Jamaican LGBTQ youths escape persecution in city storm drains

On Mar 1, 2017 Thomson Reuters Foundation published this article – Kaci was always what she calls a “girlie boy.”

Growing up in her grandmother’s house in Kingston, Jamaica, that was not a problem. But when her grandmother died and her uncle became her guardian, being a “girlie boy” meant trouble.

“People started to talk,” said Kaci, a 22-year-old transgender woman, who did not want to provide her last name. “They found out I was gay and then, the community ran me down to kill me.

“My uncle turned me out, and then he turned his back on me, so I had to end up on the street,” she recently told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Kaci now lives in one of Kingston’s storm drains or gullies, along with several other dozen gay and transgender people who call themselves “Gully Queens.” Most share the same story of family rejection.

Now, a grassroots effort is underway to create a shelter for the group, whose members regularly suffer violent homophobic attacks and often resort to sex work to survive.

“Every day, it’s life or death,” said Savannah Baker, a British-Jamaican creative director and photographer who is spearheading an effort via the fundraising site GoFundMe.com to raise money for the shelter.

Read more at Jamaican LGBTQ youths escape persecution in city storm drains | Reuters

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