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 /

“My identity as pan sexual always felt natural to me. There was no one ‘ahah!’ moment. It was who I was before I had the words to describe it. What was not natural was how difficult it was for me to fit into certain social spaces. The resistance that pansexual persons meet in the LGBT society and the broader society is erased from many stories that we often hear. I attended an all-girl high school and it was my first year and it was very reinforced that it was unnatural to be anything but heterosexual. Girls would often have to prove how straight they were by publicizing their boyfriends and their crushes and making it known that they were heterosexual. I kind of paved my way into unpopularity for high school by questioning the way it was unnatural for girls to like girls in one social studies class though it wasn’t an unofficial ‘coming out’ for me, the impact it had for me challenging heteronormitive ideas at an Anglican girl school and got me the label of being different, weird and an outsider very quickly and not the person many persons wanted to be associated with especially the girl that was labelled possibly a lesbian in high school. As I got more involved in human rights and LGBT spaces in University, I began to experience exclusion in what I thought should be safe spaces. Having to prove that you fit was not only a phenomenon that existed within the straight community, but also came up in LGBT spaces. Meeting other gender and sexuality minority persons who would dismiss the idea of being pan sexual and would even dismiss the idea of bisexual people existing is probably the most ironic and harmful experience that I’ve had. The eratio of being pan sexual only multiplied how policed women’s sexuality was within the LGBT community. 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. However, having a partner who identifies as cisgender, heterosexual man in Jamaica does come with its privileges. But being a woman in Jamaica does come with its challenges and being a pan sexual whose identity is erased within the LGBT community does come with its challenges. Life for me has really be learning how to navigate and interact with the world as a black, pan sexual woman in a largely white, male patriarchal society that tells you that you don’t fit in and that you don’t need to fit in. this isn’t a story about triumph, resilience or drama. I’m just learning to navigate the space I live in and I want to continue living in; many persons want to leave Jamaica but I don’t. The support I get from my immediate family, my partner, friends and co-workers really does helps as we take this journey. Not everyone gets it and not everyone will- but I think empathy, respect and being open to dialogue has helped me to understand the different layers to my identity and how I interact with the world.”

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