prying men with their women one late evening after the girls left for a private function. Concerns were expressed to the strata management of the property by the ladies by phone who promised that they would look into the issue, this they did by calling in the main male tenant of the apartment, he was warned of overcrowding his flat with other persons who were not named as cohabitants upon signing the rent agreement where he was warned he was in breach. The engagement by the strata manager with the annoying male tenant about his harboring persons and annoying other neighbours seemed to be the reason for himself and his cronies to turn up the heat on the same gender loving females accusing them of being informants or informers in colourful Jamaican parlance where the ladies saw verbal attacks and the man and his friends almost staking out the ladies as they arrive or depart the complex. He complaine bitterly that the ladies should not have said anything about his visitors etc.
But it was a faithful Sunday morning in April as the ladies arrived home from a weekend out when they were approached threateningly by associates of the man who accused them of being lesbians and the usual ugly anti gay descriptions and threatened the more aggressive of the two ladies accusing her additionally of taking away women from men. The commotion awoke other residents who tried to intervene and demanded the non resident friends of the annoying man to leave the property, the security detail was eventually summoned and the police was also called by a concerned resident. Both units arrived and the non residents numbering five were escorted off the property in a car, the shaken women were thankfully consoled by the other residents while a heated argument persisted with members of the security detail and the prying male resident who hurled expletives at them and at the women continuing to name them as informants and lesbians. He also accused the detail as supporting slackness and that maybe they are gay too, he continued that this was not America and no sodomy will be tolerated.
Things cooled eventually but the women wasted no time in seeking a new flat and moved two days after the incident occurred and a tense calm that followed. I have since learnt that the man has been given notice to quit as a petition letter was sent by the other residents who complained to the strata manger of his disturbance and the disappointment of losing the quiet ladies due to him and his friends behaviour.
Good to see some tolerance coming from the other neigbours and who took action to have the man removed, also I am happy the ladies managed to remove themselves from that situation as quickly as they could, sadly we do have issues like this happening although we often do not have them publicized to show that not only homeless or persons from supposed downtown who are beaten or abused.
Thanks to the ladies for sharing this and bringing some reality to our situation here.
Be vigilant, be safe.
Peace and tolerance
An American couple who tied the knot on Jamaican shores last month has documented their experience getting married in a country whose laws have long been antagonistic to same-sex unions.
But, what took place at Silver Sands in Duncans, Trelawny, was just a re-enactment of the actual wedding which took place in Brooklyn, New York weeks earlier.
"All the paperwork was done here (in the United States). We know Jamaican laws do not support gay marriage, so we had all the legal matters settled before we came to Jamaica," Nicole Dennis-Benn, who made sure her name in the marriage was made clear, told The Gleanerfrom the US yesterday.
Dennis-Benn, who grew up in Jamaica, said she wanted to share the experience with her family and friends who could not make it to the US for the actual wedding.
The couple's loved ones were all open to the wedding, except for both their mothers who did not show up.
"Our mothers accepted the relationship, but they said they could not deal with the wedding part of it," Dennis-Benn said.
Their story, which captured the couple's "blissful" moment on the Jamaican north coast two Saturdays ago, has been documented under the heading 'Revolutionary Love by Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn' on her Internet blog.
The article gave a flattering description of the scenery at the venue where Nicole Dennis and her partner, Dr Emma Benn, a US native, dared the unthinkable on Jamaican shores.
Dennis-Benn, 30, grew up in Vineyard Town and left Jamaica for college after completing her studies at a prominent high school in Kingston. It was during her final years in high school that she acknowledged herself as a lesbian.
"I found out in fourth form. When I was coming out, I wondered, 'What the hell?' because I know I couldn't stay in Jamaica and be who I wanted to. I felt I was the only lesbian in Jamaica at the time and I grew up in a Christian home. I knew that most Jamaicans were Christian," she said.
But, despite what some might think, it was not homophobia that mostly fuelled her desire to move to the US, she told The Gleaner.
"It was for a lot of things, but mainly because of the classism. I grew up in Vineyard Town and when I went to (high school), I experienced real classism."
