It would be unfair to accuse Dancehall music of being responsible for all the violence engendered towards LGBT in Jamaica, but undoubtly the numerous anti-gay songs having an heavy rotation on radio and performed in concerts largely contribute to it. In this section, I will bring you examples of insults, life thretnings, beating up and even murders of Jamaican who are gays or believed to be gays. It is said that incidents reported to the police and in the news may only be the tip of the iceberg, as Jamaicans usually don't report homophobic assaults. I may occasionally bring cases from other countries, but will focus on Jamaica and the Caribbeans. But first, I suggest the following BBC report and a video that makes you reflect uppon Jamaica and the situation in other Caribbean islands.
BBC Report: Coming Out in Jamaica
"What happen when someone comes out in a homophobic country?" In late June 2007, the BBC released an excellent audio documentary about the situation for gays and lesbians in Jamaica. Several interesting interview with regular people, prists and activist working at the human rights group Jamaicans For Justice. This is Part One of a two-part documentary serie. The second part is about Coming out in South Africa. The report last 21 minutes.
(BBC report: Coming Out in Jamaica)
YouTube video: challenging the viewer's perception on homophobia
APRIL 27, 2007. (Falmouth, Jamaica) A cross-dreser was set upon and severely beaten by a mob in Falmouth's Water Square yesterday morning. Police who were called to the scene had to fire warning shots to disperse the stone-throwing, stick-wielding mob, which succeeded in tearing off the man's black-and-white form-fitting blouse and jet black wig. According to eyewitnesses, the man was spotted at approximately 8:30 am in the town centre apparently waiting for transportation. He was wearing heavy make-up, high-heeled shoes, a long pair of shiny earrings, a black leather jacket over a snug black-and-white blouse, a tight-fitting pair of jeans, a black wig, a pair of sunglasses and a handbag slung over his broad shoulders. It was not clear yesterday how the alarm was first raised. However, the Observer was told that the assault began as soon as someone in the busy square shouted that the person was actually a man wearing female attire. The news of the man's presence in the community spread rapidly and in a matter of minutes scores of angry residents converged on the scene and began to rain blows all over the cross-dresser's body with sticks, stones and whatever weapon they could find. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
NOTE: I was told that the cross-dresser subsequently died a couple months later.
(video of the beating) (CONNECTED ARTICLE: Jamaica Observer)
Harassment, violence and murder reported in the news
November 1996: Police abuses at Norman Manley International Airport
(Kingston, Jamaica) The report mentions a November 1996 incident where four men were arrested near the Norman Manley International airport and charged with gross indecency. The report further claims that the men were forced by the airport police to remove their clothes and were held naked in public view. When THE STAR contacted the Norman Manley International police post, an officer said he could not recall the eight-year-old incident, but was adamant that "Amnesty has libelled us, because none of what they said happened. We would not do that, we might not agree with or support the behaviour but we would never do that." (Jamaica Star, June 3, 2004)
Unknown date, possibly 1997: Rumor of a gay walk on Half-Way Tree
(Kingston, Jamaica) A Jamaican lesbian recalls: "Don't you remember what happened the last time there was a rumor— just a rumor that there was going to be a gay march in Halfway Tree?" she added. "Hundreds of Jamaican men, armed with clubs, machetes, and stones, converged on the town and waited for dem batty men. No gays showed up". (excerpt from: Village Voice)
NOTE: according to article, that rumors of a gay march on Half-Way Tree would have been prior to the prison riot that took place in August 1997.
August 20-22, 1997: Riot in Kingston General Penitentiary and the St. Catherine District prison
(Kingston, Jamaica) Prison riots began after corrections commissioner John Prescod recommended that condoms be given to inmates and guards. Both groups thought the proposal implied that they were having homosexual sex. The guards walked out in protest, leaving the inmates unsupervised. The inmates stabbed to death two prisoners suspected of being gay. After 3 days of rioting, a total of 16 inmates were killed, 30 more were injured. (Reuter) (PlanetOut)
April 22, 2000: Man shot dead in a Baptist church hall
(Kingston, Jamaica) Among the victims was a man cornered in a Baptist church hall on Mountain View Avenue, Kingston, about 3.30 on Saturday afternoon and shot dead as he begged for his life. Sources say his killers jeered him before pumping several bullets in his body. The man, who was still unidentified up to yesterday, was accused of being a homosexual. The police said they found his body lying in blood with several 9 mm cartridge casings and bullet fragments at the death scene. (excerp from: Jamaica Gleaner) Other source: The Jamaica Gleaner newspaper reported a gay man being chased by vigilantes into a Baptist church. Cornered near the altar, he pleaded for his life. They pumped him full of bullets. (excerpt from: Black Gay and Hunted).
NOTE: A slightly different version is told by writer and film director Rikki Beadle-Blair, who was visiting Jamaica in 2001. "We had just come from a church yard in the depressed area of Mountain View where last April a gay man, caught with a lover in his home had been chased a mob of twenty or so 'Rude Boys' before being cornered in the grounds of the tiny rustic clapboard church where he had run for sanctuary and been shot there in the churchyard amongst the weeds and burned cars. (excerpt from: BBC Channel 4).
December 31, 2000: Two men entered a cathedral, killed a nun and set fire to the priest and the altar
THIS STORY IS NOT DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE 'CHI CHI MAN' CONFLICT, BUT I FOUND IT WAS RELEVANT
(Castries, St. Lucia) A 20-year-old Rasta named Kim John and at least one other accomplice started the new year by entering a cathedral on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia and put the fire burn philosophy in practice. According to a report by Mark Fineman in the Los Angeles Times: "Clad in flowing robes and armed with clubs, flaming torches and gasoline cans, the attackers charged up the aisle, randomly dousing and torching a dozen parishioners. One attacker set fire to the priest and the altar. Another bludgeoned to death Sister Theresa Egan, an Irish nun who had worked on the island for 42 years, because ‘he saw the devil’ in her blue eyes." According to police investigators, John had a vision in which Haile Selassie anointed him as "the chosen one" and commanded him to free his people from the Babylon System. And the Catholic Church—of which 80% of the island nation of St. Lucia are members—is of course a prime symbol of Babylon for many Rastas, especially for the Boboshantis, who have been calling down fire on the Pope and the Vatican with increasing ferocity in recent years.
Some people downplayed this incident as unrepresentative of "real" Rastas. Others asked, along with Prime Minister Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia: "The question is, if the church is the first victim, who is the next?" (excerpt from: The Fiya Bun Controversy) •
(Associated Press) (Los Angeles Times) (BBC News) (MonserratReporter.org)
(Catholic World News - May 2001) (Irish Examiner - April 2003) (Archdiocese Of Castries - April 2004) (Catholic Chronicle - May 2004)
Note: This is an isolated incident, but it clearly proves that some people can take literaly the lyrics of songs.
July 2001: Resume of several cases that occured in Jamaica in the first half of 2001
Earlier this year, several students attending the Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville were attacked and beaten for alleged homosexual involvement. Even within the high schools, students who are deemed to be too effeminate are the victims of hate crimes. "Kids can be merciless," explained one principal who requested not to be identified in the story. "I have had to both suspend and expel students for brutally beating up on other schoolmates believed to be homosexuals. Sometimes even the taunting can be vicious. I have spoken to principals of other schools and they also have similar experiences with their students." The police, too, are aware of some of the attacks which have been made on gays but note that they hardly have enough evidence to go on. Several months ago in St. Catherine, police officers had to rescue two men from being killed by a group of angry residents. The men were allegedly caught having oral sex in the back seat of a car. "Yes, it is something that happens quite frequently," explained an officer attached to the Montego Bay police station. "Homosexuals are afraid to report some of the atrocities that have been carried out against them for fear of being exposed so they remain quiet while criminals walk free. Police officers, many of whom are openly hostile towards gays, are also to be blamed for this. As a member of a human rights group, it is my belief that hate crimes, regardless of against whom, are wrong and should be condemned." The officer noted that male prostitutes plying the streets, particularly in the resort towns of Montego Bay and Negril, are often attacked by what he referred to as "anti-gay thugs," sometimes brutally beaten to the point where they have to be confined to hospitals. He said that there is not much the police can do if charges were not brought forward. "A complaint has to be made before we can act," the officer added. (Jamaica Gleaner)
October 13, 2002: UK grant asylum for two Jamaicans
(London, England) Two Jamaican homosexuals have been granted asylum in Britain on the grounds that their lives are in danger because of "severe homophobia" in their home country. At least seven other men from the Caribbean island are claiming asylum because of their sexual orientation, while a tenth has obtained exceptional leave to stay. The cases are among the first successful asylum claims since a House of Lords ruling in 1999 which stated that "particular social groups", including homosexuals, could qualify for refugee status. The applications were supported by evidence of machete attacks, murders and threats against homosexuals in Jamaica and reinforced by concern about the lyrics of some of the country's leading music stars. (excerpt from: Telegraph.co.uk)
ANOTHER ARTICLE : Every one of David's scars tells a terrifying story. There is the one where his throat was slashed by a mob that chased him through the streets of downtown Kingston, the incident in which his arm was broken in two places, the horrific ordeal during which his right hand was almost severed at the wrist by a blow from a machete. Then there are the marks on his feet where he was beaten with sticks, the eardrum perforated by a blow from a baton and the emotional scars of the time he was forced to run into the sea close to Norman Manley airport and swim against the tide for four exhausting hours to escape certain death. All the attacks occurred for the same reason - David is gay. Last week, it was revealed that David, 26, had been granted asylum in the UK on the basis that homophobia in Jamaica is so severe it represents a serious threat to his personal safety.... 'I was walking one night down a road where a lot of gay men go cruising. I was attacked by two men and stabbed. The knife went right through my back and came out my stomach. Two taxi drivers refused to take me to hospital. They told me: "You are a faggot, you cannot come with us or people will think we are gay too." I had to walk a mile to hospital, bleeding all the way. When I got there I had to lie and say I had been robbed otherwise I would not have got any treatment.' On another occasion David was arrested and charged with buggery. At the door to a holding cell with 15 other prisoners, the policeman said: 'There you go batty boy' and pushed him inside. Within seconds David had been beaten senseless, losing hearing in one ear. 'It is hell being gay in Jamaica.'
(excerpt from: The Guardian)
NOTE: In June 2004, The Guardian writes: 'At least five gay Jamaicans have successfully claimed asylum in Britain on grounds of homophobia'. (excerpt from: The Guardian)
June 24, 2002: Television show host found dead
(St. Andrew, Jamaica) The body of self-proclaimed psychic and television show host, Safa Asuntuwa (Santura), was found badly bruised and slashed at Cavaliers in St Andrew. Police concluded that he was murdered by his jealous lover. ANOTHER ARTICLE: Asuntuwa's body was found with several stab wounds in a gully along the Cavaliers main road, in rural St. Andrew, at about 10.30 a.m. on June 25. Lorraine Smith, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, and Diahann Gordon, Crown Counsel, are leading evidence that Asuntuwa was severely beaten and then stabbed several times. The Crown is alleging that Asuntuwa was murdered sometime between June 24 and 25 and his body dumped in a gully along the Cavaliers main road, in rural St. Andrew. It is further alleged that Christopher Dixon and another man were the last to have seen Asuntuwa alive. Christopher Dixon admited that he and his brethren had beateb and stabbed Asuntuwa. In June 2003, Dixon was sentenced to life imprisonment for non-capital murder.
NOTE: This case was used in a Jamaica Observer article that suggest that a majority of Jamaican gay men are murderer by their lovers. In the two articles publised in the Jamaica Gleaner, it was not exposed that Dixon was the lover of Safa Asuntuwa. See Gareth Williams opinion on police conclusion lower in this section, under December 24, 2006
(Jamaica Gleaner 1) (Jamaica Gleaner 2) (Jamaica Observer)
NOTE: I haven't found any case that were reported in local newspapers for 2003 yet, but see lower under TESTIMONIES for the description of several abuses that occured in 2003.
February 18, 2004: Father encourage students to attack his son
(Jamaica) A father had encouraged students to attack his son after he discovered a picture of a nude man in his rucksack. One student described the attack on the 16-year-old: “him get nuff lick, kick, box and thump from other boy and girl.” School authorities were forced to call police to escort the boy off the compound. Students received a “stern warning” but, at the time of writing, no-one had been charged in connection with the assaults.This happend at the Dunoon Park Technical High School. (Amnesty International) For Brian Williamson imput, visit: (Jamaica Observer)
April 28, 2004: After being called 'homosexuals', teenagers get into a fight: one die, stabbed with a pair of cissors
(Bezaudin, Martinique) “C’est le 28 avril 2004 que le drame s’est déroulé au quartier Beauzaudin [Bezaudin]. Plusieurs jeunes du quartier se retrouvent dans un abribus à la croisée Galfétè. Julien Rotsen rejoint le groupe pour fumer un joint. Un autre individu, surnommé “la ficelle”, veut lui aussi fumer, mais il n’a pas de papier à cigarettes. C’est à ce moment que Samuel Bellance en fait la demande auprès des autres jeunes. Sa quête reste vaine et, pour plaisanter, ils les traitent tous d’homosexuel. Une insulte qu’encaisse difficilement Julien Rotsen qui se dirige alors vers Samuel Bellance avec une bouteille de bière vide tout en lui reprochant de l’avoir insulté. Samuel Bellance revient quelques minutes plus tard avec une arme à feu. Il est immédiatement désarmé. Julien Rotsen s’empare alors de deux bouteilles tandis que Samuel Bellance se saisit d’une paire de ciseaux. Dans la bagarre, Bellance porte un coup sec et violent à la poitrine de Rotsen. (excerpt from: Blog de moi) (Tetu)
NOTE: I was unable to find an english version of this text. The case went on trial on September 19, 2006. The press talk about the process in very light way, suggesting it was only a "joke". Samuel Bellance was found guilty and will serve 7 years beind bars.
