Letters to the Editor

Centring LGBT in Jamaica's future

Friday, July 27, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Two months ago Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) hosted the 6th Larry Chang Symposium under the theme 'Centring LGBT People in Jamaica's Future', which brought to the fore the economic, social and cultural rights of LGBT Jamaicans and how we can utilise this as the driving force of our social and economic justice efforts going forward.

This year, from July 31 to August 6, Pride celebrations carry the same theme. Four years and counting, Pride has become a mainstay in Jamaican LGBT culture, not solely based on the notion that it provides a space for LGBT Jamaicans to be themselves, but the opportunities it provides. It also affords the opportunity to build and extend partnerships with the wider society and forge new alliances.

Pride events have become acclimatised to our Jamaican realities. We don't need a parade as is reflected typically in Western Pride celebrations. A parade can be counted as a marker of progress for LGBT movement, but it can't be the usual marker we emphasise when we think about Pride. Neither should we think of repealing the buggery law as the first step to progress. There is still much more work to do.

As we celebrate Pride this year, let us reflect on the theme, especially as LGBT Jamaicans, to see the bigger picture and appreciate how our steps in activism or advocacy drives home the need to break the caricatural representations of our experiences and stories. In our dialogues with policymakers we need to ensure that the needs and desires of LGBT Jamaicans are emphasised. Happy Pride, Jamaica.

MX Williams

LGBT Youth Advocate

mikhailwilliamsart@gmail.com

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