Castries (17 May 2012) on Thursday, May 17, 2012 United and Strong Inc (U&S) staged an historic stand, the first of its kind in Saint Lucia, to call on the government to do its part to eradicate stigma and discrimination, which is a daily reality for the marginalised communities in the country. The silent protest on the Castries waterfront was in observance of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). The small group bearing banners and flags walked from the building housing the Ministry of Education, then to the Ministry of Health, ending in front of the Office of the Prime Minister.
U&S, the only human rights organisation serving the needs of the lesbian, gay, transgendered and inter-sex (LGBTI) community in Saint Lucia, notes that while there are visible effects from continuous efforts through workshops, seminars and messages across formal and social media, there is still the overwhelming obliviousness to the needs of, and animosity towards LGBTI people in the country. Every LGBTI person is a human being and a member of a family; somebody’s child, a brother, a sister, a cousin or a friend and must be treated with respect.
As we join our brothers and sisters around the world to celebrate International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia this May 17th, 2012 United and Strong Inc recognises the hard work of all players advocating for the elimination of stigma, discrimination and hatred against all marginalised communities. Organisations such as the AIDS Actions Foundation, Harm Reduction Saint Lucia Office, Caribbean AIDS Alliance Saint Lucia and the National AIDS Programme Secretariat must continue to work together to improve education and support those who stand up against laws that criminalise love and promote hate, and to enlighten the community on the harmful attitudes that contribute to heighten verbal and physical abuses on the LGBTI and other marginalised communities.
Despite the gains and the hard work, there is a need to do to more to achieve the elimination of inequality and discrimination against the LGBT community. We, as Saint Lucians need to raise our voice against the violations that LGBTI persons persistently face, causing them to life their lives in secret and in fear because of the notion that Caribbean is a very religious community.
As the world joins in marking IDAHO 2012, United and Strong pledges to continue its advocacy through education, with the aim of eliminating the unnecessary physical, emotional and psychological harm caused by intolerance, towards a more holistic Caribbean community.
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United and Strong Inc is a Human Rights organization and the only one focused on LGBTI on Saint Lucia. It has been working towards equality for the community since 2001 and was registered in 2005.