Trinidad protesters urge overthrow of sodomy law

“Citizens should have the right to chose. It’s the cry of citizens who gathered outside the Parliament [in Trinidad on April 9] to demand that the law banning sodomy be removed.”

That was the report of CBC3 in Trinidad about the “stand” demonstration against Trinidad’s anti-sodomy law and against conservative Christians’ homophobic statements in favor of that law. (See video below.)

Protest against Trinidad's anti-sodomy law on April 9. Click the image to watch the video. (Photo courtesy of CBC3)
Protest against Trinidad’s anti-sodomy law on April 9. Click the image to watch the video. (Photo courtesy of CBC3)

Jamaican/Canadian activist Maurice Tomlinson called the demonstration “quite impressive.”

Trinidad’s NewsDay described the protest in advance as a ” response to a month-long campaign of ‘misinformation and fearmongering’ by a group of evangelical churches.”

The Alliance for Justice and Diversity (AJD), which organized the demonstration, stated that its goals were:

“Firstly for participants and allies to show love for each other; secondly to turn national attention and effort away from people’s bedrooms and back to pressing matters such as income inequality, economic sustainability, crime and violence, strengthened governance, inter-island transportation, and national values of tolerance and diversity; thirdly to correct fears based on misinformation about the case, especially the false idea that repealing these unenforced laws would legalise same-sex marriage, force churches to perform them, or require unscientific information about sexuality be taught in schools; and fourthly to draw the attention of parliamentarians (who are guarantors of all citizens’ human rights) to the impact the evangelical campaign has had on hate speech in the nation and the fears of LGBTI+ persons about discrimination and safety as a result of the court case.

“Those gathered seek to amplify the voices calling on the Attorney General to urgently introduce already drafted legislation that would expand legal protections from discrimination, specifically by adding age, HIV status and sexual orientation to the Equal Opportunity Act, as recommended by the Equal Opportunity Commission.”

AJD is a social justice coalition of organisations and allies led by Trinidad and Tobago’s LGBTI+ NGOs: CAISO: Sex and Gender Justice, Friends for Life, I Am One, Silver Lining Foundation, Transgender Coalition of T&T, Women’s Caucus of T&T, and Womantra. In addition to issues related to sexuality and gender identity, the groups work together to prevent gender-based violence, strengthen school safety, improve policing, and champion protection against discrimination for age and health conditions, the group added.

Another demonstration in Trinidad is planned on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. in front of the court, which is when the decision in the decriminalization case is expected to be handed down.

 

 

 

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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