Showing posts with label Jamaica. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jamaica. Show all posts

December 16, 2016

The Jamaican Gay Flotilla Running for Their Lives {In the Caribbean?}




“Even if every gay Jamaican ran away from the island there would still be a population of younger gays there and new gays will never stop because they don’t go to Jamaica to be gay but are born of Jamaicans. They are your own and is immoral to mistreat them. Just like we have our own gays here and are learning to follow what Jesus, Mahatmas Gandhi, Martin Luther King have said about treating others unlike us.”



Introduction:
I would like to share with you my dearest reader this posting from Julie Compton and posted on NBC News on OutFront which is a weekly NBC Out series profiling LGBTQ people who are making a positive difference in the community.

I have written and posted what others have written about the situation of gays in Jamaica. Jamaica a tourist destination on the mid american hemisphere of the Atlantic. I keep asking for those that care about LGBT civil rights and human rights to think more than twice before planning vacations there. Why? The US government together with the UK and the European Union have failed to convince the government there that they have created an atmosphere of fear and homophobia based on incidents in which out gays or suspected gays have been beaten and killed.

 Such a situation should not be allowed to continue on a nation that is even economically supported by the EU. Even homophobic Cuba have a better governmental and societal conduct towards gays currently than Jamaica. Yet you keep seeing those high rise ships stopping buy to bring money to the island. After the failure of those countries I mentioned which are the closest to Jamaica to have them see the sun light of equal rights which a society derived from slaves should be able to understand better than anyone else the morality of having people share the benefits of the society they share and pay taxes to maintain in an equal footing. Morality does not comes from religion or any book no matter how important, morality comes from treating the fellow man like we would want to be treated ourselves and having the ability to understand that people are different and do things in the bedroom differently and nobody should judge that. Consenting adults have a right to live their lives without being judge by their government or the rest of the population.
Again I ask of you if you are  planning to share your money there to reconsider. There are so many Caribbean beautiful islands where you could do better with your money and at the same time tell Jamaica that is time to join the 21st century in the way they treat their LGBT population. It is their population born to them and they should have the same respect you give to yourselves.
Adam Gonzalez, 
Publisher of adamfoxie blog International

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Gay refugee Gareth Henry spends his free time saving the lives of LGBTQ people in Jamaica who need help escaping persecution or even death. The Caribbean nation remains one of 76 countries where consensual same-sex relationships are criminalized. 










Jamaican LGBTQ activist Gareth Henry Gareth Henry

The 39-year-old, who lives in Toronto, was an outspoken activist in the small island nation he once called home. A former co-chair of the advocacy group Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), Henry frequently helped people report anti-gay hate crimes to police. He said 13 of his friends were killed in homophobic attacks. 
"With all these things happening, they go unnoticed, they go unheard, because the violence against the gay community has been normalized," Henry told NBC Out. "It's intense that people have been paralyzed by fear, and they just live a day at a time and anticipate and hope for the best, and that's no way for humanity to exist or to be." 
Henry's efforts to create change led law enforcement to target him, according to the activist. He said that in 2007, a group of policemen beat him in a pharmacy while a jeering crowd looked on. It was the third time they attacked him, he said. He soon went into hiding. Later that year, while stopped at a traffic light, an officer unexpectedly approached his car. 
"[He] knocked on the window and said to me they have found me, and they going to kill me," Henry said in his Jamaican patois dialect. Terrified, he filed for refugee status and fled to Canada the following year. "Moving to Canada was an opportunity for me in choosing between life and death," he said. 










Jamaican LGBTQ activist Gareth Henry Gareth Henry

In Canada, Henry found work at the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation, where he currently serves as interim director. When he's not working, he volunteers for Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian nonprofit that taps into the spirit of the Underground Railroad by helping relocate LGBTQ people who live amid persecution around the world. 
The activist told a number of horrific stories involving refugees he helped over the years, many of them young "gully queens," a Jamaican term denoting LGBTQ outcasts who make their homes in sewers and cemeteries throughout the island. His list is long: a 29-year-old whose intestine was almost completely ripped out by pit bulls; a young man who was disfigured by an angry mob who doused acid over his body; a transgender man who was sexually assaulted by men who wanted to "correct" his gender identity. But the refugee who stood out the most in Henry's mind is a young man whose mother reached out for help. 
"I was touched by that, to see her being proactive and contacting Rainbow Railroad to say 'I have a gay son, he needs to leave.' It's profound. You don't always find that necessarily happening, but that's what you want to see happening in our world, in our society, is where parents stand tall with their gay and lesbian and trans kids and embrace them and support them as best as possible," he said. 
Henry feels no sense of pride in his nationality but realizes there are gay Jamaicans who have a different perspective. 
"They don't have the experience of responding to multiple emails, telephone calls [and] Facebook messages from people who are balling their eyes out on the brink of death. I had a friend just last year, he was asking for help, but Rainbow Railroad didn't have the funds to help him. He committed suicide. And people don't know these things," he said. 










