(September 2, 2014) The role that tourism can play in ensuring equality and respect for LGBT people in the Caribbean came under intense discussion as nine representatives of Caribbean LGBT organisations joined US travel industry leaders in Miami on Friday, September 19. United and Strong was among the organisations contributing to the discussions convened by OutThink Partners at Celebrity Cruise headquarters.
Cruise lines, resort/hotel companies, LGBT tour operators and trade associations shared their organisations efforts at ensuring equality within their workforce and diversity in their markets. Funded by the Kevin J. Mossier Foundation, the meeting included the US Department of State, Human Rights Campaign, Celebrity Cruises, Cruise Planners, Human Rights First, Marriott International, Arcus Foundation, Club Med, Chaplain School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Our Fund Inc., Princess Cruises and Cunard Lines.
Caribbean activists spoke on the current situation of LGBT people in the Caribbean, the challenges and possibilities. Represented were The Caribbean Forum for Liberation & Acceptance of Genders & Sexualities (CARIFLAGS), Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVCC), SASH Bahamas, United Advocacy Movement in Belize (UNIBAM), Caribbean HIV/AIDS Partnership –Dominica (DomCHAP), Centro de Orientacion e Investigacion Integral (COIN), Groundation Grenada, Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays (J-FLAG), United and Strong (U&S).
The day long discussion went on to explore how those present can find common ground to help advance solutions that will be good for the region and good for business.
Organiser of the meeting OutThink Partners notes, “While the rights and protections of LGBT people have improved in many countries in the western hemisphere in recent years, homosexuality remains criminalized in many nations in the Caribbean and violence against LGBT people in both the Caribbean and Central America is commonplace. At the same time, tourism is a major driver in the economies of most Caribbean nations, with the vast majority of visitors originating in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe – all regions with increasingly strong rights and protections for LGBT people. The tourism industry – in collaboration with government and key NGOs – is uniquely positioned to help find a solution and foster positive change.”