T&T’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community groups, who all work together as the Alliance for Justice and Diversity, are calling on members of their communities to hold each other tighter and ensure each other’s safety. Responding to reported murders of three gay men —all Caribbean migrants— in a month long period in January 2017 and rumours swirling about other incidents of violence, the groups met together and swiftly developed a safety awareness campaign.
They piloted the messages in toilets at LGBTQI parties over the Carnival 2017 weekend. In response to new concerns circulating on social media about the safety of gay men, they formally launched the Keep Safe campaign in March 2017, funded by an award to CAISO: Sex & Gender Justice from the Canadian High Commission.
Watch • Send • Stop — offer simple messages: Be aware. Watch out for each other. Help find solutions. And the postcards include these three messages plus one focused on gender diversity — and on the back of all the designs — “when meeting someone tips”.
“It’s an empowerment message,” said Colin Robinson, director of CAISO. “Our LGBTQI communities here are resilient and have a long history of collaboration and of solution-seeking. Instead of panic, fear and victimhood, we are calling for people to increase our responsibility and vigilance, to take more loving care of each other, and to ensure each other’s protection.”
The groups, which include CAISO sex & gender justice, Trinidad & Tobago, Womantra, Friends for Life, The Silver Lining Foundation, IamOne Trinidad and Women’s Caucus, have also reached out to police leadership to offer partnership and pressure in investigating the three murders, to find ways to encourage LGBTQI people who refuse to report crimes because of negative experiences with police, and to ensure accurate information about the number and nature of violent crimes against LGBTQI communities is disseminated.
The flyers include an email address firstname.lastname@example.org where the groups encourage crime victims to contact them for support and advocacy. They can also reach a Friends for Life social worker at 1-868-681-4150. Graphic Design by Nikoli Attai.