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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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World

Puerto Rico activists condemn police raid on LGBTQ-friendly bar

More than 20 officers descended on Loverbar near the University of Puerto Rico

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Lovebar (Photo via Twitter)

Activists in Puerto Rico have condemned a police raid on an LGBTQ-friendly bar that took place on Thursday night.

Local media reports indicate more than 20 officers with the San Juan Municipal Police Department entered Loverbar, which is near the campus of the University of Puerto Rico, at around 11 p.m.

A video posted to social media shows that some of the officers who entered the bar were armed with what appear to be shot guns.

Media reports cite local authorities who said Loverbar did not have the necessary permits to operate as a bar, and the officers arrived there to fine them. San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero in a statement said officers fined Loverbar and seven other businesses in the city on Thursday for either not having the necessary permits or excessive noise.

“The Municipal Police of San Juan led by Miguel Romero intervened last night with a queer bar,” tweeted Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para [email protected], a Puerto Rican LGBTQ advocacy group. “This reminds us of a time when LGBTQI+ people were prosecuted, criminalized and villified.”

“We won’t tolerate homophobia and transphobia in San Juan,” added Serrano.

Comité Amplio Para la Búsqueda de Equidad (CABE), another Puerto Rican LGBTQ advocacy group, has called for an “exhaustive and independent investigation into the excessive use of force and intimidation by the Municipal Police of San Juan last night” at Loverbar.

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Two injured in gunfire outside crowded 14th Street restaurants

Witnesses say 20 shots fired near Blade, Whitman-Walker offices

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Police are looking for three suspects in connection with Thursday’s shooting.

D.C. police are seeking the public’s help in identifying at least three suspects involved in a shooting in which two men were wounded shortly after 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 22, on the 1700 block of 14th Street, N.W. where the offices of the Washington Blade and Whitman-Walker Health, the LGBTQ supportive health center, are located.

The shooting occurred while dozens of people were dining at restaurants along the bustling street in the heart of the city’s Logan Circle nightlife area.

Police released a video showing two men – one wearing a white hooded sweater or sweatshirt and the other wearing a dark colored similar hooded shirt running along the street and entering the front and rear passenger doors of a black car double parked on the street that police described as an older model Honda Civic with D.C. license plates.

The video shows the car driving away at a fast speed with a third person driving the vehicle.

“Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Third District seek the public’s assistance in locating suspects and a vehicle in reference to an Assault with Intent to Kill (Gun) offense,” a statement released by D.C. police says.

“At approximately 8:20 p.m., members of the Third District heard the sounds of gunshots and responded to the listed location,” the statement says. “Upon arrival, members located two adult male victims, both conscious and breathing, suffering from gunshot wounds,” according to the statement. “DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and transported the victims to area hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.”

The shooting incident took place at a time when many city residents and police were on edge following the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old girl on July 16 in Southeast D.C. and the firing of gunshots last Saturday outside Washington Nationals Stadium during a game, which prompted people inside the stadium, who heard the gunshots, to duck for cover.

D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee, who was accompanied by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at a news conference at the scene of the shooting on Thursday night, said investigators believe one of the two men wounded by the gunfire was a target of the shooting. Contee said police believe the second victim was hit in the crossfire.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re doing everything we can as an entire system here in the District of Columbia to hold offenders accountable when these things happen in our community,” Contee said. “This is unacceptable. That’s the bottom line. It is totally unacceptable behavior,” he said.

“I’m asking the community to take a look at these videos,” he told reporters at the press conference. “If you know the person or the vehicle or somebody who is in that – there is one individual with a very distinctive hoody that he was wearing – please look at that very closely,” he said. “We’re asking for the community’s help.”

When asked by a reporter to comment on expressions of outrage by members of the community over the widespread outbreak of gun violence in the city, Bowser said she shares that concern.

“Well, I’m outraged. The chief is outraged. And the community should be outraged,” the mayor said. “What we saw tonight and unfortunately what we saw over the last several days is an illegal firearm brazenly used on D.C. streets,” Bowser said.

“And we know that our investigators and detectives are going to track down every lead. Our citizens have already been helpful in supplying leads and video and anything else that they saw so that we can get these individuals off the street and hold them accountable,” the mayor said.

Witnesses have said the Thursday night shooting on 14th Street reportedly occurred at the intersection of Riggs Street outside the Mexicue Restaurant, which is located at 1720 14th Street, N.W. The Blade office is located just a few doors down and Whitman-Walker’s Elizabeth Taylor building is a short distance away across the street at 14th and R Street, N.W.

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Senate confirms lesbian, trans nominees to high-profile defense roles

Skelly is second out transgender appointee to obtain confirmation

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The U.S. Senate confirmed on Tuesday two Biden nominees — one lesbian, another transgender — for high-profile positions at the Defense Department by unanimous consent.

Gina Ortiz Jones, a lesbian former Air Force pilot and Texas congressional candidate, was confirmed as under secretary of the Air Force, and Shawn Skelly, a transgender 20-year U.S. Navy veteran and a defense appointee in the Obama administration, was confirmed as assistant secretary of defense for readiness.

For the second time in U.S. history, the Senate has confirmed an openly transgender person as a presidential appointee — and did so without controversy by unanimous consent.

Just months ago, Rachel Levine was confirmed as assistant secretary of health on a party-line basis after enduring rude, invasive questioning from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) during her confirmation hearing on transgender health care.

Jones has also made an achievement through Senate approval: She’s the first out lesbian to win confirmation to serve in a high-level defense position.

The Senate confirmation of the nominees by unanimous consent is consistent with their confirmation hearing, which both Jones and Skelly breezed through without hostility.

Annise Parker, president of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, pointed out in a statement the two newly confirmed presidential appointees both served in the U.S. military under bans against LGBTQ people in the armed forces.

“Gina and Shawn served their country when living openly could result in discharge and a lost career, so their ascension to key leadership positions is a powerful moment for those servicemembers who served or continue to serve in silence,” Parker said. “Their confirmation will transform perceptions of LGBTQ people within the ranks of the U.S. military, but also among the leaders of militaries we work with around the world.”

Another out LGBTQ person nominated by Biden for a high-profile defense role is Brenda Sue Fulton, whom Biden nominated to become assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs. Her nomination, however, has not even had a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee. It’s unclear why her nomination hasn’t moved forward.

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