Tokyo Dash: A Seismic Success

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Patrons at the recently held Tokyo Dash were asked to come out in their best Harajuku inspired outfits

Almost a full week after the party “Circle Promotion’s” Tokyo Dash, tongues in the community are still wagging about the tremendous success of the party. Indeed it would appear that such was the good vibes at the event that patrons are insisting that a whole new category of good be developed to describe the Good Friday night affair. We here at Pink will, by custom, be far more sedate in our assessment and state that it was indeed A Good Friday Night Affair!

For those of us in our late 20s and early 30s (of course with some exceptions), the Circle Marquee holds a special place in our hearts, precisely because this is the group that defined our early 20s. Back in the 2000s persons could be forgiven if they thought that it was this group that invented Halloween or at least were the first to bring the theme to the local party circuit. However, such was the organizational strength of the Promotion House back then that they became a sort of semi-precious stone standard of what a good time was all about. Whilst over the decade, that this group has been about, there have been some personnel changes and parties of recent vintage have been below there usual standard, with Tokyo Dash it seems the little Princesses are now fully grown Queens. Long may they reign!

The truth is, based on the Twitter and Facebook comment threads and respondents to our poll question, Tokyo Dash was so good it nearly threathened to upstage Beach J’ouvert as the Community Event of the Easter Weekend. In fact Beach J’ouvert may have only beat it out precisely because it was the best staging for a long time. Further, considering the size of the respective budgets and ticket costs, Tokyo Dash may have certainly been the smarter choice fiscally.

Beach J’ouvert

It has often been said that this event along with Carnival Road March is nothing but a Gay Pride Parade in the closet. However, the intense world class Voguing; the bright Pink (or was it Fushia) underwear worn by Lady Sellville; the Lesbian love shacks and the gang of male bodies with only a peppering of females reduced the closet to a stage prop of questionable significance. For those who argue about homophobia, intolerance and discrimination towards LGBTI folk Carnival and J’ouvert in particular (including the Kingston events this week Friday) are a study in the ability of Jamaicans to be tolerant.

Other Matters

For the Pink family, this event afforded us an opportunity to begin testing the waters with delivering our customer feedback surveys. The purpose of these surveys is to give you, the party consuming public the opportunity to speak your mind, tell it like it is and still keep your privacy.

Whilst responses to this poll were particularly low, respondents were unanimous in giving their approval to this event. Notably only one Deggeh Deggeh Soul felt that the event was only worth the cover charge.

Selah

So How good was Tokyo Dash?

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Tanya Stephens Cries Shame whilst Elon Parkinson questions Homophobia Rationale!!

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CVM LIVEat7

In an initial reaction to a CVM TV Live at 7 Online poll, Reggae/Dancehall Super star Tanya Stephens posted on her Facebook profile Shame on You Jamaica!! Shame on you !!!. The online poll had asked the question: should the Charter of Rights have included Rights for Gays and Lesbians? The results showed that 23% of respondents supported inclusion of Rights for Gays and Lesbians whilst an overwhelming majority, 77% felt that such rights were unnecessary.

Miss Stephens has further substantiated her initial comment by noting that “Many Jamaicans are such HYPOCRITES!!!!! I think the gay community should start OUTING those closet hypocrites who are publicly promoting hate!” Readers will note that Tanya Stephens has developed into an outspoken critic of homophobia and has even penned the socially conscious Jamaican anti-homophobia anthem Do you Still Care.

Tanya Stephens

Within an hour of the initial posting, the comment had attracted 92 comments from mostly female respondents. Responses on the site ranged for full support of the Tanya Stephen’s comment to the traditional “GOD MADE ADAM AND EVE! ADAM NOT STEVE! AND JUST REMEMBER JAMAICA IS NOT AMERICA!” and the more nuanced “Am in full support of the exclusion of gay in di charter of rights, Jamaica need to hold their own and don’t follow other countries and sell out there morals am not violent but any day a bwoy make pass at my son is a dead madda *** dat a just my believe that still!”

In a surprise move on the same CVM TV Live at 7programme, co-host Elon Parkinson raised questions about the rationale and source of Jamaica’s culturally homophobic environment. This was after the conclusion of a discussion on the Charter of Rights debate which involved Gay Rights advocate Maurice Tomlinson and Betsy Apple both of AIDS Free World, The Reverend Garnett Roper and David Wong Ken of Jamaicans for Justice! The move when viewed in relation to the Jamaica Gleaner’s open call for tolerance for Gays and Lesbians represents a nascent convergence of vocal support by Jamaica’s Media fraternity on the matter. However, observers will note that the Gleaner’s support came from the safe distance of a nameless, faceless editorial. Mr. Parkinson’s endorsement of the Rights debate was open, bold, singular and without the explicit backing of CVM television.

Does lubricant purchase out you?

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45% of Gays show signs of Major depression

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45% of LGBT persons in Jamaica show elevated signs of Depression

In a ground breaking research conducted by the Grata Foundation and researchers from the University of the West Indies, Columbia University and Widener University, it was found that 45% of Lesbians, Gays and other sexual minorities under study in Jamaica displayed signs of Major depressive disorders. The research was conducted between June and September, 2007 and published in the academically reputed International Journal of Sexual Health in 2010.

