Two demonstrators in Montego Bay yesterday.
(Pic: AIDS Free World)

A group of LGBT Jamaicans have boldly protested outside a meeting of regional heads of state in Jamaica.

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) mounted a ‘Stand Up to CARICOM’ (Caribbean Community and Common Market) on Sunday opposite the entrance to the Hilton Rose Hall Resort where the 31st CARICOM Heads of Government meeting was being held.

“The decision was made to mount this stand because of the continued presence of anti-buggery laws in 11 of the 14 member states in CARICOM which contribute to discrimination, marginalisation and other serious human rights violations of CARICOM citizens,” said Jason McFarlane, the group’s programme manager.

“J-FLAG therefore calls for the immediate repeal of such laws and the full integration of LGBTI citizens into the CARICOM family.”

Demonstrators carried placards calling for the repeal of anti-gay laws, as well as an end to LGBT discrimination in the CARICOM region.

The group was able to protest peacefully for 17 minutes before they were asked by police to relocate. The demonstrators complied and thanked the police for their professionalism in handling the situation.

Jamaica has been described as the most homophobic place in the world by Time magazine. Gay sex is punishable by up to seven years in prison under a law which dates back to British colonial rule.

In April this year, around 100 people took part in the first ever public Pride event on the Caribbean island.

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