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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

JFLAG and Allies Affirm Jamaica's Heritage of Tolerance

On October 29 J-FLAG and allies held  a 30 minute Stand for Tolerance under the theme ‘Tolerance is Our Heritage’ will be held 200 yards from Jamaica House in the vicinity of the Police Officer’s Club, dressed in the Jamaica national colours and 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.’

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. The message of tolerance needs to be emphasized, as far too many cases of human rights violations are still being reported to us at J-FLAG, a clear indication that there is a challenge regarding the respect of the rights of LGBT Jamaicans."

Maurice Tomlinson of AIDS Free World clarified his organisation’s participation by stating that “intolerance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons only serves to drive the HIVepidemic underground”. He encouraged the nation to “Follow the lead of our heroes who foughtfor the rights and dignity of all Jamaicans”.

Christine Smith, Chairperson of the all women group “Women For Women”, said that WFW’sinvolvement in this initiative was to remind Jamaicans that they can tolerate diversity andrespect the rights of all Jamaicans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The intent of the stand is to remind 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.

Interestingly there weren't many slurs being hurled at the group, compared to the last stand. Nor was there any the regular rhetoric of  Bible readers. The group received a some amount of affirmation including thumps ups and horn tooting (from known supporters and other).

We see the participation of various allies and groups yet a very important group has been missing from all events- Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica (SCJ). The last activity that SCJ participated in was the Walk for Tolerance in April of this year. Hello!!!!! SCJ Wake Up!! History is being recorded where are you?? The church needs to show itself.

I commend J-FLAG for its now persistent and regular stands. I do believe we can now safely say that J-FLAG has stepped up (or once again stepped up?) to the advocacy plate and is seriously batting for the rights of the persons it represents. It's my sincerest hope that J-FLAG and its supporters will continue to mount advocacy initiatives aimed at securing the human rights of LGBT members.

Below are images from the Stand.

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