CAISO in the Media

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Record it/clip it and e-mail us if you see or hear sexual orientation or gender identity issues being covered somewhere in the media or addressed by a public figure.


Monday July 18, 2011

Gay Sub-Culture in T&T: The Social Network

by Maria O’Brien

Beyond the parties and the clubbing, there is a wider network meant to provide emotional support and advocacy. …

One such group is the Women’s Caucus, which provides gay women with a forum to chat and express themselves outside of the pulsating thrum of the party scene. It was formed to unify these women throughout Trinidad, and aims to help women of the LGBT community to know that they are not alone in their struggles. The Women’s Caucus also hosts social gatherings, using proceeds to aid the needy within the community.

While most of the groups within this subculture of society are private, restricted and ‘closeted’, there is one group that forges a path away from that ‘closeted’ status – generating public awareness about the needs and issues of the community. This group of brave and motivated individuals is called CAISO, which stands for the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation.

CAISO includes groups from within the LGBT community as well as like-minded individuals who saw the need for change. The group was formed in 2009 in response to the Cabinet announcement on the Gender Policy, which does not cater for or consider gay persons. Apart from having a strong web presence, the group can be seen on television and in the print media, and have also appeared on interviews on radio.

CAISO is actively and openly challenging the Government on issues of gender policy and sexual orientation, having sent a brief entitled “6 in 6”, which highlights six steps they would like to see implemented for the benefit of the LGBT community, to the PNM, and the People’s Partnership. These steps address issues such as equal opportunity, crime, homelessness, gender policy and safety in schools.

Miami Herald

Friday July 8, 2011

Same-sex unions becomes heated issue in Trinidad

by Jewel Fraser & Steve Rothaus
Steve Rothaus’ Gay South Florida blog

An amendment to a minor bill in parliament about spousal payments evoked a storm of controversy that offered a glimpse into discrimination and persecution of gays across the Caribbean.

The debate began when some senators called for same-sex couples to be included in a bill about who could be paid a month’s salary after a civil servant dies. Some in parliament wanted domestic partners to be eligible, a suggestion that quickly became a firestorm.

Despite the heated debate, gay advocates say the issue was not on their agenda.

“Decriminalization of same-sex intimacy is not in our top six things,” said Colin Robinson, spokesman for the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO), a gay rights group. “The most serious issue is discrimination, and related to that is violence, and related to both of those are areas of social vulnerability — the ways in which we are seen as legitimate targets of discrimination and differential treatment.”

LGBT Asylum News

Tuesday July 5, 2011

In Trinidad and Tobago, first pro-gay legislation enacted

The President 22 June assented to the Data Protection Act, a landmark piece of legislation that establishes an ambitious framework “to ensure that protection is afforded to an individual’s right to privacy and the right to maintain sensitive personal information as private and personal.”

Of great significance to gay, lesbian and bisexual communities in Trinidad & Tobago, the new law provides heightened protections for “sensitive personal information”, which is defined to include one’s “sexual orientation or sexual life”.

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Friday June 24, 2011

FPATT head: Criminalise hate not HIV

Trinidad and Tobago is at a crossroads. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people are going public and demanding the same human rights as every other person in this country. Young people are having sex in schools. Everywhere, the sexual landscape is changing. Is this a crisis? Or is this an opportunity? We at the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT) see these events as a tremendous opportunity for this country to make strides in the provision of sexual rights for its citizens…

For example, early this year the question of same-sex marriage was raised in a parliamentary debate. As it turned out, the most vocal GLBT group to respond, the Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO), said same sex marriage was NOT something on which the GLBT community wanted immediate discussion. Instead, CAISO said, the GLBT community wants a guarantee of freedom from the harassment and attacks, bullying in schools, police intimidation and victimisation, and homelessness and underemployment that come as a result of stigma and discrimination.

FPATT sees this moment in our country’s history as the ideal time to correct a serious omission in the Equal Opportunity Act, which currently excludes GLBT status as a basis for its protections.

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Thursday June 23, 2011

FPATT head: T&T’s laws must focus on human rights

T&T’s legislative agenda must help and not hinder the protection of human rights for all citizens. This was a message conveyed by the Family Planning Association of T&T (FPATT) chairman Gerry Brooks on Tuesday. He was speaking at FPATT’s report to the nation titled Building Tolerance and Empathy: Eradicating Stigma and Discrimination.

He said the FPATT held discussions with its partner group Coalition for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) and it was determined gay, lesbian and transgender members of society simply wanted to be free of discrimination and abuse. Brooks said work was needed by the Government and societal stakeholders to work towards educating the public and eradicating stigma and discrimination based on sexual preference..

Trinidad & Tobago Express

Monday June 20, 2011

Homophobia ‘rife in T&T’…but local gays press for equal rights

by Sue-Ann Wayow, South Bureau

SISSY men, battie men, men haters.

Call them what you want, but the gays and lesbians in this country are humans like everyone else and should be treated as such. That’s the view of Colin Robinson, spokesman for the Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO), in response to a survey that showed 69 per cent of Trinidadians were unsupportive of gays and lesbians….

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Thursday June 16, 2011

Local gay group gets international HIV funding

In the wake of the Government’s March closure of the National Aids Coordinating Committee (NACC), the country’s main mechanism for coordination and distribution of resources for responses to HIV since 2004, NGOs worried about how to sustain programmes to fight the epidemic. They were particularly concerned because, unlike in the rest of the region, the epidemic does not show the same promise of relenting in Trinidad and Tobago. However, good news has come for the country’s oldest group serving gay and bisexual men, one of the population’s most vulnerable to infection by HIV.

An international foundation has selected Friends for Life among nine Caribbean groups receiving funding from a special initiative. The programme was set up in 2007 because “the world’s inability to prevent widespread HIV infection among men who have sex with men is one of the greatest public health failures in the fight against Aids.”

i95.5 FM Radio

Thursday May 26, 2011

News at noon

Colin Robinson discusses CAISO’s advocacy following on the IDAHO activities

Trinidad & Tobago Express

Friday May 20, 2011

New politics means respect rights of all

Editorial; p. 12

Some history was made on Tuesday as a core activist group speaking on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago’s gay and transgender citizens held a march in Port of Spain to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Under the banner of the Coalition for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation, (Caiso) participants in that small, quiet demonstration visited Government ministries and delivered messages advancing the cause of constitutional and legal recognition of sexual orientation as a ground of discrimination on par with race, sex, religion and national origin. It’s also historic that the Caiso group reported meeting only “a little hostility” which, optimistically, might signify a progressive public acceptance of the equality rights applicable to all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation.

The People’s Partnership administration, and the Parliament, should fall in line with advancing world trends, turn the page on past obscurantist and homophobic attitudes and prejudices, and have the laws appropriately reflect progressive approaches of the present and future. That would indeed be new politics.

Trinidad & Tobago Newsday

Friday May 20, 2011

CAISO to PP Govt, fight discrimination; p. 20

by Verdel Bishop

THE COALITION Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) has issued a call for Government to demonstrate political will in the fight against discrimination towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender people (LGBT).

CAISO, in observance of International Day against Homophobia (IDAHO) staged a peaceful march earlier in the week, joining other countries around the world in a bid to erase the negative impact homophobia and transphobia have on society. Wearing jerseys that draw attention to their issue, a small group of CAISO supporters had set out to visit 16 government ministries, bearing packages which contain steps Government can take to strengthen the promise of equality for all citizens and address the violence, discrimination and social vulnerability caused by homophobia.

