Jamaica IDAHO Report 2013

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Various sectors spoke out in favour of LGBTI rights on May 17 in Jamaica, a country widely recognised as one of the most transphobic and homophobic in the world. A Human Rights Symposium, group statements, blog posts, videos and podcasts, and an online campaign by Amnesty International marked the Day, as well as actions by groups hostile to the promotion of sexual and gender rights recognition.

Amnesty International Special Focus to LGBTI Rights in Jamaica

Together with the Jamaican LGBTI organisation J-FLAG, Amnesty International published a joint press release to mark the Day.
Jamaica was one of three countries selected by Amnesty International for a special focus on the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia 2013 (the others were Ukraine and South Africa). Amnesty created a special action page affirming that “In Jamaica, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people face harassment, threats, attacks and other human rights abuses because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.” They also launched a country-specific twitter campaign.

Larry Chang Human Rights Symposium: Homelessness and Forced Migration of LGBT Jamaicans

Jamaica AIDS Support and LGBTI organisation, J-FLAG, hosted a discussion in Kingston on the issue of migration and homelessness among the gay community. As a local blog piece explained before the event ‘forced out of their homes, living on the street, harassed, abused, assaulted, despised, often in fear of their lives. The local media have made much drama out of the situation; and always the fact of their homelessness and subsequent (often defensive) “bad behavior” is linked to their being homosexual or transgendered. If you are in Kingston, do try to join us for this discussion; we should also be streaming it live and I will share that link when I have it on Twitter (@petchary).’
Controversy erupted during and after the event, however, as it became clear that the organisers had opted not to invite any homeless people to the event. J-Flag released a press release defending the decision shortly afterwards. Pictures from the event, as well as comments and podcasts published in relation to it, can be found at http://glbtqja.blogspot.com.br/2013/05/jflag-excludes-homeless-msm-from-idaho.html

Quality of Citizenship Jamaica Statement

In a special statement for May 17, the group highlighted the deficit between official government positions outlining state opposition to violence against LGBT people, and a reality in which ‘there is no equality for LGBT people’.
The authors ended by underscoring that, ‘Today, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Quality of Citizenship Jamaica stands in solidarity with the world to oppose the intolerance, discrimination, hate, and abuse that is meted out to the LGBT people of the world. We call on the Jamaican Government to honour its international commitments, to affirm the status of equal citizenship for all Jamaicans, to ensure the same quality of citizenship for all Jamaicans.’
Blog Posts and Videos
Several posts outlining the importance of May 17, and denouncing hatred against LGBTI people in Jamaica were uploaded at an IDAHOT blog at the Amply Your Voice blog.
One contributor mixed together a collection of homophobic cartoons, set to a homophobic Reggae track, especially for the Day entitled, ‘Gay situation in Jamaica as the Nations Newspaper sees it!’, which you can see here

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