‘Uptown’ Jamaicans vs. homeless gays

A Jamaican LGBT rights activist writes:

Homeless LGBT youths sleeping in Jamaican sewers. (Photo courtesy of Micheal Forbes)
Homeless LGBT youths sleeping in Jamaican sewers. (Photo courtesy of Micheal Forbes)

Homeless LGBT Jamaican youth have been living in the sewers of the major commercial district, New Kingston, for several months. This has upset the residents of the upscale communities nearby, but not for the reasons one would hope. Instead of feeling disgusted that our government has failed to provide proper shelter for these human beings, there has been general disquiet that the youth present a threat to the surrounding “nice” neighborhoods.

Last week, a very proper lady who lives in the vicinity expressed her “concern” for the Chair of Dwayne’s House, but again, not for the reasons one would hope. She was not concerned about the health and safety of this diminutive female senior citizen who goes to the sewers twice weekly and is often surrounded by several youth that tower over her. Instead, the nice lady drove up in her pricey SUV and told the Dwayne’s House Chair that feeding the youngsters would encourage them to remain where they were. As if anyone could be “encouraged” to live in sewers.

Yvonne McCalla-Sobers, the chair of Dwayne's House, and the Rev. Sean Major-Campbell chat during the Christmas dinner that they helped provide for homeless LGBT youths.
Yvonne McCalla-Sobers, the chair of Dwayne’s House, and the Rev. Sean Major-Campbell chat during the Christmas dinner that they helped provide for homeless LGBT youths.

We have repeatedly tried to appeal to even the self-interest of these community residents by pointing out that if we feed and clothe the homeless kids, then at least they will have less need to engage in anti-social behavior, such as stealing, in order to survive. These kids are also paid extra to have condomless sex, often with married men from the SAME upscale community. This increases the youth’s vulnerability to HIV and freely allows the virus to pass between the straight and gay populations. Unsuspecting heterosexual women, like this “nice lady” therefore remain at risk.

Jamaica’s rigid historical class structure, based on the concept of “field slave” vs. “house slave” is alive and well. Sadly, the modern “house slaves” can’t seem to get that the violent clashes which marked our troubled slavery past are once again on our doorsteps. This time, the revolts take the form of visible physical violence and property crimes as well as the invisible threat of HIV.

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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 info@76crimes.com.

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