Americas

Jamaica: I failed Oshane Gordon. I will not fail Dwayne Jones.

This commentary appeared previously in Dadland Shut Up.

Dwayne Jones in his casket

Dwayne Jones in his casket

In the early morning on August 18, 2011, armed thugs barged into the small home that 16 year-old Oshane Gordon shared with his mother in the resort town of Montego Bay, Jamaica. As Oshane tried to flee through a window, the men chopped on his foot.

When they caught him, they finished him off with several more blows from their machetes. The men then went back for Oshane’s mom and chopped her up as well. But thankfully she survived. The reason given for this brutal assault was Oshane’s “questionable relations with another man.”

In 2011, I swore in Oshane’s memory that no other Jamaican child would pay the price for Jamaica’s savage homophobia. I naïvely thought that by alerting Jamaicans to the senseless loss of life caused by irrational fear of gays that our innate sense of humanity would kick in and we would rise up in one voice and call for a halt to this brutality.

I was wrong. I failed Oshane’s memory.

Another Jamaican teenager was gruesomely killed by a mob as a result. Below is the August 24, 2013 funeral photo of Dwayne Jones, a 16 year-old teenager who was also from Montego Bay.

Dwayne was buried on the same day that homophobic Jamaican reggae singer, Queen Ifrica, was prevented from performing at a concert in Toronto that was partially funded by Canadian taxpayers, some of whom are gay.  Ifrica thinks her freedom of speech was unjustly curtailed.

I look at Dwayne’s lifeless body and I fail to see how she has been harmed. She lost some money; Dwayne lost her life.

Like Oshane Gordon, Dwayne Jones was killed for being different. Dwayne was biologically male but identified as female. Dwayne is seen here lying in her casket wearing a masculine suit because that is how society would like to remember her in death. But, her last words were “I am a girl!”

That was before a mob set-upon Dwayne at a street-dance and shot and stabbed her to death after a female member of Dwayne’s church pointed out her biological gender to the bloodthirsty mob. When the savages completed their gruesome act of murder, they dumped Dwayne’s body in nearby bushes and went right on dancing. The police discovered her body the next morning.

Appeal To International Community: Tourist Dollars & Investments

Jamaican mob barricades five allegedly gay men in their house. (Photo from video)

Jamaican mob barricades five allegedly gay men in their house. (Photo from video)

This time around, I will be taking a more strident approach to ensure that this type of murder of innocent persons ceases. Appeals to the Jamaican government to aggressively promote and protect the human rights of LGBT citizens have largely fallen on deaf ears. And on August 22, just two days before Dwayne’s funeral, we saw the sixth anti-gay mob attack in a month where police had to rescue five gay men who had been barricaded in their home by a community intent on getting rid of them. The government just will not challenge the powerful fundamentalist churches whose members include the woman who outed Dwayne to his killers.

Arguments based on human rights and public health issues are simply irrelevant as the government is more concerned about votes. And the churches promise a lot of them. However, economic arguments resonate with this government.

I will be appealing to the international community to consider if they should continue rewarding Jamaica with financial support (whether through tourist dollars or investments) while vulnerable members of the LGBT community are brutalized on an almost daily basis. In the meantime, the Jamaican government does precious little.

No more Oshanes and Dwaynes

My platform will now be: NO MORE OSHANES AND DWAYNES. Jamaica either halts the senseless attacks on the rights of LGBT, or I will use my international profile to call on the global community to take action. In this regard, I will even more aggressively highlight the attacks on LGBT Jamaicans since other LGBT groups on the island seem to think that downplaying these attacks will get the government to actually engage in fruitful dialogue. We saw that policy fail miserably with Oshane. We must not do the same for Dwayne.

I. WILL. NOT. FAIL. DWAYNE.

 

12 thoughts on “Jamaica: I failed Oshane Gordon. I will not fail Dwayne Jones.

  1. Pingback: Another anti-gay mob attacks in Jamaica. Why?? | 76 CRIMES

  2. I don’t like the fact that people are getting killed by this,but however back in the bibical days they did the same.I know that many laws want to change for the benifit of gay’s but it’s wrong to lay with the same sex and society knows this, it’s about rebelliousness because we want what we want.You either do wrong or you do it right I don’t like seeing what I see with gay’s but I will not take their life because that is wrong and the lord don’t want us to murder but he don’t want us to sleep with the same sex.Children see so much today it’s pitiful from TV to just walking the streets.Something needs to be done but I dont think this is the answer..

    Like

  3. Just found out about this story. Horrible, absolutely horrible. And the family refused to claim his body, yet want sympathy? Did they even attend the funeral and other related services? Didn’t the sperm donor (because one who helps others bully one’s child is NOT a father) kick him out of the house? How utterly disgusting & despicable. What a horrible family to be born into.

    Who, if anyone, claimed his body and allowed for him to have a proper burial? Whoever (if anyone) claimed the body deserves the utmost respect, as well as possible donations for funeral costs.

    This is making me cry, so let me end here. May this baby rest in true peace.

    Like

  4. Pingback: Jamaican police claim equal danger faces gays, straights | 76 CRIMES

  5. Pingback: Jamaica needs urgent action to save LGBT people’s lives | 76 CRIMES

  6. Pingback: Another homophobic attack in Jamaica | 76 CRIMES

  7. Pingback: Jamaica: Gay men flee firebombed house; police reject plea | 76 CRIMES

  8. Pingback: Despairing, a Jamaican plea for arrests in anti-gay crimes | 76 CRIMES

  9. Pingback: Jamaicans need to condemn attacks on LGBTI youth | 76 CRIMES

  10. i think he got wat he derseve.but i dont think no one should be murder.in gods eyes we were made in to for a women and men to be toether.not men and men ro women and women…..

    Like

  11. Pingback: A reason for Montego Bay Pride: Murder of trans youth | 76 CRIMES

Leave a Reply to George Lopez Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s