United and Strong speaks out!

It is sad that after holding such posts as Minister of Health, Human Services, Family Affairs and Gender Relations and serving as Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun still demonstrates such an abject lack of understanding of the role of government and promotes discrimination. Government serves the people, all the people, including the minority and is bound to take measures to protect the health and lives of all citizens despite individual personal beliefs. The lack of understanding of this basic concept, and not the “gay lobby”, is the reason Flood-Beaubrun is currently out of government.

While it is admirable that she seeks to defend family values, how can the on-going campaign to promote family and human rights succeed with a strategy of breaking and destroying families by drawing on stigma, discrimination and separation?

To quote the late Caribbean human rights activist Robert Carr, “We are all connected. We may believe we have nothing to do with a gay person, nothing to do with a sex worker, nothing to do with a drug-user, nothing to do with a prisoner, but it’s not true! We are part of a fabric of society, and as part of that fabric, what is happening in one part of that fabric/society affects the rest of it.”

As the 43rd OAS General Assembly this week agreed to ban discrimination against sexual orientation, Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Fernando Carrerra noted, “…the interest is to eliminate forms of discrimination… a very clear convention that if I attack someone for being gay or for his or her sexual orientation in general – that is a violation of the convention. Aggression, violence, verbal or physical abuse against persons who have sexual orientation of whatever kind, heterosexual, bisexual, transsexual – it is obviously considered in these conventions as a violation of human rights. So I think in that principle is what the states agree on and where they will be an important element of impact in the public policies. I think that the respect of their dignity is something that all the states are taking into account.”

Whether the LGBT community constitutes 1.5 percent or 20 percent of the population, the health and safety of these individuals should not be disregarded. The only result of criminalising adult consensual relationships that harm no one, has been forcing people underground. Is it any wonder that it is difficult to compile relevant statistics to reflect the reality in the region with unfounded, rabid expressions of people like Flood-Beaubrun. While she disparages Dr. Greene’ and claims he is advocating “foreign” concepts; she however quotes several “foreign” western sources to support some of her arguments, proving that we as a nation cannot exist in a bubble.
She further chastises him for statistics that are “grossly exaggerated and calculated to mislead, and, therefore an outrageous lie” but presents no empirical evidence to challenge the assertions.

While Flood-Beaubrun claims western ideology and morality is being thrust down the throats of Caribbean people, we need to examine our own history and acknowledge the reality of what has existed within our communities for hundreds of years. We fail to understand why Flood-Beaubrun aligns herself with Arab and African nations whose policies continue to demonstrate that they have no respect for women or minorities, and advocating that the will of the majority hold the minority hostage.

We hope that as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated in a 7th March 2012 address to the Human Rights Council, instead of embracing destructive religious fanaticism, civil society organisations in Saint Lucian and around the Caribbean should not allow individuals to undermine human rights efforts that directly contradict the mandates of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Human Rights Declaration.

Finally, while we applaud Flood-Beaubrun’s concern about HIV, we note that what’s fuelling the epidemic is a lack of acceptance of self, occasioned by negative societal attitudes towards LGBT individuals; lack of confidentiality and professionalism in the health sector and the churches’ failing to deal with incest, child-abuse and infidelity within their congregations. Flood-Beaubrun should worry less about LGBT acceptance and more about ensuring the church is upholding family values by educating its congregation to respect for the currently established institution of hetero-sexual marriage by eschewing divorce and adultery.


— United and Strong

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