June 9, 2004: Jamaican leading gay activist stabbed to death
(Kingston, Jamaica) Jamaica suffered the tragic lost of Brian Williamson, the 59-year-old island's leading gay-rights advocate. On the morning of June 9, he was found lying in a pool of blood, with 12 stab wounds on his face and neck. (Later articles mentionned there was 77 chops and stabs). The condition of his body and his visbility as a gay man made it clear for local and international LGBT groups that this murder should be investigated as a "hate-related crime", but the police instead, investigated it as a burglery, as a safe was missing. Brian was co-founder of J-FLAG (Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays), ran the gay and lesbian nightclub Entourage for two years. He was very vocal on gay rights issues, penning many letters to editors of newspapers, speaking on local radio talk shows and appearing at least once one a television programme, without using a pseudonym. On June 13, a memorial was organized at Brian's home, which gathered nearly 200 people and ten days later, OutRaged! organized a vigil at the Jamaican High Commision in London. On June 29, 2004, Dwight Hayden, the 24-year old newspaper vendor, one of the two suspects, appeared before a judge in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court and pleaded guilty. According to the Court statement, Hayden and an accomplice went to Williamson's home seeking money for a business they wanted to start. They asked Brian for $3000, but he offered $400. Has they were not satisfied, they chopped and stabbed Brian, eventually killing him. Hayden will return to court on May 3rd 2006 and plead guilty (again?!?) and get his sentenced on May 19, 2006.
(Jamaica Observer) (Jamaica Star 1) (Jamaica Gleaner) (New Times) (Jamaica Gleaner: Remembering Brian) (PeterTachell.net) (Amnesty International) (Jamaica Star 2) Note: for more articles, click here: Brian Williamson. see May 2006 for more details.
June 18, 2004: Chopped, stabbed and stoned to death by Montego Bay residents.
(Kingston, Jamaica) As the mob around Victor Jarrett grew, so did the chanting. “Gays must die!” onlookers yelled as two policemen allegedly took turns beating him beneath the blazing afternoon sun. His crime? Staring at a teenage boy on a beach, one witness said. After chasing him to a nearby house, the crowd of civilians dragged Jarrett out and chopped, stabbed and stoned him to death. “The police just let it happen,” said Nicholas Henry, another gay man who witnessed part of the June 18 attack in the northern town of Montego Bay. “Where are you supposed to turn when even the police won’t protect you? Our society tells us there’s nothing worse than being gay.” ...Human Rights Watch cited witnesses’ accounts that two policemen were initially involved in beating Jarrett, then urged the crowd to take over. A front-page photo of Jarrett’s blood-spattered body was published the next day in the Western Mirror newspaper with the caption “What a way to go,” referring to him as an “alleged gay man.” (excerp from: Jamaican Gays Refute Gov’t Claims of No Discrimination)
NOTE: I haven't found a local newspaper covering the story on the internet. The Human Rights Watch report says it made front page of the Western Mirror on June 19, with the title: 'Alleged Gay Man Chopped to Death in MoBay'. For testimonies from this crime, read page 19 of the Human Rights Watch report.
(Human Rights Watch report: Hated To Death) (Human Rights Watch letter to Mister of National Security)
June 24, 2004: Buju Banton identified in a mob that beat up gay men
(Kingston, Jamaica) Buju Banton was identified by witnesses as part of a gay-bashing gang who attack six men in their home on June 24. A dozen people dragged the six men out of the house and beat them up. A crowd of nearly 100 people gather and shouted "beat out the battyboys". Some of the victims were hospitalised. The allegations that Buju Banton took part in the beating has been denied by others soon after the incident. On July 13, it was announced by Radio Jamaica's RJR News that the police was seeking to interview Buju Banton. The story only emerged on OutRage! website on July 20, 2004. In response to Banton's denial, Amnesty International produce an official statement that enough evidence were found in police and Human Right Watch reports for the accusation. Buju Banton's trial will take place in September 2005. He will be aquited in January 2006, for lack of evidences.
(NewYorkTimes) (Amnesty International letter) (OutRage 1) (OutRage 2) (Jamaica Observer) (Jamaica Observer) (Amnesty International in Jamaica)
October 30, 2004: London barman is beaten to death
(London, England). David Morley, 37, died when he was attacked by a teenage gang - including two girls - near the Royal Festival Hall in central London on October 30. The gang was targeting people leaving the gay nightclub Heaven. The Met recorded 1,344 homophobic crimes in the year to September, an increase of 20.4% over the previous 12 months. The force has made efforts in recent years to encourage more victims of homophobic attacks to file police reports. (excerp from: Life On Brian's Beat) (BBC News 1) (BBC News 1) (Gay.com 1) (Gay Wired) (Gay.com 2)
November 30, 2005: Jamaican AIDS activist Lenford 'Steve' Harvey is killed
(Kingston, Jamaica) At 1 a.m. on November 30, four armed gunmen broke into the house of Jamaica's best-known AIDS activist Steve Harvey. They ask for money and stole valuables. On of the assaliant asked him and his two roomates: "we hear that you are gay". His roomates denied, but Steve remained silent. Harvey was ordered at gunpoint to help the gunmen carry valuables to his company car and left with him. Few hours later, the Jamaican police found his body with gunshot wounds to his head and back. Steve Harvey, who ran Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, was "a person of extraordinary bravery and integrity, who worked tirelessly to ensure that some of Jamaica's most marginalized people had the tools and information to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS". On December 7, UNAIDS (the United Nations Programs on HIV/AIDS), make a press statement, urging the Jamaican Government to that the necessary steps are taken to bring the criminals to justice. Two days later, Jamaican deputy commissioner Mark Shields named an independent monitor for their investigation. (PlanetOut) (UK BlackOut) (UNAIDS statement) (Jamaica Observer) (New York Times) (Tribute) (Memorial + Editorial critic) (Observer Editorial) (Thomas Glave letter)
December 27, 2005: Avoiding homophobic mob, a man plunged to his death off a pier
(Kingston, Jamaica), A young Jamaican man plunged to his death off a pier in Kingston after reportedly being chased through the streets by a mob yelling homophobic epithets. In a desperate attempt to flee his tormentors Nokia Cowan leaped from the pier into Kingston harbor. Unable to swim he died in the rancid water. Whether Cowan actually was gay or not is known, but he became the third man to recently die as a result of homophobia in Jamaica. J-FLAG, the country's gay rights organization Wednesday called for a police investigation into the events that led to his drowning. (excerpt: 365Gay.com)
NOTE: The incident took place most likely before December 27. I was unable to find a covarage in local newspapers.
NOTE: The website MurderFreeJamaica write: 'In December 2005 a homophobic mob allegedly chased homosexual Nokia Cowen off a pier at Kingston Harbor where he drowned. At year's end the police had not identified any suspects in the killing, and the case was no longer being investigated'.
March 20, 2006: Murder of Ambassador Peter King
(St. Andrew, Jamaica) In it's March 21edition, the Jamaica Gleaner wrote: 'Ambassador Peter King, a long-serving public servant who has represented Jamaica in crucial negotiations, particularly on trade issues, was yesterday found murdered at his Waterloo Road, St. Andrew, home. The nude body of the former diplomat, who was chairman of the Trade Board, was discovered in his bedroom with throat slashed and multiple stab wounds to the chest. The police said he was found lying on his back on the blood-soaked mattress'. The police removed from King's house a collection of video tapes that features sexual explicit scenes between men. Five days later, the Sunday Herald wrote: ' Throughout the week, tongues wagged about what and who were on the tapes and speculations multiplied, with sources saying that the collection was more like a library of some of Jamaica’s who’s who in politics, business, members of the diplomatic community, top socialites and at least one high-ranking member of the police force.
(Jamaica Observer 1) (Jamaica Observer 2) (Sunday Herald 1) (Sunday Herald 2) (Jamaica Star 1) (Jamaica Observer 3)
NOTE: More information can be found in the HISTORY & NEWS section of this website.
April 4, 2006: A man get chased on a university campus by a student riot
(Kingston, Jamaica) A young Jamaican man is in custody after being saved by riot police from an anti-gay attack at the University of West Indies campus. The man, whose name has not been released, allegedly approached a student Tuesday evening on campus and made sexual advances. A group of students gathered and began attacking the man, and reportedly chased and hurled rocks at him. The Jamaican publication The Daily Gleaner reported it was feared that the group would have killed the man if the police had not intervened. The students outnumbered the security officers. "What happened was not a reasoned protest against what they consider deviant homosexual behavior, but rather so violent an overreaction that the police in riot gear had difficulty controlling the mob," the Gleaner wrote Thursday in an editorial condemning the incident. The police finally apprehended the man and escorted him from campus. The 22-year-old was charged with "being in a restricted area," the Jamaica Star reported Wednesday. (excerpt from: www.gay.com)
(Jamaica Oberserver 1) (Jamaica Oberserver 2) (Jamaica Oberserver 3) (Jamaica Oberserver: Editorial) (Jamaica Gleaner 1) (Jamaica Gleaner 2)
April 6, 2006: NBC Producer and friend attack by gay bashers
(Philipsburg, St.Maarten) Senior NBC Nightly News producer Richard Jefferson, who was vacationing in St. Maarten, was one of two men rushed to St. Maarten Medical Center around 3:30am Thursday after they suffered a severe beating by a group of men who the victims say were “gay bashers.” While Jefferson was able to walk, he sustained severe cuts on the back of his head and his lower back. The second victim Ryan Smith had a fractured skull and has been unable to speak properly since the incident. ...He said a man with thick lock-like hair had had a pipe wrench with which he beat both Smith and Jefferson. .... He found the incident sad, as it had made it difficult at best for him to call an island he has been visiting for more than 15 years “a friendly island anymore.” He said the violent attack on him and his friend had been an expression of hatred for gay men by the suspects and made him very concerned about being on the island any more. He said, “St. Maarten is one of the only two places in the Caribbean where you could say had a gay beach, in Cupecoy, and we have never been harassed before and have always been able to be ourselves.” (for complete story: The Daily Herald)
June 18, 2006: Alleged Jamaican lesbian couple in hate crime murder
(St. Andrew, Jamaica) As fears arise that two women were murdered because of their alleged lesbian relationship, jamaican authorities must immediately investigate the crime, Human Rights Watch said in a letter sent to the jamaican government today (July 27). It should also act to combat the continuing climate of violent homophobia. On June 29, the bodies of Candice Williams and Phoebe Myrie were found dumped in a septic pit behind a home they shared in Bull Bay, St. Andrew. Police quickly named an estranged male partner of Williams as the prime suspect, and said the apparent relationship between the women was the likely motive for the crime. “Lesbians and gay men are still targets in jamaica, where intolerance feeds violence,” said Jessica Stern, researcher for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities must properly investigate this horrific murder and send a message that hatred has no place in society.” The women were last seen alive by Williams’ mother on June 18. An autopsy showed that they died from multiple stab wounds. Their bodies were found with a pillow, a sheet and a teddy bear, and with a burnt mattress nearby. One press report quoted an investigating officer as saying that a “lesbian DVD” was also found at the scene. (excerpt from: BBS News)
(Jamaica Gleaner) (Jamaica Star) (Gay.com)
December 7, 2006: Police conclusion: killed by his lover
(Kingston, Jamaica) Homicide detectives from the St Andrew Central Police Division were yesterday probing the gruesome murder of a man whose partially decomposed body was found in a room at an upscale apartment that was reportedly owned by late former ambassador for trade, Peter King. The dead man has been identified as Wayne Pinnock, who resided at Waterloo Avenue in Kingston. The police believe Pinnock, whose naked body was discovered in a bedroom with eight stab wounds and his throat cut, was killed by his male lover. See Gareth Williams comments on December 24.
December 22, 2006: AIDS social worker get attacked by two teenagers
(Fort-De-France, Martinique) While delivering preservatives and information about AIDS for AMVIE (Association MartiniqueVivre Ensemble), Michel Ramathon got asked for a cigarette by two teenagers around 11h30 pm. One of them insulted him by calling him "sacré makoumé" (dirty fag) then attacked him with a cutter (knife) three times: under his left omoplate, on his arm and forearm. He was rescued by the firemen the brough to hospital where he got 21 stitches. The morning after, An Ou Allé, the LGBT organisation in Martinique was helping him to make a deposition at the police station.
