Trinis tolerant of gays

Attorney Lynette Seebaran-Suite, centre, chairman of Advocates for Safe Parenthood, is introduced to Peter Wickham, director of CADRES, by Colin Robinson, head of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation at a recent meeting.
Attorney Lynette Seebaran-Suite, centre, chairman of Advocates for Safe Parenthood, is introduced to Peter Wickham, director of CADRES, by Colin Robinson, head of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation at a recent meeting.

PORT-OF-SPAIN – The majority of people in T&T are either tolerant or accepting of homosexuals rather than homophobic. Also, lesbian/bisexual/gay/transgender issues are not as politically dangerous as politicians think. These were the results of a survey, funded by the British High Commission and conducted by the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services Inc, of attitudes toward homosexuals in T&T. The results were announced at a press conference at the All Saints Anglican Church, Port-of-Spain, yesterday by CADRES director Peter Wickham.

The information, well received by the local LBGT community, came on the eve of the celebration of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia today.

A CADRES press summary said the survey demonstrated 36 per cent of the population could genuinely be described as homophobic and eight per cent were unsure about the issue. “Conversely, this means 56 per cent of Trinbagonians are either tolerant or accepting of homosexuals. The acceptance of homosexuality is greater than the rejection. The survey basically says T&T is not a homophobic country.” Wickham said the acceptance of homosexuality could be because there were a lot of people in T&T with gay friends.

Wickham said a random selection of 1,080 men and women all over T&T from the age groups 18-30, 31-65 and 65 years and over were interviewed but a full report explaining the methodology and limitations of the survey was unavailable to the media. He said more women than men were interviewed because there were more women in T&T than men and noted that women and younger people were more comfortable with homosexuals. The latest Central Statistical Office census states there are more men than women in T&T. Colin Robinson, of Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation, said the survey confirmed a suspicion his group had that T&T was not as homophobic as was believed.

Wickham said the survey found that despite the largely positive stance of the majority of citizens, a lot of misunderstanding about homosexuality still existed. The misunderstanding was the general belief that homosexuality was a choice.

The CADRES survey also showed if there were legislative change about homosexuals it would not affect voters and would have no significant negative impact for a political party. (Express)

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