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Nearly 3 Out of 4 LGBT Jamaicans Considered Migration

Nearly 3 Out of 4 LGBT Jamaicans Considered Migration


A new study finds many queer Jamaicans have thought about leaving their home nation if they could.

A new study from J-FLAG, an LGBT advocacy organization in Jamaica, found that nearly 75 percent of queer respondents considered emigrating from Jamaica, a nation notorious for its state-sanctioned homophobia and transphobia.

The survey, called "The Developmental Cost of Homophobia: The Case of Jamaica," queried 316 LGBT Jamaicans, and 74.4 reported they have considered a new life outside the Caribbean nation. Men, urban dwellers, and working individuals were more likely to have weighed leaving.

The study also found widespread harassment and discrimination against LGBT people, though most have not reported the incidents to police, either because they felt the incident was too minor, felt the police would not take action, feared a homophobic response from authorities, were too embarrassed to file a report, or feared reprisal from the offender. The survey found that 71 percent of gay men, 59 percent of lesbians, 35 percent of bisexuals, and 29 of trans individuals reported harassment or discrimination in the past year.

President Obama voiced support for LGBT rights when he visited the nation last year. Though there have been regular reports of violence and intimidation against LGBT Jamaicans, things may be slowly changing -- the nation's first Pride celebration was held last year and there is early talk of repealing the colonial-era "buggery" laws.

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