Judge rules for LGBT youths living in Jamaican sewers

Dwayne's House logo
Dwayne’s House logo

A New Kingston court ruling is the latest news for LGBT youths in Jamaica, who have been thrown out of their homes by their families, chased out of abandoned houses by police, and arrested when they found shelter in sewers and gullies. This account is from activist  Yvonne McCalla-Sobers, who is chair of Dwayne’s House, the initiative seeking to provide a home for the LGBT youths.


Jamaican judge tells police: Sewers are public spaces

LGBT youths living in drainage sewer system in New Kingston, Jamaica. (Click image for video.)
LGBT youths living in drainage sewer system in New Kingston, Jamaica. (Click image for video.)

Jamaican police tried again last week to evict homeless LGBT youth from the sewers in New Kingston where they have been forced to take refuge.

The police have previously tried to burn the youth out of the gullies on the pretext that they attract criminals.

Police raid on LGBT youth in sewer. (Click image for video.)
Police raid on LGBT youth in sewer. (Click image for video.)

The latest incident took the form of a day-time raid on March 5, Ash Wednesday (ironically, a religious holiday marking the beginning of the Christian sacrificial season of Lent). Officers from the New Kingston police post swooped down on the gutters running beneath the commercial district and demanded that the several youth who lived there had to leave immediately. The youngsters were understandably upset and some put up quite a struggle as they literally have nowhere else to go.

Police demolish house where LGBT youths lived. (Click image for video.)
Police demolish house where LGBT youths lived. (Click image for video.)

Police had already chased them from every abandoned building they previously occupied and the buildings were then torn down.

The kids are afraid of going to the few government shelters because of the abuse they experience there.

Some of the youth were arrested for resisting their forcible eviction. They were also charged with using swear words (which is still an offense under Jamaican law).

When the youngsters were brought before the court on Friday, March 7, the judge fined them for their so-called “calumnious language” but also advised the police that the sewers are a public space. Hence the youngsters have every right to be there. With no other options, the kids have simply returned to living in the sewers.

Dwayne’s House, a Jamaican organization established to feed and clothe the youngsters living in the sewers, paid the small fines for some of the arrested youth. See the Web page of Dwayne’s House for more information or to contribute (in the United States or in Canada).

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]


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  1. the ones that are living in the gully were NOT the same set that was chased from the Millsborough Avenue house (video) that was demolished in fact those fellas were some of the residents of the previous Safe House Pilot 2009 that was closed by JASL’s board (your friend Maurice included) and they were put out to pasture but honesty in all this is far from coming through

    • It is no secret that I oppose homosexuality in its very form.

      (1) It is contrary to nature. (Romans 1:26,27.)
      (2) It is an assault on God’s model for marriage. (Matthew 19:4-6)
      (3) It is forbidden in the Bible. (1 Corinthians 6:9,10)

      I also oppose homosexuality because it is an unhealthy practice. It spreads AIDS and results in injuries and infections from anal sex. Homosexuals have more mental health issues than heterosexuals: problems with depression, and a higher rate of alcoholism. With no flesh and blood family of their own they experience more loneliness in their senior years. They have a higher suicide rate than heterosexuals. Studies show they have a shorter life span.

      These are more than enough reasons for us trying to prevent our youth from getting involved in same gender sex, and trying to help others to break free from this bondage. I can assure you that we are motivated by love not hate. It is the same love for people that moves us to reach out to help all who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, and any other deviate behavior.

      For this reason I go on record today as saying I am absolutely appalled at the sight of
      children sleeping in sewers in Jamaica. Shame on the parents, the government, and the police leaving children in such desolation. We reject homosexual “pairing”, and we reject the sin – the abomination – of homosexuality. But we do not reject the individuals who have fallen victim to this vice, especially the children. These young people are precious to the God I know and serve. This picture made me cry. I wanted to take these kid in my arms and say, “Come with me…”

      They are just bits of driftwood
      Cast out upon life’s sea.
      All they need is Jesus
      To no longer driftwood be.

