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Jamaican LGBT advocates condemn murder of cross-dressing teenager

17-year-old reportedly stabbed to death during party near Montego Bay

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Montigo Bay, Jamaica, gay news, Washington Blade

A street in Montego Bay, Jamaica. (Photo by D. Ramey Logan via Wikimedia Commons)

Jamaican LGBT rights advocates have expressed outrage over the reported murder of a cross-dressing teenager near the resort city of Montego Bay.

The radio station Irie FM reported the 17-year-old was dancing with a man at a party on July 21 while dressed as a woman when someone realized the teen was cross-dressing. A second man reportedly discovered the teenager was actually male.

Irie FM said a group of party-goers stabbed the 17-year-old to death either late on July 21 or early Monday morning before dumping the teen’s body in bushes on the side of a road.

The Jamaica-Gleaner reported earlier today that police officers found the teen, whom they identified as Dwayne Jones, with what it described as “multiple stab wounds and a gunshot wound.”

“We send our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the teenager who was slain,” the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG,) a Jamaican LGBT rights group, said in a statement it issued on Tuesday. “We call for a thorough investigation into the murder of the teenager in Montego Bay and hope that the family and loved ones of the slained teen will find the justice they deserve.”

Jones’ murder comes against the backdrop of pervasive anti-LGBT violence in the Caribbean nation.

A J-FLAG report said the organization knows of at least 30 gay men who have been murdered in Jamaica between 1997 and 2004.

A man stabbed J-FLAG co-founder Brian Williamson to death inside his home in Kingston, the country’s capital in 2004. Former J-FLAG executive director Gareth Henry sought asylum in Canada in 2008 after he received death threats.

Authorities found honorary British consul John Terry strangled to death inside his home near Montego Bay in 2009. They found a note left next to his body that referred to him as “batty boy,” a derogatory term used against gay men in Jamaica.

Maurice Tomlinson, a Jamaican lawyer with the group AIDS-Free World who fled his homeland in 2012 after he received death threats after local media reported he had married a Canadian man, told the Washington Blade from his home in upstate New York that there have been nine reported anti-gay murders on the island so far this year. He added there has been a 400 percent increase in the number of reported attacks against LGBT Jamaicans since 2009.

Tomlinson said this spike in the number of reported incidents could be the result of the work advocates have done to document human rights abuses against LGBT Jamaicans.

The Jamaica Supreme Court last month heard a lawsuit that challenges the island’s anti-sodomy law under which those who are convicted face up to 10 years in prison with hard labor.

“The rhetoric is getting much more toxic,” Tomlinson said, noting brutal attacks against gay Jamaicans has become more common. He said they are no longer confined to just Kingston and a handful of other areas. “We’re not sure if the increase in attacks is a function of that or the reporting.”

The State Department, Amnesty International and other groups have criticized the Jamaican government for not doing enough to curb anti-LGBT violence in the country.

AIDS-Free world has challenged Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in D.C. It has also asked the group that is housed within the Organization for American States to formally respond to the ongoing persecution that homeless men who have sex with men and other vulnerable groups of gay Jamaicans face.

Tomlinson’s group also plans to ask the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to formally condemn discrimination and violence against LGBT Jamaicans.

The Organization of American States, of which Jamaica is a member, last month adopted an anti-discrimination resolution that includes sexual orientation and gender identity and expression during its annual meeting that took place in Guatemala. Jamaica declined to accept the protocol’s LGBT-specific recommendations.

Tomlinson, who appeared on the National Public Radio program “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin on Monday to discuss the documentary “The Abominable Crime” that examines anti-LGBT violence in Jamaica, told the Blade the government has been “absolutely silent” on the issue.

Former J-FLAG staffer Nico Tyndale’s cousin was murdered in Jamaica earlier this year because his assailants thought he was gay.

Tyndale told the Blade earlier on Tuesday that many people continue argue the country is not homophobic – and gay Jamaicans are actually “the ones killing ourselves.”