The study noted the high incidence of negative and abusive experiences, felt by participants in the study as a result of their sexual orientation. It stated that “Fifty-three participants reported having had some form of negative or abusive experience related to their sexual orientation, mostly (42%) within the past month leading up to the interview, and a cumulative percentage of 76% within the past 12 months. The frequency of these abusive incidents was greater than three times per month for more than half of these participants. The most common negative experiences reported were name calling (85%), discrimination (62%), threats of physical violence (49%), and being harassed (42%); physical violence was reported among 19%. Some participants had multiple negative or abusive experiences. Among participants who had such experiences, a minority had ever complained to the relevant authorities (26%) or received counseling (11%) after these events.

The report goes on to argue that for the first time, we now have a clear indication that among sexual minorities in Jamaica, a negative relationship with family is an important risk factor for mental health problems. It is believed that ineffective communication that impedes disclosure or disruption of existing communication channels, as part of parents’ initial reaction, presages the ensuing disruption of family dynamics.

The study seemingly suggests that work being undertaken by groups that tackle the issue of homelessness among members of the LGBT community through family interventions will have a positive long term effect on the mental health of respondents. The study does not provide a comparison between incidences of mental health problems between members of the LGBT community and the generalized population. However, it does scientifically support notions that the Jamaican LGBT community suffers from high levels of discriminations which is being manifested in mental health problems

Editor’s Note:            In November,2010 the Grata Foundation and the Pink Report merged. The Pink Report is now a Communications and information development project of the Grata Foundation

JFLAG’s New Friends & 2 Hot 2 Be Stush

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The week that was, should have by all accounts have been a difficult week for JFLAG. It started with the certain knowledge that the charter of Rights would be passed by the Upper House of the Jamaican Parliament, and that difficult questions were being asked of its stewardship of the matter within the Rainbow community. However, by the end of the week it had earned:

  1. The moral backing of one of the leading private sector entities in Jamaica and a bastion of conservative opinion on the island at that, the Jamaica Gleaner.
  2. A guarded support from the President of the Senate, the Hon. Oswald Harding who insisted that the views of JFLAG must not be tossed aside and that the issue of social inclusion and rights protection for minorities is a matter that warrants further discussion

Indeed whilst, JFLAG has still yet to answer the questions regarding its stewardship of the Charter of Rights matter it has indicated, via discussions, that it fully intends

Out in the Rain

to do more than just answer these questions but begin a process of direct engagement with the community.

The Gleaner Editorial, although too late in the game to be of much value for the current Rights debate, should not be taken lightly! Astute Observers will note that at the foot of the editorial it was written that “the opinions on this page, except for the above, do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gleaner”. Thus when the Editor writes:

“We understand why the various commissions, committees and legislators who drafted the charter failed to expressly declare people’s rights to freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

It has do with the receding, but still-entrenched homophobia in Jamaica that caused Mr Golding to declare, more than three years ago, that gays would not be welcome in his Cabinet. Politicians fear that any perception that they embrace or are soft on homosexuality will cost them votes and open them to discrimination and stigma.

The attitude, we insist, is cowardly, retrogressive, socially dangerous and offensive to human rights.”

It represents the official and incontrovertible position of the Jamaica Gleaner.

Yet whilst, the backing of the powerful Gleaner and the statement of the President of the Senate are powerful moral uplifting boosts, it is JFLAG’s acknowledgement of its distance from the very community it serves which Pink applauds the most.  We believe that the entity must begin to deepen its networks within the community beyond the faithful that attends its workshops. Indeed as an election draws close, the entity must begin to educate its constituents about using the power of their franchise to punish and reward candidates. However, those are high sounding tactics, at the core the institution must re-educate its support base about what it is and what it is attempting to do. In this regard we still call upon the institution to answer the questions posed and assess openly and honestly what has worked, what has not worked and why?

We here at Pink, hope that these developments will jolt JFLAG from its seeming pusillanimity and force it take up its mantle of leadership. Indeed Dane Lewis can no longer fear being OUTED as every single reader of the Friday Gleaner would have read and saw his name. Admittedly, Dane Lewis had long abandoned the moniker of Jason Macfarlane in preference to his real name. The issue that we must now confront as a community is now that we have our leader, our Prezzi of sorts, what is the next move and more importantly where are the followers?

2 Hot to be Stush

Yup that is the sentiment coming from a majority of persons interviewed after the We Welcome Fierceness Party (WWF) held over the last weekend. It would appear that after one year being off the party scene, they have lost none of their knack for interestingly themed events that miss the mark. For example, why were party lights placed inside a venue that is known to be the center of global warming is beyond us. Having said that, the precise reason that persons LOVE a WWF event is that, they simply LOVE TO HATE ON IT!

WE here at Pink love a WWF party for a completely different reason. Their events are by far the most democratic and open spaces where persons irrespective of class, colour, creed and SEXUAL ORIENTATION have a spot on the dance floor. Whilst events always seem to be dangerously close to getting out of control (there was no issue of this occurring this time), where else can you see transvestites, Drag Queens, Thugs, Thug wannabes, UPT and DTW personalities mixing. Other party promoters come close but never quite get there, and this is the enduring reason that a WWF event is the standard by which all other events are judged. Even if the bar isn’t set particularly high!

We are still disappointed that Novia (the lead personality) could not have been persuaded to have her New Year’s Eve party, and this event does not make up for that massive disappointment. However, the year is still relatively young and we already see advertisements for another so she may yet be forgiven for such travesty.