Improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) Jamaican by advocating for changes in law and policy has been the core mandate of J-FLAG’s work since its inception. While advocacy around the buggery law and other laws that negatively affect LGBT is yet to yield the desired results, changes in policy indicate a change in attitude towards the community.
In 2011, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) introduced a diversity policy explicitly prohibiting police officer from discriminating in the basis of sexual orientation. The Public Sector Staff Orders also prohibits sexual orientation discrimination and the National Youth Policy introduced in 2017 prohibits same when implementing the policy. These changes demonstrate that continued engagement of the Government and Parliamentarians around issues affecting the LGBT community can yield positive results.
The legal research, the policy briefs and the Gay Agenda have all led us to this point where our options for advocacy extend beyond the repeal of anti-sodomy laws and constitutional inclusion. We stand in full recognition of the need to consider broadly law and policy reform in education, employment, healthcare, youth development, women’s rights, law enforcement and justice alongside reforms such as decriminalization of same-sex intimacy, equal protection of same-sex relationships, protection from all forms of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination and recognition of transgender identities.
This means we will continue to engage parliamentarians and policymakers and work with them to understand why they should and how they can do more for the LGBT community. We will continue to sensitize the community about different laws and legal processes so that they can better navigate public and private spaces. We will more actively engage the community in framing and prioritizing our advocacy goals. And, we will extend our reach and partnerships within the private, public and third sector.
J-FLAG has risen as the foremost voice of the Jamaican LGBT community. Over the next 20 years, we commit to maintaining and augmenting the current social capital of the organization and broadening the space it occupies. We commit to ensuring that our advocacy represents the LGBT community as interested in and working towards a united, inclusive and prosperous Jamaica. We commit to improving our advocacy to better address the intersectional needs of the community; whether the result of poverty, social class, sex, gender, race, age, disability or place of origin. We welcome participation and constructive criticism from the community so that we can work together to achieve the best results for all.