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Showing posts from 2016

Divergence and Confluence - Caribbean IRN Update November, December 2016

On Left - image from , Right - image from San Pedro Sun Divergence Recent votes at the United Nations on the role and function of the SOGI expert show the tendency of the Caribbean to keep voting against gay rights at the UN. Global politics might be the reason as countries like Suriname which does not criminalise homosexuality and Guyana where the political parties committed to equality for all in the last elections seemed to succumb to things other than family values and colonial culture . Trinidadian Colin Robinson writes about being   thrown out of a meeting he was invited to by the Office of the Prime Minister.  He and others protested the lack of representation of communities affected by HIV/AIDS on the National AIDS Co-ordinating Committee. Jamaica continued to provide nuances to the story of the homophobic Caribbean. J FLAG celebrated its 18th Anniversary at the US Embassy in Jamaica, while Jamaican refugee Gareth Henry tells his story of helping t

God's children in the Caribbean celebrating Pride - Caribbean IRN Update September, October 2016

(Left - Curaçao  Pride Walk 2016 image from Curaçao Chronicle ; Right -Coming Out Week Suriname by Regilio Derby on  Dagbland Suriname   "We are all God's Children' is the headline given to a letter from Retired Ugandan Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo  appealing for religious people to recognise diversity in human sexuality. He had joined in the celebration of   Montego Bay Pride Curaçao Pride was described as a great succe ss, with a series of events including a huge Pride Walk. Suriname's Coming Out Week was also described as a success. In Dominica, Opposition Senator Isaac Baptiste calls for decriminalization of buggery (while also appearing to oppose the criminalization of marital rape). The Government of Belize decides to appeal the judgement in Orozco vs A.G of Belize   on two grounds while in Guyana , the hearing on the cross dressing appeal has been delayed. Grenadians are reassured that  there will be no same-sex marriage  under the Keith

BELIZE! BELIZE! - Caribbean IRN Update August 2016

Flag of Belize Six years after Caleb Orozco went to court in Belize to challenge s53 of its Criminal Code , the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin handed down a decision.  Section 53 makes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature’, which includes anal sex, a crime punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. The court ruled that s53 is unconstitutional. The Government of Belize and the opposition agree to leave the decision alone. Some of the Christian groups want to appeal. The case had its own Caribbean integration nuance - in addition to the parties from Belize, the Guyana born Judge and the legal advisory team which included lawyers from Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and Guyana and other places. The press conference after th e decision is reported by 7 News and available in the video . The Jamaica Gleaner publishes an editorial on the decision and in another editorial, e ndorses Maurice Tomlinson's case against the Jamaican buggery laws. J-FLAG reports tha


Michelle Cliff (1946-2016) was a remarkable writer who claimed many identities she was taught to despise: Lesbian, Black, Woman, Jamaican. She wrote powerful novels, essays, stories, and poems that make us rethink what it means to love, to hope, and to have community. She also carved space for same-sex loving and diverse sexualities in the Caribbean by representing our desires fiercely and by being deeply rooted in place. She continues to inspire us to write our stories, our sense of self, in fire. “ A theory in the flesh means one where the physical realities of our lives – our skin color, the land or concrete we grew up on, our sexual longings ― all fuse to create a politic born out of necessity. ― Michelle Cliff, “Claiming An Identity They Taught Me To Despise” “ Who can say how many lives have been saved by books?” ― Michelle Cliff, Everything Is Now: New and Collected Stories “ It was Zoe, and Zoe alone, I thought of. She snapped into my mind, and I remem

Love and judgments pending - Caribbean IRN Update July 2016

Image from Jamaica Gleaner "Love, Hope, Community: Sexualities & Social Justice" is the title of the latest issue of  Sargasso: Journal of Caribbean Literature , Language and Culture This volume is  co-edited by Rosamond S. King, Lawrence La Fountain Stokes, Katherine Miranda and Angelique V. Nixon. The volume is available for purchase ($10 for individuals, $25 for institutions) For more information write to: sargassojournal (at) The Table of Contents is shown here (courtesy of Lawrence La Fountain Stokes) JFLAG  host  Pride Ja  'The Pride of People: Celebrating a community of love'  with a week of activities. The Jamaica Gleaner which once refused ads from Larry Chang's Gay Freedom Movement also reports on the Face of Pride  . The mix of Intolerance & Love i s reported by Bryan Washington on his visit home to Jamaica. UWI Mona has issued a conference  Call For Papers :  Beyond Homophobia: Centering LBGT Experiences in the C

Yes, No, Maybe to equality for LGBTI citizens.. Caribbean IRN Update June 2016

Picture from the Royal Gazette  "    Pro same sex marriage supporters and preserve marriage demonstrators both make their options know on the grounds of Cabinet building ( Photograph David Skinner)" Laws.. Bermuda held a referendum on marriage equality , with the majority of people who voted saying no to same-sex marriage. Among the people voting yes though was Sir John Swan , former premier and Bermuda's 2016 National Hero. His support seems to be shared by the President of the Bahamian Court of Appeal, Dame Nita Allen . Bahamas had a referendum on gender equality, with "No" votes being cast by those fearing same-sex marriage among other things. LGBT Activist Erin Greene explains the exclusion o f intersex Bahamians from the proposed amendments. The Caribbean Court of Justice delivers its judgement in the challenge of the homophobic immigration laws  brought by Maurice T omlinson against Belize and Trinidad & Tobago. Maurice Tomlinson refl

