Gays to have rights in Govt’s gender policy
The Guardian published:
Homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals in T&T will no longer be discriminated against if the national gender policy is approved by Cabinet. Minister in the Ministry of Gender, Child and Youth Development Ramona Ramdial says there is a proposal in the policy that a person should not be discriminated against because of his or her sexual orientation. Asked if that was promoting gay rights, Ramdial said: “Whether we say it or not, it is already an informal part of our society.
“It is phrased differently (in the policy). It’s more of a human-rights thing, and according to international standards. “The gender policy has been drafted from a human-rights perspective, and is more about equal opportunities.” She noted that the gay groups with whom discussions were held were more interested in equal opportunity in the workplace rather than same-sex marriage.
“They felt they were being discriminated against in the workplace. They were not thinking so far ahead as same-sex marriages.” Colin Robinson, of the group Caiso (Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation), was delighted at the news.
“I am thrilled,” he told the T&T Guardian yesterday evening. “We believe the gay, lesbian and bisexual community in T&T should have the same protection against discrimination that every other citizen enjoys. We are in the 21st century.” Robinson said the group had never advocated for “gay rights,” but about not being discriminated against in the areas of housing, employment and the provision of goods and services.
Former Gender, Child and Youth Development Minister Verna St Rose-Greaves was fired because she had a pro-abortion and pro-gay rights position, Spors Minister Anil Roberts said in a newspaper interview yesterday. But Ramdial said she was not fired only because of that. “There were many different reasons, one being she supported a certain stand the Government did not agree with,” she said.
Ramdial said the Government did not agree with making abortion legal. Asked if abortion rights were not included in the gender policy, therefore, she said: “After consultation with stakeholders, the idea of allowing abortion in rare instances is now being discussed. “For instance, if a very young girl is raped, because of her biological make-up, she will not be able to carry a pregnancy without risk.”
Attorney Lynette Seebaran Suite, head of Aspire, which advocates sexual and reproductive health and rights, said the group would be in favour of decriminalising homosexual acts between consenting adults in private. All right-thinking citizens would feel the same way, too, she said. She said that would mean doing away with old buggery laws.
Seebaran-Suite said Aspire also would be in favour of abortion in the cases of rape and incest to minors. Dr Gabrielle Hosein, of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies, agreed with the Government’s stand on gay rights and abortion.
She said: “If the policy proposes programmes and legislation should be brought in line with the position that one should not be discriminated against, based on his sexual orientation, it is a position we encourage and would like to see formally approved. “Also, if the policy proposes the safe and legal termination of pregnancy on the basis of rape and incest, and to minors, that certainly is a development we welcome.
“That provision does not guide medical practice at present and leads to great confusion in the safe termination of pregnancy.” At Thursday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, Minister of Gender, Child and Youth Development Marlene Coudray said the policy was before Cabinet while consultation also was taking place.
“It’s almost to the end, but we are making sure we consult with anyone who has any input to make even at this stage,” she added. Laws which would have to be amended to bring them in line with the proposed gender policy include the Equal Opportunity Act, which does not outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation; the Immigration Act, which allows the exclusion of homosexuals from T&T; and the Sexual Offences Act.
Other activists warn that we should read the fine print and watch to see if this is not only an appeasing measure with the struggle in that country. The closest thing we probably have at the moment regarding discrimination via sexual orientation is the Staff Orders in the Public Service of Jamaica that clearly states no one should be discriminated against due to their sexual orientation. Reference was made to it here in this old post from HERE
readily in cases of violence between two men if they are in a homosexual relationship;
Act or Common law for offenses such as assault of unlawful wounding.