(An Nou Alle)
December 24, 2006: Gay men are most often killed by their jealous lovers: a myth
(Kingston, Jamaica) On December 24, The Jamaica Observer ran the article 'Confessions of a homosexual man', which suggests that the majority of gay men murders in Jamaica would be commited by their lovers. The article states four cases reported in the news. A young homosexual interviewed for the purpose of the article, says that gays are irrationally jealous, because of their 'unusual' love. Gareth Williams, co-chair of J-FLAG says it is the attachment of labels that have led to the perpetuation of these stereotypes "The notion that gay men are overly jealous is not so," says Williams. "In a heterosexual relationship, if a man catches another man [with] his woman, the same thing is going to happen. No one is going to take that lightly. How we resolve our conflicts and differences is the same way." He says progress in reducing violence stemming from domestic disputes will be made "when we start looking at how individuals operate in relationships", regardless of their sexuality. Williams claims the police and the media have also perpetuated the idea that overly jealous gay men kill each other. "With the police, the easiest way out of investigating the murder of a gay or lesbian is to say it is love gone wrong," and the media publicise these pronouncements, Williams says. He chides the police for not doing the same for heterosexual couples.
February 14, 2007: Cops save three alleged homosexuals from angry crowd
(St. Andrew, Jamaica) Three men branded as homosexuals were rescued by the police from an angry mob outside a pharmacy in Tropical Plaza, where they had been holed up for almost an hour. But even after the police managed to take the young men from the Monarch Pharmacy, one of the three was hit with a stone, forcing officers to fire tear gas on the crowd which included men, women, teenagers and small children.The approximately 2,000 people gathered outside the Kingston pharmacy hurled insults at the three men, with some calling for them to be killed. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(Jamaica Observer 1) (Jamaica Observer 2) (Jamaican TV News) (Jamaica Gleaner Editorial)
February 26, 2007: Google remove Killbattyman, a blog that incite the killing of Jamaican gays and lesbians
(Jamaica) Google has confirmed that they removed a homophobic blog from their blogger.com service because it was in breach of their terms and conditions. The company defended their decision last week not to remove the offending webpage. The blog, called killbattyman, featured numerous highly offensive images and comments about LGBT people and called for them all to be executed. The latest post featured a doctored image of Peter Tatchell holding a placard with a sexually explicit picture of a child on it. It is thought that this image of a child is the reason that Google decided to take the blog offline. "We will act to remove blogs which are in clear breach of our terms and conditions," Rachel Whetstone, director of corporate communications for Google Europe, told PinkNews.co.uk She declined to say which condition had been breached. "We removed the blog today as quickly as we could," she said. Peter Tatchell, who was one of the people vilified on the site, welcomed the decision. "Thanks to PinkNews.co.uk and everyone else who lobbied Google to remove this murderous website," he said. "It is good that Google has heard our concerns but bad that it took them so long to respond. "If this website had been advocating the killing of black or Jewish people, I am certain that Google would have taken a much tougher stand and removed it much sooner. "This is not a free speech issue. Free speech does not include the right to incite the killing of other human beings. " MORE ON THE LINK BELOW (PinkNews No.5).
(Pink News 1) (Pink News 2) (Pink News 3) (Pink News 4) (Pink News 5)
April 1, 2007: Anti-gay attack: Men chased, beaten after MoBay carnival stage display
(St. James, Jamaica) The police in Montego Bay say they are investigating the mob attack on three alleged homosexuals during the MoBay Nite Out carnival event early yesterday morning, which left one of them hospitalised. "We are speaking with them to see if they can identify the people who attacked them, with a view to making arrests," said St James commanding officer Steve McGregor. The Observer was told that the men, who were part of a group of costumed revellers in the carnival procession along the popular Gloucester Avenue "Hip Strip", drew the ire of the mass gathering when they took to the stage shortly after midnight and proceeded to gyrate on each other."According to the reports, they were wining and dancing on each other and this did not sit well with the crowd," McGregor told the Observer. Subsequently, in a show of disgust, the crowd reportedly pelted them with bottles and stones, insisting that they leave the stage. However, according to a man claiming to be an eyewitness, chaos ensued when the men retaliated by returning the missiles into the crowd. The accused men were soon set upon, chased and beaten by the angry mob. They reportedly ran to several entertainment spots along the Hip Strip for refuge. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
April 8, 2007: Homophobic violence at Jamaican funeral
(Mandeville, Jamaica) A funeral service in the Carribean island of Jamaica has been disrupted by a mob attempting to attack a group of mourners. The Easter Sunday funeral of Kirk Wayne Lester, a Jamaican businessman, was attended by "gay cross-dressers," reports Real Jamaica Radio. A mob surrounded the church and attacked people thought to be gay with knives, stones and bottles. Missiles where thrown through the windows. The island's gay rights movement, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals and Gays (J-Flag), is forced to operate underground and anonymously. It called on police to find the people who attacked the church in Mandeville. Pressure group Jamaicans for Justice agreed that a urgent police investigation is needed. JFJ said it is deeply disturbed by yet another incident involving mob violence against gay people latest incident is particularly daring because it occurred during a church service. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(PinkNews) (Human Rights Watch report) (New York Times)
April 26, 2007: East Kingston: 'Gay Eradication Day'
(Kingston, Jamaica) Today has been proclaimed 'Gay Eradication Day' by residents of the McGregor Gully community in East Kingston. Residents say that they will be taking action as a two-week notice given to all gays and lesbians to flee the community has now expired. The Star learnt that about two weeks ago angry residents who declared that they were fed up with seeing the activities of several gay persons in their community, ordered that they leave by today or suffer the consequences. Some residents who admitted to THE STAR that they are a part of the "gay clearing out" scheme said that it is being done to protect their families and the community on a whole. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(The Star 1) (The Star 2)
NOTE: I'm spending less time to update this section, the few cases included below may not represents the number of cases reported in the news.
January 14, 2008: Gay cop arrassed by co-workers
(Manchester, Jamaica) Constable Michael Hayden is a very worried cop. But he is not scared of gunmen or other criminals. He is afraid of some of his colleagues. He claims they are trying to force him out of his job because of his sexual orientation. While the 24-year-old constable admits to THE STAR that he is bi-sexual, he says some officers at the Manchester police division, where he is stationed, have been accusing him based on mere suspicion after an incident when he was almost beaten by a group of men in May Pen, Clarendon."I went to visit a friend in May Pen and some guys wanted to attack me, so I called Control for help," he says, claiming that his colleagues said he went to see another male. This was the morning of January 14, 2008. In the afternoon, when he went to work, he reported that his belongings had been thrown out of the barracks where he was staying. "I saw the things scattered on the floor, my cologne was broken. But mi nuh really think nutten of it, suh mi pack up, mi tings," he recalls. MORE ON THE LINKS BELOW + VIDEO INTERVIEW.
(The Star) (New York Times) (Toronto Star) (Rod 2.0) (Current TV: Gay Jamaican Cop)
January 29, 2008: Four gay men brutally attack by angry mob
(Mandeville, Jamaica) On Tuesday, January 29th, a mob of 20 men broke into the home of the young men. According to reports, the machete wielding attackers badly beat and severed limbs of one man who is in critical condition in hospital. A third victim is still missing. Witnesses say he jumped off a cliff to his death. The men were attacked in the privacy of their dwelling by an angry mob who had days before threatened them if they did not leave the community.
MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(PinkNews) (Human Rights Watch report) (New York Times)
August 2008: Molotov Cocktail trown into a house
(Clarendon, Jamaica) In August, a Molotov cocktail (petrol bomb) was thrown into a house in Clarendon, south central Jamaica, occupied by two men who were alleged to be gay. As the emergency services arrived, a small jeering crowd assembled outside the house. One of the men received burns covering 60 per cent of his body and was hospitalized for three weeks.
(Amnesty International Report)
April 3, 2009: Two gay men aggressed in Martinique
(Robert, Martinique) On Friday April 3rd, two gay men were agressed in Martinique. Two agressors broke in the house of a gay neighbour, threathening him and his Europeen friend with three 75cm-long cutless knifes. One of the them said: 'dirty battyman, you don't deserved to live, we will cut you down'. The police were contacted. The officiers commented that the homosexuals provoque the situation. One of the two agressor, who lives on the other side of the street was released immediately, even if he had a criminal record: he spent 10 years in prison for murder.
MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(Tjenbé Rèd! – PRESS RELEASE 1) (Tjenbé Rèd! – PRESS RELEASE 2)
September 9, 2009: British honorary consul found murdered
(Montego Bay, Jamaica) British honourary consul has been found murdered at his home in Jamaica, in what police believe is a homophobic attack. John Terry, 65, was found at his home with severe head injuries and a cord and piece of clothing around his neck. He is thought to have been beaten around the head and upper body with a lamp. Post-mortem examination results released today showed he died of strangulation. A note found on the bed called him a "batty man" – a homophobic term of abuse. It added: "This is what will happen to ALL gays" and was signed "Gay-Man". Although Mr Terry's wallet and phone were stolen, police do not believe robbery was a motive for the killing. MORE ON THE LINKS BELOW.
(UKBlackOut) (Jamaica Gleaner 1) (UK Guardian 1) (UK Guardian 2) (Jamaica Observer 1) (Jamaica Gleaner 2) (Jamaica Observer 2) (Jamaica Observer 3)
October 2009: Mob attack
(Jamaica) ...Indeed, the week before the MPs began to sing their platitudes to the Charter of Rights, a young man was attacked by a mob for his perceived effeminate gait. Happily, he was rescued by the police, for which he might count himself lucky. FOUND IN AN ARTICLE – MORE RESEARCH SHOULD BE MADE
November 22, 2009: Blind vengeance
(St Andrew, Jamaica) A homosexual man held down his lover and gouged out his eyes in a jealous fit of rage in Calabar Mews, a North St Andrew residential complex Sunday, police have confirmed. The injured man, aged 24, has been admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies where he had gone to seek treatment at the Accident and Emergency Unit. Doctors operated on him and extracted the eyes, which were partially detached at the time. Medical personnel who saw him on Sunday say that he will not see again, unless there is a major breakthrough in eye surgery in the future. "The optic nerve was badly damaged and there was no way that doctors could save him," one doctor said on condition of anonymity... MORE ON THE LINKS BELOW. It seems like the article was removed from Jamaica Observer website...
(Jamaica Observer (original link broken)) (redirected link)
NOTE: Some Jamaican articles suggest that the majority on homophobic violence happens within the LGBT community, but those claims are fare from being founded (see December 24, 2006 upper on this page). I agree that that violence performed within our community is not serving the goal reach by this website, but I decided to include these cases to see the proportion that makes the news. What is interesting here, is the articles that were published following that incident (see lower).
INTERESTING DEBATE: (Observer LETTER 1) (Observer LETTER 2) (Jamaica Gleaner) (Observer LETTER 3)
November 30, 2009: Are more gays and lesbians seeking asylum in the US?
(South America / Central America / Caribbean) One evening in 2001, Luiz (who asked NEWSWEEK to use a pseudonym to protect his identity) and his friends went to a nightclub in Rio de Janeiro. Waiting for his bus home, a car pulled up, and a man rolled down the window and asked, "Are you gay?" Luiz responded, "No," but the men weren't convinced. They forced Luiz into the car, held a gun to his head, and played Russian roulette. Luiz lost consciousness, thinking he was going to die. He awoke hours later in a local hospital with 21 stitches in his head, having been beaten. The attack left him with more than just stitches and the possibility of a large facial scar—the left side of Luiz's face was paralyzed. The stress and severity of the beating appeared to have triggered Bell's palsy, a form of temporary facial paralysis. Because corruption among the police force in some parts of Brazil is widespread, he chose not to report the attack. Deciding that he could no longer live safely as a gay man in Brazil, Luiz sought asylum in the United States... Last year, the United States received about 49,000 applications for asylum due to a fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, more than any other nation. Of those, 22,930 individuals were officially granted asylum, according to the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. In 1994 the "members of a particular social group" clause was expanded to include foreign citizens who feared persecution based on their sexual orientation. (In order to apply for asylum, one must already be present in the United States, either legally or illegally. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
January 18, 2010: Gay murder in Guayan
(Georgetown, Guyana) Before his throat was slashed, Llewelyn Fitzgerald Campbell was hit at the back of his head with a blunt object, a post-mortem examination yesterday revealed and a source said that the last time he was seen alive he had been planning to visit friends at the seawall. The cause of death was given as shock and hemorrhage as a result of blood loss from the throat wound. As the police continued investigations into this latest murder, relatives of the trader yesterday remained baffled over his gruesome death. One of his close friends yesterday confirmed that he left Bourda Market on Sunday saying that he was going to visit friends “on the seawall”. The police had said that they too received such reports. Campbell’s death is similar to that of actor Joel Fraser who was found in a pool of blood on the Liliendaal seawall last November. One relative said that after Campbell’s body was found people began trying to link the two. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
NOTE: Although the article does't mention Llewelyn sexuality, he was describe by some friend as comfortably gay. The other victim from November was know as a straight person, but there were some rumours of same-sex encounters. So there might be a connection between the two death. (StabroekNews)
February 28, 2010: Police hide male lovers at station
(St. Catherine, Jamaica) A police station in St Catherine was the scene of hostility yesterday (Feb. 28) after residents demanded their own brand of justice for four men who they believe are lovers. Police reports are that about 5 p.m. the men were at home when one went to a nearby shop and persons started to call him 'fish'. The man went and reported this to his friends who drove to the shop. They were attacked and their car damaged. They went to report the matter to the police, when a mob converged and demanded that they come out. "We want them fi let out di bwoy dem mek wi deal wid dem business, in a cold cold time yah dem a wrap up in a de place," an irate woman screamed. "A long time mi a notice sey dem a fish and we want them bad fi gi dem a proper beating," another woman said. "Yes, you can let the world know that although we a fish, we a pay mortgage for the house for two years and want to live in peace," one who gave his name as Barbee said.o. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
NOTE: There would also be another case of Mob attack that occured in February, but I haven't found the article:"In February, the Star newspaper reported two separate cases of mob invasions of homes of persons suspected to be gay. One set of men was taken into custody for their own safety, according the police, and spent some days in lock-up. Such acts of intolerance further drive MSMs underground," McKnight explained. (Jamaica Star)
May 30, 2010: Jealous common-law-husband kills his wife
(Corozal Town, Belize) For two weeks there have been no reports of murders in our daily newscasts. But that brief spell was broken over the weekend when a women and a man were murdered. Both cases did not have the usual element of gang warfare but instead are described as crimes of passion that occurred in the north and west of the country. News Five’s Isani Cayetano headed to Corozal where a young woman was killed by a jealous common-law-husband... According to Apollo Caliz the couple was very much into each other but his cousin’s common-law husband disapproved of the company she kept because of their sexual preferences. It was that sense of resentment that some say led to Jackson killing his wife. His sister Gilda Gutierrez told News Five off record that the couple had numerous quarrels over the friends she kept. Despite her common-law’s objections to the gay and lesbian lifestyles of her friends twenty-one year old Elena Amador was seen here at Naito’s on Saturday night where they were having a transvestite rave. What’s left at the scene of the party is an article of lingerie on a small wooden stage that was loosely decorated. Residents say both James and Elena attended the event separately and when it was over they proceeded to a nearby nightclub. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
June 3, 2010: Resume of 2009/2010 Jamaican human rights abuse of LGBT
Jamaica joined the unanimous adoption of OAS Resolutions 2435 and 2504 ‘Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’ in 2008 and 2009. However, between 2009 and 2010 the country recorded numerous human rights abuses of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex citizens including: 32% HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among Men who have Sex with Men compared to 1.6% in the general population. This rate is second only to Kenya worldwide. Other countries in the Caribbean which have repealed their anti-buggery laws have HIV/AIDS prevalence rates of 1-8% among MSM. UNAIDS and the Jamaican Ministry of Health have unsuccessfully called on the Jamaican government to repeal these anti-buggery laws; 6 reports of persons being ejected from their homes by family members because of their sexual orientation; 4 reports of lesbians being raped to ‘make them straight.’ Jamaica’s notorious homophobia caused these women to refrain from reporting these ‘corrective rapes’ to the police for fear of being ridiculed and further stigmatized... MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(Resume of 2009/2010 Jamaican human rights abuse of LGBT)
June 9, 2010: 'Unduly lenient' sentence for shooting death will stand
(Bahamas) An appeal by the Attorney General's Office against an "unduly lenient" sentence handed down to a man who shot his roommate in the head after he made a gay "advance" toward him has been rejected by the Court of Appeal. Dame Joan Sawyer, President of the Court of Appeal, said Latherio Jones' sentence of three years probation for the 2004 killing of Trevor Wilson should remain because the convict had already spent almost five years awaiting trial in prison, was 18 years old at the time of the shooting and had been "provoked" to commit the violent act by his victim's sexual advance. Jones was convicted in 2009 of manslaughter on the grounds of provocation for shooting Trevor Wilson. The Court of Appeal, made up of President Dame Joan Sawyer, Justice Christopher Blackman and Justice Stanley John, reached its verdict on the Attorney General's appeal against his sentence on May 31, 2010. The court's judgment was posted on the Court of Appeal's website yesterday. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
July 2010: Beaten because he 'looked' gay
(Montego Bay, Jamaica) In July this year, 20-something-year-old David (name changed), was walking along a street in Montego Bay when he was pounced upon and so badly pistol-whipped by the leader of a gang of thugs that his face quickly swelled to twice its normal size. David's 'crime' and others like him? He 'looked' gay. David reported the matter to the police and was given a form to get a medical report done. As he lacked the financial resources to attend a private doctor, and did not want to face the scrutiny of a public hospital (due to his effeminate mannerisms), David stayed home until his face healed. In early September, David returned to the police station to give his statement, but was advised that he should have brought back the medical report. David was also asked to point out his assailant(s) and flatly refused to do so for fear of his and his family member's lives. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
October 2010: J-FLAG: 400 cases reported since January 2010
(Jamaica) While Bruce Golding is reasuring the international community that the situation in Jamaica is far more exagerate than the North American and European media have been painting it over the past six years, J-FLAG remind that there is still a lot of violence happening. According to Dane Lewis, the J-FLAG executive director, there were approximately 400 cases reported since January involving hate crimes against persons who identify with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community."They range from raping lesbians to physical assault," Lewis noted. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(Jamaica Gleaner: J-FLAG interview) (Bruce Golding Interview)
December 3, 2010: Cross dresser's body found in Half-Way-Tree
(St. Andrew, Jamaica) Police this afternoon found the body of a cross dresser behind the National Solid Life and General Insurance Branch Limited on Half-Way-Tree Road in St Andrew. Cops say the body was found at the back of the building with what is believed to be chop wounds. The cops initially thought the victim was a woman, as the man was dressed in women's clothes. The area was cordoned off, causing major traffic congestion. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(Jamaica Observer) (J-FLAG Statement)
There are more cases, but I'm not covering this section anymore. I will bring text only when someone forward it.
March 2, 2011: Gay tourists attack in St.Lucia
(Soufriere, St.Lucia) As St Lucia braces for the possible fallout from an attack on three gay men from the United States as they showered together in a cottage in the west coast town of Soufriere, tourism officials are this week arranging meetings with the visitors to do some damage control. “One of the sensitive issues in this regard is that… there were some discriminatory remarks which were made to them, and which obviously offended them tremendously,” Tourism Minister Allen Chastanet said. “Given the fact that homosexuality is against the law in St Lucia, the visitors harboured concerns about going to the police.” Chastanet said that one of the men who had become very attached to St Lucia was in the process of raising funds to help slow learners in the various schools on the island. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(Jamaica Observer) (The Advocate) (St Lucia Star)
August 2, 2011: Murder of a young gay man in Torrington Park
(Kingston, Jamaica) TEXT FROM ARTICLE. The other occurred in Torrington Park, Kingston on August 2, 2011. On that occasion, hairstylist Ricardo Morgan, who had been jeered in his community for some time about his perceived homosexuality, was nearly decapitated and his head remained attached to his body by a string of flesh. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(Western Mirror) (CVM TV Report) (Gay Jamaica Watch)
October 18, 2011: 16-year old killed because of sexual orientation
(St.Elizabeth, Jamaica) TEXT FROM ARTICLE: During its evening newscast on Tuesday, October 18, CVM TV reported on the gruesome early-morning home invasion and murder of 16-year-old Oshane Gordon in the district of New England in Lilliput, St Elizabeth. According to the news report, the youngster, who had previously been threatened, was killed because of 'questionable relations with another man'. As he tried to escape through a window, Oshane was first chopped on his foot to prevent him from going far. When Oshane's attackers caught up with their prey, they finished him off with several more chops. His mother, who was at home with him, also received several chops and is now nursing serious injuries. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(Jamaica Gleaner) (CVM TV Report) (the segment of the TV Report start at 9m48)
There are more cases, but I'm not covering this section anymore. I will bring text only when someone forward it.
January 30, 2012: Threats Force Gay Lecturer To Flee
(Kingston, Jamaica) TEXT FROM ARTICLE: A gay rights activist has taken leave of absence from his job as a lecturer at the University of Technology (UTech). Professor Oswald Harding, dean of UTech's Faculty of Law, told The Gleaner that Maurice Tomlinson had received threats as a result of his sexual orientation. "Maurice got married to his life partner in Canada. He has received eight threats. The information is that one of his own students is one of the threats," said Harding. Tomlinson, a lawyer, married a male in Canada last August. "He doesn't feel safe in his class or his country," Harding said. Tomlinson said he has not quit his job at the university. "Police intelligence has indicated that is unsafe for me to return to the campus and teach at this time because my security has been compromised," he told The Gleaner via email yesterday. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
June 12, 2012: Murder, homelessness and fallouts
(Kingston, Jamaica) TEXT FROM BLOG: Sad news again has come this time to a group under the MSM umbrella who have been seriously overlooked by the advocacy structures mainly J-FLAG, where we now have two murders. Condolences to their friends and family (if they really care) but this raises serious concerns about MSM homelessness in Jamaica. Five days ago the post immediately preceding this entry spoke to MSM homelessness and a confirmed murder of a relatively new comer that population in the New Kingston area by Dumfries Road with other incidents no one else bothered to mention at another site where substance abusers and commercial sex workers gather while a buggery matter was of concern in the same vicinity but sometime between last evening June 12th to June 13th on the opposite side of New Kingston again where another open area where substance abusers and MSMs also hang out was the scene of a brutal murder of two members of the population which some sensationalism from members of the public as news spread and both major television stations carried the story. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(Gay Jamaica Watch)
July 3, 2012: Nude body found with throat slashed
(St.Andrew, Jamaica) TEXT FROM ARTICLE: Homicide detectives are probing the death of 34 year old Hanif Fuller, whose nude body was found at a house on Liguanea Terrace in St. Andrew, Tuesday evening. The body was found with the throat slashed and what appeared to be stab wounds.A neighbor reportedly discovered Mr. Fuller's nude body on the floor and alerted the police. Meanwhile friends and family are mourning the death of Fuller, who was a popular party promoter in his spare time. Fuller reportedly had a close ties with radio disc jockey, Squueze. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(ChatyChaty) (Jamaica Observer) (Gay Jamaica Watch)
September 15, 2012: Two boys drown and community jump to conclusion – mob attack
(Trelawny, Jamaica) TEXT FROM ARTICLE: Jamaica's deadly homophobia also kills heterosexuals, LGBT rights activist Maurice Tomlinson observes. Specifically, just yesterday:"On Monday, September 24, 2012 a family's home was firebombed, an innocent man was hacked to death and his daughter severely chopped by a machete-wielding mob when reports surfaced that two boys were found drowned after allegedly being sodomized and strangled. "The mob claimed the son of the deceased was responsible. However, the police have found no evidence of sodomy." In Jamaica, The Gleaner's website reports about the attack: "The mob burnt down the house, killed the man … and attacked the female relative as they are said to be the family members of a man accused of killing the little boys," a police source told The Gleaner. "They are contending that the boys were buggered, but there was no initial information to support this claim. The post-mortem was scheduled for today, but we haven't heard anything about the outcome." MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(76crimes.com) (Jamaica Gleaner) (Jamaica Observer 1) (Jamaica Observer 2) (Jamaica Observer 3) (Jamaica TV Report) (Public Letter)
November 1, 2012: U Tech student beaten
(Kingston, Jamaica) TEXT FROM ARTICLE: The University of Technology (UTech)and Marksman Limited have issued a joint statement condemning the beating of an alleged gay student by security Marksman Limited has indicated that two security guards who were involved in the assault have since been fired. The student ended up in the guard room after fleeing an angry mob. "This student was physically assaulted by on duty security guards employed by the contracted security company, Marksman Limited while several other students encircled the Guard Room attempting to get hold of the student," read a portion of the statement. The statement says the student was "protected" from the mob by security officers and removed from the campus with support from the police. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
(Jamaica Gleaner) (Jamaica Star) (Gay Jamaica Watch) (VIDEO)
PERSONNAL COMMENT: Violence shouldn't be tolerated anywhere, but this is even a greater shame that it's happening at university level.
November 2, 2012: Gay Vincentian fears death if he returns home
(St-Vincent + Toronto, Canada) TEXT FROM ARTICLE: upporters of a St Vincent and the Grenadines national facing deportation are asking the authorities to re-consider the decision to send him back to his homeland because he is likely to be killed as a result of his homosexual activities. The Canadian press reported Friday that Augustas Dennie came to Canada two years ago to flee what he said was anti-gay violence that left him in a coma and brain damage in 2009. "They discovered I was gay. I tried to ignore my bullies, but they did not like it. They took a big rock and hit my head with it. My right side was paralysed. I was in a coma for a whole week and my friends thought I was dead," he said in describing his beatings in St Vincent and the Grenadines. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
There are more cases, but I'm not covering this section anymore. I will bring text only when someone forward it.
