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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 6:09 pm 
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Legal prostitution in Mexico City?
July 1, 2007

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Prostitution is rife in Mexico City

Mexico City - A proposal to legalize prostitution in Mexico City risks making women more vulnerable to human traffickers forcing them onto the street as sex slaves, a US academic said this week.

At a conference on human trafficking, Rhode Island University professor of Women's Studies Donna Hughes said a plan by Mexico City's left-wing government to make prostitution legal in the capital could mean more women and children coerced into being sex workers.

Hughes said her research in Europe and elsewhere suggested that legalizing prostitution only aggravates the problem of sexual slavery, rather than relieving it. "This really legitimises the sex trade and allows it to advertise very publicly, to expand the market of services. It creates a demand for more victims," Hughes said.

Networks of human traffickers prey on homeless women and children, as well as illegal immigrants, often offering them promises of jobs in Mexico City or the United States but instead forcing them into prostitution. Prostitution is illegal in Mexico but is widely tolerated everywhere from grimy street corners to swanky brothels. Police can easily be bribed to turn a blind eye to sex workers.

Legalizing it is the latest liberal idea by the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) -- which runs the capital's government and has a majority in the city assembly - since it legalized gay civil unions and abortion earlier this year.

Some PRD lawmakers also oppose the move, however. "Personally, I'm opposed ... to legalizing something that could harm society," Victorio Ruben Montalvo, a PRD deputy in the national Congress and a speaker at the conference, told Reuters, noting it was not yet a done deal. "You have to understand that this is still just an initiative, which hasn't yet been debated," he said.

The two-day conference was hosted by Mexico's Center for the Study and Investigation of Social Development and Assistance in conjunction with the Mexican Senate. Speakers included representatives of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, and public officials from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:23 pm 
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I suppose Mrs Hughes has room for a few more illegal cleaning ladies and nannies in her upper middle class home?

I don't know where she gets her figures from but when prostitution is legal it allows the police and others to monitor the situation rather than spend their time, and our tax dollars, with bringing in girls off the street for a few hours or a night and filing a lot of useless paper work for it.

Instead they can be protecting the girls from sex traffickers by making sure they're legal. It just makes me wonder whether Mrs Hughes ever got away from behind her desk or lounge chair and into the streets to talk to women in the business. She might get a different, and more realistic perspective on the situation then.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:46 pm 
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Adulterers beware - or pay the price
Wed Sept 5, 2007

BOGOTA (Reuters) — Married Colombians engaged in passionate extra-curricular activities may soon have to think twice about their philandering ways if a senator's proposed legislation punishing adultery gets the green light.

Sen. Edgar Espindola said he has proposed a law that would impose fines and enforced community service as punishment for adulterers in an effort to protect family values and shield children from broken homes. "I believe a lot of my companions are going to support this initiative," Espindola said on Tuesday. "This project should motivate Colombians to reflect on the importance of the marriage, the home and the importance of family."

He said aggrieved parties could take complaints and evidence such as photographs to local family judges, who would decide to impose fines of up to 20 minimum monthly salaries -- around $4,000 -- and obligatory welfare service. Spouses forgiven by partners would escape punishment.

Some local radio commentators joked the proposal would get short shrift in Colombia's Congress because lawmakers were likely to want to hide their own indiscretions in the mostly Roman Catholic country.

Source: Reuters.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:57 pm 
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Wow - outlawing adultery! That's going to be difficult. And what a ridiculous idea. it's total interference in people's private lives. Whoever came up with this idiotic idea must have some serious shit going on back home. Major control issues.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 5:48 am 
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Venezuelan leader rails at teen breast implants gift fad

CARACAS (Reuters) — President Hugo Chavez railed against a new trend in beauty-conscious Venezuela, giving girls breast implants for their 15th birthday.

"Now some people think, 'My daughter's turning 15, let's give her breast enlargements.' That's horrible. It's the ultimate degeneration," Chavez said late on Sunday on his weekly TV show that lasted a record eight hours.

Venezuela is well known for its beauty queens, who have regularly won world crowns, and many women have plastic surgery in the oil-rich country where there is widespread spending on consumer items that would be considered luxuries elsewhere.

But Chavez, the anti-U.S., self-styled revolutionary who came to office in 1999, is seeking to change those attitudes to create what he calls the "new man" to build a socialist society in this South American nation.

