'Cross-Dressing' Teen Murdered in Jamaica

By Jase Peeples

Originally published on Advocate.com August 05 2013 12:48 PM ET

A 17-year-old gay gender non-conforming person was murdered by an angry mob in Jamaica after attending a party in women’s clothing, reports Human Rights Watch.

Dwayne Jones was attending a party in St. James, near Montego Bay, on June 21, dressed in women's clothing and dancing with a man, when another female partygoer recognized the teen and told attendees Jones was male. That prompted the angry crowd to attack Jones, according to HRW. When the mob discovered that Jones was born male, they reportedy dragged the teen away from the party, beating, shooting, and dismembering the 17-year-old. Jones' body was discovered the next day on a road with a gunshot wound as well as multiple stab wounds.

“Jamaican authorities need to send an unequivocal message that there will be zero tolerance for violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people,” said Graeme Reid, LGBT rights program director at HRW. “The Jamaican government should be protecting everyone’s rights and safety, and that includes people who do not conform to society’s expectations of how each gender should behave.”

Several of Jamaica’s human rights groups have called for the government to condemn the murder and thoroughly investigate the crime, including the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, Jamaicans for Justice, and Quality of Citizenship Jamaica. That call to action has been echoed by Sen. Mark Golding, the nation's justice minister, who urged police to “spare no effort in bringing the perpetrators to justice” in a statement.

The United Nations in Jamaica similarly condemned the brutal murder. "The Government should ensure that the investigation proceeds without delay and is conducted in an independent and thorough manner," the UN said in a statement issued Saturday. "Those responsible for this heinous crime must be held to account for their actions." 

Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, who said “no one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation” during her election campaign, has yet to make an official statement about Jones death.