Lifestories of LGBTQI+ Persons in Trinidad & Tobago

Lifestories of LGBTI persons in Trinidad and Tobago 
An Activity of A Sexual Culture of Justice Project
Led by Friends for Life and the Institute for Gender and Development Studies


Project Description: IGDS has partnered with Friends for Life for this research activity, which is one main activity of a three-year, Human Rights European Union-funded project called “A Sexual Culture of Justice” (a new community-university collaboration that provides three years of support for some of the longest-standing and emerging local efforts to transform approaches to partner violence, homophobia, bullying and policing).

Background: The Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), St. Augustine Unit has a long history of scholarship on gender and social change, public education, policy research and action, and work with civil society groups to end GBV and advance the rights of the LGBTQI community in Trinidad & Tobago and across the region. Friends For Life (FFL) has championed the rights of working-class LGBTQI persons for 20 years and developed radical social work interventions in response.

Purpose: FFL is working with IGDS to fill gaps in knowledge and strengthen the relevance and focus of advocacy and interventions with regard to local working class LGBTQI by documenting 18 lifestories, including psychosocial and socioeconomic information, experiences with GBV, and policy concerns. FFL has identified this as a key need for developing programming and ensuring policy advocacy is accountable to working class LGBTQI and not driven by middle-class, educated or global LGBTQI experiences.

Research Design: The design of the study is qualitative, semi-structured, in-depth interviews. The subject-participants of the study were asked to lead the interview, guided by the facilitator/interviewer who will follow a list of general questions and topics. The main questions focus on thematic areas and experiences of being an LGBTIQ person: 1) family/friends and support systems, 2) critical events & challenges, 3) experiences with violence, 4) primary needs, 5) policy interests and social change. The subject-participants will have the opportunity guide, change, and add to this list. The facilitators will be trained through workshops on Research Ethics & Interviewing. Consent forms will be used for each interview and disclosure agreements made on a case-by-case basis. And each subject-participant will be given a description of the study, the purpose, and the questions and topics before the interview.

PROGRESS 10 DEC 2018: Lifestories of 18 working-class LGBTI Trinbagonians collected and transcribed. Analysis of the stories in progress. Features, presentations and publications of the research and stories forthcoming in 2019.