Jamaica is, sadly, a country renown for its violent homophobia, a place where the LGBT population the Human Rights Watch have said largely "live in constant fear." Homosexuality between men is illegal (a holdover from British Colonial law), yet the Caribbean nation is nonetheless set to hold its first ever Pride celebration next week. While security concerns prevent a parade, organizers have planned an full week of events.
Running concurrent with Jamaica's Emancipation and Independence celebrations, Pride Jamaica will take place from August 1-8 in the capital city of Kingston. Festivities will kick off with a flash mob, followed by an opening ceremony. Then, over the next few days, there will be an art exhibition, open mic night, flag raising ceremony, and coming out symposium. Gay Star News reports that the symposium will "also feature allies, who will share their experiences of what it is like to publicly support the LGBT community in Jamaica, as well as an acoustic concert for women and a pride party."
According to Latoya Nugent, the associate director of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG):
"We will pause the negative vibrations from anti-gay lobby groups and focus on the strides we have made as a community. More importantly, we will recommit to initiatives that see us moving forward as one community."
To learn more about the events being held, visit J-Flag's Facebook page.