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Study finds many gay Jamaicans considering migration to escape harassment

Published:Thursday | January 21, 2016 | 6:49 PM

A recent study has found that many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jamaicans are considering migrating to escape continued harassment.

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) says the study on the impact of homophobia on Jamaica’s development which it commissioned, shows that 74.4 per cent of LGBT Jamaicans have considered migrating.

Most commonly, males, LGBT people from urban centres, and those who are employed are more likely to want to leave the country.

However, not many of them have done something to move out of their immediate communities.

According to the study only 12 per cent of the 316 LGBT Jamaicans surveyed have relocated within the country because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

The study also says despite the efforts of the police to encourage vulnerable and marginalised people and groups to report incidents of harassment and abuse, many LGBT Jamaicans continue to "suffer in silence".

These persons either said they felt the incident was too minor to report; the police would do nothing; they feared a homophobic response from the police; or, they felt too ashamed to report the harassment.

The study was titled “The Developmental Cost of Homophobia: The Case of Jamaica.”