She left Jamaica for studies at Cornell University in New York City. Dennis-Benn, who has her master's degree in creative writing, met Benn while working at Columbia University. The two tied the knot on April 6 before coming to Jamaica to relive the moment a little over a month later.
In her blog, the career writer recalled the moment before the couple dared the unthinkable on Jamaican shores.
"My partner joins me in the water and for the next hour, we swim and mingled with our guests who have also been baked and rejuvenated by the sun. 'You ready?' my partner whispers, swimming up behind me to encircle her arms around my waist. 'Yeah, I'm ready.' We smile at each other, aware in that moment that we're about to do something big, bigger than us.
The Jamaican native shared that it was her partner who helped her rekindle her love affair with the island after living a refugee life for many years."In my vows, I mentioned that because of my partner, I fell in love with my country again. For a long time, I ran away from Jamaica, seeking refuge in the freedom that America offered. However, when I met Emma, she was adamant about visiting Jamaica," Dennis-Benn said in her blog. 'Why not?' she asked when I turned her down a few times. I couldn't tell her then how much I was hurt by the culture, stifled by the seemingly robust structures of colonialism.
"However, when Emma and I finally returned to the island for our first visit as a couple in 2010, something felt different. At the time, I couldn't place what it was. There were no words to describe it since my brain had not yet processed it. I felt beautiful, stronger, empowered."
She said her acceptance of self was part of the reason she decided to have her wedding in Jamaica. However, her decision was strongly criticised by friends in America who claimed to know about Jamaica's anti-gay culture.
"My friends began to question my sanity once I told them that I'll be getting married in Jamaica, a country known internationally for its blatant homophobia. 'Weh di backside yuh mean yuh getting married in Jamaica?'" she further recalled in the blog.
"I had to reassure them that everything would be fine, simultaneously trying to convince myself too. I would constantly ask myself if I'm doing the right thing," she wrote.
With that decision out of the way, it now became an uphill task for the couple to find a venue in Jamaica that would be accommodating to their lifestyle.
"My partner and I took turns calling resorts in Kingston, the south coast, and the north coast ... . We clutched the receiver with sweaty palms as we prepared to come out as lesbians over and over again. 'Yes, hello, we would like to inquire about hosting our wedding at your hotel. What's the estimated cost for space? Great! Just one more thing you need to know ... my partner is a woman. Yes, that's what I said. A woman. Oh. OK. Uh-huh. I understand. Thanks for your time'," read the blog.
Next stop was at Villa where the two ended up saying "I do".
"I felt like I'd emerged from a dark tunnel, greeted by her radiating light. My father walked me down the aisle while my partner walked down the aisle with her aunt. We walked together as a couple paired with the most significant people in our lives to Whitney Houston's My Love is Your Love, she said of her experience.
To read Nicole Dennis-Benn's blog log on to http://ruminations-of-a-brooklyn-soul.blogspot.com/2012/06/revolutionary-love-by-nicole-y-dennis.html.
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Thanks for your Donations
thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going, my limited frontline community work, temporary shelter assistance at my home and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venture that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part while raising more real life issues pertinent to us.
Activities & Plans: ongoing and future
- To continue this venture towards website development with an E-zine focus
- Work with other Non Governmental organizations old and new towards similar focus and objectives
- To find common ground on issues affecting GLBTQ and straight friendly persons in Jamaica towards tolerance and harmony
- Exposing homophobic activities and suggesting corrective solutions
- To formalise GLBTQ Jamaica's activities in the long term
- Continuing discussion on issues affecting GLBTQ people in Jamaica and elsewhere
- 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
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
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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
What to do if you are attacked (News You Can Use)
Try to reason with the attacker: Establish communication with the person. This takes a lot of courage. However, a conversation may change the intention of an attacker.
Do not try anything foolish: If you know outmanoeuvring the attacker is impossible, do not try it.
Do not appear to be afraid: Look the attacker in the eye and demonstrate that you are not fearful.
This may have a psychological effect on the individual.
The police 119
Crime Stop 311
Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police
b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist
c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tensed) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation
e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports
f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)
g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible
h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violatedi) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions
j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it
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