J-FLAG seeks $1m to host Pride celebrations
The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), an LGBT rights organisation in Jamaica, has issued a call for persons to help fund the fourth annual Pride celebrations which starts later this month.
The organisation is seeking to raise US$10,000 (approximately J$1.3 million) of the US$65,000 (approximately J$8.5 million) to host a successful celebration this year.
"Pride costs us about US$65,000 to host successful Pride events each year. With two weeks to go, we need an additional US$10,000. We have had a number of fund-raising events to raise the US$55,000, so we just think that another US$10,000 [is needed] to have a safe and successful event," J-FLAG Executive Director Jaevion Nelson said.
"For many of us, Pride is a reminder that in spite of the homophobia, bi-phobia and transphobia that are perpetrated against us, there are possibilities for respect, tolerance, and acceptance as well as self-fulfilment," he said.
At least 6,000 persons from the LGBT community are expected to come together for the two-week Pride celebrations, which ends on August 6. The activities will feature a series of fun-filled and educational activities.
"We will be having praise and worship events, beautification projects, a breakfast party, concert and other activities," he said.
Nelson told The STAR that Pride is a crucial part of the work at J-FLAG to reduce the discrimination and violence perpetrated against LGBT people in Jamaica.
"We organise the events to help reduce the despair LGBT people who live, work, learn, worship, and have fun in places where they are not welcome and told they are pariah's face," he said.
Nelson said that although Jamaicans' tolerance level to the gay community is not where he would want it to be, he has been seeing improvements. He stated that there are a number of persons in the gay community that have been faced with hostility. He said that more than 200 acts of violence have been perpetrated against members of the gay community in recent years.
"I think we are seeing progress, but it's no where near where it needs to be as a country, where it is OK for members to be their true self. There is still a high level of intolerance and discrimination, but there, nonetheless, has been progress," Nelson said.