Transgendered Jamaican Teen Brutally Beaten, Shot by Mob

Murder shines light on rampant anti-gay culture

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 11, 2013 10:24 AM CDT

(Newser) – Dwayne Jones was kicked around and harassed for much of his young life. His father booted him from his house at age 14 for being effeminate, and along with neighbors, ran Dwayne out of the Jamaican slum in which he was raised. He was teased to the point where he dropped out of school. And Dwayne's tortured existence ended at age 16 last month, when his battered body was found after being beaten, stabbed, shot, and run over by a car—after the transgendered teen made the fatal error of attending a street party dressed as a woman. "When I saw Dwayne's body, I started shaking and crying," says a transgender friend who would only give a first name. "It was horrible. It was so, so painful to see him like that."

As the AP reports, the case underscores the dangerous reality of being homosexual or transgendered in Jamaica, which some advocates say is the Americas' most hostile country toward gays. That hostility is due in part to a 150-year-old anti-sodomy law on the country's books, and rampant anti-gay attitudes, which have driven the gay community way underground for fear of mobs like the one that killed Dwayne. But one gay-rights advocate sees "pockets of tolerance" emerging, thanks in part "because of people like Dwayne who have helped push the envelope." But though the case may be raising awareness, justice is proving elusive: No one has thus far been charged in Dwayne's murder. Click for the full piece.

In this Aug. 3, 2013 photo, Dwayne Jones’ transgendered friend and roommate, Keke, poses for a photo in kitchen of the home they shared on the northern outskirts of Montego Bay, Jamaica. International...   (David McFadden)
This undated photo provided by Dwayne Jones' friend Jay via the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) advocacy group, shows Dwayne Jones in an unknown location in Jamaica. Dwayne,...   ((AP Photo/Jay, J-FLAG))
This Aug. 3, 2013 photo shows the riverside bar where Jamaican teenager Dwayne Jones attended a dance party and was savagely murdered by a mob last month, in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Dwayne was killed by...   (David McFadden)
In this Aug. 5, 2013 photo, street graffiti with an anti-gay message covers part of a privacy wall in the Papine neighborhood of Kingston, Jamaica. Advocates say much of the homophobia is fueled by a...   (David McFadden)
In this Aug. 3, 2013 photo, pink curtains adorn an empty room that once belonged to Dwayne Jones on the northern outskirts of Montego Bay, Jamaica. Dwayne was a 16-year-old Jamaican who was savagely murdered...   (David McFadden)
In this Aug. 3, 2013 photo, Dwayne Jones’ transgendered friend and roommate, Khloe, shows scars from an attack on the night Dwayne was killed, in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Khloe escaped, but a mob killed...   (David McFadden)
Dwayne Jones, who was relentlessly teased in high school for being effeminate until he dropped out.   ((AP Photo/Jay, J-FLAG))
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