Target: Prime Minister of Jamaica Portia S. Miller
Goal: Demand investigation of teen’s murder and stronger legal protection for LGBT individuals in Jamaica
Violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals is a disturbingly common occurrence in Jamaica. Cases like that of Dwayne Jones, a teenager who was recently murdered in an act of trans-phobic violence after he attended a party in women’s clothing, serve to illustrate the violence and discrimination that the Jamaican LGBT community endures every day. It is difficult to change people’s attitudes, but the Jamaican government should make every effort to investigate Jones’s death, bring those responsible to justice, and send a clear message that violence against against LGBT individuals will not be tolerated.
The government’s inaction in regards to Jones’s death has made details hard to come by. All that is known is that Jones showed up to the party in women’s clothing, and was attacked once his male gender was discovered. He was brutally shot and stabbed multiple times by what is thought to have been a fairly large crowd of assailants before being left on the road, where police later found his body.
Unfortunately, incidents like this are not at all uncommon in Jamaica, where homophobic and trans-phobic violence are at an all-time high. In 2012 police found as many as 68 examples of extreme violence motivated by an individual’s sexual or gender identity, of which two were fatal. However, this number is likely much larger in reality: the police of Jamaica have a reputation of whitewashing incidences of anti-LGBT violence as the result of simple robbery or muggings, even when the victim had no valuables taken from him. Such was the case of leading gay rights activist Brian Williamson, who was murdered in such a “robbery” in 2004.
Anti-LGBT violence, particularly when such brutality is involved, is anathema to a free society. The Jamaican government should conduct an investigation into Jones’ death, bring those responsible to justice, and enact stronger protections for LGBT individuals in Jamaica.
Dear Prime Minister Portia S. Miller,
Dwayne Jones, a teenager living in Jamaica, was recently found dead, having been shot and stabbed repeatedly by a large crowd of assailants. His only crime, in the eyes of his assailants, was being different: Jones was an individual of unknown but presumed LGBT identity, who was murdered after attending a party in women’s clothing. He is not the first victim of anti-LGBT prejudice in Jamaica, and unless the government takes action, he will not be the last.
The Jamaican government should investigate his death, and if it is found to be a hate crime, prosecute it as such. It must not be written off as a simple robbery of “accident,” as so many others have been. The government should also institute stronger protections for LGBT individuals in Jamaica, so as to prevent this from happening again.
[Your Name Here]