Member of CAISO, Colin Robinson said the six steps focusses on leadership equal opportunity, policing homelessness, school safety and building government capacity. Robinson explained: “We are creating visibility; we are having dialogue with people and trying to build awareness in a peaceful manner. IDAHO is a day when people around the world stand up and talk about the impacts of homophobia and how we could end it.

“We have to begin to change attitudes and policies and laws that treat people differently and not punish people because of their sexual oriental or because of how they express their gender,” Robinson said.

“Our march is peaceful. It is not about protesting; we are not angry people. We have come together as people who love and believe in this country and want to make it better,” Robinson said.


Wednesday May 18, 2011

Colin Robinson discusses Trinidad & Tobago’s first observance of the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia.

One on One with Vernon Ramesar [click to view]


Wednesday May 18, 2011

Colin Robinson & CHAA’s Dylis McDonald discuss the impacts of homophobia and T&T’s first observance of IDAHO

C-News First Up with Jessie May Ventour & Paul Richards

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Wednesday May 18, 2011

Hostility fails to dampen gays’ spirits on awareness march; p. A9

“A little hostility.” That’s what gay and transgender citizens met yesterday when they went about presenting packages to several ministries to raise awareness of gay rights. But it wasn’t enough to dampen their spirits. The Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) walked to 15 ministries to mark the country’s first observance of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). The event observed the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness. Despite the “little hostility” they received, CAISO’s Colin Robinson said: “We weren’t deterred and people warmed up anyway. “We didn’t hear any name-calling and we haven’t been treated as anything but citizens and we also noted the (Gender Affairs) minister in the Guardian has commented positively on our effort.” Robinson said there was a lot of work to be done on the situation in T&T regarding gay and transgender people.

“The glass is half full but there’s a lot of opportunity. Because of this particular Government there are openings to begin to create the T&T I would like to be able to live in. There are real opportunities in the current moment”…

Trinidad & Tobago Express

Wednesday May 18, 2011

Gays call for end to homophobia; p. 9

by Gyasi Gonzales

THERE were no rainbow-coloured flags, flamboyant costumes or shouts of “we are here” yesterday.

Instead, there was a quiet message delivered to six government ministries advocating policy change toward the gay and lesbian communities in Trinidad and Tobago.

Yesterday, more than 50 countries around the world celebrated, IDAHO (the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia).

It is the date which marks the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Colin Robinson, president of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO), told reporters at the International Waterfront Centre that he had handed over to ministers’ representatives “six politically feasible steps that our government can take to end and to address homophobia in Trinidad and Tobago”…


Tuesday May 17, 2011

Gays Renew Call for End to Discrimination

News at 10 [17:37 to 19:46]


Tuesday May 17, 2011

Hostility fails to dampen gays’ spirit on awareness march

7pm news broadcast


Tuesday May 17, 2011

Gov’t called to honour equality among all

CNews 7pm broadcast [38:35-40:38 – click to link]

A group of homosexual and transgender activists is calling on the Government to honour its commitment to equality for all.

The group, Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation or CAISO, is also asking the Government for legislation to outlaw acts of discrimination.

In an effort to raise awareness and eliminate bias and discrimination against homosexuals on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and the 21st anniversary of the de-classification of homosexuality as a mental illness, CAISO members visited 16 Ministries today to deliver their proposal and a token of good faith to the Ministers…

TalkCity 91.1FM Radio

Tuesday May 17, 2011, 5:20 pm

Colin Robinson discusses the significance of Trinidad & Tobago’s first observance of the International Day Against Homophobia, is told one can’t use the term “bullerman” on the air, and fields questions from the hosts about rights to have sex with animals, human’s inability to assess a goat’s true competence to consent, polygamy, child sex abuse and from a caller about why GLBT people want to jump to the front of the rights line

Power 102FM Radio

Tuesday May 17, 2011

Colin Robinson discusses the significance of Trinidad & Tobago’s first observance of the International Day Against Homophobia with Sir Charles

BoomChampions 94.1FM Radio

Tuesday May 17, 2011

Colin Robinson discusses the significance of Trinidad & Tobago’s first observance of the International Day Against Homophobia

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Tuesday May 17, 2011

Gays take to PoS streets today; p. A10

Gays and transgender people will take to the streets of Port-of-Spain today walking to 16 ministries to mark the country’s first observance of the  International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. The Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) stated that  today’s event would be the first observance of its kind. On May 17, over 50 countries around the world celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), marking the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness by the World Health Organisation (WHO) 21 years ago. The international celebration of a day against homophobia was spearheaded by a Caribbean man, Martiniquan Georges-Louis Tin, CAISO noted. CAISO is a local non-governmental organisation that advocates for dignity, equality and full citizenship for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people. The group has also lobbied for advocating for inclusion of sexual orientation in nation-building policies.

CAISO’s Colin Robinson said gay, lesbian and transgender people would walk through the streets of downtown Port-of-Spain delivering packages to the offices of 15 Government ministers. Robinson said: “The packages contain: a gift that playfully humanises their message; information on IDAHO; and a list of six politically feasible steps the Government can take to strengthen the promise of equality for all citizens and address the violence, discrimination and social vulnerability caused by homophobia.” Starting at 10 am, the group will kick off venues with the Foreign Affairs Ministry…

Power 102FM Radio

Monday May 16, 2011

Brendon O’Brien talks about CAISO’s plans for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and why non-GLBT people fight homophobia

The Morning Ground with Sir Charles & Verna St. Rose-Greaves

InterPress Service

Monday May 16, 2011

Homophobia in the Caribbean varies widely

by Dalia Acosta

HAVANA, May 16, 2011 (IPS) – While homosexuality is punishable by law in nine Caribbean island nations, gay activism is increasingly taking root…

The United Gays and Lesbians Against AIDS Barbados (UGLAAB), the Jamaican Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) and the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) of Trinidad and Tobago all converge there with other activist groups.

Trinidad & Tobago Express
Sunday Mix

Sunday May 8, 2011

Writers give kudos to Bocas Lit Fest; p.

by Zahra Gordon

The discussion moved back and forth on Caribbean identity, the perils of Caribbean authors not living in the region, and the definition of literature. Pires ended this most important discussion jokingly claiming that his final comments would make all others irrelevant, “Before we can have Caribbean literature we need a Caribbean”

Musical Literature

Another rewarding feature of the festival was the ability to focus on the intersection between music and literature. These included a discussion on the treatment of homosexuality in calypso lead by Colin Robinson and the performance of Leos Janacek’s “Kreutzer Sonata” which was inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s novella of the same title.

LGBT Asylum News

Wednesday May 4, 2011

by Paul Canning

News of Caribbean gay asylum seekers in the US (in 2010 from Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, the Bahamas and St Lucia) and Canada has been reported in several islands and it has been said that they ‘must be false claims’.

But Trinidadian activist Cyrus Sylvester, told a local newspaper:

“While some may be of the opinion that this claim is overstated, for many members of the GLBT community here in Trinidad and Tobago, persecution based on sexual orientation is a frightening reality.”

