– Senator Mark Golding, Jamaica’s Minister of Justice, said the country’s laws “prohibit violence and intimidation against all persons, including gay persons” and that the government expects police to protect all citizens. –
The above excerpt from the Toronto Star Newspaper correctly articulates Jamaican law. Jamaican law protects all persons from violence and intimidation. It is our responsibility as citizens to see that all persons are protected under the law.
What the brain dead and moral nihilists among us are claiming , however, is that there is a “right”, framed in the secular world view of course, to anal penetration even when scientific articles indicate that anal penetration and role reversal during anal penetration has made MSM the only group, regardless of the income levels of the countries study, among whom HIV epidemics are expanding.
Some moral nihilists also claim “rights” to fisting, felching, rimming, farming, scat, chariot racing, jack hammering etc
Global epidemiology of HIV infection in men who have sex with men
Chris Beyrer et al.
In 2012, HIV epidemics in MSM are expanding in countries of all incomes. Available incidence data from Thai, Chinese and Kenyan samples of MSM suggest those epidemics are in rapid expansion phases.
HIV infection rates among MSM are substantially higher than those of general population adult males in every epidemic assessed. A comprehensive review of the burden of HIV disease in MSM worldwide found that pooled HIV prevalence ranged from a low of 3% in the Middle East and North Africa to a high of 25.4% of MSM in the Caribbean.
Biological and behavioral factors make the dynamics of the MSM epidemic different than for general populations.
o The disproportionate HIV disease burden in MSM is explained largely by the high peract
and per-partner transmission probability of HIV transmission in receptive anal sex.
Modeling suggests that If the transmission probably of receptive anal sex was similar
to that associated with unprotected vaginal sex, five year cumulative HIV incidence in
MSM would be reduced by 80-90%.
o Many MSM practice both insertive and receptive roles in sexual intercourse, which
helps HIV spread in this population. Were MSM limited to one role, HIV incidence in
this population over five years would be reduced 19-55% in high-prevalence
o Taking both factors (per act transmission probability and role versatility) into account explains 98% of the difference between HIV epidemics among MSM and heterosexual populations—behavioral differences account for 2% of the difference.
” Fools rush in when wise men never go”
KINGSTON, JAMAICA — For someone from a place called Paradise, Dwayne Jones’ life was far from idyllic.
Like many gay kids here, Jones was unwelcome at home, so he dropped out of school and left his family in the neighbourhood of Paradise Rowe for the streets of Montego Bay. Yet the 16-year-old who loved to dance still held out hope for the future. Friends say he wanted to be a teacher or to work in Jamaica’s thriving tourism industry.
The teen’s body, beaten and stabbed, was found by the side of a road late last month, the morning after a party. Reports say he’d been set upon by a mob. Hundreds of people are believed to have seen what happened. The apparent reason for the attack? Jones was wearing women’s clothes.
“The fact that there were so many people at that party, that they could have stood there and allowed a young person to be beaten, left to die on the side of the road?” says Dane Lewis, the executive director of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays, known as J-FLAG. “That hundreds of men and women could stand by and watch a life being taken, without any need to stop it? It’s very disheartening.”
This lush island draws people from all over the world for its blue water and picturesque beaches, but beyond the postcard images is a society that is unfriendly to lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender people.
In 2006, Time raised the question of whether Jamaica is “the most homophobic place on earth.” And in a 2012 report on human rights on the island, the U.S. State Department described homophobia as being “widespread.”
Violence and discrimination faced by Jamaica’s LGBT community has been condemned by such groups as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Documented abuses include the routine eviction of gay people, often violently, from their homes; lesbians subjected to sexual violence; people living with HIV or AIDS receiving substandard health care; and police abuse.
Religious groups regularly protest against gay rights, saying homosexuality is an affront to God and to Jamaican values.
Gay Jamaicans — men and women — live with the threat of violence every day, though the extent to which they are exposed often depends on their social class. Money gives one the ability to live in a gated community with security, or the means to buy a car or take taxis (thus avoiding public transportation) or even hop a flight to a gay-friendly destination if it becomes necessary.
High above the chaotic Kingston traffic on a breezy rooftop deck, a handsome young man named Adrian looks out over his city and sighs. He understands the fear.
