Saturday, July 21, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
With mobilization stretching across all continents and over 100 countries, the 2012 edition of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia broke new records.
Several countries joined the celebrations for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia for the first time, including countries among those which keep 1,5 BILLION people under laws that criminalize same sex relationships.
Hundreds of millions of people reached by anti-homophobia and transphobia messages, as media massively covers IDAHO mobilizations worldwide.
A short list of highlights include :
Activists flew the rainbow flag on the hills above Tehran - Iran
First-ever LGBT events were held in 7 cities across Burma, one of which hosted a 105 year old Transgender woman who addressed the young generations with a message of hope and love
Organizations in Saint Petersburg defied the recently passed law prohibiting any form of LGBT activism, flying hundreds of balloons in the city skies as part of the global ’Rainbow Flash-mob’ action.
Unesco convened an international conference to launch their first ever publication focusing solely on the issue of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, consisting of a collection of best-practice cases from around the world.
As part of the Pride action week held for IDAHO in Cambodia, a float of ’tuktuk’ (local three-wheeler scooter taxi) raced under heavy monsoon rains, and included the participation of the British Ambassador.
The IDAHO Committee held with the OECD and the World Bank an international conference reflecting on the economical cost which homophobic and transphobic policies bear on developing countries, and announced a research project on this issue.
More than 50 EU politicians collectively recorded a video to support LGBT young people, on the mode of the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign. At UN level, the heads of UNAIDS and UNDP marked the day and added their voices to the High Commissioner for Human Right who recorded a video ahead of the day in support of activists’ mobilizations.
In several countries in Latin America, organizations pursued, with the support of the World Health Organization, last year’s IDAHO ’Cures that Kill’ campaign which aims at fighting against so-called reparative ’cures’
In Cuba, the President’s daughter, Mariela Castro, once again lead the annual IDAHO street parade.
In other places, people were invited to get a ’vaccine against homophobia’, by activists dressed as doctors. In high school, colleges and universities, students held ’IDAHO classes’, to teach the teachers how to confront homophobia and transphobia in the class.
In many countries like Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, China, Canada, and others, the Day is being celebrated across the whole nation, including in places where ’traditional’ LGBT celebrations like Pride marches are not possible.
As an activist from the Unites Arab Emirates wrote : "‘Days like IDAHO help to remind us all, not only the LGBT community, but every individual that basic human rights are still being fought for. LGBT rights are not special rights, they are Human rights!"
This sentence surely resonates in all of us as the one overarching vision that binds us all together, beyond our diversities, which we should celebrate.
All in all, once again, a vibrant, diverse and imaginative IDAHO. A celebration of courage, determination and creativity !
The annual report brings many more stories and pictures from around the world.
The IDAHO team wishes you an inspiring reading !
The IDAHO Committee team
Document to download
IDAHO - ANNUAL REPORT 2012
More than 80 representatives from government, civil society, the diplomatic corps and various educational institutions joined Jamaican activists for a public forum in Kingston themed “Right The Wrong: Encouraging Respect for Safer Schools and Better Learning Environments.” The forum sought to highlight the urgent need to address issue of bullying in schools. Pity this was not highlighted nationally save and except for CVM TV very little was mentioned of this by JFLAG
More than 80 countries increase their domestic investments for AIDS by over 50% between 2006 and 2011
A new report and supplement from UNAIDS shows that as international funding flattens, more countries are increasing their own share of investments for HIV and that a record 8 million people are now receiving antiretroviral therapy
L to R: Anuar Luna, GNP+, Svitlana Moros, All Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV, Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director, Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Amina Ibrahim, UN Sustainable Development Goals, Mahmoud Mohieldin, Managing Director, World Bank. 18 July 2012. Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC/GENEVA, 18 July 2012—A new report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) shows that domestic funding for HIV has exceeded international investments. The report, Together we will end AIDS, states that low- and middle- income countries invested US$ 8.6 billion for the response in 2011, an increase of 11% over 2010. International funding however remained flat at 2008 levels (US$ 8.2 billion).
According to the report, 81 countries increased their domestic investments for AIDS by more than 50% between 2006 and 2011. As economies in low- and middle-income countries grow, domestic public investments for AIDS have also grown. Domestic public spending in sub-Saharan Africa for example, (not including South Africa) increased by 97% over the last five years. South Africa already spends more than 80% from domestic sources and has quadrupled its domestic investments between 2006 and 2011.
“This is an era of global solidarity and mutual accountability,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Countries most affected by the epidemic are taking ownership and demonstrating leadership in responding to HIV. However, it is not enough for international assistance to remain stable—it has to increase if we are to meet the 2015 goals.”
