Thursday 25 April, 2019

J-Flag turns to crowdfunding to rebuild 'Rainbow House'

The J-Flag office in St Andrew was gutted by fire late last year. (PHOTO: J-Flag GoFundMe)

The J-Flag office in St Andrew was gutted by fire late last year. (PHOTO: J-Flag GoFundMe)

Describing itself as Jamaica’s oldest LGBT group, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexual and Gays (J-Flag) has established a crowdfunding page as it seeks funds to rebuild its office building known as ‘Rainbow House’, that was gutted by fire on December 30, last year.

The fire of unknown origin caused extensive damage to the building, located in St Andrew, as well as its contents.

According to J-FLAG, the estimated loss from the fire is US$50,000 to US$60,000.

“We have received an outpouring of support from the LGBT community, our allies, partners and donors, offering condolences and seeking information on how they can help us in our rebuilding efforts. Thanks to our government and civil society partners who have opened their doors to us, we are slowly resuming operations on a limited basis,” J-Flag said in a statement.

“We are heartened that the important work we do means so much to everyone and we are grateful for any support we can get. Based on our capacity at this time, crowdfunding is the most effective way to reach our recovery goals,” the lobby group added. 

Persons and organisations wishing to contribute may do so by sending an email to rebuilding@jflag.org.

The LGBT group said the fire “came on the heels of the commencement of our 20th anniversary celebrations earlier in December. As we celebrated, we reflected on all we have achieved in two decades, and looked forward to and began planning for a renewed and re-energised purpose,” it said.

J-Flag said it was “excited about our next phase of operations in expanding the LGBT movement and securing rights for all members of the community who continue to face a plethora of challenges simply because of who we are, who we love, and how we express ourselves.”

The gay lobby group said that while investigations are still ongoing, there is evidence that the severity of the fire means it has lost most of its files, equipment, furniture and other supplies (cumulatively 90 per cent damage).  Among the items lost are computers, projectors, office furniture, refrigerator, and kitchen utensils.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: