Pausing legal ramblings to talk a little about the recent brutal murder of Dwayne Jones in St. James, Jamaica and what it means for survivors, like persons, and the general LGBT population in this space. . .
The first time I heard the news about Dwayne who identified as Gully Queen, I was flabbergasted. Today, after listening to survivors of the incident I’m an emotional wreck. I have never been so close to any such incident prior to this one and it pains my heart to think about the fact that male cross dressers and/or female transgender persons literally have no place in our society. We believe it is okay to discharge our venom of hatred and treat our own citizens like scum, inanimate objects, and slaves to be stoned and chopped at our leisure because they got a skin which didn’t quite suit their persona.
As reported by J-FLAG Dwayne was a very fun, kind, loving, jovial and brave person who had dreams and aspirations as all of us did as teenagers. Dwayne identified as female and I know some of you do not quite get the depth of that, but let me just say that everyday we defy the limitations of our bodies in one shape or form and Dwayne was trying to do just that in her own way. She was such a vibrant artistic teenager who could dance better than the average trained dancer (in my opinion) and it was unadulterated cruelty that took her talent, her life away. She brought no harm to anyone. She never assaulted anyone. She absolutely DID NOT bring this on herself!
Her family did not protect her as required by our precious Child Care Protection Act [I don’t know that her parents will be prosecuted for failing to protect their child, which makes them culpable in her death, in my opinion]. She was disowned, forcibly migrated to the streets, and literally left to die.
J-FLAG reported that although Dwayne had aspirations to become a Spanish teacher she was forced to drop out of school as early as grade nine because of the constant, unbearable bullying and discrimination experienced as an LGBT teen. When will we become a society that is not so selective about the diversities we accept and appreciate? When will we realise that something is wrong with throwing out our children into the streets simply because we do not have the patience or will to understand and accept their own interpretations and actualizations of their skins? Why must we allow them to bear the burden of not knowing what they will eat today or where they will sleep tonight? When will our arms open to them so they don’t have to keep running away from the spits of ignominy, the stones of disgrace, the knives of discrimination and the guns of death?
I had a recent conversation with a friend [and survivor of the incident] of Dwayne. And I was telling him I wish I could single-handedly help him in a meaningful way and he simply said: “Latoya, u know weh mi want? Mi want a life”. I didn’t know what to say after that. . .
How is it that I feel so helpless and others bask in terrorizing their lives almost DAILY? Do any of you know what it feels like to be afraid to walk on the street at daytime because that could mean signing your death sentence? I hope we will see cooperation between our NGOs and the Government of Jamaica on effectively dealing with this issue and so that better will come for our yute!
I am pleased by the efforts of Quality of Citizenship Jamaica to host in honour of Dwayne:
“EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO BE & A RIGHT TO A LIFE FREE OF VIOLENCE.” At the Emancipation Park, Wednesday, July 31, 2013 5:30-6:00pm
Please follow the links below for press releases from a few Jamaican NGOs condemning the gruesome murder of our Dwayne.
Quality of Citizenship Jamaica:
Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays:
Jamaicans for Justice: