#StandWithUs – Silent No More
On this day, one year ago, history was made when members of the LGBTQIA community bravely fought fear and persecution to assemble with our allies on the steps of the Hall of Justice for the High Court’s ruling of the nation’s antiquated buggery laws.
A year has passed and while challenges still present themselves, the spark that was ignited on April 12th, 2018 in Justice Devindra Rampersad’s words about the buggery laws being “unconstitutional, illegal, null, void, invalid…” has only continued to burn brighter as we advocate for equality and fight against discrimination so that we can all #ShareTheNation together.
Coincidentally, the anniversary of this historic ruling falls on this year’s observance of Day of Silence. First organised in 1996, the Day of Silence is symbolic for the silencing effect of bullying and harassment that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer/questioning (LGBTQ) persons, particularly youths, are often subjected to.
Too often, words disappear like shadows in the dark. Day of Silence allows people across the globe an opportunity to stand together and “speak out” about the verbal discrimination, silencing and erasure that LGBTQ people face daily.
For years, our community has faced insurmountable discrimination. For years, our community has been silenced. For years, our community has been ignored.
Essentially, this forms a large part of why the High Court’s judgement is so important to us, as LGBTQ people. The harassment, fear and silencing that members of the community have faced have led to a lot of tragedy. We remember those who have gone before us, victims of this silencing, such as Sasha Fierce and, of course, our dear George.
The ruling, one that affirms sex between consenting adults of the same sex as no longer against the law and cannot be made illegal, is one step in the direction of progress and recognition of human rights our nation has undertaken.
This ruling has also greatly inspired a magnanimous year for our community’s visibility efforts. It showed that our community is stronger when we stand together. The greatest example of this came when we stood united in front of Parliament to engage our politicians to recognise the LGBTQ existence as valid and meaningful. Next, we defied opposition and hate to claim space on the steps of the Hall of Justice, to demand our legitimate right for protection and fight for equality. After the landmark ruling, we celebrated six weeks of Pride and seized the history-making moment with our nation’s first-ever public LGBT Pride Parade.
Truly, we have shown – and will continue to show – that LGBTQ+ people deserve to be heard, to be seen, and to have equal rights. This is why our focus is not deterred and we remain more committed in our tenacity to continue pushing for meaningful change that will one day see, love and mutual respect for LGBTQ+ citizens become fully integrated into how our nation leads and governs.
And, till that day comes we asked all to #StandWithUs as we stay united to make that day our new and hopeful reality.