VICE News embarks on a journey into the lives of the Gully Queens of Kingston, where violence and hate crimes are a constant battle. We are first introduced into the “gully”, the popular term used to describe a long, narrow cave-like structure which typically functions as a storm drainage system. Trans women and gay men create their lives in what one describes as “hell” where is gets cold, mosquitoes bite you and you never know when an attacker will come down.
The upside to the gully environment is it allows a certain intimacy compared to life out on the street. Most of these people were kicked out of their homes, and ostracized from social and work environments because of their openness of sexual orientation and unwillingness to abide to the norms that come with a culture entrenched in Christian belief systems. Although many believe the Gully Queens choose to live this way, it becomes obvious that they were forced to live in such harsh conditions because of their fearlessness to stand out.
J-Flag is Jamaica only visible gay rights organization. Dane Lewis, executive director of the organization, discusses the “mental anguish” that exists in Jamaica. This is not a surprise considering that there is only a 17% level of tolerance amongst Jamaicans in terms of how they relate to LGTBI people. They help out by providing counseling and support.
Check out the unofficial music video VICE made, including a Vybez Cartel track and footage from the documentary.