Repeal buggery laws

LGBT community, allies bold statement

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About 150 people from the LGBT community, along with their supporters and allies yesterday wore colourful shirts and held high, brightly coloured banners and flags with the message of, “Equality, Diversity and Love.”

The group stood in peaceful protest in front of Parliament at Wrightson Road, Port of Spain in response to the recent protest by T&T Cause — a coalition of local evangelical churches who are calling on legislators to keep buggery as a criminal offence on the law books — all in defence of preserving family values.

Newsday spoke with Colin Robinson, director of Caiso – an organisation formed to promote inclusion and diversity of all citizens regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Robinson said the gathering was formed because the group believed in inclusion.

“We all have to share the nation, no matter how small a group we might be — no matter how large the group of evangelical Christians may be in TT, we all have to share the nation. We cannot put the tenets of one faith into the law.

“The law doesn’t say how you have to dress, it doesn’t say what you can’t eat — these are all religious laws. It shouldn’t say what kind of sex we can have in the privacy of our homes.”

Asked about the possibility of all groups coming to some consensus, Robinson seemed doubtful and stated “to each his own faith — to each her own sexuality."

"The Bill of Rights says everyone should be protected, that’s what we would like to happen. We have come here to say to each other that we have dignity and this is our nation, and we are totally willing to share it with other groups, but they have to share it with us, and parliament needs to protect us.”

Actor Richard Ragoobarsingh stood in alliance, saying, “Everybody is a human being, and everybody has to be included, and I can’t understand why our politicians can’t see that.”

Actress Penelope Spencer said the group did not want to force children into homosexuality.

“That is is not what this is about — that is a crime. We are about love, we are about inclusion, about giving people their rights, that’s all we want.”

Radio and television personality and actress Nikki Crosby told Newsday she believed every national has to be respected.

“I think that is what we are losing in society right now, the respect for each other. This is a hundred-year-old law that needs to be changed, and it’s a very simple change. Consenting adults having consensual sex and love. That’s all — love.”

The LGBT community and allies, as well as the evangelical church community, both await the outcome of a High Court ruling, on the constitutionality of the law which criminalises buggery.