Jamaica is my HOME: Javed Jaghai and the We are Jamaicans campaign

Javed Jaghai’s brilliant video intervention asking for respect for Jamaican homosexuals is part of a sustained and unprecedented campaign by Jamaican gays asking for recognition as Jamaican citizens.

Jamaica’s LGBT community has come up with the most imaginative and moving campaign called We Are Jamaicans to deal with the widespread local hostility towards homosexuals. It is a series of videos in which  young Jamaican gays come out on camera, in an effort to directly put their case to the nation as it were; some like Javed in the video above reveal their faces, others simply use index cards. These YouTube videos have been circulating widely on social media but as many have pointed out in all the fuss traditional media made about the New Kingston street gays and the problem they were causing in the most expensive part of the city, the Golden Triangle–none of them even took note of this unprecedented campaign by the local gay community and JFLAG.

Javed Jaghai’s video above is a must see. It is a brilliant and provocative plea. And a very brave one for in it he squarely faces the camera and identifies himself–and his posture is not that of a supplicant, an outcast begging to be let in–there is a more than a hint in it of that very Jamaican quality–defiance. Watch it and see what you think…

Author: ap

writer, editor and avid tweeter

18 thoughts on “Jamaica is my HOME: Javed Jaghai and the We are Jamaicans campaign”

  1. Lovely and courageous campaign. Thank you for also drawing attention to these videos, Hope it takes off like Dan Savage’s “It Get Better” effort did in the US.

      1. Would it be a good move for Jamaicans in diaspora to support this campaign? How? Or wld it hold back things and make folks at home say is people go to faren and get infected trying to buy out dis ting?

      2. It IS being supported by folks in the diaspora, but you’re right it has to be done very strategically otherwise it risks alienating ppl here even more and local homosexuals are the ones who bear the brunt of that fallout…

  2. I cried when I watched this video. So many feel the same way he did because at heart they are different and to society it is unacceptable. My business is not whether you are homosexual or heterosexual. What I am interested in is who you are, what makes you up as an individual. Yes your sexuality is apart of who you are, but that is not my concern. No two people are the same, it is our differences that makes us unique and we all deserve respect. I love this message because he is saying this is who I am, I am not JUST a man that is gay I am so much more and regardless of the beliefs of others I choose to be who I truly am.

      1. Amazingly after seeing this video I saw Javed today. Unfortunately the moment when I finally worked up the courage to go and speak to him he was leaving. I honestly hope by some small mercy I get that opportunity again.

  3. I’m an expat who after leaving Jamaica at fourteen is slowly making my way back to the island I love. I remember a friend who was in a JMTC production with me back when I was a child. We went to different high schools, so the news of his suicide came to me second hand. I think it was a fair assumption to make that he was a homosexual, I’m sorry if that word offends, but I am still more comfortable with homosexual, than with gay or lesbian, though I’m not sure what part that played in his suicide.

    Living in the States for most of my years I never had any personal issues with homosexuals, apart from some really ostentatious displays from my time in San Francisco, I still don’t like to see men walking around with their butts exposed in leather chaps. It wasn’t until I went to a church in the Atlanta and ended up in a conversation with my pastor with regard to a statement he made about the church being friendly to homosexuals. My question was “how do you reconcile your stance with what the bible seems to be saying on the matter?”. Mind you for more than a year at this church I had gladly sat with and engaged with homosexuals, and homosexual couples in the church, without finding any need to judge them. The pastors answer was not straightforward, perhaps it was because it was sensitive topic, but it sounded like dissembling. I made what seems like an immature decision in retrospect and left the church. I now have a more personal connection to homosexuality as I’m married into a family and now have a homosexual cousin and relatives in Jamaica who are advocates for “LGBT rights”.

    I would not call my thoughts on the issue resolved. I know that much of my stance has been wrong, even the tolerance I’ve commended myself for should have been a more straightforward embrace, and the violence that I have condoned by my silence is akin to those who stood by and permitted institutions such as chattel slavery to scar the history of my people. I think sexuality as a whole is a very powerful aspect of our human lives, and our culture in so many ways is not a healthy one especially with regards to sexuality. Our young ladies and young men, and consequently our adults, do not know how to properly express their sexuality. Early and dangerous experimentation, dishonesty and manipulation, superstition and lack of education, and a popular culture that guides them in all the wrong directions. Jamaica has a sex problem, judging from afar I would say we have more of a sex problem than we have a homosexual problem. Obviously homosexuals who are at the end of real and persistent persecution might think that I am downplaying the issue. But if you were to look at the disease, pregnancy, and sexual violence statistics, not to mention the more latent psychological issues, I think you will see as a whole that we misuse/abuse our sexuality.

    I commend those who fight for respect for all Jamaicans, because that is what we are, Jamaicans none greater none diminished. I think that our sexuality is a beautiful gift. And I look forward to a day when our culture as a whole starts to tell the true, healthy, and consistent story about who we are and how to express our sexuality in a healthy and constructive manner. My prayer is that the story will include, restraint, accountability, responsibility, enjoyment, honesty, openness, acceptance, and love.

    Just yesterday I was thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a blog where people could intelligently and anonymously, have honest discussions about the issues that are taking place in Jamaica, around development, education, culture and other issues. I should start something like that and get those I know to voice their opinions and come up with constructive and creative ideas for our country”. And then I remembered that I had bookmarked your blog. Thank you.

    1. Hey thanks for leaving such a thoughtful, heartfelt comment. I too prefer the word homosexual most of the time as opposed to ‘gay’ which implies a particular subjectivity…I think its a great idea to start a blog where ppl can carry on informed discussions of the sort you mention. In the meantime feel free to post on Active Voice as a guest…

    2. Tieltzu, thank you for taking the time to write this blog post disguised as a comment (lol), you’ve made my week. Literally. It is 10:57am on Monday morning but I think it will be difficult for anyone to top you this week when it comes to be both poignant and honest about this topic. You made so many excellent points, especially pointing out that Jamaica has an issue when it comes to sexuality, full stop. I hope you do start that blog, I would be interested to see the discussions it would encourage.

  4. I believe that I was lead to this site to help the Jamaican LGBT community. I was actually made aware of this site by a happily married Jamaican Anglican vicar. I need to know how can I help. Even though I live in the UK my mother lives in Jamaica and I would be willing to move to Jamaica if it would help me to help you further your cause. I had actually thought of writing to the Jamaican government asking them that if their banning of homosexuality is bible based, then how is it that they do not treat adulterers and fornicators in the same way, according to the Bible? Please do let me know what I can do to help.

  5. I really liked this. Simple and honest. All people should feel like they have a place and are wanted. I hope he finds that place in Jamaica (sooner rather than later).

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