When Women lead: The Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference [CWSD]

mugabe-sleeps-at-conference-590x444 I have never been quite fond of certain conferences and workshops primarily because some of them tend to be useless and unproductive at best. I do not know how others feel about this but in my opinion it is a waste of resources to engage in 2-7 day workshops and conferences when at the end of same, no real progress is achieved, no impact is felt and no value is added except splashes of fresh or salted water on frail bodies, fine dining, and island tours.

1209416_10101338764082977_1294583948_n Some workshops and conferences do produce incremental progress and have in fact benefitted the LGBT community directly or indirectly. Some have more impact than others, and forgive the feminist thrust,  but the recently concluded Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference in Curaçao (September 23 to 29) proved to be interficiam prae reliquias. I went to the conference with no expectations because I did not want to be grossly disappointed at the end. But I should have known better.  After all, it was planned and organised by several powerful Caribbean women with the support of two men (?).

I had so many intellectually exotic moments and orgasmic inspiration especially in regard to the youthful age of some LBT activists in the Caribbean. I do not know if it was the chemistry and bond of sisterhood among the participants, but we were largely supported by each other and even the introverts who sometimes lost themselves to the stereo did not get much opportunity to do so. I had many highlights on several levels – the professional, the intellectual, the social, the personal and the developmental.

1376634_10101338773563977_1283026282_n The conference was scheduled concurrently with Curaçao Pride which added much value to the experience.  Experiencing Pride in Curaçao made me realise that there was so much more that needed to be done in Jamaica with respect to the freedom of LGBT persons. It made me realise that I have been a victim of false imprisonment in Jamaica given the extreme social, cultural and religious restrictions placed on the LGBT population even for persons like myself who try to push the boundaries in my own way…

It was an all-round beautiful experience with beautiful women.

Women who:

Taught me how to more effectively engage my family, community, and society with respect to the human rights and freedom of LBT women;

Women who:

Taught me how to defend my person if I was being physically assaulted;

Women who:

Solidified my belief in the role of research and documentation in LBT advocacy;

Women who:

Educated me about the legal plight of my fellow LBT women across the Caribbean;

Women who:

Demonstrated for me that leadership was centred on responsibility, transformation, skill, and positive attitudes;

Women who:

Taught me how to pool resources to better serve my community;

Women who:

Taught me how to use my spaces strategically to advocate for the rights and freedom of LBT women;

Women who:

Opened my eyes to a Caribbean world of powerful, resilient, inspirational, innovative women;

Women who:

Inflamed this lit match of passion for the LBT community.

1382390_10151998632348900_101610617_n I feel honoured as a participant in the CWSD Conference and I extend much gratitude to the organisers and fellow participants for making it a historical success.

Women! My champions! My inspiration!

Vivir mi vida!

-Photos courtesy of Amina Doherty, Jalna Broderick and Tieneke Sumter