A 26-year-old gay man was found stabbed to death in
Kingston, Jamaica, on the morning of Friday, Dec 3.
The victim, whose identity remains under wraps pending notification of his family, told friends his life had been threatened recently.
"He did say to a group of people in our workshop a few weeks ago that his life had been under threat for some time," Dane Lewis of J-FLAG told Xtra this afternoon. "We’re trying to clarify if the assailant came from outside the community and if it’s homophobia-related.”
Lewis wanted Xtra to report that, for safety reasons, J-FLAG keeps no members and no membership lists and so, despite the AP report, the victim was not a member of J-FLAG.
"He was a member of our community," says Lewis.
As I write, I can't find anything on this in either
the Jamaica Observer or the Jamaica Gleaner, the two major dailies in Kingston. Of course, silence from the mainstream media in Kingston is not entirely surprising. I visited in 2008, staying just a few blocks from where Friday's victim was found. While there I wanted to talk to some mainstream journalists for the story I was doing. First on my list was Mark Wignall, a column writer for the Observer.
"If you yourself are 'gay' as it is
so incorrectly dubbed, do you dress like one and affect an obvious queer
physicality?" he wrote in response to my request for an interview. "I
ask this question because I do not ever interact with these types of
individuals. I find them both distasteful and comical at the same time.
Mainly, your journalistic exercise is an important one, but I just want
you to recognize the strong cultural norms you are operating against.
Even as I write, my girlfriend is saying, 'Don't meet with them, honey.
You will be labelled.'
"I can live with female
homosexuality," he went on. "Male homosexuality is vile because of its
very nature. One man inserting his penis in another man's passage of
evacuation! Should anything be more vile?"
Wignall and I never did meet.
I'll keep you posted as new details arise in this most recent murder.
In the meantime, check out some past work Xtra
writers have done on Jamaica:
I wrote Dispatches from Kingston, Jamaica. The Jason McFarlane source in that story is in fact Lewis, quoted above. In 2008, he asked me to use a pseudonym because he was concerned for his safety, but now he wants his real name on the record. "It's a test. I need to see, really, if there is anything toward me because I'm out," he told me today. Stay safe, Dane.
I wrote this: British Consul Murdered in Jamaica
Krishna Rau wrote Fleeing for My Life. Gareth Henry, pictured below, is Lewis's predecessor at J-FLAG. Henry is well and living in Toronto.
Fred Kuhr wrote Henry Decries US Boycott of Jamaica