SPEAKING OUT: Members of Pride Trinidad and Tobago demonstrate yesterday outside the Red House, Port of Spain. -Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

By Sherlan Ramsubhag, of the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Pride Trinidad and Tobago (PrideTT) called on the Government yesterday to rewrite the Equal Opportunity Act to include the rights of members of the LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex) community.

Members of the PrideTT community gathered in front of the Parliament, at the Red House in Port of Spain, yesterday to voice their frustration and concerns about what they deem the inequitable treatment they receive as citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

Sharon Mottley, a member of the management committee of PrideTT 2023, told the Express, as a voting population that also pays taxes they expect to meet with any member of Parliament. Referring to who she hoped to meet, Mottley said, “I wouldn’t even say it’s anyone in particular. It’s anybody who shows up whether you belong to the Opposition, whether you belong to the ruling party. We are your constituents and we have a right.”

Tracy Sheppard, another member of the management committee of PrideTT, added, “It (has) been said that they do include us, but we don’t see it in the written legislation. So, if they think they include us they need to go back to written legislation and do include us.”

Angelique Nixon, the director of Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (Caiso), said Sex and Gender Justice also joined PrideTT in their demonstration. She said it was imperative for these changes to be made so that the LGBTQI community would not be discriminated against, in the workplace, in health care, in education and in accessing goods and services. She said, “(Those are) our basic human rights. We’re not asking for more rights that anybody else. We’re asking for the same rights that everyone in Trinidad and Tobago should have access to.”

Nixon reiterated, “Our (her foundation’s) ‘Add All Three’ campaign had been a long-standing call to amend the Equal Opportunity Act, to include protections that are not there. Specifically, age, health conditions and LGBTQI status.”

She stressed, “The reality is that many people feel unsafe right now in our community because of the hate and the fearmongering and the misinformation about us.” Prior to the demonstration yesterday, PrideTT voiced their concerns last month about comments made by the Government when interviewed at the BBC World Questions event. They said the Government seemed unaware that the LGBTQI+ community was not protected by the laws of Trinidad and Tobago and made a plea to the National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and the T&T Police Service to investigate and charge persons who made violent threats against members of the community.

Author: QueerTT