Funds drying up for Gully Queens

July 25, 2017
A gay man being evicted from the Shoemaker Gully in Kingston.

The flow of funds for the building of a house for gays has seemingly dried up.

Having set a goal of raising US$100,000 (approximately J$12.8 million) through a GoFundMe campaign dubbed 'Save the Gully Queens of Jamaica', the organisers have only managed to net US$9,004 (approximately J$1.1 million).

Some US$7,762, or just under J$1 million, of a targeted US$100,000 was raised in the first six days.

However, only US$1,242 (less than J$160,000) has been raised in the past 25 weeks. Only US$135 has been donated in the past month.

The GoFundMe account was set up to raise funds to help create a permanent home for a group of gay Jamaican men who live in the Shoemaker Gully in New Kingston.

IN PHOTO: One of the images used in the 'Save the Gully Queens of Jamaica' campaign.

"These are beautiful people — the bravest in fact. To live in a country which is against them, where every day they face death, and yet they refuse to be silenced. Join us in our stand with them, and help them change their fate," the plead for cash said.

The men are referred to as 'gully queens', and according to Savannah Baker, who established the account on October 31, they are beaten and raped on a regular basis.

The money is to lease a property to accommodate the men, provide psychological support and assist with their medical expenses and welfare.

Elizabeth Arnett, who donated US$20 a month ago, commented on the GoFundMe site that she came across "a few articles and YouTube video about the Gully Queens. Very compelling. My heart is with you all."

André SpencerLee, who gave UD$20 some three months ago, wrote: " These girls captured my attention in the video and I am so glad that I came across Vogue's article on them. They are gorgeous and deserve to have a safe and amazing life!"

Some 157 persons have contributed to the campaign since it was launched. Nicole Tejada, who gave US$100, said "I pray for you for a better life and for your haters to open their hearts".

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