Help gully queens out of the gutter
THE EDITOR, Sir:
For almost a decade, Jamaica, in general and New Kingston, in particular, have been wrestling with what exactly should happen to the homosexual men who frequent the area and live in the Shoemaker Gully, giving them the epitaph 'gully queens', as some of them engage in cross-dressing.
Instead of condemning these men who continue to live in hell, we should look to help them. These gay men are persons, too.
It is true that they haven't helped themselves. They were at a J-FLAG house but, because of their boisterous behaviour, they were forced to leave the premises, but that is no reason why the State or civil society couldn't provide them with decent housing and accommodations.
A recent article in the Jamaica Star has highlighted the fact that the 'gully queens' have started a GoFundMe page in order to either find a place to rent/lease or buy and live in.
However, the project has hit a roadblock, as they have only managed to raise US$9,014 of a US$100,000 target.
I feel that the Jamaican Government, in conjunction with civil society, should front these desperate men the rest of the cash and provide them with the required housing, but they shouldn't stop there.
This sanctuary could teach them the social skills needed to interact and operate in a society that sees them as abnormal and in which the threat of violence against them is real.
This is not a matter of whether or not you are in the pro- or anti-gay; this is about basic human dignity and decency.