He has a boyish face and wears a neatly pressed shirt and trousers. His office security pass is clipped to his belt. Adrian is determined that no one suspects who he really is: a slightly giggly kid who would love to model, is happy to debate the merits of Rhianna vs. Beyoncé, and is insanely envious when he hears about Toronto’s vibrant nightlife.
Getting caught in the back seat of a car is, for most people, just an embarrassing incident. For Adrian, it meant two weeks in jail, beatings, humiliation, a criminal conviction and a hefty fine. While it isn’t illegal to be gay, consensual sex between men is against the law.
It was spring 2011. Adrian was 18 and on a date when, on their way to meet his new boyfriend’s mother — “Oh my God, I felt so special” — they got carried away and had sex for the first time. They were parked in a secluded spot, and by the time the police arrived, were just sitting together.
“They started shining their lights in,” recalls Adrian, now 20. “They were laughing and telling us how they should kill us … and everything disgusting.”
Adrian and his boyfriend were arrested and taken to jail. Over the next two weeks, he says, he was beaten with a broom and a shovel, urinated and spat upon, his calls for help from the guards ignored: “And that’s because I’m a gay man, and because I’m charged with buggery and gross indecency.”
The buggery charge was eventually dropped, but Adrian and his friend were convicted of gross indecency and each fined JAD$250,000 (CAD$2,500) — a lot of money for a young man who makes about CAD$240 every two weeks. He’s paying back his very angry mother with every pay cheque.
“Being a gay man in Kingston is not the easiest thing. You have to be careful where you go; you have to be careful who you walk with. You have to be careful what you do, or what you say, because the slightest of things can be interpreted wrongly,” Adrian says. “I have to be very careful of what I do.”
Just a few years ago, change seemed possible.
During the 2011 election campaign, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller called her country on its attitude toward homosexuality. During a debate, she said that no Jamaican “should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation,” that the rights of all citizens should be protected and that the buggery law — which Adrian ran afoul of — be reconsidered.
Activists and governments, including Canada’s, have welcomed her statement. But since then, nothing.
A request for an interview with Simpson Miller was declined, but in an email Senator Mark Golding, Jamaica’s Minister of Justice, said the country’s laws “prohibit violence and intimidation against all persons, including gay persons” and that the government expects police to protect all citizens. (Golding issued a statement after the murder of Jones, condemning the crime, saying investigators “must spare no effort in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”)
However, Golding also noted in the email response, “the Jamaican government cannot ignore the reality that the majority of Jamaicans do not favour the promotion of the gay lifestyle and practices.”
A recent survey of 1,000 adults sponsored by J-FLAG revealed that just one in five Jamaicans is “tolerant of people, regardless of their sexual orientation;” 46 per cent reported feeling “repulsion” about homosexuality. The survey concluded that “in line with popular belief, Jamaicans are strongly opposed to homosexuality.”
Gay people in Kingston describe their community as lively and dynamic — though there’s no outward sign of life: no gay bars or clubs; certainly no rainbow flags or thriving neighbourhoods. Instead, people gather at private homes and parties and meet on the Internet. (“Thank god for social media,” said more than one gay Jamaican interviewed by The Star.)
One of the biggest obstacles is the disapproval of the church, the role of which can’t be underestimated. Lewis, of J-FLAG, points out that the Guinness Book of World Records has said the island has more churches per square mile than anywhere else in the world, and it does seem as if there’s a house of worship on nearly every corner in Kingston.
Now, the government’s pledge of inclusivity is being put to the test in court by a lawsuit, brought by a 24-year-old Ivy League-educated student and activist named Javed Jaghai. If it is successful, it could mean men like Adrian will no longer have to fear jail because of their sexuality.
Even in a vibrant, noisy city like Kingston, Jaghai stands out. Whether he is jaywalking — the best way to get across any street here because you have to hurry — or sipping water in Emancipation Park he draws attention.
He wears a slim red tuxedo jacket and skinny jeans and his eyeglasses are bona fide hipster. Despite two years of high school in British Columbia and four years at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, his lilt remains pure Jamaica.
Jaghai’s landmark legal action asks Jamaica’s attorney-general to change sections 76, 77, and 79 of the Offenses Against the Person Act, which date from 1864.
