JAMAICA GAY GROUP CONDEMNS HORROR TRANS MURDER
Jamaica’s leading gay rights group has reacted with shock at the recent barbaric mob killing of a gender non-conforming teen who was stabbed, shot and chopped to death near Montego Bay.
Dwayne Jones was attacked on Sunday night at a party in the Irwin community, in the St James area of the Caribbean island.
According to reports, Jones was dancing with a man when a woman recognised the 17-year-old and told the crowd that she was not a ‘real’ woman.
Another man accosted Jones and discovered that she had male genitalia. She was then attacked by the mob and her mutilated body was dumped in the bushes alongside a road.
The organisation J-FLAG appealed to Jamaicans to be more respectful of persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
“It is time that these murders, beatings, and evictions are seen and treated as an affront to democracy, peace, justice, harmony, and freedom of our society.
“Jamaica cannot become the place of choice to raise families if we continue killing our children, expelling our most productive, and perpetuating a divisive atmosphere through the skewing of objective truth to suit subjective prejudices,” said the group.
“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 slain teen will find the justice they deserve. We encourage persons in the Irwin community of St. James to support the police with any information that could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators.”
In reaction to the silence of the Jamaica government with regard to Jones’ murder, J-FLAG noted the very different response to another gay hate crime by the government of nearby Haiti.
Haiti’s Justice Minister Jean Renel Sano commented on the attack against gay individuals in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, following an anti-gay rally by a coalition of Christian groups on the weekend.
“This government won’t tolerate violence against anybody. Be they gay or not gay, that does not matter,” Sanon told HCNN on Monday. Police denied earlier reports that two people had been killed in the attack.
In an additional statement, the Haitian government said that the country needs to focus on issues such as extreme poverty, illiteracy, hunger and malnutrition as well as opposing ignorance and intolerance.
“In such a context, tolerance, being a necessary virtue for the establishment of a just and democratic society, becomes a patriotic duty to the extent that a society that is not just cannot progress, and there can be no justice without tolerance.”
J-FLAG said that this approach was “most instructive to us in Jamaica”.
According to Section 76 of the Jamaican Offences Against the Person Act of 1864, a maximum sentence of 10 years can be issued for committing the crime of “buggery”.
Before she took office in January 2012, Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller said that she opposed discrimination against LGBT people and indicated a willingness to review the country’s buggery law, but has since taken no action.
There are also a number of pending legal cases against the anti-gay legislation.