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    Javed Jaghai speaking at the Larry Chang Human Rights Symposium
Caleb Orozco David Kato Vision and Voice Awardee
J-FLAG Celebrating 18 Spectacular Years of Creating Change
Love is Love: Be Open to Love and Be Loved - Jherane & Jean Pierre
The 4th Annual Larry Chang Human Rights Symposium
#PowerOfLoveJa - A powerful and heartwarming experience
Celebrating a Community of Love
4th Annual Larry Chang Human Rights Symposium: "Celebrating a Community of Love"
3rd Annual Larry Chang Human Rights Symposium
Integrity as a Part of Resilience - Rochelle McFee
I Stand in Defence of Your Dignity - Dr Michael Abrahams
3rd Annual Larry Chang Human Rights Symposium Highlights
If Mi Neva Taak Mi Wudda Dumb - Jermaine Burton
My Friend Bob - Krystal Tomlinson
Break the Rules: Protest through Excellence - Jomain McKenzie

#Debate2015 Programme

In an effort to increase and broaden dialogue on the Sexual Offences Act [SOA] and to create a public space in which evidence-based positions on same may be fully interrogated and ventilated, J-FLAG has partnered with Mary Seacole Hall to host a tertiary level debate competition [#Debate2015] on the review of the SOA. This debate will focus on the (in)adequacy of the Act in exacting punishment for perpetrators of all forms of sexual violence.
Debate Competition
#Debate2015 will feature the debating societies of the University of Technology and the University of the West Indies Mona. The teams will debate a motion to be tabled on the following:
"The Sexual Offences Act: Let the punishment fit the crime"
The programme is available here: Debate2015 Programme
Click here to view
Health for All Human Rights and HIV Forum
Forced to Leave: A Young Couple's Story
Forced to Leave: Carlene Williams Clarke
National Youth Conference 2014

The last two decades have seen several attempts aimed at arresting the decaying values and attitudes that exist across the island of Jamaica especially among the youth. Evidence from a recent survey conducted by the Centre for Leadership and Governance (CLG), as well as utterances from several sectors of the Jamaican society suggests that much more effort is needed to inculcate positive values and attitudes in the youth. Importantly, there is need for a national discussion regarding strategies to promote positive values and attitudes among the Jamaican youth. Against this background, the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, and the Ministry of Youth and Culture, in association with the Mona School of Business and Management and the Institute of Cultural Studies invite submissions of Academic Papers, Case Studies, Work in Progress/Posters, PhD Research, Round Table Proposals, non-­‐ academic Contributions, White Papers, Policy Briefs and Concept Notes/Papers on a wide range of topics for the First National Youth Conference to be held November 26, 2014 at the UWI Regional Headquarters under the theme ‘Preparing Youth for the Future: Promoting Values and Attitudes for Development’.

The objective of the Conference is to provide a platform to stimulate, develop, and share information regarding the values and attitudes of the Jamaican youth. It also aims to assess the implications of youth values and attitudes for the development of Jamaica as well as formulate strategies to promote positive values and attitudes among the Jamaican youth. The conference will also attempt to provide a space for networking and the exchange of ideas, strategies, success stories and lessons in youth work.

Click here for more details.

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New Voices Fellowship

Nominations are now open for the New Voices Fellowship.  Become a New Voices Fellow!

New Voices Fellowship is a year-long media skills, communication and leadership program designed for standout development professionals from the developing world. Candidates for the Fellowship are expected to have both a record of significant professional achievement and a desire to share their perspectives on global development with a broader international audience. The Fellowship is open by nomination only. For more details visit their website.

