(Castries, May 13, 2015) Since 2000 United and Strong (U&S) has increasingly advocated for the recognition of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people on Saint Lucia. As part of its advocacy, each year the organisation takes the opportunity during the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) to bring public attention to the various human rights concerns of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community. This year’s theme “Stand with LGBTQI Youth” puts the focus on issues affecting young people, including bullying, education and family.
Activities for IDAHOT include a public panel discussion and screening of a documentary film, in addition to a youth debate and the sale of pink ribbons to mark the day.
The public is invited to the panel discussion, which will be held on Wednesday May 20, 2015 at 6:30pm in the conference room of the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) in Barnard Hill. It features professionals in the areas of education, human rights and law; among them Principal of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College Urban Dolor and lawyer Akim Larcher, of The Larcher Group. Jamaican human rights lawyer and activist Maurice Tomlinson will be the special guest panellist. Tomlinson is currently facilitating a human rights sensitisation workshop in Saint Lucia with his spouse Tom Decker.
The panel examines the respect for diversity, the existence of LGBTQI persons and progress of advocacy on Saint Lucia. This is in the context of criminalisation of same-sex intimacy between consenting adults under sections 132 and 133 of the criminal code and the accompanying stigma encouraged through religious, cultural and social norms.
The documentary “The Abominable Crime” is a story about a mother’s love for her child and an activist’s love for his country – and the stakes are life and death. Spanning five countries, it explores the impacts of homophobia through the eyes of two gay Jamaicans forced to choose between their homeland and their lives. The movie will be screened on May 22, 2015.
This year’s IDAHOT activities aim to raise awareness of the effects of intolerance, stigma and discrimination on individuals and the nation, towards acceptance of LGBTQI Saint Lucians. Activities also reflect the organisation’s 15th anniversary theme “Education, Acceptance, Love”, as U&S continues to work to eliminate stigma and discrimination, reduce inequality, and protect human rights and lives.
United and Strong (U&S) is the strongest and most vocal LGBTI representative organisation in the small island Caribbean. A registered NGO, formed in 2000, it houses the eastern hub of the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders & Sexualities (CariFLAGS) and the ILGA Women’s Secretariat.
For more on LGBTQIA persons, see Organisation of American States (OAS) http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/lgtbi/mandate/concepts.asp
Maria Fontenelle, Communications and Advocacy