Section 76 says “whoever shall be convicted of the abominable crime of buggery, committed either with mankind or any animal, shall be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for a term not exceeding 10 years.”
Section 77 criminalizes sexual acts short of anal penetration and could result in a seven-year sentence.
Section 79, under which Adrian was convicted, carries a sentence of up to two years for “gross indecency,” which lawyers say is interpreted as mutual masturbation, oral sex, and other sex acts between gay men.
Collectively, they are known as the buggery law. The action is not asking for the repeal of the laws — it simply wants to decriminalize consensual sex between men in the privacy of their homes.
At the heart of the legal action is the allegation that Jaghai’s rights — and by extension, those of other LBGT citizens — to privacy and equality, guaranteed by Jamaica’s new constitution, are violated by the state’s intrusion into his bedroom.
Jaghai is a hero in this story, albeit a reluctant one. He’s adamant that part of the reason he decided participate in the suit is a sense of responsibility: though he’s from a poor family, his education has given him privilege, mobility and security. He is not a victim of his country’s prejudices, he says: he is empowered and is fighting back, and wants to inspire other gay Jamaicans to do the same.
It was a seemingly small incident that ultimately brought Jaghai to test the law. Last summer, he was renting a house with two friends. The idea of three men living together made their landlady uncomfortable. She gave them an ultimatum: either accept Christian counselling from her or get out.
The counselling, Jaghai says dryly, “wasn’t going to happen.” And so they left.
He found a new place to live, and got on with his advocacy work in Kingston’s gay community, but the incident continued to rankle. Months later, during a discussion with Maurice Tomlinson, a gay campaigner and lawyer who splits his time between Jamaica, Canada and the U.S., Jaghai mentioned the eviction.
And that is how the event found its way into a suit as an example of the challenges faced every day by gay Jamaicans.
“For me, it’s not about the landlady. Yes, she did me a great injustice, but it’s not about the landlady,” Jaghai says over red pea soup with dumplings and jerk pork in a popular Kingston restaurant. “It’s about the institutions, and the culture, that authorizes the landlady, or empowers the landlady, to act in the way that she did. That I cannot accept. That I will never accept.
“And that is just one of the ways that I am rejecting the notion that because I am gay I should be treated as less than equal in my own country.”
In 2011, Jamaica passed a Charter of Rights that promised freedom from discrimination on the grounds of gender, but not sexual orientation or gender identity, something the United Nations Human Rights Committee has said is regrettable.
The legal action is “groundbreaking,” says Lewis of J-FLAG, where Jaghai worked as an outreach officer before returning to the United States to continue his studies at Yale University.
“It is to force the real conversation about the reality of what it is to be LGBT in Jamaica: that despite having a constitution that protects your privacy and your right to equality before the law, that is not what we are experiencing currently,” Lewis says. “It will force us into a conversation — an honest, rational conversation, I believe.”
About a dozen groups, including several churches, are opposing the action. None contacted was willing to speak to The Star, with the exception of Helene Coley Nicholson, the elegant and well-spoken president of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship.
For her, she says, homosexuality is “absolutely” a case of love-the-sinner, hate-the-sin. Her group believes the Bible is the ultimate authority, and because Jamaica is a Christian country, its temporal laws should be informed by spiritual ones.
“We don’t believe the particular laws being challenged are unconstitutional, and we also believe that they are necessary based on our Christian principles,” Coley Nicholson says.
“The biblical position is, we think, opposed to the lifestyle that Mr. Jaghai would have considered to be normal,” she adds during an interview in her cool, quiet Kingston office. “Our view is simply opposed. It’s simply different. And we think that what is normative is what is biblical. And we think the Bible has a particular view on the subject.”
Tomlinson, the lawyer and activist, thinks her point will resonate in the island’s courts. The judiciary, he believes, is heavily influenced by religion, and that makes him think the suit will likely fail at the first level, Jamaica’s Supreme Court.
“The reality is … most judges will not see our positions as being viable because they are just not willing to make that leap,” Tomlinson, who works for AIDS-Free World, founded by Stephen Lewis, says.
“At the level of the Court of Appeal and at the (U.K.) Privy Council,” he says, “we certainly expect to have a much more liberal judgment because we have judges there who are more exposed to international jurisprudence and liberal ways of thinking.”
