Jamaica Pride demands your attention
While the US and a number of countries have already celebrated Pride last month, some countries aren’t far behind. One of them is Jamaica Pride, which will be at the start of August of this year.
The Jamaica LGBT community is celebrating their Pride to make themselves visible during their country’s independence celebration while also calling for full social and legal inclusion.
Given the widespread homophobia in Jamaica and its treatment of their LGBT community, especially against gay men, speaking out through the Pride march is especially important.
To this end, international LGBT organizations Alturi and The Rustin Fund have partnered up with J-Flag, Jamaica’s leading LGBT rights organization, to ensure Jamaican LGBT voices are heard throughout the world.
Jamaica Pride: A week-long celebration
The PRiDEJA 2017 will be held on the first week of August this year and will bring together LGBT people and their allies from across Jamaica.
This Pride is being led by J-FLAG, founded in 1998 and is the leading Jamaican LGBT human rights organization in their country.
On their website, J-Flag stated: “Jamaica celebrates LGBTI Pride at the same time as the country celebrates its independence to place the community’s journey towards full freedom in the context of freedom for all Jamaicans.”
“Jamaica has come a long way and has even further to go to ensure that LGBT people can fulfill their dreams and aspirations, and live their fullest potential without having to hide who they love or the man or woman they have grown to become,” they added.
Jamaica Pride: State of LGBT treatment
Unfortunately, the Jamaican LGBT community still have a lot to contend with, thanks to certain anti-LGBT laws in their books.
Under Jamaican law, male sexual relationships are prohibited and punishable with up to ten years imprisonment. Female sexual relationships are not explicitly outlawed though.
Likewise, there was a law that once prohibited against buggery or anal sex– a legacy left behind from British rule.
Because of the virulent treatment of the LGBT community, Time Magazine once had an article in April 2006 branding Jamaica as “The Most Homophobic Place on Earth.”
Suzanne Persard of Slate noted that Jamaica has made some efforts since then to address this.
“Emancipation Park, a site of political protest representing the country’s freedom from colonial rule, has hosted several LGBTQ rights demonstrations– including a flash mob kicking off the historic PrideJA celebration in Kingston last year,” Persard said.
She also pointed out the public coming out of lesbian activist Angeline Jackson, who was cited by then-President Barack Obama for her courage and determination.