BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — The Jamaica Gleaner reports that on Nov 1 "a large mob" attacked two men who were having sex in a university bathroom and that security guards later beat one of the men in a room at the school.
That man was later held in police custody, from which he was picked up by his parents and given a note to seek "urgent medical attention," Gay Star News reports. The second man managed to escape.
According to the Gleaner, a YouTube video shows one man being kicked, punched and slapped by two security guards, while another guard watches "with a piece of board in hand." Gay Star News, which had posted the video on its website, says it has been "removed as a violation of YouTube's policy on shocking and disgusting content."
Gay Star News also says the video showed "some of the campus security officers . . . brutally beating the young man while onlookers cheered and laughed at him, some calling to ‘kill the batty-boy.'"
A Nov 2 report in the Jamaica Observer says the officers "involved in last night’s beating of a male student at the University of Technology (UTech) have been removed from duty," according to the security firm Marksman Limited. The firm and the university are reportedly going to make a joint statement about the incident.
In a Facebook posting, Jamaican journalist Dionne Jackson Miller says she is "sad and sickened tonight."
"I also continue to wonder at my friends with their heads deep in the sand insisting that we are not a homophobic society. Really? This young man is hit and kicked by a 'security guard' while excited crowds gather outside," she writes. "And for those who will wilfully twist my words — you are adept at that — this has nothing to do with approval of or belief in a lifestyle. This is about a society that winks at barbarism and turns its head away insisting it is not happening, apparently all the reports of abuse are made up!!! And you wonder why we are seen as homophobic?"
Jamaican gay activist and lawyer Maurice Tomlinson told Gay Star News that he has taught at UTech and that one of his former students wrote to say he was scared to return to the campus because of pervasive homophobia.
Tomlinson recently filed a lawsuit against two Jamaican TV stations, claiming they breached his constitutional rights for refusing to broadcast public service announcements aimed at promoting tolerance toward gays. He wants the court to order the stations to air the ad and has also asked for damages.
Some are wondering whatever happened to Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller's bold, pro-gay statements during her election campaign, including talk of reviewing the island's buggery laws.