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J-Flag wants more done for gays

Published:Monday | March 30, 2015 | 3:25 PM

THE JAMAICA Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) has urged the Government to do more to protect the rights of persons who are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.

Responding to a rebuke issued to the gay community by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller at a function in New York, executive director of J-FLAG, Dane Lewis said, "More needs to be done to urgently demonstrate the fact that as she presented, the Government doesn't condone discrimination and violence towards the LGBT community."

Lewis added: "Beyond her nice, powerful words, we need some strong programmatic intervention."

While admitting that there have been changes in the attitude towards members of the LGBT community, Lewis said there is still a long way to go.

"The policies and legal framework that will help to support some of the changes beyond the positive words that they have been able to offer. We need to ensure that there is greater protection for LGBT people," he said.

Citing several videos currently circulating on social media portraying violence towards persons suspected of being gay, he said, "The Government needs to take some active steps to put in place programming that will address these issues."

He pointed out that J-FLAG has continued to work in various communities and advocate on issues affecting the LGBT community.

"We have done sensitisation work in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth and Culture, we have also been doing some work with the Ministry of Health and the National Family Planning Board around increasing access to health-care services," he said.