Chavez complained about the new fad of giving the plastic surgery operation at 15 -- when Latin Americans celebrate a girl's coming-of-age -- during a diatribe against what he says are Western-imposed consumerist icons such as Barbie dolls.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:52 pm 
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Sex disaggregated data and you

Sunday September 30, 2007

A Barbados Government department is taking the lead in seeking to sensitise a number of local agencies, including those prominent in the public and private sectors and NGOs, to the importance of collecting data and statistics on topical issues that hold far-reaching consequences for society.

The Bureau of Gender Affairs, which over the years has been in the vanguard of several social initiatives that impact the sexes, recently hosted a one-day forum that sought to get as many stakeholders as possible on board in recognising the importance of accessing the challenges faced and methodologies used in collecting sex-disaggregated data.

This effort, according to Programme Officer, Oriel Nicholls, came about because the Bureau continued to be faced with difficulties in the collection of sex disaggregated data from its partners and stakeholders; and this information is critical to the reporting process nationally and internationally.

Ms. Nicholls said one might ask why is the collection of sex disaggregated data and statistics important? She explained that since males and females are different and these differences are important for us to understand, it is imperative that agencies have access to the requisite statistics in seeking to create policies and gain knowledge to help future generations in areas such as employment, health, education and domestic violence.

The Programme Officer expressed the hope that, coming out of the seminar, agencies and partners would be better able to contribute to resolving gender issues and formulating policies that would benefit both genders in society.

Source: Barbados Advocate.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:39 pm 
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Survey on sexuality, vulnerability of UWI students on the cards
Monday October 22, 2007

A research project is planned to look at the sexuality and vulnerability of students at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus.

This was revealed by Chairperson of the UWI AIDS Response Programme, Professor Christine Barrow, during her opening remarks at the second lecture in the Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series which was recently held at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination.

According to Professor Barrow, ... Although, students at our University may be among the brightest within the Caribbean, they may have a better sense of direction, they may have a clearer notion of their own futures than many other young people, they are in many ways involved in a risk environment within the campus community.

Our students are not immune to the sexual culture and indeed a number of Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs and Practices surveys have given us alarming evidence of early sexual initiation, multi-partnering, mixed-aged relationships and unsafe sexuality, defined as sex without condom use.

In fact, Professor Barrow said that the campus has already implemented initiatives in order to spread the message of safer sexuality within the student population.

We have infused HIV and AIDS information and knowledge into courses within the University faculty programme and we have done a number of different ways of getting the message across ... We also introduced a special day for voluntary counselling and testing in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Barbados.

We've certainly recognised that "talk down" teaching does not necessarily work that well in a young population and so we are moving into various kinds of ways in getting the message across, through drama, through film, through skits.

She pointed to the fact that young females in Barbados are particularly vulnerable to the epidemic.

The ratio of female HIV infection to male HIV infection within the adolescent population is two to one. In Trinidad, the balance is even more skewed, with a ratio of five girls to every boy in terms of HIV infection.

Addressing the issue of HIV/AIDS on a local and regional front, and looking at the way forward, she noted that tremendous progress has been made in light of interventions, but added that more has to be done.

Figures reflect the success of those interventions; in particular in Barbados, we have achieved a 50 per cent reduction in mortality rate for AIDS-related infections and an 82 per cent reduction in mother to child infection since 1995, with the introduction of AZT and antiretroviral drugs.

We are saving and prolonging lives in response to the epidemic, however, the rates of infections continue to rise and the epidemic continues to take its toll, both on individuals who are infected and affected by family members who are infected with HIV, and as a country on a whole, economically, demographically, socially and otherwise.

The writing is on the wall, and it is more than timely that we have begun the process of rethinking the HIV policy intervention, Professor Barrow asserted. (JH)

Source: Barbados Advocate.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:25 pm 
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Nicaragua to decriminalise gay sex

José Pallais, president of the Nicaraguan Parliament's Commission of Justice and Legal Issues, said the changes marked a modernisation.

16th November 2007
Joe Roberts

Consensual gay sex will no longer be a criminal offence in Nicaragua under a new penal code due to come into effect on March 2008.

The surprise news was announced earlier this week by the Nicaraguan National Assembly, reports La Prensa.

Under old legislation passed in 1992, "anyone who induces, promotes, propagandises or practices sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex commits the crime of sodomy and shall incur one to three years' imprisonment."

This article criminalises not only gay men, lesbians and bisexual people in same-sex relationships, but is vague enough to permit the prosecution of individuals for activities such as campaigning for LGBT rights or anyone providing sexual health information or services.

