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‘LGBT Jamaicans are Jamaicans too,’ new campaign insists

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — "I want to give back to Jamaica . . . I don't want to migrate . . . But I may have no choice."

Those are just some of the words on a series of cue cards that gay Jamaican Javed Jaghai held up as part of a campaign entitled We Are Jamaicans, created by the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) to increase awareness about the island's queer community and to combat homophobia. 

Jaghai's video is among five featuring queers and their allies who highlight their personal stories and observations about discrimination. 

In her turn before the camera, Susan Goffe, who describes herself as a teacher, parent and human rights defender, says that for "as long as there has been a Jamaica, there have been gay and lesbian Jamaicans, contributing in a wide variety of different ways." 

"LGBT Jamaicans are Jamaicans too," Goffe concludes.


In another video, an ally who says he was continuously asked if he was gay in high school says his observation of the "constant hatred, intolerance and oppression of the LGBTQ community in Jamaica" made him decide "it was time to stand up and speak out." 

"Now, if you call me gay, I feel honoured. I have come out of the closet as an ally of the LGBTQ community in Jamaica," he adds, saying he is committed to ensuring that its members enjoy the same rights and respect he does.

"Understand that sexuality is as wide as the sea. Understand that your morality is not the law," reads part of the introduction to the campaign, which is funded by Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) through its Global Fund Vulnerablised Project. 

For more of Xtra's coverage of Jamaica, click on the links below:

Jamaican outcry over gay attack marks 'phenomenal shift': delegate

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