Kingston community celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History Month

Kingston celebrated this years LGBT History Month with the event One Kingston, One LGBT featuring inspirational speakers promoting community awareness. 

People from all backgrounds filled the seats of Queen Anne Suite of Guildhall to listen to guest speakers Jaiye Warwick-Saunders, Kingston Police Inspector, and Jay Frances, health representative of Wolverton Centre, speak out on issues affecting the LGBT community. 

The charismatic Inspector Warwick-Saunders discussed his experience as a gay black man in the police force.  He joked, “My sergeant told me I wouldn’t last five minutes when he found my handbag.”

He discussed his commitment to his vocation, as he has been an officer for 22 years, and how he has personally and professionally had to overcome stereotypes.

“The reason I became a police officer was because people told me I couldn’t.  People told me I wouldn’t cut it and the more they said it the more it pushed me to do it,” said Warwick-Saunders.

He recalled a time in 1992 when he was automatically assigned to speak to a man who was a victim of sexual assault, presumably because of his own sexual orientation.  Since then he has tried to make his work field a place for positive action in the support and advancement of LGBT police officers. 

“At the end of the day I don’t see myself as a black, gay cop.  I see myself as a cop,” he said.  He uses his role to give back to the Kingston community in keeping discrimination at a low.

According to police, Kingston has had only 12 homophobic crimes implying that they are either low or have gone unreported.  Inspector Warwick-Saunders explained that police are trying to defeat discrimination in the community by increasing third party resources* for victims.

Jay Frances also discussed the ways in which the Kingston community offers support in the form of free sexual health services.  Frances works for the Wolverton Health Clinic located at Kingston Hospital

“The service is free and offered to gay, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual people.  You can walk in during specific clinic hours and get tested or treated,” said Frances.  She stressed the importance of testing and revealed that 13 people in Kingston have already died this year from HIV. 

“HIV is on the increase.  So are other sexually transmitted infections.  There has been a 65 per cent increase in chlamydia infections in the past ten years and 2 in 10 16 to 24-year-olds have the STI,” she said.

The event commenced with refreshments, a Q&A session with guest speakers, and a performance by the Wellman Clarinet Quartet.  Guests casually mingled and visited nearby information booths that provided information for LGBT support

Kingston Racial Equality Council Chairman John Azah was also in attendance showing his support for the event.

For more information please contact Kingston Police station, Wolverton Centre, or visit the homepage for One LGBT event.  To find out more about the Gay Police Association please visit

*Third party resources act as sources where victims do not have to directly file a police report but rather confide in an outside support system that will in turn notify authorities. 

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