Report of the first meeting of the Caribbean Region of the International Resource Network

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Report of the first meeting of the Caribbean Region of the International Resource Network
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Support for the development of the technical infrastructure and partner training provided by the United States Department of Education TICFIA program.
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The first meeting of the Caribbean Region of the International Resource Network was an undeniable success. The more than thirty people present came from or have relationships with over a dozen Caribbean countries and territories using all four major languages of the region. They are activists, scholars, politicians, and artists – and many occupy more than one of these roles at once. In addition to individual introductions, an important element of the meeting was brief reports of the major issues faced by sexual minorities in different Caribbean countries and territories. This enabled participants to have a better idea of the historical and contemporary situations in places with which they were less familiar.

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 1 REPORT OF THE FIRST MEETING OF THE CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL RESOURCE NETWORK SUMMARY & TABLE OF CONTENTS In other organizing there was not a place where Caribbean people were taking charge of their own agenda. Here we have a direction and give ourselve s the charge to speak on these issues. We have to break our own silences and energize and network. Because among other people who are interested in Comment by a workshop participant The first meeting of the Caribbean Region of the International Resource Network was an undeniable success. The more than thirty people present came from or have relationships with over a dozen Caribbean countries and territories using all four major languages of the region. They are activists, scholars, politicians, and artists and many occupy more than one of these roles at once. In addition to individual introductions, an important element of the meeting was brief reports of the major issues faced by sexual minorities in dif ferent Caribbean countries and territories. This enabled participants to have a better idea of the historical and contemporary situations in places with which they were less familiar. For more than five hours, we discussed the major issues facing Caribbea n sexual minorities both in individual countries and across the region and ways to address these concerns generally, and specifically through the IRN website. The discussion topics chosen by participants were: theorizing and contesting homophobia re gional and national queer history, including indigenous perspectives allies and families art, performance and social justice transgender lives in the Caribbean scholarship as activism surveying and documenting organizing in the region and action researc h. It is significant and was remarked upon by those present that HIV/AIDS was not chosen by the group as a discussion topic. Since many of those present are actively engaged in HIV/AIDS work, this does not indicate a sense that this is not an importan t topic in the region. Rather, its absence may reflect the reality that resources related to sexual minority issues in the Caribbean are directed overwhelmingly to HIV/AIDS, with almost nothing left for other topics or work. The s raise the question: if sexual minorities in the Caribbean could ourselves choose to direct resources to any type of work, would they continue to direct them almost exclusively to HIV/AIDS? This question is spoken to by the quote at the beginning of this document. During the rigorous and refreshing discussions, participants also addressed how the IRN can contribute to the work going on in the region and its diaspora.

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 2 They addressed every aspect of the website, from its construction to its content and capa of the directives are in the process of being implemented to make the IRN a functioning, productive website that can support work towards documenting, improving, and analyzi ng the lives of Caribbean sexual minorities. All interested parties are encouraged to browse the website at www.irnweb.org and to participate by registering and uploading materials. For more information or to communi cate with the Caribbean IRN, email caribbeanirn@gmail.com Contents of this Report Summary & Table of Contents Background & Context Welcome & Introductions (including summaries of country reports) Topics Discu ssed What Participants Gained from the Meeting How the IRN can Be Useful Next Steps Appendices Discussion Group Reports Evaluation Comments Report from Caribbean IRN Panel at the Caribbean Studies Association * * * * * * * * B ACKGROUND & C ONTEXT At the time of its first meeting in May 2009, the Caribbean Region of the International Resource Network (IRN) was well under a year old. The larger IRN, which includes a Middle Eastern, Eu ropean, Asian, African, and U.S/Canada regions, as well as a Latin American and Caribbean Region, was officially launched in 2006. The International Resource Network (IRN) was created to connect researchers from both academic and community bases in areas related to diverse sexualities and genders. It was conceived of as a website where people interested in approaching sexual rights and human rights from the perspective of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer studies or in surveying the research on p articular LGBTQ issues around the globe have had no central directory listing. It is a project organized by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS), which is housed at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Primary funding is provi ded by the Ford Foundation. People conducting research on LGBTQ themes and subjects have no central place to put out queries for documentary materials, make contact with others engaged in similar work, or find opportunities to develop comparative or collab orative projects. CLAGS hopes that irnweb.org will be a central international clearinghouse with contact information, summaries of holdings and work, web links to regional projects, archival information, and mechanisms for collaborative