Latin American and Cultural Heritage Archives Roundtable Webinar Series Receives Diversity Award from the Society of American Archivists

In March 2015, the Caribbean IRN Collection on the Digital Library of the Caribbean  was discussed in the webinar series .   This contribution has been acknowledged by the team which organised the series. CHICAGO—The Latin American and Cultural Heritage Archives Roundtable webinar series, “ Desmantelando Fronteras /Breaking Down Borders,” is the 2016 recipient of the Diversity Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award will be presented at a ceremony during the Joint Annual Meeting of SAA and the Council of State Archivists in Atlanta,  July 31–August 6 . The award recognizes an individual, group, or institution for outstanding contributions in advancing diversity within the archives profession, SAA, or the archival record. “ Desmantelando Fronteras /Breaking Down Borders” was co-founded by George Apodaca, affiliate assistant librarian and Pauline A. Young resident at the University of Delaware Library; Natalie Baur, most recently the archi

Working against discrimination - Caribbean IRN Update May 2016

From Havana Times blog Cuba celebrated their 9th IDAHOT , keeping the theme of ending discrimination in the work place. Blogger Warhol P writes about the parade on Saturday 14 May , and his concerns about the politics mixed with the event. Bermuda will be holding a referendum on Same Sex Marriage on 23 June. Huffington Post publishes an article " The Struggle for Transgender Rights in the Caribbean" In Barbados, there was outrage against an article in the Nation which called rape 'male medicine'. The Nation apologised. The new Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality calls on the political parties i n the St Lucia elections to talk about issues relating to the LGBT community. They question the inclusion of candidates who have pursued homophobic agendas. Jessica St Rose from St Lucia  shares her story . In the Bahamas, activist Erin Greene, and Alex Marco head of Bahamas Transgender Intersex United condemned the homophobic comments of

Gay poetry showing resistance and acceptance - Caribbean iRN Update April 2016

From left, Director of the D'Marco Foundation Alexus D'Marco, Alicia Seymour, Felicity Smith and Tori Culmer address the media yesterday about concerns related to the transgender and intersex community in The Bahamas. (Photo: Torrell Glinton) from Bahamas Local  From Trinidad & Tobago and Peepal Tree Press "Colin Robinson’s long-awaited debut collection, You Have You Father Hard Head, represents a nuanced but unswerving engagement with desire and intimacy as he explores what it means to be a Caribbean son negotiating the complexities of relationships between men." and in Guyana, Clinton Duncan stands in a skirt and top to perform  and he wins the National Poetry Slam Competition for Guyana's 50 Years of Independence . Same sex relationships and cross dressing for 'improper' purpose are still illegal 50 years after independence, and it looks like it will continue to be so for awhile ) In Jamaica, a study reports in an 'increase in

LGBT Inclusion and exclusion - Caribbean IRN Update February, March 2016

Image from Guyana Chronicle Guyana's Minister of Social Protection , Ms Volda Lawrence called for Inclusion of LGBT  while addressing participants at a cocktail reception. She has subsequently come under fire for not dealing with allegations of child abuse made against a colleague , and for making disparaging remarks about the persons who made the accusations. Magistrate Dylon Bess though, did not heed Minister Lawrences' call and  refused to allow Twinkle access to his courtroom, in defiance of the court judgement on the cross dressing laws. The Guyana Trans United protested the discrimination. The A ppeal on the decision is to be heard. In Bermuda, t he Rainbow Alliance has opposed the announcement by the Government to have a referendum on Marriage Equalit y. They noted that the campaigns for the referendum will intensify the homophobia in the society. In Barbados,  the Minister of Labour t, Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo  was firm that the Bajan Government was not going

Transgender king? and affirming politicians - Caribbean IRN Update January 2016

L-R Hon David Granger, President of Guyana; Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education, Barbados; Hon Ronald Thwaites, Minister of Education, Jamaica The President of Guyana, David Granger  made statements in support of LGBT rights, the Minister of Education in Jamaica , Rev Ronald Thwaites said that there is on place for bullying or discrimination in Jamaica's schools,   Minister of Education in Barbados , Ronald Jones in Parliament said 'Let's accept gays" even as others stay silent or call for preservation of the family. And if the University of the West Indies will be the place where future leaders will come from , then at least let them be from this year 's Council of the Student Guild  where they called on CARICOM Governments to review the buggery laws. In 1998, the Gay Cruises were not welcome in Belize, in 2 016  .."Over 3,000 gay couples and singles arrived on the Royal Caribbean Navigator Of the Seas today and they freely roamed the city str

Marriage, adoption, lovers at war : Caribbean IRN Update December 2015

Participants of the Police LGBTI Sensitization Training in Antigua conducted by Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network  November 24–27, 2015.Image from In probably the first case in the English speaking/Anglo Caribbean , a notice of marriage was filed for  a gay couple in Bermuda . In February 2016 ,   same sex partners of Bermudans will get the same rights to live and work as different sex partners. In Guyana, the Director of the Childcare and Protection Agency Ann Greene has confirmed that "Homosexuals can adopt and foster children"  . In Guyana, the story of same-sex love is told unfortunately through violence in this  report that "Gay lover remanded on attempted murder charge ". There are no reports of any other charges, even though the police seemed to be "aware of the intimate relationship"   Guyana born Edgar Mittelholzer in 1965 did fictionalise same sex love