United and Strong Inc is advocating free expression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex persons as the world observes the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). The human rights organisation marks the May 17 observance with a video release online entitled, “Speak up, Speak Out, Speak Love”, available on U&S’ YouTube channel at http://youtu.be/vrDil1uFVKw
This is in keeping with the IDAHOT 2014 focus on freedom of expression for LGBTI persons. “We need to stop preaching hate…love is the universal language”, says Amin Flood, in what is the first such public initiative in Saint Lucia. He adds, “The only thing I can do is be myself, and whenever I can be an advocate when called, be there and lead by example.”
Co-Executive Director Kenita Placide says with the video release, “The LGBTI community joins Saint Lucian and Caribbean people to raise our voices as a means of stopping the injustices faced by LGBTI people. In every country there are norms, whether cultural or religious, that affect marginalised communities and we must break the silence. All people should be free to express themselves without fearing violence or intimidation, no matter what their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Emphasising the role of government in affording and protecting individual rights, Placide said authorities must guarantee dignity, equality and justice for ALL. “We call on the government of Saint Lucia to keep true to their word from the Universal Periodic Review held in Geneva at the Human Rights Council. Our government must speak strongly against all forms of violence and collaborate with United and Strong more broadly to educate and sensitise the public to reduce stigma and discrimination. We also remind the government to sign and ratify the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Convention on Economic, Social and cultural rights (ICESCR).”
In 2012, United and Strong staged a historic stand at government offices to mark IDAHOT, which is an opportunity to generate – and to benefit from – public attention around contemporary issues facing LGBTI communities worldwide.
Also ground-breaking for Saint Lucia, the video release urging the LGBTI community and allies to “Speak up, Speak Out, Speak Love” is inspired by the Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights project.
Video link: http://youtu.be/vrDil1uFVKw