Despite calls for tolerance by our religious, political and social leaders, attacks against Jamaica’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender population continue unabated. The latest such attacks occurred this September when knife wielding thugs carried out ‘corrective rapes’ of two lesbians in separate incidents within days of each other.
In response to these most recent attacks and the seeming inability or unwillingness of the nation’s political leaders to curb them, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) and its human rights allies held a 30 minutes silent ‘Stand Up to Violence’ in front of Emancipation Park on Friday, September 24, 2010 which began at 7:40am.
Dane Lewis, Executive Director of J-FLAG, hailed the event as a success despite the delayed start because of the rain. This was also measured by the broad based support received from numerous allies & agencies, including Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, members of Jamaicans for Justice, Pride in Action, Women for Women, Sex Work Association of Jamaica, Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition and AIDS Free World.
International defence attorney Lord Anthony Gifford, QC, noted that “the issue of violence against gays and lesbians is a human rights issue and I was taking a stand to support that as it is important to keep the issue of rights in the public’s consciousness.” Susan Goffe, member of Jamaicans For Justice, said “it is important to understand the effect of homophobic rhetoric and the feeling that it is alright to target members of the LGBT community. The state must clearly illustrate by its action that it defends and protects the rights of women and this includes all women regardless of their sexuality. The acts against these women should unambiguously be condemned.”
Participants held up placards which read ‘Gay or Straight, Let’s all Tolerate’, ‘Gays have Rights,’ and ‘Stop the Hate Before It’s Too Late’, ‘Live and Let Love’, ‘Equal Rights & Justice’ and ‘Out of Many One People’.
While pointing to the need for strong action to be taken against gender based violence in any form, Programme Manager at Caribbean Vulnerable CommunitiesCoalition, Ivan Cruickshank appealed to all well thinking Jamaicans to join in promoting and protecting the rights of all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation.
The following persons may be contacted for an interview:
Susan Goffe – 815-3648
Dane Lewis – 978-8988/ 875-2328