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 3 opportunities on a large, systematic scale and to foster international exchange. The Caribbean Region of the IRN is in the beginning stages, focusing on planning, strategy, and development. As more scholarship and activism in and outside of the region focus on sexual m inorities in the Caribbean, there is an increasing need for a clearinghouse to access information/research/resources and connect individuals from around the world. The Caribbean Region of the IRN plans to be such a clearinghouse and resource for people an d organizations inside and outside the region. We hope that the Caribbean IRN will promote activism and creative work, as well as different kinds of engaged scholarship meaning scholarship that both serves activism and can itself be considered activism. We hope that this project will support projects, organizations, and collaborative opportunities within the Caribbean region. Personnel Caribbean IRN Staff: Vidyaratha Kissoon, Caribbean IRN Coordination Consultant (VK) Caribbean IRN Board: Natalie Benn ett, Thomas Glave, Rosamond S. King (RK), Angelique Nixon (AN) Though no names of participants are provided, details regarding our backgrounds and work is provided below. * * * * * * * * W ELCOMES & I NTRODUCTIONS A welcome was provided by VK, followed by an introduction of Caribbean IRN (Caribbean IRN) board and staff by RK. Board member AN provided a reminder of The Gat AN, Quote from Audre Lorde. Caribbean IRN to connect scholars and activists. Brief introductions. Those present included: Individuals from (or with deep connections to) : Anguilla, Bahamas, Canada, Curaao Guadelo upe, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Trinidad & Tobago, and the USA Activists who work on of those who have experienced discrimination based on their HIV status; advocacy and social support for the LGBT community; feminist issues; WSW issues; corrective rape; people living with HIV/AIDS; gay rights; native language activism (Queer Renaissance m ultimedia movement; Queer Black Mobile Homecoming Project (intergenerational); Curaao Vulnerable Communities; CFLAC access?; Caribbean HIV/AIDS Partnership (CHAP); Women for Women; Pride in Action; JFLAG Jamaica Forum for Lesbians,

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 4 All Sexuals, and Gays; Jamaica AIDS Support (JAS)); policy & program development work; TT Anti Violence Project, Audre Lorde Project; Sunshine Community; Broken Beautiful Press) Graduate students and oth er scholars who work on: queer Caribbean literature; postcolonial studies; gender and sexuality in the South Asian diaspora; clinical psychology; black lesbian literature; transgender studies; linguistics; lesbian and working class Jamaican sexualities; h omophobia in JA; medicine; social science & media; black feminism; nationality as it relates to religion and sexuality. Those present were affiliated with a number of universities in and outside of the region. Artists, including : fiction writers, filmmake rs, poets, dancers, musicians, multimedia artist As well as: theologians, current and former government officials from various countries. Safe Space/Ground Rules (VK & AN) Brief History of the IRN (RK) The Caribbean IRN bo ard asked funded participants and local Jamaican activists to provide very brief oral reports about the status of sexual minorities and existing activism in their countries. Below is a summary of these reports. St. Lucia ] social network. People have always had private parties. It is not OK to admit to anybody that this is the life you live, but it is ok once you do it in the privacy of your home. However in 1993 94 a group of young people decided that their life was th eirs regardless of what society felt. They But not until 2004 was an organization created it is the AIDS Alliance and Brainstorm to fight AIDS and HIV. In 2006 it chang ed from an MSM and HIV/AIDS focus to include women and a broader focus. United & Strong has since been striving, although until 2009 it was an underground organization with a face. St. Lucia is currently in the process of constitution reform and a present ation was given to the government representing the sexual minority community. Verbal harassment violence [against sexual minorities] are not raging or overpowering, but we do have here have been three murders in the last four years. Martinique Martinique functions under French law, so it permits civil unions and homosexuality is not criminalized. There is religious pressure that makes life difficult for young people w ho are sexual minorities. Many people want to go to France or elsewhere because they feel they cannot live their lives in the island. The speaker, an anonymous blogger, explained that the purpose of the blog is to show that people can live as gay people in Martinique. There are three active organizations that serve sexual minorities on the island. Grenada homosexual or not) with up to 10 years in prison. CHAP (The Caribbean HIV/AIDS

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 5 Partn ership) is a regional organization, and GRenCHAP is the Grenada chapter. The organization mainly works with MSM (men who sleep with men) and sex workers. It began with a focus on HIV/AIDS work and prevention through community building. In the last 5 yea rs progress in community development among sexual minorities has been made: almost 100 people recently attended a public party. GrenCHAP maintains a yahoo group online and successfully gets people from party lists into their group to provide them with inf ormation and make them into advocates. current head of state is a practicing minister who campai to issues relating to sexual minorities or HIV/AIDS. physical violence issues [for sexual minorities] are housing discrimination, difficulty of people getting jobs, and people getting fired because of the suspicion Guyana Guyanese laws are based on British colonial laws including those against homosexuality, which are not generally not enforced except for cases of rape. Attempts to make the language of rape laws gender neutral are being opposed by they know or by clients [of sex workers]. There are no prosecutions of the murders r hand, transvestism is vigorously prosecuted SASOD (The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination) form ed in 2003 and also does HIV/AIDS prevention. SASOD has received government support, has advocated through letter writing to newspapers, and conducts arts advocacy through its film festival (five years old in 2009). The Guyana Rainbow Foundation (Guybow) credibility as an organization you find more resistance and an increase in homosexuality, but the Hind u and Moslem populations are not as vocal on the issue. Trinidad & Tobago 1980s sexual offences legislative reform criminalized everything that was not heterosexual [though] sodomy laws are rarel sexual minorities], but it has produced very little organizing and activism because the largest municipality. Bohemia, 20 years old, has provided a party venue, meeting Governmental Organizations). There is rty every weekend and a carnival economy that is very queer

