Pride has been commemorated in this country for almost three decades. However, it was done so with discreet events because of the prejudices, fear and hate consistently meted out to members of the LGBT+ community.
Rudolph Hanamji, chairman of the TT Pride Arts Festival, explained that this year, a series of negative events, and the resulting love, support, and acceptance by many, pushed the community to make Pride a public celebration.
“The increased reports of violence against and murders of members of the LGBT community, for example, Sasha Fierce, in addition to the oppressive rhetoric of various leading religious personalities in response to the Jones vs TT case, have added to the already escalating national crime and disunity issues. In 2018, LGBT+ persons with privilege and protections, especially those from the millennial and younger generations, have stepped forward to change the Pride and Hide phenomenon and stand with the nation against all forms of crime and division.”
He said members of the LGBT+ community are not willing to remain in the shadows, be invisible, and allow people to separate them. “The LGBT community has much to be proud of and continues to contribute to national development of our ‘rainbow nation’, as it has always done. TT Pride 2018 is an opportunity to place a necessary spotlight on all the good that comes out of the LGBT+ community and a moment for all its members and allies to ‘unite for love,’ which is needed ever more in our nation today.”
Hanamji said this year’s Pride “must be the beginning of the end” of abuse, discrimination and violence towards members of the community. He also hoped it would make other members realise they had a support system to help them overcome self-shame and the psycho-social attacks from society, and that they could be proud publicly.
He highlighted several must-attend events for the remaining of TT Pride, which ends on July 29.
* July 10, 7 pm – LGBT History in Theatre Night at Drink! Wine Bar, Woodbrook.
Theatre has long been used to tell stories, entertain and document. The LGBT community has been a pivotal element in theatrical development – writing, producing, design, acting, dance, and singing. As a result, many people have stayed away from theatre because of the stigmas. This event will explore the history of Queer theatre in TT and try to provide keen insights into theatre as a whole and its impact on TT over the decades. It will feature some of the country’s veteran and young theatrical performers, and will be an audience-interactive session.
* July 13, 6.30 pm – We Are Love Concert, at Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook.
This concert will feature young and upcoming LGBT talent and is an opportunity for them to be ‘discovered’ by producers, talent scouts and programme managers. At the same time, it will explore the complex theme of love, and loving oneself and others as a young person.
* July 15, 4 pm – OUT Spoken, at Euphoria Lounge, Port of Spain.
OUT Spoken is a safe-space forum for authors, poets, spoken-word artists and orators alike to share their artforms with the wider community. This will allow these often-times ignored artistic talents to find a powerful platform as performers will touch on political, social and personal issues.
* July 20, 6 pm – FIERCE – A Fashion Experience. Venue to be announced.
This event will explore young and upcoming LGBT fashion designers who would benefit from public exposure as they build their brand and following. This industry is earmarked for development as a growth sector for TT.
* July 28, 1 pm – Fair and Parade, at Nelson Mandela Park, St Clair.
The first ever LGBT Pride Fair and Parade to be hosted in TT, which is expected to usher in a new dawn for LGBT and non-LGBT public engagement. It is intended to signal the end of the era of Pride and Hide and place a positive spotlight on the LGBT community and its contribution to the national development of TT.