On 31 March, the world observed International Trans Visibility Day. As a Human rights advocate, I have observed that the social context for trans persons living in the Caribbean is harsher.
There is a growing and thriving trans population in the Caribbean. Due to the high degree of stigma and discrimination, transgender people are subject to the conditions of inequality and exclusion in the economic, social and legal environment. Often, they are prevented from accessing basic human rights such as healthcare.
The police reports are treated as jokes or go missing when transpersons report acts of violence towards them. The records of crimes against transgender people emerge now from civil society, then they have the difficult task of reporting these acts of violence and sometimes killings.
It is now evident that transgender persons are more visible in the Caribbean. There is a strong clear need for recognition and protection of their rights which have been violated historically. Self-perceived gender identity discrimination and violence are strong barriers to accessing healthcare, education, and employment. We must improve this with a clear implementation of decisive public policy to promote the human rights of this vulnerable population.
Because of the fear of discrimination, trans persons use healthcare facilities for critical situations only and often it is too late. The education system has excluded them through discrimination, verbal and physical violence. Transgender persons have been denied access to work, even informal and badly paid jobs have been for most just a dream.
Gender Identity is real in the Caribbean. To my trans persons in the Caribbean keep your faith in tack and continue to love who you are. I believe with education, and awareness, we can overcome our challenges.
Visibility is Empowerment.