Trinidad & Tobago Express

Monday April 25, 2011

Transgender passenger told to ‘stand in a corner’
Activists upset over treatment
; p. 18

by Joel Julien

Government must develop a policy to include transgender nationals in the registration of sex on identification and travel documents, Colin Robinson, the spokesman for the Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO), has said.

Robinson made the statement in a letter written to National Security Minister Brigadier John Sandy to complain about discrimination meted out to a transgender person from Belize, who entered this country two weeks ago to attend a regional conference.

…”CAISO urges the Ministry to take prompt action to identify the officers involved and to take disciplinary measures to make it clear that gossip, gawking and public mockery of any traveller is completely unacceptable conduct,” the letter stated.

CAISO called on several steps to be taken to address the discrimination of transgender persons.

“In the mid term we also urge the Ministry to articulate a professional protocol for the humane processing of transgender travellers: and in the longer term that Government develop a rational policy for registration of sex on the identity and travel documents of our own transgender citizens”.

Trinidad & Tobago Express

Friday April 15, 2011

Transgender Belizean cries discrimination
Told by Piarco immigration ‘go stand in a corner’
; p. 7

by Joel Julien

A transgender person from Belize, who was on the way to a regional conference being held in this country, has claimed discrimination by immigration officers at the Piarco International Airport

Colin Robinson, the spokesman for the Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) of Trinidad and Tobago, described the incident as an “embarrassment to the country”.

“It’s an embarrassment to the country. Clearly unprofessional no need to shame and embarrass people for who they are,” Robinson said in a telephone interview yesterday.

“My hope is that it will spur the Ministry of National Security to improve sensitivity to other Caricom nationals. Our hope is it is an opportunity for education for sexual and gender diversity and that the immigration officials appropriate training to deal with the issue,” he said.

“The Prime Minister (Kamla Persad-Bissessar) needs to figure out if we want to be a first class nation or an international embarrassment,” Robinson said.

Trinidad & Tobago Newsday

Monday March 28, 2011

Cenac: Separate morality from public duty; p. A14

by Lara Pickford Gordon

she addressed the topic “The Social and Cultural environment: Human Rights and HIV.”

Cenac was among a panel discussion at the UNAIDS sponsored Regional Consultation for Caribbean Universal Access to HIV Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support at the Hyatt Regency last Wednesday.

Colin Robinson, of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation TT, said laws can institutionalise social exclusion and vulnerability. He referred to Government’s plan to expand death benefits to new beneficiaries including common-law partners of deceased workers but it specified that the beneficiary must be “of the opposite sex.”

Robinson said actions must be taken to build the country’s inclusiveness and respect for the humanity of people with HIV and those becoming infected. “Social vulnerability is at the core of why people get HIV.”

BBC Caribbean

Monday March 21, 2011

Caribbean Report

Tony Fraser interviews CAISO’s Sharon Mottley & Colin Robinson on the same sex marriage debate in Trinidad & Tobago for BBC Caribbean’s final week on the air

Trinidad &  Tobago Guardian

Saturday March 5, 2011

Local gays cry discrimination

by Sascha Wilson; p. A3

Photo caption: Tim shows his wounded hand. He claims he was badly beaten by relatives after they found out he was gay. Photo: courtesy Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation.

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Thursday March 3, 2011

Trini gets US asylum after gay persecution claim

by Wesley Gibbings; p. A3

At least one T&T national was granted asylum in the United States last year, based on the claim that he faced continued persecution in this country as a result of his sexual orientation.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) spokesman, Cyrus Sylvester, told the Guardian: “While some may be of the opinion that this claim is overstated, for many members of the GLBT community here in Trinidad and Tobago, persecution based on sexual orientation is a frightening reality. “While all claims for asylum will not be of the same merit, I strongly believe that some of these cases can amount to legitimate claims for asylum in other, more tolerant societies,” he said, adding he was aware of other successful applications in Canada and Europe.

“It (persecution) happens and some persons are so traumatised by these attacks that they sometimes contemplate or even commit suicide, some become withdrawn from (GLBT) social activities and continue a life in seclusion, some become introverted and some even attempt desperately to flee from these shores vowing never to return,” Sylvester said.

… Colin Robinson, who serves on the steering committee of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (Caiso), expressed some discomfort with media attention on the issue. “Irresponsible media scrutiny on a mechanism that can be a matter of life and death can trigger political conservatism and responses that can be quite harmful,” he said.

Bay Windows

Monday February 28, 2011

Trinidad and Tobago debates same-sex unions

by Rex Wockner

The Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago is in the midst of a debate about recognition of same-sex unions.

The matter arose when some senators objected to the fact that same-sex couples are excluded from proposed amendments to a law that pays a month’s salary to the next of kin of a civil servant who passes away.

The amendments reportedly will add unmarried opposite-sex partners and children born out of wedlock.

The local group Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation said it was surprised by the political debate and had not considered proposing recognition of same-sex unions at this juncture, given that local LGBT people have more basic concerns.

The organization suggested that the government decriminalize gay sex, address anti-gay discrimination, deal with hate crimes and homelessness, train homophobic police officers, and make schools safer for LGBT people.

Gayelle: the Channel

Thursdsay February 24, 2011


Allyson Hennessey, Isoke Edwards Najeeullah, Sharda Ramlakhan & Penelope Spencer share their views and awareness about homosexuality and recent legislation [click to view]

Power 102FM Radio

Tuesday February 22, 2011

Ashily Dior, Colin Robinson & Luke Sinnette discuss discrimination and violence against GLBT people and CAISO’s response to Government calls to debate same-sex unions

Power Breakfast Show with Dr. Morgan Job, Richard Ragoobarsingh, Wendell Stevens and David Muhammad


Monday February 21, 2011

Morning Edition (afternoon edition)
with Fazeer Mohammed & Felipe Noguera

CAISO calls for equal rights (Sharon Mottley & Colin Robinson [click to view]

Trinidad & Tobago Express

Sunday February 20, 2011

Gay debate comes out of the closet; p. 23

by Kim Boodram

Spokesperson for the Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO), a group representing the local gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community, Colin Robinson, said last week a debate on same-sex marriages is not immediately needed.

Robinson said the group has provided government with six national priorities but the recommendations have been ignored.

The group is eager to see the decriminalisation of homosexuality, action to prevent discrimination and violence, attention to homelessness, safer schools for young gay people and the proper training of the police to deal with matters related to violence and discrimination against the GLBT community.

Guyana Times

Friday February 18, 2011

TT gays bash govt on same sex marriage; p. 14


Friday February 18, 2011

Colin Robinson discusses Trinidad & Tobago’s abstention in late 2010 on two United Nations votes on including sexual orientation in a resolution on the right to life.

One on One with Vernon Ramesar [click to view]

Caribbean Catholic

Thursday February 17, 2011

No Mary King – NO!

A recent article in the trinidad Express newspaper made me aware that there is a Gay group in Trinidad trying to promote gay rights. It is called “Caiso” not to be mistaken for the slang version of the musical artform of Calypso called “Kaiso”.

A man called Colin Robinson has asked for several things to support gays in Trinidad. They are

to prevent discrimination and violence,
for attention to homelessness,
to make schools safe for young people,
to train police.
We’ve repeatedly asked them to listen and consult,
and offered our help with building a nation for everyone

Now the minister for gender affairs, Dr Mary King, has decided that Trinidad and Tobago should have an open discussion and consultation on GAY MARRAIGE.

I see nothing unreasonable in what Robinson is asking for.

