The Silver Lining Foundation (SLF) offers warm regards and best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy holiday season!
A “silver lining” is a sign of hope in the face of adversity. As we approach the dawn of another year, we are reminded that while the holidays are meant to be a time of love, togetherness and peace, this may unfortunately not be so for many persons in the LGBTQI+ community. Life continues to be challenging for so many of our community amidst the COVID-19 pandemic; their physical and mental health, economic livelihood and access to gender-affirming health and wellness resources all continue to be impacted by the effects of the pandemic. Further, perennial issues of homophobia and other forms of oppression as a result of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, especially while living in environments that may be potentially volatile or harmful, continue to present additional barriers.
As the pandemic continues to ravage communities, we have also had to confront and adjust to insufferable loss. Our community was rocked by the passing of two stalwarts of the community, Colin Robinson and Brandy Rodriguez. The passing of these powerful, bold, vociferous persons, our friends and mentors, has left us with voids in our hearts. We take a moment to celebrate their lives and their work and we hold the torches and flags high as we forge on with a renewed fire to continue their legacy and carry on in the fight for recognition of all of our community.
Reflecting on 2021, we have sought to achieve some great impossibilities and reach a much wider audience with our programmes and initiatives, in the hopes that these initiatives will add to the discourse around bullying, gender-based violence (GBV), comprehensive sex education (CSE) and queerphobia. Our partnership with the Family Planning Association of Trinidad & Tobago (FPATT) to provide much needed CSE resources continues to be ongoing, providing digital resources and engaging content for young people and their parents. We have also been able to provide much needed crisis support to members of our community through our Stronger Families initiative, made possible by the CAISO-Astrea Foundation Emergency Response. Most notably and important to us was the publication of our 2019 National School Climate Study on Bullying and Gender-Based Violence in Secondary Schools.
We remain resilient, persevering to uplifting and celebrating every member of our community. Solidarity and connection remain integral to our community – and to us at SLF – as we continue our push for equality. We must find new and innovative ways to connect with each other and with you, our support system. None of our work would be worthwhile without all of you as the beneficiaries of these programmes and initiatives designed to make Trinidad & Tobago a better, safer and more equitable place.
There is always something good to be found in every bad situation, no matter how awful or heavy it may seem. As we usher in 2022, we reaffirm our commitment to celebrating our vibrant and varied community, amplifying the voices of those who may be challenged or underserved. We will continue to expand on our framework of support, education and advocacy to create safer classrooms, stronger families and empowered youth. Through it all, we will create that silver lining.
Stay happy. Stay healthy. Stay safe.
The Silver Lining Foundation.