September 25, 2020

Activists say Caribbean LGBTQ need help


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The Canadian Press From MyKawartha

OTTAWA — Activists say Canada should remember that as it promotes rights on the world stage, it should also listen to those fighting on the ground.

This was the message that , from Trinidad and Tobago, and Nigel Mathlin, from Grenada, brought to a meeting with officials at this week as they shared their views on how the Liberal government could support them and other LGBTQ activists in the .

They point out the diverse island nations in the region have different cultures, languages and governments, but also different kinds of state-sponsored discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or homosexual activity, so an approach that works in one country might fail in another.

In Trinidad and Tobago, Jones recently launched a constitutional challenge to an anti-sodomy law, which carries a punishment of up to 25 years in prison for consensual anal intercourse between adults.

In Grenada, Mathlin says his organization is working to improve attitudes towards LGBTQ people from the grassroots up, so voters will become more open to government initiatives to advance human rights there too.

At the same time, they are also reaching out to the Caribbean diaspora in Canada, to say they have a role in promoting the greater acceptance of sexual and gender diversity they see here when they travel back home.

By The Canadian Press

IMAGE: LGBTQ activists Maurice Tomlinson (left to right) Jason Jones and Nigel Mathlin pose for a photo in Ottawa, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

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