The Montego Bay Pride, kicked off the first event on October 9th, with a Launch Party, held at The Round Hill Hotel, in Hanover.
The event was hosted by Mr. Josef Frostmayr , Austria Consulate to Jamaica, in an interview with Mckoy”s reporter, Mr Frostmayr said ” I have been here in Jamaica for the last Forty (40) years, its a nice country, with broad potentials to reach Global acceptability status with regard to quality of life, where people can live peacefully without fear, have access to facilities, jobs, healthcare etc. no matter their Creeds or sexual-orientation, the people here are loving, I hope to see a progressive change of mindset, crime and murder reduction and increased employment”
The second even on the Montego Bay Pride Calendar of activities; the staging of Five Days Film Festival, held at the Hotel Glorianna”s Conference Room…..Pridsters and LGBTQs members turned in their numbers to see films depicting the ” woes”, challenges and inhumane treatment of Gays and Lesbians, particularly in Jamaica and listening , watching crude testimonies of how they were trapped, ostracized, exposed, exploited, victimized, exiled, then escaped from their homes, jobs, families, communities, and finally their homelands.
Featured Films such as The Abominable Crime, Strike A Pose, Handsome Devil, etc.
Films were donated by renowned filmmakers and producers such including, Paterson Thomas Toscano and others.
The Social and Justice Project of Mo Bay Pride seeks to add beautification to any publicly accessed facilities and Cornwall Regional Hospital was this year’s recipient, where the outer walls of the nurses” quarters were painted.
The international guests/attendees to Montego Bay Pride, Billy Urich, Inter-pride Global.
Mrs.Phill Opoku-Gyimah, Executive Director/Founder of UK Black Pride, Ms. Carla Moore and Mr. Kyro Jackson, conducted a panel discussion with an aim to change the narrative of how Homosexuality is perceived. Documented history will support the claim of murders occurred at the hand of mostly Heterosexuals males who were driven by blind rage to kill without regard that Homosexuals are human beings deserving the same right to life….the recent rehashing of Twenty-one year old Matthew Shepard, who was abducted, tortured and tied to fence post murdered, is a profound example that whatever is done in the past will surface in the future.
LBGTQs are gradually gaining foothold… the rise in political powers, businesses and the catwalks within the fashion Tend.
The Beach day Pride, started with Praise & Worship Service, officiated by Rev.Canon Garth Minot, the LGBTQs got the opportunity to truly “let loose” and worship within a safe space without fear or discrimination, which promptly followed by The March for Rights; rights including: to education, healthcare, employment, shopping and the choice of sexuality and chosen partners…this activity was escorted with protection provided by The Jamaica Constabulary Force JCF along the bottom Road, the marchers/pridsters held the huge Rainbow colored flag sang and danced.
The beach activities include, talent competition, water sports, music and food, $200, $100 & $50 US respectively for the category winners, due to restricted time allotted the after party session, usually held on the beach, had to be carried over to Hotel Glorianna”s Conference Room.
Let’s meet the man who started Montego Bay Pride and the people supporting him.
The reporter’s one-one interview with…
Here you go!
I am Maurice Tomlinson, a Jamaican lawyer and senior policy analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. I grew up in Montego Bay and migrated to Canada in 2012.
Why did you leave Jamaica?
In 2011 I married a Canadian man and was waiting in Jamaica for my migration filing to be complete when a Jamaican newspaper published an unauthorized photo of our wedding. This caused me to receive multiple death threats and so I had to flee. However, I decided that I would not allow the bigots to win, so I returned to Jamaica to continue working for LGBT liberation. I want Jamaican LGBT people to have the option of migrating and not be FORCED to flee like I did.
Why do you have a passion for Pride?
Jamaicans are by nature a loving people, but many have been corrupted by extreme right-wing evangelicals to hate their LGBT family. Research has shown that the best way to undo this homophobia is for LGBT people to be visible. Pride creates that visibility. People fear what/who they don’t know. I want to empower Jamaican LGBT people to be visible.
What is your personal/collective role with Pride and/or the LGBT community?
I am the founder and coordinator/team leader of Montego Bay Pride. I am also challenging the anti-sodomy law in Jamaica.
What is the baseline goal of Pride?
The baseline goal for Montego Bay Pride is an increase in the number of persons participating each year. We started with just over 150 persons in 2015 and have grown to over 1,000 persons this year.
Who are the partners/sponsors?
The main sponsors of Montego Bay Pride are the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and our Canadian partners, including Salah Bachir, Jacob Yarex, and Jim Searle, as well as Jamaican-Canadians Al Ramsay and Chris Tyrell. We also have received assistance from Gay Star News, GO! Jamaica Travel, and Quality of Citizenship Jamaica. We owe a huge thanks to the Hotel Gloriana for hosting us for our film festival, and the Jamaica Constabulary Force for supporting our Walk for Rights. We really hope that going forward more local companies will come on board to support Montego Bay Pride.
What are the expectations from the populace regarding the LGBTQ community?
That is hard to answer. I know that I hope that the populace will start to recapture the spirit of “One Love” for which Jamaica is world famous, and once again start to share this love with the LGBT community. In the words of our motto: Jamaica is “Out of Many ONE People.” LGBT people are citizens of this great country and we deserve to have our human rights respected.
Visual highlights of the Pride”s activities below
by Jackie Chan