by Rex Wockner
National News Briefs
Citing a new U.S. State Department report on human rights in Jamaica, a group of San Francisco gay activists, including city Supervisor Bevan Dufty, launched a boycott of the nation March 28.
International gay human rights activists have routinely named Jamaica as one of the most homophobic nations in the world, and several of the nation’s popular dancehall music stars have been blocked from performing in other countries because of lyrics that promote the killing of homosexuals.
The Department of State’s “2008 Human Rights Report: Jamaica” says: “The law prohibits ‘acts of gross indecency’ (generally interpreted as any kind of physical intimacy) between men, in public or in private, which are punishable by 10 years in prison. The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals, and Gays continued to report human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention, mob attacks, stabbings, harassment of homosexual patients by hospital and prison staff, and targeted shootings of homosexuals. Police often did not investigate such incidents.”
The report continues: “J-FLAG members also suffered attacks on their property, home intrusions as people demanded to know the number of persons and beds in a home, and in one instance, a fire bombing at the home of two men that left one of them with burns on more than 60 percent of his body. In addition homosexuals faced death and arson threats, with some of these directed at the J-FLAG offices. J-FLAG did not publicize its location due to such threats, and its officials reported feeling unsafe having meetings with clients at the organization’s office.
“In February a mob broke into the home of four presumed homosexual men, killing three of them. The fourth was missing and presumed dead. The men had reported being harassed for their perceived sexual orientation prior to the fatal attack. Police made some inquiries in the case but did not conduct a full investigation or make any arrests by year’s end. …
“Homosexual men were hesitant to report incidents against them because of fear for their physical well-being. Lesbian women were subject to sexual assault as well as other physical attacks. Human rights NGOs and government entities agreed that brutality against homosexuals, primarily by private citizens, was widespread in the community.”
To read the full gay section of the report, go to http://www.tinyurl.com/dhdmyc and search for the word “gay.”
The San Francisco activists launched the boycott at Harvey Milk Plaza at the intersection of Market and Castro streets.
They dumped Red Stripe beer and Myers’s Rum into the street.
Dufty promised to get the two Jamaican products out of all San Francisco gay bars within a month.
Several local bars, restaurants and community leaders already have announced support for the boycott.
For detailed information, visit http://www.boycottjamaica.org.