July 22, 2013: Transgender beaten to death
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: Dwayne Jones was relentlessly teased in high school for being effeminate until he dropped out. His father not only kicked him out of the house at the age of 14 but also helped jeering neighbors push the youngster from the rough Jamaican slum where he grew up. By age 16, the teenager was dead - beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a car when he showed up at a street party dressed as a woman. His mistake: confiding to a friend that he was attending a 'straight' party as a girl for the first time in his life. 'When I saw Dwayne's body, I started shaking and crying,' said Khloe, one of three transgendered friends who shared a derelict house with the teenager in the hills above the north coast city of Montego Bay.
(more on the links below)
(UK Daily Mail) (Gay Jamaica Watch No.1) (Gay Jamaica Watch No.2) (Erasing 76 Crimes)
August 2, 2013: Jamaican politicians' role in 2 more homophobic mob attacks
TEXT FROM ARTICLE: During the day on Aug. 1, 2013, Jamaican news reported that onlookers found two men in an intimate position inside a police car in Kingston. This sparked protests by residents and the police had to fire shots in the air and use pepper spray to disperse the angry mob. In addition, last night, the Primetime news station CVM TV reported thata crowd gathered at the house of two alleged homosexuals in Spanish Town, St. Catherine. One member of the angry mob that had gone there to attack the two men said, "Not in my cabinet." Those were words used by former Jamaican PM Bruce Golding in a BBC interview when he was asked if he would allow gays to serve in his government. It is clear that Jamaican politicians play a part in sustaining the country's notorious homophobia. And they also have a role in stopping it. It's time for political leadership on tolerance for gays!
(more on the link below)
(Erasing 76 Crimes)
August 8, 2013: Two Gay Men Mobbed on Emancipation Day
(St Catherine, Jamaica) TEXT FROM YOUTUBE: As Jamaicans celebrate Emancipation Day on August 1, 2013, two alleged homosexuals narrowly escaped the wrath of an angry mob when police officers came to their aide. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
October 8, 2013: House Occupied By Gays Firebombed
(Porto Bello, St James, Jamaica) TEXT FROM ARTICLE: Four homosexual men, who captured a house in the Porto Bello, St James, close to two years ago and had been residing there ever since, were put to flight early Tuesday night by an angry mob, who attacked the house and subsequently fire-bombed it. According to an eye-witness account, shortly after 7 p.m., one of the men went outside the house, where he was confronted by a mob comprising some 14 men. They immediately attacked him and in the ensuing commotion, the men had to flee for their lives. The house was subsequently firebombed. "I got a call from one of the men shortly after the incident," said Everald Morgan, an officer at the St James Public Health Department. "I know the police were alerted and that they went to the scene." The house was the last place where 17-year-old Dwayne 'Gully Queen' Jones, who was killed by a mob in St James earlier this year, lived. The men who were attacked on Tuesday night were said to be his friends. MORE ON THE LINK BELOW.
Reports from human rights organisations
OUTfront! Jamaican report (June 2004): Battyboys affi dead: action against homophobia in Jamaica
Human Right Watch
Human Right Watch report (November 2004): Hated to Death: Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic
RICHARD (28-year-old gay Jamaican)
OCTOBER 2004. "It is like living in Afghanistan under the Taliban. I wake up in the morning not knowing whether today I will live or die." Richard is lucky. He is still alive. But he bears huge scars from a machete attack by a homophobic mob. Jamaican police stood by and allowed the crowd to chop at him like a piece of butcher's meat. Amazingly, Richard survived. (excerpt from: Black Gay and Hunted, published in October 2004)
BRIAN (44-year-old gay Jamaican)
APRIL 2006. Brian wears sunglasses to hide his gray and lifeless left eye—damaged, he says, by kicks and blows with a board from Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton. Brian, 44, is gay, and Banton, 32, is an avowed homophobe whose song Boom Bye-Bye decrees that gays "haffi dead" ("have to die"). In June 2004, Brian claims, Banton and some toughs burst into his house near Banton's Kingston recording studio and viciously beat him and five other men. After complaints from international human-rights groups, Banton was finally charged last fall, but in January a judge dismissed the case for lack of evidence. It was a bitter decision for Brian, who lost his landscaping business after the attack and is fearful of giving his last name. "I still go to church," he says as he sips a Red Stripe beer. "Every Sunday I ask why this happened to me." ...Meanwhile, gay-rights activists say Jamaican police often overlook evidence in anti-gay hate crimes, such as the alleged assault by Banton in 2004. His accuser, Brian, says cops excised Banton's role from their reports of the 2004 beating. A police spokesman denies that. But in dismissing the case earlier this year, the judge in the trial warned Banton to avoid violence and "seek legal recourses" when he has complaints against gays in the future. Banton refused TIME's request for an interview. His manager, Donovan Germain, insists that the singer is innocent and that "Buju's lyrics (shooting gays with Uzis and burning their skin with acid 'like an old tire wheel.') are part of a metaphorical tradition. They're not a literal call to kill gay men." . (excerpt from: The Most Homophobic Place on Earth?, published in April 2006)
FITZROY (28-year-old gay Jamaican)
The 28-year-old musician, explains the harsh realities of life as a gay man in Jamaica. 'It's terrible. I can't have peace and freedom like everyone else. If I walk down the road, all I hear is "batty man, him hafi dead, shoot him, slit him". 'I can't find work - I had to leave my last job when my boss found out - and I can't find a home. It doesn't matter how much you try to hide it. If you are seen in certain places or with certain people, you get branded as gay. Once the torment starts, it never stops. 'I was going downtown with two friends. Suddenly I saw a group of men coming towards us with big sticks. We ran to the police station and told them what was happening. But then the policeman took up a big stick and ran us out of the station. When we got to the steps, the mob was waiting for us. So we had the policeman behind us with his stick and the men in front of us with sticks. Luckily a cab with some girls we knew went past. We ran to it and managed to get away. If that had not happened, the three of us would have been dead that night.'
(excerpt from: Jamaica gays flee to save their lives, published in October 2002)
ROBERT (31-year-old gay Jamaican, granted asylum in the UK)
Driven by routine beatings from his home in Montego Bay, Robert, 31, is one of only five Jamaicans granted asylum in the UK on the grounds of his sexuality. Declaring his own sexuality cost Robert his job, brought ostracism from friends, and even family, and invited a string of violent assaults. Robert fell foul of the island's laws as a teenager. He said: "They put me in prison and beat me when I was 16 years old. I had dated a policeman and it found its way into a newspaper. "It was reported like a big scandal, that a policeman was gay. Being in prison was a nightmare - the police beat me. When they were through, the prisoners beat me." "I was there for a few weeks and was extremely lucky it was not longer. The law in Jamaica says they can imprison gay people for 10 years with hard labour." "After that story was in the newspapers, everything changed for me. I had known I was gay from when I was very young but it had not been a problem, because I was just a boy and no one paid me much attention. ""I had my first homosexual experience at 16. Montego Bay is a small community. I had problems at home with my family, at school and at church, where I had been very involved. One of the reasons Jamaican society is so homophobic is religion - it is all fire and brimstone about it being against God. "People would give me grief in church. I once sat in the congregation while a priest thundered away about the evils of homosexuality. He said that gay people should be stoned. Like everyone else I shouted: "Amen." I was scared. What else could I do? I wanted the earth to swallow me up. " He tried "going straight" by getting a girlfriend, subsumed himself in church work and even married, at 19. "I tried to force myself to stop being gay. But being gay is like being black: it is who you are, you can't change it. "If I had stayed in Jamaica, I would be dead by now. I'd have killed myself or been killed. I thought of suicide many times. Before I left I was threatened with a gun."
(excerpt from: One Love, published in July 2004)
DELROY CONSTANTINE-SIMMS (New York journalist and editor)
FEBRUARY 1994. Black History Month, I witnessed a gang fight between black and white gays in Greenwich village, I was even more surprised when these mainly African-American youths were chanting Boom Bye Bye, lets get those queers" I was shocked, given all the work that Donald Suggs had done for GLAAD, in terms of effectively closing down, Marky Mark, Shabba Ranks and Buju Banton, it was a shock. Not because of the chants, but because those doing the chanting were themselves Gay. (excerpt from: The Greatest Taboo: Homosexuality in Black Communities Experience, published in April 2001)
LESBIAN ATTACKED AT WORK
MARCH 2001: The following incident occurred on March 19, 2001 shortly after the victim appeared on a national television talk show. Her name was not given and she was only shown in silhouette, but a colleague at work recognized her voice. When he saw her at work after her appearance on television, he offered her a drink from his coffee. When she declined, he accused her of being "unfriendly" (he had a long history of propositioning her unsuccessfully for sex). At this point, she began to defend her behavior. He countered by saying that since she went on national TV and declared her sexuality, he could advertise it too. After a series of insults and name-calling, she retaliated by making a similar comment about his wife, which elicited another round of verbal attacks from the man followed by several punches to her face. As the assault progressed, he also hit the victim on the head and neck with a wooden vase and a metal two-hole paper punch. By now the commotion attracted the attention of the employer, who entered the room and stopped the attack. He asked the victim to explain what was going on, but she did not want to divulge any information for fear of what the attacker would say, so the employer dropped the issue and left. The victim subsequently contacted the police to inquire about the procedures for filing charges but did not pursue the matter because there were no apparent marks left from the attack and no witnesses. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
'BOOM BYE BYE' – A WITNESS STATEMENT
SPRING 2001/SUMMER 2002: Testimony provided by a transsexual woman that now lives in Brighton & Hove. "In the spring of 2001, I moved to London from a small northern town in the hope that a cosmopolitan city would be too busy about its own business to worry about my transsexual life. I am an obviously trans person, and have no choice but to be “out”, nor do I have any way to hide my trans identity. I had no expectations of what life might be like in Brixton SW9, nor had I ever heard the words “batty boy” “chi chi man” or “Boom Bye Bye” before I moved there. I began to hear all of these words directed at me with venom from the very first day of my arrival, and at first I did not know what they meant. I would only have to go out to the shops to have these words said to me by total strangers. I had been in Brixton only a week when I was first attacked. It was broad daylight, the middle of the afternoon, just a few yards from my flat, when I was kicked to the ground, and my shopping scattered. There were shouts of “batty boy” and other things said in patois, which I did not understand. No one in the street moved to help me. By the summer of 2002, I had been violently assaulted nine times. I had been pelted with bottles and tin cans lifted out of a rubbish bin. I had been pelted with fruit from a vegetable stand. I was kicked unconscious on one occasion. On another I was hit with a wine bottle which bruised me but did not break. On the last occasion, I was first pelted with stones, and then as I tried to run to my flat, knocked to the ground with shouts of “Boom Bye Bye.” My face was stamped upon, and I was kicked unconscious. Maxillio-facial repair has been only partly successful. My head bears many scars, but the scars in my heart are deepest and will not heal. I fled to Brighton, and here at last I have found peace, and support from Mind Out, for the many emotional problems this abuse has imprinted in my heart and mind. I had never heard of Buju Banton until I came to Brighton, and was at last able to find a meaning to the words “Boom Bye Bye” which I had heard so often, yet never understood, whilst living in Brixton. There is nothing that can now be done to undo the harm done to me by Buju Banton’s words, but if a similar wretchedness is not to befall others, I urge Brighton & Hove City Council and our police service to do all in their power to prevent his planned performance at the Concorde. There are many LGBT people like me in Brighton & Hove, who have come here as a final refuge from violent alienation and abuse. If the advocates of hate and murder are allowed to do their work here, how long will it be before their violent ministry proliferates, and where will there be left for us to go?"