Jamaican LGBTQ activist Gareth Henry Gareth Henry

Through his work with Rainbow Railroad, Henry assisted 60 refugees relocate to new countries in 2016. Many of them were Jamaican. 
"You know, people moving away from their homeland doesn't change the situation. It's not a solution, but it is what we do in the interim to save people from being murdered. It's giving people a second chance at life," Henry said. What's more important, he added, is reversing what he called a culture of hatred against LGBTQ people. 
Homophobia is a legacy of colonial rule in Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean, where same-sex relationships were originally criminalized under English law, according to a report commissioned by J-FLAG. Advocacy groups are pushing for progress, with Jamaica holding its second LGBTQ Pride parade earlier this year. During the ceremony in the capital city of Kingston, the mayor spoke out in support of the community. But Henry believes real change will only come when politicians do more than simply talk about the need for equality. 
"Don't just go on a platform and say it because it is a politically right thing to say. No, do it. Let the people see. Challenge society. Challenge Jamaicans, the society, to do something different," he said. 
Henry shares his Toronto home with his fiancé, who is also a Jamaican refugee. His mother, sister and nieces fled to the Canadian city as well, after they came under threat in Jamaica for supporting him. Aside from his family, Henry lives for the people in his homeland who he works tirelessly to save. 
"Rainbow Railroad is what I live and breath," he said. “That's what keeps me going -- knowing that we can help people and creating this access for an opportunity for someone to be safe and have a second chance at life."


December 13, 2016

$3Mil EU Boost ($170Bil) to Anti Gay Jamaica But No Strings Attached for LGBT Rights



If you visit Jamaica and you believe in Civil and human rights for the gay community, you really don’t. Nothing makes a people change their prehistoric ideas about others than money and financial development. Not impending war, not criticism. But financial ties when cut will make common sense change over ideas implanted by colonial powers a couple centuries ago.”  (adamfoxie)



While making it clear that Europe would prefer if Jamaica expands gay rights and abolish the death penalty, the European Union's (EU) new representative in Kingston insists that these would not be conditions for the island to continue to receive EU economic aid.

" ... There is no conditionality," Malgorzata Wasilewska, the head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica, said in an exclusive interview with The Sunday Gleaner.

"It never has been, and it never will be," said Wasilewska in response to questions if the EU would demand movements from Jamaica in line with the trends in Europe.

"But if in the course of our cooperation any of our values are not respected - for example, if we implement a project and during the project, there is a clear violation of human rights in the implementation - of course, we would raise that and have a conversation about it," added Wasilewska.

Over the past 40 years, the EU has provided Jamaica with official development assistance of approximately €1.2 billion, or J$170 billion. Some of this money has been direct budgetary support, which has helped the island meet crucial fiscal targets under its agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


$3-BILLION BOOST

Only last week, the EU provided a grant of €24 million (more than J$3 billion) to support Jamaica's Justice System Reform Programme.

Of this amount, €22 million was in the form of budget support, while €1 million will be offered to civil-society organisations, through calls for proposals to contribute to improving access to justice, with an emphasis on vulnerable groups. The remaining €1 million will go towards providing technical assistance, evaluation and audits, as well as communication and visibility services.

But the issue of gay rights and the death penalty, subtexts to EU-Jamaica relations, are not areas where the long-time friends see eye to eye, and there have been concerns that the 28-member bloc will use its financial might to force the island to fall in line with its position on these issues.

Most of the money the EU has given Jamaica has been grant resources for sectors such as education, human-rights awareness, security, agriculture, and rural development, but there have been concerns expressed recently as more and more Europeans start looking inwards.

Wasilewska last week admitted that the EU does not see eye to eye with Jamaica on issues such as the death penalty and LBGT rights, but said that would not impact the billions of dollars in aid provided to the island each year.

