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UK: Protest to demand justice for Dwayne Jones

‘Press the Jamaican government for action on hate crime’: Peter Tatchell Foundation

Gender-nonconforming teen Dwayne Jones was found dead on a Jamaican roadway. Credit: webpronews.com

A protest to demand justice in the case of Jamaican Dwayne Jones, who was targeted with homophobic slurs and murdered in July, is set for Aug 28 outside the Jamaican High Commission in London, a release from the Peter Tatchell Foundation says.

Out & Proud African LGBTI and Justice for Dwayne Jones is organizing the action with the foundation’s support.

Jones, 16, also known as Gully Queen, was attacked July 22 while attending a Montego Bay party dressed in women’s clothing. According to news reports, someone at the party identified Jones as male. A crowd reportedly chased Jones, whose body was later found on a roadway, shot and bearing multiple stab wounds.

More than a month after Jones’s murder, police have yet to make an arrest.  

“Jamaican authorities need to send an unequivocal message that there will be zero tolerance for violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT),” Human Right Watch’s LGBT rights program director Graeme Reid said in response to the news of Jones’s murder. “The Jamaican government should be protecting everyone’s rights and safety, and that includes people who do not conform to society’s expectations of how each gender should behave.”

Out & Proud co-founder and director Edwin Sesange also urged the Commonwealth not to tolerate homophobia in Jamaica and to press the Jamaican government to stop the persecution of LGBT people. 

During a December 2011 televised election debate, Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller asserted that “no one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation” and that “government should provide the protection.”

Almost two years after that bold statement, many feel she has not followed through on her election talk.

“Unfortunately, LGBT people in Jamaica are still waiting for the prime minister’s statement of principle against discrimination because of sexual orientation to translate into change on the ground,” Reid says. “Prompt action to investigate Jones’s murder and, more broadly, to promote respect for LGBT people, is critical if all Jamaicans are to enjoy equality under the law, as well as lives free from violence and discrimination.”

Spokespeople from the island's main LGBT rights group, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, say at least two gay men were killed for their sexual orientation last year, and at least 36 were victims of mob violence.

Just recently, police escorted five men out of a Manchester town after angry locals, who barricaded them and their car, alleged that one of the men had made unspecified comments that caused them to be concerned, especially for the area's children.