Out actress Ellen Page was on hand to celebrate Jamaica’s first ever pride festival, which included a flash mob but not a parade due to security concerns in the notoriously homophobic island-nation.
J-FLAG, Jamaica’s foremost LGBT rights organization, scheduled a series of Pride events to coincide with the 53rd anniversary of Jamaica’s independence from the UK.
However, since Jamaica is one of over 75 countries where homosexuality is illegal, J-FLAG decided not to have a parade and kept the location of the flash mob a secret.
Still, in a rare show of solidarity with the LGBT community, the mayor of the country’s capital, Kingston, was scheduled to speak at the Pride event’s opening ceremony on Saturday.
“I come from the point of view that I, as mayor, have a responsibility to all the individuals of Kingston,” Mayor Angela Brown-Burke told the Washington Blade. “There are individuals who are minorities who have been struggling in terms of their identity and finding their own space. It is important for us to provide safe spaces for them.”
The LGBT community in Jamaica often faces violence and persecution, with homosexual acts between men carrying a penalty of up to ten years in prison.
Page, who came out as a lesbian last year, is making good on her hope of making a difference by shining a social media light on Jamaica’s groundbreaking Pride celebration.
Page also shared a pic of the Pride flash mob — though a far cry from the bigger, flashier celebrations around the world — some 40 Jamaican LGBTs made their presence and their pride known.
A photo posted by @ellenpage on Aug 1, 2015 at 9:50am PDT
Les Fabian Brathwaite — Jamaican some progress.