Robinson even made issue with the religious leaders, who make a big deal about the Gay lifestyle but have little to say about the vulgarity of Carnival.

Mr Robinson, you are not listening. You’re accusing people of not listening, but neither are you.

Gayelle: the Channel

Thursday February 17, 2011

“Today’s hot topic: legislation surrounding discrimination against GLBT’s. CAISO’s Colin Robinson will be joining me to discuss.”

Gayelle dot com with Conrad Parris [click to view]

i95.5FM Radio

CAISO response to Government proposal for same-sex marriage debate

News at noon and 4:00 pm

Power 102FM Radio

Thursday February 17, 2011

Gays bash Government over its position on same sex marriage

by Felecia Valenzuela

Government is on the firing line as it is bashed by local gays for its position on same sex marriages. Colin Robinson of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) on Wednesday turned down Gender Affairs Minister Mary King’s call for debate on the issue

Trinidad & Tobago Newsday

Thursday February 17, 2011

Gay group wants action not talk; p. A18

Gay rights campaigner Colin Robinson, yesterday reacted to Tuesday’s Senate clash over same-sex marriage by calling for action to help gays in their daily lives, rather than holding a referendum as urged by at least one Senator.

Robinson, who heads the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO), issued a media statement, entitled, “We don’t need debate on gay marriage. We need action on violence”. He said the group has constantly called for action to stop discrimination and violence against gay people. This community, he said, needs help with homelessness, with making schools safe from the bullying of gay pupils and with the training of police officers to be more sensitive. Saying the calls for a referendum were a distraction, Robinson said the debate is not about same sex marriage…

“What yesterday displayed was that many good people in Trinidad and Tobago of different political persuasions are more than ready to end the ways in which our laws and public policy discriminate unnecessarily against gay and lesbian people,” he enthused. Saying there is a national consensus to protect citizens from discrimination regardless of sexuality,he said, “That is the political horse our Government should be riding, not flogging gay marriage”

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Thursday February 17, 2011

Gays bash Govt on same-sex marriage

by Gail Alexander; p. A11

A leading local gay advocacy group has criticised Government’s position on same-sex marriage which emerged in Tuesday’s Senate debate. The Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) yesterday also turned down Government’s call for debate on the issue and criticised comments by Government Senator Subhas Panday on the situation in the Senate. During Tuesday’s Senate debate, Gender Affairs Minister Mary King said debate on same-sex marriage must begin and be taken throughout T&T.

… CAISO’s Colin Robinson said: “If the Leader of Government Business, a Hindu, was screaming a non-existent verse from Leviticus during another senator’s contribution yesterday, I don’t see why we should trust that Mrs King’s proposal won’t simply take T&T down the same path of national conflict and international embarrassment as Uganda.

“Holding a popular ‘referendum’ on whether a minority group has equal rights makes us a public laughingstock. “When the UNC created the Equal Opportunity Commission they included in its functions reviewing emerging questions of discrimination, conducting research and making recommendations.” Saying CAISO was seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on the situation, Robinson added: “What was displayed in the Senate was that many good people in T&T of different political persuasions are more than ready to end the ways in which our laws and public policy discriminate unnecessarily against gay and lesbian people. “It also displayed that those who do so are in the highest office, and that they are unafraid to speak out publicly.

“But we also saw the sad display of how politicians who defend intolerance on religious grounds often can’t even cite the scriptures they are hiding their prejudice behind.” Robinson said a debate on the issue was not among recommendations CAISO has made to Government (see box).

Trinidad & Tobago Express

Thursday February 17, 2011

Gays ask Govt for equal rights
Trini gays call for equal rights

by Aabida Allaham; p. 3

GAYS, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (GLBT) people in Trinidad and Tobago are calling on the Government to decriminalise homosexuality.

The community, which is reportedly made up of thousands of people, says they are tired of being treated like second-class citizens, Colin Robinson, spokesman for the Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO), says.

In a telephone interview with the Express yesterday, Robinson said while they appreciate the call by Gender Affairs Minister Mary King for a national debate on same-sex marriages, it is not what they need.

“The Government isn’t listening, and has its priorities wrong. We’ve consistently given the Government six national priorities – this was never one,” he said

Also contacted yesterday on the matter, Leela Ramdeen, of the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ), said they support CAISO’s call for freedom against discrimination and violence, but noted they do not support people acting on their homosexuality and any law that will allow that.

Wednesday February 9, 2011

CAISO|GSPOTTT – T&T Govt. not sure if it is opposed to killing gay people.

The good folks at CAISO|GSPOTTT have been trying to get an answer from the Government of Trinidad & Tobago as to why the country abstained in two separate UN 3rd Committee votes. As you may recall the matter revolved around a bloc of African and Muslim countries trying to remove a clause that protected persons from extrajudicial killing ( murder) as a result of their sexual orientation. After the protection was initially removed the United States stepped in and managed to turn the vote around.

What CAISO|GSPOTTT has discovered is that the government seems to be rather confused ( read: doesn’t know its ass from its elbow) on the matter:

Trinidad & Tobago Newsday

Tuesday February 8, 2011

Bills to trigger heated debate (p. 5A)
Gay rights group upset (p. 18A)

by Andre Bagoo

The Senate is today expected to deal with two controversial pieces of legislation which are likely to provoke a heated debate and face stiff opposition from Independent and PNM Senators…

The Statutory Authorities (Amendment) Bill proposes to give benefits to the spouses of deceased public servants…. It was yesterday criticised by the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) because it fails to extend such benefits to gay partners. The legislation proposes to give the State the power to pay one month’s salary to a deceased public officer’s spouse…or….

…co-habitant…defined as “a person of the opposite sex who, while not married to the officer, continuously cohabited in a bona fide domestic relationship with the officer for a period of not less than five years immediately preceding the death of the officer.” These definitions would exclude gay partners from receiving compensation.

CAISO steering committee member Colin Robinson yesterday described the legislation as a “lost opportunity.”

“This small bill represents another lost opportunity…to say no to a deliberately and unnecessarily heterosexual definition of domestic and cohabitational relationships in national policy,” he said.

He also-said-this was also a missed opportunity “to extend to all citizens regardless of gender the benefits and protections from which some continue to be left out in critical legislation like the Cohabitational Relationships and Domestic Violence Acts, of 1998 and 1999 respectively.”

“We continue to look for evidence that the parties of the (People’s) Partnership are committed to their promise to leave a legacy of advancing the shared national goal of eliminating discrimination and inequality of all forms,” he said.

Washington Post.Newsweek Interactive
Georgetown/On Faith blog

Monday December 6, 2010

In Trinidad and Tobago, youth and faith join hands to fight homophobia

Trinidad and Tobago hardly seems a likely battleground for America’s culture wars. But recent months have seen a drama there involving visits by American pastors with an anti-gay agenda, a response by locally based rights groups, and engagement of international organizations, especially UNAIDS, which coordinates international responses to HIV/AIDS. At a United Nations training session in Turin, Italy, last month, the Trinidad and Tobago story was presented as a case study of challenges and tentative success. …

The story begins with announcements of a planned visit by American pastors sent by His Way Out Ministries (HWO)…

Meanwhile, a local group, CAISO (The Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation), had opened a dialogue with faith groups about inclusion and acceptance of diversity. CAISO and the community working to combat HIV/AIDS were especially concerned by HWO’s plans to target young people with an anti-gay agenda. CAISO feared that its positive messages and outreach, which were garnering a positive response, could be spoiled, and anti-gay sentiment could be fueled. CAISO was aware of the devastating impact U.S. evangelical groups had in Uganda, where a legislator proposed an anti-gay bill imposing the death penalty for some forms of gay sex.