"We will continue having a dialogue on values that are important to us and they will include conversations on the death penalty and LBGT rights, on equality of rights to all citizens. I am convinced that the dialogue will be an honest and frank exchange between equals," Wasilewska told The Sunday Gleaner on the fringes of a meet-and-greet session in Kingston.

In June, all 28 EU member states reached a consensus on LGBT rights and agreed at the Council of the European Union to work against "any discrimination" against LGBT people, and to ramp up pan-European efforts on equality.

The council urges individual national governments "to consider working together with the European Commission with regard to its list of actions to advance LGBTI equality", and "to take action to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity".

Jamaica has shied away from any such commitment, with the recently introduced Charter of Rights failing to recognise same-sex unions or provide any specific protection for members of the LBGT community.

The death penalty has been abolished in all EU states and is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and the European Convention on Human Rights of the Council of Europe.

Locally, parliamentarians voted in 2008 to retain the death penalty, even though no execution has taken place in decades.

  

June 9, 2016

Growing Gay Up in Jamaica {Award Winning Novelist}



                                                                         


Living as a closeted gay man in Jamaica drove novelist Marlon James to such despair that he once wrote he knew he had to leave "in a plane or a coffin." 
He left, on a plane for the United States, seemingly confirming Time magazine's 2006 headline that the Caribbean island was "The Most Homophobic Place on Earth." 
Back for the Calabash International Literary Festival, which features poets, novelists and writers from across the globe, the 2015 Man Booker Prize winner said his own story was actually more complicated. 
"The thing about Jamaica, for such a small country, is that there are 10 different Jamaicas and the one you live in is not necessarily the one that everyone else lives in," said James, 45. 
He described his milieu as for the most part "uptown," very different from the Jamaica that makes headlines as a place where gay people are beaten to death by mobs. International media painted a one-sided picture of his home country, James said. 
"They have a narrative that Jamaica is a place where these anti-gay Gestapos are running around killing people that they are just so desperate to get that narrative." 
Rather than a fear of being killed, the "coffin" comment he wrote in a 2015 New York Times article referred to touching rock bottom and contemplating suicide as he struggled with his identity. 
"I didn't think I could live here as a gay man. But I didn't need a beating to find that out," he said. 
The divide between the better off "uptown" and underprivileged "downtown" creates a constant tension on the island, one addressed in "A Brief History of Seven Killings," James' novel about an assassination attempt on Bob Marley that catapulted the author to global fame. 
The class divide is especially acute for gay people. 
A poor gay Jamaican can face violence on the streets, but an "uptown" gay Jamaican can be tacitly accepted, or at least tolerated. 
"It's the one country in the world I have a right to be in. In the sense that I can step into Jamaica with a sense of entitlement because I am entitled to my country," said James, who lives in Minneapolis and teaches at Macalester College. 
"Which is not to say I'm kidding myself that everything is fine or that I could walk down the street holding some guy's hand or anything like that." 
"The reason that homophobia is so acute in Jamaica is because the church supports it," said the former church-goer who underwent attempts to cure him of being gay. 
But James also acknowledged churches as the "lifeblood" of many communities and a constructive force. 
James has come back to Jamaica three times so far this year, and credits the Calabash Festival for the publication of his first novel. It was at a workshop at the bi-annual event that U.S. author Kaylie Jones convinced James to resurrect the book after multiple rejections. 
"This is also a place where I discovered so much of the world of literature. This is the place where my mind was first blown, in a way. It's a sense of familiarity and family and also discovery. Also, it's nice seeing a beach," he said, sitting by the Caribbean Sea. 
James said he was not ready to move back to a country he had left when he was 37, because of the opportunities for writers in the United States. 
"There's a literary community, there's support, there's infrastructure, there are grants. There are all these things in place to help the writer where I live that are just not here." 
by Rebekah Kedebe

December 15, 2015

Heroes Fighting Anti Gay JAMAICA’s Laws and Stigma



                                                           

“If you take a trip to Jamaica and is not a fact finding trip but a vacation trip when you can get what they offer there in other islands you are helping the people that are killing gays there and are obstructing the work that so many are trying to accomplish by those who put their life on their line everyday.” Adam
In a country that criminalizes homosexuality and where violence against LGBT people has been disproportionately high, gay rights campaigners are daring to launch a legal challenge to try to end Jamaica’s ban on homosexuality.

