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Jamaica: Gay man reportedly stoned and targeted with homophobic slurs

Activist says 'athletic young man' escaped but fears reporting incident to police

Jamaican gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson. Credit: ippf.org

A group of men allegedly threw stones at a gay man and targeted him with homophobic slurs as he was walking home Sept 21 after visiting a friend in St Catherine, located in southeast Jamaica, Gay Star News (GSN) reports.

Gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson told GSN that the man, who preferred to remain anonymous, was hit in the back with three stones, but his athleticism helped him escape the scene.

Tomlinson alleges that the group of men shouted, "Ketch di battyboy" and tried to prevent him from getting away.

GSN also quotes Tomlinson as saying that the man is fearful of reporting the attack to police because he feels he will be "ridiculed and further victimized."

In an interview with Xtra last March, Tomlinson, a lawyer, said he'd go to the police on behalf of LGBT Jamaicans who've been "abused and seeking to make reports," noting that the recording officers "treat them with such contempt." He referred to another incident where a young man who was also stoned and called a faggot tried to file a report with police who refused to take it.

Assistant commissioner of police Devon Watkis told Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner in September that there is no evidence that LGBT people in Jamaica face more violence than the general population. Watkis was reacting to a rash of attacks, including the killing of gender-nonconforming teenager Dwayne Jones in July. Jones, 17, who was dressed in women's clothing, was beaten, stabbed, shot and left on a roadway after being chased from a Montego Bay party.
 

In September, police escorted five men out of a Manchester town after angry community residents barricaded them and their car. According to a CVM TV report, which referred to the men as “alleged homosexuals,” residents had been “tolerant with the practices of the men but were not in agreement with recent utterances and behaviour.”

"Our numbers generally show that we have had some violence committed against the citizens of Jamaica, inclusive of all groups," Watkis said. "I have no specific evidence outside of those isolated ones that this group is a target group as opposed to the ordinary citizen.”