J-Flag Gets meeting with the Pegasus ………… priorities please!!!

From the desk of Dane Lewis

JFLAG’s Executive Director

(November 25, 2010) J-FLAG was invited to a meeting with the General Manager, Hotel Manager and the Director of Sales and Marketing of The Jamaica Pegasus. This meeting was called in response to the issue of J-FLAG being denied the rental of meeting space on November 18.

In sifting through the issues, Eldon Bremmer, the General Manger stated that the reservation had in fact come to his attention and that he knew that access was being denied. He also stated that the decision was based on an unfortunate experience from a private party with members of the community.

The Management admitted that they handled the situation badly and recognised that a different approach was needed to address any concerns they had.

There was an error in judgment and action but this was not out of any mal-intent. They are committed to facilitating engagement with J-FLAG and have agreed on some ways forward. It was underscored by the management that J-FLAG would not in the future be prevented from booking the facilities.

The General Manager has promised to respond to us in writing, copying the partners indicated in our correspondence. We look forward to receiving same and sharing this with you if you do not receive it directly.

Sincerely,
Dane Lewis
Executive Director
Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays – J-FLAG
Tel/ Fax: (876)978-8988
Website: http://www.jflag.org
email: admin@jflag.org

ENDS

Pink Report Jamaica carried the piece as “Pegasus Bows JFLAG issues Letter”

My notes:

Get Equal vs HRC or vice versa in the USA? …… so it looks here as well in a manner of speaking.

It’s seems to be from the outside all about friends in the business impressing and praising each other than really getting down to business of working towards better solutions for the community at large, our situation here is just like a Human Rights Campaign vs The Get Equal group or vice versa in the United States with the war of words where the HRC is accused of hugging up politicians and more interested in  paper matters and cocktail parties with all the perks and Presidential access more than the real LGBTQI issues on the ground that require attention while the HRC defends its position by saying it’s doing the right thing for the community in the face of problems on the ground, problems show up and reveal the true nature of the situation but it is glossed or kept quiet to avoid embarrassment. The impression is they exist to defend the President and not gay people.

See more on the HRC/Get Equal issues with US gay rights and DADT here: http://www.inthelifetv.org/html/episodes/121.html

“………serving in the suites of power while the streets of activism are getting tired and fed up?

Again we see the zeal at which things are done by JFLAG on matters of this nature while lives are still yet displaced, well who cares? it was more important to go after a hotel that didn’t take their business by which case they have a right not to take business even if it looks discriminatory, so what? choices are out there, leave them and their ignorance & hypocrisy. We can’t force persons or businesses to accept us or our money they also have a right to choose, it’s their loss all we need to do is put the Pink Dollar where it is accepted.

Be it resolved I am not against the J but it’s how they do business fortunately I have some inside knowledge having volunteered and worked there for over the life of the group until 2009 and having been a victim of homophobia and going through a prejudicial justice system in 1996 I understand all too well some of the issues involved. As we seh inna yard “he who feels it knows it”

There are many other properties that offer just as good amenities for the business client searching for space for meetings, it’s just beyond me how we, Yes I say we, as advocates (sadly I am still perceived to be associated with the group after leaving, scarred eh? lol) find time for small things when the lives interrupted stay interrupted. This reminds me of how the office space of the J was more important than keeping a homeless shelter opened so they moved into it. Interpret my comments as beef or whatever the bigger picture is what counts in my book, for e,g. for the past weeks we have a section of the community in literal panic and still in that frame of mind as more unconfirmed bad news of violence against women comes forth even in the face of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, though unconfirmed the worry amongst some persons is real and evidenced in comments and phone calls and conversations among peers and friends some persons have opted to literally become hermits in their own homes and are seeking to relocate from certain areas where a series of awful incidents against women in general have been happening. But our advocates choose to go after a rich hotel as that is more important. The other really disappointing thing about happenings in general is that no one is calling the flaws out. The establishment if you will, then we complain to the rest of the world of stigma and discrimination at all levels when here we are selectively going through with contempt for persons who are either not as educated or from lower socio economic classes.

We have a group that clearly doesn’t represent the bigger picture and views of the increasing communities it serves.

SAD indeed.

Personal interventions are good but not nearly enough …. 13yo structure not that good either.

One would have expected JFLAG given its access to resources and funds however small would have been doing the things myself and a growing number of community members are pointing out, individual interventions are limited as we don’t have the skills (social) and funds etc to do what is really needed but it helps in a small way. We must not rest until the lives who really need the interventions and representations are happening the growing frustration in sections of the community when you look to the very group that is to serve as a light for everyone is real, for too long programmatic fluff and political correctness seems far more important than real work on the ground. Some do what and when they can but what’s the point of having millions of dollars in funding coming to one official organization for 13 years plus only for it to almost stop at the payroll and expense departments with little trickling to programs and social services for the community with successive persons beating their chests, most of whom now reside overseas leaving us to face the music.

An ever-increasing number of unruly homeless and nomadic MSMs, a worried, dazed and confused lesbian and bisexual community and a disillusioned transgendered set of persons and a refusal by the J to listen to all views contending even dissenting voices is not a good image for an advocacy group on the ground but the problem is these issues are glossed over with fanciful letters and press releases to look good to an ignorant international community who readily believe based what they have been fed or made to understand all these years.

The moment JFLAG or any more formally arranged structure develops meaningful interventions and conversations towards solving the real problems affecting LGBTQI people I am all ears and hands and make myself available no matter how small, we have to do something to curve where sections of the community is heading.

As we say in Jamaica … it look sticky.

Peace and tolerance

H

View JFLAG’s letter to the Pegasus HERE

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Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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