The Safe House 2009 Explained & more

In response to numerous requests for more information on the defunct Safe House Pilot Project that was to address the growing numbers of displaced and homeless men in Kingston in 2007/8/9, a review of the relevance of the project and the possible avoidance of present issues with some of its previous residents if it were kept open.
Recorded June 12, 2013; also see from the former Executive Director named in the podcast more background on the project: HERE

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Malta votes for civil unions, non-discrimination for transgender individuals, mutual recognition


On Monday evening, the Parliament of Malta voted to allow same-sex couples to enter civil unions and adopt children; amend the constitution to forbid discrimination against transgender people; and ensure same-sex marriages conducted abroad would be recognised.

Civil unions

The Civil Unions Act amended Maltese law, allowing same-sex couples to enter partnerships with rights and duties similar to marriage. Partners will be able to adopt children.

Claudette Abela Baldacchino MEP, a Maltese member of the LGBT Intergroup, said: “Introducing civil unions was an important step towards fully embracing true European values. This is not merely a question of minority rights, but an issue of what kind of society we want to live in.”

“As an MEP, I believe respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are the basis of any democracy. No country may call itself truly European unless it treats its citizens equally.”
Gender identity and sexual orientation in the Constitution

MPs also voted to amend the Constitution, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Malta is the first EU Member State to enshrine non-discrimination based on gender identity in its constitution.
Recognition of foreign marriages

The Civil Unions Act voted on Monday will also ensure that same-sex couples married or in a partnership from another country will see their union recognised in Malta.

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted: “I congratulate Malta for this very positive step. It’s particularly important that fellow lawmakers ensured unions conducted abroad would be recognised on Maltese soil.”

“The European Commission will perhaps see that this issue is of crucial importance. In these five years, it breached its own promise to work towards the mutual recognition of the effects of civil status documents. Thankfully, some Member States stopped waiting.”

Read more: HERE

Friday, April 11, 2014

Human Rights of Most Marginalised Must Be Protected – Portia Simpson Miller at "Justice for All" conference 2014

also see: Promised (I mean suggested) Conscience vote on Buggery law not a priority right now (yet again)

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says special provisions must be made, where necessary, to protect the welfare of persons who are among the most marginalised and disadvantaged.

She underscored this point in a speech delivered by Justice Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, during Wednesday’s (April 9) opening ceremony for the three-day Caribbean Consultation on Justice for All and Human Rights Agenda, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.

Mrs. Simpson Miller said Jamaica, like most other Caribbean countries, has signed several international agreements, designed to guarantee the human rights of individuals who “have been treated with disrespect and have to continuously confront discrimination.”

These, she pointed out, include: the United Nations (UN) Declaration on Human Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and the Inter-American Convention of Human Rights.

The Prime Minister said the Government of Jamaica will also shortly be introducing the Disabilities Bill to Parliament, which will “protect the rights and interests of persons with disabilities, for the first time, in our law”, as also legislation addressing sexual harassment.

Mrs. Simpson Miller contended that integrity and impartiality are “essential features” for sustaining human rights, pointing out that “like all West Indian Constitutions, ours, here in Jamaica, guarantees basic human rights of all citizens.” In this regard, she added, “the state cannot justifiably favour the rights of one part of its citizenry over any other.”

The Prime Minister noted that progress and change, though slow, has been made across the region in relation to countries’ efforts to safeguard human rights.

She, however, suggested the need to develop and advance a public education agenda for promoting the rights of everyone, and assured that Jamaica is committed to justice and equality.

Mrs. Simpson Miller said the consultation is both timely and vital in helping to pave the way for developing a formula that provides the basis for achieving a level of zero discrimination.

“The Justice for All process provides opportunities for rich dialogue of various stakeholders. These include: parliamentarians, faith-based leaders, representatives of the private sector, the youth, and civil society organizations. Through this process, we hope to identify meaningful options on which there is sufficient consensus for our governments to take action,” she added.

The forum is being staged from April 9 to 11 by PANCAP in collaboration with the Government of Jamaica; the University of the West Indies (UWI); and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM), under the theme: ‘Advancing Justice for All and the Human Rights Agenda’.

Over 90 participants from Jamaica and overseas are discussing and deliberating issues pertaining to advancing the human rights agenda, in the Caribbean. Key among these are issues deemed restrictive to the successful implementation of the Caribbean’s response to HIV and AIDS.

The Justice for All Programme, coordinated by PANCAP, is an advocacy platform aimed at increasing awareness around HIV-related stigma and discrimination and their impact on access to prevention or treatment services.

The programme is being coordinated under the patronage of St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, and United Nations Secretary-General Envoy for HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean, Professor Edward Greene.

The consultations ultimately aim to develop a PANCAP Roadmap for the reduction of HIV-related stigma, eliminate discrimination, and increase national HIV responses by creating a facilitative environment and removing discriminatory laws and practices.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gay Men Divided Over Use of HIV Prevention Drug Truvada in the US

By DAVID CRARY AP National Writer

It's the Truvada conundrum: A drug hailed as a lifesaver for many people infected by HIV is at the heart of a rancorous debate among gay men, AIDS activists and health professionals over its potential for protecting uninfected men who engage in gay sex without using condoms.

Many doctors and activists see immense promise for such preventive use of Truvada, and are campaigning hard to raise awareness of it as a crucial step toward reducing new HIV infections, which now total about 50,000 a year in the U.S. Recent efforts range from think-tank forums and informational websites to a festive event at a New York City bar featuring popular drag queens.

Yet others — despite mounting evidence of Truvada's effectiveness — say such efforts are reckless, tempting some condom users to abandon that layer of protection and exposing them to an array of other sexually transmitted infections aside from HIV.

"If something comes along that's better than condoms, I'm all for it, but Truvada is not that," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "Let's be honest: It's a party drug."

Even as gay-rights organizations celebrate collective progress in the fight to legalize same-sex marriage, the less-publicized Truvada debate has fueled bitter divisions within the gay community. Some who use the drug say they've felt shamed by some who don't, and there's now a lively backlash by users and their allies, including promotion of a "Truvada Whore" T-shirt.

"The discussion can torch emotions like a flame-thrower on a fuel depot," wrote Steve Ramos of the Dallas Voice as the gay-oriented publication reported on the debate in March.