To further expand country ownership and support mutual accountability, the African Union launched aRoadmap for shared responsibility and global solidarity for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa ahead of the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. It charts a course for more diversified, balanced and sustainable financing for the AIDS response by 2015 and demonstrates Africa’s new leadership and voice in the global AIDS architecture.
BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) increased domestic public spending on HIV by more than 120% between 2006 and 2011. BRICS countries now fund, on average, more than 75% of their domestic AIDS responses. Domestic sources already account for more than 80% of resources spent on AIDS in South Africa and China—and the Chinese government has pledged to fully fund its response in the coming years. India, too, has committed to increase domestic funding to more than 90% in its next phase of the AIDS response. Brazil and Russia already fully fund their AIDS response with domestic resources.
HIV funding from the international community, on the other hand, has largely been stable between 2008 and 2011, at US$ 8.2 billion. Funding from the United States of America accounts for nearly 48% of all international assistance for AIDS.
“It is clear that this is no time for the world to slow down our efforts on global AIDS—rather, we must seize the moment to build on the progress we’ve made and achieve an AIDS-free generation,” said Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. “The United States has made it clear that we will continue to do our part in meeting our shared responsibility by making smart investments that stretch each dollar as far as possible to save lives.”
While domestic investments in AIDS are increasing, there is still a large shortfall in global funding for HIV. By 2015, the estimated annual gap will be US$ 7 billion. At the 2011 United Nations High Level Meeting on AIDS, countries adopted a Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS in which they agreed to increase investments for HIV to between US$ 22-24 billion by 2015. A concerted effort by all countries is needed to scale up funding if this target is to be met.
Record numbers of people on treatment – lives saved
Although total resources for AIDS have not significantly increased, record numbers of people are accessing antiretroviral therapy. In 2011, eight million people had access to life-saving treatment in low- and middle-income countries—an increase of 1.4 million over 2010. Despite the substantial numbers of people newly starting treatment, it is only just over half (54%) of the 14.8 million people eligible.
People receiving antiretroviral therapy versus the 2015 target and the number of AIDS-related deaths, low- and middle-income countries, 2003–2011
The report also outlines the significant progress that has been made in reducing new HIV infections in children. Since 2009, new infections in children have fallen by an estimated 24%. Some 330 000 children were newly infected in 2011, almost half than at the peak of the epidemic in 2003 (570 000).
In both expanding access to antiretroviral therapy and stopping new HIV infections in children, this progress suggests that countries are on track to achieving the targets set out in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS: to eliminate new HIV infections in children and reach 15 million people with antiretroviral therapy.
“HIV prevention and treatment is needed for all, now and always,” said Mr Sidibé. “I believe that together we will end AIDS. The question is not if but when.”
New HIV infections among children (0–14 years old), 2001–2011 and the target for 2015
The increase in access to antiretroviral therapy is helping to reduce new HIV infections. The positive effects of antiretroviral therapy in suppressing viral loads of people living with HIV is helping to stop the transmission of HIV. Changes in behaviour, combined with the natural course of the epidemic and an increase in access to antiretroviral therapy, has resulted in a continuing decline in new HIV infections––by more than 20% since 2001.
The report, launched ahead of the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington DC, gives new data showing that an estimated 34.2 million people were living with HIV in 2011. In 2010, UNAIDS reported that at least 56 countries had either stabilized or achieved significant declines in rates of new HIV infections. This trend has been maintained and new HIV infections have fallen by nearly 20% in the last 10 years worldwide. New data shows that 2.5 million people were newly infected with HIV, 100 000 fewer than the 2.6 million new infections in 2010.
Some 4.9 million young people were living with HIV, 75% of them live in sub-Saharan Africa. Globally, young women between 15 and 24 years of age remain the most vulnerable to HIV, and an estimated 1.2 million women and girls were newly infected with HIV in 2011.
Key HIV data in 2011 – at a glance
34.2 million [31.8 – 35.9 million] people globally living with HIV
2.5 million [2.2 – 2.8 million] people became newly infected with HIV
1.7 million [1.6 – 1.9 million] people died of AIDS-related illnesses
More than 8 million people receiving antiretroviral therapy
Rights-based approaches to HIV
The AIDS conference is being held in the United States for the first time in over 20 years––and just two years after the host country lifted travel restrictions for people living with HIV. Data in the report shows that 46 countries, territories and areas, however, still restrict the ability of people living with HIV to enter, stay or reside in them.
Rights-based approaches, which advance gender equality and empower communities, are widely recognized in the report as essential to all components of the AIDS response. The report also underlines the important advantage of community-based responses in delivering HIV services.