…CAISO alerted public health, HIV, and youth welfare officials to their concerns about the likely damage the visit could do to sexuality education and the effort to combat stigma and discrimination. They challenged leaders to stand up. …

…when the HWO pastors arrived (in October), young people associated with CAISO themselves financed youth participation at two HWO activities. They almost outnumbered the supporters at one event. In radio and television interviews, CAISO spread the message that these young people were engaged in public advocacy, demonstrating commitment to a cause bigger than individual self-interest. It contrasted action by young people to protect each other’s rights from violation, to those of adults who were declaring war on vulnerable young people. In short, the threat of the HWO visit helped to motivate a new level of advocacy–from NGOs, the youth who took leadership on the issue of sexuality, and U.N. agencies.


Wednesday December 1, 2010

Colin Robinson says the T&T government will have to find new money for HIV and hasn’t been spending on the right things

News at noon and 4:00 pm

Socialist Worker

Tuesday November 23, 2010

Readers’ Views:
Stirrings of a new LGBT movement: study abroad students in Trinidad and Tobago report on two LGBT rights protests and the potential beginnings of a new movement

by Anthony Morris and Judea Beatrice

When we got to Trinidad and Tobago, we immediately noticed the ubiquitous culture of homophobia. …

… However, Trinidad and Tobago is known to be one of the safest and most accepting countries for LGBT people in the Caribbean.

In 2009, the government of Trinidad and Tobago put forth a gender policy that excludes protections for sexual orientation… The Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) formed in response… CAISO has since developed a strong Web presence through its blog and Facebook page. The group has been featured in the media and has created safe spaces for LGBT people to practice their faith and discuss issues.

CAISO–which is made up of LGBT individuals and groups, and straight allies–is involved in various political and cultural projects, including recent meetings with the minister of Gender Affairs, collaboration with the Family Planning Association and work with the United Nations Development Program. CAISO is also highlighting the role LGBT people have played in Trinidad and Tobago culture through writing, music, film and oral history.

Power 102FM

Thursday November 12, 2010

Colin Robinson discusses homosexuality, law and culture in Trinidad & Tobago

The Power Drive with Sprangalang, Sherma Wilson, Khadijah Ameen & Melissa Stanisclaus

Gay Travellers Blog

Monday November 9, 2010

Trinidad & Tobago:- 12 men held for “loitering” in Port of Spain

Tim’s blog

Gay rights groups are struggling to arrange (and to fund) legal representation for 12 men arrested for what the police describe as “loitering” in Victoria Square, Port of Spain. According to Newsday (which named them all) the men were held on November 4 at about 9 pm, at Victoria Square “after officers in plainclothes on patrol along Park Street observed them standing behind a tree at the park, and when questioned, none was able to properly account for themselves”. Another report described some as “drag queens”, and added that there were also arrests for possession of marijuana.

Two have already pleaded guilty, but the rest of them have been bailed for court hearings later this month. Local activist and support group CAISO is appalled that none of them had a lawyer at the first hearing, and social workers for two of them were not allowed to address the court.

Power 102FM

Thursday October 28, 2010

Asha, Michael, Brandon O’Brien & Colin Robinson talk about youth responses to the visit of His Way Out Ministries’ pastor Phillip Lee

Let’s Talk with Larry Lumsden

Gayelle: the Channel

Thursday October 28, 2010

Luke Sinnette on the visit of US His Way Out Ministries’ pastor Phillip Lee


Wednesday October 27, 2010

Brendon O’Brien on youth-organized “t-shirt protest” of His Way Out Ministries’ pastor Phillip Lee

One on One with Vernon Ramesar [click to view]

Gayelle: the Channel

Monday October 25, 2010

Brandon O’Brien and Colin Robinson discuss local organizing in response to the His Way Out Ministries visit

Lead story, WE News

HBTV Channel 9, Guyana

Monday August 30, 2010

Ashily from CAISO, Kenita from United & Strong in St. Lucia, Daryl from DomCHAP in Dominica, Nigel from GrenCHAP in Grenada and Stefano from Global Rights discuss the just-concluded, first Caribbean regional workshop on the Inter-American human rights system held in Georgetown.

Murder inna Dancehall
History & News

July 30, 2009: Presenation [sic] in Trinidad: lyrics that deal with homosexuality in calypso music

NOTE: This presentation is very interesting. The running time is 1 hours and 52 minutes. At time of writing, there was an audio problem…but it is still worth listening in a whole…I also suggest that you listen to the chat with the audience at the end of the presentation

Gayelle: the Channel

Wednesday May 19, 2010

Lead Story:
“Too pretty to be gay? A lesbian voter from Diego who tried to talk LGBT issues with Keith Rowley and Rocky Garcia” [click to view]

WE News

Gayelle: the Channel

Monday May 17, 2010

Gay rights. Abortion. Sex in general. How should political parties and people come to policy and legislative positions? Colin Robinson shares some surprises about the PNM’s positions on gay rights.

Gayelle the Channel

Wednesday May 5, 2010

Sharon Mottley, Colin Robinson & Friends for Life’s Luke Sinnette share a panel on homosexuality with Red Initiatives’ O’Leo Lokai, Orisha Baba Erin Folami & Thusian SDA Bro. Nyron Medina

On Guard, with Marcia Henville [click to view]

Trinidad & Tobago Express
“Another Story” (Online Exclusive)

Friday April 30, 2010

Policy of exclusion
…a gay man speaks out

by Aretha Welch

Sharon Mottley, founding member of CAISO (Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation), says the negative attitude about the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender (GLB and T) community in T&T is reflected not only in the law but also in how persons are treated.

“While bad things happen to everyone and we do have a crime problem in Trinidad and Tobago, the reality is heterosexuals can report their cases and it be professionally probed. Can a gay man, or any man report being raped by another man and the case be properly investigated?”

Mottley says the absence of GLB and T issues from political platforms reflects the fact that it is a very controversial topic. But the CAISO founding member is of the opinion that heterosexual people who “hate” gays and lesbians are in the minority. She believes most persons are on the fence.

Mottley says any party that chooses to speak about gay rights on a political platform would not be making the popular choice. Just mentioning the issue, she adds, would take both courage and forward thinking.

UNAIDS the Caribbean Region
Focus on:
Caribbean News

Gay Christians in T&T Claim Their Right to Faith

GLBT World News on Twitter

April 17, 2010
11:53 am


April 16, 2010

~9:25 pm

Live crowd shots during Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s address at the United National Congress rally, Emerald Plaza, St. Augustine

Trinidad & Tobago Government News

April 15, 2010

UWI IGDS hosts Book Launch and Public Lecture by author and activist Thomas Glave

Author and activist, Thomas Glave, Professor of Creative Writing, English, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the State University of New York, Binghamton, will read from the anthology, Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles, Duke University Press, 2008….

Also to read at the launch are featured speakers Colin Robinson, Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation in Trinidad & Tobago (CAISO); and Lawrence Scott, Writer, Senior Research Fellow of The Academy at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) for Arts, Letters, Culture and Public Affairs 2006-2009 – both of whom are contributors to the anthology.

