Transgender teen killed for dressing up as woman

jamaica: Dwayne jones’s horrific July 22 murder has stirred calls for doing more to protect Jamaica’s gay community

Written by Associated Press | Montego Bay | Published: August 12, 2013 2:26 am

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 neighbours 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. “When I saw Dwayne’s body,I started shaking and crying,’’ said Khloe,one of three transgendered friends who shared a derelict house with the teenager in the hills above the north coast city of Montego Bay.

Dwayne’s horrific July 22 murder has made headlines in newspapers on the island and stirred calls in some quarters for doing more to protect Jamaica’s gay community,especially those who live on the streets and resort to sex work.

“Judging by comments made on social media,most Jamaicans think Dwayne Jones brought his death on himself for wearing a dress and dancing in a society that has made it abundantly clear that homosexuals are neither to be seen nor heard,’’ said Annie Paul,a blogger and publications officer at Jamaica’s campus of the University of the West Indies.

Police spokesman Steve Brown said detectives working the case are struggling to overcome a chronic problem: a strong anti-informant culture that makes eyewitnesses to murders and other crimes too afraid or simply unwilling to come forward.

Dwayne was the center of attraction shortly after arriving in a taxi at 2 am with his two 23-year-old housemates,Khloe and Keke. Like most 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.

Minutes later,according to Khloe and Keke,the girl’s male friends gathered around Dwayne in the dimly-lit street asking: “Are you a woman or a man?’’ Dwayne pulled away,loudly insisting to partygoers that he was a girl. Later the teen panicked and raced down the street. But he couldn’t run fast enough to escape the mob. Dwayne’s father to talk about his son’s life or death. The teen’s family wouldn’t even claim the body,according to Dwayne’s friends.

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