MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — Dwayne Jones was relentlessly teased in high school for being effeminate until he dropped out. His father not only kicked him out of the house at the age of 14 but also helped jeering neighbors push the youngster from the rough Jamaican slum where he grew up.
By age 16, the teenager was dead – beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a car when he showed up at a street party dressed as a woman. His mistake: confiding to a friend that he was attending a “straight” party as a girl for the first time in his life.
Int U.S.-based Human Rights Watch in 2006 called the environment in Jamaica for such groups “the worst any of us has ever seen.”
Like many Jamaican homosexuals, Dwayne was careful about confiding in others about his sexual orientation. But when he saw a girl he had known from church, he told her he was attending the party in drag. Unfortunately, the girl’s male friends gathered around Dwayne in the dimly-lit street asking: “Are you a woman or a man?” One man waved a lighter’s flame near Dwayne’s sneakers, asking whether a girl could have such big feet.
Then, his friends said, another man grabbed a lantern from an outdoor bar and walked over to Dwayne, shining the bright light over him from head to toe. “It’s a man,” he concluded, while the others hissed “batty boy” and other anti-gay epithets.
Khloe says she tried to steer him away from the crowd, whispering in Dwayne’s ear: “Walk with me, walk with me.” But Dwayne pulled away, loudly insisting to partygoers that he was a girl. When someone behind him snapped his bra strap, the teen panicked and raced down the street.
But he couldn’t run fast enough to escape the mob.
The teenager was viciously assaulted and apparently half-conscious for some two hours before another sustained attack finished him off, according to Khloe, who was also beaten and nearly raped. She hid in a nearby church and then the surrounding woods, unable to call for help because she didn’t have her cellphone.
Dwayne’s father in the Montego Bay slum of North Gully didn’t want to talk about his son’s life or death. The teen’s family wouldn’t even claim the body, according to Dwayne’s friends.
They remembered him as a spirited boy with a contagious laugh who dreamt of becoming a performer like Lady Gaga.
LESBIANS IN JAMACIA
With 82 percent of its citizens opposing homosexuality – according to the results of a recent survey – Jamaica is one of the most dangerous places in the world for gay people.
“The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays (J-FLAG) reported in June (2011) that 51 homophobic incidents had been registered in Jamaica between January and June 2011, representing a rise compared to the same period over 2010,” according to a reportreleased in September 2011 by Amnesty International.