You Inspire Me

Jaevion

Jaevion Before I actively began to believe in myself, this young man saw quite a bit in me that was news to me. He has subtly pushed me, and pushed me, and pushed me to aim for more, reach for more, do more, and be more. In my one year at J-FLAG I have grown tenfold in many ways, in many areas of my life, and it is largely because Jaevion entrusted quite a bit to me that I did not even know I had the capacity to do. He will, for a very long time remain the most important person in my professional development beyond age 30.


Marvia

Marvia If Marvia sees me, she may not instantly remember me by name or even face, but I don’t care. She has revolutionised the way I process religion as a system of beliefs. This is very important for me, after having tireless conversations with many persons on issues of religion, morality, and sexuality. She has enlivened what I thought was impossible – reconciling religion, morality, and sexuality. I wish all my gay friends knew her.


Taitu

Taitu In an unplanned way, I have been learning quite a bit about advocacy and effecting change from this powHERhouse. I have seen the fruits of her work and her methodology, some of which I will emulate. In her calmest possible voice she always manages to get me to see my errors, when I do err, and she has never once made me feel insufficient because of them. More than many, she has witnessed my miraculous exponential growth in less than fifteen months; today I am happy she is proud of me.


Rochelle

20151005_122005For over seven years Rochelle has blessed my life and has impacted every single part of my being – every single part of my existence. She has taught me the art, elegance, and pleasure of forgiveness, and, as a hundredfold recipient I remain utterly grateful. She always had a vision for me that I didn’t quite have for myself and each day when I believe I am one step closer to that vision, I celebrate with pride and gratitude.


Kenita

Kenita I met Kenita over a year ago and I have closely observed (when she’s not looking) how she manages her multiple roles and how she easily inspires others around her to make, and be the difference they want to see. She is my Caribbean shero particularly with regard to advocating on behalf of the women in the gay community. She always knows when it’s time for a lengthy Skype call, and what to say to keep me going, and going, and going to the next level.


Lemarc

Lemarc My nephew. My godson. My youngest heartbeat. Lemarc has taught me the true meaning of unconditional love, and what it means to love someone just because they are. He is what I would call my fulcrum. If there was only one person in this world that I would never want to disappoint, it would be my Lemarc.


Joan

Joan While my interaction with this phenomenal woman is only a few months old, she has imparted a small fraction of her knowledge about many development-related issues on me, which keeps motivating me to learn even more. This is one encyclopaedia I never want to lose. One day I hope to amass even a quarter of the wealth of knowledge she has amassed in her time here.


Maria

Maria Maria has a subtle way of always keeping me grounded. She always seems to flick the idea switch in my head without realising it. If there is one person who I am certain will always keep me going, it’s her; she says the right things at the right time. Maria helps me to always see the big picture and avoid thoughts of throwing in the towel.


Carlene

Carlene Carlene is very dear to me. She is so committed to helping me improve everything I do and everything I am. She provides a safe haven for a multitude (that’s an exaggeration) of people, and watching her give of herself to others always makes me pause and reflect on what, and how much I give to humanity.


Richard

Richard Richard is the kindness person I know on the face of the earth. His selflessness is second to none, and he never complains in the midst of helping others, regardless of the circumstances. To watch someone constantly care for, and help others with such ease, is breath-taking.


Karlene

Karlene When I get older I want to facilitate any and every learning session the way Karlene does. She is simply the best, and it’s a quality I appreciate because of the profound impact it can have on others. This is something I will emulate over time with my own style, because I certainly can’t speak at her speed. Her passion for teaching is orgasmic.


Steve

Steve My Rev. Dad. If the story written in the Bible about Job was written in the year two thousand and fourteen, it would be renamed The Book of Steve. My dad – Steve – lives his principles and is almost never found wanting. As father, as minister of religion, as teacher, as brother, as friend, as colleague, as uncle, as granddad, as everything that he is, he positively impacts every life he touches. He is so cool, so calm, and so effective in all his roles and he never short-changes anyone who needs his time and support. If humans were perfect, he would be the measure. His life inspires me.

Thank you. Thank all of you…

Hijacking the SOA Review

SOA Review

When the GoJ publicly invited submissions on the review of the Sexual Offences Act (SOA) 2009 it was very clear in its intent. The primary aim of the review was to secure greater protection (and security) for women and children who have been vulnerabilised by the law with regard to power over (or lack thereof) their anatomies. In his judgement, the Minister of Justice – Senator Mark Golding and his Joint Select Committee recognised that possible amendments to the SOA, could also affect provisions in other related Acts such as the Child Care and Protection Act, The Domestic Violence Act, and the Offences Against the Person Act.

While the related Acts are being considered, they are not the primary reason for this review process. It is the SOA that is up for comprehensive review, which, to my knowledge is not homophobic. It does discriminate, yes, but primarily against women and girls as a collective class – gay women and girls, bisexual women and girls, straight women and girls – regardless of and not because of their sexual orientation. It is also discriminatory against boys and men, regardless of their sexual orientation and not because of their sexual orientation. It discriminates based on anatomy and not identity. So, for example, under the SOA men cannot be raped because their anatomy does not include a vagina. Boys cannot be raped because their anatomy does not include a vagina, and the SOA makes it clear that only a vagina can be raped. Also, in a ‘healthy marriage’ a man can never be charged for raping his wife – supposedly because it is her duty to spread her legs for him at his behest (as per marriage certificate?). Persons under 16 cannot legally access contraceptives without parental consent, so if there is no consent from parents, by the time they get to 16 (the age of consent), the law implies that they are supposed to be clueless about how to have safe sex. Another useful example is the fact that women cannot be charged for committing rape because they do not have a penis, and if a woman is forced to perform fellatio, that is not considered rape, and the perpetrator (depending on the mood or discretion of the judiciary) may serve less than three years in a correctional facility…

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The misogyny (that must be the term for it) that is being proliferated by some human rights advocates is evident in the narrative being crafted into the SOA – that the SOA is homophobic – clearly this exists in their minds only. What I find quite disheartening in this regard is that scores of individuals and organisations have been writing to the Joint Select Committee calling for all sorts of actions about this ‘homophobic piece of legislation’, and have wilfully ignored the mainstay of the review, which is to provide more protection for women and children, and any possible revision of the SOA into an Act based on the principle of gender equity. Gender equity in this regard means that persons will be punished in an equitable manner once they exact any form of sexual violence against any individual regardless of their sex or gender. It is for this reason that some human rights advocates are calling for the use of gender neutral or gender blind language throughout the Act, and for a ‘redefinition’ of rape that includes all forms of forced penetration of mouths, anuses, and vaginas…

Why are we hijacking the review of the SOA with our misogyny? Don’t be surprised if the LGBT community labels you as an ally of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship et al. Your advocacy on this is reflective of theirs.

Will the ‘real’ human rights advocates please stand up???