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Govt's gender policy 'not caring about gays'

By Sue-Ann Wayow sue-ann.wayow@trinidadexpress.com

IF the Government cared about gays and lesbians in this country, they would have included the controversial issue of discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation in the Draft Gender Policy.

This is according to Kennty Mitchell, who is a member of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO).

"They do not care about the gay society, how we live, how we survive. I am feeling bad and hurt about that.

"A country is only developed when it cares about its minority, you know. When you show that you care about the minority, and lesbians and what not, you are showing that you are developed. This country is not developed. They are still Third-World status, and they are treating us like Third World," Mitchell said.

"I want us to have equal rights and equality and that we are recognised. I mean, we exist."

On Wednesday, Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Marlene Coudray said the issue of discrimination against persons based on their sexual preference was not included in the Draft Gender Policy.

The minister said the main focus was on discrimination against others in the workplace. Coudray said discussions were still taking place concerning the policy.

Colin Robinson, president of CAISO, said his organisation was involved in public consultation concerning the issue.

Commenting on the inclusion of the issue in the policy, Robinson said: "It would be something any self-respecting modern state would want to address, whether it is done through the gender policy or any other means.

"People are spending time trying to prevent other people from benefiting from a gender policy...a gender policy should be a gender policy for everyone."

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has promised she would not support the discrimination of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgendered persons.

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