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JFJ condemns mob killing of cross-dresser

Published:Saturday | July 27, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Human-rights lobby group Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) is expressing alarm at what it perceives as a quiet response to the recent killing of a cross-dresser in St James.

In a release yesterday, the group lamented that since the murder of 17-year-old Dwayne Jones, "there has been little sense of outrage, little media coverage, and only a few voices speaking up and out about this killing. We must ask ourselves what this says about us as a people".

JFJ also called on Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, other government members as well as religious leaders, and other prominent voices to condemn the killing and ensure the utterances do not contribute to "an environment in which people feel that killing those who are different to them is the right thing to do".

JFJ said Jones' death at the hands of a mob on July 22 "is yet another horrifying example of the levels of violence we are prepared to tolerate in our society".

Reports are that Jones attended a dance dressed as a woman, and when his gender was discovered, he was beaten, stabbed, and shot to death. His body was then dumped, all of this allegedly happening while the dance continued.

"No one must seek to justify this heinous and vicious criminal act on the basis of Dwayne Jones' gender non-conforming behaviour," the release said. "We cannot as a society tolerate acts of mob violence and we cannot as a society support - openly or tacitly - violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people or people who do not conform to society's expectations of how each gender should behave."

The body also opined that Jamaica had a poor record of investigating and holding persons accountable who have taken part in mob violence.

"We call on the police to do a thorough investigation in order to put before the courts those who have committed this crime."