It’s been a while since I got out and about on a weekend since I have some free time from the conclusion of the Seismic Project with Aphrodite’s PRIDE Jamaica so some of my brethren had a drink out of which I attended last evening. We were returning from the shing-dig to travel separately home when we ran into a shouting match just by the outside of the Half Way Tree transportation centre that was closed at the time since it was around 11pm westwards along Eastwood Park Road and where robot taxis and coaster buses (often having challenges with both crews and loaders and suspected gay/lesbian folks) would operate JUTC main trunk routes until the wee hours of the morning by the Shell gas station at the stop lights alongside Molynes Road.
The newly arrived bus continued emptying its passengers and the argument ensued getting loader as decibels and harsh language became pronounced. The lesbophobic/homo-negative comments continued by the conductor who now was joined by the driver who while seated shouted supporting anti gay arguments. An older female passenger sided with the obviously angry same gender sister as it was at this time myself and my female companion realised she was a community member as she hailed one of my young gay friends also in my company but who had stopped at a vendor to buy snacks before. They greeted each other as he joined us and as she explained why she was upset to all three of us by this we all were now the target of the verbal assault, my female friend was about to move to one of the men where I grabbed her hand and reminded her how to defuse situations like this with ignoring the rage at first and if to fight then fight to end it not to win.
Words to the effect such as “dutty lesbian gal”(dirty lesbian girl) “suck pussy 'oman” (suggesting her sexual activity is limited to oral sex a perception held in the mind’s of many Jamaicans of lesbians) and derogatory suggested sex change remarks were used to challenge the woman’s semi masculine demeanour by this time my two counterparts joined in the dispute with my male friend who is known to her tried to pull her away and to leave the scene as he hugged her in an effort to convince her while my female friend proceeded to respond to the never ending lesbophobic and other awful remarks with and ever rising decibel level, a typical style of public embarrassment by arguing parties.
That’s when the aggrieved sister went haywire and said that I was defending the right thing while my other female friend joined in the exchange with all sorts of expletives and curse words in Jamaican parlance flew however I stayed as cool as I possibly could with an unfinished beer in hand that I sipped every now and again as it got less cold but clearly showing we were not afraid of them and their rant besides he was telling me something I already know. Their refusal to take the blame for the passengers’ upset due to delay continued and the older woman who had sided with the aggrieved woman was still on the scene with other passengers who remained, some others left, it was then when a comment that seemingly challenged the manhood of the rude man from the profiled lesbian caused a physical response from the crewman as he lunged forward towards the woman hand raised as if he wanted to hit or punch her, she in turn stood her ground while partially pulling what looked like a knife or weapon from the left side of her waist, in response shouts of “a what dat” “noooo no bada wid dat” and so on came from the now transfixed audience and persons driving by slowed to see what was going on, the older woman who had defended the girl asked her not to go there and to leave it alone while the other crewmen and taxi drivers seemed livid that the woman had defended herself (how dare a woman who is about to be attacked by a man stand up) the driver in the meantime was livid and he tried to raise his plump self from his seat supposedly in a bid to “defend it” while spewing a slew of expletives (mouth full of food, rice flying) encouraging the sideman to “rass de oman, she [expletive] bright.”. (hit her she is out of order and deserves it etc.)
To think my last session in the Seismic project was safety and defusing an aggressive scene now here I am in one, coincidental eh? fortunately the police station was nearby on Maxfield Avenue southwards from us just in case things got ugly I thought, I also went over piercing through the growing crowd who had encircled the two, the angry woman was fuming and also the crewman who felt he was dissed (Jamaican men do not like that especially when it comes from a woman) myself and my friends tried to calm her down while acting as a buffer between her and the other men, homo-negative comments continued from various voices seeing we were supporting the aggrieved woman, the particular crewman also had other crewmen/loaders holding him and trying to also calm him down, the driver still seated and shouting from inside the bus instructed the men to leave him alone to take action as he saw fit, how could he let a woman do him like that? Or words to that effect came from him.
Well we know that we are marked at that bus stop and by the crews but who cares? I have witnessed crap at that area before and some of the guys truth be told are known. The woman calmed after about ten minutes or so while the discussion continued, we could still hear the still seated driver making muffled remarks but he was ignored, the woman introduced herself to me and she continued talking to my gay friend who knew her, meanwhile the loaders insisted we enter the waiting bus as it was soon ready to depart. My brethren joined myself and my lesbian sister on the bus as we settled and the woman eventually left for her travels obviously still not pleased. We discussed the matter in the bus prior to its departure and the conductor for our bus made a remark as he entered the unit that almost started a second square off where he suggested that no woman could dis him like that, obviously it was a comment to also take a swipe at us but we looked at each other and continued our convo almost all the way over to Spanish Town, other passengers were talking of it but from a standpoint of disrespectful crews and indiscipline. We have since kept in touch via Facebook and so on and the woman is ok now as at the preparation of this post.
Such are the travails out there but it is not the first time that Spanish Town and indeed other coaster routes have seen similar scenes in Half Way Tree as bus crews themselves have come in for harsh exchanges between themselves and with passengers and members of the public about suspected gay crew/loaders/drivers, some years ago a transwoman was stabbed as well caused by another woman who pointed her out, clashes with homeless MSM/trans persons or cruisers alongside those who met in the city centre back in the day prior to it getting a bad rap for being gay town. The controversial shooting incident as well of a cash for gold selling lesbian sister only last year is a reminder of how fickle the town centre can be for same gender loving folks be it anti gay reasons or gay on gay violence. Things changed over time following that gathering of persons with machete’s after an announcement that gay groups were intending to march in the square. Then we can also add to that the clashes at Bargain Mall by Clock Tower Plaza and so called K12 threats, even recently in 2014 there was a standoff with men and some youngsters. Just look out there if you are reading this and happen to traverse the area or know of anyone who does.