LGBT Activists on Historic Ruling in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidadian-born queer activist Darren Glenn says the country’s highest court finding buggery laws unconstitutional left him in disbelief and excitement. “Section 13 & 16” refers to the part of the “Sexual Offences Act” declared unconstitutional by the Trinidadian High Court. (Photo from the Caribbean Equality Project via Caribbean Life)

In April, the highest court in Trinidad and Tobago ruled that colonial-era buggery laws, which ban gay sex, were unconstitutional, much to the surprise and delight of the LGBT community on the island and Trinidadians activists in NYC. The historic decision could pave the way for greater rights for members of the community.

In a story in Caribbean Life by Alexandra Simon, Mohamed Amin, a Guyanese-American activist and co-founder of the Queens-based Caribbean Equality Project, said his “immediate reaction was tears of joy.”

“I felt a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment, and a sense of solidarity. But I also felt very hopeful that the country is moving in the right direction by decriminalizing and reversing these laws that are in place.”

Trinidadian-born LGBT activist and CEP volunteer Darren Glenn said he “was in complete disbelief” as he is “always prepared for disappointment.”

Glenn, who lives on Long Island, said he plans to move back to his homeland in a decade or so, regardless of where Trinidad’s lawmakers decide to move forth on buggery laws. But he also said that his main concern was continuing to advocate and show solidarity with Trinidad’s queer community.

“I’m energized and now I feel a readiness to move forward to help the people living there, because they’re the ones who have to deal with the negative backlash,” he said.

While the move was cause for celebration, Amin pointed out the challenges members of the LGBT community continue to face in the long road ahead to “true progress.” Read more from him, and what the ruling could mean for other Caribbean nations, at Caribbean Life.

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