Violence against – denigration of – a person by virtue of their perceived or actual sexual orientation and gender identity/expression is sadly perpetrated by discriminatory laws, religious and cultural beliefs. Sadly, there are always those willing to by any means necessary to put such beliefs into practice.
“We at United and Strong Inc are deeply saddened by the massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, which took the lives of at least 50 people and injured 53 others. This act of terror and hate was not a crime against Americans or LGBT persons, but against humanity”.
So how can we tolerate, for even one more minute; those norms, practices, laws or policies that render our most intimate selves and identities, a basis for ostracizing, a reason for exclusion, an excuse for violence.
We must begin to realize that the impact of such acts of terror and violence are felt beyond the country of origin. We as Caribbean people often see the United States, Canada and other metropolitan countries as our place of refuge. Simply because being able to freely express our identity or reach our full potential at home is suffocating. Hence a number of LGBT persons make this journey towards a better life across the ocean while at the same time unknowingly increase their risk to violence and other discriminatory acts.
What is scarier with this most recent act of terror is the proximity of the State of Florida to the Caribbean region and its preparation to host some of the 2016 HERO Caribbean Premier League (CPL) matches in Central Broward Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
We call on our local and regional governments to express their feelings about such heinous crimes against humanity as they can’t afford to remain silent on such an issue. These are matters of human rights; the rights of our people; and when we fail them in providing the support or listening ear, it is they who are paying for it with their future and their lives.