“We can’t even be who we are,” Tyndale said. “Being who we are only leads to a mob and a slaughter.”

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Brian Oliver Mclaren

    July 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    yes we Do Not like gays homos ..they r disgusting and will be taken out if the fontinue to be forthfoming and brazen with their stupid cross dressiny..keep it in your bedroom..nasty..

    • Lloyd

      July 25, 2013 at 5:16 am

      you are a sad excuse for a human being. you should be ashamed of being so full of hate for your fellow man. the worst thing is you probably call yourself a Christian. Why are the most homophobic countries also the poorest and most religious?

  2. Miguel Muñoz Topete Hernandez

    July 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I love that idiots like @brianolivermclaren condem themselves do such stupidity

  3. Steven Kyle Weller

    July 24, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I'm opposed to murder!

  4. Sheldon Rose

    July 24, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    In Jamaica, contrary to what outsiders believe we do not go around beating gays. However when they force their beliefs and in this case behaviours on normal people this sort of thing can happen out of anger.

  5. Miguel Muñoz Topete Hernandez

    July 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    omg me too!

  6. Sheldon Rose

    July 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Gays are some of the most violent and jealous people, in Jamaica when you hear of a gay persons death it is, more often than not at the hands of their own love interests. Gays have been parading around in Jamaica brazenly portraying their behaviour which is unacceptable. I do not want to have to explain to my daughter or son why those men or women are behaving in an un-natural way. If you are gay keep it to yourself. All these 'rights' that gays love to talk about aren't rights at all they want to be made exceptions and be allowed to do things no other regular citizen can do. If you say or do anything to offend a gay they're all over it like white on rice, as if they are untouchable. The invasion of these unatural behaviours and tendencies may be ok in other parts of the world but not here in Jamaica where we still belive in the BIBLE.

  7. Adam Pride

    July 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING SAVAGE!

  8. Sheldon Rose

    July 24, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    C'mon, who's the REAL savage here ? ^^^^ be honest.

  9. Danny Bellamore

    July 24, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    you are biased and incorrect on all levels. Educate yourself you Bigot!

  10. Ruejy Ashton

    July 24, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Sheldon, they can call Jamaicans ALL they want to, that won't change facts. These people don't want rights, they want CONTROL!! They want to intimidate Jamaicans into homosexuality. Threatening that they won't visit, spend money etc…Tourism is the BIGGEST contributor to the madness in Jamaica right now. They all leave the shores of the usa, europe, canada etc. to come down and take advantage of the poor youths. Don't even take the idiotic comments seriously. They want to come into OUR house and tell us how to live. The gays in Jamaica just want to challenge all citizens of Jamaica. Can we tell England, usa what laws to pass or how to behave? So why do they FEEL they have the power to tell us what to do? The bottom-line is that Jamaica is small and have a high rate of poverty, so they figure it's easy to control our state of mind and our country without any rebuttals. No one kills gays in Jamaica more than Gays!! Since i was a teenager they were allowed to roam the streets freely. If anything the citizens of Jamaica NEED to hold the government responsible for NOT abiding by the law of the land, they have ignored the buggery law for too long, hence the current problem.Why are we even having discussions about whether homosexuality is right or wrong? Do we challenge the other laws of our country? Should a hungry man be sent to prison for 20 years for stealing food? Can you live without sex? YES! can you live without food? No! A hungry poverty stricken man in Jamaica has NO human rights!! "not that he should have the right to steal, but he should have the right to food, which the government don't even care about"…This should be our concern, not to waste time determining who is transgender, bi , homo, blah blah, all those terms were created just to confuse the mind of those they are trying to deceive into accepting the lifestyle. This man violated the laws on the books, violated biblical laws for those who are Christians…AND molested a party-goer. If he wasn't dead, he should be given time in Jail. Portia Simpson is a disgrace to women and family, to be supporting such madness. However, she's doing it for status and for forming ties. Notice all the honorary degrees she's been receiving from the usa ever since she told the people of Jamaica "Gay is the new way forward"…

