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Activist Reports

Colin Robinson – The Work of Three-Year Old CAISO - Reflections at the MidPoint" - Activist Report (Trinidad and Tobago)

 

E-mailing the nine questions below to activists and artists in their networks, Jafari Sinclaire Allen and Matt Richardson hoped to initiate a “cross diaspora dialogue” on “Sexual Rights, Erotic Autonomy and Queer Expression in Black  Diaspora” for a roundtable originally proposed to be published in the Black/Queer/Diaspora issue of GLQ. Their goal was to “take... up the problematics  of rights discourse; the state of HIV prevention activism, anti-violence and feminist movements and their relationship to queer movement; the status of homosexuality as an identity among African and  African descended subjects; and various ways of naming and engaging  sexual practices, among other themes,” as well as to “ask... questions about the current work being done in various sites  around the globe, to document this work and rediscover the historical perspectives of black queers.”

My January 2011 responses to their questions, reflecting on a year and a half of work with Trinidad & Tobago’s Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation, are published here with minor editing for this activist report in this collection, and Jafari and Matt’s encouragement. 

- Colin Robinson

Suriname Men United - “Public Campaign against Dancehall Artists” - Activist Report (Kenneth Van Emden, Suriname)

In November 2008, the telephone company Digicel celebrated their 1st anniversary in Suriname with a free concert. For this concert two Jamaican artists, Elephant Man and Bounty Killer, were invited to perform. The promotion of this concert was huge since the phone company wanted to promote their services in order to reach the biggest population in Suriname. The above-mentioned artists are well known for their homophobic song lyrics. Lyrics like “kill batty man,” and “burn batty man” are some of the commonly used lyrics in their songs. Because of experiences in Jamaica, where these songs have an impact in terms of violence and killings on members of the gay community, Suriname Men United (SMU), a gay organization, started a campaign in Suriname to pre-empt the concert. In collaboration with a lawyer, a letter was designed and sent referencing our anti – discrimination law, to the director of the phone company, highlighting the homophobic lyrics in the songs of the performers and that the singers should adjust their repertoire. This resulted in a huge media break-out in Suriname and SMU was involved in several discussions concerning this issue. Pressured by the board of the phone company and the media, the artists used no homophobic lyrics during the concert. Because of the good advocacy plan involving the media and lawyer, we were proud to achieve this first step to a better future for the MSM community in Suriname. It was the first big action towards these performers in Suriname and we succeeded in getting the repertoire adjusted.

Erin Greene - “History of Rainbow Alliance Bahamas” – Activist Report

The Rainbow Alliance of the Bahamas (RAB) was a support and advocacy group. The Rainbow Alliance of the Bahamas was formed in 2003 to advocate on behalf of the LGBT community. RAB was formed as a vehicle to respond to these comments: "if Parliament legalizes gay marriage, I will become the next Guy Fawkes” made by the then President of the Bahamas Christian Council, Bishop Samuel Greene at the National Independence Church Service in July 2003. At the time, Bishop Greene also sat on the Constitutional Reform Committee that was required to include the issue of sexual orientation and gender discrimination in its “Options for Change.”

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