“We can see strong leadership and participation of civil society and key populations in the AIDS response in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but we still have a rapidly growing epidemic in the region,” said Svitlana Moroz of the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV. “Punitive policies towards sex workers, people who use drugs and men who have sex with men, combined with the criminalization of HIV transmission, are all factors fuelling the epidemic. We need to develop and sustain programmes of integrated treatment for HIV, tuberculosis, drug addiction and viral hepatitis and to find an appropriate balance between HIV treatment and prevention.”
The report outlines that sustaining the AIDS response will require strong country ownership and global solidarity. It also emphasises the need for investments to be sustainable and predictable and that countries must be able to mobilize and use resources effectively and efficiently.
“Every dollar spent on AIDS is an investment, not an expenditure,” said Mr Sidibé. “We need to focus not only on achieving the 2015 targets but we need to look beyond and keep our sights set firmly on realizing our vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.”
Press release and statement archive
Fast facts about HIV
Download the printable version
Contact UNAIDS Geneva
tel. +41 79 467 2013
email@example.com Washington DC
tel. +1 202 735 46 05, +41 79 514 68 96
Download report: Together We Will End AIDS
Download Breaking News supplement: Meeting the investment challenge
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
In the July 1, 2012 edition of The Sunday Gleaner, reporter Nadisha Hunter brought to the public's attention the fact that many boys in our schools are being bullied because they are seen as sissies or gays.
This type of behaviour is described as homophobic bullying, and sometimes results in suicidal depression and distress. According to Hunter, one psychologist recommends that there should be sensitisation programmes to help bullies to be more accepting of human diversity.
Other commentators suggest that people need to be taught to be more tolerant. However, I am of the opinion that schools need to take responsibility for the behaviours of students. They need to make bullies know that their behaviours will neither be accepted nor accommodated.
We need to be strong on these issues because significant sectors of our population might justify bullying behaviours against those who are different from the so-called mainstream.
A perusal of the literature on bullying reveals that this behaviour must not be taken lightly. In fact, some social historians link bullying to the atrocities carried out in fascist Italy under Mussolini, and in Nazi Germany under Hitler. Bullying, therefore, is a serious crime designed to humiliate an individual who appears to be powerless, and is carried out through physical, emotional and social aggression.
Many of these so-called 'effeminate' boys have no idea what their sexual orientation is. The majority of them are like their perceived heterosexual peers. They gradually feel rushes of testosterone which result in wet dreams and erect penises when they wake up in the mornings.
They observe the growth in pubic hair and their voices start becoming husky. They are following the normal course of development. Some of them might display a soft and more nurturing persona. They might not have the instinct to be brutish and wild.
They probably see beauty in the sunset and enjoy watching the behaviours of bees and butterflies. They also might be averse to cussing and swearing and throwing garbage on the school ground. Such positive human responses might be described by the bullies as girlish.
I would like to argue that bullying of such young men and boys has nothing to do with their sexual orientation. It has everything to do with the perceived effeminate behaviours. The victims of bullying are nurturing, compassionate, caring, sometimes passive and do not engage in sexual banter.
In other words, they do not fit the image of the macho man, the bully, the brash and impolite brother, the crotch grabber, the bad word curser, the boy who passes gas without saying 'excuse' and the slayer of numerous truckloads of 'gyals'. In short, the victims of bullying are not necessarily homosexual. They are perceived as effeminate.
Therefore, we need to recognise that hatred and the disrespect of things feminine are at the base of the bullying, which is reportedly a feature of many Jamaican schools.
Let's be real. The majority of gay men are the closeted macho, multi-muscled, three piece-suited fellows who occupy private-sector organisations, the corridors of political and academic power, and the upscale houses of the nation's suburbs.
They are the icons of the society. They produce trophy children and have beautifully attired wives and girlfriends at their sides.
In some black American communities in the United States, these are the men who declare loudly that they are not gay - they are merely on the down low.
Tomboys get off
The resentment to, and repression of, femininity is a unique strategy of the patriarchal mindset, which is the base of what is described as homophobic tendencies in a society. This is the explanation for bullying of boys who are perceived to be effeminate, as opposed to the bullying of the' tomboy'.
Such a girl has the right to display the established masculine traits of the macho boys. These girls climb coconut trees, walk with a swagger, sling guns on the ranch, rope horses and cattle, and pass gas loudly without excuse.
No boy or girl would dare bully this tomboy. In fact, boys are usually afraid of her. She is not shy about using a few choice 'bad words' and she will not hesitate to 'horse-whip' any boy who dares to confront her. By the same token, young men from powerful families will not be exposed to the homophobic bullying that poor boys have to put up with.