(taken from: Spectrum (Brighton & Hove LGBT Community Forum), published in June 2006)
COPS ABUSE SAFE-SEX ACTIVISTS
UNKNOWN DATE – BEFORE NOVEMBER 2003: A group of three of us were walking along a major thoroughfare at about 8:30 p.m. one night, on our way to Half-Way Tree in Kingston, which is a popular open-air gathering point for many working class Jamaicans. While we were walking, a police car pulled up alongside us. We stopped, the police car stopped, and two policemen got out of the car with semi-automatic weapons pointed at us, saying they wanted to search us. While they were searching us, the police found about seven condoms in the pockets of each of us. The policemen exclaimed about the number of condoms each of us had, and declared that we must be "battymen" [faggots]. The third policeman turned off the engine and also got out of the car. The policemen began to ask us what we were doing with so many condoms. We said we were giving the condoms to our friends and that was why we had so many. The policemen then began to shout that they hoped it wasn’t "batty business" [homosexuality] we were promoting. We started to explain we were promoting safer sex. The police asked what kind of people we were promoting safer sex to, and we responded "both males and females." The policemen began to tell us we were "battymen" and they were going to lock us up for promoting "batty business." The policemen then told us to get into the police car. The policemen did not want to sit next to us and so they crowded us on one side of the back seat of the car. We were not allowed to let our bodies touch the policeman who was also sitting in the back of the vehicle. When we arrived at the police station we were told we were going to be charged with loitering. The policemen began to point us out to the other police officers and tell their colleagues we were "battymen." The other police officers told us we should be dead and that the policemen should have killed us instead of bringing us into the police station. The policemen continued to point us out and label us "battymen" to everyone who came into the station, including police officers, or others who came in to make a complaint. The newcomers then joined in the abuse. This went on for approximately three hours, while we were held in the reception area of the police station without charge. After this time, we were released. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
UNKNOWN DATE – BEFORE NOVEMBER 2003: When my community found out I was gay, some men in my area began to terrorize me and demand money from me for "safe passage" every time I left my house or entered my community. I went to the police station to register a complaint about this. There were two officers on duty. One of the officers asked me if I was in fact gay, and I said yes. The police officers then told me I was impudent and told me to get out of the police station as they did not protect "battymen."(taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
MANY MIDDLE-CLASS QUEERS NOT SPARED
UNKNOWN DATE – BEFORE SEPTEMBER 2002: I am a thirty-three-year-old, middle-class gay Jamaican male. My appearance does not necessarily easily identify me as gay (i.e. I do not fit an effeminate stereotype). My experience as a gay man living in Jamaica is one which is marked by periodic incidences of abuse, both verbal and physical. I have lost count of the times I have been verbally abused, called "battyman", "chi-chi", "sodomite", "dirty battybway" [all derogatory terms for homosexual men], in situations as diverse as walking down the street, browsing in a shop, at work, in my community, at the beach. These comments come mostly from people that do not know me, occasionally from those that do. Mostly they are just comments, but sometimes this verbal abuse actually takes the form of a threat. Whilst just words, these comments nevertheless undermine my confidence and on occasion, the thought of running into such abuse has actually deterred me from going about my business in certain places. In the past two years, I have suffered actual violent, physical abuse because of my sexuality, on two occasions. On the first occasion, I was shopping with a friend in the Half Way Tree area (one of the main commercial districts in Kingston). At around 7 p.m., on leaving a supermarket, a man who had been waiting outside the door started shouting homophobic abuse at us, calling us "dirty battybway", etc. We ignored him and kept walking, but he followed us and continued to hurl abuse at us. My friend stopped walking and turned around to face him, so I stopped too. The man then approached my friend and was shouting in his face and started pushing him violently. When I tried to intervene, he then approached me shouting and proceeded to push and kick me. The gist of what he was saying was that "battymen" didn't have any right to be there and that we should leave the plaza, that he was going to run us from the plaza. Although there were several onlookers, nobody came to our assistance."At this point, my friend and I decided to go back into the supermarket to seek refuge and also to call the police. The manager of the supermarket called the police and explained what was happening and she was told that they were on their way, but we waited for more than half an hour and still the police did not come (the police station is less than five minutes away). We eventually realized that the police were in fact not on their way, and decided to see if we could leave safely, which we did, as the man had left by this time. We were shaken by this incident, but doubly upset because the police had not responded to this homophobic attack. (I have had reason to call the police on another occasion, for a traffic accident in the same area, and they responded within five minutes).
SEPTEMBER 2002. The second incident occurred very recently, on 17th September, 2002. I had arranged to meet the same friend as above in New Kingston after work, outside one of the restaurants on Knutsford Boulevard (the main nightlife strip in the business district). I arrived to find my friend somewhat distressed because he had just received a barrage of homophobic verbal abuse from a young man on the street, and had also had some kind of projectile thrown at him by the same person. On my arrival the verbal abuse continued and in addition, he [the young man on the street] took up a bottle and threatened to smash it and come after us with it as a weapon. We quickly entered a bar, but this incident had put a dampener on the whole evening, so we soon decided to leave and go home. On leaving the bar, we turned up the street, but in order to reach my car, we had to pass the same person who had abused us in the first place. As we approached, the verbal abuse started again and it continued as we passed. This time it was not just him, but two other men who were with him and joined in. When we were about 10 meters past them, a projectile hit the back of my leg and one skimmed past my friend - I think they were small rocks. We did not look back, but kept on walking until we reached the safety of my car. We did not report this incident to the police because my friend felt (based on past experience) that the police would be unsympathetic and possibly also abusive too. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
NOTE: The following statement is from Tony Hron, who headed J-FLAG for three years until January 2004. It is probably related to the above story: "I've never felt unsafe in this area (New Kingston, close to where Brian Williamson used to lived). Only once have I heard a comment in the four years I've been down here." But local friends of his haven't been as fortunate. "I know a gay man who was attacked at a shopping mall – within five minutes of this house. He and another friend were viewed as being gay, as the other friend was a little bit effeminate. They were punched and kicked and had to run into a store to get away from the attackers." (New Times)
MORE COP HARASSMENT
UNKNOWN DATE – BEFORE NOVEMBER 2003: Nine of us were walking through the New Kingston area and a police car came upon us and stopped us. Another empty police car arrived on the scene and stopped. The policemen then told us they knew we were "battymen" and they were going to lock us up that night. They stopped passersby for the next 15 minutes to tell them we were a group of "battymen." Some of the passers by continued on, and others hurled epithets sy us with the encouragement of the policemen. They then crowded us into the empty police car and carried them to the Half-Way Tree police station. We were put in the holding area and everyone who entered the station was told we were "battymen" and we were then subjected to new rounds of verbal abuse. The men were all charged with loitering and were put on bail that very night. Some of the men made bail that night, and others did not. The case went to court several times and the charges were eventually dropped. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
UNKNOWN DATE – BEFORE NOVEMBER 2003: The attackers were from an infamous garrison community. The men who were attacked were well-known hairdressers in their neighboring community and had a thriving makeshift hair salon on the sidewalk. One Saturday at about 5 p.m., I was coming up that street the salon was on and I saw this crowd. I saw a man very badly beating what looked like a woman. When I looked more carefully there were actually about six men who were beating this "woman" who I recognised as a gay man whom I knew. The crowd was standing around watching, saying, and chanting, "Battyman, battyman, battyman." They went so far as to block the road to clear a space to beat him and accommodate the growing crowd. The crowd got so big a wholesale shop nearby closed for business early and sent their workers home. They gathered around him as he lay on the sidewalk and they beat him, punched him, kicked him, they dragged him down the road, they threw water from the gutter on him, they threw garbage on him, all the while shouting, "Battyman, battyman." They beat him and dragged him for half a kilometer. They shouted, "Battyman fi dead!" [Faggot should die!] As I stood across the street I realised there was nothing I could do to help him. There were some mothers who were actually in tears at what they were witnessing, but there was nothing they could do either. When the police came, they had to call for backup. About three police jeeps had to come. They fired shots in the air to clear the crowd. The crowd was saying "Give him to us! Let us kill him. He’s a battyman." Some women started intervening and said, "Don’t kill him! Just because he’s a battyman don’t mean you should kill him, cause nuff a dem who a beat him a battyman too." The police picked him up and put him in the jeep and carried him to station. The crowd followed the jeeps shouting, "Battyman! Battyman!" The crowd went to the station and surrounded the station shouting, "Kill battyman! Kill battyman!" The crowd dispersed slowly. I saw him about two weeks later and he said the police had taken him to the hospital. He went to England and I hear he got asylum. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003) (also reported in Amnesty International's report: Jamaica: Battybwoys Affi Dead)
BETWEEN JANUARY AND OCTOBER 2003: My friend and I had lived in a working class community all our lives; we were born there. Growing up, the community realized that we were gay. Some of the young men in the community would verbally abuse us and call us "battymen." I would always keep quiet, but my friend would not and would respond to them and tell them to leave him alone and that he was not going to let them abuse him that way. He was a good fighter, and would win any fight he got into. He also carried a small machete and was not afraid to use it. Because of this, he was not physically attacked and could go anywhere within the community. I did not fight, and so I had to hide, and keep quiet. There was one young man, in particular, in the community who hated my friend, but could not win a fight with him. He decided to team up with a gunman from another community to shoot my friend. This gunman was from a family known for their violence, and they knew that since he had a reputation for being very dangerous, he could kill my friend in our community and no one would retaliate. One morning, at about 2 a.m., my friend was at a dance in the community. He was enjoying himself and dancing and suddenly there was a gunshot and a bullet hit my friend in the back of his head. He turned around after realizing he was shot, and they shoot him in his face again three more times. He fell, and they continued to shoot him as he lay on the ground. They then announced that I was next and "Battyman fi dead." [Faggot should die!] Hearing that, I was forced to run from the community, and I have been moving from house to house trying to avoid homelessness and living a hand-to-mouth existence. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
NOTE: Amnesty International write that this case occured in 2003, in their report entitled: Jamaica: Battybwoys Affi Dead. In happened before November of that year as that testimonial was published in the report Jamaica: Accounts Of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003. •
UNKNOWN DATE – BEFORE NOVEMBER 2003: Two friends of mine, an older man and his younger, effeminate lover, were at a popular middle-class spot in New Kingston. A group of young people saw the couple and started shouting at them that they were "battymen", drew knives, sticks, and small cutlasses and started coming towards them to attack them. The younger partner ran away, but the older one was not quick enough and they began to beat him. The police came to the scene there and then, and took the older man to the police station. The younger man ran to find me and some of his other gay friends for help, and a group of us then went with him to the police station to which the older man had been taken. When we arrived and asked for the older man, the police officer responded by asking us, "Who, the battyman who the judgment took place with?" We were then told the older man had already left. Later, when we found him he told us they had not even taken a report and that no one had been arrested. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
WOMAN INCITES BASHING
UNKNOWN DATE – BEFORE NOVEMBER 2003: Three of us were walking down the street in downtown Kingston. A woman rode past us on a bicycle and told a group of men further down the road that some "battymen" were coming down past them. They pulled out their knives, machetes and sticks and began shouting at us that we were battymen and that "battyman fi dead." They came towards us and we immediately ran straight to Central police station for protection. When the police realised it was a "batty judgment" they began to call us "battymen" and told us, "Battyman fi dead" [Faggots should die!] and shouted at us to leave the compound. We were terrified for our lives as the group of armed men were waiting for us across the street from the gate to the police station. While we stood there being verbally abused by both the police and the group of armed men, a group of dancers was walking by and one of them recognized me. She decided to intervene and said the situation was wrong because I was a "good boy." She hailed a taxi for us and convinced him to take us out of the situation. He agreed but charged us 25 percent more for a trip so short most people would just have walked. He pulled up at the gate between the crowd and us, we got into the taxi, and he drove us away. If he had told us 10,000 percent more that the normal cost we would have paid it because we were all sure we were going to be killed that night. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
HOSPITALS SCORN BASHING VICTIMS
UNKNOWN DATE – BEFORE NOVEMBER 2003: A group of us were walking along Constant Spring Road in Half-Way Tree, [Kingston] at about 8 p.m. One of our friends left us and went into York Pharmacy to buy something and by the time he was coming back, two guys started shouting that he was a "battyman" and that "Battyman fi dead," [Faggots should die!] attacked him, stabbed him, took away his jewelry and his money. By the time we got to him to help a police car pulled up. We got into the car and they took us downtown to Kingston Public Hospital. On their way they realised that we were all gay and the started to laugh at us. When we got to the hospital, they dropped us off and drove away. They did not take any statements or make any reports. Some members of the group were effeminate and patients in the emergency room started verbally abusing us and calling us "battymen," while the porters, janitors and even some of the nurses laughed at us. They took a much longer time than usual to attend to us; in fact, we got to the hospital at about 10 p.m. and they did not attend to us until the next morning. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
COPS FIRE AT GAY CROWD
BETWEEN 1999 AND 2002: One night, after clubbing at Entourage, at about 4 a.m. Saturday morning, a group of us went to a place called Xamaica, otherwise called School. It was a business compound on Waterloo Road, Kingston with a gay resident owner, who knew we would come and welcomed us. It was a place where we used to hang out and chitchat until daybreak before going home. All of a sudden, a white van pulled through the gate and men armed with firearms jumped out of the vehicle and started to fire shots into the crowd. We scattered in all directions, jumping fences and dividing for cover. A group of three of my friends and I began to run. They could jump the fence, but I had difficulty, so they had to drag me over the fence with men chasing us and firing at us. This happened three times and each time I was dragged over the fence I fell on my head. Finally, we got to a residence and I hid behind a tree. My friend was not fast enough to find a hiding place and the two men who had been chasing us caught him and began to beat him with their fists and their weapons, kicked him as he lay on the ground, calling him a "battyman." They took him away. I met up with some of the guys from the crowd on my way home, and found out that my friend had been taken to the police station, and that the men who had attacked us were plainclothes policemen. When I saw my friend later, he told me that they verbally abused him at the station and had told their co-workers that he was a "battyman" and they began to verbally abuse him as well. They held him overnight and released him. He was not charged with any offense. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
NOTE: It's me who concluded that it occured between 1999 and 2002, as the club Entourage opended in late nineties and closed down two years later.