Reports say that campaigner and attorney Maurice Tomlinson has filed a claim with Jamaica’s Supreme Court in order to challenge aspects of the law that ban sodomy and criminalizes male-male relationships as “gross indecency.” Tomlinson, who is supported by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the group AIDS-Free World, fled Jamaica in 2012 and now resides in Canada. He has returned to Jamaica for this legal challenge, after a similar challenge that was started in 2013 ended due to the plaintiff, Javed Jaghai, whom Tomlinson represented, backed out because he feared violence and persecution.

Tomlinson, who is a senior policy analyst at the Legal Network, is arguing that the ban breaches his rights: ”The law is a gross violation of my human rights and those of all LGBTI people in my country,” Tomlinson is quoted as saying. “It directly infringes numerous rights guaranteed by Jamaica’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, and also fuels horrific violence.”

He goes on to say, “The criminalisation and marginalisation of consensual sex drives gay men and other men who have sex with men underground, away from desperately needed HIV prevention, treatment and testing services.”

The law, The Offences Against the Person Act (OAPA) carries three broad provisions (Sections 76., 77. and 78.) which in order criminalize “buggery,” the attempt to “commit the said abominable crime” which could technically be used to criminalize other acts, and finally “outrages on decency” which means that men who are even suspected of seeking out a same-gender relationship could be punished. There are other aspects of the law that empower officials to break up Pride parades and to go into people’s homes without warrants if they suspect criminal activity under this act.

In the most harsh cases for crimes relating to “buggery,” violators may face up to 10 years in prison. Same-gender relationships between women are technically not criminalized, but they are certainly not yet accepted and other laws could be used to penalize those relationships.

Jamaica’s anti-gay laws are rarely invoked in any wider sense, yet as we’ve learned from other countries the very fact of there being a ban creates state-sanctioned stigma and acts as a means for citizens and even law enforcement agencies to threaten, intimidate and even extort LGBT people. In addition to this, LGBTs in Jamaica have faced high levels of violence, disproportionate levels of joblessness and homelessness, and poor health care access. Despite indications a few years ago that in terms of policy the government might be energized to tackle discrimination against LGBTs, no such efforts have materialized and the government is characterized as having very little political will to make any such change.

Despite this, grassroots activism and a general softening of attitudes among the public does seem to be providing a more positive outlook. For example, Jamaica’s LGBT community was able to hold its first set of Pride events this past summer, including parades, flashmob events and other small gatherings. These events went off peacefully and largely without interference from officials, marking what LGBT rights groups in the region say is a significant milestone in LGBT rights progress. Civil rights groups also attest that while LGBTs in the country do still face disproportionate levels of violence and discrimination, those incidents are decreasing and there is a general trend, if not toward acceptance then to at least tolerance.

As such, Tomlinson’s lawsuit may be coming at the right time when Jamaica is ready for change, and when the courts might sense the public shift on homosexuality and reflect that. Unfortunately, as with any significant legal change for a disfavored class of people, there is a chance that this high-profiled case could spark a backlash. If the government were to choose any time to act, now would be it. For example, looking at anti-discrimination opportunities and hate crimes legislation to emphasize that the government does not condone violence or discrimination against LGBT people.
       
       
      http://www.care2.com

    ABOUT STEVE WILLIAMS

    Steve Williams is a passionate supporter of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) rights, human rights, animal welfare and health care reform. He is a published author, poet and citizen journalist, and a scriptwriter for computer games, film and web serials.

    October 17, 2015

    Only Out Jamaican Writer Describes Growing Up in a Homophobic Country


                                                                             
    Out gay Jamaican writer Marlon James


    Marlon James has become the first Jamaican to win the Man Booker fiction prize for “A Brief History of Seven Killings.”
    James, 35, said he had to leave his homeland just to be able to do simple things: “You might want to walk down the street and hold somebody’s hand one day. When you grow up in a homophobic country, you’re sitting on a time bomb.”
    Before coming to the States and taking a job at Macalaster College in Minnesota in 2007, he recalls living in fear. 
    “I was so convinced that my voice outed me as a fag that I had stopped speaking to people I didn’t know,” he wrote in an essay in the New York Times. “The silence left a mark, threw my whole body into a slouch, with a concave chest, as if trying to absorb impact.”
    “I bought myself protection by cursing, locking my lisp behind gritted teeth, folding away my limp wrist and drawing 36-double-D girls for art class. I took a copy of Penthouse to school to score cool points, but the other boys called me ‘batty boy’ anyway — every day, five days a week. To save my older, cooler brother, I pretended we weren’t related.”
    In addition to Seven Killings, James is the author of John Crow’s Devil and The Book of Night Women
    He hopes the award will draw attention to the robust literary scene in his homeland.
    “There’s this whole universe of really spunky creativity that’s happening,” he said. “I hope it brings more attention to what’s coming out of Jamaica and the Caribbean.”
    The novel is based on an imagined oral history of a 1976 attempt to kill reggae singer Bob Marley. It focuses on a group of young men who burst into Marley’s home with automatic weapons before a peace concert — an event Marley survived.
    The 668-page book deftly captures the language and life of the Caribbean, and James says he hopes more Caribbean writers will follow in his footsteps.

