Caribbean

 

 

 

Cuba to hold mass wedding to push for legal recognition of same-sex marriage

LGBT rights activists in Cuba are planning a mass wedding this weekend, with a view to pushing for legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Leading the activists will be Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raul Castro, who happens to be a leading LGBT rights campaigner. Although only symbolic, and not legally recognised, the mass wedding… Read more »

Lead By Mariela Castro, Cuban Gay Activists Plan Mass Symbolic Wedding To Promote LGBT Rights

Havana (Reuters) – Cuban gay rights activists led by the daughter of President Raul Castro plan a mass symbolic wedding on Saturday to promote acceptance of gay and transgender Cubans in a country once notoriously hostile toward them. The ceremony will be part of an annual gay pride parade and will be symbolic because same-sex… Read more »

Evicted gay youths under attack (again) in Jamaica

On Wednesday, April 15 at about 1 p.m., some patrons of the Clocktower Plaza in Kingston decided to “cleanse” the premises of gays. This shopping venue was one of the few spaces in the capital that gays could hang out in relative peace, although they had to travel in groups. On this occasion, their congregation… Read more »

Death threats won’t stop Jamaican LGBT advocate

Why I sued Belize and Trinidad and Tobago for banning gays from entering those countries (Editor’s note: Maurice Tomlinson is one of the best-known LGBT rights advocates from Jamaica. His activism over the years have brought him death threats, so he now lives in Toronto with his Canadian husband. He continues to fight for LGBT… Read more »

Puerto Rico ends its defense of gay marriage ban

San Juan (Reuters) – The Puerto Rican government will no longer defend a law that bans same-sex couples from marrying and does not recognize the validity of such marriages performed in other jurisdictions, the U.S. commonwealth’s attorney general announced on Friday. The announcement coincided with the filing of a government brief before the 1st Circuit… Read more »

Hearings begin over LGBT rights to travel in Caribbean

LGBTI rights activist Maurice Tomlinson provides this report on the first day of hearings at the Caribbean Court of Justice in connection with his case challenging the ban against gays entering Belize and Trinidad & Tobago. The case started with me giving evidence based on my witness statement. As expected, the lawyer for Trinidad and… Read more »

Exclusive: Cuban advocate meets with U.S. lawmakers in Havana

An LGBT activist is among the Cuban human rights advocates with whom House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other members of the U.S. House of Representatives met during their trip to the country last month. Juana Mora Cedeño of Proyecto Manos and other members of Cuba’s civil society who work independently from the government… Read more »

7 battlefields: The fight for LGBTI rights in the Caribbean

A recap of recent gains, losses and ongoing battles over LGBTI rights in seven Caribbean nations (Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad, Belize, Barbados, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands), with help from coverage in the Caribbean IRN Blog of the International Resource Network: Areas With Anti-Gay Laws Guyana U.N. action: During Guyana’s recent Universal Periodic Review before the… Read more »

Debaters fail to declare stance on decriminalising buggery

St John’s, Antigua- Though neither political party would take a firm stance on the decriminalisation of buggery laws at Thursday’s National Youth Forum, the party’s ideological leanings were evident. A question from social media quizzed the panellists about their party’s view on repealing the law which makes buggery a criminal act, and the redefinition of… Read more »

Queen Elizabeth II to personally give award to gay activist

A 24-year-old woman fighting for gay rights in a place where it is illegal to be gay will receive the award Queen Elizabeth II is to give an award to a young gay woman for her activism work. Donnya Piggott, a 24-year-old from Barbados, was chosen among hundreds as one of the 60 inspiring people… Read more »

Saint Lucia’s LGBT Community Seeks Acceptance

Advocates say 2015’s goal is to increase public acceptance for minorities under the theme “education, tolerance and love.” One of the Eastern Caribbean’s first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups is seeking greater respect for sexual diversity in Saint Lucia. The group United and Strong, representing the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens, has… Read more »

Dominican Republic Won’t Recognize Gay Marriage Performed At UK Embassy

Santo Domoingo, Dominican Republic (AP) — The Dominican Republic says it will not recognize a same-sex marriage performed for the first time in the conservative Caribbean country. In a Thursday statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Miguel Medina said “our legislation does not recognize this type of marriage.” The statement comes two days after the British embassy… Read more »

British Embassy In Dominican Republic Marries First Gay Couple In Caribbean

A gay male couple tied the knot Wednesday at the British Embassy in the Dominican Republic, making them the first same-sex couple to marry in the Caribbean. The embassy announced the marriage on its official Twitter account. “First #SameSexWedding in @ukindomrep and in the #Caribbean between British and Dominican national @UkinCaribbean,” the embassy messaged its… Read more »

