Dane Lewis, executive director of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-Flag) told The Guardian: “This year alone there have been nine [murders]. The violence in Jamaica is having a spill over effect on other parts of the Caribbean: St Lucia now has a murder or so every year.”
Many gay Jamaicans have been forced to flee the country, some moving to the UK. In 2002, two gay Jamaicans were granted asylum in Britain as their lives were in danger from “severe homophobia” in the Caribbean.
To highlight the continuing homophobia in Jamaica, Vice News has released a documentary on the plight of homeless LGBT youths who live in the gullies, or storm drains, of Kingston.
Forced out of shacks, derelict buildings and shunned by their own families, the ‘gully queens’, as they call themselves, face violence on a daily basis.
In the documentary, Young And Gay: Jamaica’s Gully Queens, one resident of the storm drains told Vice News: “We’ll have drama in the gully every day. They even throw acid and chop [people] up.”
Advocacy groups rank Jamaica as one of the most hostile countries for gays and transgendered people. Between 2009 and 2012, a total of 231 reports were made to J-FLAG.
One gully queen, Khloe, speaks in the documentary of her friend Dwayne Jones, a transgender teen, who was murdered in July 2013.
At the age of 16, Jones was dead – shot, beaten, stabbed and rundown by a car when he showed up at a street party dressed as a woman…