Gays saddle to the east
St Thomas is set to be invaded today by gays and transgender persons who are heading to the eastern parish to hold a buddy party.
The event is scheduled to be held at a secret location in the parish and is being staged in partnership with Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Both the St Thomas police and parish council are unaware of today's event. The organisers have insisted that they need no permit to stage the party, arguing that there will be no loud music and neither will there be any alcoholic beverages on sale
According to the organisers, the event dubbed 'Summer Explosion', is aimed at reaching out to the transgenders and Men who have sex with Men (MSM) in Jamaica to, among other things, encourage HIV testing.
"We had another event similar to this one earlier this year and it was very successful. We are hoping that persons will come out once more to enjoy themselves in a non-discriminatory environment," Nicolette Jones, a spokesperson said.
She said that for security reasons, the exact venue of the event will not be disclosed to the public.
"We are not taking any chances but we are not as fearful hosting this event given the success of the last one which was a much bigger event," Jones said.
"Of course, there is always a concern that things could go wrong so security is tight," she added.
Elton John created the Foundation in the United States in 1992 in response to the urgent need for support to address the global AIDS crisis. It is one of the largest funders of programmes for transgender people.
"We are happy to be partnering with the Elton John AIDS foundation. We wrote a proposal to them last year hoping to get funding to increase our services to the trans population and we were successful. They are helping us to reach out to transgender and MSM in more fun ways such as parties and lymes,"Jones said.