Jones was dressed as a female and dancing with a man at a party in Montego Bay Sunday night when a woman recognized him and informed the other guests that Dwayne was actually a boy. According to radio station, Irie FM:
It’s understood that one of the men at the party, held on to the teen, searched him and discovered that he was in fact, male. Some of the patrons reportedly set up on the teen, and chopped and stabbed him to death. His body was then dumped in bushes along the Orange Main Road.
Police discovered Jones’ body around 5am Monday morning.
Despite its reputation as a travel hotspot, Jamaica has often been cited as the “most homophobic place on earth” due to its rampant homophobic and transphobic violence.
Maurice Tomlinson, a lawyer who fled Jamaica when he began receiving death threats after news of his marriage to a Canadian man leaked to local media, told the Washington Blade there have been nine reported anti-gay murders on the island this year alone. He noted this was a “400 percent increase in the number of reported attacks against LGBT Jamaicans since 2009.”
In a 2012 Human Rights Report by the US State Department, a retired assistant police commissioner claimed Jamaica’s homophobic reputation is simply “hype”, suggesting that “the real problem was gay-on-gay crime and members of the community cross-dressing in public.”
Homosexual acts are illegal in Jamaica, a holdover from colonial buggery laws, and men found guilty of having sex with other men can face up to ten years in prison. Though Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller spoke out against sexual orientation discrimination and vowed to review the anti-sodomy law, she has yet to make good on her promise. However, as the United States Supreme Court struck down Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, the Jamaica Supreme Court heard the first legal challenge to the outdated anti-gay law.
Though police say they will increase their presence in the wake of Jones’ brutal murder, LGBT rights group the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) is calling for a thorough investigation.
“We send our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the teenager who was slain,” J-FLAG said in a statement Tuesday. “We call for a thorough investigation into the murder of the teenager in Montego Bay and hope that the family and loved ones of the slained teen will find the justice they deserve.”