International Issues · Justice and Penal Issues · Local Issues · Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

‘Am I Safe Here?’

A Facebook friend of mine, a gay man from another island studying in Trinidad, asked me if he was safe.

I don’t have an answer for him.

It might be easy for me, a straight ally, to say to him that he would go to a gay bar without being shot at. But then, as an ally, I know better than to say that. A young man I once met was beaten and hospitalized due to an attack by a family member. A friend of mine was almost killed by a man. Even I, an ally, have been threatened by neighbors for wearing a t-shirt with the words ‘The Homosexual Agenda…’

I don’t know if he’s safe.

This is the t-shirt in particular, if folks are wondering…

Someone might say that no one is radical enough to want to kill people because of their own sexual orientation. But one cursory Facebook timeline scroll proves that heartbreakingly wrong; self-proclaimed faithful men and women saying that ‘the wages of sin is death’; regular citizens celebrating the deaths of ‘them bullers and them’; people commenting under news articles saying things such as ’50 less pedophiles to deal with’…

Just a few comments from Trinbagonians responding to the news of the Orlando shooting. (via

Others still might say that Trinidad and Tobago is not as violent as the US, even though our murder rate per capita is worse than some US states. Last year, in this country, sanitation workers found a severed head in a bin. Two months later, a police officer was shot repeatedly outside of a barbeque restaraunt in broad daylight. Early this month, gang members chopped burned a secondary school child in his mother’s home. As I said in one of my previous posts, this country is one news report away from becoming another season of Daredevil.

So I don’t know if my friend is safe. I don’t know if my other LGBT Loved ones are safe. Hell, even I feel unsafe some few but frightening times because of the things I’ve said and done as an ally among some hateful people. I do not know how to answer this one, foreign, fearful friend of mine.

I want the answer to be yes; you are safe. But is that the answer that Trinidad and Tobago wants to give?


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