Gayelle: the Channel

Tuesday April 13, 2010

Kareem Griffith skypes about CAISO’s activity at the PNM election rally in St. Augustine

Gayelle: the Channel

Wednesday April 7, 2010

Colin Robinson talks with Cedriann Martin about the increasing GLBT visibility and advocacy in the Caribbean region [click to view]

Trinidad & Tobago Newsday

Tuesday March 16, 2010

CAISO wants: Inclusion for Gays (Section A, p. 20)

The Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) has renewed its call for the Government to make the Draft Gender Policy inclusive of the concerns of gay and transgender persons.

The group is appealing to the Government not to let the Policy become a platform for religious intolerance that “confers on some people more diminished citizenship than others.”

“TT’s leaders have stood up in international forums and pledged to protect us from violence and human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Colin Robinson, a spokesman for CAISO, who referred to 2009 Organization of American States General Assembly Resolutions.

CAISO is critical of Government’s attempt to “sidestep” the issue of sexual orientation in the Policy and sees this as “bowing to evangelical advocacy,” Robinson said.

CAISO said Government must seek to build capacity…within the Division of Gender Affairs of the Ministry of Community Development so the country will be prepared to deal with sexual orientation and gender identity issues…

It also recommended that a SOGI desk be established in the Gender Affairs Division and be responsible for policy development, programme initiatives and training.


Friday March 12, 2010

Colin Robinson

One on One with Vernon Ramesar [click to view]


Thursday March 4, 2010

Sharon Mottley & Colin Robinson

Early Morning Show (with Paolo Kernahan) [click to view]

Queen Mother: All the latest gossip, news-worthy stories and juicy details of Trinidad & Tobago’s and the Caribbean’s Gay and Drag Circuit and more. Bow to your Queen!!!

Wednesday March 3, 2010

Our Community’s Greatest Fight – Equality & Acknowledgement !!

Queen Mother takes some time to focus on a group that fights for the weak and shows up for the overlooked and neglected in our society, The group was created around June 2009 by community and group leaders were disappointed and disheartened by the Culture Minister’s and Government’s decision to exclude they gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in the National Gender Policy and Action Plan. Their hope is to foster a forward thinking and humane approach to the sexual orientation and gender identity of all citizens in Trinidad & Tobago and the inclusion of  what should be their basic rights as fellow citizens.

Queen Mother commends their efforts and knows that C.A.I.S.O. ‘s progress and reach knows no bounds.  We can expect a lot from them in the future and Queen Mother throws all of our support behind them and you should too!!

Trinidad & Tobago Express

Sunday February 28, 2010

T&T activists say of Guyana crossdressing lawsuit: Just first step to bring changes

Organisers at CAISO (Trinidad and Tobago’s Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation), who since their founding seven months ago, have collaborated closely with other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) advocates across the region, applauded the Guyanese move. The way I dress is a fundamental part of who I am, my way of life,’ said Beverly Alvarez, who participated along with one of the Guyanese litigants in the first Caribbean regional transgender human rights and health conference in September of last year.

This case that Peaches and others in Guyana have filed goes to the heart of freedom of expression, our freedom to express our gender identity.

Trinidad and Tobago may not be next in line for GLBT law reform, but we’re definitely in the queue,’ said University of the West Indies (UWI) law graduate Kareem Griffith, another member of CAISO, reflecting on the case. Griffith played a key role in an international meeting held during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting last year where representatives of 12 countries planned strategy for sexual orientation and gender identity legal reform efforts.

Radio WMJX 100.5 FM

Wednesday February 24, 2010

Local advocacy group congratulates Guyana on using the courts as a means of seeking redress on issues relating to gender and sexual orientation.

7:00 am news  with Anson Humphrey

HOT 102.1 FM Radio, Jamaica

TODAY with Beverley Anderson Manley

Thursday February 11, 2010

Understanding Homophobia: Embracing Diversity
featuring Dr. Kristen Anderson, Dr. Aggrey Irons, Dr. Peter Weller, Dr. Leachim Semaj, author Staceyann Chin, and CAISO’s Colin Robinson


Weekend News

Sunday November 29, 2009

Gay/Lesbian Rights [click to view]

by Fabian Pierre & Leeron Brumell

In more local news, the highly controversial topic of rights for members of the lesbian, gay and bisexual community is beginning to see positive change, according to one group. Citing India’s recent repeal of anti-gay lasws, the group says Trinidad and Tobago is the most forward-thinking of the Caribbean nations.

“The constitutional morality is equality.” The pronouncement came from lawyer Tracy Robinson, of the University of the West Indies…Ms Robinson was addressing a group of attendees at “A Conversation on the Commonwealth and LGBTI Advocacy: Sharing Experiences and Discussing Strategies”….

Trinidad & Tobago Newsday

Thursday November 26, 2009

Row over Uganda gay bill (p. 5)

by Andre Bagoo

Local gay/lesbian/bi-sexual and trans-gender advocacy group CAISO yesterday urged Prime Minister Patrick Manning and Museveni to condemn the legislation.

“CAISO stands with human rights advocates of all stripes across the Commonwealth and the world in issuing a call to have leaders use Trinidad and Tobago’s shores to speak out forcefully against legislation introduced by a member of the Ugandan Parliament that would deprive all gays and lesbians and people with HIV of the core benefits of citizenship,” the group noted in a press release yesterday.

Sunday November 1, 2009

It’s our time now

by Erline Andrews

The idea of gay rights seems to be slowly percolating the Trinidad and Tobago zeitgeist and CAISO is pushing the effort.

“This is an exciting time to be gay and lesbian in Trinidad and Tobago,” says CAISO-nian Sharon Mottley, who sat down to talk with TNT Times along with three other members of the organisation: Roach, Colin Robinson and David Soomarie.

It’s about the affirmation. It’s about community rituals. The same reason people go to mosques or to church. It can be really powerful, especially when you organise to do things that you can’t do by yourself – that’s the power of community: the power of people coming together to accomplish things – even if they don’t like each other, to recognise that there are things we can accomplish by working together that we can’t alone and that when we actually get those successes and we celebrate it’s sweet. I’ve had some of those experiences already in CAISO. That’s what makes the work worthwhile.


Tuesday October 27, 2009

Colin Robinson & Luke Sinnette

CNews: CInsight

comments on sexual orientation and the National Gender Policy

Sydney Star Observer

October 20, 2009

Anti-Gay Stigma in Trinidad & Tobago

by Lyndon Barnett

“…His visit to the island can open the country to be tempted towards pursuing his lifestyle,” Philip Isaac, Archdeacon of Trinidad and Tobago, said. Colin from gay advocacy group Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) said many people failed to take the Tobago preachers seriously and thought they were embarrassing the country internationally.

“A process [is] in train right now with the Ministry of the Attorney-General, the National AIDS Coordinating Committee and several other Ministries focused on reviewing the existing laws with regards to stigma and discrimination and making recommendations that will be for the drafting of new legislation,” Social Development Minister Amery Browne said.

Colin from CAISO said he was advised by the Government that they have no intention of reviewing laws relating to homosexuality.

“The Government intends to review the law and human rights relating to HIV only. This is not a review of laws relating to homosexuality,” Colin said.

