Trinidad is a “partial exception” to the region’s deadly and fanatical homophobia, Guyana’s Stabroek News suggests, in an editorial yesterday that addresses news reports about a Thai HIV vaccine trial and reflects on the Micah Funk material on the relationship of homophobia to HIV which has been very visible in the international media this past week. “It is time that we faced…reality” – that Caribbean homophobia “can no longer be seen simply as a cultural quirk, it is an anachronism which is costing lives,” the editorial reads. In the region
with, perhaps, the partial exception of Trinidad, old fashioned ideas about human sexuality need to change quickly…
Well, if you live here, you might not quite agree. And while gspottt has typically tried to show the half-full nature of the glass here (highlighting the forward thinking nature of our Appeals Court, some clergy, brave citizens, the national media, our NGOs and some aspects of our culture), there are few examples of 20/20 thinking about human sexuality on the part of our elected government that account for the Stabroek view. (Sources tell us that the journalists’ views were formed in part by seeing images of our current Queen of Queens pageant displayed online.)
But what the Stabroek editorial, and last week’s Guardian reader poll, do point to is that there is hope for real change here. And that is a tribute to the work each of you has done to make Trinidad and Tobago a place where we can dream of – and work towards – a future where stigma and exclusion based on how people express their sexuality consensually, or their gender, are things in our history.
So stand up, take credit; take a bow. And commit to working harder, and more collaboratively, to press our government to catch up to where you are!
Rainbowed faces smile and dance while mortal brothers and sisters dance and prance weekend after weekend. Not realising the deeper meaning behind PRIDE. Being caught in the heat of the moment, forget condomise…some flooded with lies of the reality of HIV and AIDS….Brother…Sister…do you prefer to see your face on the wall? or do you want to celebrate another memorial on this Earth…It’s your call.
A tapestry of emotion plastered on plain walls. If these walls could talk they could cry from pain and love. While we sit and listen to unending calls to protect ourselves memorial after memorial. After 15 years of Pride, what have we achieved? Only but 15 years of crying walls? or 15 years of love?
Standing in the light of remembrance. And in each flame burns a memory of all who went before us. Faces reflect in the light of the eyes of bowed heads and in the memory of all of us as a family as we interlink souls, forming one community.
Names read out minute after minute.A constant flow which you wish could cease, but can’t . Name after name after name. I know her, I know him….Sheldon, Jason, Tracy, Kim. I remember when we limed…they eyes shone dim. And my friend…oh dear friend..I did not assist. Did I disappoint? Because maybe I was not there to help you when you needed, but maybe I was there before and prayed that you heeded my warnings of HIV….but maybe you did not listen to me. Now I stand and annually hear you name, but I will never hang my head in shame, but instead hold my head so proud and know that the message of HIV is reaching and educating a much larger crowd.
A face of our fallen. Rest in peace, till the day we meet again. Your legacy lives on in our hearts and your story plays on the life’s stage everyday.
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GROUPS LABEL GAYS’ EXCLUSION FROM NATIONAL GENDER POLICY “1919” THINKING: LAUNCH NEW COALITION WITH 20/20 VISION OF CITIZENSHIP & SEXUAL ORIENTATION
Gender Minister Marlene McDonald’s comments about government policy and sexual orientation last week, and their timing days before the local GLBT community begins its fifteenth annual celebration of Gay Pride, have motivated gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens of Trinidad & Tobago and their organizations to come together to form a new advocacy coalition. The Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) aims to educate public decisionmakers about modern understandings of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to help the public embrace the full humanity of Trinidad & Tobago citizens of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. At last Thursday’s press briefing following the acceptance of the new National Gender Policy and Action Plan by Cabinet, Min. McDonald told the media: “We are not dealing with any issues related to…same-sex unions, homosexuality or sexual orientation.”
“The Minister’s statement was, sadly, sadly 1919,” said David DK Soomarie. “Saying you ‘are not dealing’ with your own citizens is the kind of power-drunk thinking that we expect from unaccountable governments in places like Iran and Zimbabwe, not here in Trinidad & Tobago. Our vision is to build Trinidad & Tobago into a developed nation in its treatment of sexual orientation and gender identity. GLBT people are fully human, fully citizens. We’re taxpayers. And our country will never achieve developed nation status when our Government leaders can stand up boldly and declare that they intend to leave out and treat as second-class whole groups of citizens.” Soomarie is a leader of 4Change, one of the coalition’s member groups that is named after section 4 (Recognition and Declaration of Rights and Freedoms) of the Trinidad & Tobago Constitution. 4Change formed in 2007 inspired by the successful lawsuit by maxi driver Kennty Mitchell after his humiliation by police officers for being gay.
Gender Minister Marlene Mc Donald: a "1919" vision of sexual orientation—backwards, out of touch with reality, elitist
CAISO’s plans include: a website, monthly meetings, fundraising at home and abroad, educational activities with public and religious officials, and collaboration with local and international research, advocacy and human rights groups. The group also pledged to support efforts to provide affirming opportunities for GLBT people to practise their faiths.