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J-FLAG, Jamaica's gay rights group, launches YouTube video campaign, 'We Are Jamaicans'

News release from J-FLAG:

Dane Lewis, the executive director of J-FLAG, Jamaica’s foremost gay rights advocacy organisation, is headlining a new a human rights video campaign featuring straight, gay and lesbian Jamaicans. 

The campaign, which is called We Are Jamaicans was launched today to raise awareness among Jamaicans about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identity and community, human rights, stigma and discrimination. We Are Jamaicans is a participatory video campaign hosted on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/EqualityJA. It features prominent Jamaicans such as Susan and Alexis Goffe and Javed Jaghai.

According to Lewis, “the campaign was developed following recommendations from consultations with LGBT persons, activists and allies to show the experiences of Jamaica’s LGBT community in a more diverse way.”

There is an urgent need to interrupt prevailing discourse on LGBT realities in Jamaica. Opportunities must be created for Jamaicans to see and hear about the experiences of LGBT people so they can understand what it means to be LGBT.

“Regrettably, the diversity and the complexity of Jamaica’s LGBT community is masked by media and advocacy narratives that too often focus on sex, victimhood, crime and HIV. These themes are not identity-affirming and they sometimes further entrench the marginal position of LGBT people in the society,” Lewis said.

Javed Jaghai, an openly gay Jamaican, says that ignorance helps to fuel homophobia and the campaign will be critical for increasing understanding among the Jamaican public about gender and sexuality variance. “By diversifying the stories told about LGBT lives, the complexity of LGBT identities will be made apparent and it will be easier to evoke empathy and secure general support for tolerance,” he highlighted.

The Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) through its Global Fund Vulnerablised Project funds the campaign. It is expected to lead to greater understanding and help change minds and hearts about Jamaica’s LGBT community. Gay, lesbian and straight Jamaicans are encouraged to use creative ways of sharing their experiences with LGBT issues and join the campaign whether they wish to show their face or not.

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The story of a male teenage child being killed because he wore a dress to a party, breathes ignorance. He was beaten and shot to death and his body unclaimed by his family. "People" stood by and allowed this to happen, some of them I am sure will be heading to church the next day. This is embarrassing. We are a Christian country. The Bible says he who has no "sin" cast the first stone. Homosexuality has been around since Bible days, it can be found in all avenues. When have we become judge and jury, where's our conscience. "Out of many one people" is our motto. Every person has something to contribute, every black, black, white white, yellow yellow, big and fat, mawga man has a significant role to play. We are an educated, usually well respected nation. Let's rise above the gutter and slime of prejudices, that affect all of us and become a better nation. Tourism for one would definitely increase. Let's take a look at what's angering us, is it warranted and even if we believe it is, let's give the "devil his due". Everyone deserves a fighting chance. Let's rise above and put our nation on the friendly side of the map! The world is so watching!

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