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We Are Jamaicans: Telling the Stories of LGBT People & Allies
We Are Jamaicans is a video campaign for Jamaicans, whether gay or straight, to share their experiences and perspectives about LGBT human rights. This in an effort to promote greater understanding and help change minds and hearts of Jamaicans about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. A sample of the videos recorded to date are available here: We Are Jamaicans with Staceyann Chin We Are Jamaicans with Donovan Leslie We Are Jamaicans with Carol Narcisse We Are Jamaicans with Tiana Miller We Are Jamaicans with Keriann Lee We Are Jamaicans with Javed Jaghai We Are Jamaicans with Nell Robinson We Are Jamaicans with Angeline & Jalna We Are Jamaicans with Ricardo McKenzie We Are Jamaicans with Father Garth Minott To access more videos visit our YouTube channel: We Are Jamaicans Click here to view
Javed Jaghai Withdraws from Constitutional Challenge to Anti-gay Laws

In a signed affidavit, Mr. Jaghai attributes his decision to withdraw from the case due to personal threats, the burden that the litigation was putting on his family, and continuing incidents of violence against Jamaica’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In his affidavit, Mr. Jaghai told the court: “Though the cause and the case are noble, I am no longer willing to gamble with my life or the lives of my parents and siblings.”  The full press release is available here: Javed Jaghai withdraws from Constitutional Challenge

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2014 Global Men's Health and Rights Survey
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) is a coalition of MSM and allies from around the globe working against HIV for the health and human rights of gay men and other men who have sex with men. Our coalition includes a wide range of people, including HIV-positive and HIV-negative gay men directly affected by the HIV epidemic.  A part of the work that MSMGF does involves conducting research about gay men and other men who have sex with men.

MSMGF has launched an online survey - 2014 Global Men's Health and Rights - which takes only 20-30 minutes to complete and your participation will be anonymous. By sharing your personal experiences, you join thousands of gay men and other men who have sex with men around the world working to promote health and human rights in our communities. The survey focuses on different factors that impact the quality of our lives, including community involvement, sexual happiness, experiences of stigma, knowledge about new HIV & STI prevention strategies, access to services, and how we feel about ourselves.

Information collected will be used by organizations in our communities to support knowledge generation, policy development, program implementation and advocacy linked to the issues that matter most to our communities. Click to take the survey and be heard!

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Larry Chang Human Rights Symposium 2014: A Video Synopsis

If you missed our Larry Chang Human Rights Symposium check out our YouTube channel for a synopsis of the event. The symposium took place on May 16, 2014 in recognition and celebration of IDAHOT. The event was moderated by popular blogger and vlogger Carla Moore, who facilitated a powerful all-female panel that sought to deconstruct the theme - Exploring Identity in Jamaica: Personhood, Sexual Citizenship & Religion. The event also featured a captivating performance by dance artist Neila Ebanks, and the launch of a safety and security mobile application for LGBT people by Walk Good Ja. 

The video is available here.

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J-FLAG Publishes Second Issue of Newsletter
J-FLAG published the second issue of its newsletter 'Equality JA: The Silent Revolution' on August 6, 2014. In addition to sharing J-FLAG's outreach and advocacy activities, this issue features a riveting story of resilience by Christopher Bowen, a call to acknowledge and report Intimate Partner Violence in gay relationships by Paige Andrew, and Jaevion Nelson's recommendation that we rethink the way we frame homophobia. The issue also profiles human rights defender and vlogger Carla Moore, with a quick survey on what constitutes rape plus so much more! The newsletter can be accessed here.  Click here to view
J-FLAG Launches Policy Training Programme for Women
Lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women have been excluded from much of Jamaica's LGBT advocacy at the highest level. As part of J-FLAG's commitment to being more inclusive and engaging more women in our programmes, we have launched a policy training programme specifically for our LBT women. We are inviting lesbian, bisexual and transgender women to apply for the limited available spaces. See poster below for details on how to apply. LBT Policy Training Ad Click here to view
(re)Presenting and Redressing LGBT Homelessness in Jamaica

In memory of 16 year-old Dwayne Jones who became homeless at age 12 and was murdered on July 22, 2013 in St.James, J-FLAG has published a policy brief on LGBT homelessness in Jamaica. 

In a newspaper article published June 13, 2014, Member of Parliament for South East St. Andrew and State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson said there was a need to help homeless gays in his constituency as they have gained national and international attention. J-FLAG is imploring Minister Julian Robinson and local authorities to develop programmes that will address this issue in his constituency, where a large number of homeless LGBT persons have taken refuge.

