Save the Gully Queens of Jamaica
YOUNG TRANSWOMEN IN JAMAICA NEED YOUR SUPPORT URGENTLY
The Larry Chang Foundation, a small organisation in Jamaica, is very urgently seeking to raise funds to assist a group of 25 young persons of gay and trans experience in Jamaica to stay off the streets and out of danger.
Violence and abuse towards LGBT people in Jamaica is endemic. Transwomen in particular face horrific human rights abuses from members of their community, including their own families.
In May, Malaysia was sleeping at her home. Somebody poured lighter fuel over her and set her on fire. Her injuries, physical and psychological, are extensive. She requires extensive medical and psychological support to recover.
LGBT people are driven out of their homes, either forcefully by their families, or through fear of these types of incidents, into extremely dangerous environments where they resort to any means to survive. Homelessness amongst the transgender population in particular is extensive, and with it all the social problems and vulnerabilities of living on the streets as an LGBT person in a particularly homophobic and transphobic country.
Shadiamond was 10 when her mother kicked her out onto the streets because she suspected she was different. By the time she made contact with the LGBT community in Kingston she had already spent the better part of a decade making life on the streets. She was a deeply traumatised, aggressive and sometimes violent survivor of the streets, who was HIV positive and refusing treatment because she had given up hope. The Larry Chang Foundation has supported her to come to terms with some of her experiences and her health has now improved as she is regularly accessing healthcare. She is also in school finishing her education, and found her new, upbeat and future thinking identity Shadiamond.
The Larry Chang Foundation delivers a holistic approach to supporting persons of trans experience and gay identifying persons to rebuild their lives. The foundation provides vital safe shelter, food and psychosocial care to support people through life-threatening and often traumatic situations. We then invest in their futures by connecting them to health care services, vocational and skills training opportunities, so they can live fulfilling and productive independent lives.
It costs just £400/ U$525 to provide this support to one beneficiary each month.
The Larry Chang Foundation urgently requires funds to enable us to continue providing this vital support to the 25 individuals currently in the programme, for the next 6 months and ensure that they can move on equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to live independent fulfilling lives.
That’s only £60,000/ U$78,000 so we can continue to provide lifesaving and life-changing support and care – and a chance at a future - for these 25 young people who have faced unimaginable hardships and discrimination.
SashaBerry says: “Since moving to the house I don’t have to do the things I used to do to survive. I have health and HIV check-ups and can receive medical help and regularly take my medication. I want to train as a nail technician and one day hope to be able to go to school to study. I hope that in the future I can live openly and freely as the woman I am.”
The Larry Chang Foundation’s mission is to provide access to safe shelter, food, psychosocial support and training for homeless and displaced persons of trans experience and gay identified persons enabling them to live fulfilling and productive lives ultimately reintegrating them back into society
Our key programme activities are centred around:
◘ Shelter; providing safe shelter in various models (group housing or independent living)
◘ Improve Health Outcomes; individualised care plans, meals that support diet plans & access to and retention in discrimination free healthcare
◘ Psychosocial support & Life Skills Training; Provide access to counselling sessions (group and one-on-one) based on care plans as well as Empowerment sessions
◘ Improve Employability; remedial educational programmes, employability workshops and readiness seminars & documentation such identification, TRN etc
The Larry Chang Centre was set up as an initiative which was born out of a partnership between JFLAG & Dwayne's House out of the need to provide homeless LGBT youth with sustainable shelter, psycho-social support and training. It builds on the foundation of Dwayne's House established by Yvonne McCalla-Sobers and others. This campaign was initially set up to raise funds for the purchase of a property but we have now identified a private donor who has agreed to undertake this.
“These are beautiful people - the bravest in fact. To live in a country which is against them, where every day they face death, and yet they refuse to be silenced. Join us in our stand with them, and help them change their fate.”
Watch the Vice Documentary here: https://news.vice.com/video/young-and-gay-jamaicas-gully-queens-full-length
Learn about Larry Chang Foundation & J FLAG at the links below:
A famous case story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Dwayne_Jones
I wanted to let you know how far we have gotten working with JFLAG ( The LGBT foundation in Jamaica)
First of all a big thank you for your gracious donations. Every penny used has positively impacted many lives.
Initially we were not planning on releasing any funds until we reached a figure that could be impactful for a long period of time. However, since we started this fundraiser the girls have been banished from the gully ( Drainage system) where they resided, by the police. It has gotten extremely dangerous for them so we took the decision to start to draw down from the donations, which soon we will be used to its full extent.
We need to keep this going, so we can keep raising funds and so I am asking you all to please keep reposting the Go Fund Me page to keep our efforts going.
An update on what the funds have gone towards:
As of August 2017, JFLAG through the Larry Chang Foundation has been able to house 25 persons between two residential facilities and a nursing home in St. Ann. One residence is a 5 bedroom house, the other a building with four independent living spaces. The nursing home was used for people who were really sick and needed more urgent attention as they have a nurse on hand to monitor taking of medications etc.
The first $4000 USD sent by the GO FUND ME page was able to assist with food and rent for 15 persons. This also covered medical bills such as prescription items for about 7 clients. This support was a significant bridge for them between grants and was able to support the clients for about 7 weeks. Three clients have now managed to secure jobs and are beginning to secure their independence.
It costs approximately $800 USD / per week for food and medication for the 25 persons. It costs $800 / per month to rent the 5 bedroom house.
The Larry Chung foundation has now exhausted their funds and are doing all they can to continue support both physiologically and physically. So urgent assistance is needed to continue the work already underway and to rescue those currently left in the streets of Kingston & Montego Bay.
Last week, Friday the 22nd Sept in the morning we woke to the news of THELMA, homeless transgender person, who was shot and killed in New Kingston. Thelma like many others who made her life on the street was driven out of her home by family because of threats from hostile persons within their community. Thelma was a mother to many who resided in the gully in New Kingston as she earned the respect of other homeless LGBT persons. Thelma received at least six gun shots and died.
There is an urgent need to get the others who are still on the street, approximately 10, into shelter immediately.
Thank you again for your kind support.