One Week in Jamaica: Celebrating LGBTQI lives and local leadership

Maurice Tomlinson’s 2017 Montego Bay Pride video diary

In October, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network helped launch Intimate Conviction, a two-day international conference examining the Church and anti-gay laws across the Commonwealth, and supported a new generation of local LGBTQI leaders to organize the third successful Montego Bay Pride, with more than 850 people participating.

The Intimate Conviction Conference held in Kingston, Jamaica brought together ecumenical leaders from around the world to strategize about how to end the targeted discrimination against LGBTQI people codified in outdated laws criminalizing gay men (and sometimes lesbians as well). The conference plays a critical role in counterbalancing the growth of fundamentalism and provides tools for dialogue and progressive change.

Most Rev. Dr. John Holder, Archbishop of the West Indies delivered the opening keynote address followed by panel discussions focused on northern and southern approaches by different faith traditions.

You can find a recording of the conference on our YouTube channel.

Days later, the third annual Montego Bay Pride brought visibility to Jamaica’s LGBTQI community with a safe space for celebrations, pop-up street protests and Jamaica’s first LGBTQI film festival. Thanks to our donors, the Legal Network was able to provide financial and logistical support to local leadership – in keeping with our commitment to mobilizing and supporting communities in defending and advancing their rights.

One attendee wrote: “Pride means to me: Accepting who I am, being comfortable with my lifestyle, sharing that with my fellow rainbow family members and slowly making strides to educate the average Jamaican and the world that we are here to stay and mean them no harm, we just want to be free and not be judged or harmed!”

Read more about the event on our website.

Plans are already underway for Montego Bay Pride 2018. For more information contact Maurice Tomlinson at mtomlinson@aidslaw.ca.

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