We are also urging the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development to develop a Homelessness Policy based on its preliminary work done to date and the recommendations made in this brief, chief among which is the implementation of an inclusive, non-discriminatory programme for all persons who are homeless.

Read the full text of the brief here: (re)Presenting and Redressing LGBT Homelessness in Jamaica - JFLAG

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JCSC Highlights Danger of Debate About 'Buggery Law' Leading to Social Strife
In a press release on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC) urged individuals, groups, and organisations to bring an end to inflammatory and dismissive statements, and to the stigmatization of entire groups based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, religious convictions or other difference of whatever kind. Read the full release here: JCSC Highlights Danger of Debate About 'Buggery Law' Leading to Social Strife Click here to view
PUBLIC AFFAIRS - Clarifying The 'J-FLAG Agenda'
Our Executive Director - Dane Lewis on clarifying the 'J-FLAG Agenda' in an open editorial Sunday, July 6, 2014.


J-FLAG shares the dream of a Jamaica where the family is strong and healthy. To this end, our family reintegration programme seeks to reunite LGBT youth with their families after they have been pushed from their homes and communities and forced to live in less-than-ideal situations. We also work to prevent displacement by sensitising and empowering family members with parenting tools for vulnerable youth in a hostile environment such as ours. This is our duty as patriotic Jamaicans.

Jamaica's Emancipation is founded on freedom and the protection of the dignity of the person. J-FLAG recognises the diversity of thought and opinion that makes up this plural democracy on which we were founded and seeks only to ensure that LGBT people are recognised as full citizens endowed with the same rights as all other Jamaicans.

Just as Jamaica's motto reads 'Out of Many, One People', we are convinced that LGBT Jamaicans ought never to be excluded from the Jamaican family.

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Global Initiative Launched by DMoArtWorlds

Global Initiative KISS OFF!: Uniting in a creative response to intolerance has been created by multimedia artist Danielle 'DMo' Oke of the creative hub DMoArtWorlds. During the week of June 28 to July 4, 2014 people around the world are encouraged to share a photo or vine video of a same-sex kiss in the name of love, equality and human rights. It is a creative way to challenge societal homophobia and bring awareness to the persecutions people face because of their sexual orientation and identity. It's also a visual celebration of love and life. Click here to learn more or participate.

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Professor Figueroa and Dr. Wayne West Discuss the Bain Dismissal on CVM TV

More clarity on the dismissal of Professor Brendan Bain as head of CHART in light of the conflict of interest that resulted from his testimony on behalf of a coalition of churches in a case challenging the constitutionality of a Belizean Law, which criminalises men having sex with men. Professor Brendan Bain testified in the said court case on behalf of a coalition of churches that were seeking to retain the 1861 Law. This conflicts with the policy position held by CHART that the removal of laws that criminalise anal intercourse between consenting adults is necessary for a comprehensive, effective response to the HIV epidemic.

Watch the full length discussion here that took place on CVM TV's May 28, 2014 edition of Live @ 7 with expert epidemiologist Professor Peter Figueroa of UWI and radiologist Dr. Wayne West also of the UWI.

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J-FLAG Launches Newsletter with First Issue Today
Newsletter Preview

As part of increasing its media output and engaging the LGBT community and allies, J-FLAG launched its first issue of 'Equality JA: The Silent Revolution' this morning. The newsletter features past, ongoing and upcoming J-FLAG activities, the profile of a Jamaican human rights defender, social justice commentary, LGBT history fact, fun activities, an online poll and more! The newsletter is available online only and may be read here.

To subscribe, click here.

  Click here to view
J-FLAG & JYAN Secondary School Essay Competition

J-FLAG recently launched a Secondary School Essay Competition: Our Human Rights at The Great Debate held at the University of the West Indies’ Regional Headquarters on Thursday, March 27, 2014.

Given the limited exposure of secondary school students to human rights issues, we believe it is important that we create avenues for students at this level to conduct research in this area while developing their critical thinking skills. We hope that this essay writing competition will encourage students and teachers (who will supervise students) to incorporate knowledge garnered from participation in this competition into their classrooms, clubs and societies, and in discussions with their peers to continuously raise awareness about this and other related issues.

