I feel the last frontier in discrimination is for we to accept gay and lesbian people as just people. Long-time, when you was black you couldn't do certain work and people used to treat Indian people bad. (Some people, like my friends Raymond Ramcharitar and Prof Selwyn Cudjoe, go argue that Indian people and black people still on the fringes, but that is another story.)
Nowadays nobody can't stand up in public and tell their children they don't want them to be with So-and-So because they black or they white or they Indian. That is madness!
Yet them same people could cut their children tail, throw them out in the road and give them all kinda pressure because them children gay or lesbian. Landlord could put out a tenant because he gay. People could say and do anything to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people (GLBT, for short) because the law allow it. I does make joke and say if my daughters come and tell me they gay I go beat it out of them–not because I against homosexuals but because that life so hard. I would never want for my child to walk into a room and conversation stop because she is the one everybody else was bad-talking because she gay. I would never want people to look at she and tell she in she face that because she is a lesbian they can't hire she for a work, whether is Central Bank Governor, tea lady or Chief Whip. I would never want my child to feel the small and large indignities that gay people does go through every day here in this sweet T&T.
I recently bounce up a old friend on the Internet, a girl I know from primary school. She living quite in Ohi-oho, out in one of them far place in American what you doesn't hear about at all, and somehow I feel is because that is the furthest you could get from T&T and we small-minded, homophobic, uncharitable public attitude towards homosexuality. I say public, because is a standing joke in the gay community that them same people who standing against it in public cruising through Woodbrook looking for rough trade when the night come. Here, like everywhere, we have a thriving underground gay world where plenty decent married men does be shaking their waist with other men while their wife home sleeping. I not judging them for being gay, even if they on the "down low," as they does call it. I judging all of we for this ridiculous persistence with holding gay people in contempt when in fact their being homosexual have nothing to do with we.
Why you feel it have man on the down low? One of the reasons is that the shame of being gay could ruin their career, ruin their life. By we attitude we making it easier to perpetuate discrimination in the workplace and discrimination with healthcare, in ways that we would never allow for other kind of people. I was very proud the other day to see that some heads in the GLBT community in T&T come out and form a organisation name the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (Caiso). Caiso send out a press release couple weeks ago, with a quote from one of the members, David DK Soomarie, saying, "Our vision is to build T&T into a developed nation in its treatment of sexual orientation and gender identity. GLBT people are fully human, fully citizens. We're taxpayers.
"And our country will never achieve developed nation status when our Government leaders can stand up boldly and declare that they intend to leave out and treat as second-class whole groups of citizens." They have a hard row to hoe. One thing they have to do is to change the laws on homosexual sex (it illegal, even though it not illegal to be GLBT); another thing is to get the GLBT community recognise as people in the National Gender Policy and Action Plan. As Caiso point out in the release, Government sign a resolution from the Organisation of American States early in June, saying that it go protect GLBT people and activists from violence. The resolution vow "to condemn acts of violence and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity... [and] to urge states to ensure that acts of violence and human rights violations committed against individuals because of sexual orientation and gender identity are investigated and their perpetrators brought to justice."
So when ministers of government stand up in public platform and say they not studying GLBT people or issues and their human rights, they going against what they own Government promise to do. Sexuality is not the only thing that does make we who we is. But if we can't be weself in public, we not only doing damage to we own self but to other people who watching we. It have little boys and girls right now growing up who want to dead because they feel they can't face the world as a GLBT, and is them lives and souls we need to save.