LGBT activists will gather at NYC’s historic Stonewall Inn on Wednesday at 6:30PM to protest the treatment of gay people in Jamaica. In a show of solidarity, Stonewall’s owners will pour their stock of Myer’s Rum and Red Stripe beer into the gutter of Christopher Street. Via press release:
“We, as the owners of the Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the Gay rights movement, refuse to support, in any way, shape or form, the oppression of any people especially our gay brothers and sisters in Jamaica. We ask all people of all walks of life to send a clear message to the Jamaican people and their government, that as long as they continue to allow and condone violence and hatred toward the Gay community, we will neither buy their products nor support their tourist trade. To do so is to tacitly support the current climate of oppression.”
Boycott Jamiaca co-organizer Wayne Besen: “If you love your gay friends and family members, you won’t visit Jamaica. If you care about the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, you won’t buy Jamaican products. We hope that all gay and gay friendly bar owners and restaurateurs across the nation will participate in ‘rum dumps.’ We can no longer subsidize our own slaughter.”UPDATE: One Jamaican group, J-Flag (Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays) does not support the boycott. Via press release:
Jamaica’s deeply ingrained antipathy towards homosexuality and homosexuals is a social phenomenon that will not be undone by boycott campaigns or government dictate. It requires the painstaking effort of confronting the society and talking to social actors who can bring change in the way society sees LGBT people. We have been doing this through a small but growing group of increasingly aware opinion leaders who are concerned about the damage homophobia does to our society. We need those ears to continue being open to us and we need the relative safety that some of us have been given to speak to them.
It is important that our international allies understand the nature of our struggle and engage us in a respectful way about it. Unless they are willing and able to lead the struggle in the trenches as we have done, it is important that they be guided by us. To do otherwise would be to act in a manner that destroys the space for dialogue that we have managed to create over the past decade and to set back our struggle. It is for this reason that we urge those in the international arena who seek to act in our name and on our behalf to do so not only with the utmost care and responsibility but also with due consideration for our efforts and concerns as members of the local activist community.