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Gangs on girls, not gay sex

Published: 
Saturday, March 1, 2014
LeRoy Clarke

Members of the lesbian/bi-sexual/gay/transgender (LBGT) community are now fearing they will be targeted by gangsters, and feel their lives are in danger. The latest news in the ongoing gay/heterosexual debate, fuelled by statements made by artist LeRoy Clarke, comes from a group that lobbies for LBGT equality, I Am One. Head of the group Jason Jones said there is great concern among members about Clarke’s statement that homosexuality was used as a gang initiation rite.

 

 

Clarke, in an earlier T&T Guardian interview, said emasculated gang members use the gun as a symbol of their manhood. Asked what this claim was based on, he said people had told him this. Jones said: “I am calling on Mr Clarke, as a proper elder, to make a full apology and retraction of the statement and say he made a major mistake and let’s move on. 

 

 

“I am very concerned about the gay community. The comment has made the LBGT community a target of gangsters. Some of the less intelligent gangsters may want to prove they are not gay and attack the LBGT community. It’s a dangerous statement.” An agitated Jones told the Guardian there was no documentation of homosexuality being used as an initiation rite anywhere in the world. “There is the first blood initiation, where you go out and kill somebody. Gang culture feeds on machismo.”

 

Jones also dismissed Clarke’s claim that he had received a “semi-threat/warning” from someone who called him and said to watch it, his career could be at stake because of the statements he made. “In the same way he made up the crap about gunslingers, he made up this.” Jones rejected Clarke’s comments as the rantings of “a man who no longer has any relevance in the society. “Now gay people are threatening him? I don’t get it. It’s all a little crazy.” 

 

Asked to comment on the biblical position Clarke said he supports, Jones said, “T&T is made up of 26 different religions. There are different beliefs.” Colin Robinson of Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) said he and his organisation would never threaten Clarke, and a lot of gay men are very hurt about what Clarke said because they had befriended him.  “They loved and supported Clarke and spent time with him when he was lonely. Not in a sexual way.

 

“I think LeRoy is mourning the loss of a particular kind of patriarchy, the kind where men are more equal than women. “He’s an old, bitter man who I would really love to love.”

 

 

Gangs: not us and gays 

A Laventille gang leader, who requested anonymity, said of Clarke’s comments. “Is the opposite. Plenty women and plenty babies. “Trinidad gangsters are not homos. I despise that. That kind of thing is not accepted. God tell me that is wrong.” Fr Clyde Harvey, who works with gangsters, told the Guardian he had never heard about homosexuality being used to initiate them. Heterosexual male dominance was the symbol of power among gangsters, he said. 

 

“It’s about how many girls you can breed.” Gary Grant, community action officer of the National Security Ministry’s Citizens Security Programme, said he has no knowledge of homosexuality being used as an initiation rite in gangs. Grant, a former gang member, helps in crime-prevention programmes for at-risk youth in St Barb’s and other parts of Laventille, Gonzales in Belmont and Nelson Street and other parts of east Port-of-Spain.

 

He said, “I have not seen or heard anything like that. I am not saying you might not have guys caught up in homosexual behaviour. But gangs generally shun homosexuality.”