A group of men dressed in drag attacked a supermarket in New Kingston, Jamaica, the country’s Jamaica Observer reported this week.
The incident last Saturday, involved some 17 men, with the newspaper reporting that many of them were dressed in drag.
According to staff the newspaper spoke with, the men, after being asked for identification over their credit card, threatened the workers with machetes.
After being forced out of the store by security, they began attacking with rocks.
Police arrested one of the men as the others fled the area.
Commander Christopher Murdock of the local police force was reported to have said: ”We received reports that there was an incident at the supermarket and that one man was apprehended and charged for uttering forged documents.”
He added that “the police have also launched a manhunt for other members of the group who are wanted for several crimes, including stabbing and robberies.”
While he did not refer to those as wearing drag or being gay, local media has been quick to report it as such, which activist and gay Jamaican Javed Jaghai said was part of the problem.
“It’s not propaganda, but the framing certainly is,” he told 429Magazine. Jaghai is one of the few outspoken gay men in the Caribbean country, where he could face up to 10 years in jail or hard labor for being gay.
Online, anger rose among other users on the micro-blogging site Twitter, where some accused the criminal activity of being inherently part of the LGBT identity.
Neil Morgan, who asserts himself as a resident of the area, was unapologetic about his feelings on the matter, lashing out at Jaghai online.
“As a resident of New Kgn, I don’t have the luxury of dumbing down the fear we all feel from the gay scum,” he wrote.
Jamaica has a history of anti-LGBT sentiments, however, in recent years, individuals such as Jaghai have become more open and honest about their struggle to bring equality to the island country. Allies have also begun to show the LGBT community is not as isolated as it was a decade ago.
But the anger directed at the gay community over the criminal activity shows the perpetuation of stereotypes towards LGBT issues.