Hopeful signs for LGBT people in the Caribbean

In the Caribbean, homophobia remains a problem, but LGBT people are seeing increased signs of public acceptance, including politicians coming out in support of their LGBT constituents.

Guyana Trans United march for transgender visibility on March 31, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Caribbean IRN Blog)
Guyana Trans United march for transgender visibility on March 31, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Caribbean IRN Blog)

The Caribbean IRN Blog noted these events in its roundup of news from  the first three months of 2019:

In St. Lucia, the National Security Minister said it is time to review the nation’s buggery laws.

In St. Kitts & Nevis, a young person asked ministers about LGBT rights, and the ministers said that there are protections for LGBT citizens.

In Trinidad & Tobago, politician Bhoe Tewarie told religious groups to accept LGBT citizens. Conservative church people objected. The Church Council and Rebuild TT declared that LGBTI people do not deserve human rights.

In Guyana, marchers spoke up for trans people:

“Transgender rights are human rights” the marchers called as they walked past the Brickdam Police Station where many transwomen had been locked up , and passed the courts where transwomen were told to find God or asked to leave the court room. “I thought the Cathedral was a bar” one young transwoman who did not visit Georgetown regularly said as the marchers walked through the area around St George’s Cathedral.

The Attorney General of the Bahamas defended LGBT protections, even as Canada warned LGBTQI tourists about the risks of visiting the Bahamas.

In Jamaica, the head of the Jamaica Tourist Board said, “Gay tourists are welcome.”

In the Cayman Islands, Chief Justice  Smellie ruled in favour of Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush in their petition to be married. The judgement said that decision to reject the petition to marry was discriminatory.

In Cuba though, the churches continued to protest gay marriage.

The Barbados Government has included sex workers and LGBT citizens in a new Social Justice partnership.

Also in Barbados, a businessman plans to open a gay bar.

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, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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