Tuesday 16 July, 2019

J-Flag kicks off Pride Week celebration with help of diplomats

Jamaica's Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender (LGBT) community kicked off its Pride Week celebrations Tuesday evening with a cocktail reception at the Jacks Hill residence of the United States of America’s Chief of Mission.

The week of activities officially began Wednesday and will end on Monday with a variety of events catering to the LGBT community under the theme, 'Centering LGBT People In Jamaica’s Future'.

According to Jaevion Nelson, Executive Director of organisers Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexual and Gays (J-FLAG), as has been the case since it started in 2015, the week will be used to highlight the island’s efforts to tackle discrimination and hate against the LGBT community.

Nelson said, “what we use the week to do, is sort of celebrate the LGBT community and the strides that are happening in Jamaica.

“Also, to remind people that despite the glimmers of hope that we are seeing, there is still a lot of challenge with homophobia and ‘transphobia’ in the country and importantly for Jamaicans who are living here and those who have left the country, to sort of rekindle with that place where they call home.

“So for us, we want people to feel a little bit more comfortable returning home and recognising that there is some progress that is being made and that they too can play an active role in helping to make Jamaica a better place for people who are LGBT,” Nelson said.

The cocktail reception was jointly hosted by the Charge d’ Affaires of the US Embassy, Eric Khant; British High Commissioner to Jamaica, Asif Ahmad and Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Laurie Peters.

Jeremiah Knight, Counsel for Public Affairs of the US Embassy, said that the event was part of the assistance that his government has given to the LGBT community in Jamaica over the years.

Pride Jamaica 2018 Launch

Knight said, “we have a long history of our involvement with J-FLAG and not just particularly with Pride week itself, but overall supporting J-FLAG and their fight for human rights and equality. There is a multiple of things we have done with them over the years.”

Pride week started with a Sports Day on Wednesday morning and will continue with a conference and trade show on Thursday. 

Friday will be a day of service, with members of the LGBT community getting together for various beautification projects as well as providing sandwiches and packages for the less fortunate amongst them.

A concert will also be held on Friday, with LGBT performers and well-wishers taking centre stage. Proceeds from the concert will go to the Larry Chang Foundation, which helps dispossessed LGBT individuals.

A fete and lyme will take place on Saturday, while on Sunday there will be a health and wellness fair in the morning with a family fun day scheduled for the afternoon, which will be hosted by the Women’s Empowerment for Change and will have award-winning Jamaica/American author Nicole Dennis-Benn as a guest.

Pride Week will end on Monday with a breakfast party.

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