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Gay men 28 times more likely to get HIV

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — UNAIDS yesterday called on Caribbean countries and others to remove discriminatory laws against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

In a statement, coinciding with the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), UNAIDS said stigma towards key populations — gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, people who inject drugs and prisoners and other incarcerated people — is reinforced by criminal laws.

It said these in turn fuel violence, exploitation and a climate of fear, hindering efforts to make HIV services available to the people who need them.

“We all have a moral and legal obligation to remove discriminatory laws and enact laws that protect people from discrimination,” said Gunilla Carlsson, acting UNAIDS executive director.

“To end the AIDS epidemic, people need to be protected from harm. We need justice and equality for all.”

UNAIDS said that more than 65 countries criminalise same-sex sexual relations, including at least eight that impose the death penalty.

It said globally, gay men and other men who have sex with men are around 28 times more likely to acquire HIV than the general population, and are much less likely to access HIV services. In 2017, gay men and other men who have sex with men accounted for 18 per cent of new HIV infections worldwide.

“It is critically important that we create a world where all people can access the health and social services they need — without the threat of violence and discrimination. Universal health coverage means reaching all people — sexual and gender minorities have the same right to health as everyone else,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Transgender people, who account for an estimated 0.1–1.1 per cent of the global population, often face stigma, discrimination and social rejection in their homes and communities. Discrimination, violence and criminalisation prevent transgender people from accessing the HIV services they need to stay healthy.

It is estimated that transgender women are 13 times more likely to acquire HIV than other adults of reproductive age, and that 16.5 per cent of transgender women are living with HIV.

Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, Achim Steiner, said “justice and protection for all are central to driving progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Enacting and enforcing non-discriminatory laws and policies, repealing punitive laws, and ensuring access to justice for all are critical to delivering on the commitment to leave no one behind,” said Steiner.

UNAIDS said it was joining with the United Nations secretary general and the United Nations high commissioner for human rights in calling for the decriminalisation of LGBTI people, and for LGBTI people to be protected from violence and discrimination and to have full access to health and other social services.

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Man bad, woman bad

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I am ashamed that women are so simple,

To offer war where they should kneel for peace.

— Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, V, 2

 

I wonder men dare trust

Themselves with men.

— Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, I, 2

 

BOTH quotes speak of a question of violence and of trust attributed to both men and women. Who is worse? There is an age-old fallacy, perpetuated mostly by women, that men are bad. True, men are indeed bad, but men alone don’t hold the handle on badness.

What is a proven fact, far from fallacy, is that women are bad too, and if what the oldsters say is true, when dem bad, dem bad nuh yaws. That’s why I have often asked, if men are bad, who are they bad with? Certainly not themselves… well a few may go that route, as they don and doff their gay apparel, but you catch my drift.

But what do we mean by bad? The ability to do evil things, usually of a sexual nature, such as deception, sexual wildness, promiscuity, fornication, adultery, perversion, paedophilia, rape, bestiality, prostitution. That’s right, read those words again and let them soak in. For every act of badness that men are accused of doing, women are equal to the task.

If this is so, then why is it that men get the bum rap of having the exclusiveness of badness? Blame it on the sympathy factor and on the ability of women to play the victim all the time. Just check out the #MeToo Movement and see how women are unfortunate victims to bad men, sometimes from decades ago. Where is the #MeToo Movement for men?

This has been perpetuated throughout history, but true historians and those who read widely will know that badness is not confined to men only, but also to women. Some notable standouts are Mata Hari, Christine Keeler who brought down the British Parliament, Lucrezia Borgia, Annie Palmer, Delilah, and others.

Not to be taken lightly is the phrase, “The female of the species is deadlier than the male.” And even closer home, the old calypso song, “That’s right, the woman is smarter.” Hold that thought, while we check out these ticklish responses to ‘Man Rape’.

 

Hi Tony,

I must admit I don’t fully understand the idea of a woman raping a man, where the woman is impregnated and becomes pregnant. All other types of man rape I do understand. Men being raped in prison and gangland rapes of men, and I have heard of men being tortured and raped. If the man is being seduced against his will, why not overpower the woman and walk away? I am sure it must be real though, if the victims say so. I just don’t quite get it.

