A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise funds to help create a permanent home for a group of gay Jamaican men who live in the Shoemaker Gully in New Kingston.
“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,” the plead for cash said.
The men are referred to as ‘gully queens’, and according to Savannah Baker, who established the account on October 31, they are beaten and raped on a regular basis.
Some US$7,762 or approximately J$1 million of a targeted US$100,000 (J$12.9 million) has so far been raised.
The money is to lease a property to accommodate the men, provide psychological support and assist with their medical expenses and welfare.
The GoFundMe post also said the aim is to provide a stable income for the transgender youth by creating the Queen’s fashion brand, from which they will receive 100 per cent of the earnings.
Dane Lewis, executive director for The Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG) said the entity supports the initiative.
Lewis said that a number of the young gay and transsexual youth who reside in the gully are legitimately homeless and estimates a minimum of 20 are there at any given time.