Truvada, produced by California-based Gilead Sciences, has been around for a decade, serving as one of the key drugs used in combination with others as the basic treatment for people who have the AIDS-causing virus HIV. However, the drug took on a more contentious aspect in 2012 when the Food and Drug Administration approved it for pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP — in other words, for use to prevent people from getting sexually transmitted HIV in the first place.

Since then, critics have warned that many gay men won't heed Truvada's once-a-day regimen and complained of its high cost — roughly $13,000 a year. Truvada's proponents say most insurance plans — including Medicaid programs — now cover prescriptions for it, and they cite studies showing that the blue pill, if taken diligently, can reduce the risk of getting HIV by more than 90 percent.

Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, medical director of the ambulatory HIV program at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital, served on the FDA panel that recommended approving Truvada for preventive purposes and is among many doctors who hope that doubts about it fade.

"For folks who are having a significant amount of unprotected sex, it's a slam dunk — not only giving them protective medicine, but engaging them in testing, a whole package of regular health care," he said.

Yet Daskalakis says that out of his large clientele, only about 25 men are taking Truvada for prevention.

"There's some interesting social pushback," he said. "I've spoken to some of my patients who'd totally be candidates but are hesitant to do it. They don't want to be labeled as people on the drug because there's a social stigma."

Daskalakis is dismayed by groups like the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation — one of the country's leading HIV/AIDS service providers — which suggest that prescribing Truvada for prevention means condoning condomless sex.

"I find some of that opposition irresponsible," Daskalakis said. "If some men don't want to use condoms, they won't. You have to deal with it by acknowledging that sometimes unprotected sex happens, and you can still prevent HIV infections."

To date, preventive use of Truvada appears to be limited, due partly to misgivings among some gay men and partly to lack of awareness.

According to Gilead, 1,774 people starting using Truvada for prevention between January 2011 and March 2013 — nearly half of them women. The company said more recent figures aren't available, but health officials in several cities said they see no signs of a major surge in usage.

"Out of our thousands of patients, we have about 20 on PrEP," said Dr. Robert Winn, medical director at Philadelphia's Mazzoni Center, which serves many gay clients.

"Many ask about it, few take it," Winn said. "The number one reason for that gap is the commitment of having to take it every day."

Weinstein, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation leader, takes heart from the low usage figures, saying they bear out his reservations about Truvada. He says he's undeterred by criticism of his insistence that condomless sex — even in the Truvada era — should be discouraged among gay men with multiple partners.

"There's an element in the gay community that espouses 'anything goes,' that is for sexual freedom and not giving an inch," he said. "But demonizing me or AHF isn't going to shut us up."

Another Truvada skeptic is Richard Weinmeyer, a research associate with the American Medical Association's Ethics Group. In an article in February in Bioethics Forum, Weinmeyer — expressing his personal views — argued that preventive use of Truvada could encourage sexual irresponsibility.

"Personal responsibility for one's actions has simply been thrown out the window in a community in which we are too often concerned about stigma and moral judgment," he wrote. "We dare not speak against the reckless behavior of others because we wring our hands over the omnipresent worry that we will shame one another."

The article drew some harsh online criticism; readers called it "puritanical" and "fear-mongering." But Weinmeyer raised a topic that's a visceral part of the debate — the concept of gay-on-gay "shaming" in which men using Truvada as PrEP are stigmatized.

New York psychotherapist Damon Jacobs, an enthusiastic Truvada user since 2011, has encountered the shaming syndrome as he encourages more gay men to learn about the drug's preventive capabilities. Since co-founding an informational web site called, Jacobs says he's heard from men distressed by reactions they faced after broaching the possibility of taking Truvada.

"They'd email me about the names they were called — the 'Truvada whore' syndrome," Jacobs said. "They'd talk with their friends about responsible condomless sex, and they'd get shamed. They'd get seen as a slut."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers extensive information about PrEP on its web site.

"Strong research evidence indicates that PrEP, when used consistently, is safe and effective for reducing the risk of acquiring HIV sexually," it says.

However, Jacobs says other wings of the medical establishment should be more active in disseminating that message, both to gay men and to doctors.

"A lot of doctors are still under the belief that if they give their patients PrEP, they'll go out and have condomless sex," Jacobs said. "What they don't understand is that gay men are already doing that."

At the Fenway Institute in Boston — which specializes in gay, lesbian and transgender health — many doctors initially had misgivings about PrEP, but have overcome them, according to Dr. Kenneth Mayer, the institute's medical research director.

"There definitely were apprehensions at the beginning — would it increase risk-taking behavior, would people take it regularly," Mayer said. "More recently, the questions are not whether it's a good idea, but the optimal way to provide it, and which patients are the best candidates."

"I don't have an issue with people voicing concerns about it, but we have proof it works," said Mayer, who hopes high-level federal officials get more involved in the public discussion.

Another challenge is raising awareness of PrEP in black communities with high HIV infection rates.

"We have young minority men becoming infected at disproportionately alarming rates, and now we have something that could avert this," said Lynnette Ford of GMHC, a New York City AIDS service organization. "But there's not a lot of information out there in communities that need it most."

Demetre Daskalakis, the Mount Sinai doctor, said the Truvada debate recalls the way birth control was viewed in some quarters in the 1960s — as an accessory to promiscuity.

"Anyone who takes Truvada, someone is looking at them and saying they're licentious," Daskalakis said. "When this becomes more normalized, we'll be fine."


Online: CDC fact sheet:—PrEP—factsheet.pdf

Monday, April 7, 2014

5 Things It's Important To Consider Regarding Transphobia and 'RuPaul's Drag Race'

I am in full agreement with this post on the recent Rupaul uproar and the she-male comments during the Logo TV popular show featuring Miss Ru, GREGORY ROSEBRUGH of Bent a queer blog wrote an excellent piece on the issue to which I commented 

"Excellent post and balance to this matter, other places I have noticed an intolerant view of intolerance or plain misunderstanding as this faux pas has shown, I still luv Ru and mistakes will happen, some of our trans allies have forgotten the etymology of the terms used way before the raised visibility and understanding of transgender issues. We ought to take this one as a major learning curve.

