Guest Post Authored By: Kira Ann Buchanan
Co-authors: Jennelle Ramdeen and C.R.W
Being a bisexual counselor-in-training, I feel like I need to utilize my education and privilege to advocate for the LGBTQiA community. Mental health has become a passion of mine that has provided me with an exciting career path. Though I do not live in the West Indies, I’ve spent a lot of time between Trinidad and Jamaica. I have been discriminated against and I’ve also witnessed anti-gay scenarios mostly while in Trinidad. Being a bisexual women, I’ve felt more accepted than many because I have straight passing privilege. I grew up with a heavy West Indian culture, which was also a bit homophobic. I will always identify as West Indian before American. Mental health and lack of resources for the LGBTQiA community within the West Indies is an issue I plan to combat.
I didn’t want to speak for individuals actually living in the West Indies so I did an interview with a friend of mine that lives in Trinidad. She identifies as lesbian and has a wide variety of queer friends. She participates in several advocacy campaigns as well as safe space groups at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Queer women in Trinidad seem to be the most prominent group that advocate for the community. My friend noticed gay men are not too active in advocacy. She said, “they seem to be too preoccupied partying and liming,” which added some humor to this serious topic. She believes men should use their privilege to help make a change and I couldn’t agree more. It seems like the queer women that do advocate in Trinidad have had the privilege to go abroad and study. They are lucky enough to go back home and live within the upper class of the society. I was encouraged to “take activism in Trinidad with a grain of salt.” There is a generational and gender divide within the community. There is no solidarity.