The Caribbean IRN is a network that connects activists, scholars, artists and other individuals and organizations who do research and work on issues related to diverse genders and sexualities in the Caribbean.
The Caribbean IRN collection stores various documents, reports, archival clippings, and other materials related to this work. Our general collection includes materials we have been collecting and archiving since the Caribbean IRN's inception in 2009. Thus far, our collection includes a variety of materials (newspaper articles, scholarly papers, activist reports, open letters, creative expressions, interviews, and more) which offers a glimpse into the complexity of LGBT lives and experiences in the Caribbean. This collection presents multiple perspectives from the personal to community and political organizing, from health agencies to academic research. It is a small but growing collection - a work in progress that brings materials on Caribbean Sexualities together in this way (digital open access) for the first time.
One major part of our collection is the archives of the Gay Freedom Movement (GFM) in Jamaica. The Gay Freedom Movement was active in Jamaica between 1974 and 1983 and the archives of the GFM are now digitised for further study and historical purposes. These archives have been made available with the permission of Larry Chang, one of the founders of GFM. The GFM preceeded the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (JFLAG). The GFM collection will allow for researchers, activists and educators to gain insights into the history of organizing around gender and sexuality in the Caribbean. The collection was launched in June 2011.
The second sub-collection which is being developed is the collection for the Rainbow Alliance of the Bahamas.
Other collections of writings and works can be accessed from the Caribbean Sexualities resource.
Difficult content in the Caribbean IRN digital archives
The digital archives of the Caribbean IRN contain the expressions, challenges and stories which relate to Caribbean LGBTIQ++ lives. Many of the items in the collections includes a variety of writers with a diversity of personal interests communicated in language that a reader may find difficult or objectionable.
The Caribbean IRN recognises that despite a historical context steeped in homophobic laws and penalizing attitudes these materials were created by people who made incredible contributions to their respective societies.
Furthermore, we recognise that that there may have been beliefs, experiences and customs of individuals or within sections of the LGBTIQ++ communities that may be considered difficult to readers of any orientation accessing the digital archives.
We note the importance of preserving the historical record and share it as concrete evidence of the just purpose of isolation-breaking networking and communication within the LGBTIQ++ community in the Caribbean .
We remain committed to removing systemic oppression in our world by sharing remarkable material made by, for and about Caribbean communities in areas related to diverse sexualities and genders.
We view this material shared in their entirety- complete with ‘roses and thorns’ - as providing teachable moments about the multifaceted, complex realities of our Caribbean LGBTIQ++ histories and our ever unfolding present.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss any of the items in the collections.