We also hope that this will encourage the development of a stronger sense of citizenship and a deeper understanding of the rights guaranteed by all persons under the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedom regardless of being male or female, race, place of origin, social class, colour, religion or political opinion. All essays will be uploaded to an online repository accessible by the public as part of J-FLAG’s public awareness and education programme.

Competition Period:

Monday, April 7, 2014 to Friday, July 4, 2014 at midnight. The winner will be announced on Monday, July 28, 2014.

Essay topics:

  1. Category 1 – students who are 13-15 years old and registered at a secondary high school in Jamaica.

Human rights are for everyone. Discuss

  1. Category 2 – students who are 16-19 years old and registered at a secondary high school in Jamaica.

The right to freedom of expression is absolute. Discuss


The winner from each category will receive a 7” Samsung Tablet 3, a gift certificate valued at $10,000 each and a winner’s plaque.

The runner up from each category will receive a gift certificate valued at $10,000 each and a gift basket.


  1. All essays should be typed with 1.5 line spacing, using APA guidelines and must be accompanied with a reference page.
  2. For category 1, essays should be 300 – 500 words in length. Essays exceeding this limit will not be considered. Essays below the minimum number of word count will not be considered.
  3. For category 2, essays should be 1000-1200 words in length. Essays exceeding this limit will not be considered. Essays below the minimum number of word count will not be considered. Your cover page and reference list are not included in the word count.
  4. All essays must be submitted via email to humanrightsessays@gmail.com in Microsoft Word format only. You will receive an immediate verification that your essay has been received. If you do not receive a verification email within one hour of your submission please call 849-1403.
  5. A cover page with your full name, age, name of school, your email address, contact number, and mailing address.
  6. Proof of age must be submitted with all essays.
  7. Essays will be graded based on the following rubric

Content                                              10

Analysis & Persuasion                    8

APA formatting & Reference        4

Style & Grammar                             3

For additional information or clarification please contact our Education & Outreach Manager at 849-1403 or email theignosticnugent@gmail.com.

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Larry Chang Symposium 2014
Register for the upcoming LGBT Symposium on Personhood, Sexual Citizenship and Religion 

Jamaica is often referenced for the anti-gay attitudes of its people. For some Jamaicans, rejection of homosexuality is not only a defense of Christian values, it is also a marker of national identity.

Homosexuals are rendered foreigners at home as their bodies are marked as deviant and alien. The varied manifestations of heterosexism and homophobia in Jamaica have been the subject of numerous academic studies.

The symposium will facilitate discussion about the contours of Jamaican (sexual) citizenship, the place of LGBT people in Jamaica today and the path to a more inclusive Jamaica.


  1. To highlight the struggles and strides made by J-FLAG in making Jamaica the place of choice for LGBT persons to live, work, raise families,  and do business.

  2. To dispel misconceptions about the LGBT community with the support of research.

  3. To explore the layers of homophobia experienced by LGBT people.

  4. To provide national coverage of an evidence-based dialogue on sexual identity and gender expression.

  5. To improve the public's understanding of the unique challenges faced by LGBT Christians.

equalpeple1   Have questions about Jamaica LGBT Symposium 2014: Personhood, Sexual Citizenship and Religion? Contact J-FLAG Click here to view
What Jamaican Law says about Homosexuality - "Buggery Law"

The first defense against persecution from the police or any individual is to know exactly what your rights are and what rights the police do and don’t have. We have tried to outline below some of the laws as they relate to homosexuality. If you know your rights, you can better defend yourself if you are subjected to abuse or discrimination of any kind.

What Jamaican Law says about Homosexuality:

Contrary to popular belief, it is not actually illegal to be homosexual in Jamaica. Being a homosexual does not contravene any of the existing laws; however, the law makes certain ‘homosexual acts’ illegal, and these laws are used to persecute gay men. They state that “acts of gross indecency” and buggery [anal sex] are illegal. Although buggery refers to anal sex between a man and another man, a woman or an animal, in practice the law is predominately enforced against two men. Lesbians are also discriminated against in the wider society, however no laws target lesbians or lesbian conduct.

