Hi, I’m Kenita Placide and I’m the Executive Director of the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality and I am based in St Lucia.
Why is IDAHOBIT such an important days for our communities to recognise?
If we look at the history of IDAHOBIT, and even get into that recognition, it is definitely one of visibility and amplification. It is recognising that not all countries’ citizens can be free to express themselves, and for those of us who can in different parts of the world: how can we do it but do it safely?
And so IDAHOBIT really brings out… and I mean: we will have to recognise that IDAHO has really transformed in ensuring that it's all inclusive and what that means. So I think it is important to still have those activities, to still have those days: if we think about all the international days the UN recognises… it is just like thinking about why it's important for IDAHOBIT to still remain a very visible, you know, and active space, because sometimes we speak out for those who can’t speak for themselves, but sometimes we also give opportunity to those to celebrate in their own way, to still have that kind of recognition within themselves, to celebrate that they are alive, to celebrate that they are not alone in it.
I think that is one of the very important messages, because whenever so often it can become so isolating, it can also bring in that feeling of loneliness, and I think it's part of the reason why, if we think about our community and the high levels of depression and mental health, we understand there is absolute need to continue pushing those barriers.
Maybe one day we won't have to celebrate it anymore, but it also helps us set forward a recognition of work that has been done previously. So, I believe that we stand on the shoulders of those who went before us. And, in each space we are in, we try to create additional spaces not just for us here today, but for seven generations ahead and what they will have to celebrate about.
What does Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights – the theme of IDAHOBIT 2022 – mean to you?
When I thought about the theme - you know, “my body, my right” - I thought, OK: it's actually about affirmation of individuals and seeing individuals where they are, how do they want to be seen. I think a lot of time we as people tend to come to a space with our own bias, we see things in a particular way. Even when we think about it, we are constantly challenging social norms, but sometimes we also have to challenge ourselves within that social norm of what does this represent.
As an individual who have been very masculine presenting, who does not identify as a trans man, who does not identify as a lesbian, who I think like is within the LGBT spectrum but really doesn't like wearing labels, what does that mean for me? I think really and truly: can you see me? can you see my skills? can you see my personality? can you see what I bring to the table without necessarily being put in a box? And that's why I love this theme.