“There are so many out there who are victims as well”…PM seeks to broaden the view of discrimination, prejudice and equality to include sexual orientation

During the general election campaign, CAISO wrote the leaders of six major parties suggesting six concrete steps they could take “within six months of forming a new Government which would have a welcome and meaningful impact on the lives of all citizens, including GLBT Trinidadians and Tobagonians”. Foremost among these, we said, was “Leadership” – “to speak out forcefully early in the life of the new Government to embrace the full citizenship and humanity of Trinbagonians who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender…Send a clear message to the GLBT community that they enjoy the full protection of the Government and that they deserve and have equal access to Government services and support, according to their needs.”

And on day six after being elected, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar did! Addressing the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha at their May 30th Indian Arrival Day celebration, she said:

Photo © Newsday. Click to hear a clip of the speech, courtesy Talk City Radio 91.1FM

There is so much talk of discrimination in the East Indian community over the years and while so much is valid I would like to again broaden the view.

Discrimination and unfairness does exist in our society but it affects so many rather just one community. It includes, but is certainly not limited to, racial bias.

Discrimination and prejudice is amorphous and has different sources and motivations: it may be based on gender, class, poverty, political affiliation, contact technology or who-yuh-know, locality, sexual orientation, victims of HIV and yes, race.

So when we look at discrimination, please remember there are so many out there who are victims as well.

It’s difficult to convince those that have been seated at the dining table for such a long time that they must make room for us, that there must be an equal numbers of places for all to share, that no one is to be excluded because they are of a different colour or because they because of their religious beliefs, or because they have different lifestyles and preferences, nor because they happen to be a woman.

Here every creed and race was meant to have an equal place.

Who’s going to give up their chair to make way for others in the name of equality?

Why will they change the status quo to which you have been accustomed?

Many resist change in the name of equality, preferring instead to preserve the status quo.

But we simply will not allow that, invitations are hereby extended to all and sundry to sit at the table.

Call Kamla’s office and let her know how you feel about what she said: 622-1625.

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".

7 thoughts on ““There are so many out there who are victims as well”…PM seeks to broaden the view of discrimination, prejudice and equality to include sexual orientation

  1. Remarkable!!! I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful journey for her and the people of Trinidad

  2. Wonderful news!! The *political* climate is very ripe to advance LGBT rights in T&T!! Seize these opportunities, CAISO! 🙂

  3. Talk is cheap! It’s behaviour that weighs more. Our nation still has a long way to go. I hope GLBT people are eventually fully recognised under the law!

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