Usually cases such as this are more on the male side of things as carried here and on related blogs Gay Jamaica Watch and GLBTQ Jamaica on Wordpress.
With this being International Women's Week as well it is timely that this issue be raised as our sisters seem to be going through some changes in their previous tolerated status if you will in Jamaica.
Only last weekend I was floored by a similar case this time of a lesbian whose father and other siblings apparently went through her phone and belongings in search of "proof" yet again to confirm their suspicion thus in their eyes the justification to take such resolute actions against their own family members simply because their sexual orientation differs from theirs. The woman who is a participant as well of a life changing project designed for young LGBTians is now slowed by this interruption in her growth but thanks to some wonderful support from friends and fellow participants in the exercise she is coping when last there was an inquiry.
January 2014 also saw another case in St Elizabeth and that was reported to the team at Aphrodite's PRIDE Jamaica as well she has since recouped and is staying with her love interest as she adjusts to the new surroundings and parish while on a job search, she too was profiled by other family members while not displaying any stereotypical traits that would otherwise arouse suspicion for some.
Last year I was able to confirm four major cases between June to the end of the year and a rising sign of physical assault/violence as well to even more non butch identified women wherein the "manroyal" connotation would cause negative reactions from some men who see these women as a threat of some sort hence they were also treated as men in terms of abuse. More "feminine" same gender loving women are now seeing themselves in line for abuse or assualt and at least two corrective rape cases also were reported and confirmed in 2013. Forgive me as I will not get into the details of the latter matters as they are still pending in court and other avenues for resolution and I do not want to obscure those processes.
Strangely although I have some limited resources and my association with Aphrodite's PRIDE Jamaica I still get the calls and contacts on cases and thanks to the slowly widening network of allies and professional volunteers for psycho-social and other engagements for persons; they are still not enough as expected the more the discourse opens up publicly on LGBT issues is the more the stigma seems to raise its head with separation being the route to resolve the discovery of persons with said orientation instead of engagement and learning towards tolerance. I am still finding that some women when questioned about filing a report with the already established agencies they are reluctant to do so hence the under-reporting continues and a feeling that those agencies are male centred hence they would not be embracing and understanding of the matters at hand.
One adolescent female who was assaulted actually said quite openly that before she files with certain agencies she keeps it to herself as gay men are more a priority than lesbians in the scheme of things.
Portmore too have not gone untouched by this eviction trend albeit that the city has had its share of challenges for years with persons being forced to move either by other residents from profiling or full on prying or family members taking "steps" against gay and bisexual persons as fear, hatred and ignorance play out in stigma. A lesbian couple had to relocate late last year as well after men on the same walk way in Braeton decided they were not comfortable with the women cohabiting. The dominant partner as it were was told that she is a threat to other men in the area as they feared she would take of eye their female friends into lesbian life. This fear is real despite the fact that same gender loving women continue to have what seems overall lesser negativity as exampled in the sex industry or the strip club circuit where sometimes live sex between women is a major draw for some men although some of the participants are not even same gender loving.
The concept of a man's lesbian plays out weekly where some strippers do confess that they get requests for such types of entertainment and club owners or managers do include such considerations for terms of employment.
Many women have expressed some concern as recent at two weeks ago at a workshop in Kingston where they feel somewhat uncomfortable as that feeling of "acceptance" seems to be fading, men seem to be more openly hostile when persons traverse the streets or even in their communities, one woman said she has been told that a man can "fix her" with a good f***, so violent heterosexual assault is the way to deal with persons same sex orientation in the eyes of some despite the visibility of said persons raised and the discourse in motion.
A mother’s hateful letter, a lesbian’s suicide attempt
The group Quality Citizenship Jamaica recently had self defence classes for women which is a take off from the defunct Couture Elements/Underlined Response group sessions as well in 2009/10 which will help in some instances but not many women are exposed to such training or even willing, there is also a cost prohibitive reason as well as others who have offered such training/skills charge hefty fees for same. Women for Women back in the day also occasionally had classes but not with any sustainable timetable.
Please help out where you can and encourage more established LGBT agencies in particular thanks also to concerned individuals who have taken the initiative to use social media as a reporting or referral mechanism for crisis matters for women only which seems to be working.
Peace and tolerance