Take a bow, and press the government even harder


stabroekTrinidad 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!

Author: 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".

One thought

  1. I knew Garth, he was the most compassionate person I have ever met. I am a married woman and I knew Garth well, this was a senseless act from persons who truely does not really know GOD. Garth I miss you and knowning the person you were you will proberly would have forgiven them, but for me it will take a lot of time and prays.

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