Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Jamaican Transgender Murdered;
Hello, UN?; SF Protest on 12/11

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays over the weekend issued a statement condemning the murder of a gay man in Kingston:

J-FLAG is saddened by the murder of a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community whose body was found with stab wounds behind the National Solid Life and General Insurance Branch Limited on Half-Way-Tree Road in St Andrew on Friday, December 3, 2010.

The group obliquely referenced sex work, without specifically stating if the victim was a sex worker:

This unfortunate event highlights the serious safety and security challenge that confronts the LGBT community in Jamaica, as well as those who engage in sex work.

The Associated Press wrote a short story about the killing, and like the JFLAG statement said nothing about the murder victim being transgender.  

But the Go-Jamaica news and tourist web site earlier this week claimed that JFLAG claims the victim was a transgender person:

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) is calling for a thorough investigation of a case in which the body of a reported cross dresser was found with stab wounds in St Andrew on Friday.

As we wait for more details to emerge in this death, I must point out this is the sort of killing the United Nations no longer condemns. The UN vote in November deleting gays and transgender persons from a resolution deploring extrajudicial and arbitrary killings, sent a clear message that fatal, violent assaults on gays are not worth condemning.

The day before the gay and possibly transgender person was murdered in Jamaica, a story appeared in the Bahamian Tribune, clarifying why the nation's delegate to the UN voted for deleting gays from the resolution. From the article:

The resolution is passed annually to demand that states take effective action against extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions [...] This year, the resolution was amended to replace the words "for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation" with the words "for discriminatory reasons on any basis." [...]

In a one-page document explaining the Bahamian position, permanent secretary Dr Patricia Rodgers acknowledged the existence of homophobic violence and discrimination, but said the concept of gender identity is not universally accepted in international human rights law.

"The prevailing view in international law is that discrimination and fundamental freedoms are based on sex (not sexual orientation), as well as race, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed. The Bahamas Constitution makes the same distinction," Dr Rodgers said. "Mindful of the political sensitivities which obtain in the Bahamas with respect to this issue, we supported the amendment to broaden the scope of the paragraph, and not to make a specific reference to the term." [...]

While they worry about the biased political sensitivities that create a climate of fear and hatred against gays and transgender people, such people are being killed almost regularly in Jamaica. Further, I doubt the Bahamian representative to the UN would endorse such an anti-execution resolution if it didn't make specific reference to race, as the basis for killings.

Please come out this Saturday, December 11 starting at noon at San Francisco's United Nations Plaza for a rally against the deplorable UN vote against gays, and to show firm solidarity with our gay brothers and sisters around the planet.

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