January 25, 2013
JFLAG campaign aims to increase awareness, tolerance
A social media video campaign was launched last week Thursday by the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), titled 'We are Jamaicans'.
Five videos have been released on YouTube so far with a combined viewership of 11,627 with additional videos to be added imminently.
In a society where homophobia and violence against homosexuals is prevalent, Dane Lewis, executive director of JFLAG, told THE WEEKEND STAR the campaign aims to increase awareness and tolerance.
"It intends to interrupt the current stigma out there around the realities faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Jamaica and represents what the realities are."
Lewis, who is himself featured in one of the videos, revealing his face publicly for the first time, explained that he made the bold move as he perceived it was the right time to do so.
"I think the time is right. People need to begin to see the different representatives of the community and my face is just one of the faces," Lewis said.
Another featured advocate of the campaign is chairperson of Jamaicans for Justice, Susan Goffe.
Goffe explained that she participated in the video in an attempt to lend support to the LGBT community, as well as to lessen the stereotypes often levelled against the community.
"I participated in the campaign in an effort to continue adding a voice to the call for viewing the LGBT community in Jamaica as fully part of the Jamaican society, and that there is a need to move away from stereotyping of members of the community," Goffe explained.
"There is also a need for the protection of the community against discrimination within the society," Goffe added.
While she had not many calls or responses about the reception of the campaign thus far, she explained that the few she has already seen on video-streaming website YouTube have been favourable.
'I haven't had any particular calls or responses apart from the fact that they are being viewed quite frequently on YouTube, but so far the comments I have heard have been quite positive but I haven't been tracking them in particular," she said.
Lewis said feedback has been overwhelmingly favourable so far and backlash non-existent.
"Very, very positive responses overall.Varied responses from emails, calls and face to face, and the responses throughout social media, on a whole, has been positive," Lewis said.
He said the campaign will be ongoing for as long as possible as no expiration date has been determined.
Lewis also emphasised that it is a participatory campaign, and persons who are desirous to contribute should make contact with JFLAG.
"If they are interested, they really should reach out to us. They can indicate their interests through firstname.lastname@example.org. "