Jamaica has been heralded as one of the most homophobic places in the world, where being gay or lesbian is criminalized under "abominable crime" legislation with a punishment of up to 10 years of hard labor.
Within increasing visibility, small groups of vigilantes are attempting to fight back against the institutionalized laws and violence targeting LGBT Jamaicans, at the risk of extreme personal peril. Maurice Tomlinson, leading Jamaican LGBT rights activist and lawyer, led a protest last week at Devon House Jamaica, attempting to bring international visibility to the plights of gay and lesbian Jamaicans. Photos of the protest can be viewed in a slideshow below.
Additionally, "The Abominable Crime," a film documenting the struggles of LGBT Jamaicans, will air this week in Washington D.C. (the trailer can be viewed above). The film is the "story about a mother's love for her child and an activist's troubled love for his country. It also gives voice to gay Jamaicans who, in the face of endemic anti-gay violence, are forced to flee their homeland."
Over the past summer alone, typically underreported violence against LGBT people has made national headlines, due largely to the efforts of Jamaica LGBT News, an online project sponsored by the National Anti-Discrimination Alliance. In late July, Dwayne Jones, a gender-bending teen, was allegedly chopped and stabbed to death by a mob at a party after the attendees discovered that Jones was biologically male. Shortly after, five allegedly gay men were trapped and barricaded in a house by a mob in their village, while two men perceived to be gay were reportedly attacked and forced to take refuge in a police station. Even more recently, an openly gay man was allegedly stabbed to death and his house burned while his body was still inside.
To learn more about the culture of homophobia and violence plaguing LGBT individuals in Jamaica, check out "The Abominable Crime," screening from Sept. 19-24 in Washington, DC.
For continuing coverage of LGBT issues and events unfolding in Jamaica, follow Jamaica LGBT News on Facebook.
Also, be sure check out the pictures from the "LGBT Jamaicans Stand Against Violence" in the slideshow below.