Luv from Jamaica"

I have been waiting to see some less emotional responses to this latest faux pas and some balance as well bearing in mind the etymological root of this all and the term "she-male"

The entry read in part:

Recently, Rupaul Charles and the producers of Drag Race released a public statement in response to accusations of transphobia. It is worth noting that while Ru and Co. explain that they intend to tackle issues relating to transgender rights in the future of this show, they did not apologize to the transgender community for their offensive actions in the “Female or She-Male” mini-challenge.

Days after the statement from the Drag Race PR team, Carmen Carrera came forward about her stance on the “Female or She-Male” challenge and its implications for the treatment of transgender women in and out of the drag scene:

“Some of you guys asked me to make a comment so here it goes... 

Although I am certain RuPaul's Drag Race didn't mean to be offensive, let this be a learning experience. I think the show has opened up and educated the minds of many people who were ignorant to the world of drag and has made equality and respect a possibility for those involved, not only as equal beings but as phenomenal artists. 

There has always been a huge presence of trans artists in the drag scene. "Shemale" is an incredibly offensive term, and this whole business about if you can tell whether a woman is biological or not is getting kind of old. We live in a new world where understanding and acceptance are on the rise. Drag Race should be a little smarter about the terms they use and comprehend the fight for respect trans people are facing every minute of today. They should use their platform to educate their viewers truthfully on all facets of drag performance art. #SheHasSpoken

In light of these events, and of the impassioned comments /bent has received from both sides of the issue, I feel it is necessary to provide clarity about my intentions in running my opinion piece about “Female or She-Male” a couple weeks ago. There are a number of things I want to clear the air about.

1) Dialogue is important. 
I do want to promote a dialogue about this show and its impact on the LGBTQ2I community. If someone does not agree with the opinions of this article, I and the editors of /bent of course encourage them to share their thoughts, as silence around the issue of transgender rights will also not create social change.

2) We can love the show while still pointing out its flaws. 
I still love this show, and I still love Rupaul. In fact, it is because I am a die-hard fan of Rupaul’s Drag Race that I had extreme difficulty viewing the “Female or She-Male” game. I do not feel comfortable viewing a show that I enjoy even as I know it promotes dangerous cultural practices in the community I belong to. 

This ambivalence is a difficult thing to constantly balance, but I know I would rather not pretend the show is politically pure and instead accept that there are dire representational problems in its creation. I do not think the solution is for offended viewers to stop watching the show, as that will not change its representational choices either.

3) We can love Rupaul while still pointing out his errors. 
I agree that Rupaul has done more for the LGBTQ2I community than I ever have. Thank you for that reminder, I totally forgot. For one, I will always remember Rupaul as a champion of AIDS activism in the early nineties, especially as the original face of Mac Viva Glam, a makeup line that donates one hundred percent of its profits to AIDS research. I think Rupaul ought to be acknowledged for the culturally relevant work he has done, especially for the drag community. However, I do not think these achievements should absolve Rupaul of responsibility for offensive actions he has committed.

4) Impact and intent are not the same. 
What this means is that regardless of whether or not the producers of Drag Race had intended to create an event that was transphobic or cis-centric, and whether or not Rupaul and Co. perceive themselves as transphobic (my guess is that they identify themselves as transgender advocates), the effect of this mini-challenge has been evidently harmful to the transgender community. For this reason alone the producers of Rupaul’s Drag Race should have said in their public statement something like, “We apologize for our actions, as we had not thought ahead about who in our community we were hurting by creating a game like “Female or She-Male”. We appreciate your feedback and intend to create programming that is safer for all our brothers and sisters.”

5) It’s not all about the language. 
My issue was primarily not as much to do with the word “She-Male” and who it belongs to, as much as the actual activity in the mini-challenge, which encouraged viewers to take apart women’s bodies based on how authentically “woman” they were. This was not just transphobic, but misogynist as well. This said, I do think it is easy to retire the term “She-Male” from drag culture, especially for the sake of our community members who it negatively affects.


also see a post from 2013 on sister blog GLBTQ Jamaica on The difficult task of separating drag culture from transgender identity .......

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

‘Who’s the Man?’: Heteronormativity and Queer Relationships

Originally published on Everyday Feminism and re-published here with their permission


Source: Jeff Shore

People in queer relationships are often subjected to a barrage of ignorance from the straight community.

Whether it be invasive sexual questions or unwanted criticism, nothing seems to be off limits to the innocently inquisitive straight.

Inevitably, one of the more repetitive and annoying debates will be the age-old question “Who is the man and who is the woman?”

Ah yes, because as queer-identified people, the first thing we want you to do is shoehorn normative gender roles into our relationship!

See, the straight community just can’t fathom a bond that could function outside of heteronormativity.
‘Straightening Out’ Queer Relationships with Gender Roles

More people are accepting gay relationships (and I say gay relationships because by and large, despite great strides, the mainstream’s knowledge of queerness is rudimentary at best), but at the end of the day, desire is still largely understood as masculine/feminine.

While your object choice might be easy enough to grasp, the idea that you could have a viable relationship without the balance of gender roles can be disconcerting.

Now, I don’t mean to belittle the validity of anyone’s gender expression.

If you’re traditionally masculine or feminine, it doesn’t mean you’re a stereotype or “bad” queer representation.

Admittedly, I first came to terms with my own queerness through the lens of gender roles.

As a feminine woman, I reassured myself that it was acceptable for me to also like girls – having presumed myself straight beforehand – because my first queer crush happened to be on an androgynous woman.

I reasoned that my understanding of my sexuality and my femininity was not threatened because I was still attracted to masculinity.

Of course, I soon realized that this line of thought was frivolous. I had internalized the superiority of the masculine/feminine binary as a means of smoothing out the social realities of queerness.

I had measured the authenticity of my own sexuality by how legible I thought it would be to the straight community, which brings us back to why straight people feel so compelled and entitled to hold us to that same standard.
The Toxicity of ‘Natural’ Gender Role Supremacy

Being in the majority leads some people to falsely assume that they have an inherent right not only to interrogate those who are marginalized, but to judge everything by comparing it to their own worldview.

When straight people ask queer people to “straighten out” their relationship via assigning normative gender roles, they’re essentially prompting you to prove the validity of yourconnection by making it recognizable to them.

