IDAHOT Report 2014: Barbados

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The group Barbados G.L.A.D (B.G.L.A.D) posted a series of messages in commemoration of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on social media, including a statement (below), and published here. Some local media also covered the IDAHOT 2014.

May 17 statement from B.G.L.A.D:
“Threats are made by persons, expressing intentions to shoot, burn, or run me over with a vehicle if I were ever seen again (sure enough, if a moving vehicle is near me, some persons do urge the driver to attempt to hit me with the vehicle. Fortunately to date, no such incident has taken place). Some stores in my neighbourhood often have loiterers nearby, awaiting my arrival if I’m on an errand, only to begin a barrage of harassing comments and threats on my life and safety, or demands that I move out of the area (where I have lived for nearly 15 years).”
The above is a direct quote from a twenty year old Barbadian Transgendered woman, depicting a reality faced by a plethora of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Barbadians daily, more so those who outwardly challenge stereotypical gender norms. Today, May 17th being International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), B-GLAD would like to acknowledge that in 2014, the battle to end discrimination against LGBT citizens still remains an uphill battle.
It is constantly perpetuated that because there are not constant instances of beatings and brutalities that homophobia and transphobia do not exist in our society. Many Barbadians uphold the notion that LGBT people are “allowed” to exist without being assaulted and should not expect much more. No citizen in this country should live with the looming fear of having their basic human rights violated. No equal citizen of this state should exist in perpetual fear of losing their means of income, family or housing, justified by the fact that others do not agree with whom they have romantic relationships.
For far too long, members of the LGBT Community have been the victims of unwarranted persecution because of fear and ignorance. The fact that in Barbados homosexuality to is constantly being linked to pedophilia, when over 90% of pedophiles are heterosexuals, is a prime example of severe lack of education and understanding by the greater majority of the population. The time has come where the public needs to be educated about the negative implications of rampant homophobia in a modern society. Repugnant discrimination not only affects those who are being discriminated against but on our already suffering economy.
The unification of not only the LGBT people of Barbados, but also our allies, so that a change can be made when it comes to addressing homophobia and transphobia in Barbados is vital. Public perception, however, cannot be expected to change when our people are governed by discriminatory laws. It is with this in mind that B-GLAD is proud to announce its participation in the movement Generation Change in Trinidad and Tobago on June 7th, 2014. Generation Change, spearheaded by the Silver Lining Foundation in Trinidad and Tobago is an collaborative initiative where representatives of five different Caribbean states (also inclusive of Belize, Jamaica and Guyana) will come together in collaborative efforts calling on regional leaders to commit to their promises for equality and inclusion for LGBT people in their countries.
Despite the hurdles and obstructions faced by the Caribbean LGBT movement, there is progress and there is huge opportunity for change. Instead of becoming despondent, we do need to focus on the education of those whose hatred lies within the constraints of heavy ignorance and those burdened by fear; informing people that in the quest for equality LGBT people are not fighting for an existence of privilege, but for the opportunity to co-exist without persecution of who they are.
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