Do you think the Buggery Law should be?

The Safe House Homeless MSM 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 men in Kingston in 2007/8/9, a review of the relevance of the project and 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

Friday, August 24, 2012

THE UNIBAM CASE explained .......................

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1. THE UNIBAM CASE

2. What the case is about Whether the criminalisation of consensual same sex sexual conduct is contrary to the Belize Constitution Very important case Opportunity for Belize to lead the way and set the standard for the Caribbean in righting a serious injustice What the case is not about: Not about same-sex marriage Not about adoption Not about any other social/other right It is scaremongering to suggest otherwise. Very important case Opportunity for Belize to lead the way and set the standard for the Caribbean in righting a serious injustice What the case is not about: Not about same-sex marriage Not about adoption Not about any other social/other right It is scaremongering to suggest otherwise.

3. Section 53 of Belize Criminal Code Section 53 states that “every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years”

4. History of Section 53 Section 53 is a colonial import No pre-existing culture or tradition in Belize that required the punishment of consensual same-sex sexual conduct Was imposed on Belize (as on other colonies) by the British rulers 

5. History of Section 53 cont.’ 1944 consensual same-sex sexual relations categorised as an ‘unnatural crime’ Ordinance 14 of 1944 repealed the requirement that unnatural crime was only committed where the act was accompanied by the use of force or lack of consent The offence has not been amended since Belize’s Independence [PETER: WE DO NOT HAVE THE TEXT OF ORDINANCE 14] Originally, included “use of force” or “lack of consent” – fundamental aspects which are legitimate to criminalise.[PETER: WE DO NOT HAVE THE TEXT OF ORDINANCE 14] Originally, included “use of force” or “lack of consent” – fundamental aspects which are legitimate to criminalise.

6. Parties to this case Claimants – Caleb Orozco and UNIBAM Defendant – Attorney General of Belize Interested Parties Human Dignity Trust Commonwealth Wealth Lawyers Association International Commission of Jurists Roman Catholic Church of Belize Belize Church of England Belize Evangelical Association of Churches

7. Genesis of Case University of the West Indies (UWI) United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) Some have alleged that this is a western campaign but contrary to what has been reported, this is a home grown case. 22 July 2011, Amandala reported on a joint statement issues by the Belize Council of Churches that denounced Unibam’s suit as being “heavily influenced by foreign interests who seek to impose a worldwide view that directly contradicts the supremacy of God…” This is a case brought by Belizeans, about the Belizean Criminal Code and the Constitution of Belize No foreign entity driving case – merely supporting. The Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the International Commission of Jurists and the Human Dignity Trust who have joined in support of UNIBAM’s case as Interested Parties are not foreign interests challenging Belize’s national sovereignty and way of life. The criminalization of gay sexual identity is a violation of international human rights law and therefore necessarily attracts the interest and involvement of the international community. These three organizations reflect the concerns of the international legal community. [Belize cannot enjoy the benefits of being a member of the international community when it is convenient to do so, but opt out of international human rights norms when it chooses to.] Some have alleged that this is a western campaign but contrary to what has been reported, this is a home grown case. 22 July 2011, Amandala reported on a joint statement issues by the Belize Council of Churches that denounced Unibam’s suit as being “heavily influenced by foreign interests who seek to impose a worldwide view that directly contradicts the supremacy of God…” This is a case brought by Belizeans, about the Belizean Criminal Code and the Constitution of Belize No foreign entity driving case – merely supporting. The Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the International Commission of Jurists and the Human Dignity Trust who have joined in support of UNIBAM’s case as Interested Parties are not foreign interests challenging Belize’s national sovereignty and way of life. The criminalization of gay sexual identity is a violation of international human rights law and therefore necessarily attracts the interest and involvement of the international community. These three organizations reflect the concerns of the international legal community. [Belize cannot enjoy the benefits of being a member of the international community when it is convenient to do so, but opt out of international human rights norms when it chooses to.]