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. Evangelist. (Pastoral Counselor Certificate)

  2. Thanks for this article and your reporting. What you do is appreciated. 
    I posted it to the largest LGBT Group on LinkedIn with over 25,000+ global members to spur members to read your article and to make comment. I also scooped it at Scoop.It on my LGBT Times news mashup. 
    Link to group >> http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=63687
    All LGBT+ and community allies…. please come join me and 25,000+ of your soon to be great connections on LinkedIn. The member base represents 80% of the world’s countries.  
    It’s core value is – Visibility can lead to awareness which can lead to equality. Come stand with us and increase our visibility on the globe’s largest professional networking site. Be a professional who just happens to be LGBT – or a welcomed community ally.  

  3. So swearing is illegal but parents abandoning their children is not. Jamaica is ass backwards. I vowed to NEVER travel there. And if the LGBT community was smart they would boycott them too. If you don’t want gay people there then you don’t want our gay dollars!!

  4. Is decency no longer an attribute of Christians who support discrimination against gay people? I understand that they are acting on social trainings but how can any rational human being be so blind to the obviously hypocritical religious agenda.
    This abuse is unjust and the Jamaican people have separated themselves from a respectable society.

  5. If Jamaica does not get its act together there is going to be a law passed so that no more aid can be sent your way from anyone at all. Until you treat LGBTQ youth, others better, a simple request on the Whitehouse petition site to stop all aid until you properly treat LGBTQ peoples with respect, care, and stop killing them. Then no more cash of any kind from America and a request that the UN other Nations sanctions. Come next Natural disaster like Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Civiler unrest might want to take a good hard look at what side your bread is buttered on. Also if you’re thinking that the same churches are going to help support you that started this hate. That keeps fanning the flames of said hate through its so called “Christian outreach” think again it will be the first one to be cut off at the knees. They are the ones that are using your country since they are not able to manipulate America any longer they have to get pleasure by inflicting pain suffering on other countries that they know they can lie too. Manipulate, control with lies, claims that are not even in the bible. Things that if there were a true god it would not stand for in the first place, but then again you must really like being controlled by rich white men that only want to tear your country to pieces for their sick sad ends. Their bible is not worth the paper it’s printed on when it comes to telling someone who can live who can not. How someone has to live their life based on lies. Nothing more then good quality toilet paper not good for anything else but wiping ones backside with starting the occasional fire with. It always amazes me what less educated countries fall for especially when cash is involved from the same people that not even 100 years ago would rather own the same people as look at them. They are still being oppressed controlled, lied too just in a different way, the Christian way the same book that said it was ok to own them as slaves is now telling them that its ok to kill LGBQ people. Anyone else sees the problem with that or is it just me? Guessing they are not smart enough to get that people lie to push their personal agendas to get what they want.

    • Worry about yourselves and mind your business. America is in more trouble than Jamaica. The world including Jamaica are now realizing that your $ (your god )is not worth the paper its printed on. While am against the killing of gay and lesbians in Jamaica. Your police just shot an homeless man to death in LA . There are many people in Vegas, homeless and living in drains and sewers. Your police will start killing them too . America was suppose to be a model nation, what are you modelling to the rest of the world?

  6. We have parents vilifying children who show homosexual tendencies when they themselves are broken examples of human sexuality and parenthood.

    There are boys and girls ”coming out” to parents who are not married. Single men and women living together. A mother who has boyfriends. A father who ”dates” other women. Parents who have alcohol and drug problems.

    These are parents who provided no religious upbringing for their children. Often the family did not go to church. The parents didn’t take the children to Sunday School. The Bible was not read in the home. Prayer was not offered. On the other hand some of them had a only a form of godliness. They may have attended a nominal church with religious services, ritual, and ceremony, but not where the gospel of God’s saving grace was preached and hearts were changed.

    Young people need to be taught that the Bible forbids homosexuality. It says ”For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lust one towards the other; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1:26-27)

    Besides this homosexuality is an unhealthy lifestyle. It is the main cause for the spread of AIDS.
    Homosexuals have more mental health issues. They suffer more from depression and anger problems, and are more prone to violence. They have a higher rate of alcoholism. Without a flesh and blood family of their own they experience more loneliness in their senior years. On average they have a shorter life span.

    Rev. Donald Hill, Evangelist. (Pastoral Counselor Certificate)

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