The implication is that you and your partner(s) should be striving to emulate straight dyads.

This supposedly innocuous logic quickly snowballs.

If queer relationships are an oddball subset of gendered social normativity, suddenly we’re all reproducing the gender binary and (in the minds of straights) subconscious straight supremacy.

After all, queer relationships are just an off kilter parody of heterosexuality, right?

Female/female couples seem to bear the brunt of such ignorance. Our cissexist, phallocentric society remains aghast at the idea that two women could possibly have a fulfilling relationship in the absence of a penis.

As a result, there is a particular urgency and fascination around discovering who really wears the pants.

Aside from being intrusive, these quests carry unfortunate subtext about gender expression and correlating personality traits, with masculinity being associated with dominance and femininity being associated with passivity.

The impulse to gender queer relationships has become so pervasive that many young queer people internalize the false masculine superiority complex as a means of making their queer identity visible.

In my experience, I’ve noticed that masculine-identified women have a tendency to be misogynistic and objectifying in their interactions with feminine women.

Why is it that you have to degrade femininity to assert your confidence in your own masculinity?

I don’t intend to generalize. Obviously gender expression varies person to person and I don’t mean to imply that masculine tendencies inherently make you misogynistic.

However, you can express your gender without replicating all the problematic baggage that came along with it in its traditional form.
Don’t Let Gender Roles Dictate Your Identity

Here’s the awesome thing about being queer: We don’t have to imitate straightness because by definition, we exist to oppose and critique it.

It’s the salad bar of gender and sexual expression. Mix it up with whatever you want! Or don’t.

The point is that you shouldn’t have to worry about checking boxes to please a group that isn’t even part of your own community.

And to the straights who ask who’s the man and who’s the woman: Believe it or not, it’s none of your business! Maybe they’re both men. Maybe they’re both women. Maybe they’re neither. If it’s not your relationship, it’s not your problem.

The heteronormative appropriation of queer culture needs to stop. No, we’re not modeling our identities and our relationships after yours. Stop trying to flatter yourselves by trying to convince us that we are.

Again, casting queer relationships in a heteronormative light is an assault to their authenticity. You don’t need rigidly enforced gender roles to build a real connection.

Not to mention that this ideology marginalizes vast subsets of identity. What if you’re a femme who likes femmes? A butch who likes butches? What about agender/genderfluid individuals? Where do they fit in?

Internalizing the expectation for a gender dichotomy within your partnerships might also be subconsciously limiting your own sexual expression.

When I was first coming to terms with my identity, I only “allowed” myself to like girls if they were masculine.

I refused to consider more feminine girls, despite the fact that I was occasionally attracted to them, because they symbolized the point at which I would no longer be able to understand my sexuality within the constraints of the heteronormative belief system that I had grown up with.

Who knows what kind of relationships I missed out on because of that fear of illegitimacy?
Embrace and Respect Queer Agency

Don’t hold yourself to mainstream expectations. No queer identity is wrong. Queerness can always be in flux.

No one else but you can sculpt your identity and your relationships. They’re yours.

Additionally, straight people often use their fascination with queer gender roles to deflect from their obsession with queer sex.

Our society is so saturated with heterosexuality to the extent that people can’t imagine how sexual pleasure could possibly exist outside of the traditional penis/vagina geometry.

This perspective is obviously problematic for a number of reasons. First, asexuals are completely excluded from consideration in the assumption that people in relationships have to be having sex. Romantic orientation isn’t always indicative of sexual orientation.

Second, using someone’s adherence to gender roles or lack thereof to try and determine what they do between the sheets is laughable. Since when does gender expression translate automatically to specific sexual preferences?

The implication is that masculinity is dominant while femininity is submissive, but that isn’t always the case. Would you assume every heterosexual couple acts the exact same way in bed together based solely on their gender?

Also, not all heterosexual couples are going to have a penis and vagina, so their sex lives might be different from the sex lives of those who do.

Above all, asking about anyone’s sex life without their permission is just rude and creepy. We’re not here for your titillation, so please don’t contribute to already rampant queer fetishization.


Rather than investigating gender roles to arbitrarily rationalize someone else’s relationship, respect their rights as fellow human beings.

Instead of asking who’s the man and who’s the woman, ask yourself why that question matters to you in the first place.

Erin Tatum is a Contributing Writer at Everyday Feminism. She’s a feminist, queer theory lover, and television enthusiast living in Pennsylvania. She is particularly interested in examining the representation of marginalized identities in media. In addition to Everyday Feminism, she’s also a weekly contributor to Bitch Flicks. Follow her on Twitter @ErinTatum91 and read her articles here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Youth Ministry official accused of homo-paedophile acts takes Minister, OCA & Public Services Commission to court

Sydney Bartley

One Sydney Bartley the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Culture has filed an action in the Supreme Court claiming that accusations made against him sexually molesting a boy (age not given at this time) are not true and baseless and that the attempts to separate him from his post are improper, rumours have been swirling for months since late last year of late night in office romps with young males but no definitive proof has been brought to bear with even the Minister of Youth Lisa Hanna said to be resolute in not returning to the office until he had vacated same via taking early retirement leave, the Prime Minister is said to have been also briefed on the matter.

First respondent – Minister Lisa Hanna

Second respondent – Diane Gordon Harrison (Office of the Children’s Advocate)

Third respondent – Lois Parkes (Services Commission)

Questions were posed in parliament by Miss Hanna’s opposition counterpart Miss Olivia Babsy Grange a short time ago which seemed to be related to the impasse as she wanted to know the employment status of the PM, the Office of the Children’s Advocate alongside the police had raided the youth ministry on February 24, 2014 where several staff members were questioned as to the allegations, the OCA front woman Dianne Gordon Harrison at the time had said she was under a gag order and by law cannot speak to ongoing investigations. It has also come to light that the OCA has written to the Minstry(er) of Youth & Culture based on reports they were in hand of alleged inappropriate action by the persons named now known as the PS.

The questions from Miss Grange include:

1) To ascertain whether the permanent secretary is still in the Ministry’s employ?

2) If that PS had disciplinary action taken against him, if so what conduct or breach would have triggered such action?