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 6 the 90s new groups, including Gay Empowerment Activists of T&T were created. At that time there were two main registered NGOS Friends for Life created in 1997, focused mostly HIV, but also operated one drop in space for gay men in Trinida d and one in Tobago. It faced the challenges of too quick growth and loss of funding. MSM No Political Agenda was founded in 2000 and now distributes three times yearly the magazine Free Forum, which includes both North American and TT content. is smaller and more conservative [than Trinidad] and has higher rates of HIV and its own gay party circuit. Lesbian organizing has been less visible [to the speaker]; there was an effort at a chat room in the 2000s and a lot of activism focuses on intern et based and social activity. There is an underground co gender group and a private facebook group. There is also a huge trans performance culture resources. Some trans and gay a nd lesbian people are visible, including Peter related violence, a lot associated with Adam for Adam website. This is against a backdrop of a number of home. Murderers claim the Jamaica mu often gets off with a lighter sentence if they say the victim made a pass at them. [Jamaica is currently debating the Sexual Offences Bill; the religious right wants to ensu now if you are cohabiting with or often in the company of prostitutes you can also be charged. The r eligious right Christian Lawyers Fellowship (which has a lot of monetary support from the USA and Canada) visible, espec ially transmen. So sexual minority organizations are trying to get them to come forward and work with them more. shot and lost her kidney; while in the last 2 months, 4 women were abducted and s more vulnerable and now walk with weapons to protect themselves. When the rapes nothing ha s happened yet. The group Women for Women one of the most active tries to empower women; they work with young people who are high school dropouts through an education and skills program. They also created a young women

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 7 conducts various workshops. Curaao FOKO (Fundashon Orguyo K started 15 years ago to recognize the difference between Holland, a very liberal country, and Curaao, which does not adopt Dutch laws. Pentecostalism is increasing and there is a corresponding decline in the acceptanc Bishop, representing 80% of the Curaao faith based people, but the present bishop up or non rights [besides gay marriage] such as anti * * * * * * * * T OPICS D ISCUSSED Those present decided on topics to be discussed. (This process, and the option for discussants to periodically go to different groups, is based on the Open Source[name] method. See attachment after th is document). The brainstormed topics were: theorizing and contesting homophobia (beyond physical violence), queer images and representation in media, religious fundamentalism & sexuality, regional and national queer history, indigenous perspectives, allies and families, art, performance and social justice (including histories and contemporary), transgender lives in the Caribbean, scholarship as activism, surveying and documenting organizing in the region; action research, strategies for politic al and legal change (geographic [including countries with continental affiliations] vs issue based strategies), resources for organizing (e.g. technology and access and dissemination), and coalition building. The final groups chosen based on combining s ome topics and on the interest of those present, were: theorizing and contesting homophobia (beyond physical violence and including queer images and representation in media and religious

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 8 fundamentalism & sexuality) regional and national queer history, incl uding indigenous perspectives allies and families art, performance and social justice (including histories and contemporary) transgender lives in the Caribbean scholarship as activism surveying and documenting organizing in the region; action research G roups were asked, and later reminded, to include in consideration of issues related to and the inclusion of lesbians and gay women, trans people, youth, elders, the diaspora, language, and other forms of diversity in their discussions. The size of the gro ups were roughly equal except allies & families, trans people, and surveying & documenting, which had just a few people. Discussions were extremely lively. GROUP REPORTS Following discussion, each group reported back to the larger group. LGBTQ Histori es This group began by explaining the importance of their topic. Why is it important to do this research on history? Because there is not a lot of recorded data and nontraditional data (such as collecting ephemera and oral histories) needs to be recorde d. In addition, this information needs to be widely available to scholars outside of the global north, and to those who are not scholars. Publicized histories can: o Empower youth and others, and can be an instrument of self growth o Force the recognition t hat lgbtq people do have a history in the Caribbean Who will do this? WE need to people in our own communities, since traditional archives may or may not be helpful. HOW will we do this?: The project should be both historical and contemporary; from ind igenous Caribbean people to today. Identify areas traditional and otherwise (from fashion to folklore) where lgbtq people and traditions and approaches have made an impact everyday lives as well as filmmakers, anthropologists, etc. where did people meet? What did they do? History of laws, queers and sex work, queer language in creole languages or creolized languages, in literature, etc. Create a collection of a nd historical analyses of love letters Use irnweb to post and publicize the material also research other websites that focus on archival information. Figure out how to process physical and digital material Allies & Families

