Normally when one hears of forced evictions or impromptu notices with LGBT persons at the receiving end it has something to do with stigma & discrimination and or homo/trans/bi/lesbophobia of some kind. Somehow we never fail; we never fail however to annoy folks and then cause undo resentment and intolerance when the causations are as a result of our very own actions. I cannot tell how many time reports like this one have been circulated or rumoured. However in this case it was too close to home for me. Two women sharing a space and who identify as lesbians in a swanky St Catherine community of Avon Park in recent months were forced to leave the rented premises last month and rent/deposit returned as occasional fights and arguments much to the annoyance of neighbours (according to the neighbours).
I came by way of the information in assisting a friend of mine to find a flat to rent and in asking around I was told of the empty flat and the subsequent background to the residence which is still empty. I am told but not able to confirm that the landlord in intent on not renting any suspected homosexuals or lesbians as they do not want a repeat of the incident with the now removed ladies. In early February the women woke up the cul-de-sac at the end of the avenue on a Sunday morning of February 21st. The women were arguing allegedly about monies owed and other domestic matters; it was as the decibel levels rose that the subject changed to other intimate matters in earshot of persons near by who allegedly snickered as the verbal onslaught ensued.
Matters concerning a previous date with another woman and other more salacious issues were aired quite openly for the growing audience as more persons opened their doors to the melee. The women did not care one person I was able to speak to in my quest to find out about the availability of the house for a site visit for the rental attempt for my brethren; they were just letting it all hang out to dry and the word ‘sodomite’ and other colourful Jamaican parlance dotted the exchange with threats of who can shoot whom and such or have bad man friends as it were.
Neighbours subsequently full to the brim with what they were subjected decided to intervene as a retired police officer broke the melee albeit outside the threshold of the property at the gate of the house. His attempts however was met with a strong rebuff from both women who claimed he was ‘fassing’ [inquisitive] in their business but he reportedly quickly reminded them he and others who were watching all this go down were doing exactly that because they could hear the arguments quite clearly. Both the man and the women continued in a tit for tat and then a subsequent phone call was made to the landlord who was reportedly livid, a similar incident took place in Greater Portmore late last year and also in Spanish Town at the court house of all places where an employee had a tiff with her supposed lover which spilled out into the streets. Then there was the chopping incident carried in the Observer in 2015 of a lesbian; the story was presented as a lesbophobic case but subsequent investigations and foot patrol by myself and friends who reside on the very townhouse complex revealed a totally different picture surrounding the incident and why she was chopped.
Annoying neighbours especially one woman who ended up committing the chopping, unneeded kissing and public displays of affection in the common areas of the complex despite cameras are installed by the strata management etc. Getting alleged rogue cops from outside the official precinct jurisdiction involved as well only added fuel to the fire. We must learn how to conduct ourselves in order to command respect and just display that as LGBT people we can be and ought to be dignified; in turn such dignity will give credence to the call for recognition of rights and freedoms and help if in a small way lessen the wall of resistance we face even if persons are not directly in the struggle for change.
The Avon Park matter however ended with the landlord’s visit; discussions (or common gossip) as the case may be with neighbours on the issue and a subsequent notice to quit issued. One of the pair removed the week following while the other agreed to live out her deposit and such. I tried to get more information as to the type of reaction verbally from the captive audience was like but to no avail. It just goes to show we must chill sometimes and try to solve conflicts more peacefully while setting the example so onlookers will have no ammunition to justify their criticisms or lesbo(homo)phobia. Adopting so called badmanship attitudes in out to project strength in a tussle or disagreement is just plain stupid as it makes no sense; or trying to see who can outdo each other. There are just too many issues surrounding intimate partner violence that require some sustained and targeted response.
Hope they learned the lesson. As for the house hunting we had to settle for somewhere else; I did not see the need to pursue that property after learning what happened and it would be a case of transfusion of liked persons and maybe homo-negative responses from curious neighbours given the history of the space.
Peace & tolerance.