8. Arguments against criminalization Laws which criminalise consensual same sex conduct relegate people to an inferior status and degrade people’s dignity by declaring their most intimate feelings “unnatural” and illegal breaching one of the most fundamental human rights: the right to dignity

9. Arguments against criminalization cont.’ Section 53 is discriminatory, invades privacy, and creates inequality Legislation under challenge flies in the face of the changing world view and a growing body of international human rights law and precedents demanding that such laws should be struck down

10. The Belize Constitution Recognises “the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed” Rights and freedom include rights to dignity, equality, privacy and health

11. Right to Dignity By the first Recital of the Constitution, the people of Belize: “affirm that the Nation of Belize shall be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in human rights and fundamental freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator” (emphasis added).

12. Right to Dignity cont. Human dignity is a fundamental and foundational value which underlies and gives meaning to other human rights, including the rights to privacy, equality, and the right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment At its core, the concept of human dignity reflects the principle: “that every human being is worthy of respect” It is used “to explain why human beings have rights to begin with”. At its core, the concept of human dignity reflects the principle: “that every human being is worthy of respect” It is used “to explain why human beings have rights to begin with”.

13. Right to Privacy In Belize, it is protected in Sections 3(c) and 14 of the Constitution: 3. - …every person in Belize is entitled to the fundamental rights…to (c) protection for his family life, his personal privacy, the privacy of his home and other property and recognition of his human dignity; 14.-(1) A person shall not be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation. The private and family life, the home and the personal correspondence of every person shall be respected.

14. Right to Privacy cont. Decisions of the HRC interpreting the ICCPR, the ECtHR interpreting the European Convention, the IACHR interpreting the American Convention on Human Rights, and national courts interpreting their own constitutions all make clear that sexual activity between consenting adults in private is protected by the right to privacy

15. Right to Privacy cont. The right to privacy means a realm of space reserved for individual decision-making and activity The State may not invade such space without good cause Privacy protects personal choice and autonomy

16. Right to Privacy Indeed, in the words of one U.S. court, “it is hard to imagine any activity that adults would consider more fundamental, more private and, thus, more deserving of protection from governmental interference than non-commercial, consensual adult sexual activity.” Gryczan v State, 283 Mont. 433, 451, Supreme Court of Montana (1997)

17. Right to Equality The rights to equality before the law and non-discrimination are guaranteed in every major international and regional human rights instrument The UN treaty bodies, charged with monitoring compliance with the international human rights conventions, the ECtHR and the IACHR, and National courts, interpreting their own constitutions and national laws have all found that differences in treatment based on sexual orientation are arbitrary, in violation of both non-discrimination and equal protection guarantees Universal Declaration of Human Rights Art. 2; ICCPR Arts. 2(1) & 26; ICESCR Art. 2(2); American Convention Arts. 1 & 24; European Convention Art. 14; African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Arts. 2 & 3. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Art. 2; ICCPR Arts. 2(1) & 26; ICESCR Art. 2(2); American Convention Arts. 1 & 24; European Convention Art. 14; African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Arts. 2 & 3.

18. Right to Equality cont. The principle of equality means people who are similarly situated must be treated alike The failure to do so constitutes discrimination unless the difference in treatment is justified, meaning that the criteria for the differentiation are reasonable and objective and the aim is to achieve a legitimate purpose

19. Right to Equality In striking down sodomy laws on equality grounds, courts have concluded that such laws bear no rational relationship to a legitimate State purpose E.g. Lawrence v Texas (US) – moral disapproval not a legitimate governmental interest.E.g. Lawrence v Texas (US) – moral disapproval not a legitimate governmental interest.

20. Role of the Belize Courts Under the Constitution, Courts are given the role as guardians of fundamental rights and freedoms Empowered to secure the enforcement of any provisions of the Constitution and to determine the validity of any law Section 2 of the Constitution imposes a duty on the courts to ensure and protect the supremacy of the Constitution, and strike down legislation that is incompatible with the Constitution

21. Role of the Belize Courts cont.’ Patrick Reyes v The Queen Privy Council Appeal No. 64 of 2001, an appeal from the Court of Appeal in Belize concerning the constitutionality of the mandatory death penalty, “The court has no licence to read its own predilections and moral values into the constitution, but it is required to consider the substance of the fundamental right at issue and ensure contemporary protection of that right in the light of evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society…In carrying out its task of constitutional interpretation the court is not concerned to evaluate and give effect to public opinion….”

