All his life 23 year old Jamaican Bobby Brandon Brown (right) has been the victim of homophobia. Ostracized by his family, Bobby became homeless. On several occasions he’s found himself having to have sex with men so he can have somewhere to sleep. He has attempted suicide several times. At the time of his picture being taken he was in a relationship with 19 year old Persian Apologetic. To contact: bbrown120.bbobby@gmail.com, ph: +18762855783, IG prettyboy_fenty. 19 year old transgender woman, and make up artist Persion Unapologetic has not spoken to her family since leaving home two years ago. She recently reached out to her mother who told her not to speak to her, ending the phone call by saying “you don’t have a mother or a father.” To contact: Phone:+1(867)3373528, Facebook: fabrice.cousins, Instagram: @persion_unapologetic. Jamaica is one of 76 countries where same-sex acts are illegal. The LGBTQI+ community in the country have regularly faced violent homophobic and trans-phobic attacks, and discrimination in almost every sector of society. However, in the last ten years, through the emergence of courageous grassroots LGBTQI+ grassroots non-governmental organizations and activists, the country has seen progressive gains for LGBTQI+ acceptance. Photo Robin Hammond/NOOR for Witness Change. 30 September 2016

Bobby/


“My name is Bobby I am writing my story to tell you about my life being a gay man and living in Jamaica. I am 23 years of age and I am proud to say that I am gay. My life has been so hard to the extent I tried to kill myself more than once; I have been beaten because of my sexuality. I tried to kill myself because I was ashamed of myself because at one point I hated myself for being gay and I remember I went Down Town Waterfront trying to jump off to drown myself because I was so sad that no one loved me because of my sexuality.”

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22 year old Jamaican Jherane Patmore describes herself as a Cis woman, Pansexual. While she says she has not been discriminated against, her view that there is nothing wrong with being attracted to people of the same sex led to her being made excluded at school. She also feels she can be open about her sexuality in many parts of Jamaican society fearing she discrimination or attack. To contact: Phone +1(876) 556-4420, Instagram: @jherane, Twitter: @jherane. Jamaica is one of 76 countries where same-sex acts are illegal. The LGBTQI+ community in the country have regularly faced violent homophobic and trans-phobic attacks, and discrimination in almost every sector of society. However, in the last ten years, through the emergence of courageous grassroots LGBTQI+ grassroots non-governmental organizations and activists, the country has seen progressive gains for LGBTQI+ acceptance. Photo Robin Hammond/NOOR for Witness Change. 28 September 2016

Jherane/


“Many people misunderstand that being pan sexual means being attracted to everyone I see walking down the road before understanding what it really is and being chastised as the ‘slutty woman’. There is even the other end of the story where many people exist that many people that being bisexual and pan sexual doesn’t exist or that this phenomenon exists within the LGBT community. I have been accused of lying about my sexuality and that many people would say that you can either be gay or straight and that nothing else really exists. Someone who I’ve even had to work with on a project recently accused me of being straight and I’m just seeking attention.”

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25 year old Jamaican Elton McDuffus is a Procurement Officer for a local LGBT group and a gay man. He has suffered homophobic bullying all his life, but says that he hopes to use that experience to help other LGBTQI+ people who have been discriminated against. To contact: email: emcduffus@gmail.com, Instagram: classicman_imageguy. Jamaica is one of 76 countries where same-sex acts are illegal. The LGBTQI+ community in the country have regularly faced violent homophobic and trans-phobic attacks, and discrimination in almost every sector of society. However, in the last ten years, through the emergence of courageous grassroots LGBTQI+ grassroots non-governmental organizations and activists, the country has seen progressive gains for LGBTQI+ acceptance. Photo Robin Hammond/NOOR for Witness Change. 25 September 2016

Elton/


“I never knew it was bullying until I got to know the word too well. Then I learnt it was homophobic bullying because I was being teased and called “fish”, “faggot”, “battyman” and other degrading names. For half of my life I felt as though something was wrong with me. I thought maybe they were right for teasing me”

