Monday, September 25, 2017

Gays call for end to homophobia

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seeking equality: Members of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation leave the International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, after handing over a document to representatives of ministers yesterday, advocating policy change towards the gay and lesbian communities. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

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THERE were no rainbow-coloured flags, flamboyant costumes or shouts of "we are here" yesterday.

Instead, there was a quiet message delivered to six government ministries advocating policy change toward the gay and lesbian communities in Trinidad and Tobago.

Yesterday, more than 50 countries around the world celebrated, IDAHO (the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia).

It is the date which marks the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Colin Robinson, president of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO), told reporters at the International Waterfront Centre that he had handed over to ministers' representatives "six politically feasible steps that our government can take to end and to address homophobia in Trinidad and Tobago".

These steps include Government speaking forcefully about embracing the full citizenship and humanity of Trinbagonians who are gay.

The other steps include equal opportunity for members of the community, reduction or eradication of crime against the gay and lesbian community and the police's treatment of members of this group.

The other three proposals include the creating of measures which would steer members of the gay and lesbian community away from sex work, a solid gender policy for the gay and lesbian community and safe schools for all sexual orientations.

Robinson said that yesterday morning they encountered, "some hostility", but were able to "charm" their way through to the ministers' representatives. —Gyasi Gonzales