HIV-PHOBIA AND A GAY SAFE HOUSE DESTROYED
UNKNOWN DATE – BEFORE NOVEMBER 2003: Two gay men, one of whom was HIV-positive, lived in a house in Meadowbrook, a middle-class neighborhood, and ran it as a safe house for gay men. At any one time there were an average of eight men taking refuge in the house. One of the men who was seeking refuge in the house told a neighbor that there was an HIV-positive person living in the house. About a week later, at about 2 p.m. in the afternoon, the house was surrounded by approximately 20 police officers who demanded entry. At that time there were about 12 of us gay men taking refuge in the house. When one of us opened the front door police officers began to rush into the house with semi-automatic weapons drawn. They commanded us to surrender our guns. The rest of the police officers followed behind and entered the house. An outspoken member of the group explained that no one in the house had a gun or had committed any offense. Several of the police officers then began accusing us of being "battymen" and bringing "AIDS people" into the area. The same member of the group said yes he was gay, but we had no guns and had not done anything wrong. The police began to beat the young man, until others of us spoke out and said we were gay as well and we had done nothing wrong. The police officers then turned on all of us and four of the officers began beating us about our heads and bodies while calling us "battymen" and warning us not to cry out. Those standing around and watching also hurled hateful epithets at us and told us we were lucky it was Meadowbrook or they would have just killed us and dumped the bodies. They told us we deserved to die because we were "battymen." This continued for approximately 15 minutes. Then the officers demanded that we gather our belongings and leave the area. We were able to gather our clothes and shoes but were forced to leave other valuables such as furnishings behind. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
CELEBRATING JAMAICA'S INDEPENDENCE DAY
AUGUST 6, UNKNOWN YEAR, BEFORE 2003: I was living with my mother in her community when the rumor spread that I was gay. I had to leave my mother’s house, and I have been drifting around living on the streets and sleeping at different people’s houses ever since. It was at the Independence Day celebrations in Kingston, at the new Emancipation Park, that this particular attack took place. I had gone to the park early, at about one o’clock, before the celebrations were to begin. There were some girls who were supervising the use of the public restrooms. I used the bathroom and then left the park to pass some time until the celebrations began. I was knocking around waiting and had the urge to use the bathroom again. I went back to the park and the young women began asking why I was using the bathroom so frequently, that I must be a "battyman." I used the bathroom and left and drifted around some more. I went to use the bathroom a third time and the women began to get really upset and said, "This battybwoy is up to something. If him try anything we going to kill him." I told them the bathroom was free to use as often as I wished and that was what the bathroom was there for. I used the bathroom and left again. Security told me to go take a break, drink a beer and come back to the park if I wished. I left as they suggested, staying clear of the women. It was about four o’clock; the celebrations were to start at about 6 p.m. I met up with a friend and we had something to eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken in New Kingston. After eating we went to join the Independence Day celebrations at the park. I went to use the bathroom a fourth time (it was about 9 p.m.) and that was when the women came into the bathroom and pushed the door open as I was using the toilet. They told me I had to pay J$10 [about US$1.70] for a piece of toilet paper, and began to call other men and the security guards to attack me. They told the men I was there to molest a male child (there were no children in the bathroom at that time) and to have sex with men. Everybody starting hitting me, boxing me in my face, kicking me—women, men and security guards. One man was trying to rescue me but they pushed him aside saying, "This boy a battyboy; him fi dead!" [This is a faggot! Kill him!] I ran out of the bathroom and they began to run behind me. The senior security guard told the men to get a baton for him as the group chased me through the crowd. The men returned to join the chase with grey plastic pipes [PVC] and strips of board they used to beat me as they chased me out of the park. At the end of the park the security stopped and the civilians chased me up the street. I fell when I got to the corner at the Hilton Kingston Hotel and they beat me and kicked me while I tried to run again. I ran towards the New Kingston police station for help. When I got there, the men stopped at the gate and I fell on the floor of the police station. I was feeling so sick and was so out of breath and in pain I couldn’t speak. Finally I caught my breath and tried to tell the police my story, but they refused to help and called me a "battybway" and threatened to hand me over the civilian crowd. The crowd was at the door telling the policemen I was in the Park kissing me and that they should hand me over to them and let them kill me. I was feeling sick to my stomach and wanted to vomit—I needed to use the bathroom again or vomit all over the floor. I asked to use the bathroom and the policemen refused to let me use the bathroom. I begged one of them who seemed slightly more compassionate to let me defecate and he finally allowed me to use the bathroom where I threw up all that I had eaten that night. The policemen let me wait for more than two hours in the police station until the crowd gave up and left. They did not take any statements and were not interested in making this a criminal case. I left and went over to a radio station nearby to find a place to sleep. I slept on the street that night. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
UNKNOWN DATE – BEFORE NOVEMBER 2003: At 7:00 p.m. I got to Bounty Hall, Trelawny, and at about 9:15 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. I left my friend’s house to get a taxi to come back to Montego Bay. Passing some men on the road, one stopped me and asked where was I from. I told them I am from Ocho Rios. At the same time a taxi was passing. The same man asked the taxi driver if he knew me. Without responding, the taxi driver nodded and drew a chopper [machete] from under his seat (one of the men in the taxi stated that he knew me as a "battyman" from Montego Bay). I ran and he threw the chopper after me. I ran away to a nearby shop, where my friend's brother decided to accompany me past the men. However, they still came after me. I returned to my friend’s house and told him what happened and while I was there the men broke down the back door and came at me. There were several men waiting outside who hit me with sticks and machetes several times but I got away eventually. When I knew I was at a safe distance I tried getting a taxi but was unable to, as I had blood all over me and my clothes were torn. I had to walk from Bounty Hall to Falmouth, which took about two hours. At Falmouth, I could not get any transport to get to Mobay. Even with the blood running down my neck, I had to walk further out of Falmouth. Eventually, a taxi man reluctantly took me to Montego Bay and I got to my home past midnight. At some minutes to 12:00 noon, I asked a friend for his assistance and consented for him to report the matter to J-FLAG [Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays]. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003).
MARCH 2003: This incident took place on Saturday night, March 29, 2003. A Kingston-based taxi driver arrived at 10:30 p.m. in response to a call from someone at 2 Cleveden Avenue, St. Andrew, near Hopefield Avenue. [The address is known by some people in the area as a house in which many homosexual/gay men live.] As the driver pulled up in front of the house, he noticed a flashing light behind him, which he soon saw was the light of a police car. As his passenger approached his taxi from the house, the driver heard one of the two police officers in the police vehicle command, over their microphone, that the passenger go back into the house, and that he should not go near the taxi. The passenger retreated into the house. One of the policemen then told the taxi driver (who was still seated in his taxi) to get out of the taxi and approach them with his official papers. The taxi driver complied with the policeman's requests. When he offered his papers to the questioning policeman (the officer seated in the passenger front seat of the police car), that same officer began to speak belligerently at him, saying things like (as quoted by the taxi driver), "Mi nah like oonu. Oonu don’t know seh dis ya place is a dutty nasty place? Mi know seh onnu is one a dem, yu bloodclaat battybwoy." (Other curses followed from the officer, which the taxi driver, in recounting this incident, was reluctant to divulge.) The driver protested the policeman’s belligerence, and asked what he meant: "Wha oonu mean fi seh, officer? Mi just come fi pick up de guy, mi nuh know nuttin bout de house." After this brief exchange, the police officer handed back the driver his papers, and said, "Oonu go on where yu a go." The taxi driver got back in his car and drove off toward Hope Road. Just before he reached nearby Sugar Daddy, he saw that a police car was behind him; the police in that car soon thereafter indicated that he should pull over to the left. He did so. They commanded him over their microphone to get his papers out and bring the papers to them. When the taxi driver did so, he saw immediately that these were the same two police officers as before. The officer who had been abusive to the driver earlier began to harangue him, accusing him of having gone to 2 Cleveden Ave. to participate in "sex business." He brandished handcuffs, stating to the driver that if he didn’t "come clean" about his "nasty business" that they would take him to the Half-Way-Tree police station to "mek dem bwoy [other officers, presumably] deh beat you." The officer said that the driver would be charged at Half-Way-Tree station with buggery. The officer then took his name and address, and asked if he were from Kingston. The driver believes, in trying to remember, that he told the officer that he was not from Kingston. The driver remembers the officer continuing to harangue him and accuse him of having homosexual interests at 2 Cleveden Avenue. The taxi driver at that point in the exchange grew impatient, he admitted, and asked the officers, "What oonu up to? What oonu really want?" In recounting this incident, the taxi driver said that, while he did defend himself against accusations of wrongdoing to the officer, he felt "so intimidated" in the moment of the exchange that he admitted to the officer that he was "like that" [gay/homosexual]. He still insisted that he had done nothing wrong, only gone to pick up a passenger. The officer then asked him, "What [sexual] role you play?" The driver didn’t answer the question. Both of the officers began to shout that they would fine the driver J$20,000. [US$340] in Half-Way-Tree station, and that the driver must "give" them "a someting." The driver said, "Officer, mi nah have money. Mi only have J$1,000." [US$17] The officer in the passenger seat of the police car commanded the driver to take the J$1,000 out of his pocket and drop it on the front passenger-side floor of the police car. The officer then gave the driver back his papers and said that he could go. The driver drove off. He did not get any kind of identifying number of the police car, nor any kind of badge number for either of them. He could not quite describe them after recounting this incident. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
BASHING AT KFC
JULY 2003: On July 17, 2003 I was coming from work at a [hardware] store heading for Musgrave Avenue via New Kingston. Reaching Dominica Drive, I saw a friend standing on Dominica Drive and we started talking. I was there about 20 minutes when a wagon motor vehicle come down the road and it stopped. The driver asked if we are selling. My friend told the men J$1,000 [US$17]. Suddenly, I saw the men alight from the motor vehicle with batons in their hands. I panicked as I ran down Dominica Drive, while my friend ran the opposite direction. The men jumped in their car and started chasing me down. I got tired and breathless so I ran inside the KFC restaurant for refuge. The three men came inside and started beating me with the batons. I was beaten all over my body by the men, and they were calling me "battyman" [faggot], etc. The security guard who was on duty started beating me when he heard that I was gay. While I was being beaten, the cashiers and servers were screaming and begging the men to stop, especially when they saw the blood. To avoid any more abuse, I had to jump over the counter and run upstairs to the employee restroom and lock myself away. When the police came and they heard that I was gay, they verbally abused me and didn’t want to help me. I was eventually taken by a police officer to Kingston Public Hospital where I was treated for a broken nose, and had four stitches in my upper lip. The next day I went to the New Kingston police station and got the same reception as the night before – verbal abuse, especially from the officer who was taking my report. So far, the police haven’t made any arrests or done anything to help me. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
AT RISK AT HOME
SUMMER 2003: My friends and I were coming home from a [gay support] meeting at about 11:00 at night. We are a group of young men (20 to 23) who lived together in the Constant Spring area just above Halfway Tree. Just as we reached our yard, the neighbor family came at us with stones and a knife and machete. There were about six of them – the parents who were in their 30's and the kids who were in their teens. They were calling us names and threatening us, so we ran. They chased one of us down, Lenni [not his real name], who has now moved to another country. When we met up with him later in the night, we saw that he was chopped on his face, neck, hand and back. He was bleeding bad, but just bandaged it up himself. The next day, we all went back to our yard and the neighbors tried to attack us again. We called the police. When they arrived we told them how we had been attacked and chased, but the neighbors began telling the police that we were "battymen" and that we had to leave or they would kill us. When the police heard this, they took sides with the neighbors and began calling us names as well. We began arguing with the neighbors who called dirty names. We all began cussing and that’s when the police arrested us for indecent language. They hit us with their batons and guns like we were animals to get us in the police cars. Two of us got away but the others were taken to the Constant Spring Police Station. Once there, the police continued to threaten to beat us and call us names. We said we would get a lawyer if they tried anything. They charged us all for indecent language, set bail at $J5,000 [more than US$100], and gave us a court date. We were released after about five hours on surety. We didn’t go back to the house until a few days later to collect our things. When we went for our court date on September 3, 2003 our case was not listed so they stamped our papers and told us to go. We saw one of the officers who arrested us and asked him why our case was dropped. He said that the arresting officer was out of the country. (taken from: Jamaica: Accounts of Anti-gay Violence, published in November 2003)
NOTE: I concluded that this case occured in the summer of 2003, as the court date was on September 2003.