Sonia

 

Teerob,

I was a victim of man rape by a much older woman when I was just 13 years old. I had no idea what she was doing and my body just responded to her touch without my conscious control. She was my mother’s best friend, and also married. I have never spoken about it, but it has haunted me to this day.

Robert

 

There is this hue and cry that men are bad. You cannot go anywhere and not hear the stories of the badness that men do. “Him bad nuh yaws, have women all over the place.” “That man have six pickney with six different women. Bad.” “Him is a real womaniser, bad like sin.”

Very rarely do you hear that women are bad, yet they are the ones to point fingers and vilify and curse the men for being bad. If ever the aspect of women being bad is even broached, the standard response is: “Is man drive her to do it.” They will not accept responsibility for their badness. Interestingly, some women are drawn to bad men.

The irony is, those same women will seek out so-called bad men, as they sleep with their best friends’ husbands, or try to take away their friends’ men. What happens when badness meets badness, a convergence of sexual apocalypse, a preponderance of prurience?

So they blame it on the devil, abdicate all responsibility, play the victim. Now let me make this clear, I love women, I love female company; I always have been surrounded by girls as a boy and as a teenager. I was never one of those guys who hung out with male friends at bars and such. I was always in the company of females.

My very best friend many years ago was a woman, until she got married, and you know how that guh after that. No husband going to tolerate that. The point is, I was privy to the ways of women from an early age, saw what they did, listened to their confessions, was their confidante. One could say that I was very much in touch with my feminine side.

And trust me, if more men knew the inner secrets of women they wouldn’t be so smug and take women for granted. What is true is that men revel in their badness, they wear it like a badge of honour, they even have songs about it. “Me babymother say me bad, me bad, me bad, me babymother say me bad.”

The fact that a man sired a string of children with a passel of women gives him ratings, a reason to be proud. But a woman conceals her badness, perpetuating the fallacy that women aren’t bad. But they are masters of subterfuge, guile, stealth, and secrecy.

Do an experiment, ask a woman how many men she has had sex with, then ask a man. She will play down her sexual history while the man elevates his. She conceals her badness. So you would be best advised to multiply her number by six and divide the man’s number by four.

“Honey, how many men have you ever had sex with?” “Oh, just two before you sweetheart.” “How about you my love, how many women?” “Only about two hundred.” Can you imagine if those numbers were gender reversed? And yet there are men living with women whose badness surpassed even theirs, yet they would never know, for a woman’s badness is a closely guarded secret.

There are women who are ‘happily married’ yet still manage to have affairs behind their husbands’ backs. Their deeds will not be heralded or boasted about over a glass of white rum in a bar. Those secrets will be taken with her to her grave. If you know how many wives have confided that they had affairs your head would swim. They all blame it on their husbands, I suspect in order to deflect the guilt of the badness.

The very fact that Jamaica is the jacket capital of the world, where thousands of unsuspecting men are not the fathers of their children, is testimony to the badness of women. The various embassies that require DNA testing for visa applications brought this fact to the surface, as more than 35 per cent of men tested were not the real fathers.

“My word, these statistics are startling, Jamaican women really bad nuh yaws,” say the foreign scientists who do the DNA testing. It is believed that the figure may be even higher, perhaps 50 per cent, which would mean that over a half of Jamaican men are not the fathers of their children. And yet they say that men are bad.

What compounds this woman-badness is their guile, stealth, secrecy, and silence. The men had no idea that they were being duped, taken for a ride, given another man’s jacket to wear. And that’s why the badness of women is so illusory, it’s as if it doesn’t exist.

Men seem to think that it’s only they who love sex, but women love sex too, and will go to any lengths to get it, just like men. Recently, a young lady confided to me how she would leave work and go to a popular parking lot to have sex. “In the night?” I asked her. “Not at all, in the middle day of course. “Then we had ice cream after,” she giggled.

There is a merit to having tinted windows on cars. Other women will check in at hotels for an afternoon tryst or even before going to work in the morning. Remember the song, “As I was checking in with my girl, my baby was checking out with another man.”

So whenever anyone tells you that men are bad, don’t disagree, but respond by saying, “Man bad, but woman bad too.”

