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Change is afoot in the Eastern Caribbean. In the last year, no fewer than three Eastern Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and St Kitts and Nevis) have seen colonial-era laws overturned by the courts, following cases brought by brave members of the LGBTI+ community. 

While this is symptomatic of gradual progress on LGBTI+ rights in the Caribbean, LGBTI+ people and communities in the region still face significant discrimination, stigma and threats of violence. With increased media coverage of LGBTI+ issues as legal challenges unfold, it is vital that activists and human rights defenders have the skills and the confidence they need to engage with sometimes uneducated or even hostile media. 

Kaleidoscope Trust is supporting ECADE (the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality) to deliver training on media engagement to upskill some of the spokespeople on the frontline of the fight for equality. We spoke to Alexandrina Wong from Women Against Rape in Antigua and Barbuda and René Holder-McLean-Ramirez from Renacer Enterprises in Barbados about their work, the situation for LGBTI+ rights in their countries and how the media training has helped them better tell the stories of LGBTI+ life.  

Watch René speak about the training and LGBTI+ rights in Barbados

“I would say, in general, Barbados has a society that … would prefer not to have you seen.” Rene told us. “Building a relationship with media is important and that means for civil society gaining training and understanding of media, how to tell our own stories and how to share those stories. Recently we had media training with Kaleidoscope Trust and I think that was very informative for the persons that attended on how best they can actually format their stories and present their stories to the media.”

“In Antigua and Barbuda, like most of the colonial countries, there’s a major challenge, especially when it comes to the legal framework,” Alexandrina explained. She said that there is significant overlap in the fight for women’s rights and LGBTI+ rights: “I say that because previously throughout generations women were seen as powerless, women were seen to be the ones who must follow the rule to the letter, they dare not get out of their place otherwise they will be punished. When we look at intersectionality and we look at the way that the LGBTQI population has been treated by society over the years we see certain similarities.”

Talking about the media training that she received from ECADE, Alexandrina said: “The training helped us to look in a broader way as to what it is we need to tell the media, what it is we need the media to understand. It has also equipped us with skills and ability so that we can speak to members of the public and persons in our other social circles and help them to understand.”

Listen to Alexandrina speak about the training and her work to advance women's and LGBTI+ rights in Antigua and Barbuda

This training for activists on the frontline was made possible thanks to funding from the UK Government through the Global Equality Project and to support from our generous donors. Your support enables us to carry out more work like this.

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