Nicaragua's new penal code removes all reference to this, reflecting changing social mores in a country which Amnesty International targeted this year for contradicting numerous provisions in international human rights law.

The vast majority of countries throughout the Americas have abolished their sodomy laws.

José Pallais, president of the Nicaraguan Parliament's Commission of Justice and Legal Issues, said the changes marked a modernisation, placing legal rights over the state's moral code.

He added: "We are not creating a code of the Catholic Church here, we are creating a democratic code under modern principles and principles of legality."

Abortion will remain illegal, however, after insufficient legislative support to change the law.

Source: PinkNews.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:16 pm 
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Michael Hayden says fellow police officers harassed him because he is gay. (Oscar Hidalgo for The New York Times)

Anti-gay violence defies laid-back image of Jamaica
By Marc Lacey
Published: February 24, 2008

MANDEVILLE, Jamaica: One night in January, Andre and some friends were finishing dinner when a mob showed up at the front gate. Yelling anti-gay slurs and waving machetes, sticks and knives, 15 to 20 men kicked in the front door of the home he and his friends had rented and set upon them.

"I thought I was dead," Andre, a 20-year-old student, recounted in a faint voice, still scared enough that he was in hiding and did not want his full name to be used.

The mob pummeled him senseless. His right hand, the one he used to shield himself from the blows, is covered with bandages. His skull has deep cut marks and his ear was sliced in half, horizontally. Doctors managed to sew it back together, and he can hear out of it again.

Being gay in Jamaica is not easy. For years, human rights groups have denounced the harassment, beating and even killing of gays here, to little effect. No official statistic has been compiled on the number of attacks. But a recent string of especially violent, high-profile assaults has brought fresh condemnation to an island otherwise known as an easygoing tourist haven.

"One time may be an isolated incident," said Rebecca Schleifer, a researcher for Human Rights Watch who has studied the issue and regularly gets calls from the island from gays under attack. "When they happen on a repeated basis across the country, it is an urgent problem that deserves attention at the highest levels."

Disapproval of gays is an entrenched part of island life, rooted, Jamaicans say, in the country's Christian tradition. The Bible condemns homosexuality, they say. But critics say islanders are selective in the verses they cite, and the rage at gay sex contrasts sharply with Jamaicans' embrace of casual sex among heterosexuals, which is considered part of the Caribbean way. While some other Caribbean tourist destinations have made a point of marketing to gay travelers, Jamaica has not joined the trend.

The double standard on the island is reflected in the anti-gay lyrics of Jamaican dance hall music, the headlines of some hyperventilating tabloids - "homo" is the term most often used - and the fact that homosexuality remains illegal here, with the specific crime called "buggery."

No place has shown that hostility recently more than Mandeville, a prosperous and quiet town in Jamaica's South Coast area. A couple of weeks back, a local tabloid, The Jamaica Star, printed a screaming headline when a local policeman, disturbed by the attack on the dinner party guests, decided to disclose his sexual orientation to the paper. He said that he had been harassed regularly by his colleagues because he is gay and that the police did not take violence against gays seriously.

"Jamaica's motto is 'Out of Many, One People,' and I say, 'What about us?' " said the policeman, Michael Hayden. Hayden, who has since taken leave from the force, is now in hiding out of fear that his colleagues might kill him.

Not even funerals are safe for gays. A year ago, just down the road from the disrupted dinner party, a gay businessman's funeral was interrupted by a mob outside the church. The mob, outraged that effeminate mourners wearing tight pants and shirts had dared to show up, threw bottles and rocks through the windows, then barged inside and ordered that the service be stopped.

The pastor, who had not known the dead man was gay, pressed on, furious at the protesters for what he considered a defiling of his church. "The same religion they use to justify these attacks, I use to show what they do is wrong," said the pastor, the Reverend Amos Campbell, of True Vine True Holiness Church. No one was prosecuted in the episode.

The country's public defender, Earl Witter, later condemned the violence at the funeral, but he also reinforced the common view that if only gays would be less flamboyant, there would be less violence against them. Speaking to the Mandeville Rotary Club last April, he urged Jamaica's gays to avoid flaunting their sexual orientation. As it is, Jamaica's gays socialize at underground nightclubs and worship at secret church services that move around the island. The leading gay rights organization, Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, must lie low even as it pushes for societal change.

The commander of the Mandeville police station, Inspector Claude Smith, while making it clear that his religious beliefs firmly oppose homosexuality, rejected the notion that the police condone violence against gays. Enforcement of the law against homosexuality, he said, should be up to the police, not angry mobs. He predicted that the climate would not soon change for gays. "Based on the response of these mobs, people get very angry when they come across them," he said. "I don't think they can survive in the open."