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28 year old social work student Abby Sáde (surname withheld) is a lesbian living in Kingston, Jamaica. Abby says: “A Jamaican lesbian who was raised in the Adventist Church. My mom was the Head Deaconess and someone well known in our community. So there was no way in hell her daughter, her only daughter could be gay. Long story short, I decided that her approval was not required for me to be happy, for me to be true to who I am, for me to love who I love. I chose not to break, not to give in but to live my truth” To contact: sadeabby1@gmail.com, 8768641611, abbiiiwabbiii-(ig), abby-sade(facebook), awthentikabby(twitter). Jamaica is one of 76 countries where same-sex acts are illegal. The LGBTQI+ community in the country have regularly faced violent homophobic and trans-phobic attacks, and discrimination in almost every sector of society. However, in the last ten years, through the emergence of courageous grassroots LGBTQI+ grassroots non-governmental organizations and activists, the country has seen progressive gains for LGBTQI+ acceptance. Photo Robin Hammond/NOOR for Witness Change. 24 September 2016

Abby/


“Family can make you or break you. I know this all too well as my relationship with my mom or the lack thereof, almost ruined me.”

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Andre (last name withheld) was bullied severely at school. At one point a large mob of students  gathered outside a school building he was in, threatening him with violence. Eventually the police had to be called to escort him out safely. His mother’s waiting car was stoned. This is how he came out to his family. Instead of rejecting him, as is sadly the fate of so many LGBTQI+ Jamaicans, his family embraced him and accepted his identity and sexuality. To contact: andre_c-bar@hotmail.com, 18768595236, Social Media: (IG,FB,T) drepheonix. Jamaica is one of 76 countries where same-sex acts are illegal. The LGBTQI+ community in the country have regularly faced violent homophobic and trans-phobic attacks, and discrimination in almost every sector of society. However, in the last ten years, through the emergence of courageous grassroots LGBTQI+ grassroots non-governmental organizations and activists, the country has seen progressive gains for LGBTQI+ acceptance. Photo Robin Hammond/NOOR for Witness Change. 26 September 2016

Andre/


“he told everyone in the school that I was gay. In doing this, it caused uproar in the school. I was quickly taken off the scene and I was pushed in a building for my safety. The mob of student grew and you have the entire student body and mob in the building chanting to let me out so they can have their way with me. School officials and security could not squash the mob nor could they disperse.”

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Christina Clarke is a 24 year old bi-sexual Jamaican and Administration Officer for a LGBT organization in the capital city Kingston. She says it is not easy being LGBT in Jamaica, but if you are a bi-sexual female and present as a woman, then nobody will know or give you problems. She says though that Jamaicans make everyone’s business their own, and love to “dig up dirt” on other people exposing and “shaming” them on Facebook. To contact: Phone +1 (876)2933814, email: christina.clarke00@gmail.com, IG: _realitychick, TW: realityxoxo, FB: christinaclarke. Jamaica is one of 76 countries where same-sex acts are illegal. The LGBTQI+ community in the country have regularly faced violent homophobic and trans-phobic attacks, and discrimination in almost every sector of society. However, in the last ten years, through the emergence of courageous grassroots LGBTQI+ grassroots non-governmental organizations and activists, the country has seen progressive gains for LGBTQI+ acceptance. Photo Robin Hammond/NOOR for Witness Change. 23 September 2016

Christina/


“I am labelled as confused and is sometimes asked the question in being bi-sexual, am I truly attracted to two sexes or simply confused and need to experiment until my “TRUE” sexuality is found. I am also labelled as promiscuous or even being told I am “just looking to be noticed”.”

