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Motherhood and courage
Candace, a young woman I know, just came out nationally as lesbian. It’s one of the most powerful things that’s happened in the work I do on sexual diversity, more important than anything I’ve accomplished. Her mother Suzette came out to the nation too—as having HIV. When I congratulated Suzette, who now directs a global NGO of people living with HIV, she described her daughter as “the reason I do what I do,” saying:
“When I want to just give up, thoughts of her keep me going.” In a nation where I tell my international colleagues the primary form of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people happens not in the streets (like we see in Jamaica), but in our families, Suzette is a “throat-lumping” profile in motherhood.
Since our historic election of a woman as the nation’s prime minister, we’ve heard a lot of political talk about motherhood and grandmotherhood. I don’t belong to any political party, but I and a group of LGBTI leaders walked the clogged road from Couva junction to Rienzi Complex on election night in 2010.
It wasn’t for the open bar Jack Warner promised, nor only to celebrate the end of the hubris and homophobia of the Manning regime. I genuinely thought ovarian fortitude in the Office of the Prime Minister was going to be good for the nation.