3) Are the rumours circulating bearing any truth in them? (bearing in mind Miss Hanna had allegedly said the PS was on leave and all was well

4) Will the minister say if the PS was suspended due to matters in the remit of an agency of the MYC?

5) Will the minister say if he was suspended when did this take effect and for what period?

6) Given rise to the suspension or other means of separation when did this come to the Minister’s attention?

I understand the sensitive nature of that position as any hint or allegations of such nature can bring the entire thrust of the entity can be brought into disrepute, Miss Grange’s questions however though plausible seem more to confirm what is out there on the grapevine more so than unearth the truth but be that as it may this one has not gone away quietly as previous. When more powerful folks get into hot water like this we often do not see such cases going so far but it dies a quick death in as far as public scrutiny is concerned although very few media outlets are tracking it. Miss Hanna has not answered Miss Grange’s parliament floor inquiry.

Lisa Hanna has since responded to Mr Bartley’s concerns via an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court earlier this month, it includes the aforementioned letter sent to Miss Hanna by Miss Gordon Harrison on January 17 this year which considered Mr Sydney Bartley; Miss Harrison told the Minister “I wish to advise you as a matter of courtesy that the Office of the Children’s Advocate has received and recorded a complaint against the Permanent Secretary in your Ministry alleging sexual abuse of a male child” she continued that the OCA had arrived at no find whatsoever but found it appropriate that the investigations be brought to her attention, Minister Hanna responded the same day she told Miss Harrison that she found the contents of the letter disturbing on many levels and that she would move to have Bartley immediately dismissed, Miss Hanna in her affidavit also said the Prime Minister was briefed and that the PM directed Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Saunders to act in Mr Bartley’s place which became effective January 27th this year. A stamped affidavit was also filed at the Supreme Court as well by Chief Personnel Officer of the Services Commission Miss Lois Parkes where she indicated that she met Mr Bartley in the company of Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Saunders during that meeting Mr Saunders suggested that Mr Bartley be sent on immediate early retirement; that recommendation was made subsequently by the public services commission the Governor General Sir Patrick Allen. Miss Parkes told the court “The Governor General considered the recommendation and did not approve” in the meantime in his affidavit Mr Bartley says he is in the dark about allegations he abused a male child he said he was summoned by Lisa Hanna in October last year regarding what she described as strong rumours as several persons had communicated to her that he was having meetings late at night in his office and that she would not return to the New Kingston offices if he was present.

He went on to say that she has not given details as to illegal, immoral or improper conduct on his part he said Miss Hanna had earlier recommended that he take vacation leave while she carried out checks, he also claimed to have fallen ill, shortly after he was contacted by a news team about his going on leave and why. On October 31 another news team contacted Minister Hanna and asked her about the allegations and leave she terminated the call by saying “The Permanent Secretary is fine” as the Simpson Miller administration tries to separate themselves from him Mr Bartley also adds that he was aboard an American Airlines flight to Long Island when he was taken off the flight by immigration officers as a stop order would prevent him from travelling, he said he was scared and his mouth became dry immediately.

He said that he did not take any vacation since 2011 so he agreed to take leave providing he dealt with some matters still on his desk including the parliamentary issues to do with the appropriations committee to which he must do. He claimed in December that his two secretaries a Miss Peters and Miss White to which he was instructed to reassign the latter Miss White to the PS office which he found strange afterwards as she had a good track record while he thought the investigations were clear. Two hand delivered letters normally done by bearer was also red flags in his minds. Emails and other communications also had him concerned as the OCA were named and that the “report” discussion he should offer to go on early retirement (typed in bold underlined font) the fact that the minister wished him all the nest suggested that it was a done deal and that he should go this without getting a chance to seek legal advice etc.

The cabinet secretary proposed one of two things which he posited as “ideas” for a solution

1 Go on early retirement (taking vacation leave first then in the midst enable that application)

2 interdicted pending investigations

All this no definitive dates, times of the immoral or illegal acts of which he is accused.

What also came strange was on Tuesday January 21, 2014 the services commission rep Miss Parkes called and told Mr Bartley that he had to take vacation leave even while he indicated he would take such leave (via communiqué to senior staff) on January 27th. He took two days departmental leaves which commenced January 22, 2014 and one day sick leave January 24 which were approved.

In Miss Hanna’s affidavit she continued that the applicant/accused shared personal information with her in a meeting but given the trust reposed in the ministry he should take early leave to which he was entitled.

Let us bear in mind when it comes to allegations of improper touching or related accusations that there are two levels of investigations

1 The Office of the Children’s Advocate would be activated from which criminal charges can be brought if proof is found then disclosure is made to the accused afterwards they can prepare their defense.

Let us keep a close eye on this one folks as cases such as this only serve to reinforce sometimes the homo-paedophile justification for resisting gay rights or the decriminalization of buggery by the religious right movement and other non religious anti gay actors, one such religious anti gay voice recently posted her own questions via Facebook:

The tone of her stance is clear eh.

UPDATE March 11, 2014 - more of the affidavit and connected matters courtesy of Nationwide Radio.

Peace and tolerance

UPDATE March 12 Clovis cartoon in a kind of late follow up but the point is made:

UPDATE March 18.03.14 courtesy of RJR News:

There's a development concerning Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Sydney Bartley.
RJR News has received word that Bartley has been reassigned to a senior post in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
It's understood that he will be based at the head office of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
Efforts to contact Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador Douglas Saunders, on Bartley's reassignment was unsuccessful.

News of his reassignment comes ahead of Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna's response to questions in the House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon.

Last month, the Opposition Spokesperson on Youth and Culture, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, tabled questions in the House regarding whether Bartley is still acting in the post or disciplinary action has been taken against him.

Bartley, who was appointed in January last year to act as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, has taken legal action to prevent the authorities from sending him on early retirement.

UPDATE March 18 television news coverage:





Monday, March 3, 2014

British Medical Association condemns Uganda's anti-gay legislation

The BMA has demanded the withdrawal of strengthened anti-gay laws in Uganda.

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni (pictured) signed a bill last week that includes toughened penalties for gay people, as well as life imprisonment for ‘aggravated homosexuality’.

The new legislation criminalises the promotion of homosexuality and comprises a potential life sentence for performing gay sex, including oral sex.

Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda.