LESBIAN ATTACKS LESS VISIBLE
UNKNOWN DATE – BEFORE MARCH 2005: Local activists say women who step outside societal norms--by dressing "too manly" or having few male visitors, for example--risk threats of verbal and physical abuse. Women have reportedly been raped, beaten, murdered and forced out of their homes or jobs simply for being lesbians... "Just the other day abuses were hurled at me where I live, saying stuff like 'sodomite' (a derogatory term for lesbian), 'cocky fi u' (penis for you), 'Sodomite can't stay ya, gunshot fi u' (Lesbian can't stay here, gunshot for you)," Karlene (co-chair of J-FLAG) says. "They find all kinds of names to call you. It lowers your self-esteem. When you're out in the community you just have to hold your head down and hope nobody finds out about your sexuality." Karlene has seen enough not to dismiss angry words as idle threats. She recalls the lesbian who was raped and beaten by the local 'don,' or gang leader: "Because she had no men coming to visit her, it was alleged that she must be a 'sodomite' and what she needed was a 'cock.'... " Receiving less attention, however, is the particular impact this homophobic climate has on Jamaican women. Vigilante attacks most often target men, while the violence affecting women, including rapes and murders, usually occurs outside of the public eye. "Violence against lesbian and bisexual women happens more often in a more private sphere," says Michael Heflin, of Amnesty International in the United States. "It's what we've seen in other countries as well, although particularly acute in Jamaica." Men often get attacked in a more public way with crowds present and even participating while women are more likely to suffer assaults in their homes or neighborhoods. Karlene recounts the story of a woman who was murdered in the community where she was born, by people she'd known all her life after they discovered her sexuality. "The guys decided the lesbian can't stay here. They worried she was going to infect the young people and the ladies around her. After they raped her, they murdered her," she says. Another lesbian raped several times by the local 'don' has never reported the matter because she fears for her life; the man has threatened her several times, Karlene says. Most of these attacks go unreported, making it difficult to track the full scope of the violence. "They're afraid to come out and tell what happened to them. They don't want to face the embarrassment, the shame," she says. "They say, 'I don't want to talk about it. I just want to get past it.'" For these reasons, documenting rapes, beatings, and murders of women in their homes and neighborhoods is perhaps even more difficult than tracking violence against gay men on public streets. (excerpts taken from: Lesbian Activists in Jamaica Tell Horror Stories, published in March 2005)
VISITING HIS MOTHER
JULY 2007: example given by Carolyn Gomes from the Human Rights Group Jamaicans For Justice: "A man going to visit his mother in her community, and not only him being attack, but his mother being attack for allowing him to visiting her." (transcript from the BBC report: Coming Out in Jamaica, published in July 2007)
BEATEN IN A PARKING LOT
2010: Even by Jamaican standards, N has been vigilant in shielding his sexuality. He is closeted from his affluent parents, both professionals living in a city on the southern coast. While a student several years ago at Howard University in Washington DC, he introduced his boyfriend to only his closest friends. Back in Kingston, he never walked on streets more than a few minutes at a stretch and he rarely allowed another man, gay or straight, to enter his apartment. A few months ago, in a parking lot adjacent to a posh Kingston shopping district called the Sovereign Center, N and another man kissed their two stylish women companions on the cheeks and turned to open their car doors. The four office colleagues had just enjoyed an after-work dinner at an upscale restaurant. Over his shoulder, N heard a man’s voice: “You all are battymen.” “I wasn’t sure who they were talking about so I turned around,“ recounted N. “Someone stabbed me with some sort of instrument in my eye, then punched me in the face.” For N, the next ten or so minutes became a blur. Witnesses told police that fourteen assailants—including the owner of the restaurant they had just exited—punched, kicked, and body-slammed the two men over and over again. Despite three operations, N lost all sight in his left eye. He refused to leave his apartment for two months. After the attack, the friend who was also beaten filed a police report against their assailants, listing his home address. Two weeks later, he was shot outside his front gate.“Homophobia is the wrong term for what’s going on in Jamaica because there’s no fear of gays here. The fear is all the other way,” N told me inside an HIV prevention center, one of the few places in Kingston where we could talk without fear of retribution from someone overhearing our conversation. Leaving an upscale Kingston restaurant a few months before, fourteen men had ambushed N and a male colleague in the restaurant’s parking lot. Shouting anti-gay epithets and in clear view of witnesses, the assailants ripped a hole in N’s eye, punched and body-slammed both men, and left them to bleed out on the pavement. “I’m afraid to drive in my own vehicle with another man in the front seat,” said N. “I can pull up to a red light and something can happen. I’m afraid to have any man in my apartment. I’m afraid someone will call me out as gay for using too many hand gestures. Yes, that happens here. Anything can be used to call a man gay, on the street or in the neighborhood.” (taken from: Murder Music, published in December 2010)
DATING ONLINE + REPORTING FAMILY MEMBERS
2009 Gay people feel hunted. Anti-gay predators, Jamaicans looking to harm gay people, “meet us in chat rooms and arrange to meet face-to-face; they do it like a game,” said J, a pixie-sized, thirty-three-year-old gay woman living with her siblings in Kingston. “I had a couple of friends who were killed by people that way.”J’s father, whom she lived with, protected her when she was younger. “I was attacked a few times on the street but my father never had any problems about me,” she said. But her father died two years ago, and because no employer would consider her for employment—she has an androgynous appearance—her brothers and sisters reluctantly permitted her to move between their houses. One of her sisters once tried to rid the family of J by calling the police to report her as lesbian, which could have led to imprisonment, beatings, or rape. (J now resides in Canada, where she is under consideration for asylum based on sexual orientation. (taken from: Murder Music, published in December 2010)
APRIL 2010: During one two-week period last April alone, J-FLAG learned of two lesbian couples in Kingston who were brutally gang-raped in separate incidents. “Dancehall artists say they don’t mean people should go out and kill gay people but people do take it literally, and why wouldn’t they?” said Karlene, who is one of the leaders at J-FLAG, but like every gay person living in Jamaica cited in this article, said revealing her full name would amount to a death sentence. (taken from: Murder Music, published in December 2010)
BEING STABBED + FORCE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE...
APRIL 2010: I got a glimpse of what it might be like to be gay in Kingston when I spent a day walking the city’s streets with Antirum and Bracy-Ann, the middle names of two Jamaican women who had been living together in Kingston. Each has the other’s initials framed with a heart tattooed on their arms. Several months ago, Antirum’s nephew, a gang leader, or shotta, was deported to Jamaica from England where he had been living. Finding the two women living in the house that Antirum legally owns, the nephew forcibly evicted the couple. So far, police have refused to intervene. With their lives threatened in Kingston, the women abandoned their jobs and network of friends and relatives, and are renting an apartment in St. Catherine, a rural parish more than an hour’s drive away from the capital. I met up with Antirum and Bracy-Ann on a street corner in New Kingston, an upscale section of the city with embassies and expensive business hotels. Within seconds came a barrage of catcalls and anti-gay insults from men standing on curbs or in doorways. A car slowed ominously, hostile young faces staring from the front seats. “My biggest fear of all, to be honest, is getting raped,” Bracy-Ann told me as we walked ahead of the slowly prowling car. She had been attacked by a gang of men just prior to moving out of town. One of the men stabbed her chin with a knife, leaving a reddened gash that she worried still may be at risk for infection. But as we turned to walk around a corner on a winding thoroughfare called Half Way Tree Road, we ran into four or five mixed-gender couples, including a woman who knew Antirum through a shared acquaintance. Some of the men in the group hovered at the periphery, but the rest chatted enthusiastically with us, apparently unconcerned by what had inflamed so many others just minutes ago. For many middle-class Jamaicans with whom I spoke, the controlling realities in Jamaica’s public space are Antirum and Bracy-Ann’s pleasant encounters, not the stream of ugly epithets and threats, or that stalking car. Wealthy and professionally-successful Jamaicans who are gay say they are often used as examples of Jamaican tolerance because their status protects them most of the time. “There are gays across the board and, yes man, we are stigmatized, but because of our parents or what we have attained for ourselves we are not interfered with,” said Carl, a high-ranking civil servant who has lived for more than a decade with his three sons and his boyfriend while his wife lives in New Jersey, where she works as a doctor. “My neighbors mind their own business, but they know what’s going on. My wife knows not to ask questions either. It’s worked out well this way.” But Carl said his safety is far from guaranteed. “There is always danger lurking, you don’t know who you will tick off.” The same people who told me Jamaica is obsessed with homosexuality also denied the country’s metastasizing homophobia. (taken from: Murder Music, published in December 2010)
Internet forums that express hate
These are few examples of hate circulating on internet forums.
Youth Link Jamaica
A taste of the abuse hurled at gay people in Jamaica can be found on the discussion board of Youth Link Jamaica, the country’s leading chain of youth clubs. A young woman asked, "Do you think being gay or lesbian is right? What would you do if somebody of the same sex tried to come on to you?" A tsunami of hate engulfed her. "BURN DEM OUT! SHIP DEM OFF! KILL DEM!" replied ‘Jamaican Love Machine’. Most of the posts agreed with him. The most sympathetic response explained, "I can’t accept homosexuality as being ‘right’, but I still think you should be entitled to the same human rights that all of us are entitled to. But right or wrong, you can’t stop people from beating up gays when they go public. You should not be killed though." (www.johannhari.com)
Muzik Media (October 2005)
People expressing their views on Buju Banton's trial and on homosexuality.(Link)
Interesting comments on the subject
When I find interesting comments from people I will put them here. The first comment included below, represent the inner toughts of a Jamaican that overcome society's homophobic attitude and realize that homophobia is still deeply entrenched in him, without fully being aware of it. I found it on a blog and he agreed that I link it on my website.
An Ungly Reaction
TAKEN FROM A BLOG: A few weeks ago I got a message. My wife took a message for me on my business line from a man whose name I could not quite recall. The number was unfamiliar, as was the area code. As my mind searched for the person, I realized who I thought it was. I started to think it was a fellow who I had met in a meeting early last year, and he happened to be one of the many that I've met or worked with, who at some point I've had the thought "I think he's gay." Except that the thought that flashed into my mind next was "I hope it's not that fucking Batty-Boy calling me." I then muttered those words under my breath. ("Batty-Boy" or "Batty-Man" is just about the most vicious slang that we use to attack gay men with in Jamaica. It's the worst insult that can be applied to a male in our society.) The next set of thoughts I had were interesting."Who said that?" (Well, the answer was pretty obvious!) "I shouldn't be saying that." (I'm too "advanced" to be saying that.) "What would my friends who are gay say about that?" (Better hide this damn thought quickly, especially from them) "I hope he isn't calling ME thinking I'm one of them..." (Praying desperately now...) "If he thinks I'm one of them I'll kick his rass...." (Oh shit, there it is again!) "Was I wearing my wedding ring when I met him?" (Insane thoughts were now starting to creep in.) Hopefully, he didn't notice all this going on when I finally did call him back, and emailed him my speaking notes as I routinely do many times after meetings. It wasn't until the call was over that I was able to process all of these thoughts. I realized I had come a long way, and in some ways hadn't changed at all... READ THE COMPLETE POST: An Ugly Reaction)
Gays singing homophobic songs
TAKEN FROM A FORUM: "When I was at Asylum (a club in New Kingston, Jamaica), I was with about 15 other gay guys. Of course when they got to the stupid song chanting to hurt fishman (Jamaican slang for homosexual), I left but those poor gay guys sat in there and sang the song with all the other silly people... sad world"
NOTE: This comment was written by someone named Carlton in December 2007. It was part of 57 comments written for the topic: 'What would you do if your child was gay?' Although you can find very drastic and negative statements, most of them are eighter neutral or even quite positive. My favorite comments comes from Carton, Fyah Bun, Yow and Ken. I was very happy to find such a topic being discussed on the website YardFlex, as I was on the impression that it was a very narrow minded webzine for dancehall when in comes to homosexuality. In the past, I faced cencorship from their team when I wrote a comment on Buju Banton's tour dates being cancelled in Automn 2006. At first they removed the address of my website that was written in the comment. After I ask the direction why he removed the address, they completly erase my comment from the forum. It was obvious that they didn't want their readers to find out about my website. But they would leave tons of ultra negative and violent comments from other readers. (duh!) So it seems that the direction of YardFlex has improved in the last year.
READ ALL THE STATEMENTS: What would you do if your child was gay?
Deaths statistics regarding homophobic crimes in Jamaica
Note: I believe there is not official statistics kept by the Jamaican police regarding the killing of homosexuals. So probably the amount of "official" homosexual deaths, stated below, are numbered over articles read in local newspapers.
Julius Powell of J-FLAG: 'We have had 47 murders since 1982 which we have directly attributed to their sexual orientation'. (soure: Jahworks.org, December 2001)
More than 30 gay men have been murdered in Jamaica in the past five years. (soure: The Guardian, October 2002)
At least 30 gay men are believed to have been murdered since 1997, according to published reports.
2005-2006:According to the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, J-FLAG, more than ten homosexuals were killed on the island, between 2005-2006 alone. Last year, there were 40 assaults. (soure: BBC report: Coming Out in Jamaica, July 2007) (transcript from the Jamaican For Justice interview)
JULY 2007: Interviewer: "I asked Carolyn Gomes from the Human Rights Group Jamaicans For Justice, if attacks were increasing?" Carolyn Gomes: "We do know that between last year and this year that mob violence against gays is up. We certainly are aware it's a huge problem. These are people beaten to the point of nearly close to death". (soure: BBC report: Coming Out in Jamaica, July 2007) (transcript from the Jamaican For Justice interview)
SEPTEMBER 2007: Between February and July of this year, 98 gay men and lesbians were targeted in 43 different mob attacks, according to the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays. Four lesbians were raped, four gay men were murdered, and the houses of two gay men were burned down. (soure: Newsweek)