Friday, January 18, 2013

J-FLAG Boss Headlines New Human Rights Video Campaign

Finally some good news to start the year the criticisms of limp wristedness may yet be rescinded as this video with persons coming out, it would have been also good if done during October coming out month as well. This project is an extension in part of an older photo project named Photography for Understanding from 2009 with an overseas photographer where subjects held signs with messages of how they felt.

Sadly not all activists can come out like this given the sensitivities in today's Jamaica and the possible repercussions that can be had especially when one chooses to live in Jamaica and not run off just yet or have the opportunities to do so but all in all this move is commendable for Mr Lewis and company.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 JFLAG's site posted the following:

Dane Lewis, the executive director of J-FLAG, Jamaica’s gay rights advocacy organisation, is headlining a new a human rights video campaign featuring straight, gay and lesbian Jamaicans.

The campaign, which is called We Are Jamaicans was launched today to raise awareness among Jamaicans about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identity and community, human rights, stigma and discrimination. We Are Jamaicans is a participatory video campaign hosted on YouTube at It features prominent Jamaicans such as Susan and Alexis Goffe and Javed Jaghai.

According to Lewis, “the campaign was developed following recommendations from consultations with LGBT persons, activists and allies to show the experiences of Jamaica’s LGBT community in a more diverse way.” There is an urgent need to interrupt prevailing discourse on LGBT realities in Jamaica. Opportunities must be created for Jamaicans to see and hear about the experiences of LGBT people so they can understand what it means to be LGBT.

“Regrettably, the diversity and the complexity of Jamaica’s LGBT community is masked by media and advocacy narratives that too often focus on sex, victimhood, crime and HIV. These themes are not identity-affirming and they sometimes further entrench the marginal position of LGBT people in the society,” Lewis said.

Javed Jaghai, an openly gay Jamaican, says that ignorance helps to fuel homophobia and the campaign will be critical for increasing understanding among the Jamaican public about gender and sexuality variance. “By diversifying the stories told about LGBT lives, the complexity of LGBT identities will be made apparent and it will be easier to evoke empathy and secure general support for tolerance,” he highlighted.

The Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) through its Global Fund Vulnerablised Project funds the campaign. It is expected to lead to greater understanding and help change minds and hearts about Jamaica’s LGBT community. Gay, lesbian and straight Jamaicans are encouraged to use creative ways of sharing their experiences with LGBT issues and join the campaign whether they wish to show their face or not.

Dane Lewis -

Alexis Goffe -

Susan Goffe -

Javed Jaghai -

Let’s Build Our Country -


Dane Lewis | Executive Director

P.O. Box 1152, Kingston 8

T: 978-8988 | M: 875 2328 | F: 946-3244

W: | E: | T: @equalityJA

Sadly too the least amongst us especially the homeless, the lesbian and transgender communities also need activities to make them more visible in their own right and not just included in the use of the call letters "LGBT" in the struggle. The J needs to be reminded of that.

Update 30/01/13
After some local mainstream media silence on the campaign there was a radio interview on the RJR's Beyond The Headlines program with host Dionne Jackson Miller where she spoke to two of the participants Javed Jaghai and Dane Lewis, Mr Jaghai pointed out the class issue on living out loud in Jamaica, a point I have been consistent on for years with upper class Jamaicans are insulated from abuse via their physical surroundings and class in terms of gated communities and where they socialize in additional homophobia is much more subtle in upper middle class circles which leaves some questions in my mind, if one should "come out" in Jamaica is it practical as freedom to show who one is is good but when one finds oneslef in another prison of sorts where one has to restrict ones movement for personal safety then was it a good decision to reveal oneself in the first place in this time of Jamaica's history?

Then again only the one who comes out should know how comfortable they feel in the moment of the revelation and proclamation to the world.

here is the audio of the program:

Feedback as expected in the meantime:

Peace and tolerance



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