A Week of Pride in Jamaica
By Elise Adams
Jamaica Pride Week began on Monday with a sports day at the University of the West Indies and has continued with events such as an open mic night, a family symposium, and a gala to celebrate acceptance for the LGBT community. The celebration will conclude on Sunday with a community picnic. Thus far, hundreds of people have attended the events throughout the week, celebrating the community and progress towards equality for all.
Activists in the LGBT Jamaican community have been working with government leaders and international partners to fight against the homophobia in their country and advocate for inclusion. Angeline Jackson, co-founder of Quality of Citizenship Jamaica, works with lesbians, bisexual women, and the transgender community providing education and bringing attention to the human rights issues facing the LGBT community.
“Life for LGBT people in Jamaica is definitely one of constantly looking over your shoulder and being cautious of what you do, while still trying to thrive in that condition”, Jackson said.
Jalna Broderick, also a co-founder of Quality of Citizenship Jamaica, has actively worked to create safe, judgment-free spaces that empower the LGBT community, adding “We need hearts and minds to be changed, and I think that’s part of what we’re trying to do.”
Jaevion Nelson, an activist representing the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) sees the hope for a better Jamaica.
“A number of people demonstrate their resilience and their triumph in spite of all the homophobia and transphobia that exists. From time to time you see glimmers of hope that there is progress and possibility of a better Jamaica”, Nelson said.
Jamaican Pride 2016 is a triumph for the LGBT community, a reason for hope, and a sign of the very progress these brave activists are fighting for every day.