Cuba’s Gay Rights Evolution

In Cuba, street marches have historically been government-orchestrated events or dissident protests that are swiftly crushed by the authorities. So it was downright startling when, in May 2007, Fidel Castro’s niece sauntered down the street with a small army of drag queens waving gay pride flags. Long before the Obama administration announced a dramatic shift… Read more »

Cuban activists welcome normalized relations between U.S. and Cuba

Cuban LGBT rights advocates on Wednesday welcomed President Obama’s announcement that the U.S. will seek to normalize relations with their country. Yosvanys Fonseca Aguilar of the Network of Young People for Health and Sexual Rights,, a group that is part of the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX), which Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban… Read more »

Haiti’s fight for gay rights

As LGBT community becomes more visible, anti-gay violence rises, too Port-Au-Prince, Haiti — The courtyard, tucked off a quiet road here and ringed by mango trees heavy with immature green fruit, was bedecked with a rainbow of balloons. One proclaimed “Happy Valentines Day!” though it was May. Another advertised specials at the fast-food chain Red… Read more »

Federal Judge Upholds Puerto Rico’s Gay Marriage Ban

A federal judge on Tuesday upheld Puerto Rico’s ban on gay marriage, saying that allowing such unions could lead to plural and incestuous marriages. U.S. District Judge Juan M. Perez-Gimenez is the second federal judge since the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year to uphold… Read more »

Jamaican Parliament to review anti-gay Sexual Offences Act

The Jamaican Parliament is set to review the country’s Sexual Offences Act – which stipulates penalties against same-sex sexual activity. A joint select committee will begin the task of scrutinising the law on Wednesday 17 September. The Jamaican criminal code has long prohibited sex between men through the colonial era buggery law, but the 2009… Read more »

Cuba: Mariela Castro casts first ever vote against government over LGBT protections

Mariela Castro – the daughter of Cuban president Raul Castro – has cast the first ever recorded vote against a government bill, over a lack of LGBT protections. Cuba has a tradition of legislation passing through the 612-seat National Assembly unanimously, even when bills are controversial outside of Parliament. However Ms Castro – who is the… Read more »

Ajamu challenges homophobia

A few days after our interview at Alice Yard, where he has just appeared as the first Caiso-endorsed artist-in-residence, Ajamu e-mails some images of his work. They are black and white photographs with a sense of poignancy—perhaps the first time the word “poignant” has been used to describe a self-portrait of an artist dressed in… Read more »

Rainbow flags stop traffic at Dominican Republic Gay Pride

A pride procession through town caused a welcome break from daily life, bringing out families into the streets to celebrate LGBT pride Thousands of people participated in this year’s Gay Pride procession in the Dominican Republic on 13 July. The Gay Pride festivities in the Caribbean island (between Haiti and Puerto Rico) re-launched in 2007… Read more »

Dominica Prime Minister: ‘We will never accept same-sex marriage’

The Prime Minister of Dominica has ruled out introducing same-sex marriage. In a statement, Roosevelt Skerrit said: “I will make it clear that there are some things that this government will not accept and we will never allow for the state to recognise same-sex marriage in our country. “If other countries want to do it,… Read more »

Foreign Policy: Don’t Believe Castro’s “Gay-Friendly” PR

Cuba Wants You To Think It’s a Gay Paradise. It’s Not. Cuba has come a long way on LGBT rights since putting gays in labor camps. But don’t believe the Castro family’s gay-friendly PR. I’m surprised to see a rainbow flag outside a tiny bar called Gats Loco in Trinidad, an old sugar town on… Read more »

Don’t Blame Yesterday’s Colonialism for Today’s Homophobia

Last Sunday, 25,000 Jamaicans rallied in support of their country’s explicitly homophobic anti-sodomy law, comparing homosexuality to rape and murder and arguing that anti-gay laws are “righteous and Godly.” Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law, as many Western news sources are eager to remind us, is a “colonial leftover,” a “holdover” from Britain’s bygone rule over the island.… Read more »

How Cuba’s Gay Rights Activists Are Starting a Revolution With Kissing

Against the backdrop of gay pride in the United States — where cities are bursting with revelers and colorful parades celebrating gay rights — it’s not unusual to spot groups of same-sex couples kissing. But this past weekend, in Havana, Cuba’s capital, 60 people marked gay pride weekend with a second annual “kiss-in” to protest… Read more »

Man survives hate crime

“Do you believe in God?” one of Akil Thomas’ attackers asked him. Thomas replied: “Yes.” His attacker continued: “…because you are going to die here tonight.” Thomas was then stabbed 13 times—six stabs to the back, two to the chest, two in the arms, two in the neck and one on the right side of… Read more »

‘¡OUT! The Transformistas of Havana’ Documents Performers in Cuba’s Gay Cabarets

A groundbreaking new book by Eric Politzer is currently in production and it provides a platform for the captivating performers at queer cabarets throughout Cuba. Historically, cabarets on the island nation have served as spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Cubans to gather and form community and support each other, which is especially… Read more »

