AIDS Issues Update Blog

Dispatches from the fight against homelessness and AIDS


Posted by Tim Murphy , September 26, 2013


“Gay rights are human rights!”: A protester outside the Ford Foundation today.

Click here for your chance to watch Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, in movie-star shades and a fabulous fuschia suit, smile and blow a kiss today in New York at protesters shaming her for doing nothing about the eight gays and transpeople killed so far this year in her country.

As Simpson-Miller was exiting from a U.N. session today at the Ford Foundation, seven members of the New York-based LGBT activist group Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand shouted at her, “Gay rights are human rights!” and “Portia, shame on you!” Simpson-Miller stopped, waved at the protestors and blew kisses, then went back inside the building.

Protestors paced the sidewalk outside the Ford Foundation for one hour with signs reading “Eight Gays Killed in 2012” and “Portia Protect Gay Citizens.” The group called for an end to Jamaica’s anti-gay laws, which tacitly condone attacks and murders of members of the LGBT community in Jamaica. Consensual sexual intercourse and interaction between homosexuals has been illegal since 1864. Gays are imprisoned for 10 years with hard labor under Jamaica’s Buggery Law and often brutalized and killed by anti-gay mobs if caught or suspected.

Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand and its allies will stage another protest on Saturday morning as Simpson-Miller speaks to the UN General Assembly. The September 28th protest takes place at 10 a.m. at United Nations Plaza on First Avenue and East 45th Street in Manhattan. Email here for more info.

Since the internationally publicized brutal murder of Dwayne Jones, a 16-year-old transgender woman, on July 22, 2013, there have been a string of anti-gay and -trans murders and attacks in Jamaica that are excessive even for this extremely homophobic country. On July 31 in Kingston, a mob called for the head of an alleged gay constable. On August 1st, two homosexual men were mobbed and wounded in St. Catherine. On August 10th police rescued a transgender woman after a mob chased her in Portmore. On August 22, five gay men were trapped and barricaded by an angry mob in Green Gully Manchester. On August 23, two men were trapped by a homophobic mob for “appearing gay.” And on August 27, Dean Moriah, a 41-year-old gay man, was murdered by unknown assailants. He was stabbed several times before his house was set on fire with him inside.

In the 2011 Prime Ministerial Election, during a public debate, Simpson-Miller promised a conscience vote in Parliament on the repeal of the country’s anti-gay laws. She has yet to live up to her promise. Amid increased attacks on LGBT citizens, she appears to be silent on taking even the most basic measures for the prevention of anti-LGBT violence and the acceptance of the LGBT community in Jamaica.

Sadly, Jamaica has a homophobic peer in Russia. Monday night, the longtime LGBTQ activist group Queer Nation protested outside the Metropolitan Opera on the gala opening night of an opera by Tchaikovsky featuring Russian conductor Valery Gergiev and soprano Anna Netrebko. They are outspoken supporters of Russia’s President Putin, whose recent law clamping down on most forms of gay expression in Russia has led to a spike in gay attacks and murders there.

Pointing out that Tchaikovsky himself was gay, protesters wielded a giant rainbow flag outside reading “Support Russian Gays.” Right before the performance began, protesters in the concert hall called out, “Anna, Your Silence is Killing Russian Gays! Valery, Your Silence is Killing Russian Gays!” They were met with both boos and applause before being escorted from the hall.

blog comments powered by Disqus


Stay informed

The AIDS Issues Update blog is your insider source for AIDS social justice news. Sign up to receive posts in your inbox.

Follow us on Twitter
Join our Facebook page

Donate Today

Help us advocate for the rights of all people living with HIV/AIDS