22. When will the case be heard? Hearing originally scheduled 18 July 2011 A number of subsequent applications Date to be set by the Court for 2012

23. Global trends In a majority of the world’s countries, same-sex sexual relationships are not criminalised Either because: Never criminalised to begin with, or Legislatures and courts have recognised that the criminalisation of consensual private adult sex violates constitutional and international human rights laws and standards 84 countries criminalise homosexuality (includes 42 Commonwealth countries)84 countries criminalise homosexuality (includes 42 Commonwealth countries)

24. Global trends cont.’ Excepting Zimbabwe and Botswana, every superior, constitutional and supranational court that has considered the issue of the criminalisation of private consensual same-sex sexual relations has held that such laws contravene fundamental rights and freedoms

25. Global trends cont.’ Examples: The United States Supreme Court in Lawrence v Texas struck down the U.S. sodomy laws, explicitly overturning its previous decision in Bowers v Hardwick on the basis that intimate consensual sexual conduct was part of the liberty protected by substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment

26. Global trends cont.’ The South African Constitutional Court in National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality v Minister of Justice found that the statutory provisions prohibiting sodomy were unconstitutional They violated the right to equality, privacy and dignity They unfairly discriminated against gay men on the basis of sexual orientation

27. Global view outside the judicial arena December 2008, 66 States signed statement presented to the United Nations General Assembly affirming the principle that international human rights law protects against violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity March 2011, 85 States signed a statement presented to the UNHRC that called on States to end criminal sanctions based on sexual orientation

28. Global view Cont. OAS has repeatedly condemned acts of violence and human rights violations committed against persons because of their sexual orientation The UN Secretary General, The High Commissioner for Human Rights and heads of various UN agencies have all spoken-out – calling for the worldwide decriminalisation of homosexuality

29. Global view cont. In January 2011, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, categorically declared that “We must reject persecution of people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity who may be arrested, detained or executed for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. They may not have popular or political support, but they deserve our support in safeguarding their fundamental human rights. I understand that sexual orientation and gender identity raise sensitive cultural issues. But cultural practice can not justify any violation of human rights”

30. Global view cont. December 2009 Holy See stated: “The Holy See continues to oppose all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons…The Holy See also opposes all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person…”

31. Global view cont. December 2011 – Obama administration vowed to actively combat efforts by other nations that criminalise homosexual conduct October 2011 – David Cameron pledged to withhold UK aid from governments that do not adhere to proper human rights, e.g. Malawi had £19m of budget support suspended following concerns about its attitude to gay rights

32. The 4 wrongs Honourable Justice Michael Kirby: Wrong in legal principle They exceed the proper ambit and function of the criminal law in a modern society Wrong because they oppress a minority in the community and target them for an attribute of their nature that they do not choose and cannot change

33. The 4 wrongs cont.’ Wrong because they fly in the face of modern scientific knowledge about the incidence and variety of human sexuality Wrong because they put a cohort of citizens into a position of stigma and shame that makes it hard to reach them with vital messages about safe sexual conduct, essential in the age of HIV/AIDS

34. Significance of Case Set an important precedent for the rest of the Caribbean Commonwealth and beyond Recognition that sexual orientation is protected under the Constitution and a prohibited ground of discrimination Interestingly, the Political Reform Commission in Belize in 2000 recommended that sexual orientation be explicitly included as a prohibited ground of discrimination.Interestingly, the Political Reform Commission in Belize in 2000 recommended that sexual orientation be explicitly included as a prohibited ground of discrimination.

35. Conclusion There is little doubt that ultimately, the Court of Belize ought to declare section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code to be unconstitutional Questions?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

APA offers New Position on Transgender Care .........