Offences Against the Person Act

This act prohibits “acts of gross indecency” between men, in public or in private. (This is a very general term which can be interpreted to mean any kind of physical intimacy)

Article 76 (Unnatural Crime)

“Whosoever shall be convicted of the abominable crime of buggery [anal intercourse] committed either with mankind or with any animal, shall be liable to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for a term not exceeding ten years.”

Article 77 (Attempt)

“Whosoever shall attempt to commit the said abominable crime, or shall be guilty of any assault with intent to commit the same, or of any indecent assault upon any male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof shall be liable to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding seven years, with or without hard labour.”

Article 78 (Proof of Carnal Knowledge)

“Whenever upon the trial of any offence punishable under this Act, it may be necessary to prove carnal knowledge, it shall not be necessary to prove the actual emission of seed in order to constitute a carnal knowledge, but the carnal knowledge shall be deemed complete upon proof of penetration only.”

Article 79 (Outrages on Decency)

“Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable at the discretion of the court to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding 2 years, with or without hard labour.”

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Issue Brief: Homophobia and Violence in Jamaica

Since July 2013, subsequent to the murder of 16-year-old Dwayne Jones – a transgender teen in St James – there have been several news reports of brutal attacks perpetrated against LGBT people across the island.

In August 2013, a group of five LGBT persons were marooned by an angry mob in a community in Manchester; a transgender female was attacked and had to be rescued by the police in Portmore, St Catherine[ , and two gay men were evicted from their home in Central Village, St Catherine. There have also been allegations of murders including the killing of a popular transgender performer in Spanish Town, St. Catherine.

These news reports have reinforced the argument that LGBT people live in very difficult circumstances and are at great risk of discrimination and violence. However, many Jamaicans argue LGBT people are no more at risk of violence and abuse than anyone. Some, including persons aligned to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), have also said that incidents of violence against LGBT people are perpetrated by LGBT people themselves.

There is however, little evidence to substantiate any of these claims. The police has very little documented reports of violence against LGBT people and those recorded by J-FLAG have not all been investigated.

This briefing paper aims to provide information on the total number of reports documented by J-FLAG since 2009 and the similarities with national data provided by the JCF. It is intended to guide a more informed discussion about LGBT discrimination and violence. Finally, it is hoped that this paper will provide the impetus for the Ministry of National Security and Jamaica Constabulary Force to take further steps to empower persons to report all incidents of violence and conduct thorough investigations.

Read the full report here: Homophobia & Violence in Jamaica - JFLAG 2013

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J-FLAG's Response to the JCC's Position Paper on Homosexuality

J-FLAG welcomes the Church’s leadership and call to ensure a more ‘wholesome, Christ-centred and engaging perspective on sexuality is included in their discipleship programme’ as articulated in the paper, which was published on September 25, 2013.

It is encouraging that the Jamaica Council of Churches has used its position as a historically well respected faith-based organisation to lead in engendering a more ‘welcoming and non-judgmental space’ in the Church.

As you may be aware, it is not uncommon for the Bible to be used as a justification to isolate, harass and persecute LGBT people. I commend you and your team for encouraging your members and the wider religious community to avoid using speech and taking actions ‘that could ostracize, incite violence or any other treatment of indignity towards persons who are homosexuals.’

I am aware this has taken the JCC some time to develop this position and I acknowledge, as stated, that ‘differing interpretations of scripture have led to varying theological positions’ relating to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. We however wish to note, with concern, that some of the language used in the position paper is problematic.

Nevertheless, J-FLAG welcomes and is encouraged by the call for constructive dialogue on the varying points of view with an overarching desire for the human dignity of LGBT people to be recognised and protected irrespective of ideological differences in opinion.   We consider this as an important opportunity for us to work together to bring greater understanding on the issue of sexual and gender diversity amongst your members so that we can all work from a place love, compassion and grace.

We are therefore willing and eager to work with the JCC to refine and develop the position paper, where necessary so that we can support a process to mitigate the harm caused to LGBT persons and their families, including those who are Christians.

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