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St. Lucia: United and Strong Marks International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

in SAINT LUCIA, 06/06/2012

May 17th, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), was on Thursday morning recognized through demonstration by the human rights organization, United and Strong Inc (U&S).

Fuente: http://www.thevoiceslu.com

The first of its kind undertaken by the 10 year old organization, U&S members on Thursday morning, alongside supporters, made known to St. Lucia that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community will not remain unseen, nor unheard.

With education and sensitization at the fore of their movement, U&S congregated outside the Francis Compton Building, home to the Ministry of Education, and proceeded towards the Graham Louisy Building where the office of the Prime Minister is located.

Kenita Placide, Executive Director of U&S indicated that the demonstration had long been on the agenda of the organization. U&S, the only organization catering to the needs of the LGBT community in St. Lucia took a stance, further advocating for the elimination of stigma, discrimination and hatred against marginalized communities. “Yes homophobia exists here and there are gay persons living in this community, living in this society, part of families,” Placide said.

“It’s simply to let people know that we are here, we are working, we will not be stopping and it is only the beginning of even starting the process of eliminating stigma and discrimination. It has to continue, we have to heighten the awareness of human rights because if we can understand what humans right are, we can actually recognize when these rights are being violated. So our stance today is the beginning of many to come,” Kenita explained.

May 17th, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), was on Thursday morning recognized through demonstration by the human rights organization, United and Strong Inc (U&S).

The first of its kind undertaken by the 10 year old organization, U&S members on Thursday morning, alongside supporters, made known to St. Lucia that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community will not remain unseen, nor unheard.

With education and sensitization at the fore of their movement, U&S congregated outside the Francis Compton Building, home to the Ministry of Education, and proceeded towards the Graham Louisy Building where the office of the Prime Minister is located.

Kenita Placide, Executive Director of U&S indicated that the demonstration had long been on the agenda of the organization. U&S, the only organization catering to the needs of the LGBT community in St. Lucia took a stance, further advocating for the elimination of stigma, discrimination and hatred against marginalized communities. “Yes homophobia exists here and there are gay persons living in this community, living in this society, part of families,” Placide said.

“It’s simply to let people know that we are here, we are working, we will not be stopping and it is only the beginning of even starting the process of eliminating stigma and discrimination. It has to continue, we have to heighten the awareness of human rights because if we can understand what humans right are, we can actually recognize when these rights are being violated. So our stance today is the beginning of many to come,” Kenita explained.

In tandem with the historical day, IDAHO, where in 1990 homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO), U&S took to silent protest to urge the government to do its part to eradicate stigma and discrimination.

May 17th is used to create an awareness of the presence of the LGBT community and to voice their concerns which, it is hoped will be addressed through dialogue with policymakers, religious groups, media as well as through public opinion. U&S desires that with education, physical and psychological harm caused by intolerance of the LGBT community will be the eliminated.

“I think that the concept of tolerance to difference is something that St. Lucian’s embrace,” says Maurice Tomlinson, Legal Advisor on marginalized groups to the international non-government organization (NGO), AIDS-Free World. “They just need to understand the issue of homosexuality, where it comes from, what causes it...That’s what this is all about, education, not necessarily acceptance. We know that might take some time, but tolerance is the first step,” Tomlinson remarked.

U&S falls under the umbrella of the Aids Action Foundation.

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