We Are Jamaicans video campaign tackles homophobia
Homophobic issues in Jamaica have garnered numerous news headlines over the years. But a new human rights video campaign hopes to make headlines with efforts to counter homophobia in the country.
The campaign, launched on January 17 by the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays, seeks to raise awareness about discrimination against queer people in Jamaica. A series of videos feature prominent Jamaicans sharing their experiences and thoughts about homophobia.
J-FLAG executive director Dane Lewis explained in a news release that the campaign hopes to show the wide range of queer Jamaican people that exist but are often never represented.
“Regrettably, the diversity and the complexity of Jamaica’s LGBT community is masked by media and advocacy narratives that too often focus on sex, victimhood, crime, and HIV," Lewis stated. "These themes are not identity-affirming and they sometimes further entrench the marginal position of LGBT people in the society.”
Lewis recorded his own video to share his experiences growing up gay, including how it has affected his familial relationships. He says he wants to enjoy the "simple pleasures of building a relationship" such as going out to eat without being stared at.
Susan Goffe, who is a parent, teacher, and human rights activist, speaks out against social injustice.
Although Alexis Goffe is straight, he was constantly questioned if he was gay when he was growing up. But he is now standing up and coming out—as an ally.
Openly gay Jamaican Javed Jaghai chose to write his messages on cards to convey his thoughts (which makes the video also accessible for deaf viewers).
Although the campaign news release focused on raising awareness about homophobia, the videos will inevitably also help to provide hope and inspiration for queer people in and out of the closet, or those who are struggling with their sexual or gender identities.
This last video, which also consists of hand-written messages on cards, addresses some of these issues.
The campaign is funded by the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition. Anyone interested in making a video, whether they want to show their face or not, is encouraged to contact J-FLAG.