A Sexual Culture of Justice Project

Community-University Collaboration
Led by The UWI, Institute for Gender and Development Studies
Project Lead Researcher: Dr. Angelique Nixon (Lecturer, IGDS)

Award for “Respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms in Trinidad and Tobago” Human Rights Grant, European Commission, Trinidad and Tobago Delegation

A Sexual Culture of Justice: Strengthening LGBTQI & GBV Partnerships, Capacity & Efficacy to Promote & Protect Rights in T&T is a human rights project funded by the European Union and implemented by The University of the West Indies, Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), in collaboration with six LGBTI and feminist organisations in Trinidad and Tobago: CAISO, Friends for Life, I Am One, The Silver Lining Foundation, Womantra and The Women’s Caucus. This project is a new community-university collaboration that provides four years of support for some of the longest-standing and emerging local efforts to transform approaches to partner violence, homophobia, bullying and policing, while building partnerships and organisational capacity.

Overall, the project features a suite of linked activities (with families, teachers, counsellors, men, police, students, community organisers, media, and legislators) aimed at influencing “a sexual culture of justice” in Trinidad and Tobago through change in societal thinking. We envision this “sexual culture of justice” as advocacy for social change to gender norms and sexual rights, grounded in local analysis and action-based research. We advocate for change and transformation education, empowerment, and self-directed and creative action.

presentatives of the UWI, IGDS, EU and Civil Society organizations at EU Headquarters 2017
Representatives of the UWI, IGDS, EU and Civil Society organizations at EU Headquarters 2017

ACTIVITIES & WORK OF THE PROJECT INCLUDE:

  • Building on existing efforts to address and prevent the culture of bullying of young people related to sex and gender through assessment & training;
  • Giving families, teachers, and police new concepts and tools to fulfil their obligation to ensure justice for those they protect and support through support groups & training toolkits;
  • Supporting small LGBTQI groups to build new organisational cultures, sharing space and infrastructure, strengthening leadership and membership, and pursuing a common policy agenda as the Alliance for Justice and Diversity (coalition of seven LGBTI and feminist organisations in T&T);
  • Developing new accessible knowledge products that strengthen local advocacy grounded in Caribbean theories, praxis, evidence, and analysis (specifically, collecting LGBTQI Lifestories, launching a Knowledge E-portal, and hosting a short course on Caribbean Sexualities);
  • Supporting diverse men to champion a new culture of gender equality and non-violence in their different communities, through workshops and media creation;
  • Campaigning for legal protection for LGBTI citizens from unjust discrimination.

The project runs from April 2017 to March 2021 and pursues a suite of linked activities (with families, teachers, counsellors, men in local communities, police, scholars, students, community organisers, media, and legislators) aimed at influencing “a sexual culture of justice” in Trinidad and Tobago through change in societal thinking. We envision this “sexual culture of justice” as advocacy for social change to gender norms and sexual rights, which is grounded in local analysis and action-based research. This is reflected in the project’s long-term distinctive approach to collaborative and innovative structural change – building upon the work of all partners in the project.

The project is led by the University’s Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) which brings a keen understanding from its long history of research and outreach on gender and social change, public education, policy research, and activism. The formal partners of this project include the six local civil society organisations known for their work in advancing LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and intersex) rights and protection, as well as forging strategies to end all forms of gender based violence. These organisations include: CAISO which is T&T’s principal LGBTQI policy analysis and advocacy voice; Friends for Life which has pioneered community social work strategies to build LGBTQI resilience and address working-class needs; I Am One which uses art and culture to represent the lived experiences of LGBTQI people; The Silver Lining Foundation, a youth organisation which champions anti-bullying in schools and promotes the developmental needs of LGBTQI youth; Womantra, an intersectional feminist organisation that engages in social justice actions including strategised initiatives to end gender based violence; and The Women’s Caucus of Trinidad & Tobago which engages in peer social support and community service for women who love women. Additionally, a non-formal partner, Say Something Trinidad & Tobago, which is a community action network born out of social protests on gender based violence, whose actions include holding public officials accountable, is also involved. Other technical partners include the Equal Opportunity Commission, the Caribbean Male Action Network (CariMAN), and the Caribbean IRN resource network.

For further information regarding this project, please contact the Lead Researcher at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, The UWI, Dr. Angelique Nixon, via e-mail at:
sexualcultureofjustice@gmail.com
angelique.nixon@sta.uwi.edu