Maurice Tomlinson is a Jamaican lawyer, gay rights activist, and educator. He is a senior policy analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network where he acts as counsel and/or claimant in cases challenging anti-gay laws before the most senior tribunals in the Caribbean; authors reports to regional and UN agencies on the human rights situation for LGBTI people in this region; conducts judicial and police LGBTI- and HIV-sensitization trainings; and facilitates human rights documentation and advocacy capacity-building exercises. Maurice is also external counsel for the international NGO, AIDS-Free World, in cases the organization filed challenging anti-gay laws in the Caribbean. Maurice is also the claimant in two Caribbean cases challenging homophobic laws and practices in the Caribbean: a claim against Jamaican TV stations that refused to air a paid gay tolerance ad in which he appears, and a case challenging the immigration laws of Belize and Trinidad & Tobago that ban the entry of homosexuals.
From 2009 to 2011, Maurice taught a variety of law courses at the University of Technology in Jamaica, including discrimination law. He was outed as a gay man in 2011, soon after filing a lawsuit against Jamaica’s anti-sodomy laws.
After Maurice married his husband that same year, he received a string of death threats and fled his native country for Toronto, Canada. He is featured in The Abominable Crime, a documentary about homophobia and anti-gay violence in Jamaica.
Maurice received the inaugural David Kato Vision and Voice Award, which recognizes individuals who defend human rights and the dignity of LGBTI people around the world.
Maurice is working with Jamaica’s largest LGBT organization, J-FLAG, and others to establish a permanent shelter (Dwayne’s House) for homeless LGBT youth who have been forced to live in sewers.