  11. Danny Bellamore

    July 24, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    this is horrible!, Jamaica is a very homophobic christian country. I knew a man from Kingston, Jamaica from a school club on campus that promoted cultural diversity and he would act very uncomfortable when he was around me because he found out I was gay! I'm like dude chill, I'm not interested in you, …Ya bastid, mon! *rastafarian accent*

  12. Miguel Muñoz Topete Hernandez

    July 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    I feel sorry for that child next to you since she will learn your stupid values and hypocrisy

  13. Miguel Muñoz Topete Hernandez

    July 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Is that why you forsaken your father all these years? btw you do have a father you just never met him.

  14. Miguel Muñoz Topete Hernandez

    July 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Is that why you forsaken your father all these years? btw you do have a father you just never met him.

  15. Miguel Muñoz Topete Hernandez

    July 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Is that why you forsaken your father all these years? btw you do have a father you just never met him.

  16. Sheldon Rose

    July 24, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Like I said most gays are prone to violence – case in point Adam & Danny's name calling and persistent use of exclamation marks suggests emotional agitation. They are unable to argue their point with facts and have to resort to name calling. Adam had to resort to the use of profanity and Danny is on the brink.

    Well let me say it again – In JAMAICA wi nuh love man !!!!

  17. Marlene Brown

    July 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Oh yes, we are very homophobic!!…luv my country Jamaica to di worl…No batty man!!!

  18. George Steven Benedetti

    July 25, 2013 at 2:49 am

    All Americans should stop spending money in Jamaca.
    All the LGTB community should come to América. You are Welcome here…

  19. Vaughn Moore

    July 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    I would care but Jamaica is such a poor third world country that it doesn’t surprise me that it’s residents have such uneducated and bigoted mentalities. Do you guys even have textbooks in school let alone a bible lol. The truth is , you guys aren’t Christian’s. You use Christianity as a defense to perpetuate hate. god is love. All you people who spend your lives spewing hate, see where you’ll end up in the after life! HELL!

  20. Vaughn Moore

    July 24, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    By the way, homophobia is a made up word. You’re not scared. There’s no phobia involved. You’re just sheep, following an antiquated book written by man during archaic times, based on his own bigotry. Learn how to become free thinkers and maybe you will have a chance at succeeding in life!

  21. Omar Anthony Davis

    July 25, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Good points Sheldon…….

  22. Sheldon Rose

    July 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    'rastafarian accent' LOL, all Jamaicans speak both standard English as well as Jamaican Patois, Yeah maybe we do get uncomfortable around gays because you people are waaay out there on the other end of the spectrum – and i'm not talkin sexually, i'm talking behaviourally your personalities and characteristics are always super animated and exaggerated. That's what makes us uncomfortable – Jamaicans 101.

  23. John Becker

    July 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    There are a lot of Jamaican trolls on this thread, wow!

  24. John Becker

    July 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Enjoy the view as history passes you by, bigot.

  25. John Becker

    July 25, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I love how you're excusing anti-gay hate violence. Your god would be so ashamed.

  26. George Williams

    July 26, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    As I read the comments I reaffirm that it is not just Jamaica that has homophobia but the world. Homophobia is homophobia although culture and history sometimes make the manifestations of homophobic beliefs differ from place to place. I wish the young man Dwayne who lost his life had used better judgement since he should know the kind of environment he lives in. That is not to say it is right for it is wrong what they did to him. You have to be mentally disturbed to carry out an act like that. And mob behavior is very psychologically disturbing. Psychologists say 1% of any population is psychopathic or is a sociopath. Therefore in a population of the US that is 3,000,000 people. That is the population of some countries. Boycotting Jamaica may not be good either since we end up hurting people we do not intend to hurt. Not everyone there is homophobic. Boycotting may give us thousands of refugees on Florida's shore. We are already dealing with Cuba and Haiti for decades and the Dominicans who creep through Puerto Rico to enter the US. So boycotting may be good on the one hand and problematic on the other.