Recently, Anderson Cooper, one of the most famous journalists on CNN, declared to the world that he is gay, has always been, and will continue to be for the rest of his life. We have no idea if Anderson's peers recognised effeminate traits in him when he attended high school. What we do know is that no one in his circle would have dared to bully the son of Madame Vanderbilt.
When one is from the right family, backed by wealth and power, no bully, or their families, will ever take liberties. Duppy certainly know who fi frighten!
In short, the established masculine traits are not devalued. They are seen as the real definition of the human.
The challenge is for us to transform our ideas and deal decisively with violence in schools. We must stop justifying the unjustifiable.
Glenda Simms, PhD, is a gender expert and consultant. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Orville Taylor, host of RJR's Hotline has added his voice to the scamming and LGBT matters.
I would have loved to continue the analysis of the shame in Parliament last week, but the despicable, recalcitrant and unexemplary behaviour of one particular parliamentarian doesn't deserve more of my intellectual attention. Needless to say, I accept the apology of Lloyd B. Smith, except that he omitted to address his initial denial that he had instructed the marshal to remove J.C. Hutchinson.
Raymond Pryce's homage to his gentlemanly, St George's roots is also well received. However, his winding, though eloquent prevarication about the Christian symbolism of the fish was amusing and trifling as he skilfully avoided making a straight and direct response to Hutchinson's. However, if 'LLyde' B could not remember the point, it is quite possible that Pryce forgot too.
Nonetheless, we know, in popular parlance, what is meant by a 'fish', and it is defined by my tongue-in-cheek linguist friend as "a male who exhibits 'feminish' (effeminate) traits or who copulates with members of his own sex". It is a derisive term, and given the illegality of male homosexual intercourse, any reference to a member of parliament as this aquatic creature is serious. It means that such person is engaged in criminal behaviour and thus unsuitable to be seated there. Free speech carries major responsibilities, and parliamentarians must not use their tongues loosely.
BAILEY'S BOLD STATEMENT
But since we are on the topic of criminal behaviour and homosexuality, let's rewind the tape to a year ago. Then, Fitz Bailey, senior superintendent of police (SSP) in charge of the Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID), made a bold statement based on the intelligence he gained. Bailey was trying to break the back of the scourge of the notorious lotto scam, which threatens the very stability of our democracy. In the Second City, Montego Bay, gangs and other criminal networks stepped up their activities over the past few years.
A well-organised and lubricated network, it involves the contacting of unsuspecting victims, in mainly the United States, with lies about their having won millions. This windfall is only collectible by the 'winners' sending money, usually through one of the money-transfer institutions. Around 30,000 telephone calls are made each day to the United States by these criminals.
Most of the people contacted are not sufficiently gullible to be caught by Jamaicans who do a very poor job 'imidaydin di amerikan hacksent'. However, some are dumb enough to be trapped, and others, usually senior citizens, with a touch of dementia and no means of earning back their nest egg, empty their accounts in pursuit of an illusive and elusive golden-age fortune.
Estimated by the American authorities as raking in a stunning US$300 million each year, it is big business and has changed the lifestyles of anouveau riche set of young men, who own cars and houses well beyond the means of many an executive. Scammers are the new dons, and with their wealth in a sub-economy which has not grown in decades, distort the price of goods and services, making it too expensive for the average citizen to cope. Furthermore, by becoming the wrong type of role models, they potentially derail the next generation. Moreover, the US is issuing warnings which can also erode our image even more than the exaggeration of our homophobia.
Yet, the scammers are another threat. Disputes resulting from the distribution of the spoils invariably lead to conflicts, and violent crimes are the direct result.
Furthermore, as Bailey noted, "The scammers ... use a portion of their ill-gotten gains, either to purchase guns or to pay for protection. When the Stone Crusher gang was very active, that gang was supported from the proceeds of the lottery scam. So we have no doubt it is funding other illicit activities."
Let's be honest, though. Jamaican culture discourages fluency and good communication skills among males, and it is considered by many to be unmanly for young men and boys to speak proper English and to do so in an accent that is mild and pleasant to the ear.
Sociologists and anthropologists such as the late great Barry Chevannes have demonstrated that we raise our boys wrongly. Please correct me, but effeminate men tend to be more orally competent than macho youth who speak as if they possess goat DNA.
LIPPY PRO-GAY LOBBY
Last year, brave Bailey boldly declared that gays were "prominently involved in the 'lottery scam". With a knee-jerk reaction and Jamaicans for Justice's (JFJ) backing, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), with some interested lawyers in tow, jumped on him like a donkey found by mischievous schoolboys.
