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Jamaica is set to hold its first pride celebration next week. Security concerns prevent a parade, but organizers have planned a full week of events. This is monumental because Jamaica is a country that is known for extreme homophobia. According to the Human Rights Watch, Jam Rock’s LGBT population lives in constant fear, and anyone who listens to (and understands) dancehall may be familiar with anti-gay sentiment in a lot of the music where many artists make references to “burning the chi chi man,” etc. Marriage between men is is also illegal in the country, which is a holdover from British Colonial law.

However, the festivities will commence from August 1-8 in the nation’s capital city, Kingston. This is also concurrent with Jamaica’s Emancipation and Independence celebration. Festivities will include a flash mob, an opening ceremony, an art exhibition, an open mic night, a flag raising ceremony, and a coming out symposium that will feature allies to the community, reports the Advocate

“We will pause the negative vibrations from anti-gay lobby groups and focus on the strides we have made as a community. More importantly, we will recommit to initiatives that see us moving forward as one community,” said  Latoya Nugent, the associate director of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG).

J-Flag’s Facebook page will have a full list of events.

This is a huge deal for the Caribbean. At the moment, Curacao is one of the few (if not the only) island that has a full on Gay Pride Week.

Congrats to all the “kids” in the Yard.

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