With boundless faith in our destiny: CAISO 2010

Happy New Year, family! And what a year it will be.

a "1919" vision of sexual orientation

CAISO holds our first meeting of 2010 today. In it we will look back on the magic of the past year: our unplanned formation, our unexpected success, and our unprecedented achievement. On the pleasures and memories that these brought us and many of you.

Stacy, sole survivor from Haitian support group

We will do so chastened: by the lives we lost to violence and illness over that same period; and by the horrible tragedy of Haïti’s earthquake, including the news we received this week that 14 of 15 men attending a support group at our partner organization SEROvie’s office in Port-au-Prince perished together. The sobering idea that everything can crumble in minutes.

Notwithstanding, we look forward with an incredible excitement to the possibility of a new year.

With the inspiration of Linden Lewis’s talk a week ago, and a hope in alliances. With the new vision our work with the international GLBT partners who joined us for CHOGM inspired in us of how our nation is blessed, and of what is possible here.

A vision of a new year that builds on the last one, that builds a bigger base, that builds more focused leadership, that builds more strategic direction, that builds more ambitious projects, that builds better relationships and more pleasure in our work, and that – whatever each of us believes spiritually – builds our faith in our own divine worth and our access to the power to achieve our vision.

A year in which faith will continue to be critical to our work.

We embark on the new year with a new logo that we’ll unveil to you, our community and allies, along with our plans for 2010, in the coming days.

Click and read on as a number of CAISOnians share their visions for the New Year with you.

The CAISO cake—Ashily
As “the newest member”, sadly I was not a part of CAISO’s great work in 2009, which I know could have been
accomplished only by a lot of determination, hard work, grit and endurance. But these are all ingredients
that I know something about, and I have no doubt that I am going to be an asset to the organisation. Like any
good cake, it takes a lot before we enjoy the end product. In 2010 I’ll not miss this ride. And the sky’s the limit.

CAISO…it’s not about you. me. it’s about all of weDavid
The launch of CAISO in 2009 will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of members
of the local LGBT community. It created new waves of hope as it set its sails proudly and
navigated unchartered waters. As we move forward into 2010, my hope is for sustainability
and progression of the movement and for greater involvement of a community and its stake-
holders. Let us never forget that what we do in this generation will pave the way for the next.

Garth John murdered

We need to become more visual, vocal and visionary
in 2010…
we need to make a difference—Sharon

CAISO was born out of a desire for inclusion…not inclusion for inclusion’s
sake…but inclusion as contributing members to the fabric of Trinidad and
Tobago. For 2010, we have to sustain the momentum begun, harness the
energies of this multi-faceted, diverse group, and present the community
with opportunities to participate at different levels and comfort zones.

We are citizens of a great nation—Kareem
The equality of every citizen is guaranteed by our Constitution. But unless we guard against discrimination and take positive steps to affirm that equality, we cripple our ability to rise as a nation against the threats and challenges that face us, locally and internationally. CAISO rings in 2010 with a tremendous feeling of hope, but also with dismay at the discrimination and injustice that continue to be experienced by numerous persons in our society. I see 2010 as a year in which we struggle to raise awareness and promote not just inclusion and tolerance, but togetherness and national unity. The year to begin conversations about what makes it legal for an employer to deny someone the opportunity to provide for themselves based on who they love; about why laws can criminalize us for being intimate; about how we interact with public institutions; and about our ability to access justice. The part of us that loves others and desires sexual intimacy is a part of the completeness of who we are as humans, as citizens, and we must not be afraid to claim it.

I cannot remember my world without him; such a young
thing had changed so much in such little time

I remember years ago looking at my then one-year-old son and reflecting
this way. My feelings for CAISO are much the same: in less than one
short year, CAISO has opened up discussions and instigated actions that
are changing the course of the GLBT movement in Trinidad and Tobago
. I
expect that in 2010 some of the seeds that we planted in 2009 will come
into fruition, through concrete ground work in securing the rights of sexual
minorities through partnerships with State and development agencies,
and the development of policies and legislation that ensure safety and
liberty. Most of all, I hope the work of CAISO brings comfort to families
struggling to love their own in a world that hates them, and reaches
individuals struggling to see themselves in a world that doesn’t see them.

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