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Trinidad and Tobago PM says she will end gay hate

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar promises to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar promises to end gay hate in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago's prime minister has promised to put an end to gay hate in the country's proposed national gender policy.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar revealed her plan to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people against discrimination in a private letter to gay rights campaigner Lance Price, obtained by the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

Price, who is the executive director of UK-based LGBT group Kaleidoscope Trust, confirmed he received the letter but refused to comment on its contents.

According to the newspaper, the letter was written in response to Price's protest against the country's homophobic Sexual Offences Act and immigration law which bans gay people.

In the letter, Persad-Bissessar wrote: 'With respect to the concerns raised in your letter regarding aspects of T&T's Sexual Offences Act and the Immigration Act which may target persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), I wish to assure you that due consideration is being given to these issues by my Government.

'I do not support discrimination in any form against any individual, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. 

'I share your view that the stigmatisation of homosexuality in T&T is a matter which must be addressed on the grounds of human rights and dignity to which every individual is entitled under international law.   

'As such I am pleased to inform you that I have mandated my Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development, Senator the Honourable Marlene Coudray to prepare and present a national gender policy to Cabinet over the coming months. 

'It is expected that once adopted, this policy will forge the way forward for T&T as my Government seeks to put an end to all discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.'

Speaking to the Guardian, Jason Jones of the gay rights group I Am One said: 'We are aware the gender policy is about to be ratified by cabinet and it's a great thing the PM is seeking to end discrimination against this group.

'Trinidad and Tobago is deemed homophobic and internationally, this is not looking very good. The prime minister has out approval and support.'

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