  27. John Christopher Stiller

    July 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Would you feel the same way if your loved ones (son and daughter) turn out to be gay? Will you through them to the savages?

  28. Garfield

    July 28, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    In a country where the murder rate stood at 1,087 in 2012 equalling to 21 Jamaicans per week, that is 3 Jamaicans murdered each day and this does not take into consideration the nearly 300 killed by the police, the killing of a cross dressing teen is not as significant as some people with their homosexual agenda would want to make it seem. Jamaica has a problem with crime. see it for what it is and not what your selfish minds want it to be. The mother of that teen is mourning a lost, yes, but so is 2 other mothers each day. Jamaica needs to fix the problem of its people having a blatant disregard for the lives of other human beings whether or not that human being is gay, straight, man, woman, young or old. This is not a problem of homophobia, it is just a murder rate much too high…

  29. Brian

    August 1, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    This is a third world, ignorant backwater of a country. They don’t respect human rights. Spend your tourism dollars elsewhere. Their economy will die on the vine. My heart goes out to those LGBTS who have to live in such a primitive, barbaric, and uncivilized culture. These people are subhuman, tragic wastes of skin, space, and oxygen. That is all.

  30. Kenzie Lopez

    August 4, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    They strike again:

    Two Homosexual Men Attacked and Mobbed in Jamaica on August 1, 2013:
    http://youtu.be/20uhlwaMo3w

  31. stacy

    August 22, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    dont understand y u american criticizing JAMAICA and look at wat u guys do to this guy >>>>>> Domonique Newburn < the were is the out rage leave us alone we dont want them there take all of them in your country.

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National

Colin Powell, leaving mixed legacy on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ dies at 84

Key figure once opposed gays in military, then backed review

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gay news, Washington Blade, Colin Powell, gay marriage
Colin Powell leaves behind a mixed legacy on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Colin Powell, the first ever Black secretary of state who served in top diplomatic and military roles in U.S. administrations, died Monday of coronavirus at age 84, leaving behind a mixed record on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The world continues to grapple with the pandemic and the public grows increasingly frustrated with its persistence as many remain unvaccinated despite the wide availability of vaccines. Powell was fully vaccinated, according to a statement released upon his death. Powell reportedly suffered from multiple myeloma, a condition that hampers an individual’s ability to combat blood infections.

Rising to the top of the military as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell supported in 1993 Congress moving forward with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that barred openly gay people from serving in the U.S. military.

During a key moment congressional testimony, Powell and other top military officials were asked whether or not allowing gay people in the military would be compatible with military readiness. Each official, including Powell,” responded “incompatible.” Congress would enact “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that year.

Things changed when President Obama took office 15 years later and advocates for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” were eager to claim Powell’s voice among their ranks. After all, Powell was highly respected as a bipartisan voice after having served as secretary of state in the administration of George W. Bush and endorsing Obama in the 2008 election.

After the Obama administration in 2010 announced it would conduct a review of the idea of allowing gay people to serve openly in the military, Powell came out in support of that process. Advocates of repeal called that a declaration of reversal, although the statement fell short of a full support for gay people serving openly in the military.

“In the almost 17 years since the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” General Powell said in a statement issued by his office, adding, “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”

Congress acted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the policy was lifted in 2011. At the time, Powell was widely considered a supporter of ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and publicly counted among supporters of repeal, although the Blade couldn’t immediately find any statements from him to that effect.

In 2012, Powell had similar vaguely supportive words on same-sex marriage, saying he had “no problem with it” when asked about the issue.

“As I’ve thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is, and they raise children,” Powell said. “And so I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married.”

The Blade also couldn’t immediately find any statement from Powell on transgender people serving in the military. After the Obama administration in 2016 lifted decades-old regulations against transgender service, former President Trump issued a ban by tweet the following year. President Biden reversed that ban and allowed transgender people to serve and enlist in the military in his first year in office.