    “Jamaica has a really really rich literary tradition, it is kind of surreal being the first and I hope I’m not the last and I don’t think I will be,” James said.
    The openly gay writer has spoken at length about growing up in a homophobic country, a topic he also included in the book.
    “It was very important to me that there were gay characters in the book – to reflect the gayness and hypocrisy in Jamaica,” he told The Independent.
    Although it’s clear the 44-year-old author holds his country in esteem, he now lives in Minneapolis.

    “You might want to walk down the street and hold somebody’s hand one day. When you grow up in a homophobic country, you’re sitting on a timebomb,” he said.
    Jamaica still has anti-sodomy laws on the books, dating back to 1864. The country’s “Offenses Against the Person Act” make such actions punishable by imprisonment or 10 years hard labor. In a 2014 report by Human Rights Watch, more than half of LGBT people surveyed had been the victim of a violent crime.
    James said his father inspired him to begin writing, although he did give it up for a time after one book was rejected more than 70 times.

    The 47-year-old prize has previously gone to writers Salman Rushdie, Hilary Mantel, Margaret Atwood and J.M. Coetzee. It comes with a $76,000 reward.
    “A Brief History of Seven Killings” is his third novel.

    July 16, 2015

    Supremes Ruling Seems to have Changed Jamaican LGBT debate


         
                                                                               
                                                                          
    The focus of the debate for LGBTI human rights in Jamaica has changed since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality.  Here are  examples of recent op-eds in the Jamaica Gleaner (three opposed, one in favor), with excerpts:
    Disgraced former Jamaican Prime Minster calls the Supreme Court decision undemocratic

    “The views of the Jamaican people, no matter how overwhelming, will have no more weight than those of the Greeks who voted against austerity demands. The issue of gay rights is no longer just a cause célèbre; it has been elevated to a ‘human-rights’ issue whose universality must transcend public opinion and legislative or electoral decisions.”
    Senior journalist claims Christian persecution
    “Gay activists have become a major threat to free speech and liberty. They are not willing to live and let live, or to leave religious objectors alone. They want to control not just our actions but our very thoughts. If they are thought of as sinners or immoral, they can’t abide that. They must drive that out of religious people’s heads or drive them underground.
    “There is a profoundly undemocratic, totalitarian proclivity in many gay people, perhaps as psychological overcompensation for so many years of oppression, prejudice and bigotry. It’s often the case that the oppressed become the new oppressors.”
    Fundamentalist lawyer claims marriage equality distorts the universal order and is very different from Loving v Virginia because of race.
    “Describing same-sex ‘family life’ as ‘a life which harms no one else’ is like ignoring an elephant in plain sight. How does one explain the fact that this ‘life which harms no one else’ is reordering society in its image? What about harm to the individuals themselves? Shouldn’t the society be concerned about undeniable medical statistics on the consequences of high-risk sexual behaviour for the participants?
    “It should be clear to all that the homosexual lifestyle is not a harmless one, neither to the individual nor to society. Furthermore, it is not a lifestyle that is prepared to stay in the bedroom but, instead, insists on forcing itself into the centre of the public square.
    Today’s op-ed supports public health benefits of marriage equality 
    “High-risk sexual behaviour in our society is related to having unprotected sex with multiple partners, whether gay or straight. Sexually transmitted infections can be transmitted in straight sex as well as gay sex.
    “Marriage is supposed to encourage people to settle down, commit to each other, build a life together and give up high-risk behaviours. I am aware that this does not always happen in straight marriages and, conversely, in gay marriages as well, but the ideal remains true in many cases.”
     

