Police in Jamaica are hunting a group of men who murdered a transgender teenager after he showed up at a "straight" party dressed as a woman.

Dwayne Jones, 16, was beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a mob when he arrived at the street party wearing woman's clothing. Friends said it was his attempt to finally come out of the closet.

According to Associated Press, Dwayne attended the party at a bar in Irwin near Montego Bay with two other transgender friends, Khloe and Keke, both 23.

His dancing drew attention from men at the party who were unaware of his gender until he told somebody.

Khloe and Keke claim that just minutes after revealing his identity, he was confronted by an angry group of men on the street outside the bar. They challenged him and started shouting anti-gay epithets such as "batty boy".

Khloe who shared a house with the teenager in the hills above Montego Bay, said that she tried to persuade Dwayne to leave with her but he refused and was determined to show his accusers that he was female. When one man in the gang pulled his bra strap, he panicked and ran away but they chased and caught him.

They allegedly beat him for two hours. A second sustained killed him, said police.

Khloe said she was also beaten but escaped being raped after she hid in a church.

"When I saw Dwayne's body, I started shaking and crying," said Khloe, who refused to give her full name out of fear. Jamaica has a reputation of intolerance for gay and transgender people.

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

Dwayne dropped out of high school at the age of 14 following relentless bullying for being effeminate. His father kicked him out of the family home and helped jeering neighbours force him out of the neighbourhood.The teenager's family would not claim the body, Dwayne's friends said.

Police spokesman Steve Brown said detectives working the case were struggling to break through the stigma around homosexuality. Witnesses have said they could not see the faces of the attackers.

Gay activists say that much of the island's homophobia is fuelled by a 150-year-old anti-sodomy law and dancehall reggae performers' anti-gay themes.

"Judging by comments made on social media, most Jamaicans think Dwayne Jones brought his death on himself for wearing a dress and dancing in a society that has made it abundantly clear that homosexuals are neither to be seen nor heard," said Annie Paul, a blogger at Jamaica's campus of the University of the West Indies.