Labelling his comments as irresponsible, the groups, which have their own 'agender', and not necessarily a penchant for objectivity, complained that they further served to stereotype and thus, I imagine, stigmatise gays.
Refusing to budge, Bailey declared, "I have empirical data to support that. We have the responsibility to investigate these cases ... . We're not targeting any specific group or saying people should go and attack anyone. All I'm talking about is the profile of the individuals ... ."
This is what police do, and social scientists do it, too. We try to look at trends and tendencies. It was a rational comment, as offensive as it was. When the police say that the typical fraudster is a middle-class, computer-literate youth, they are not saying that all, or even most, persons of that category are crooks. Indeed, the majority of people of any demographic classification are law-abiding citizens.
And here I make the disclaimer that the buggery law, routinely breached by gay men, is not one of the points of reference. There is no special gene which gay men have which predisposes them to, or excludes them from committing, crimes.
True, it is difficult to know whether or not a person is gay because sexual activity is 99 per cent private. A self-declaration is unreliable, because only a small minority leave the closet, and there are some, such as asylum seekers, who paint their homeland as the most homo-antipathic country on earth. With regard to the lotto scammers, it is also likely that men will crossdress and exhibit unmasculine behaviour to deceive the police. After, all, there is evidence that at least one organised gangster has used female attire to elude capture.
What was funny about the comments made by Bailey in July last year and in April this year is that nobody doubted that the scam was pulling so much from the Americans, although there was no independent confirmation. There was no debate that it was connected to the spate of shootings and killings, nor when it was suggested that it was a well-coordinated web, involving perhaps employees of some of the remittance outlets. And when the tentacles were revealed to even touch members of the constabulary, a few cringed, but none called Bailey a liar.
Inexplicably, as Bailey pulled together his information and attempted to build a profile of the typical person who was entangled in the scamming network, people looked askance at his utterances and, eventually, the commissioner issued an apology and withdrew the gay-association comment. Though conciliatory, the statement from the top cop never said that Bailey was wrong.
Then, two Saturdays ago, the police, acting on intelligence, raided a dance organised by suspected lotto scammers. At the end of the operation, more than 130 suspects were detained. Although most of the patrons were dressed in female attire, only 11 had the necessary biological paraphernalia to be called women, although they might perform female roles. While most of them were processed and released, as is the norm with any police raid, credible sources from the police suggest that charges are going to follow and breakthroughs made.
I think we will soon owe Bailey an apology.
Dr Orville Taylor is senior lecturer in sociology at the UWI and a radio talk-show host. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
....... now comes Clovis cartoons with the "fish" connotation carrying over from the recent parliamentary debate uproar and long-winded apologies, I suppose Clovis (the cartoonist) is trying to put a spin on the men held in custody, chiefly the deputy mayor of Montego Bay and the supposed closeness to the LGBT community?
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Thanks for your Donations
thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venure that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part.
Activities & Plans: ongoing and future
- To continue this venture towards website development with an E-zine focus
- Work with other Non Governmental organizations old and new towards similar focus and objectives
- To find common ground on issues affecting GLBTQ and straight friendly persons in Jamaica towards tolerance and harmony
- Exposing homophobic activities and suggesting corrective solutions
- To formalise GLBTQ Jamaica's activities in the long term
- Continuing discussion on issues affecting GLBTQ people in Jamaica and elsewhere
- Welcoming, examining and implemeting suggestions and ideas from you the viewing public
- Present issues on HIV/AIDS related matters in a timely and accurate manner
- Assist where possible victims of homophobic violence and abuse financially and otherwise
- Track human rights issues in general with a view to support for ALL
Information & Disclaimer
Individuals who are mentioned or whose photographs appear on this site are not necessarily Homosexual, HIV positive or have AIDS.
This blog contains pictures that may be disturbing. We have taken the liberty to present these images as evidence of the numerous accounts of homophobic violence meted out to alledged gays in Jamaica.
Faces and names witheld for the victims' protection.
This blog not only watches and covers LGBTQ issues in Jamaica and elsewhere but also general human rights and current affairs where applicable.
This blog contains HIV prevention messages that may not be appropriate for all audiences.
If you are not seeking such information or may be offended by such materials, please view labels, post list or exit.
Since HIV infection is spread primarily through sexual practices or by sharing needles, prevention messages and programs may address these topics.
This blog is not designed to provide medical care, if you are ill, please seek medical advice from a licensed practioner
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Recent Homophobic Incidents
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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