The Ugandan leader said he was persuaded to sign the bill, which was passed by its parliament last year, after he consulted, among others, scientists and medical experts who said homosexuality was behavioural, not genetic ‘and could be unlearnt’.

‘Bad science’

At the signing of the bill, he maintained: ‘Since nurture is the main cause of homosexuality, then society can do something about it to discourage the trends.’

BMA director of professional activities Vivienne Nathanson (pictured right) has written to him in protest.

She writes: '[I] request that you give every consideration to the withdrawal of this piece of legislation at the earliest opportunity.'

She has also questioned the science and alleged medical expertise used to support the legislation.

She said: ‘It is deeply disturbing that any country should pass legislation enacting discrimination against any group — in this case homosexuals.

‘It is equally disturbing that the legislature was aided by so-called medical experts who reinforced bad science and prejudice.’

International outcry

The new anti-homosexuality laws have been widely criticised across the world.

The World Bank last week suspended a £54m loan to the Ugandan health sector owing to the anti-gay laws.

Norway has said that, as a result, it is redirecting millions in aid for Uganda towards human rights and democracy organisations.

Dutch aid has also been suspended and Denmark has said it is ‘restructuring aid away from the government’.

The World Medical Association, whose president is Ugandan psychiatrist Margaret Mungherera, has also sent a letter to Mr Museveni on the issue.

also see
Uganda President ratifies Anti-Homosexuality Bill; MEPs: ‘Suspend political agreement with Uganda!

Denmark, Netherlands cut aid to Uganda over anti-gay bill .............. others pending

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Jamaican Gay Hookers Popular Online says the Star News


So the Star News tabloid has finally picked up on this one when it is long gone out there, well the reporting is not all that bad this time as usually their style is very condescending and stigmatizing as well. I had posted the clip on three of my blogs from the day it was released and have paid close attention to some of the comments made and lack thereof by more privileged members of the gay community ...........

The Star carried:

Documentary highlights their life in New Kingston

Diandra Grandison, Staff Reporter

Dressed in wigs, female apparel and heavy make-up, a group of homosexual sex workers were the highlight of a documentary which went viral on the Internet recently.

The film titled, Documentary on Gay Prostitutes Living in Jamaica was first aired on video sharing site YouTube more than a week ago and has stirred responses of pity and disgust for the gay prostitutes.

The almost hour long documentary, which was produced by CBTV, was filmed on a sidewalk at Trafalgar Road, St Andrew, a popular hotspot for homosexuals.

Ten gay prostitutes were interviewed, all of whom spoke of their experiences as a sex workers as well as used the opportunity to express their grouses.

During the documentary, a 22-year-old 'man' with the moniker 'Stagerine', spoke of earning a living as a sex worker since he was 14. "I come from rural St Catherine, saw a gay sex tape and heard about New Kingston and decided to come hustle, I've been a sex worker for seven years," he shared.

But unlike many of his colleagues, Stagerine revealed, he still has a good relationship with his family, despite his occupation and lifestyle.

The homosexual sex workers, also spoke of being attacked by passers-by and being made homeless due to their sexual orientation. This proved to be true as during the interview a bottle was thrown at the group.

Sasha-Berry, 21, explained how he was hospitalised late last year: "I was stabbed multiple times in December, after I was set up by 'two real girls' to mek dem friend try kill me."

Another worker said he is forced to sleep in a gully. " From yuh gay, dem don't waa rent we dem place and what we make is hand to mouth, we can't afford it," Trina-Doll explained.

The group also emphasised their need for help and aspirations to live overseas in a 'gay-friendly' country.

"Mi feel like me waa leave Jamaica and live my life free, waa live like inna Amsterdam weh it legal!" one said.

Throughout the film, the men expressed their disappointment in Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, who they claimed used them to get elected. They claimed that the prime minister made promises during the December 2011 leadership debate that if admitted in office she would review the Buggery Act.

Another added, "she needs to look out for us. She visits other countries and sees how their heads of state look out for homosexuals ... How do you sleep Miss Portia, knowing that your brothers and sisters are sleeping in the gully?"

While some of the more than 50,000 YouTube viewers sympathised with the gay sex workers, others responded with disdain.

"Oh my God, my heart bleeds for these poor uneducated guys, this is a very sad state," a viewer commented.

Another commented, "this is disgusting! I'm for live and let live, but sex on the street and them kinda levity, spread all kinda disease and dysfunction."

"Mi feel like me waa leave Jamaica and live my life free, waa live like inna Amsterdam weh it legal!"


Pity that it has taken all these years, deaths, beatings, impervious bigoted pretentious agencies run by gay men at that and so much suffering to finally get them some attention and despite grand announcements and shows to pretend as if some concern is being shown via the much touted Dwayne's House project they are still on the streets as their numbers increase.

Now we are being told of another pretentious bunch coming on to do some sort of outreach as 1pm! in the afternoon when the men are out at late hours.

Question is where were all these persons when the situation warranted so much attention and additionally why wasn't support given to other groups and individuals who wanted to jump in and assist?

Politics in Jamaican LGBT advocacy continues to play out and how strange that the Chairman of JASL resigned in a huff some time ago.

Peace and tolerance


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Gay Asylum Seekers continue to face humiliation

Well it is the oldest story in the book when it comes to gay asylum seekers in the UK especially Jamaicans as previous cases have shown, I have seen cases being thrown out or delayed for extended periods as persons are not "camp" enough for the believability factor to sink in. Then there is the issue of a perception that it is easy to simply cry homophobia and as night follows day it is a done deal for applicants.

The Guardian Newspaper carried a story yesterday on the matter as excerpted below:

Keith Vaz
Keith Vaz, chair of the home affairs select committee, said he was 'shocked' that Home Office officials were still questioning asylum seekers in such a manner. Photograph: Martin Godwin

Leaked document reveals lurid questions asked by Home Office officials in contravention of guidelines

Home Office officials are under fire for using "shockingly degrading" lines of questioning when interviewing gay and lesbian asylum seekers, despite clear guidance that such an approach is unacceptable.

A confidential Home Office document leaked to the Observer reveals how one bisexual asylum seeker was asked a series of lurid questions by a Home Office official, including: "Did you put your penis into x's backside?" and "When x was penetrating you, did you have an erection? Did x ejaculate inside you. Why did you use a condom?"