More time.

seido1yard@gmail.com

 

Footnote: Just recently Seido Karate Jamaica held its annual tournament at UTech, Jamaica, and I must commend the competitors, spectators, martial arts schools, judges, and especially the students of St Hugh’s High School for Girls, who were invaluable in the smooth running of the competition. Congratulations to Grand Champions Delano Francis and Marissa Jones who were true ambassadors of the martial arts, displaying poise, discipline, grace, and humility in their victories. These tournaments showcase the best martial artists in the country, but they are costly to run, so special thanks to the Sports Development Foundation and McKay Security for their invaluable assistance. These competitions bring out the best in our athletes. For the very first time in our history, karate will be represented at the PanAm Games to be held in Lima, Peru, this month.

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Besieged Puerto Rico governor goes quiet amid protests

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — In the Spanish colonial fortress that serves as his official residence, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossell is under siege.

Motorcyclists, celebrities, horse enthusiasts, and hundreds of thousands of ordinary Puerto Ricans swarmed outside La Fortaleza (The Fort) in Old San Juan this week, demanding Rossell resign over a series of leaked online chats insulting women, political opponents, and even victims of Hurricane Maria.

Rossell, the telegenic 40-year-old son of a former governor, has dropped his normally intense rhythm of public appearances and gone into relatively long periods of near-media silence, intensifying questions about his future.

For much of his 2 1/2 years in office, Rossell has given three or four lengthy news conferences a week, comfortably fielding question after question in Spanish and English from the local and international press. And that’s on top of public appearances, one-on-one interviews and televised meetings with visiting politicians and members of his administration.

But since July 11, when Rossell cut short a family vacation in France and returned home to face the first signs of what has become an islandwide movement to oust him, the governor has made four appearances, all but one in highly controlled situations.

New protests began Friday afternoon, with unionised workers organising a march to La Fortaleza from the nearby waterfront. Horseback riders joined them with a self-declared cavalry march, while hundreds of other people came from around the city and surrounding areas. A string of smaller events was on the agenda across the island over the weekend, followed by what many expected to be a massive protest on Monday.

The chorus calling for Rossell’s resignation was joined Friday by Puerto Rico’s non-voting member of Congress, Jenniffer Gonzalez; US Senator Rick Scott of Florida; and New York congresswomen Nydia Velzquez and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.

The crisis has even cut back Rossell’s affable online presence. The governor normally started every day by tweeting “Good morning!” to his followers around 5:00 am. The last such bright-and-early message came on July 8. The tweets from his account have dwindled to a trickle since then, and each one is met by a flood of often-abusive responses from Puerto Ricans demanding he resign.

Rossell’s secretary of public affairs, Anthony Maceira, told reporters Friday that the governor was in La Fortaleza working on signing laws and filling posts emptied by the resignations of fellow members of the leaked chat group.

The head of Rossell’s pro-statehood political party said a meeting of its directors had been convened for coming days, although the agenda was not disclosed beyond “addressing every one of the complaints of our colleagues”.

Rossell offered a press conference on July 11 to address the arrest of two of his former department heads on federal corruption charges. He also asked the people of Puerto Rico to forgive him for a profanity-laced and at times misogynistic online chat with nine other male members of his administration, short selections of which had leaked to local media. Two days later, at least 889 pages of the chat were published by Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism, and things got much, much worse for Rossell.

In the chats on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, Rossell calls one New York female politician of Puerto Rican background a “whore”, describes another as a “daughter of a bitch” and makes fun of an obese man he posed with in a photo. The chat also contains vulgar references to Puerto Rican star Ricky Martin’s homosexuality and a series of emojis of a raised middle finger directed at a federal control board overseeing the island’s finances.

The next day, Sunday, Rossell appeared in a San Juan church and asked the congregation for forgiveness, without informing the press. The church broadcasts its services online, however, and his remarks became public. On Monday, July 15, Rossell gave a notably non-confrontational interview to a salsa music radio station. The governor’s spokesman said the questions had been “negotiated” between Rossell’s press team and the station. That night, thousands swarmed Old San Juan to demand his resignation.

