PORT OF SPAIN – The Silver Lining Foundation (SLF) notes the rise of homophobic slurs and innuendos which has overwhelmed the general tone of the election race amongst all parties, candidates and their supporters.
The Foundation is calling all parties and candidates contesting this year’s General Election and their supporters, to refrain from using discrimination as a cheap political plot against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community to garner political support and votes.
Given the “no position” stance on the topic of gay issues adopted by all parties in this year’s General Election, LGBTI persons in Trinidad and Tobago continue to endure rampant discrimination in their schools, communities, families and places of employment.
The further use of vulgar, divisive or persecutory language undermines the human rights of these persons, and has no place on political platforms or on social media. A reminder is placed to all major political parties to adhere to the Code of Political Conduct of which they are a signatory to.Whichever political party forms the next government should act responsibly to present anti-discriminatory laws to protect the rights of LGBTI persons as a major policy position on the government’s agenda, once they assumed office. This is in keeping with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which says that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
The foundation has been working tirelessly over the past three years to advance the rights of LGBTI youths in their schools, communities and wider society. Despite the challenges they face, today more LGBTI youths in our nation are claiming their human rights by fully participating in all aspects of public life, which underscores the importance of the youth vote to all political parties.
However today’s generation remains unimpressed with the old tribal politics that has besieged our nation’s electoral system and governance. The youths today are more guided by principles that foster inclusion, equality and integrity.
A call is placed to all political parties and candidates to conduct themselves in a manner that is befitting of the post they aspire to. Their campaigns should reflect a position of one that respects human rights by promoting the fight to end discrimination of any kind, which includes but not limited to, the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Jeremy Steffan Edwards
The Silver Lining Foundation