“This position the Government has staked out is exactly the problem of how institutional stigma against gay men fuels HIV and why there needs to be clearer and more honest thinking about the impact of sexual orientation-related stigma in people’s lives.”

Trinidad & Tobago Express

Wednesday October 14, 2009

Gay Christians no longer waiting for acceptance by church (Section 2, pp. 20, 22)


The simple, history-making event was the fruit of conversations and planning over several months among LGBT churchgoers, a few forward-thinking faith leaders and journalists about how Christianity drives gay people out of their right to faith and inflicts spiritual violence from which some never heal. The conversations began when Nadine Lewis-Agard, a mother of two who works at a regional faith-based organization, approached 12-year-old gay NGO Friends for Life after reading the venom in Christian responses to a newspaper article on the International Day Against Homophobia.

The article had raised the idea that government might decriminalize consensual relations between adults of the same sex.

Friends for Life decided to use July, Trinidad & Tobago’s LGBT Pride month, to create conversations in their weekly discussion group about sexuality, faith and self-acceptance.

The last of these was attended by Anglican Canon Dr. Knolly Clarke and Roman Catholic Fr. Clyde Harvey. The clergymen challenged the 60 lay men and women, most currently or formerly active in their churches, to do their own work of creating communities to worship in safety.

Sharon Mottley, an active member of All Saints Church was one of those responding, and she and Agard soon roped in additional clergy. The efforts took on new life and gained broader support when Government statements about exclusion of sexual orientation from the national Gender Policy triggered a cohesion of groups across the national LGBT community to form an umbrella Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO).

Trinidad & Tobago Newsday

Sunday October 4, 2009

GLBT community holds mass (p. B9)

MEMBERS of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) community held an ecumenical service recently at the Holy Saviour Church in Curepe to claim their right to faith.

The Coalition for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) organised the Peace and Inclusion Service to celebrate peace, human rights and inclusion after Anglican Canon Knolly Clarke and Roman Catholic Father Clyde Harvey attended a Friends for Life discussion group during which the clergymen challenged members of the GLBT community to create links within community churches so that people of different sexual orientations can worship in safety. A candlelight mass sent the message that “Gay Christians were no longer waiting for acceptance by the Church,” according to Colin Robinson, head of CAISO.

Archdeacon Steve West and one of the diocese’s youngest women priests Shelly-Ann Tenia led the congregation in prayer and included a gospel reading from Matthew (5:44) which states: “Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors”. Tenia’s sermon admonished the GLBT community to recognise their gifts and refuse to deny themselves of their true identity.

According to press release, CAISO member Collin Robinson stated: “At thecore of Christian ‘theologies.of inc1usion’ of GLBT people is the belief that Christ’s ‘New Covenant’ overrides the laws and regulations of the Old Testament (against, for example, mixing clothing, eating shellfish and many sexual practices, most of them now abandoned), and it institutes a new, simpler notion of salvation through loving God and each other, spelled out in the Gospels

Photo caption: Gay, Lesbian, bisexual and Transgender persons held a mass to signify their right to practise their Christian faith despite heads of Church and doctrines that deem their lifestyle as sinful

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Saturday October 3, 2009

Lisa Allen-Agostini’s weekly column:

Trinis to be proud of

A Trini name Anton Nimblett bring out a book name Sections of an Orange (Peepal Tree Press), and one review say this about it: “The stories’ emotions sneak up on you, hidden between lyrical descriptions of everyday life.” I didn’t read it yet, but I looking forward to it. Is a collection of short stories about gay Trinidad, and that is something you doesn’t read about every day. The reviewer I just quote, Rosamond S King, point out that not since Aelred’s Sin it had a book dealing with Trini gay men.

GBM News

October 1, 2009

Trinidad & Tobago Gay Christians no longer waiting for acceptance by Church
Peace and Inclusion service marks watershed in claiming right to faith
by Colin Robinson and Nadine Lewis Agard

(Curepe, Trinidad and Tobago) –

notoriously anti-gay Pentecostal pastor Winston Cuffie…began one of his recent paid newspaper columns, “With all due respect to the gay community.”

And, the T&T LGBT community demonstrated exactly why it had earned that respect: last Friday morning, a 23-year-old man reflected on “my involvement in making LGBT history in Trinidad and Tobago,” went to his church that evening and sang, “I cannot wait for skies of blue, or dream so long that life is through.”

Tuesday 29 September, 2009 (published 26 October)

Revolution in Church

by Cedriann Martin

…Brenda Fraser, 65, is going to church. She’s curious. “When I first heard I wondered how these people want to have a service. I wanted to see what it was all about,” she admits.

The service—a first for Trinidad and Tobago—follows a conversation five dozen members of the gay lesbian bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community had with Reverend Dr Knolly Clarke of the Anglican Church and Father Clyde Harvey of the Catholic Church in July. Under a galvanise shed they heard new takes on the Old Testament, shared stories of rejection and redemption through religion and drummed up resolve to build a culture of inclusion among believers.

This effort is part of a wider movement. In June, news that the Gender Policy won’t address GLBT issues was answered with the formation of The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO). A combination of individual activists and GLBT organisations like Friends For Life has taken on the faith assignment.

“When we decided to have events surrounding the GLBT and faith-based communities we knew we really should have a service,” activist Nadine Agard says. “People want more regular fellowship but there are also other items on the agenda. We want to build the capacity of faith leaders to embrace the philosophy of inclusion, include it in their services and share it with other leaders.”

Archdeacon Steve West is cautious about the assumption that certain religious communities inevitably reject GLBTs: “You should not prejudge them,” he says, “you may be surprised.” What does he make of church-goers’ readiness to accept the community?

“You have to deal with who you are and your relationship with God. If you love yourself people’s acceptance would not be an issue. The point is that you don’t know how the congregation would judge you. Turn up,” he says, “and see.”

From the piano bench, Reverend Tenia acknowledges that something exceptional had just happened: “It’s the first time a step has been taken to bring these communities together. That’s a big deal for all the people involved but for me it was also plain good worship.”

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Wednesday September 30, 2009

Gay Christians no longer wait for acceptance (p. C8)

Several dozen mostly ordinary-looking gay men and lesbians, and a smaller number of their supporters, gathered in inclement weather last Friday in Curepe, with a quiet, yet eager sense that they were making history. Most had come from work. A handful had dressed up for the occasion. “Today, I’m proud to be Trinidadian,” a 23-year-old wrote on his Facebook page earlier in the day, before he travelled in pouring rain and traffic from Chaguanas to a modest Christian church, a stone’s throw from the Eastern Main Road, to sing a solo of Don Besig’s song, Flying Free.

A 6 pm Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gender (LGBT) Community ecumenical service at the Holy Saviour Church that evening, September 18, celebrated peace, human rights and inclusion.

Radio WBAI 99.5 FM, New York City

Monday September 7, 2009

Colin Robinson talks about CAISO with Grenadian-American Jerry Edwin and Jamaican-American Habte Selassie, as they broadcast live from Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway on the passing West Indian Day Parade

(Click here to listen using Adobe Flash Player; go to 3:00 pm. Or here to use your computer’s player. CAISO sections run from 00:51:00 to 00:57:34 and 01:13:03 to 01:23:28. Links expire Nov. 6.)