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*Note: As much as I applaud this it does not say the APA will cease the pathologization of trans people. It remains to be seen what affect this position will have as it concerns the DSM-5. I SO AGREE WITH PLANETRANSGENDER ON THIS 


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APA Issues Official Positions Supporting Access to Care and the Rights of Transgender and Gender Variant Persons

ARLINGTON, Va. (August 16, 2012) — The American Psychiatric Association advocates for removal of barriers to care for gender transition treatment and for the protection of civil rights for transgender and gender variant individuals. APA has long expressed strong affirmation of lesbian and gay civil rights since the 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Now APA is issuing position statements in support of access to care and civil rights for transgender individuals.

Gender variant and transgender individuals must cope with multiple unique challenges, including significant discrimination, prejudice, and the potential for victimization from violent hate crimes. They often experience discrimination when accessing health care and are denied numerous basic civil rights and protections.

Long-standing medical and psychiatric literature demonstrates clear benefits of medical and surgical interventions to assist gender variant individuals seeking transition. However, transgender and gender variant people are frequently denied medical, surgical, and psychiatric care related to gender transition. Access to medical care (both medical and surgical) positively impacts the mental health of transgender and gender variant individuals.

Being transgender or gender variant implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities; however, these individuals often experience discrimination due to a lack of civil rights protections for their gender identity or expression. Transgender and gender variant persons are frequently harassed and discriminated against when seeking housing or applying to jobs or schools, are often victims of violent hate crimes, and face challenges in marriage, adoption and parenting rights,

Discrimination and lack of equal civil rights is damaging to the mental health of transgender and gender variant individuals. For example, gender-based discrimination and victimization were found to be independently associated with attempted suicide in a population of transgender individuals, 32% of whom had histories of trying to kill themselves, and in the largest survey to date of gender variant and transgender people 41% reported attempting suicide.*

The APA joins other organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, in endorsing strong policy statements deploring the discrimination experienced by gender variant and transgender individuals and calling for laws to protect their civil rights.

APA POSITION STATEMENTS

Access to Care for Transgender and Gender Variant Individuals
The American Psychiatric Association:

1. Recognizes that appropriately evaluated transgender and gender variant individuals can benefit greatly from medical and surgical gender transition treatments.
2. Advocates for removal of barriers to care and supports both public and private health insurance coverage for gender transition treatment.
3. Opposes categorical exclusions of coverage for such medically necessary treatment when prescribed by a physician.
Discrimination against Transgender and Gender Variant Individuals


The American Psychiatric Association:
1. Supports laws that protect the civil rights of transgender and gender variant individuals.
2. Urges the repeal of laws and policies that discriminate against transgender and gender variant people.
3. Opposes all public and private discrimination against transgender and gender variant individuals in such areas as health care, employment, housing, public accommodation, education, and licensing.
4. Declares that no burden of proof of such judgment, capacity, or reliability shall be placed upon these individuals greater than that imposed on any other persons.
See the full position statements and background information:

Access to Care for Transgender and Gender Variant Individuals Discrimination against Transgender and Gender Variant Individuals
See also a recent report from the American Psychiatric Association Task Force on Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder.

*Clements-Nolle K, Marx R, Katz M (2006): Attempted Suicide Among Transgender Persons, Journal of Homosexuality, 51:3, 53-69 http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J082v51n03_04
Grant, Jaime M., Lisa A. Mottet, Justin Tanis, Jack Harrison, Jody L. Herman, and Mara Keisling. Injustice at Every Turn: A Report
of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Washington: National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and
Lesbian Task Force, 2011. 


http://endtransdiscrimination.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf

The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at www.psychiatry.org.
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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.

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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.

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Since HIV infection is spread primarily through sexual practices or by sharing needles, prevention messages and programs may address these topics.

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Thanks so much for your kind donations and thoughts.

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Recent Homophobic Incidents
CLICK HERE for related posts/labels and HERE from the gayjamaicawatch's BLOG containing information I am aware of. If you know of any such reports or incidents please contact 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

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