Jamaica Hub

LGBT Jamaicans Take Stand Against Violence: VIDEO

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Despite living in a country where homosexual acts are illegal and where gay people are murdered in cold blood every year (often with no justice brought against the murderers), a small group of Jamaican LGBT activists held a protest to stand up for themselves.

Check out photos of the protest here.

"The few safe spaces that LGBT people can find, including their homes, where they can exercise their freedom of expression is under constant threat, for even in our private spaces we are not safe," read a press release from the National Anti-Discrimination Alliance (NADA).

In the last month alone, Jamaica's LGBT community has seen six murders, says NADA. Towleroad has linked to a lot of the coverage of the violence.

Those in the Washington, DC area who want to learn more about the culture of homophobia in Jamaica can check out the film The Abominable Crime, which is screening from September 19–27.

Watch the trailer for the film, AFTER THE JUMP... 

Continue reading "LGBT Jamaicans Take Stand Against Violence: VIDEO" »

Gay Man's House Torched After He is Murdered in Jamaica: VIDEO


A gay man was murdered in Jamaica late last month.

Jamaican LGBT News writes:

Watch as a resident and news reporters try to allude to, but not confirm the sexuality of Dean Moriah, whose body was found with stab wounds, house set on fire, and car stolen on August 28. Dean, at the time of his death was an entertainment coordinator at Bogue Village, Montego bay, Jamaica. He was also an a well known, openly gay man.

Watch the report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Moriah's death follows two recent incidents of anti-LGBT violence in Jamaica, one in which two men had to flee after an auto accident when residents accused them of being gay. In another incident, five men had to barricade themselves inside a home after an anti-gay mob gathered outside.

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Two More 'Alleged' Gay Men Mobbed In Jamaica: VIDEO

Local Resident

Fierce homophobia and anti-gay violence have been on the rise in Jamaica. With multiple instances of murder and anti-gay mob violence making their way into the headlines in the last month alone, the Caribbean island nation is certainly living up to its distinction as one of the most homophobic places on the planet. This most recent report of two men taking refuge in a police station from an angry mob, just for being perceived as gay, is a continuation of this disturbing trend. 

Anti-Gay JamaicaThe incident took place on August 23rd in the small town of Old Harbour, St. Catherine. Two men were involved in an automobile accident, but had to make a swift exit when several residents accused them of being gay. An angry mob broke out shortly therafter, forcing the two men to take refuge inside of a nearby police station. The mob reportedly grew as the men continued to take refuge inside, and demanded that police hand the two of them over. Local police had to escort the two men to safety before the mob began to disperse. 

This incident illustrated precisely how hostile of an environment LGBT people face in Jamaica, since the simple accusation of homosexuality was enough to start a mob. This is not the first time such an incident has happened, either. Previously, five men had to barricade themselves inside of a house and protect themselves from a mob, simply because they "appeared to be gay". 

Watch a report from local news, via Jamaican LGBT News ... AFTER THE JUMP...

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Jamaican Gay Man Found Murdered, Continuing a Disturbing Trend

305316_10150368128247223_165124934_nDisturbing news out of Jamaica, where 41-year-old Dean Moriah was reportedly found dead in his home early this morning with stab wounds after his car had been stolen and his house had been set on fire.  Dwayne Brown, a resident of Kingston, shares the story on his blog Minority-Insight:

According to the Jamaica-Gleaner News paper citing the Western Bureau stated that "renowned Monetgo Bay hospitality worker, Dean Moriah was early this morning killed at Bogue Village home in Montego Bay, burnt by unknown assailants. The police say Moriah was stabbed several times before the house was set on fire with him inside. Moriah, who worked for several years as an entertainment manager with the SupperClubs group, last worked with Margaritaville Caribbean."

Based on the news report, unknown assailants (more that one person) stabbed Dean Moriah to death and set his house on fire with his body inside. It was alleged that Dean was killed because he was gay, due to the how the cruel act was carried out. This is barbaric and a moral obscenity. How many more gay men in Jamaica should be brutally murdered before Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller led government, stand up to the hate and murderous anti-gay culture and it's people?

As Towleroad reported late last month, a 17-year-old transgender woman named Dwayne Jones was murdered in the same area late last month by a mob which pursued the teen, "chopped and stabbed him to death" and left his body in some bushes, according to the radio station Irie FM.

480px-Portia_Miller_ShootLGBT people's lives have improved somewhat in Jamaica since Time magazine ran a piece in 2006 with the provocative title "The Most Homophobic Place on Earth?: for example, homophobic mobs were nowhere to be seen at the country's first Pride celebration in 2010.  And Jamaica's current prime minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, said during a debate before she took office that LGBT rights would be safeguarded by her administration:

"Our administration believes in protecting the human rights of all Jamaicans. No one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. Government should provide the protection...."

Nevertheless, homophobia and anti-gay attacks are still rampant in the island nation, with Moriah's death another tragic example of such bigotry.  Earlier this week, we reported on a group of five gay men who were trapped and barricaded in their home by an anti-gay mob and had to be rescued by police.

Moriah's death adds to the growing numbers of a sad statistic that has no place in the 21st century.  Hopefully, someday soon, we won't have to share stories like his anymore.