On July 16, Rossell held a press conference and faced aggressive questioning about the chat scandal and the corruption arrests. Later that day, an ally tweeted a photo of Rossell embracing Wilfredo Santiago, the obese man whom the governor had mocked in one of the most infamous sections of the chat.

Since then, it’s been silence. There has been a handful of tweets, press releases, and statements, some saying he won’t resign but mostly about purportedly routine meetings of administration officials.

His official spokespeople aren’t answering many questions, and even his whereabouts are mostly unknown.

The governor’s press secretary, Dennise Prez, announced Friday night that she was resigning because she could no longer stand the insults and personal abuse directed at her this week by fellow Puerto Ricans.

Rossell was raised in the public eye, as the youngest son of Pedro Rossell, who served as governor from 1993 to 2001. One of Puerto Rico’s most charismatic and controversial governors, the elder Rossell launched a string of large-scale infrastructure projects that swelled the public debt and ensuing bankruptcy that his son has inherited.

Known widely as “Ricky”, the younger Rossell started his political career in his father’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party. Trained in biomechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Michigan and Duke, he launched his campaign for governor in 2015 with little previous history of public service.

Deflecting questions about whether he owed his success to his connections, Rossell portrayed himself as an affable technocrat with solutions to Puerto Rico’s debt and crumbling infrastructure, who, by less than 3% of the total votes cast, defeated David Bernier of the Popular Democratic Party, which advocates greater Puerto Rican autonomy from the mainland United States.

Until now, Rossell’s greatest challenge was Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, destroying the island’s power and communications systems. Rossell came under heavy criticism for mismanaging the crisis, particularly for understating the deaths from the storm. While some of his deputies were vilified, Rossell seemed to emerge relatively unscathed, perhaps due to his friendly and non-confrontational manner with critics, opponents, and journalists alike.

The father of two young children, he often posts their photos online, along with images of his wife and their two rescue dogs, a Siberian Husky and a Yorkshire Terrier. Rossell once halted a press conference to help local journalists move their equipment out of the rain.

Among the greatest shocks of the leaked chats for many Puerto Ricans was the puncturing of that image of low-key charm by the misogyny of online conversations.

“He was making an effort, carrying out his governor’s role,” said Jessica Castro, a 38-year-old San Juan resident attending a Friday evening protest with her family. “He was mocking everyone behind their backs, the people who believed in him. People are really disillusioned. He’s got to go.”

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Trump offers to guarantee A$AP Rocky’s bail in Sweden

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BERLIN (AP) — US President Donald Trump said he spoke with Sweden’s prime minister Saturday about jailed rapper A$AP Rocky, and “offered to personally vouch for his bail.”

Trump tweeted that during “a very good call” with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, he also “assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk”. The platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated artiste has been in custody since early this month over an alleged fight.

Urged on by the first lady and celebrities including Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, the president had said in a Friday tweet that he would intervene to try to free Rocky, whose real name is Rakim May.

“Our teams will be talking further, and we agreed to speak again in the next 48 hours!” Trump wrote Saturday after speaking with Lofven.

The prime minister’s press secretary, Toni Eriksson, confirmed hours later that Lofven and Trump had a conversation that “was friendly and respectful and lasted about 20 minutes”.

Lofven “made certain to emphasise the complete independence of the Swedish judicial system, prosecutors and courts”, Eriksson said in a statement. “He underlined that in Sweden everyone is equal before the law and that the Government cannot and will not attempt to influence the legal proceedings.”

The two leaders may have a follow-up call, “but nothing has been booked or planned”, she said.

Lofven had issued a statement earlier Saturday saying he would be glad to speak with Trump about A$AP Rocky’s detention, but giving the same warning about his government’s unwillingness to interfere.

“I understand that President Trump has a personal interest in the case,” the prime minister said before they spoke. “He has expressed the desire for a conversation with me, which is certainly positive.”

Rocky has been behind bars while Swedish police investigate the fight in Stockholm he allegedly was in before appearing at a music festival. Videos published on social media appear to show a person being violently thrown onto the ground by Rocky. A defence lawyer has said it was self-defence.

Other recording artistes have spoken on his behalf, including Sean “Diddy” Combs, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Nicki Minaj and Post Malone.

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