I am tired of writing about the abuse and beating suffered by Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people at the hands of their own (other Black people), but it must be reported so people realize that it still goes on.
In Jamaica, which I do believe to be the most homophobic place on Earth, a cross-dresser was severely beaten by a mob in Falmouth’s Water Square.
The Jamaican Observer reports the following:
Police who were called to the scene had to fire warning shots to disperse the stone-throwing, stick-wielding mob, which succeeded in tearing off the man’s black-and-white form-fitting blouse and jet black wig.
According to eyewitnesses, the man was spotted at approximately 8:30 am in the town centre apparently waiting for transportation. He was wearing heavy make-up, high-heeled shoes, a long pair of shiny earrings, a black leather jacket over a snug black-and-white blouse, a tight-fitting pair of jeans, a black wig, a pair of sunglasses and a handbag slung over his broad shoulders.
It was not clear yesterday how the alarm was first raised. However, the Observer was told that the assault began as soon as someone in the busy square shouted that the person was actually a man wearing female attire.
The news of the man’s presence in the community spread rapidly and in a matter of minutes scores of angry residents converged on the scene and began to rain blows all over the cross-dresser’s body with sticks, stones and whatever weapon they could find.
"Where is the police station at?" the frightened man screamed.
During the melee, the wig the man was wearing fell off and wads of newspaper stuffed in a brasserie to lift the man’s chest dislodged, while a cosmetic kit containing lipsticks of varying colours was thrown from a bag he was carrying, much to the amusement of the large crowd who stood watching.
"B***y boy fe dead," persons among the mob shouted.
The sentiments were echoed by the rest of the riled-up crowd.
"Falmouth no pet no b***y boy. We no want none a them bout here," one woman yelled.
After the mob dispersed, the victim was whisked off in a police service vehicle, much to the disapproval of the crowd who rushed upon the vehicle demanding the man’s release.
"If you ever did see him. Him dress hotter than you and me," one young girl was overheard telling her friend.
"Nu worry man, we gi him a proper [beating]," one man said proudly.
The man was admitted to hospital. However, a police spokesman said last night that a group of people, who wanted to beat the man on his release, were waiting outside the hospital, which, he said, could delay his release from the health facility.
Yesterday’s beating was the second such in a month in western Jamaica. In the previous incident, several men alleged to be homosexuals were chased, beaten and stabbed, resulting in one of them being hospitalized, during the Supreme Ventures carnival on Gloucester Avenue, Montego Bay. The men were said to have gone onto the stage and gyrated on each other, angering the patrons.
Now, this brings up several issues for me and hopefully you too.
Just last week, we had a group of Black pastors join anti-gay activists in fighting a federal hate crimes bill for fear that it would criminalize their right to preach anti-gay sermons in the pulpit.
The trial of 29 year-old Michael Sandy’s killers is currently underway. Sandy was killed late last year after being lured to a parking lot. He was targeted because he was gay. He also happened to be Black.
Hate crimes seem to be at an all time high against same-gender loving people and not just in Jamaica, but here at home as well.
I will never ever forget the story of three-year-old Ronnie Paris who was murdered by his father because he thought he might be gay. His 21-year-old father pummeled him into unconsciousness and then died.
We can’t say in one breath that we don’t judge people and that we respect human life and in the next breathe preach hatred against people who don’t love the same as you do.
Incidents like what happened and keep happening in Jamaica are sad, very sad. On such a beautiful island, the hatred and ignorance that permeates is scary and eye opening. I truly understand why my best friends that are Jamaican and gay don’t ever want to return and can you really blame them?
Now I don’t believe there’s any hope for the people in Jamaica, it’s so engrained in their culture and practically condoned by the government. But I do believe there is hope for us here in America and especially in the Black community.
After all of the racism we’ve faced for just being Black, we’re in a better position to understand fully the ramifications of preaching hatred and condoning violence (often with our silence) against gays. We always want to talk about Leviticus and Paul, but let’s talk about the Ten Commandments. Now while they don’t say anything about being gay, they clearly state that “thou shall not kill.” Not kill heterosexuals, but not kill period. Everyone is included. And since we’re always claiming we don’t want to be the judge of people, let’s start practicing what we preach and recognize that all life if sacred, Black, white, poor, heterosexual, gay, lesbian, and the like.