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LGBT march with pride inspite of fear

Published:Wednesday | October 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMAlicia Barrett/Gleaner Writer
Participants in the march walk the streets of Montego Bay.

Some members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) group took to the streets of Montego Bay, St James, on Sunday to make it clear that they would like to be accepted in society the way they are.

In a well-organised march, the LGBT community managed to evade the eyes of the wider public as they used a deserted roadway in the parish. In a three-minute video, persons were seen gyrating and having a good time as music blasted in the background.

Organiser of the march and president of Montego Bay Pride Maurice Tomlinson said that the event was a success and incident-free even though there was fear among the revellers.

"At the outset, there was fear. Many persons who were on the march were skeptical, but the police had a large presence. I think there were about 25 of them and the roads were blocked off, so it would be hard for anyone to come on the march and do us any harm," he said.

Tomlinson told The Gleaner that the LGBT community is aware of the homophobic society that they live in, and so it was a pleasure to see that so many persons walked bravely to showcase that they are someone as well.

"We hoped to get at least 50 LGBT Jamaicans to bravely walk despite the very real fears that the community feels as a result of the alarming levels of homophobic violence and views that exist in our society. However, more than 100 persons showed up," he said.




The march, which was called 'Walk for Rights', was done at the end of their annual Pride week. Tomlinson said that it was a new development as the LGBT community tries to raise awareness among the nation.

He said that they were no longer willing to accept the denial of their human rights by some members of society and the Government, and through the march, they aimed to open the minds of people and stop homophobia.

Head of the Corporate Communications Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Assistant Superintendent of Police Dahlia Garrick said that the permit was sought and given to the organisers for the 30-minute event. She said that the JCF recognised that the human rights of every citizen should be respected, and as such, they were not denied their rights.

"We ensured that their human rights were observed and respected, and they were given the highest level of professionalism," she said.

Tomlinson said: "Montego Bay Pride deliberately coincides with this holiday (National Heroes Day), which celebrates our heroes who struggled and sometimes died for complete liberation of all Jamaicans. Our heroes' many sacrifices were also made for LGBT citizens."

He added that there were more marches in the pipeline, and they were hoping that more groups and organisations, including corporate donors, would assist in the upcoming events.