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An open letter to the Prime Minister

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Tue Mar 25, 2013

Dear Mr Gonsalves,

It is 2014 and St Vincent and the Grenadines continues to discriminate against its citizens with the criminalization of homosexuality. This biased legislation bolsters and supports societal homophobia, exhibited in many forms. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Vincentians are subjected to harassment and discrimination in the workplace, on the street, in housing and public accommodations with no legal protection or recourse. There are reported cases of the police humiliating homosexuals in their custody, which deters LGBT Vincentians from approaching the police when they need protection. It is doubtful that the police would be helpful if LGBTs reported harassment. {{more}}The criminalization of homosexuality also encourages LGBTs to marry to hide their sexual orientation, which creates emotional damage for all parties involved. Most LGBT Vincentians are closeted and are not afforded the universal right to publicly live freely without fear of recrimination. It is also well known that homophobia inhibits HIV education and prevention, which is a major deterrent to reducing HIV infection, a health concern in SVG. The only “benefit” I can determine from this pernicious legislation is to polarize constituents with a bigoted view, at the expense of human rights for all. As a gay Vincentian, I am intimately familiar with the damage that homophobia disseminates.

In 2010, United Nations (SVG is a member) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the complete and universal decriminalization of homosexuality “stressing that human rights must always trump cultural attitudes and societal strictures.”

What is your position on decriminalizing homosexuality in SVG? What documented steps have you or your administration taken to remove this harmful law, which will set the tone for the nation when the Government espouses human rights for all citizens?

Sean Macleish

Director Caribbean Alliance for Equality

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