I Failed Oshane Gordon. I Will Not Fail Dwayne Jones

By Maurice Tomlinson

In the early morning on August 18, 2011, armed thugs barged into the small home that 16 year-old Oshane Gordon shared with his mother in the resort town of Montego Bay, Jamaica. As Oshane tried to flee through a window, the men chopped on his foot.

When they caught, they finished him off with several more blows from their machetes. The men then went back for Oshane’s mom and chopped her up as well. But thankfully she survived. The reason given for this brutal assault was Oshane’s “questionable relations with another man.”

In 2011, I swore in Oshane’s memory that no other Jamaican child would pay the price for Jamaica’s savage homophobia. I naïvely thought that by alerting Jamaicans to the senseless loss of life caused by irrational fear of gays that our innate sense of humanity would kick in and we would rise up in one voice and call for a halt to this brutality.

I was wrong. I failed Oshane’s memory.

Another Jamaican teenager was gruesomely killed by a mob as a result. Below is the August 24, 2013 funeral photo of Dwayne Jones, a 16 year-old teenager who was also from Montego Bay.

Dwayne was buried on the same day that homophobic Jamaican reggae singer, Queen Ifrica, was prevented from performing at a concert in Toronto that was partially funded by Canadian taxpayers, some of whom are gay.  Ifrica thinks her freedom of speech was unjustly curtailed.

I look at Dwayne’s lifeless body and I fail to see how she has been harmed. She lost some money; Dwayne lost her life.

Like Oshane Gordon, Dwayne Jones was killed for being different. Dwayne was biologically male but identified as female. Dwayne is seen here lying in her casket wearing a masculine suit because that is how society would like to remember her in death. But, her last words were “I am a girl!”

That was before a mob set-upon Dwayne at a street-dance and shot and stabbed her to death after a female member of Dwayne’s church pointed out her biological gender to the bloodthirsty mob. When the savages completed their gruesome act of murder, they dumped Dwayne’s body in nearby bushes and went right on dancing. The police discovered her body the next morning.

 Appeal To International Community

(Tourist Dollars & Investments)

This time around, I will be taking a more strident approach to ensure that this type of murder of innocent persons ceases. Appeals to the Jamaican government to aggressively promote and protect the human rights of LGBT citizens have largely fallen on deaf ears. And on August 22, just 2 days before Dwayne’s funeral, we saw the 6th anti-gay mob attack in a month where police had to rescue 5 gay men who had been barricaded in their home by a community intent on getting rid of them. The government just will not challenge the powerful fundamentalist churches whose members include the woman who outed Dwayne to his killers.

Arguments based on human rights and public health issues are simply irrelevant as the government is more concerned about votes. And the churches promise a lot of them. However, economic arguments resonate with this government.

I will be appealing to the international community to consider if they should continue rewarding Jamaica with financial support (whether through tourist dollars or investments) while vulnerable members of the LGBT community are brutalized on an almost daily basis. In the meantime, the Jamaican government does precious little.


My platform will now be: NO MORE OSHANES AND DWAYNES. Jamaica either halts the senseless attacks on the rights of LGBT, or I will use my international profile to call on the global community to take action. In this regard, I will even more aggressively highlight the attacks on LGBT Jamaicans since other LGBT groups on the island seem to think that downplaying these attacks will get the government to actually engage in fruitful dialogue. We saw that policy fail miserably with Oshane. We must not do the same for Dwayne.


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6 comments on “I Failed Oshane Gordon. I Will Not Fail Dwayne Jones
  1. christine rhone says:

    It is more selfish to ask people to live lives that make ‘OTHERS’ comfortable. It is also selfish to ask people to spend their money where there exists an organized movement to shame people into ‘conformity’ and ignores and often excuses their slaughter. Dwayne Jones is dead. He no longer breathes the air that we all do. He no longer walks his truth among us. He no longer exists. Where is the outrage at the selfishness of those who would deny him his life. I am an out, Jamaican lesbian. I didn’t leave Jamaica until I was 17. I, like many, work hard and send money home which stimulates Jamaica’s economy. Until this hatred is addressed, I cannot in good conscience encourage anyone to just enjoy their ‘vacay’ while we give you all the reggae, jerk n beach you can stand yet, pay no attention to the fact that citizens of my country are murdered for just ‘being’.

  2. Jermaine Ok says:

    its time for this to stop we cant watch or allowed anymore of our brothers or sisters to loose there life.. it is time to get off the side lines and if it means BOYCOTT so be it our voice MUST be herd been different should not make us targets… its time for the GOVERNMENT to speak up for its people (LGBT) sexuality doesn’t makes us any different , we are still somebody CHILD! SON, Daughter, sisters. brothers, nephews and nieces were are all Jamaicans we are out of many one people. The time for hiding is over, we are hear to stay we ill be living on TOP of you and ONDER you we will be in your work place, in Church, in combination and apart of your community so DEAL with it………………….. let the vioce of the LGBT be herd

  3. Nigel Salmon says:

    I was once attacked too. I still seek revenge, but this is a world where
    there is no equality for all. I now walk with a weapon–and will use it
    in self defence.

  4. Rocky says:

    So now that we are settled and comfortable, we can sit in the luxury of our Canadian and American asylum homes and call for a boycott of Jamaica. I agree it is selfish.

  5. Rocky says:

    Deep. Not sure I will support a BOYCOTT JAMAICA campaign. Its SELFISH.

  6. jucifer says:

    love it!!!

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "I Failed Oshane Gordon. I Will Not Fail Dwayne Jones"
  1. […] use this visibility to amplify issues that worry prominent Jamaican gay lawyer and activist Maurice Tomlinson who says “Appeals to the Jamaican government to aggressively promote and protect the human rights of LGBT […]

  2. […] This commentary appeared previously in Dadland Shut Up. […]

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