Jamaican police save man threatened for wearing lipstick

A Jamaican activist writes:

Crowd at May Pen shopping area tries to photograph a man trapped in a store for wearing lipstick. (Click image for video)
Crowd at May Pen shopping area tries to photograph a man trapped in a store for wearing lipstick. (Click image for video)

Police hold back the crowd.
Police hold back the crowd. (Photo courtesy of TVJ)

Police guard the entrance to the store where the man was trapped. (Photo courtesy of TVJ)
Police guard the entrance to the store where the man was trapped. (Photo courtesy of TVJ)

Jamaican man under threat for reportedly wearing lipstick runs for safety under police protection. (Click image for TVJ video)
Jamaican man under threat for reportedly wearing lipstick runs for safety under police protection. (Click image for TVJ video)

There is usually a spike in anti-gay assaults during the summer period. I hope this latest blood-curdling mob attack is merely an anomaly.
Threats, assault, then rescue
TVJ Prime Time News reported on June 15 that hundreds of people converged in a shopping area in May Pen, in southern Jamaica, after word spread that a gay man had sought refuge in a clothing store. According to TVJ:
Passersby had been angered when they saw the man putting on lipstick. They assaulted him (“ran him down”) and he took refuge inside the clothing store.
Inside, store clerks were concerned for his safety, so they locked the door. They called for help from police, who responded, then stood at the door of the store to keep people from entering.
Smartphones in hand, some people in the crowd positioned themselves to take pictures of a man wearing lipstick. Others expressed disgust that a man would wear lipstick in a public place. Others shouted threats.
More police arrived and pushed the crowd back.
The crowd began chanting in unison, “We want to see him. We want to see him.”
With a police escort the young man emerged from the store, his head covered and quickly got into a waiting car driven by a police officer. The man was driven to safety after the car made its way through the threatening crowd.

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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