    June 2, 2015

    2006 TIME: Jamaica the most Homophobic Place in the World but Change Might be Coming






    Attitudes toward civil rights in Jamaica are changing — but more needs to be done

    In 2006, Time magazine called Jamaica “the most homophobic place on earth.” The country was experiencing excessive violence and hate crimes against gays and lesbians. Three years later, a friend and I were robbed and sexually assaulted in Jamaica. We are both lesbians. When I first reported the incident to the police, an officer told me I should “leave this lifestyle and go back to the church.” But I didn’t. I reported the incident and testified against my assaulter. I became an advocate for other women like me.
    In April, at a town hall meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, President Barack Obama included my story when he spoke about a generation that cares “less about the world as it has been, and more about the world as it should be and can be.” These two moments—when an official insulted me and when the U.S. president acknowledged me—show how far Jamaica has come in the last few years.
    Although the LBGT community in Jamaica still faces challenges on many fronts, attitudes are changing, as detailed in a recent report from Human Rights First. Given this momentum, international partnerships and pressure on the government have the power to help change the lives of LBGT Jamaicans.
    Jamaica’s “anti-sodomy law,” a holdover from British colonial rule, criminalizes “the abominable crime of buggery” and acts of “indecency” between men. Few have been convicted under the law, but many use it as pretext for unfairness and violence. Broadcasting companies have cited it when refusing to air ads promoting tolerance and respect for LGBT people. Dancehall music artists have used it to justify violent homophobic lyrics.
    Many LGBT youth are forced to live on the streets after being kicked out of their homes. People can lose their jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Many avoid healthcare centers, even for HIV treatment, for fear of mistreatment. Mobs have attacked and even killed LGBT people. Few are investigated for these crimes, and even fewer are convicted.
    Those with intersecting identities, such as lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender people seem to get a double dose of gendered violence and prejudice.

    Overturning the “anti-sodomy law” requires not just a legal case but a transformation of social attitudes. Last year, threats forced activist Javed Jaghai to withdraw his challenge to the law. A 2011 poll found that about 76% of Jamaicans oppose amending the law. Even larger majorities believe that homosexuality is immoral. 
    But against this grim backdrop, there is hope. Officials including Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry, Minister of Justice Mark Golding, and chair of the Jamaican National Family Planning Board Dr. Sandra Knight have spoken boldly in favor of the human rights of LGBT people. Reverend Margaret Fowler of United Church ministers to homeless LGBT youth and urges her congregation to do the same. Anglican priest Father Sean Major-Campbell has welcomed LGBT people into his church.
    Just last month at a Human Rights First reception for International Day Against Homophobia, I stood next to reggae singer Etana, as she told a room full of people on Capitol Hill that we must work to make Jamaica a place that is safe for all people. Another prominent reggae singer Tanya Stephens has created constructive dialogue around the issue, and her song “Do You Still Care?” humanizes the experience of members of the LGBT community in Jamaica. A range of groups—including Quality of Citizenship Jamaica, J-FLAG, the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, Pride in Action, Aphrodite’s PRIDE, and the Colour Pink Group—also support the change.
    Together, these leaders are changing the narrative around LGBT human rights in Jamaica.
    Now is the perfect time for the United States to act. President Obama is very popular in Jamaica and could have a huge influence in promoting the rights of the country’s LGBT people. Newly appointed Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons Randy Berry traveled to Jamaica last month. He should work to partner with Jamaica to combat homophobic violence and unfairness. The tourism industry and other U.S. businesses in Jamaica should also make changes to ensure that their LGBT customers and employees have access to a safe, supportive environment.
    There’s a Jamaican phrase, “Every mickle mek a muckle,” which means “Every little bit adds up.” I am looking forward to the day when LGBT Jamaicans can live freely thanks to the combined efforts of civil society and our partners to bring about “the world as it should be.”


    Angeline Jackson is a human rights activist and executive director of Quality Citizenship Jamaica (QCJ).

