A gay parade down Frederick St., complete with floats and drag queens


clad in outrageous Pride colours. Walking through the Promenade on a Friday evening, hand in hand with your same-sex lover. Making a lifetime commitment to your same-sex partner.

As 2009’s Pride season draws to a close, David Soomarie reflects:

If you ask any gay person what they want in terms of gay rights, they will easily pick one or all of the above. The ability to publicly and openly demonstrate our same-gender affection is visible manifestation of our freedom of choice and of our right to be.

At the heart of what we’re really saying is that we want the freedom to express ourselves in those ways, if we so chose. However, the issue is more than just these open and public displays of same-gender behaviors; it’s an issue of openness, acceptance and equality. It’s the ability to co-exist with our heterosexual community. It’s living in a country where diversity of sexual expression is not oppressed, but embraced. In other words, can we not equally co-exist with our heterosexual brothers and sisters?

Why are co-existence and equality important? Any society understands that in creating a 20/20 vision you must uphold the dignity and respect of all its citizens, and that includes members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. In creating this 20/20 vision, archaic laws that have allowed for oppression and injustice will have to be repealed, and in so doing pave the way for a new wave of social activism.

What does this mean for the LGBT community? It means that social, medical and protective services will have no grounds to discriminate against us. In fact, it will call for a review of social policies that allow for discrimination and provide a basis for redress. We will no longer have to hide our sexual orientation on insurance applications for fear of not getting it. We can challenge the blood bank, which will not take blood from HIV negative gay men, as we constitute a “high risk” group. It means we have ammunition to sue landlords, employers or any one else who discriminates against us.

It also means that we can be free to create our own social spaces. That we can develop appropriate and relevant social programmes specially designed for our LGBT community, and address its psychosocial needs.

More than that, it means that we can provide hope to an upcoming generation of LGBTs. It means than we can provide a safe and nurturing environment for a young gay man and reduce his risk taking behaviours…behaviours that can endanger his life.  We can provide a home for those ostracised by their families. It means that we have mentors to aid in empowering the young lesbian so she can defend her sexuality in a machismo society. It would mean that we no longer have to hide and suppress our sexuality under the cloak of heterosexualism.

More than just a gay parade.

It’s about having the right to be…no more, no less, just human.


gspottt wants to be a home for community voices & creative expression that trigger passionate advocacy: talk to us about featuring yours


Published by

CAISO Sex and Gender Justice

In late June 2009, on the eve of the fifteenth anuual celebration of Pride in Trinidad & Tobago, the Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs gave our community a big fat slap: We are not dealing with any issues relating to same-sex unions, homosexuality or sexual orientation in the National Gender Policy and Action Plan, she told the media. Two days later, a range of groups and leaders in Trinidad & Tobago had come together to form the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation, to foster a forward-thinking, visionary and humane approach to sexual orientation and gender identity and full citizenship in our proud nation, one consistent with the title of our national development plan, "Vision 20/20".

3 thoughts on “A gay parade down Frederick St., complete with floats and drag queens

  1. Enough of the trite generalities, please have something original and reasoned to say, if you want to talk on behalf of the gay community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s