Activist Roundtable by Question

The Bahamas – Erin Greene I joined CAFRA (Caribbean Association for Feminist Research in Action) in The Bahamas in 2000 and became the Bahamas’ National Representative for CAFRA in 2002. I am now the interim deputy chairperson of CAFRA. I was a member of CRAFFT (Constitutional Rights Reform and Facilitation Team) that conducted a six-month… Read more »

Jamaican gay rights activist challenges law against sex between men

Gay rights campaigner and attorney Maurice Tomlinson brings rare legal challenge to the Caribbean island’s anti-sodomy laws A Jamaican gay rights activist has brought a rare legal challenge to the Caribbean island’s anti-sodomy laws that criminalize consensual sex between men, according to the Canadian advocacy group he works for. Gay rights campaigner and attorney Maurice… Read more »

Bermuda court grants equal rights to ‘binational’ same-sex couples

A judge has made a landmark ruling for same-sex couples in Bermuda. The Supreme Court in Bermuda has ruled that those in same-sex relationships with Bermudians should be granted the same rights to live and seek employment as their heterosexual counterparts, according to The Royal Gazette. The ruling comes after legal action was brought against… Read more »

‘My selfish reasons for fighting Jamaican homophobia’

LGBTI rights activist Maurice Tomlinson is back in Jamaica this week, preparing for a hearing at the Caribbean Court of Justice in connection with his case challenging the ban against gays entering Belize and Trinidad & Tobago. That case is just one instance of his work combating anti-gay laws and homophobia in the Caribbean, particularly… Read more »

On Being Queer in the Caribbean

Tallahassee, Fla. — “Listen. Dead people never stop talking.” So begins Marlon James’s novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” which last month won the Man Booker Prize. The statement has a particular resonance both in the book and outside it. In March, Mr. James, who was raised in Jamaica but now lives in the… Read more »

On Being Queer in the Caribbean

Tallahassee, Fla. — “Listen. Dead people never stop talking.” So begins Marlon James’s novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” which last month won the Man Booker Prize. The statement has a particular resonance both in the book and outside it. In March, Mr. James, who was raised in Jamaica but now lives in the… Read more »

On Being Queer in the Caribbean

Tallahassee, Fla. — “Listen. Dead people never stop talking.” So begins Marlon James’s novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” which last month won the Man Booker Prize. The statement has a particular resonance both in the book and outside it. In March, Mr. James, who was raised in Jamaica but now lives in the… Read more »

Changing attitudes in Cuba on gays and lesbians

As US-Cuba relations thaw, LGBT community hopes diplomatic changes lead to greater acceptance. Ash-Har Quraishi reports Source – America Aljazeera

Comment: Jamaica’s first LGBT Pride shows how far the country has come

Writing for PinkNews, David Lowis shares his experiences of last week’s Jamaican Gay Pride celebrations and how the tide is changing for the country’s LGBT community. Emancipation Park in Kingston, Jamaica, August 1. A crowd of around 40 LGBT people, activists and allies has gathered, still on a high from the Pride pre-launch party the… Read more »

Jamaica to hold its first gay pride celebration in the island’s capital

Weeklong event that was previously almost unthinkable in a Caribbean country long described as the one of the globe’s most hostile places to homosexuality Jamaica’s LGBT community is holding its first gay pride celebration in the island’s capital, a weeklong event that was previously almost unthinkable in a Caribbean country long described as the one… Read more »

Mayor of Jamaican capital to speak at Pride event

The mayor of the Jamaican capital on Friday said she has “a responsibility” to represent all of her city’s residents, including those who are LGBT. “I come from the point of view that I, as mayor, have a responsibility to all the individuals of Kingston,” Angela Brown-Burke told the Washington Blade during a telephone interview.… Read more »

Virgin Islands governor signs marriage executive order

The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands on Thursday signed an executive order that requires officials in the territory to allow same-sex couples to marry. Gov. Kenneth Mapp signed the mandate less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry throughout the country. The St.… Read more »

Gay Men’s Chorus prepares to perform in Cuba after thaw in travel restrictions

Singers will team up with Cuban gay group Mano a Mano for nine concerts This Saturday, 20 members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington will head to Cuba to perform – following the historic easing of travel restrictions between the two countries after half a century. The Chorus will join forces with the island’s… Read more »

Puerto Rico adopts same-sex marriage too!

The overseas United States territory of Puerto Rico will join the US in allowing same-sex marriage. After the Supreme Court decision that brought same-sex marriage to all 50 states, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has said the territory will follow suit. He acknowledged that was opposition to the move in the largely Catholic island,… Read more »

Progress in Jamaica toward ‘world as it should be’

Jamaican lesbian activist Angeline Jackson, executive director of Quality Citizenship Jamaica (QCJ), sees signs of progress in the fight against homophobia in Jamaica, as she explained in a commentary for Time magazine. See below for excerpts from the commentary, titled “Is ‘The Most Homophobic Place on Earth’ Turning Around?” Attitudes toward civil rights in Jamaica… Read more »

LGBT advocate challenges Cuban human rights record

Sagua La Grande, Cuba — A gay blogger who is a member of an independent Cuban LGBT advocacy group told the Washington Blade last week that human rights factor prominently into his work. “Definitely for a situation like ours (in Cuba,) human rights are something that are suppressed,” Maykel González Vivero told the Blade on… Read more »

Raul Castro’s Daughter Mariela Sponsors Blessing Of Cuban Gay Couples

Havana (AP) — The daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro sponsored a blessing ceremony Saturday for gay couples on an island where gay marriage remains illegal. Nearly two dozen gay couples held hands or embraced, some crying, as Protestant clergymen from the U.S. and Canada blessed them as part of official ceremonies leading up to… Read more »

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 »

5 Reasons Why Curacao Needs to Be on Your LGBT Travel Radar

Every year, countless travelers wound tighter than a clock are lured to the Caribbean with the promise of a getaway filled with nothingness. (We mean nothingness in all of its glory, which usually involves top-notch beaches, snorkeling, diving, great food and plenty of other nothings that of course amount to something pretty great.) It’s no… 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 »