|Leandro Fogliatti, ILGA-LAC - Oficial de Comunicación|
Activists and other concerned citizens in Jamaica are working to build support for a shelter for homeless LGBT youths who have sought refuge in the sewers after being driven out of their family homes and out of abandoned buildings.
Their project is called “Dwayne’s House” in memory of 16-year-old Dwayne Jones, who was murdered in July because he went to a public dance in a dress.
Here is one activist’s account of the project, which now has a Twitter account to follow and a Facebook page to like. Contributions are welcome — designate donations for “Dwayne’s House” on the gay-friendly church’s website.
WHY DWAYNE’S HOUSE?
Over 80% of Jamaicans self-identify as homophobic.
Some parents throw their LGBTI kids on the streets as young as 12 years old.
Dwayne Jones was thrown out at 14 and murdered at 16 for wearing a dress to a public street-dance.
Armed police have chased these homeless kids from every abandoned building they occupied.
Some of these buildings have been torn down to prevent the kids “re-infesting” them.
When these youngsters go to the few government shelters they are attacked by other residents because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
Some of these youngsters now live in sewers in Kingston. See the images above and below.
Many of them sell sex to survive.
Some clients pay the youth extra to have condom-less sex.
This has increased the vulnerability of these youngsters to contracting HIV and other STIs.
We need to get these homeless youth off the streets and into a shelter and provide them with basic social services.
We are currently providing them with non-perishable food items twice per week.
We have also collected clothing for them.
We need your help to make this a sustainable venture. We also want to establish a permanent home for them.
Please consider donating to Dwayne’s House at www.openarmsmcc.org with a notation “Dwayne’s House.”