The issue, though, is certainly out in the open. In November, The Gleaner, the largest daily newspaper here, ran an article saying that some of the island's schools were using a home economics textbook that suggested same-sex unions were a type of family. Andrew Holness, the education minister, swiftly pulled the book from circulation.

Then there was the recent attack in Mandeville, which is still under investigation, with no arrests. Next to Andre, huddled in a corner during the attack, was his boyfriend, 22, who goes by the nickname Junior. Deep machete slashes run up and down the arm he held in the air to protect himself. His head was also battered, though he escaped a more vicious beating by running through the mob waving a kitchen knife.

Since the attack, Andre said, he has been trying to undo his homosexuality, following a common view here that it is an acquired behavior that can be dropped if only one prays more and pays more attention to the opposite sex. He fled Mandeville after the attack and found refuge at the home of a pastor, who now delivers at-home sermons to him on how he must change. With the pastor standing over him, Andre said he would try to be attracted to women, if only so he would never be beaten again. But he mentions another option, as well: leaving Jamaica.

The pastor says he has a gay son and has been unable to turn him around. But he is intent on converting Andre. "Instead of cutting him, people should be counseling him," said the pastor, who declined to be identified out of fear that his family might be attacked for protecting a gay man. "He needs to get over this demonic thing."

Source: International Herald Tribune.

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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 6:29 pm 
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Saturday, 3 May 2008
Sex on Ecuador's political agenda
By Daniel Schweimler
South America correspondent, BBC News

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Ms Soledad Vela wants laws covering life, health and sexual education

A woman from the governing party in Ecuador has proposed that a women's right to enjoy sexual happiness should be enshrined in the country's law. Her suggestion has provoked a lively debate in conservative Ecuador.

Maria Soledad Vela, who is helping to rewrite the constitution, says women have traditionally been seen as mere sexual objects or child bearers. Now, she says, women should have the right to make free, responsible and informed decisions about sex lives.

'Orgasm by law'

Ms Soledad Vela is a member of the governing party on the Constituent Assembly that is rewriting the country's constitution. Its aim, among other things, is to ensure a better distribution of wealth and rights for indigenous communities and the poor. Women, she believes, should not be left off that list.

But her comments have provoked a lively response - mostly, unsurprisingly, from men. Opposition assembly member, Leonardo Viteri, accused her of trying to decree orgasm by law.

Another called the proposal "ridiculous" and said that such an intimate topic should stay intimate and not be enshrined in law.

Ms Soledad Vela responded to the criticism, saying she had never requested the right to an orgasm - merely the right to enjoy sex in a free, fair and more open society.

She explained that sex was a difficult subject to discuss in Ecuador and that what she wanted were clearer laws covering life, health and sexual education.

Source: BBC News.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 2:38 pm 
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Prisoners riot for more sex
21 June 2008

Inmates at a prison in Paraguay have rioted because they want more sex.

The unusual demand was among a long list of gripes which sparked a violent protest yesterday in the Esperanza prison, just outside the capital, Asuncion.

Prisoners seized the director of the prison and several other administration staff as they took over the facility.

They demanded more time to have sex with their wives and girlfriends and an end to mistreatment by prison guards.

Many Paraguayan prisons allow conjugal visits during the day. The rule also applies at Esperanza but clashes with the prisoners' working hours, during which they run small businesses such as clothing factories.

Prisoners said they had complained that work was getting in the way of pleasure, but had not been heard by administrators, so they decided to riot.

Derlis Osorio, the Paraguayan justice minister, said the riot ended after a tense, four-hour stand-off and there were no deaths or injuries.

It was announced last night that the prisoners had won part of their battle. Officials said prisoners would be allowed more conjugal visits during the day, outside working hours.

They promised to improve the way guards treated inmates, to investigate claims of abuse and to end the regime of strip searches of visitors.

But it was not clear whether prison authorities agreed to allow night time conjugal visits - which was at the top of the prisoners' wish-list.

Source: Telegraph UK

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 1:55 pm 
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Jamaican sex workers happy with tax proposal

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Sex Workers Association (SWA) on Thursday welcomed a proposal to decriminalise and tax commercial sex work.