    May 22, 2015

    Pres.Obama Sends Gay Envoy to Homophobic Uganda through Homophobic Jamaica




    Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
     submitted on buzzfeed.com the following story about this welcome decision by President Obama. Imagine sending a gay emboy to make the case to one of the most homophobes countries in the World.
     The U.S. State Department’s newly-appointed special envoy for LGBT rights, Randy Berry, is planning a visit to Uganda in July, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
    The State Department could not immediately provide further details of the trip or what Berry hoped to accomplish in a visit to the country at the center of one of the longest running international confrontations over LGBT rights. Ugandan and American LGBT activists have previously criticized the U.S. response to the passage of a sweeping anti-LGBT law in 2014 for being slow and sending missed messages, but the law was struck down in August of that year. Attempts to restore the law have so far failed to gain traction in the face of apparent opposition from President Yoweri Museveni.
    Berry, who was selected for the post in February and began work in April, will first be doing swings through Latin America and Europe in the coming weeks, said the State Department spokesperson. Berry told attendees at an event at the Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday that he planned to visit more than 15 countries in the next month, according to a source in the room. 
    On Tuesday, the State Department announced that Berry will fly to Jamaica on Thursday, which has some of the highest rates of anti-LGBT violence in the region.

    March 28, 2015

    Jamaica’s PM Miller Rebukes and Chides NY Gay Protesters

                                                                                      
                                                                                  


    Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller speaks at the unveiling of the “Ark of Return - the Permanent Monument to honour the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade at the UN Visitors Plaza, New York yesterday.


     Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller yesterday chided gay-rights protestors who crashed her keynote address at the launch of the 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference in New York, United States.

    As Simpson Miller tried to defend the indefensible position of Jamaica’s non existing record of protecting the rights of gays, the protestors yelled so.
      However, the prime minister did not take kindly to the protestors who were real angry at her for not telling the truth. She most live inside a church or an air bubble not to know what we know here. She got pissed. She most feel that people that don’t have rights in her countries do not have rights here to protest either.  
    Nobody never hears the Government of Jamaica beating up gays; not one, Like I told you, just do a search and is in the public record all the incidents of hate crime and murders coming from this Island.  She went on, "Let me tell you something; you want to disturb, you can disturb, but this woman come here with the blood of Nanny of the Maroons and the spirit of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and this woman is not afraid of no man, nowhere, anywhere, and I will speak the truth everywhere,” the prime minister said to loud cheers and applause from the audience. Yes that is what she said, full of herself and not caring about the issue of civil and human rights in her country. The speaks like any oppressor does, no we don’t do that, the poor we are being maligned. My mind goes back during Dessert Storm when Hussein took the little boy he was holding hostage and fix his hair, hug him against the poor’s boy’s wishes. h  “You see I love Americans” said Hussein. The kid was not even american but it does ’t matter he made his truth as he went along as so does this Prime Minister of Jamaica. 
    I ask if she should be worry that we are going to hold fast to not going and spending money in that homophobic country full of ex slaves that should know better. Ex slave nations that now have their own land, they don’t live in Africa they live in their own country they had had the opportunity to build themselves with the help of her old colonial rulers and tourist dollars, lots of gay dollars. I don’t want to hear about boat cruises that stop there for the tourists to leave their money. I remember when gay cruises where not allowed to stop there. I have been to Jamaica and know the score but anybody thru the media can tell what goes on there. It is so incredible that they Jamaican people are such fervent followers of the white man’s religion and with the white men bigotry.
    Simpson Miller noted her position and that her People's National Party Government is different from that of the previous administration of Bruce Golding, who famously said he would not allow gays to serve in his Cabinet.
    Simpson Miller stressed that she would not be bullied by those who tell lies about Jamaica's treatment of gays.
    And she further lamented that Jamaica would not bow to attempts to hurt the country's image with misinformation.
    The prime minister said Jamaica respects the human rights of all its citizens, including gays. She added that those who disagreed are not being truthful.
    "Jamaica will continue to rise and shine globally. Jamaica will rise and shine all over the world and no one man can stop that," Simpson Miller declared.
    In the past, gay-rights advocates have picketed events attended by the prime minister in New York.
    They have complained that there have been no real efforts by the prime minister and her Government to follow through on her 2011 election promise for a review of the buggery law and conscience vote among parliamentarians. Gay rights advocates have also blasted the Government, claiming that it has done little to stem the violence and discrimination being faced by gays in Jamaica.
    In its 2014-2015 country report, human rights organisation Amnesty International pointed to five areas it says Jamaica needs to improve in.
    It lists issues relating to the police and security forces, justice, gender-based violence, children's rights and those of homosexuals.
    Amnesty International said police brutality remained a concern, adding that attacks and harassment of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people have continued.
    However, the human-rights group said Jamaica has taken steps to deal with the issue of impunity.
    Adam Gonzalez, using jerome.reynolds as source for this report.
    (jerome.reynolds@gleanerjm.com)                                                 

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