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Jamaican Group Launches Anti-Homophobia PSA

Jamaican Group Launches Anti-Homophobia PSA

 

Jamaican LGBT rights group Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG) is hoping to combat systemic homophobia in the country with a series of PSAs, the first of which, called “Unconditional Love,” was released last week.

The PSA, which is  being broadcast on Jamaican television as well as on the Internet, was created as a collaborative project between J-FLAG, Jamaica AIDS Support For Life (JASL),  the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) and AFW.

Unconditional Love features former Miss Jamaica World and Miss Jamaica Universe Christine Straw and her gay brother Matthew. Makers of the PSA hope to encourage fellow Jamaican’s to recognize LGBTs as their family, friends and neighbours, and also highlight the impact that homophobia has on the country’s LGBT population.

Widely regarded as one of the most homophobic places in the world, Jamaica criminalizes sex between men in several of its statutes, and punishes those convicted by up to 10 years in prison, though the full penalty is rarely enforced. Sex between women is not illegal as it is not mentioned in the country’s laws, however women may be prosecuted under gross indecency charges. Anti-gay hate speech and institutionalized bias is rife in Jamaica however, and anti-LGBT hate crimes are a frequent occurrence.

More from the J-FLAG news release:

According to Dane Lewis, Executive Director at Jamaica’s only gay rights lobby, Jamaica Forum of Lesbians All Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), “it is our hope that this inspiring public declaration of love will motivate other families and friends of LGBT to share their stories of acceptance and that those who are on a journey to acceptance will be moved to love LGBT persons in their lives unconditionally”

Dr. Pierre Somse of UNAIDS was insistent that Jamaica had to keep pace with the rest of the world and get rid of anything that might retard the gains made in reducing the spread of HIV over the years. “Homophobia is a major stumbling block to effective HIV interventions and unless we guarantee the human rights of homosexuals, all other populations are at risk,” Dr. Somse highlighted.

A similar sentiment was echoed by Yvonne McCalla Sobres of Families Against State Terrorism (FAST),”When the state ignores the harm and hurt being felt by any population, because of their difference this is tantamount to state terrorism. It cannot therefore be business as usual for us here in Jamaica.”

You can watch the PSA below:

Related Reading:
U.N. Approves Resolution Against Anti-Gay Discrimination
Hillary Clinton: LGBT Rights an ‘Urgent’ Struggle (VIDEO)
International LGBT Rights Group Awarded UN Accreditation

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Image taken from the public domain video, no infringement intended.

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16 comments

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12:47PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Some religious groups all too often fan the flames of hatred, not recognizing that when they encourage hate, intolerance or passing judgement on others, Jesus cries. Power-hungry would-be leaders create a feeling of solidarity in followers by finding an external target for frustration and anger. Scapegoating is a time-honoured tactic, and people fail to see how they're being manipulated. In Jamaica as in many other places, all sorts of truly evil behaviour gets a shrug or a snicker, but homosexuality is this big affront that gets people riled up. Makes no sense.

1:36PM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

Thank you, sexual minorities in Jamaica, for beginning to stand up for yourselves!!!

7:18PM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

Souls that take on bodies that are between genders are worthy of great respect.

12:32PM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

i agree its all about the tourist dollar..... the level of ignorance in jamaica is way to high and it is too often displayed by public figures.... i wish them best of luck all the same...

11:19AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

It's all about the tourist dollar.

1:55AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

Sweet.

4:24PM PDT on Aug 4, 2011

It's a step in the right direction.

3:46PM PDT on Aug 4, 2011

Nice. Thank you

10:45AM PDT on Aug 4, 2011

I applaud the PSA's but it might be more effective to show the Jamaican government how their tourism industry is affected by homophobia. How many of their tourists are GLBT and how are they treated? People are more likely to vacation where they do not have to fear being assaulted for being who they are.

9:09AM PDT on Aug 4, 2011

finally some good news!

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