Letters to the Editor

Ja's complicated history of championing social justice

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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Dear Editor,

In celebration of World Day of Social Justice, today February 20, the team here at Equality for All Foundation asks you to think about the theme, 'Workers on the move', and what it may mean for us here in Jamaica.

While the theme asks us to think about the situation facing migrant workers as they seek better opportunities abroad, we ask you to think about the ways in which we make Jamaica an uncomfortable space for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jamaicans who are then forced to see migration as their best or only option.

While Vision 2030, in line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, paints the picture of Jamaica where all are included, protected and given the tools to achieve their greatest potential, the reality of homophobia and transphobia complicates that vision for Jamaica. LGBT Jamaicans continue to struggle with manifestations of inequality as they seek jobs, search for homes, and try cultivate romantic relationships. Jamaicans of trans experience, in particular, experience higher levels of social exclusion because of the general lack of awareness concerning gender identity and diverse gender expression.

Jamaica has had a complicated history of championing social justice on the one hand while turning a blind eye to indigenous forms of social justice on the other hand. A key example is our embargo on South Africa in response to the reality of apartheid while at the same time facilitating the Coral Gardens massacre and other human rights violations that followed targeting the Rastafari community. All of this occurring in the height of the 1960s — a notably revolutionary period.

Suffice it to say, there is a lot more that we ought to be doing around promoting social justice and governing with the principles of inclusion in mind. The project of social justice is ongoing and must include challenging cultural norms which have sought to place persons on the fringes of society and keep them there. We must put in the work to ensure that LGBT Jamaicans can meaningfully participate in and benefit fully and equally from the process of national development.

In light of this, Equality for All Foundation will be launching its vision for an LGBT inclusive Jamaica on Friday, February 23, 2018. Finally, we will release the Gay Agenda!

Glenroy Murray

Policy and advocacy manager

Equality for All Foundation Jamaica Limited


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