After years of knocking on closed doors, local gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders (GLBT) finally have a glimmer of hope. Two young attorneys, Trinidadian Tamara Sylvestor and American Jacqueline Bevilacqua, have launched a collaborative project to document discrimination against persons of such sexual orientation in T&T. They have also set up an e-mail account, firstname.lastname@example.org for such persons to lodge complaints. Their goal is to provide a base for policy or legal action and for public education. The two have set out to document real cases and to find facts and trace patterns of discrimination and denial of services and employment based on sexual orientation or gender expression.
In a media release, Sylvestor said citizens documenting discrimination helps the Government fulfil its obligations to protect human rights. She noted recent pledges by Gender Affairs Minister Verna St Rose-Greaves and by the Government at the United Nations to include GLBT under those protections. Sylvestor said she read recently that the Government decided to pass legislation to outlaw age discrimination based on just five cases filed with the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC). “So my initial goal is to find at least six cases for sexual orientation,” she added, noting that even this might present a challenge.
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