Local activists to attend women and sexual diversity conference for LBT

POSTED: 10/4/14 10:55 AM

St. Maarten—A delegation from St. Maarten will participate in the upcoming second Caribbean women and diversity conference for lesbian, bisexual and transsexual activists to be held in Suriname under the theme “Inspiring women to leadership.”

Activists from across the Caribbean will convene next week in Suriname for this conference. An initiative of United and Strong Inc Saint Lucia, the CWSDC is supported by CariFLAGS and WomenSWay Suriname. Now in its second year, the CWSDC targets activists in the area of lesbian, bisexual and transsexual health and rights, with the aim of increasing Caribbean women’s visibility in the movement. This year’s collective is drawn from thirteen countries, from Bahamas to Suriname and points in between.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to connect women across the region, in what we aim to be a lasting movement,” says executive director of United and Strong Inc. Kenita Placide. She adds, “The women’s conference was conceptualized to enhance the LGBTI movement in the region by amplifying the voices of LBT activists.”

For one week from October 5 to 12 in Paramaribo, Suriname, twenty-four participants will explore ways to improve their advocacy including proposal writing, international mechanisms, community mobilizing and media. They will also learn from each other’s varying knowledge and experience in advocacy.

Sessions will be presented by facilitators from Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Suriname. Facilitators are also drawn from the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus), Arcus Foundation, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Astraea Lesbian Foundation and Women’s Health in Women’s Hands. Faye Ferdinandus of CariFLAGS (Caribbean Forum for the Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexuality), says the mix of presenters will add to the value of the conference.

“We want to build networks, which we the organizers did last year, and continue to build upon that foundation. We want to do so this time also. Caribbean presenters bring an understanding of the culture and live the lives so will bring knowledge of the nuances to the training.”

The CWSDC runs parallel with Suriname Coming Out Week celebrations organized by LGBT Platform Suriname and participants will attend events as part of the conference. Suriname’s annual Coming Out Week is one of the most vibrant pride celebrations in the region, with Suriname’s first lady hanging out the rainbow flag in 2013.


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