The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays(J-FLAG)this morning staged a protest along Hope Road in St. Andrew, advocating tolerance for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered Jamaicans.
A press release from J-FLAG described the protest as a reminder for Jamaicans 'that tolerance has been a hallmark of Jamaican society and that tolerance for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered Jamaicans is a fundamental part of our diversity.'
According to the release, participants clad in the Jamaican national colours, in recognition of Heritage Month, stood for 30 minutes. The protest started at 8:00 a.m and was held south of Jamaica House. The participants carried placards some of which read ‘Out of Many,One People,’ ‘Human Rights for All,’ ‘Equal Rights and Justice’, ‘Teach Us True Respect for All.’
In addressing the gathering, Chairman of J-FLAG Gary Mullings reiterated that “as a people, Jamaicans have a heritage of struggling for our rights. Through the examples of our national heroes, whose dedication, service and sacrifice in shaping this nation we commemorate this Heritage month, we remember our fight for emancipation, workers rights and independence.”
Maurice Tomlinson of AIDS Free World said his organisation’s participation in the event was to show that “intolerance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons only serves to drive the HIV epidemic underground”.
He encouraged Jamaica to “Follow the lead of our heroes who fought
for the rights and dignity of all Jamaicans”.
Christine Smith, Chairperson of the all women group “Women For Women”, said that WFW’s involvement in this initiative was to remind Jamaicans that they can tolerate diversity and respect the rights of all Jamaicans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.