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Residents angry as homeless gays take over house in posh Jamaican area

Residents angry as homeless gays take over house in posh Jamaican area

Residents are complaining after a group of gay homeless men took over an empty house in Jamaica, almost opposite an ambassador’s official residence.

The Jamaica Observer says ‘dozens’ of gay men are living there ‘behaving in a manner that churns their [the neighbors] collective stomachs’ and adding the neighborhood is ‘going to the dogs’.

The property is on Millsborough Avenue in St Andrew, Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.

It is close to the official residence of Cuban Ambassador Yuri Gala López.

It’s named as one of the most desirable places to live in the island nation by the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper.

A female resident, speaking to the Observer, said: ‘I was taking my grandchildren to school and I saw one of them bathing naked in the driveway using water from a bottle.

‘They have taken over the house and are destroying our decent neighborhood. I have my young grandchildren and this is not the environment I want them to be growing up in.’

Another resident said: ‘The boys behave outlandish and flaunt their lifestyle in your face. This is a blotch on the face of what up to now was a decent community whose residents lead upstanding lives.

‘We are not condemning anyone’s sexual preference, but why do they have to trample on our privacy and invade our space with their lifestyle.’

They have reported the men to Matilda’s Corner police station, something officers confirm, but say no ‘serious’ action has yet been taken.

The neighbors claim the men ‘gyrate’ against each other in public and behave boisterously when spoken to. They also claim at night the men ‘are practicing prostitution’.

A resident said: ‘At nights when you pass, there are a lot of high-end vehicles parked on the road and inside the yard. The police need to find out who the owners of these high-end vehicles are, because some high-profile people from high society seem to be their patrons.

And one man said: ‘There is garbage strewn all about the yard and many times they get into fights with each other. This situation cannot continue and we are calling on the police to forcibly remove them from among our midst.

‘They are always talking about gay rights, but do we have any rights to live without this evil? Where is J-Flag (The Jamaica Forum for Gays, Lesbians and All-sexuals) now? They should come out and condemn this dastardly, uncouth behavior by these gays,’

Maurice Tomlinson, a gay Jamaican activist, confirmed to Gay Star News the men had been living on Millsborough Avenue, though it is not clear if they had already moved on.

But it appears part of the reason for the men’s plight is the state-sponsored homophobia in Jamaican society.

In September 2012 The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) – a charity organization, was forced to close down the Caribbean island’s only drop-in center for homeless gays which it managed with the Jamaica AIDS Support (JAS) organization due to anti-gay sentiments by local authorities and the media.

The men have been moving around, says Tomlinson, ‘chased’ from one area to another. And with landlords unwilling to rent a property to them, plans for a permanent shelter have repeatedly fallen through.

Recently residents of the Golden Triangle in St Andrew had complained homeless gay men had occupied an empty property on Lady Musgrave Road, close to Vale Royal, the official residence of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

The police removed the men and security guards were put in place to stop them coming back.

Yesterday (27 May) Gay Star News reported a Christian group in Jamaica has published an advertisement in national newspaper The Gleaner that says ‘Speaking Truth is not “Homophobia”’.

Dr Wayne West, chairman of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) that published the ad, spoke to the newspaper defending his anti-gay position not as homophobic, but ‘very rational’.

By contrast Tomlinson is taking three major Jamaican television stations (TVJ, CVM and the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica – PBCJ) to the Supreme Court this week for not airing his 30-second video.

The ad called on Jamaicans to respect his human rights as a gay man and was recorded in light of a series of savage attacks against gay Jamaicans.

Another activist and student Javed Jaghai has also initiated a challenge to the country’s anti-sodomy law.

AIDS-Free World, a Jamaican advocacy charity, filed a complaint against the law with Jamaica’s Supreme Court on behalf of Jaghai on 7 February.

In September 2012 a national study of attitudes towards LGBT found increased support for gay rights. But homophobia is still very widespread leading to widespread discrimination and higher HIV infection rates.

Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law, originally introduced by the British colonial government, dates back to 1864 and punishes private consensual same-sex acts with up to 10 years in prison with hard labor.

A Google Maps satellite view of the area the gay people are living in:

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