Risking everything to advance LGBT rights in Jamaica

San Diego, California – Angeline Jackson wishes she could bottle up Hillcrest and The San Diego LGBT Community Center, then uncork them in Jamaica. Her homeland is noted for its laid-back spirit … and its rampant homophobia. The U.S. State Department noted in a 2012 report regarding Jamaica that “homophobia was widespread in the country.”… Read more »

Trinidad: Caribbean LGBT youth unite to push for repeal of anti-gay laws

LGBT youth leaders from across the Caribbean have united to push for lingering anti-gay laws to be repealed. At a ‘Generation Change’ event in Trinidad yesterday, youth leaders representing Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, Belize and Trinidad and Tobago came together to discuss the problems they face on a day-to-day basis as a result of… Read more »

Why do so many Jamaicans hate gay people?

Our research shows dancehall is a strong predictor of homophobia – but at last some Jamaicans are saying boom bye bye to bigotry Jamaica has a bad reputation for anti-gay prejudice. This small island in the Caribbean has become notorious not only for its anti-gay laws, political rhetoric and murders, but also for its broad… Read more »

New Campaign Aims to Help Jamaican LGBT Community

In honor of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Human Rights First unveiled a new campaign. Human Rights First is embarking on a major endeavor in Jamaica, trying to make the Caribbean island a safer place for LGBT people. Last month, the organization announced a new campaign to combat homophobia and anti-LGBT discrimination in the… Read more »

Leading Jamaican Newspaper Endorses Marriage Equality

“It is unassailable logic” that a ban on same-sex couples marrying “represents an assault on the principle of equality of people,” via the Jamaica Gleaner. One of Jamaica’s leading daily newspapers called for the elimination of the country’s ban on marriage equality and its law criminalizing sodomy in an editorial published Thursday. The Jamaica Gleaner… Read more »

Cuban Gay Rights Activist Brutally Beaten, Arrested

David Bustamante Rodriguez, a 21-year old gay rights activist, was arrested for holding a peaceful protest on the rooftop of his home in Santa Clara. During the protest, he chanted “food and freedom” and held signs demanding the respect for human rights. He is now being accused of “public disorder.” David, who is HIV positive,… Read more »

PJ Urges Tolerance – Former Prime Minister Calls For Understanding In Gay Debate

Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson is urging that the debate over Jamaica’s buggery law be framed within the context of current world trends and the realities that various differences exist in the society. Patterson, addressing a Rotary Club of Spanish Town meeting at the Police Officers’ Club in St Andrew Tuesday night, said both sides… Read more »

Cubans celebrate gay rights, but marriage remains distant

(Reuters) – Several hundred Cubans danced to a conga beat, waved the rainbow flag and proclaimed their same-sex love on Saturday, celebrating great advances in gay rights while patiently waiting for the still politically distant right to marriage. About 500 people marched in the seventh annual parade against homophobia through Havana’s Vedado district, where cross-dressing… Read more »

New Effort To Halt Spread Of HIV In The Caribbean

Kingston, Jamaica (AP) — A handful of sex workers sit on discarded cardboard along a filthy sewer channel, sharing food and razors to shave their legs and faces as they prepare for the night’s labor on the streets of Jamaica’s capital. Gay sex and prostitution is illegal in Jamaica, and LGBT people who sell sex… Read more »

Catholic priest gives amazing speech for LGBT rights in Trinidad

Catholic priest Dr Fr Stephen Geofroy has called for the equal rights of LGBTs to be enshrined in the constitution of Trinidad and Tobago in a surprising speech to a government consultation Support for the legal equality of LGBT people has come from a surprising place during a Trinidad and Tobago government public consultation on… Read more »

LGBT tolerance growing in Jamaica, push to repeal of anti-gay law

Prince Jones says he will never go back to Jamaica, not even to visit. The 25-year-old, who is gay and uses a pseudonym to protect himself and his family, grew up in Kingston and recalls how he was repeatedly harassed over his sexuality before moving to the United States in 2012. The plight of gays… Read more »

Gay-rights community fights to advance cause in Latin America and Caribbean

United Nations – Two years ago, a gay couple and their friend vacationing in St. Lucia were tied up, beaten, threatened with knives and guns, and told that they would be killed if they tried to escape. The men later freed themselves, climbed out a window and hiked down the mountain to a friend’s house.… Read more »

Cuba passes ‘historic’ ban on anti-gay workplace discrimination

Over the weekend the country’s Parliament approved changes to its labor code, including protections against workplace discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation The Caribbean island of Cuba has reportedly implemented workplace discrimination protections for its LGBTI citizens. Blogger Andres Duque reported on his website Blabbeando Cuban blogger Francisco Rodriguez, also known as Paquito El… Read more »