Teen Murdered By Angry Mob

Teen Murdered By Angry Mob

Dwayne Jones was relentlessly teased in high school for being effeminate until he dropped out. His father not only kicked him out of the house at the age of 14 but also helped jeering neighbours push the youngster from the rough Jamaican slum where he grew up.

By David McFadden

Teen Murdered By Angry Mob

By age 16, the teenager was dead - beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a car when he showed up at a street party dressed as a woman. His mistake: confiding to a friend that he was attending a "straight" party as a girl for the first time in his life.

"When I saw Dwayne's body, I started shaking and crying," said Khloe, one of three transgender friends who shared a derelict house with the teenager in the hills above the north coast city of Montego Bay. Like many transgender and gay people in Jamaica, Khloe wouldn't give a full name out of fear.

"It was horrible. It was so, so painful to see him like that."

International advocacy groups often portray this Caribbean island as the most hostile country in the Western Hemisphere for gay and transgender people. After two prominent gay rights activists were murdered, a researcher with the U.S based Human Rights Watch in 2006 called the environment in Jamaica for such groups "the worst any of us has ever seen".

Local activists have since disputed that label, but still say homophobia is pervasive. Dwayne's horrific July 22 murder has made headlines in newspapers on the island and stirred calls in some quarters for doing more to protect Jamaica's gay community, especially those who live on the streets and resort to sex work.

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