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Monday, September 27, 2010

Follow Up on the Stand Up To Violence

Have you seen the news of the RJR website of the Stand Up To Violence? The News Centre checked with the police to confirm the allegations. In my humble opinion the police wouldn't have the cases recorded as ones of corrective rape as I don't believe any of the women had disclosed their orientation nor had any made claims that they were raped because of their sexuality. 

Also I think that they would not have disclosed such information for fear that their cases would have been dealt with differently, or fear that such information would get out and instead of things becoming better, get worse.

The police being unable to confirm such accusations, paints in the public's eye (esp those of the dark and ignorant ones) that JFLAG, and by extension the community is making up these stories.

One commenter asked “Since when lesbian is a community?” My humble answer would be:
  1. Mr. Lewis said LGB community
  2. What is a community? A social group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.
  3. By the above definition I believe any reasonable person would agree that lesbians, gays, and bisexuals form a community.

Another commenter wrote:

“In reference to the first comment ‘Since when is lesbian a community?’

We have to be a community, as others in the wider community fight us with such hatred. These incidents did occur, (and many more which are not reported) the problem is that the persons did not identify themselves as Lesbians and why should they, would it make a difference in the way they were handled......, maybe.

I have heard such derogatory statements from those who should be protecting us ‘all dem need is a good man to f… dem’ and ‘sodomite fi ded’, what would give us the impetus to report these incidents and identify yourself as a Lesbian.”

Of course the comment was censored and the second part of the above comment was removed, I therefore received the complete comment directly from the commenter (JB). 

You can view the report and comments here.

It is good to see though that action is being taken to bring to light the perils of the lesbian and bisexual female population. As it used to be a noted issue that the lesbians and bisexual females seemed to be left out.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stand Up To Violence

I'm sick and tired of the religious hypocrisy, ignorant comments and downright bankruptcy of our sense of compassion, as a society; you don't have to accept something in order to understand and sympathise with a cause.

Since when does it become acceptable for a lesbian or lesbians to be raped so that they may be 'corrected' and 'cured' of their lesbianism? Since when is it ok for the compassionate Christian nation to agree that raping of lesbians is ok, that the killing of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders ok, that threatening, verbally abusing, and assaults is ok, in the name of God? What kind of God agrees with these things? How can anyone justifiably argue that that is ok? How much further down can this nation go?

Today there was a STAND UP TO VIOLENCE at Emancipation Park, complete with rainbow flags, the Jamaican flag, and placards. Several human rights organizations took part. Of course you expect the rhetoric of Bible quoting to take place, which did occur, to the amusement of some of the participants (not on a point 

of irreligiously but on the picky chosey nature of condemnations from the OT-Old Testament- and NT-New Testament-). There were not as many participants as had been anticipated- due to the rain-, but it was over all a productive day.

The news was reported on On The Ground News Reports, a screen shot of comments can be seen below

These are just some of the comments the rest can be seen by visiting On The Ground News Reports facebook page here.

The official press release from JLAG is below, and may also be seen here


J-FLAG & Human Rights Activists call for an end to violence against LGBT Community

Kingston --- September 24, 2010

Despite calls for tolerance by our religious, political and social leaders, attacks against Jamaica's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender population continue unabated. The latest such attacks occurred this September when knife wielding thugs carried out 'corrective rapes' of two lesbians in separate incidents within days of each other.

In response to these most recent attacks and the seeming inability or unwillingness of the nation's political leaders to curb them, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) and its human rights allies held a 30 minutes silent 'Stand Up to Violence' in front of Emancipation Park on Friday, September 24, 2010 which began at 7:40am.

Dane Lewis, Executive Director of J-FLAG, hailed the event as a success despite the delayed start because of the rain. This was also measured by the broad based support received from numerous allies & agencies, including Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, members of Jamaicans for Justice, Pride in Action, Women for Women, Sex Work Association of Jamaica, Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition and AIDS Free World.

International defence attorney Lord Anthony Gifford, QC, noted that "the issue of violence against gays and lesbians is a human rights issue and I was taking a stand to support that as it is important to keep the issue of rights in the public's consciousness." Susan Goffe, member of Jamaicans For Justice, said "it is important to understand the effect of homophobic rhetoric and the feeling that it is alright to target members of the LGBT community. The state must clearly illustrate by its action that it defends and protects the rights of women and this includes all women regardless of their sexuality. The acts against these women should unambiguously be condemned."

Participants held up placards which read 'Gay or Straight, Let's all Tolerate', 'Gays have Rights,' and 'Stop the Hate Before It's Too Late', 'Live and Let Love', 'Equal Rights & Justice' and 'Out of Many One People'.

While pointing to the need for strong action to be taken against gender based violence in any form, Programme Manager at Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, Ivan Cruickshank appealed to all well thinking Jamaicans to join in promoting and protecting the rights of all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation.

The following persons may be contacted for an interview:

Susan Goffe – 815-3648

Dane Lewis – 978-8988/ 875-2328

Dane Lewis
Executive Director
Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays – J-FLAG
Tel/ Fax: (876)978-8988

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Other Acts of Violence from the Northern End of the Island

In the past three weeks there have been (to my knowledge) two horrific cases of rape against members of the lesbian community.

Information passed to me from a reliable source stated that the first reported case was in the first week of September. A butch female was reportedly kidnapped and raped by six men in the St. Ann area on September 3. The matter was reported to the police who took her to the parish public hospital where she was treated. Since hearing of the incident I have not been fortunate to hear any more of her or her situation. It seems she was specifically targeted as she is a known lesbian, for this reason then this seems to have been a case of “corrective rape”.

The second incident happened just two weeks later. Another lesbian was kidnapped and held at knife point and raped. This also happened in the St. Ann region. Her matter was also reported to the police and she was taken to the hospital where she was treated.

It must be said that the police (in the second case I’m sure) handled this matter in a somewhat professional way. The sexuality of the individual (second case) was not disclosed during the taking of the statement and one can only hope that such a disclosure would not have made a difference in the treatment of her case.
Both cases were orally reported to WfW (Women for Women) and JFLAG (Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays). WfW (being the first to be informed and having been approached for help by one of the women) stepped in and provided support. JFLAG having also been approached has offered to help in the instance of relocation and counseling.

The police (as far as I can tell) and the support from the groups within the community should be commended for their support and professionalism that was displayed to these women. 
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