Trinidad & Tobago’s Newsday

Sunday August 9, 2009

CAISO – seeking equal rights for gays, lesbians (p. B7)
by Melissa Dassrath

For those who know the anguish, shame and self-loathing that goes with caging your identity in the closet, the organisation Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) has emerged with the hopes of educating policymakers and pushing for policy reform. CAISO is of the view that the goal of Vision 2020 is obsolete if the Government continues to turn a blind eye to issues of gender identity and sexual orientation.

CAISO which was formed a month ago, is one of the many incarnations of organisations representing members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community in the country….

CAISO was appalled by the archaic approach to dealing with the issues of sexual orientation and are actively campaigning for acceptance and equality. David DK Soomarie told Sunday Newsday: “The Minister’s statement was sadly, sadly 1919. Saying that 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 and Tobago. Our vision is to build Trinidad and Tobago into a developed nation in its treatment of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Local poet Jaase wondered: “When will the government show its commitment to the citizenship and human rights of the GLBT people, who are the fabric of our nation, if they won’t do so in the National Gender Policy.”


At Alice Yard in Woodbrook recently, CAISO organised a calypso event which celebrated the artform and the imaginative ways artistes have treated homosexuality.

The group wants to meet with Minister McDonald to discuss the concerns of the GLBT community. Robinson said that this is a good opportunity to open up the floor for discussion: “This is an invitation to the Minister to come to the table and sit down and talk about what needs to happen. We were intentionally written out of the Equal Opportunities Act. So if you are not putting us in the Gender Policy, then where are you putting us?”

Express Woman

Saturday August 8, 2009

God & the gays in our ‘rainbow nation’ (p. 4)
by Cedriann Martin

The spark for both this “initiative” and the June formation of The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) was the virulent feedback to the inaptly titled May 18 article “Government moves on gay rights”. Scores of Express readers offered passionate responses for and against…

….The resulting initiative is an amalgamation of organisations that aims to reduce stigma and discrimination in the spiritual community; provide safe spaces for worship; and support religious leaders advocating for the inclusion of minorities.

The Bomb

Wednesday August 5, 2009

Hundreds of gays in TT (front page)

Despite the easygoing image propagated by Trinidad and Tobago society, gays and their advocates are calling for equality as everybody else.

There is even a body of gays in this country calling for legislation to be passed which will enable them to marry.

Don’t be startled….

Gayelle: the Channel

Monday July 27, 2009

Colin Robinson discusses CAISO! Patricia Gone with Millicent?

Cock-A-Doodle-Doo [click to view]

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Friday July 26, 2009

Calypso comes out of the closet: talk to look at artform’s treatment of homosexuality (B14)

Alice Yard, a quaint cozy performing space at 80 Roberts Street, Woodbrook, will be the venue for a most interesting and topical event on July 30, at 7.30 pm. …. The media is abuzz with reasoned debate about homosexuality of late. But a group of Trinbagonians wants to take a different, unconventional approach to that too-often controversial topic. The coalition is asking people who share a love of the national art form to gather together to spend an evening listening to calypso. Planning to create a tent-like setting, the group is inviting the public to listen to the ingenious and playful ways in which two dozen recorded calypsoes have treated with homosexuality over six decades.

The event is scheduled during the month when members of T&T’s gay community have for the past 15 years celebrated pride in their identity. But it is “deliberately about getting people together, regardless to sexual orientation, around something we share a love for,” say its organisers. As for why the organisers are hosting this session, a release this week explained: “Calypso’s imaginative treatment of homosexuality is as fascinating and it is unacknowledged. Homosexuality too often divides Trinbagonians unnecessarily.”


Thursday July 23, 2009

Angela Francis & Colin Robinson

CNC3 Early Morning Show with Dr. Keith Clifford [click to view]


Tuesday July 21, 2009

Angela Francis & Colin Robinson

CNC3 Prime News

Trinidad & Tobago’s Newsday

Monday July 20, 2009

Gender policy flawed, change needed

The position taken by the Govern-ment to exclude persons of alternative sexual orientations from the draft gender policy has prompted gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) citizens to unite to lobby for understanding and change.

The Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CASIO) will be aiming to educate decision-makers about modern understandings of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Saturday July 18, 2009

Lisa Allen-Agostini’s weekly column:

They are people, too

I feel the last frontier in discrimination is for we to accept gay and lesbian people as just people.

I was very proud the other day to see that some heads in the GLBT community in T&T come out and form a organisation name the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (Caiso). Caiso send out a press release couple weeks ago, with a quote from one of the members, David DK Soomarie, saying, “Our vision is to build T&T 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.” They have a hard row to hoe. One thing they have to do is to change the laws on homosexual sex (it illegal, even though it not illegal to be GLBT); another thing is to get the GLBT community recognise as people in the National Gender Policy and Action Plan. As Caiso point out in the release, Government sign a resolution from the Organisation of American States early in June, saying that it go protect GLBT people and activists from violence.

So when ministers of government stand up in public platform and say they not studying GLBT people or issues and their human rights, they going against what they own Government promise to do.


Wednesday July 8, 2009

Sharon Mottley & David DK Soomarie

Morning Edition (click to view)

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

Sunday July 5, 2009

Lennox Grant’s weekly column:

T&T ‘Caiso’ love, outed and outspoken

The love that dare not speak its name has come out, and actually now dares to be outspoken.

I received an e-mail message from a coalition cleverly claiming the cover of a prestige-heavy T&T “art form.” Caiso!

That’s how they name their acronym, which stands for Coalition Advocating Inclusion of Sexual Orientation as a constitutional right. The battlefield of Trini love that dare not speak its name had been delineated in a statement reported from Gender Minister Marlene McDonald, suggesting a refusal of official recognition for “same-sex unions, homosexuality or sexual orientation.”

Those were taken as fighting words by T&T’s own GLBT, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens. They at once formed the Caiso coalition. In T&T, too, love that dare not speak its name has outed itself and its adherents will be speaking out, with others, for constitutional reform.

Gayelle: the Channel

Friday July 3, 2009

Nadine Lewis-Agard & Colin Robinson

Cock-A-Doodle-Doo [click to view]

i95.5 FM Radio

Monday June 29, 2009

A Coalition Of NGO’s Comes Together To Fight Government’s Gender Policy…

June 29th 2009.


A group is formed to challenge government’s position on the proposed gender policy.

Cabinet on Thursday approved the National Policy on Gender and Development maintaining it is opposed to same-sex relationships and will not endorse same-sex marriage, and has rejected a proposal to re-define gender to include homosexuals.

A coalition of Non Governmental Orgainsations has been formed in response to force a change in the Patrick Manning administration’s position.

Spokesperson for the group Colin Robinson says the position of the government denies citizens their rights.

Mr. Robinson says the fight against Hiv/Aids and gender based violence can be advanced through the change in the policy.

Among the organisations forming the coalition are friends for life, the Trinidad and Tobago anti violence project and the group for change.

Source: i955fm News Room

GBM News

October 1, 2009

Trinidad & Tobago Gay Christians no longer waiting for acceptance by Church

Peace and Inclusion service marks watershed in claiming right to faith

By Colin Robinson and Nadine Lewis Agard

(Curepe, Trinidad and Tobago) – Several dozen, mostly ordinary-looking gay men and lesbians, and a smaller number of their supporters, gathered in inclement weather last Friday, Sept 18 in Curepe, with a quiet, yet eager sense that they were making history. Most had come from work. A handful had dressed up for the occasion.

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