Target: Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica
Goal: Protect LGBT Jamaicans from discrimination
The Caribbean island of Jamaica has a long history of intolerance towards LGBT people. From beatings, to rapes, to murders and public humiliation, LGBT Jamaicans have experienced some of the worst prejudice of the greater LGBT population.
In a recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), intolerable levels of violence have plagued Jamaica’s LGBT community for years, and what’s worse is that they can’t even rely on the government or police forces for protection. In 2013 a transgender teenager, Dwayne Jones, was killed by an angry mob after his true biological sex was revealed at a nightclub. Jones, just 16 years old, was beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a car. Today, Jones’ murder remains an unsolved homicide, due in part to Jamaica’s discriminatory laws against homosexuality and gender identity.
Further, LGBT Jamaicans also face inequities when seeking housing, employment, and even healthcare. According to HRW’s report, landlords openly refuse to rent to LGBT people, health providers stigmatize them when they seek services, and employers arbitrarily fire them. Additionally, they face discrimination from their own families and neighbors, as seen in another recently reported incident where five men were barricaded inside of a home by the residents of their village while a mob threatened to burn them alive.
So long as Jamaica has discriminatory laws in place, such as anti-sodomy sanctions, and continues to perpetuate national apathy, ignorance and bigotry, LGBT Jamaicans will continue to live in fear and remain victims to horrific crimes in their homeland. Although Jamaica has had a withstanding anti-gay philosophy, with enough empathy and prolific action they could reverse stigma and encourage other Caribbean nations to follow suit.
Sign the petition to urge Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to abolish Jamaica’s discriminatory laws and encourage authorities to protect the country’s LGBT population from further violence.
Dear Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller,
The New York-based human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, has spent years documenting the unimaginable violence being thrust upon your country’s LGBT population. From beatings, to stoning, rapes and even murders, which go largely undocumented or investigated, Jamaica’s LGBT community suffers daily to survive.
Not only are they discriminated against by absolute strangers, but they also face prejudice from their own families and neighbors. A 16-year-old transgender man named Dwayne Jones was the victim of an atrocious murder by a mob and faced inequality, even in death, as his family refused to claim his body or publicize his homicide. And, a 41-year-old man was burned to death, by yet another mob, in his own home. These crimes, and countless others, must end now; the only way to end the vicious cycle is to call a halt to the violence and discrimination, prosecute those responsible for callous crimes and abolish homophobic laws.
No human being should be hated, tormented, or worse yet, killed, simply because of who they are and how they love. The fate of Jamaica’s LGBT population is ultimately in your hands and I hope that you have enough empathy within you to recognize what’s wrong and make it right.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: BlofeldDr. via Wikimedia Commons