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24 year old transgender/heterosexual Noelle (last name withheld) moves with great caution around Jamaica. While there are parts of Kingston Jamaica where she feels safe, in others, she says, she must ‘navigate spaces’ carefully knowing that she can be attacked because she presents as a woman. To contact: +1(876)4018 656, noelle92@gmail.com, Social media handle: ms. Noellen. Jamaica is one of 76 countries where same-sex acts are illegal. The LGBTQI+ community in the country have regularly faced violent homophobic and trans-phobic attacks, and discrimination in almost every sector of society. However, in the last ten years, through the emergence of courageous grassroots LGBTQI+ grassroots non-governmental organizations and activists, the country has seen progressive gains for LGBTQI+ acceptance. Photo Robin Hammond/NOOR for Witness Change. 29 September 2016

Noelle/


“she told me to be Be-You-Tiful- be you because the real you is beautiful and you’re not here for the approval for anyone so give yourself a break and Be-You-Tiful. These words stuck with me and formed part of me in a literal sense as I had it tattooed on my chest as a reminder to myself every day when I wake up and I am preparing myself for the day ahead. This is the first time I’m speaking so candidly to such a large audience about my gender identity but at this point I really don’t care. I am Jamaican and trans is beautiful and I am beautiful.”

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Mo (left) is a 41 year old Jamaican transgender man. He is a police detective. He says “Jamaicans are very intolerant and homophobic, none the less, I live my life fearlessly” he goes on to say “you can never know when you can become a target… so I am always n defense mode.” Mo is in a long-term relationship with his partner Pinkie. To contact: monique391975@icoloud.com, phone: +1(876)5871997. Social Media: IG: spoiltchildmo FB: Mo Bibi Rowe. He sits with his partner 30 year old Jamiacan lesbian Pinkie says she does not face discrimination common to LGBTQI+ people in Jamaica. She attributes this to her feminine presentation. She says though that “In Jamaica most people don’t have a mind of their own, they just want to hear one person say ‘alright – you’re a lesbian you need for dead.’ It’s like the entire crowd come down on you, ‘you need for dead.’ There’s just not somebody to have a mindset to say ‘you know leave her alone or leave her alone.’” Pinkie is in a long-term relationship with her partner Mo. To contact: monique391975@icoloud.com, phone: +1(876)5910578. Social Media: FB: Exstasii whipped cream Codling. Jamaica is one of 76 countries where same-sex acts are illegal. The LGBTQI+ community in the country have regularly faced violent homophobic and trans-phobic attacks, and discrimination in almost every sector of society. However, in the last ten years, through the emergence of courageous grassroots LGBTQI+ grassroots non-governmental organizations and activists, the country has seen progressive gains for LGBTQI+ acceptance. Photo Robin Hammond/NOOR for Witness Change. 29 September 2016

Mo/


“I am always on the alert and really on the defensive because when you have a predominantly male look, like I do, you can never tell when you may become a target so I am always cognisant of that and ready to go into defence mode. I really love Jamaican- it is my homeland. “

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F.J. Genus is a Jamaican queer man of transgender experience working as an IT consultant. In many public spaces he feels unsafe. He describes how every morning he must mentally prepare himself to face a world outside that often doesn’t accept him for the man he identifies as. To contact: +1(876)3135059, email: fjgenus@gmail.com. Social media handles: @to_gentleman (IG, Tw). Jamaica is one of 76 countries where same-sex acts are illegal. The LGBTQI+ community in the country have regularly faced violent homophobic and trans-phobic attacks, and discrimination in almost every sector of society. However, in the last ten years, through the emergence of courageous grassroots LGBTQI+ grassroots non-governmental organizations and activists, the country has seen progressive gains for LGBTQI+ acceptance. Photo Robin Hammond/NOOR for Witness Change. 24 September 2016

F.J./


“Every time I introduce myself I am asked what I have come to refer to as the ‘Annoying Inevitable Question’: ‘What does FJ Stand for?’ the selection of a name is a critical part of the transition process of a transgender individual.”

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paul-dee

Paul Dee/


“When I witness the progress in places such as North America and Europe, I further realize how lonely and isolated I am at times to the point it becomes unbearable. I am at an age where I want to express my sexuality, find companionship, a lover, a partner. I don’t know what the future holds for me living here. Sometimes I wonder if this is just my burden to bare. Maybe one day in the afterlife if exists, I will finally be able live without fear.”

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