Trinidad and Tobago: Information on the treatment of lesbians by the authorities and the general public, on the societal attitudes towards lesbians, and on whether there are any groups advocating lesbian rights
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 May 1995|
|Citation / Document Symbol||TTO20544.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Trinidad and Tobago: Information on the treatment of lesbians by the authorities and the general public, on the societal attitudes towards lesbians, and on whether there are any groups advocating lesbian rights, 1 May 1995, TTO20544.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ab0638.html [accessed 25 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The information in this response was provided by a representative at the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA), a regional umbrella organization of women's organizations and women activists founded in 1985, who stated that "homosexuality is still criminalized under the law in Trinidad and Tobago, and gays and lesbians do not enjoy any legal recognition" (5 May 1995).
The source reported that sociological and scientific data on lesbianism in Trinidad and Tobago is lacking primarily because of the absence of studies on the subject; therefore any analysis of the situation must be made cautiously (ibid.).
The source stated that Trinidadian societal attitude towards gays and lesbians is driven by strong homophobia (ibid.). One's lesbianism can be expressed privately or among friends, but is seldom expressed openly or publicly, regardless of an individual's family background or profession. However, a woman might feel "more space" to express her lesbianism in the city than in the countryside, reported the source.
Most prominent gay and lesbian artists have not yet publicly stated their sexual orientation, said the representative.
Neither homosexuality nor lesbianism has been discussed on Trinidadian television programmes and/or radio talks shows, according to CAFRA's representative. However, due to the concerns raised by the presence of AIDS, Trinidadian newspapers have begun to report on these issues, reported the source.
To the source's knowledge, there have been no public demonstrations to advocate for lesbian rights, nor are there any publicly known associations or groups pursuing this objective in Trinidad and Tobago. The source was not aware of any publications either on gays and lesbians or published by gays and lesbians in Trinidad and Tobago.
For a brief description of the official and societal attitudes towards gays and lesbians in Trinidad and Tobago, please consult the attached excerpt from The Third Pink Book.
This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find attached, the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA). Trinidad and Tobago. 5 May 1995. Telephone interview with a coordinator.
The Third Pink Book: A Global View of Lesbian and Gay Liberation and Oppression. 1993. Edited by Aart Hendricks, Rob Tielman, and Evert Van Der Veen. New York: Prometheus Books, p. 333.
Additional Sources Consulted
Discrimination Against Women. 1989. London: McFarland.
International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA).
Latin American Regional Reports: Caribbean and Central America Report [London]. 1992-1995.
Sisterhood is Global.
Women and Men in Society. 1986. Belmont: Wadsworth.