The document reveals that during five hours of questioning in a UK detention centre, the male asylum seeker was also asked: "What is it about men's backsides that attracts you?" and "What is it about the way men walk that turns you on?"

The questions, typed up by a Home Office employee, and dated last October, have been branded an "interrogation".

The Home Office on Saturday admitted that staff were "not permitted to ask inappropriate or intrusive questions", but added that attempts to determine an individual's sexual orientation were conducted "as sensitively as possible".

S Chelvan, a barrister and expert in asylum claims based on sexuality, said the interview, which was conducted with no lawyer present, was "shockingly degrading".

He added: "I'm horrified by the nature of the questions that have been highlighted. It's more like an interrogation than an interview. It is exceptionally troubling that there were questions like whether an individual ejaculated or whether they used a condom. This is an unacceptable investigation of a gay asylum claim. Clearly, something is going terribly wrong here."

Immigration barrister Colin Yeo also voiced concern: "This is the worst I have seen, but these sorts of intrusive, abusive questions are features of Home Office interview practice, particularly in cases involving sexuality. The underlying problem is that officials believe everyone is a liar. It leads to a fundamental lack of respect for the people they are dealing with."

Keith Vaz, chair of the home affairs select committee, said he was "shocked" that Home Office officials were still questioning asylum seekers in such a manner, and called for the practice to be stopped.

Campaigners said it exposed the culture of disbelief of vulnerable asylum seekers. In 2010, a whistle-blower who had worked at a centre for processing asylum seekers' claims revealed how colleagues expressed vehemently anti-immigration views and took pride in refusing applications.

Gay rights group Stonewall, whose studies found almost "systemic homophobia" in the UK's asylum system, said the approach could be "deeply distressing" to asylum seekers.

Richard Lane, spokesman for Stonewall, said: "Valuable time and resources is spent attempting to 'prove' a claimant is gay rather than establishing whether they have a legitimate fear of persecution."

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need it and we do not deport anyone at risk of persecution because of their sexuality.

"All applicants are required to establish they face persecution, inhumane or degrading treatment in their home country to qualify for our protection."


Also see:
UK 'breaching UN rules' on returning gay Iraqi asylum seekers

Friday, January 31, 2014

Higher pill burden is associated with poorer adherence to HIV therapy and reduced chances of achieving an undetectable viral load


Lower pill burden is associated with higher rates of adherence to HIV treatment and better virological outcomes, according to the results of a meta-analysis published in the online edition ofClinical Infectious Diseases. The research also showed that adherence was better with once-daily regimens compared to twice-daily treatment, but once-daily therapy did not have any advantages in terms of virological suppression.

“Higher pill burden was associated with both lower adherence and worse virologic suppression in both twice-daily and once-daily subgroups,” comment the authors. “Adherence was higher with once-daily ART [antiretroviral therapy] regimens than twice-daily regimens…however, this difference was minimal and did not translate into better treatment outcomes.”

The past decade has witnessed important improvements in antiretroviral treatment. Overall, drugs are now less toxic and better tolerated than in the past. Pill burden has also been reduced and dosing schedules simplified. Two fixed-dose pills (Atripla and Stribild) are now available, providing potent HIV therapy in a single tablet.

A meta-analysis of randomised trials published in 2009 showed that once-daily treatment was associated with higher rates of adherence compared to twice-daily therapy, but that rates of virologic suppression did not differ greatly between the treatment strategies.

More randomised trials have been published since then. An international team of investigators therefore re-visited the questions of whether pill burden and dosing schedule have an impact on adherence and virologic suppression.

Randomised-controlled trials comparing once- and twice-daily therapy published or presented before 31 March 2013 were eligible for inclusion in the analysis. The study populations could include people who had not taken treatment before (treatment naive); treatment-experienced people switching treatment with an undetectable viral load; or treatment-experienced people switching treatment with detectable viraemia.

A total of 19 studies including 6312 people met the inclusion criteria. The studies were conducted between 2004 and 2011. Most (18/19, 95%) were published in peer-reviewed journals. Seven studies (37%) included treatment-naive patients, nine (47%) monitored patients who switched treatment with an undetectable viral load and three (16%) evaluated treatment-experienced individuals who changed treatment when their viral load was detectable.

The median duration of follow-up was 48 weeks, and 17 studies (89%) reported on both adherence and virologic suppression. The majority of studies (eleven, 58%) used MEMS (Medication Event Monitoring System) to assess adherence. The remaining eight studies used pill count.

However, the authors note that none of the studies included fixed-dose single pill therapies.

Higher pill burden was associated with lower rates of adherence (p = 0.004). But when the results were stratified by treatment strategy, the association between adherence and pill burden was only significant for twice-daily combinations (p = 0.001).

There was also a significant association between higher pill burden and reduced chances of achieving virologic suppression (p < 0.0001). This was the case for both once-daily (p = 0.005) and twice-daily (p = 0.0003) regimens.

Turning to dosing schedule, adherence was higher with once-daily regimens compared to twice-daily therapy (weighted mean difference [WMD] = 2.51%; 95% CI, 1.20%-3.83%, p = 0.0002). The adherence advantage of once-daily treatment was apparent in treatment-naive individuals (WMD = 3.94%; 95% CI, 1.42%-6.47%, p = 0.0002), as well as people switching therapy with detectable viraemia (WMD = 5.28%; 95% CI, 0.60%-9.96%, p = 0.03) and also people who changed treatment with an undetectable viral load (WMD = 0.95%; 95% CI, 0.36%-1.54%, p = 0.002). The difference between these sub-groups was significant (p = 0.02).

Virologic outcomes did not differ significantly between once- and twice-daily regimens. The investigators believe there are several possible explanations for this finding. These include the relatively small difference in adherence rates between once-and twice-daily regimens; the short period of follow-up in many studies; and the high levels of adherence support provided in clinical trials. “For all these reasons,” write the investigators, “the difference in virologic suppression that we found between once- and twice-daily ART regimens may be understated.”

They conclude that once-daily treatment is associated with better adherence, and that higher pill burden is associated with poor virologic outcomes.

