By United and Strong Inc.
(PRESS RELEASE) — Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Saint Lucians continue to experience persistent discrimination that negatively impacts all aspects of their lives.
Discrimination, harassment, and violence against LGBTQI people – especially transgender people – have, sadly been too common in public spaces, including nightlife hotspots, as we see with yet another report of an attack against an LGBTQ person.
In response to this, LGBTQI people make delicate but profound changes to their everyday lives to minimize the risk of experiencing discrimination, often hiding their authentic selves. The effect of this is an insidious trauma that has lasting effects.
For well over a decade, United and Strong has continued to advocate for progress towards full recognition of the equal rights of LGBTQI Saint Lucians. To date, no government has officially stated their position on laws to protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Because of this, LGBTQI people still face widespread discrimination. In recent times, using tools such as the CVC Shared Incident Database, we have documented an increase in cases of discrimination, hate speech, cyberbullying and violence towards members of the LGBTQI community on Saint Lucia.
We, therefore, call on the government to enact an “Equality Bill” before Parliament, a comprehensive piece of legislation banning all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This should also include comprehensive non-discrimination protection for LGBTQI persons. We remind our government that the rights of the minority must not be held hostage by the oppression of the majority.
While comprehensive non-discrimination protections will not prevent all instances of discrimination, it is critical to holding people accountable for their actions towards the LGBTQI and other marginalized people. Additionally, this will send the message that LGBTQI people are to be respected by all.
All Saint Lucians deserve the opportunity to live full, equal, and authentic lives, and this cannot be achieved if discrimination remains a looming threat to our lives, livelihoods and the well-being of our loved ones.