"The truth of it is that the members of the association are outside the formal working environment in Jamaica and have felt the brunt of not being able to access social services like protection from the police, health care and housing benefits," Marsha Grant, president of the association, told the Observer. "We are looking at the upside of that where the association members are saying 'if I pay my taxes and you can say to me I will get these benefits I will pay my money'."

On Wednesday, Dr Kevin Harvey, senior medical officer in the Ministry of Health with responsibility for the National HIV/STI programme, said the government could earn up to $3 billion a year if it taxed prostitution. This money, he suggested, could be used to fund the National HIV/STI programme and strengthen intervention programmes for the sex workers - one of the groups most at risk of contracting HIV and AIDS.

While there is no available data on the number of sex workers in Jamaica, the Ministry of Health says there is now nine per cent more workers in the industry than in previous years.

On Thursday Grant said most sex workers had no intention of staying in the profession forever and would like to have some stability once they retire.

"Having some financial records would help them with institutions to get loans to start other businesses," she said. "For a lot of them, this is just a means to an end for now."

Formed in 2007, Grant said the SWA more than 100 members. And she expects more workers to join the association soon.

"It has been growing. More persons have been finding out about us and they actually like the work that we are doing," Grant said, adding that the sex workers have recently begun organising the industry so that it can be safe and legitimate.

"What we do is provide support for each other, we also have practical services like skills training, literacy programmes, we are able to fund support and we also have interventions that go into clubs and disseminate condoms and talk to the ladies," she added.

Source: The Jamaica Observer

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:57 pm 
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No conjugal visits for gay inmates in Costa Rica: court

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Hundreds of Costa Ricans participate in a demonstration against gay marriage called "For Love of Family" on July 26 in San Jose.

9 August 2008

SAN JOSE (AFP) — Homosexual inmates in Costa Rica do not have the right to conjugal visits, the nation's highest court has ruled in a case that could be revisited if Congress passes a bill legalizing gay marriage, newspapers reported.

The Constitutional Tribunal rejected a former inmate's appeal in a lawsuit against prison authorities who suddenly stopped his weekly conjugal visits to his partner, a current inmate he met when both served time in the same jail.

The high court's brief ruling said the prison authorities' decision "falls within the scope of their rights, duties and powers."

The court, however, is still debating another appeal in a similar case that challenges prison rules restricting conjugal visits to heterosexual couples as violating the basic right to sexual freedom of all inmates, including homosexuals.http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080810/lf ... 0810013844]Yahoo! AFP[/url].

The high court's ruling could also be affected if Congress votes and passes bill currently under debate that would legalize gay marriage.

Meanwhile, the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal is considering a request to hold a referendum on gay marriage so the Costa Rican people can decide on the matter.

Same-sex marriage is legal in six countries -- Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Norway, South Africa and Spain -- and is a top issue in the United States, where Massachusetts in 2004 became the first US state to allow it, followed by California this year.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:57 am 
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Coming out the closet: Life as a lesbian in Trinidad & Tobago
By Rhea-Simone Auguste
Saturday, November 8th 2008

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PHOTOS: CURTIS CHASE

Here every creed and race finds an equal place but what of every sexual orientation?

Let's talk about the "L" word: Lesbianism. Women who find love and stability in same-sex relationships. Accepted by some. Shunned by others. Misunderstood by all except those in the small gay community in Trinidad and Tobago and the larger gay community worldwide, their lives are shrouded in secrecy.

WOMAN decided to delve into the world which for many gay women is still something they are ashamed of and which they would go to all lengths to hide.

NICOLE IS A GAY WOMAN

According to Nicole*, 44, fear of being shunned by family and friends and fear of being targeted at their jobs tops the list of reasons why many lesbians are afraid to "come out" openly in Trinidad and Tobago.

Image
Amy Harrison, left, and Julie Felner recite their vows as they get married at City Hall last Tuesday in San Francisco, California, USA. Proposition 8 the controversial proposition in California passed making it illegal for same sex partners to marry. Photo: AFP

"People think we are a big joke. If I had a dollar for every person who told me 'I just never had the right man', I'd be a millionaire by now. Some people make it sound like I should be on a quest for the magical penis that would make me straight. I've had sex with 4 men, my husband included, and the connection just wasn't there. I can't explain it, it's just that a feeling of intimacy and understanding never came," she explained.

The decision to "come out" of the closet wasn't an easy one for Nicole as she said: "I knew I'd be walking into a prejudiced world after and I was right. There are many misconceptions about lesbians and I've dealt with a few narrow-minded individuals who come around with statements that would make anyone cringe."