The authors believe their findings are of significance to health systems which are looking at ways of reducing costs. Single tablet HIV therapy and fixed-dose combinations are marketed at a premium, but the investigators believe “separating out the single-tablet regimens and or/fixed-dose combinations into their constituents is not likely to have a major detrimental impact on virological outcomes (provided that the overall pill burden does not increase dramatically).”


Nachega JB et al. Lower pill burden and once-daily dosing antiretroviral treatment regimens for HIV infection: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Infect Dis, published online ahead of print, 22 January 2014.

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Newstalk 93FM's Issues On Fire: Polygamy Should Be Legalized In Jamaica 08.04.14

debate by hosts and UWI students on the weekly program Issues on Fire on legalizing polygamy with Jamaica's multiple partner cultural norms this debate is timely.

Also with recent public discourse on polyamorous relationships, threesomes (FAME FM Uncensored) and on social.

Popular Posts

RJR - Surprise Yes vote by Ja on Sexual Orientation Removal from Summary Executions Resolution

Beyond the Headlines host Dionne Jackson Miller has Arlene Harrison Henry and Maurice Tonlinson on Human RIghts Day 2012 on the the removal of language in the form of sexual orientation on the Summary Executions UN Resolution - On November 21, 2012, Jamaica voted[1] against resolution A/C.3/67/L.36 at the United Nations condemning extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions which urges States “to investigate promptly and thoroughly all killings, including… all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation

Homeless MSM evicted from Cargill Avenue (evening edition)

28/08/12 CVM TV again rebroadcast a story of homeless MSM and the deplorable living conditions coupled with the almost sensationalistic narrative of the alleged commercial sex work the men are involved in. Gay Jamaica Watch has been following this issue since 2009 when the older populations of MSMs who were for the most part displaced due to forced evictions and homo negative issues and their re-displacement by agencies who on the face of it refused to put in place any serious social interventions to assist the men to recovery CLICK HERE for the CLIP

Information, Disclaimer and more

Not all views expressed are those of GJW

This blog contains pictures and images that may be disturbing. As we seek to highlight the plight of victims of homophobic violence here in Jamaica, the purpose of the pics is to show physical evidence of claims of said violence over the years and to bring a voice of the same victims to the world.

Many recover over time, at pains, as relocation and hiding are options in that process. Please view with care or use theHappenings section to select other posts of a different nature.

Not all persons depicted in photos are gay or lesbian and it is not intended to portray them as such, save and except for the relevance of the particular post under which they appear.

Please use the snapshot feature to preview by pointing the cursor at the item(s) of interest. Such item(s) have a small white dialogue box icon appearing to their top right hand side.

God Bless

Other Blogs I write to:
Recent Homophobic Incidents CLICK HERE for related posts/labels from glbtqjamaica's blog & HERE for those I am aware of.


Steps to take when confronted by the police & your rights compromised:

a) Ask to see a lawyer or Duty Council

b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist

c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tense

d) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation

e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports

f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)

g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible

h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violated

i) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions

j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it

Notes on Bail & Court Appearance issues

If in doubt speak to your attorney

Bail and its importance -
If one is locked up then the following may apply:

Locked up over a weekend - Arrested pursuant to being charged or detained There must be reasonable suspicion i.e. about to commit a crime, committing a crime or have committed a crime. There are two standards that must be met:
1). Subjective standard: what the officer(s) believed to have happened

2). Objective standard: proper and diligent collection of evidence that implicates the accused To remove or restrain a citizen’s liberty it cannot be done on mere suspicion and must have the above two standards

 Police officers can offer bail with exceptions for murder, treason and alleged gun offences, under the Justice of the Peace Act a JP can also come to the police station and bail a person, this provision as incorporated into the bail act in the late nineties

 Once a citizen is arrested bail must be considered within twelve hours of entering the station – the agents of the state must give consideration as to whether or not the circumstances of the case requires that bail be given

 The accused can ask that a Justice of the Peace be brought to the station any time of the day. By virtue of taking the office excluding health and age they are obliged to assist in securing bail

"Bail is not a matter for daylight"

Locked up and appearing in court:
 Bail is offered at the courts office provided it was extended by the court; it is the court that has the jurisdiction over the police with persons in custody is concerned.

 Bail can still be offered if you were arrested and charged without being taken to court a JP can still intervene and assist with the bail process.

Other Points of Interest:
 The accused has a right to know of the exact allegation

 The detainee could protect himself, he must be careful not to be exposed to any potential witness

 Avoid being viewed as police may deliberately expose detainees

 Bail is not offered to persons allegedly with gun charges

 Persons who allegedly interfere with minors do not get bail

 If over a long period without charge a writ of habeas corpus however be careful of the police doing last minute charges so as to avoid an error

 Every instance that a matter is brought before the court and bail was refused before the accused can apply for bail as it is set out in the bail act as every court appearance is a chance to ask for bail

 Each case is determined by its own merit – questions to be considered for bail:

a) Is the accused a flight risk?
b) Are there any other charges that the police may place against the accused?
c) Is the accused likely to interfere with any witnesses?
d) What is the strength of the crown’s/prosecution’s case?

 Poor performing judges can be dealt with at the Judicial Review Court level or a letter to the Chief Justice can start the process

Human Rights Advocacy for GLBT Community Report 2009

What Human Rights .............

What are Human Rights?

By definition human rights are our inalienable fundamental rights. Inalienable means that which cannot be taken away. So our human rights are bestowed upon us from the moment we are born and, thus we are all entitled to these rights. Because we are entitled to our human rights and they cannot and should not be taken away from us, we as a people must strive to protect them, government should protect them and breaches of our rights should be highlighted and addressed appropriately.

Human rights are the same for everyone irrespective of colour, class or creed, and are applicable at both the national and international level. In Jamaica, our human rights are enshrined in and protected by our Constitution. Internationally, there have been numerous laws and treaties enacted specifically for the protection of human rights.

Milestone document

Most notably of these is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration is seen as a milestone document in the history of human rights. It was proclaimed by the United Nations, in 1948, as a common standard of achievements for all nations, and sets out the fundamental human rights to be universally recognised and protected.

The Declaration sets out the following rights:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Equality before the law

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Everyone has the right to freedom of movement

Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government;

Everyone has the right to education.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.