Jamaica is set to hold its first gay pride celebration next week. Security concerns prevent a parade, but organizers have planned a full week of events. This is monumental because Jamaica is a country that is known for extreme homophobia. According to the Human Rights Watch, Jam Rock’s LGBT population lives in constant fear, and anyone who listens to (and understands) dancehall may be familiar with anti-gay sentiment in a lot of the music where many artists make references to “burning the chi chi man,” etc. Marriage between men is is also illegal in the country, which is a holdover from British Colonial law.
However, the festivities will commence from August 1-8 in the nation’s capital city, Kingston. This is also concurrent with Jamaica’s Emancipation and Independence celebration. Festivities will include a flash mob, an opening ceremony, an art exhibition, an open mic night, a flag raising ceremony, and a coming out symposium that will feature allies to the community, reports the Advocate.
“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,” said Latoya Nugent, the associate director of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG).
President Barack Obama (C), joined by Vice President Joseph Biden (L), House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (3rd L), Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID) (4th L), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (5th L), House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) (5th R), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) (4th R), women’s organizations members, law enforcement officials, tribal leaders, survivors, advocates and members of Congress, signs the Violence Against Women Act into law at the Department of the Interior March 7, 2013 in Washington, DC. The law expands protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama signed a law Thursday expanding protections for victims of domestic violence, renewing a measure credited with curbing violence against women a year and a half after it lapsed amid partisan bickering. The revitalized Violence Against Women Act marked an important win for gay rights advocates and Native Americans, who will see new protections under the law, and for Obama, whose attempts to push for a renewal failed last year after they became entangled in gender politics and the presidential election.
“This is your day. This is the day of the advocates, the day of the survivors. This is your victory,” Obama said. “This victory shows that when the American people make their voices heard, Washington listens.” As Obama prepared to put his pen to the new law, new government data underscored both the progress that has been made and the enduring need to do more.