THE 758 Pride Committee hosted a press conference followed by a panel discussion on Friday, August 23rd at the Bay Gardens Hotel where fellow team member and LGBT advocate Maria Fontenelle addressed LGBT related topics.
Maria remarked, “The movement towards equality and acceptance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people has been resilient and rich… Over several decades Saint Lucia has witnessed growth in LGBTQ community mobilization and visibility”.
Fontenelle said this movement had been led largely by United and Strong however, recently the Eastern Caribbean Alliance For Diversity and Equality (ECADE), a regional umbrella organization, joined in supporting advocacy around LGBTQ+ issues in the region.
Fontenelle highlighted the fact that there is open discrimination against LGBTQ members in Saint Lucia whereby individuals may endure both verbal and physical harm. She said the discrimination often resulted in issues in the workplace as it pertained to attire and appearance. In addition, Fontenelle also discussed the existence of cases where hate crimes towards LGBT members had remained stagnant in the hands of the authorities with minimal evidence present. She said there seemed not to be a need to solve those crimes, as the victims were perceived to be “LGBTQ people”.
Additionally, Fontenelle responded to questions about church opposition to the LGBTQ movement in Saint Lucia stating, “I don’t feel the need to respond. We have the pride activity because LGBTQ people feel like they can and should celebrate who they are despite the community that marginalizes them. If any church body or any other community feels the need to speak out against something, it is their right to do so against any community, however I would caution anyone to not speak in a manner that encourages discrimination against any group of people.”
Fontenelle further noted that the 758 Pride Committee has hosted further pride activities such as an Education and Health Fair which was held on Saturday, August 24th in the William Peter Boulevard.
Now you are no longer afraid, and are “coming out” publicly;
at least some of you. Certainly there could be some closet ones
because of fear or age will remain hidden. The world is full of varying
kinds and sadly, mother nature in some cases have not been too kind.
During my occasional visits to pray for some at various institutions
I have witnessed the malfunctions of some,where I struggle even to
ask is (it) a she or a he. I fought against the tears, having noticed that
one that I prayed for strength to be careful not to offend, but after two
years, I noticed the obvious parts of the body revealed that ‘it’ was a she.
My faith in the ‘Almighty’ told me to pray harder for such, for the pain that
some go through.Some ended there, rejected by parents, with no love and
I thank God that some have been touched by love to reach out to those who
suffer in silence. Some of course, sadly are born blind, deaf and dumb, for
all of the varying afflictions – I pray daily ‘ Lord have mercy’ and I even I know
He is merciful.I thank the Almighty that he has given me the grace to pray for you.
For those born with afflictions, may God have mercy: but let us be wise: I warn those
who prey on the weak and vulnerable for their selfish pleasure: Be careful of “HIS” wrath.