And, Tomlinson adds, when it comes to “socially contentious issues,” the judges response tends to be “very, very conservative.”
Pop culture also plays a role. Some dance hall music glorifies killing and beating homosexuals. The U.S. State Department’s report on human rights says “through the songs and behaviour of some musicians, the country’s dancehall culture helped perpetuate homophobia.”
Like Adrian, Cupid’s name isn’t really Cupid, and Amanda, the slight girlfriend who curls into her side, is not really named Amanda. They don’t want their real names, or their jobs, or much of their story, in any newspaper. An image that could identify them would be a major problem.
It’s the evening before Adrian talks about his arrest that Cupid and Amanda uncertainly make their approach. It’s dusky and the Caribbean sun is fading but Cupid isn’t taking off her mirrored sunglasses.
Standing protectively next to her girlfriend, she asks: is it true? In Canada, could they get married? Could they walk down the street holding hands? Could they tell people who they really are and not be worried they might lose their jobs, be rejected by their families, get hassled by the police or be attacked by their neighbours?
“I don’t see myself in Jamaica,” the 24-year-old eventually says. “If I get a chance, I’ll leave.”
Emigrating is Plan B for many; Canada and the United States are preferred destinations.
Cupid and Amanda wear engagement rings, in part because it helps them pass as straight. They met, as do so many Jamaican LGBT people, online. They say they were ready to give up on finding someone, but Amanda sent Cupid her number, and was thrilled when she called.
Three years later, they’re still together — they exchanged rings on their first and second anniversaries — but only a few trusted people can know they’re more than friends.
Cupid lives at home, and her parents suspect she is gay — or, as she says when parodying her mother, “a sodomite,” which is an epithet often thrown at lesbians.
“Why no boyfriend?” she continues her imitation, as Amanda smiles. “Why no children? When will I have a grandchild?”
Cupid’s father told her he’d stop helping with her bills if he gets confirmation that she’s gay. Her mother prays for her.
“My mother is Christian,” Cupid says. “I was baptized when I was 10. I don’t call myself a Christian. To me, the Bible teaches me to hate myself. I’ve tried not to be gay. I’ve tried to be with a guy, but it did not work.”
So Amanda and Cupid continue their lives in limbo. Other gay women, like Jalna Broderick and Angeline Jackson, are fed up with hiding their sexuality.
“I’ve reached the point where, OK. I am a lesbian, I am out, I am not hiding any more,” Broderick, a 45-year-old photographer, says. “It’s two separate lives. You don’t say, ‘my boyfriend’ or ‘my girlfriend.’ You say ‘my partner,’ ‘my significant other.’ ”
There are even shades of risk for women who present a more masculine image — so-called “butch” women — than those who are stereotypically feminine.
Like gay men, lesbian women can face physical violence, including sexual. Human Rights Watch reported that gay women were subjected to threats of sexual assault by people who said “they could be ‘cured’ of their homosexuality by having sex with a man.”
Jackson understands this. She says she was a victim of sexual violence when she was forced to perform oral sex on three people. When she speaks about the response she says she received from the justice system, she shakes with anger.
“Assault under common law and assault with intent to rape. Two years each,” Jackson recalls. “As far as I am concerned, that’s what it was. It was a targeted rape, it was deliberate.
“That much I am sure about. It is a matter of targeting.”
Jackson and Broderick have formed a group called Quality of Citizenship Jamaica to assert that all Jamaicans deserve to have the same experiences of equality, which makes for a healthier society.
“We need to claim it. We can’t allow others to say, you’re not worthy. We need to claim it,” Broderick says. “What we’re aiming for is that equality: that everyone will be looked at as a person, a Jamaican, a human being.”
Jaghai thinks the small, everyday actions of gay Jamaicans will ultimately be the catalyst for widespread change. For him, coming out to his conservative parents was a far bigger deal than putting his name on a lawsuit.
“You can’t legislate tolerance and you can’t repeal intolerance,” Jaghai says. “And so it’s the one-to-one, day-to-day interactions that are going to matter.
“But people are doing that. People are talking to their employers. People are coming out to their families, and friends. And I don’t think we should underestimate the power of that.”