In Trinidad & Tobago, you can be jailed for life just for having consensual gay sex.
That’s why I’ve filed a landmark legal challenge with the High Court in the country. But it’s being held up.
Next week I’ll find out whether a group of T&T Evangelicals will be able to introduce evidence from their ‘medical experts.’
My case is calling for the discriminatory “buggery” laws from our British colonial past, to be struck down from the constitution.
It’s one of only four such cases worldwide.
But because I am doing it completely independently with no sponsorship or backing of any organization, I need the world to pay attention to the case.
And let there no doubt, I am only able to embark on this historic challenge because of my privileges.
I am of a light skin color, upper middle class, educated at prestigious colleges, and I am a cisgendered alpha male. I feel literally hard-wired for such an enormous task.
With my father’s Black Trinidadian heritage and my Mother’s white English East End London background, I’m bi-racial. And hold dual citizenship of Trinidad & Tobago and Great Britain – I refer to myself as Tringlish.
My activism was born in London
I first came to London in 1985 and became active in LGBT activism in 1987 as part of the Section 28 marches. Being arrested on the march was enough to spark over 30 years of activism since.
All of the work I’ve done here and in Trinidad and Tobago leaves me with a quandary. I am both equally proud and equally ashamed of both of my Countries to which I owe my heritage.
Proud that the UK is so advanced in the protection of human rights and the protections that a secular governance brings to all minority citizens.
And also proud of Trinidad & Tobago for our melting pot of races and religions that for the most part, live peacefully and respectfully of one another.
So where does the shame come in?
The racism in the UK and the homophobia of Trinidad & Tobago.
Shame on both Trinidad and Tobago and the UK’s heritage
Because I fall within both minority groups, I am left living in a no man’s land, drifting around mid-Atlantic. I watch both sides of this great divide attack each other and doing my best to address both issues.
As a half black, half white man, I hear constantly from my fellow black straight African and Caribbean, people that homosexuality is a “white man thing”!
An imperial import in order to undermine Black heritage, and even control population growth!
Yes, my fellow Black people believe that homosexuality is a form of birth control of the Black population!
Then I arrive at the UK airport hoping to find safety and build a life that respects my sexual orientation. I was so surprised to be sidelined by stark racism within the LGBT community here.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen:
‘No Blacks orientals, fats or femmes.’
Racism is rife on the gay scene in the UK
In the Gay scene in London, I have been asked on numerous occasions, exactly what part of me is Black?
This does rather cue a lascivious grin and sad attempt at sexy flirtation.
But frankly, it’s an example of white cisgender men and women constantly fetishizing people of color.
It feels like LGBTI people of color don’t have a place at the equality bargaining table.
Consequently, the recent furor around Munroe Bergdorf is another perfect example. It shows how quickly battle lines are drawn within our community around race.
Too often, we get labeled the ‘angry black gay’ with a chip on our shoulder. ‘Do we always need to keep bringing everything down to race?’
The great divide between the mostly white global north and mostly people of color LGBTIs in the south grows wider every day.
Whilst our community is infighting, the homophobic right wing are uniting globally. They are making huge advances in wiping away our hard fought for equal rights.
Whilst we bitch about whether the Munroe Bergdorf case was racist? Trump moves to remove Trans people from the military.
Where is it really best to direct your time and anger?
Trinidad and Tabago’s LGBTI community needs all of us now
I am calling on the global LGBTI community to come together as one voice now and stand with this fight.
No one should be left behind! When we do, we leave the door open for hate to thrive!
Remember, what happens to latinx sex workers, black drag queens, white HIV+ muscle marys or eastern European chemsex Twink happens – it happens to all of us.
If we cannot show compassion and empathy, help and assistance, guidance and love to all members of our own community – how exactly can we ask for equality from the straight world?
We must unite in defending each other if we are to defeat our homophobic enemies.
Today is the London Launch of my historic challenge for the human rights of LGBT people back home.
I will never turn back on anyone, anywhere on this planet for I know I am lucky to have the freedoms I cherish and enjoy in the greatest city of the world, London.