The great young people at the Silver Lining Foundatiopn in T&T have created a new anti-bullying campaign with a special emphasis on LGBT kids. Proud of them as always. Why not make your own to support them.
This, that and a whole lot more.
A few weeks ago I was privileged to be a consultant to a group started by Jeremy Steffan Edwards and comprised of young people who, spurred by yet another teen suicide in Trinidad and countless others around the world, decided that enough was enough and that they would make a difference. Sitting in that first meeting held at a conference table at the University of the West Indies I looked at the young faces and listened to them emphatically stating that young people being driven to despair because they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or questioning was not acceptable and I can’t really describe how proud I felt and how full of hope for the future.
Out of a series of meetings the George Kasanjian Foundation which later became The Silver Lining Foundation was born. Driven by some of the most passionate young people I have met in recent years the group has finally crafted its mission statement and vision statement.
The Silver Lining Foundation is committed to facilitating safe access to the relevant psychological, sexual, medical, recreational and media resources necessary to educate, equip and empower youth to deal with difficulties regarding sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
To create an environment conducive to respect and self acceptance, and to provide a support system for marginalized youth regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, leading to a sustainable and functional Life.
It has also embarked on a project that will be a first for T&T – a Day of Silence which will be observed on Friday. Those participating will tape their mouths and hand out cards to others on campus explaining the purpose of the group. The Trinidad Guardian published an excellent article on the day here.
This might seem like a small act to achieve a very big change – and it is – but it is a start and it will mark a major turning point in the fight for LGBTQ kids to be given the dignity and respect that they deserve as equal human beings. This is also being done in a country in the English speaking Caribbean – not normally viewed as an especially tolerant environment for such vulnerable kids. In practice T&T is nowhere as unwelcoming as say Jamaica but there are still discriminatory ( though rarely enforced) rules on the books and LGBT people face discrimination on a daily basis simply because of who they are.
2012 will go down as an interesting year for us with this inspiring project by The Silver Lining Foundation and by CAISO which has embarked on a series of weekly meetings to push equality onto the national agenda ( I am on the – wait for it – Media Committee). This could be the start of something really good.
Disturbing, but I am sure it is a what the average day looks like for many gay people in the Arab world. Hopelessness is a reality for so many in the parts of this planet that refuse to accept human nature. Even though LGBT people have been at the forefront of most radical social movements- including the Arab Spring – inclusion is not always the end result – in fact seldom so. This video touches my heart.
Damascus, Syria. Feb. 2012.
Syrian Rules, By azzedine Jamal
People are fighting for “freedom”.
Freedom of All ?
The only choice for a lot of gay syrian is to sucide themself or to get arrested.
Revolution, yes. For all, no.
I don’t have a firm position on suicide as to me circumstances can make it a reasonable choice in cases such as terminal and painful illness. I can’t see suicide as an acceptable option for a gay Syrian or Arab in general even though I don’t have to live in such an overtly oppressive society.
Perhaps the solution is to move to a more gay accepting society like Canada (despite PM Harper) or to bravely work to make a change in Syria – despite the threat to your life – ACTUPorg is there for you.
There are no easy answers – just stay safe.