The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago has just held its first Pride Parade in recorded history. Members of the nation’s LGBTQ community congregated together to advocate in an organized display. The event took place along the street of Port of Spain during the last weekend.
What alllowed for the Pride march? Organizers of the Trinidad and Tobago march pointed to recent developments on the legal front. In the past year–specifically in April–there are was sweeping ruling in the fabric of the law. The High Court of Trinidad and Tobago rueld that the country’s sodomy law was unconstitutional.
According to NBC News, the April ruling statd “that sections 13 and 16 of the [Sexual Offenses Act] are unconstitutional, illegal, null, void, invalid and of no effect to the extent that these laws criminalise any acts constituting consensual sexual conduct between adults.” Those words, written by Justice Devindra Rampersad in his ruling, are thought to have dismantled the penalties behind the colonial-era law.
That kicked off the recent spate of demonstrations–including the current Pride parade.
According to the Caribbean Life site, “The parade, which was preceded by a health fair at Nelson Mandela Park, St. Clair, Port of Spain, attracted not only members of the LGBT organizations but civil society groups and individuals throughout the country.”
The Parade itself was the culmination of a month-and-a-half buildup of cultural and social activities by the citizens of the nation. Specifically, the recent events were organized and planned by a group called the TT Pride Arts Festival Committee. The Committee stated that they planned the events to educate and create heightered awareness of important issues affecting the LGBTQ community.
Other groups had a hand in the events. Colin Robinson said the parade was long overdue. Robinson is the current head of CAISO, the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation.
Robinson pointed out that the parade is neither a novelty nor a spectacle–not anymore. Pride parades, he noted, have also occurred in Barbadas and in Guyana. He said that the laws and the government of Trinidad and Tobago need to catch up with the public.
Robinson and other commenters said that they felt particularly encouraged by the new High Court ruling. They felt that there was particular fervor among the young people of the country. Robinson said that the LGBTQ community of Trinidad and Tobago were just like any other community in the country, and just wanted “to exist and enjoy our human rights.”