GAY RIGHTS IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Gay and lesbian teens are two to three times as more likely to commit teen suicide than other youths and about thirty percent of all completed suicides have been related to sexual identity crisis (Bullying statistics.org). Hilary Clinton states that, "Gay rights are human rights (United Nations Human Rights). Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, sex, ethnicity, color, religion, language or any other status: we are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. The discussion of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered (LGBT) is still a very taboo topic for Trinidad and Tobago (Lewis, 2004). One of the issues surrounding the taboo nature of LGBT lies within the countries predominantly religious affiliations. Why are gays discriminated and how does religion play to bolster this belief? Although our society has long regarded homosexuals as a sin against god’s intentions, homosexual deserves equality and should have rights to marriage, raise children and educate the people on gays. Persons of the LGBT community are chastised because of their sexual preference because it is something that is not accepted by the state. As heterosexuality remains the norm within Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) the legislation that stifles persons of their freedom to publicly love remains unchanged. The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has some of the most regressive human rights legislation in the world, especially when it comes to LGBT rights (Lewis, 2004). The country’s immigration act bans the entry of homosexuals and both male and female same-gender intimacy is illegal. If caught promoting same-sex sexual activities an individual can serve up to twenty five years prison sentence (Ministry of legal Affairs, Trinidad and Tobago). From a brief historical perspective T&T as a former colonized country was forced into Catholicism by the Spanish and with the transnational slave trade and indentureship other religions belief such as; Hinduism, Anglican, Islamic, Oreisha and others saw the country with a rainbow of religious beliefs. All of which condemned the union of same sex marriage (Kaur, 2001). What this highlights is that religious teachings are a fundamental point in early childhood socialization and children were taught within their respective religion about the “ungodly” nature of same sex copulation. These beliefs are supported by many within the society and those who are elected to government hold the key to policies and laws that stigmatized LGBT, thus bolstering the prevalence of stigmatization and a lack of gay rights. As Hilary Clinton aptly expounded above, we all deserve equal rights and as such no country should discriminate against their fellow man for their sexual preference. Firstly, although our society has long regarded homosexuals as a sin against god’s intentions, homosexuals deserve equality and should have rights to marriage. Many condemn the LGBT community for wanting what others freely enjoy, the sanctity of marriage. Marriage is not only religiously affiliated but it is the anchor to which many judicial system laws appoint spouse financial benefits in case of divorce or death. Marriage is seen as a means of security, that once in its warm embrace you are atomically granted legal rights. The LGBT without this embrace of security has no benefits within a society that built a fortified wall against what many argue is the “sacred act, between man and woman” (Dhalia, 2013). Therefore, why condemn our fellow man to what we freely enjoy a sense of security for many. Why is it that a gay couple having spent ten or plus years together and god forbid one partner dies, with no provision of will, is entitled to nothing? Where lies the ethics in that, where is our morality? Gays are human beings, they are anatomically the same as us and they bleed red. Gays...
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Kaur Puar, J. (2001). Global Circuits: Transnational Sexualities and Trinidad. Signs: Journal Of Women In Culture & Society, 26(4), 1041.
Lewis, L. (2004). CHAPTER 9: Caribbean Masculinity at the Fin de Siècle. In, Interrogating Caribbean Masculinities: Theoretical & Empirical Analyses (pp. 244-266). University of the West Indies Press.
Statistics.org. (2013.). Gay Bullying Statistics. - Bullying Statistics. Retrieved May 10, 2014, from http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/gay-bullying-statistics.html
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