Out of many we are one – hope for real independence and LGBT equality in Jamaica

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2012 National LGBT Conference
21 September 2012


Conference welcomes the election of Portia Simpson Miller as the first woman prime minister of Jamaica and celebrates the 50th Year of Jamaican Independence.

Conference notes that Jamaica’s last prime minister had said he would not allow any homosexuals to serve in his cabinet. But Portia Simpson Miller said in a national TV debate in December 2011, during her re-election campaign, that she would not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation when it comes to choosing her ministerial team. She won by a landslide.

Since her re-election there has been progress on the political front and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has indicated her willingness to review the country’s anti-buggery laws, which were imposed on Jamaica under British colonial rule.

She made her position very clear when she publicly stated:

“Our administration believes in protecting the human rights of all Jamaicans. No one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. Government should provide protection”.

She went on to say: “I certainly do not pry nor do I have any intention of prying in the private business of anyone. I would appoint anyone with the ability, the capacity and capability to manage in my cabinet.”

Conference welcomes the fact that in expounding her belief in protecting the human rights of all Jamaicans, Portia leads from the front, challenging the homophobic attitudes that have been ingrained in the minds of some communities and people, which had been reinforced by the old-guard politicians.

Conference calls on the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Committee to work with the National Black Members Committee and the National Executive Council international committee to:

1)Write to Jamaica’s High commissioner, congratulating the Jamaican Prime Minister on her progressive statements on sexual orientation equality and human rights and seeking an update on progress towards reform;

2. Explore solidarity work with Jamaican trade unions such as Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers (JALGO), Jamaican LGBT groups and Jamaican organisations that work to ensure that LGBT equalities are progressed.