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Diaspora Conference and community outreach day to highlight Pride JA 2017

Published:Friday | July 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Dane Lewis, head of J-FLAG

Keen on strengthening its network through connecting with Jamaicans overseas, the lobby group J-FLAG will, for the first time, convene a Diaspora Conference during Pride Week activities being observed August 1-7.

In its third year, Pride JA 2017 will be held under the theme: 'Celebrating LGBT Life & Culture in Jamaica, the Caribbean and the Diaspora'.

The conference will seek to go in-depth with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy across different areas.

"Environmental protection, LGBT tourism, health, advocacy in private and public spaces will be key areas to be discussed at the conference," said Suelle Anglin, media and community mobilisation officer at Equality For All Foundation, J-FLAG.

A key presenter at the conference, Dr Andrew Campbell, who has been residing in Canada for a decade, will speak on: 'What lessons of resilience and hope can Caribbean advocates and activists learn from LGBTQ Jamaicans living in the diaspora?'

"We want to show the diaspora especially, that we're diverse as a people, hence the added activities. We want to get them involved in what we're doing here so there's unification which will enable us to move forward according to our strategic plans for the next couple of years," added Anglin.

Last year's staging of Pride Week saw participation from some 3,000 persons with activities mostly within the Corporate Area.

This year, with international entertainment acts such as Big Freedia from the United States and DJ Black Cat and Robert Ball from Canada, Pride JA activities will stretch to rural parishes. Among the activities planned for this year are a sports day, wellness walk and health fair and the activity which the organisers are most proud of, a community service day on Friday, August 4.

While indicating that the last two events were incident free, Anglin urged persons in Jamaica and the diaspora who want to attend the weeklong event not to be dissuaded by the supposed atmosphere of intolerance towards gays in Jamaica.

"Next year in particular we want to get the tourism sector involved in Pride JA because we see where it can be a really great tourism influence," said Anglin.