Five Gay Men Trapped by Angry Mob in Jamaica: VIDEO


Jamaican LGBT News posts this news clip to its YouTube page about a group of five gay men trapped and barricaded by a mob at their home late last week. The gay men had to be rescued by police.


JamaicaFrom the news report's transcript:

One of the angry residents stated, "we have young youth growing up, and what they (gays) want to do is take them and put them in a different direction. When we can bear the hunger and don't stoop to certain level, the youth really cannot do that. That is what really started all of this."

One shall question the rationale behind the residents fear; and possibly conclude if their fears are plausible. In what way did the alleged homosexuals earn the mob's fury? What were the alleged action and statements made by the accused homosexual man? These critical questions remain unanswered. Yet still, the actions taken by the mob were justified in their own regards. 

The fear, ignorance and misconceptions of homosexuality are the primary causes of rampant anti-gay violence and pervasive intolerance towards gays living in Jamaica. The church sows and nourishes this seed of hatred within our society. Clearly, to impede the cycle of hate and misconception of homosexuals in Jamaica, education and sensitization outreaches are necessary and imperative. Hence the role of the church and family are critical in the fight for tolerance and equality.



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Thomas Glave’s ‘Among the Bloodpeople: Politics and Flesh’: Book Review


AmongtheBloodpeople1-508x800I was already deep into this essential collection of impassioned, incendiary essays when I read of the most recent instance of anti-LGBT violence in Jamaica, the brutal murder of 17-year-old Dwayne Jones. For Thomas Glave, who was born to a Jamaican mother and split his early life between the Bronx and Kingston—histories and geographies explored in the essays gathered here—the “flesh” of his title lives under constant threat of the most horrific violence, prone at any moment to being “chopped to death with a machete or burned to death in public.”

It is a threat he imagines again and again carried out on his own flesh and the flesh of his friends, in sentences that heave and roil with rage and grief. In the essay “Toward a Queer Prayer,” Glave remembers the murdered activist Brian Williamson, with whom he founded the Jamaican LGBT rights organization J-FLAG: “Chopped up with a machete, someone chopped him; carved up with an ice pick, someone carved him. Brian: remember him? His insides were ripped open by metal gripped in a pair of angry hands.”

It can be hard to understand why anyone would choose to remain in—would claim any connection whatsoever with—a country that so brutally attacks one’s right to exist. But these essays are fueled not just by rage but by love for what Glave calls “the bloodpeople: the people of shared DNA, shared genes and facial likenesses,” and for Jamaica itself, which emerges in Glave’s prose as a place of extraordinary color and music and life, “the place that provides you with such indescribable joy in your heart--yes, in your very deepest heart.”

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac2cea96970d-300wiAbove all, Glave feels bound to the “mercurial, acrobatic language” of Jamaica, the music of creole and patois that he “long ago absorbed” and that emerges in the strenuous melody of his own remarkable sentences.
The word is a physical thing—as physical as flesh—in the world of Glave’s writing, which is also marked (like the work of James Baldwin, perhaps his most important forebear) by the pulpit cadences of the American black church.

Central to all of these essays is the assertion that the literary, the political, and the erotic are so tightly bound as to be inextricable, and Glave writes about literature with the same urgency that fills his essays on anti-gay violence. In short pieces addressed to four writers—Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Nadine Gordimer, and Toni Morrison—Glave describes how each of them provided him not just with a literary model, but with something much more precious: a warrant to exist.

Questions of language are questions of life and death, Glave argues, forcing us to see how the dehumanizing rhetoric about LGBT people that is so prevalent in contemporary Jamaica, as in so many places, “makes people into ghosts, unpeople, things. Things which, because less than human, are more easily hated, feared, despised. And killed.” “It is a sickness,” Glave writes, giving us an example of such language, his own voice punctuating it in parentheses, “a white people t’ing, a (to some, to many) satanic t’ing…a t’ing we cannot bear inna dis ya country, Massa God: so annihilate de battyman dem, de sodomite dem.”

Against the language of hatred and threat, Glave sets the literary imagination, which can “re-member” the very lives that dehumanizing language tears apart, can “put them back together, and ourselves, as, putting our best feet forward, we proceed…farther away from disremembrance and loathing.”
Glave—himself a celebrated writer of fiction—calls for 2519630706_7e57814dea“the kind of literature that enables survival because it says (or shouts), But wait, because I am here, and I exist.

As these essays repeatedly address forbidden topics, from a defense of barebacking to a painful, moving meditation on suicide (a taboo subject for black men, he writes), Glave crosses boundaries of genre and community, speaking with extraordinary candor and vulnerability variously as the American son of immigrants, as a Jamaican, as a professor, as a queer boy from the Bronx.

What unifies these identities and these essays is the ferocity of Glave’s voice, his sentences that can feel like living, untamed things. Untamed, but in the service of a project that is equal parts ethics and aesthetics: to speak truthfully and boldly and exactingly, even of horror, “to properly honor and do justice to the dead, and to ourselves in pursuit of a more human future.”

Previous reviews...
Duncan Fallowell’s ‘How to Disappear: A Memoir for Misfits’
Frank Bidart’s ‘Metaphysical Dog’

Alysia Abbot's 'Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father'
Gerbrand Bakker’s ‘Ten White Geese’
Garth Greenwell is the author of Mitko, which won the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Prize and was a finalist for the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award as well as a Lambda Award. This fall he will be an Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.


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