Diverse Genders and Sexualities in the Caribbean

Dates: 16th – 27th February, 2021|| 6 Modules over 2 weeks || 3 sessions per week

Course Description:

This was a short course on Caribbean sexualities with a focus on LGBTQI+ experiences and research in the Caribbean. It addressed topics such as sex, gender and sexuality, Caribbean sexuality studies, sexual and queer politics, and diverse genders and sexualities. The course offered engaging discussion and learning on regional LGBTQI+ activism and advocacy and navigating Caribbean cultural and legal landscapes. Finally, the course included guest speakers who presented on a range of issues such as transgressive sexualities, sex work and labour, and sexual rights and justice in the Caribbean. Sessions were held online using zoom and were very interactive using online technologies and time for discussion and group work as well as presentations by facilitators and special guest speakers.

Course Modules:

  1. Understanding Sex, Gender, and Sexuality – Concepts & Contexts | Intersectionality
  2. Critical Sexuality Studies | Caribbean Queer Studies | Sexual and Queer Politics
  3. Transgressive Sexualities and Genders | The Body, Personhood, Representation | Working Towards a Sexual Culture of Justice
  4. Sexual Rights and Justice in the Caribbean — Regional LGBTQI+ Advocacy & Activism | Navigating Cultural & Legal Landscapes
  5. The Problem of Sex: Work, Labour, Trafficking and Silences | Sex Work Activism
  6. Transformational Leadership and Human Rights Activism | LGBTQI+ Community Building and Empowerment | Social Justice Coalition Building

This short course was open to anyone interested in learning more about Caribbean diverse genders and sexualities. Practitioners, teachers, media professionals, first responders (police and healthcare workers), community activists and organisers, and other professionals who work in civil society, private sector, and/or the government (on issues related to gender and sexuality especially) were encouraged to register. Undergraduates, postgraduates and staff in all faculties – social sciences, humanities, education, science and technology, engineering, agriculture, law, medicine, etc. – with a strong interest in the topic were also encouraged to register, regardless of previous experience with sexuality studies.

The project offered scholarships through an open application process and these were granted based on financial need, activist and community work, and academic merit. A total of 24 people applied for scholarships and 22 people were granted those and participated.

Facilitators: Angelique Nixon & Colin Robinson | Special Guest Speakers: Kamala Kempadoo, Rosamond S. King, Nikoli Attai & Tracy Robinson

Testimonials:

This course was very informative for me in the sense that I really feel confident now that I can navigate my way through the queer and human rights scholarship of the region. I knew that our intellectual tradition was rich, but I didn’t really know where to start. I really value the conversations we were able to have with all the very interesting lecturers and each other – I enjoy that meeting of minds aspect of learning. I think in execution the course walked its talk – this kind of education for the greater good is one of the pillars of the decolonisation process.

This course was a perfect introduction to Diverse Genders and Sexualities in the Caribbean. As someone new to the field, I have learnt so much. It was particularly important to discuss the dynamics around the ongoing tensions between the Global North and South and how the Global North continues to impose a colonial agenda which the Global South continues to puts up different forms of resistances. In particular, it was helpful to learn about the Open Secret and the invisibility of women.

The short course was fascinating and inspiring for my own work. I was glad to have the opportunity to listen to renowned people working on gender and sexuality studies in the Caribbean and to local LGBTQI+ activists. The topics that have been raised were inclusive, diverse and multidisciplinary. Despite the difficult times we are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this short course was a real success thanks to the organizers, the invited speakers and the other participants.