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World

Botswana attorney general seeks to recriminalize homosexuality

High Court heard case on Oct. 12

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(Public domain photo)

GABORONE, Botswana — On June 11, 2019, Botswana moved toward being a state that no longer held some of its citizens (and, by extension, visitors) as criminals if they identified within the LGBTQ spectrum. However, the government didn’t take too long before it declared its intention to appeal the High Court judgment that asserted that consensual same-sex sexual activity in private was not to be a criminal act.

The appeal hearing took place on Oct. 12.

There are some key things to understand about what the High Court did for people in Botswana. The judgment, written and delivered by Justice Leburu, not only put a clear delineation between the state’s powers to intrude in people’s private sexual lives, but it also stated that laws that served no purpose in the governance of the people they oversaw were most likely worthy of “a museum peg” more than being active laws of the land.

In the hearing on Oct. 9, a full bench of five judges of the Court of Appeal was treated to the government’s case—as presented by advocate Sydney Pilane of the Attorney General’s Chambers—along with hearing the rebuttals from the legal counsel representing Letsweletse Motshidiemang, who brought the original case against the government, and LEGABIBO, an NGO admitted as amicus curiae, a friend of the court. The appeal, two years in the making, would have been expected to be based on facts rather than opinions of what could and could not be accepted by hypothetical Batswana. Pilane even went so far as to contest that President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s utterances about how people in same-sex relationships were “suffering in silence” were taken out of context as he was talking about gender-based violence and not endorsing their relationships.

The 2019 ruling of the High Court, the most supreme court of incidence in the country, not only declared people who were or had interest in engaging in consensual same-sex sexual activity not criminals, but it also allowed non-queer people to engage in sex acts that would otherwise be considered “against the order of nature” freely. The latter clause had often been interpreted as being solely about non-heterosexuals but on greater interrogation one realizes that any sex act that doesn’t result in the creation of a child was considered against this ‘order of nature’ and that nullified much of heterosexual sexual exploration—further painting these clauses as out of touch with contemporary Botswana as Leburu expressed.

In some of his appeal arguments, Pilane stated that Batswana “do not have a problem with gay people”, yet he based his contention on the fact that Batswana “respect the courts’ decisions;” as such they would not take up arms at the court’s decision to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity. Pilane maintained that the decision to decriminalize should be left to the Parliament on the recommendation of the courts. The bench was swift to query whether a body of politicians elected by a majority would be the best representatives of a minority that was oppressed by laws that the very politicians benefitted from.

Botswana’s legal system allows for the High Court ruling to remain the law of the land until such a point as it’s struck down. The Court of Appeal ruling in favor of Batswana’s sexual liberties will be a nail in the proverbial coffin of residual colonial sex-related laws plaguing Botswana. This will not be the end by any means though. Where the attorney general can form a case stating that decriminalizing consensual same-sex relations could be likened to people locking themselves in their houses with animals and having their way with them, we know that mindset changes need to be prioritized to ensure that all Batswana understand their constitutionally protected rights to privacy, expression, and freedom of association as relates to their personal and sexual lives.

The 2010 Employment Act of Botswana already protects people from being discriminated against based on their sex or gender identity. The nation’s sexual violence laws were made gender neutral, thus covering non-consensual sex (rape) in all its possibilities. In upholding the ruling of the High Court, the Court of Appeal will allow the LGBTQ and SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics) movements in Botswana some respite as attention is then channeled toward other pressing matters such as name changes, access to healthcare, and other culturally pertinent issues.

The Court of Appeal is expected to hand down a judgement following their deliberations in 4-6 weeks (mid to late November), however, this remains at their discretion. As it stands, since the High Court ruling in 2019, Botswana has experienced increased social accommodation for LGBTQ matters and figures—however, this is not to say there have not been any negative instances. With the continued sensitization, the expectation is that the courts, the government and NGO players will all contribute to a broad, national, culturing of LGBTQ rights in Botswana devoid of colonial residues.