Prejudiced statements? Nicole said: "Yes, I've heard we're all pedophiles or we've all been sexually abused and that's what makes us gay. Nonsense! I don't go around looking at little children thinking about them like that and I come from a respectable family where sexual abuse never took place. I've heard that gay people don't know the meaning of the word monogamous and I've been in a steady, monogamous relationship for the last 5 years and I'm out of the closet about my sexuality because I love my girlfriend. If I could, I would make her my wife," she says.

So when and how did Nicole, a divorcee with two daughters ages 7 and 9, come to realise her preference for women? "It was always there," she says. "I was always attracted to other girls. I had my first crush in primary school and in secondary school, I fell in love with a girl but she didn't return my affection. That experience changed me because from that point onward, I started thinking something was wrong with me. I convinced myself that what I was feeling wasn't normal and that I would eventually find the right man and everything would be perfect. But that didn't happen."

Nicole was, in fact, married for 9 years but the relationship soured after her second child was born. "I knew I was living a lie. I met this woman and couldn't stop thinking about her and I felt guilty because I was carrying on a relationship with her - a sexual relationship. The relationship got deeper and I realised I was being unfair to my husband. I came out to him first."

Nicole's husband, like her immediate family members, didn't take kindly to the news. "He was furious. He called me names like dyke and lesbo. He threatened to take the two children. He accused me of interfering with our daughters. It wasn't pleasant."

Her friends were next to find out. "Actually, my friends have been very supportive and they took it well. But my parents - that's still something I'm trying to work on. My parents are old school. Really old-school Catholics. My mother was hurt at first and kept telling me it would affect my job and she was concerned about what the rest of the family would think. She said I was an embarrassment. We've worked through that and now she accepts me and loves me as usual and she's respectful of my girlfriend."

She added: "My father, on the other hand, I told him and we've barely spoken since. He said he'll never accept a 'buller' as his child. Every time we try to talk, he always brings it back to religion. He thinks if he accepts me, it would be condoning something the Lord is not in favour of and he just won't budge. It hurts but I've learned to deal with it. I hope one day it changes and he comes to realize that it doesn't matter what a person's sexual orientation is - what matters is the person. I am still his daughter and I am a lesbian," she shared. "I shouldn't have to be a card-toting member of the 'I love penises' fan club to be accepted by him or anyone. Accept me as I am for who I am."

But do we, as a society, accept homosexuals or do we tolerate them? Many members of the gay community in Trinidad and Tobago would tell you there is, in fact, a difference between those who tolerate homosexuals and those who accept them. As Nicole put it, "I think, on a surface level, lesbians are tolerated more so than gay men. But we're not accepted. We have to be very private about our sexual orientation because there are no laws to protect us from discrimination. People have been fired from their jobs because they were 'outed'. I don't go around telling people I'm a lesbian because of that. But I think it's time we actually came out and got the debate going. We're here. We're queer. We're human. We're real. And we deserve to be treated as equals. Bring on the discussion about our rights!"

In the US, defending homosexuals against homophobia and gay bashing and other forms of discrimination is a major element of American gay rights, something gay rights groups see as part of a broader struggle for human rights. In the struggle for equality, conservative parties usually oppose the notion of approving gay rights with religion as the most cited reason.

"We are a long way from getting people to understand us and I don't expect things to change overnight," Nicole said. "But, with some more people speaking out and more of us working toward equality, we may be able to make a difference and move from being tolerated to being accepted. Religion shouldn't be the reason why I can't be accepted as equal to every other hard-working citizen of this country."

*Nicole is not her real name.

rauguste@trinidadexpress.com

Source: Trinidad Express.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:01 am 
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Gay and lesbian rights in Trinidad and Tobago
By Rhea-Simone Auguste
Saturday, November 8th 2008

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Legal Issues

So what are their rights? At present, none. Homosexuality is actually illegal in Trinidad and Tobago as in much of the English-speaking Caribbean with more emphasis on homosexual men as Section 13 of the Sexual Offences Act 1986 criminalises "buggery" (sexual intercourse per anum by a male person with a male person or by a male person with a female person). This section, strengthened in 2000, states that a person guilty of committing buggery is liable on conviction to imprisonment.

And under Article 8 (18/1) of the Immigration Act, homosexual men and women are not even allowed to enter the country. However, these laws are not enforced.

Nicole believes that like the US, we should be working toward anti-discrimination laws to curb discriminatory employment practices such as bias in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, and compensation, and various types of harassment.

Source: Trinidad Express.

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