- SASOD attends Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference 2015
By Alana Da Silva - Secretary, SASOD’s Board of Directors
|Photo courtesy: Melanie Grant|
Over 50 lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LBT) women, feminists and heterosexual allies converged as a community at the 3rd Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference, from October 5 to 11, 2015. The conference was held at the Kapok Hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
As LBT women and feminist allies of the Caribbean and Latin America, part of the joy (and challenge) of participating in the conference was in sharing our experiences and incredible stories of love, friendship, and ways to build a supportive and sustainable community that challenges and increases the leadership capabilities of women - regardless of our sexual orientations and gender identities. At the same time, we learned how to navigate the social, political, and religious structures that designed to control women’s sexualities, which is inherently diverse but often criticised and criminalised due to fear, ignorance, and oppression.
The discussions were thought-provoking and sometimes deeply emotional, as one participant recalled her struggle with suicide, anxiety and depression. Others have overcome similar challenges with lesbophobia, biphobia and transphobia, while manoeuvring through self-care and acceptance. Our shared bond is that we continue to strengthen our resolve by advocating for the most vulnerable in our communities. This is achieved through various actions across the region, including LGBT-focused research; housing and security for victims of domestic and gender-based violence; training and information sharing; literacy programmes for children, or providing a safe space to share each other’s rich artistry and creativity, as in the case of Afifa Aza, Jamaican Artist, as well as Founder and Creative Director at SO((U))L.