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Local

D.C. rejects request by gyms to lift mask mandate

LGBTQ-owned venues sign letter calling requirement ‘devastating’ for business

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Owners of two LGBTQ-owned D.C. fitness studios and one gym signed on to a joint letter with the owners of six other similar businesses urging D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Department of Health Director Dr. Laquandra Nesbitt to lift a city mandate requiring patrons of gyms and fitness studios to wear masks. 

The Oct. 4 letter, written by gay businessman Bryan Myers, the CEO and president of a chain of local fitness studios using the trademark name of [solidcore], states that the mask mandate, which applies to people who are fully vaccinated for the coronavirus, is based largely on outdated data pertaining to gyms and fitness studios collected prior to the widespread availability of the COVID vaccine.

“More relevant data to inform decision-making would be to study the data from two, large Northeastern cities that have opted to allow fitness classes to continue with the requirement of vaccination in lieu of a mask requirement,” the letter states. “In both New York City and Philadelphia, which have opted for this approach, we have not seen an increase in the trajectory of the Delta variant,” Myers says in the letter.

In the last week of July, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that cities and local jurisdictions with 50 new COVID cases per 100,000 residents per week, which at that time included D.C., should ask residents to voluntarily resume wearing masks indoors. That same week, Bowser announced she would go one step further by mandating the indoor use of masks in most public places, including gyms and fitness spas or studios. 

Bowser and Nesbitt said their intention was to take immediate steps to curtail the spread of the coronavirus so that the city would not be forced to return to the full shutdown mode, including the closing of businesses, that the mayor lifted earlier this year.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced they would ask residents of their states to consider using masks in crowded indoor spaces as recommended by the CDC, but said they would not require mask use. 

In their letter to Bowser and Nesbitt, the gym and fitness studio owners called on the mayor to provide the same exemption to their businesses as the city has provided for restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, which requires masks except when patrons are eating and drinking. 

“While it is true that bars, restaurants, and clubs technically have to follow the same guidelines, we know that in practice, these venues have been granted exceptions by D.C. Health,” the letter says. “On any given night, you can find hundreds of individuals crowded into a U Street bar, at a Capitol Hill restaurant, or thousands at a performance or party at The Anthem enjoying themselves – singing, dancing and physically exerting themselves, shouting – maskless – so long as they have a drink somewhere nearby,” says the letter.

“And to be unequivocally clear, we are not advocating that there is anything wrong with what is happening in other industries or that there be a change to the management of those industries/venues,” the letter continues. “We are simply advocating that we be treated the same as they are.”

The letter adds, “Finally, but perhaps most importantly, the mask mandate for fitness studios and gyms has resulted in devastating financial impact to these businesses – many of which are small locally owned.”

It says patronage has dropped 50 percent for some of the fitness centers and gyms since the mayor’s mask mandate took effect July 29. It points out that the drop in customers comes at a time when many of these businesses have spent thousands of dollars and in some cases hundreds of thousands to upgrade their ventilation and filtration systems and other structural steps to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.

Myers told the Washington Blade in a statement that neither the Department of Health nor the mayor’s office replied directly to the gym and fitness studios’ letter.

Channel 7 News reported that in response to its request for the city’s reaction to the gym and fitness studios’ concerns, the Department of Health released a statement saying, “D.C. Health’s stance is that persons should wear masks in gyms and during this time [we] do not have plans to change our stance on this guidance.”

In his statement to the Blade, Myers said the D.C. gym and fitness studios were frustrated and disappointed that the city at this time is not open to reconsidering the mask mandate for gyms and fitness studios, many of which he said are barely surviving.

“This mandate is directly affecting the livelihoods of residents of the District, many of whom are women, people of color, and/or LGBTQ+ in a policy that is simply not equitable, and is steering residents away from services that can help improve the overall health of our community,” Myers said.

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