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 9 as: What brings positive change that lasts? They also asked: How can looking at allies, families, and the one on one improve Caribbean sexual minority lives?: It can: o lessen crime rates, o create emotional spaces and outlets for queer people and our alli es, allowing us to be seen as real people; o remove the focus from the bedroom; o let us be whole, o answer in a different, broader way the question of who our people are. Strategies: o Legal strategies: Argue that laws should follow hearts and minds. There is a need for those in different countries to share information about their laws and how they are fighting them. Address sodomy laws. Reveal the contradiction that governments often do not want when they relate to sexuality. o Religious strategies: work with churches and other religious institutions. o Strategic thinking: address the concept of identity on the levels of country, community, and family and not only the individual or sexuality. o Address patriarchy, as well as the concepts of femininity and masculinity. Other thoughts & strategies: Consider PFLAG as a model. and connect their family members with other a llies. Note that allies can speak for people who cannot publicly speak for themselves. Elders can give support through providing history. recognizing that many Caribbean sexual min orities have children. Allies who are abroad can influence local potential allies. Diagram 1 displayed how to move people in the middle between allies and enemies more to one side (allies) than the other. Diagram 2 visualized a way of thinking about who allies are at different reminds us that life is a progression. Emphasis on one on one interactions, and recognize that they entail risk but also joy. The Woman to Woman group in occasionally come and gain support from each other, and where allies can

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 10 meet with lgbtq people. The politics of a small place that sometim es those spaces can be safer. Issues of strategy within the lgbtq movement. Look at other historical strategies for developing allies. Art, Performance, & Social Justice This group focused on primary concerns and asking questions: There is a need for s afe spaces for creating lgbtq art. Presentation venues (such as galleries and theatres) are for completed art by those who consider themselves artists as opposed to spaces for people to create and to use art as a tool for transformation. Who has acces s to technology? How might that technology be used? Who has access to art spaces and social justice spaces? There are issues of comfort, visibility, generations, and class, among others. How do political issues limit or silence the possibilities of art ? How is art or how can art be a transformative process for life itself? Can we create a collective of performance artists, graffiti artists, visual artists, writers, etc.? Is it possible to create a queer artists network across the region? There is a need for money to actually create art. How does one sustain the life of a queer artist in the Caribbean in terms of safety, time, mentorship, access to materials, workshop spaces, peer spaces, visibility? How can this be made more possible? How can we encoura ge queer artistic remittances? How can we enhance intergenerational mentoring? Trans Issues This group began their report by acknowledging that trans issues are fairly new to the region. Needs identified were: The need to provide information about what t rans is and means which is important for others and for trans people themselves. Access to treatment, surgery, and hormones, which helps people feel comfortable in their own skins. The need to add consideration of gender minorities to sexual minorities i n activist work. One target group is the medical establishment, which needs training so that going to the doctor for simple things is not traumatic. The need for a list of counselors, therapists, etc. who know about trans issues l crazy. Another target group is the LGB community, which also needs training and information; this can be done through workshops with the goal of transforming leadership. A need to put class and race at the forefront of all conversations. Other needs: ho using and employment, a CariCom (Caribbean Community) job fair, pan Caribbean resource sharing, and lists of practical information.

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 11 Theorizing and Contesting Homophobia Rethinking the way homophobia is used to explain the way lgbtq peo ple in the Caribbean live their lives: o The language of homophobia disguises other forms of oppression and difference that shape lives (e.g. that homophobia and violence are the same or always linked). o Understanding the variety of ways in which homophobia i s expressed for instance that physical violence is just one form of violence (others include verbal, emotional, etc.) How same sex desiring people understand their lives in relationship to cultural or national antipathies how can we create different ki nds of conversations within our own communities re who our enemies are and what are our sources of struggle? Better clarity regarding effective ways to engage political and media foes and allies? Take charge of the language that is used against us. Specif ically, consider the might be locally or regionally specific that is more accurate and effective. Make explicit the intersections between social and economic class, gender identities and sexualities in terms of violence and rejection people experience. conversations about homophobia and build alliances. Engage religious leaders. Change the way people think ab out same sex desire within and outside of lgbtq communities. Surveying & Documenting Caribbean Organizing This group focused on asking questions: How do we define organizing? How do we find the people who are doing organizing? One strategy is to go thr ough formal and informal groups lgbtq groups and HIV/AIDS networks are places to start. Who has all of this history and where are they located? How can this strategy help Caribbean sexual minorities? It can provide inspiration and prove that other social spaces and organizations exist now and existed before. Best practices: It is easier to bring people to parties than to meetings; we should use those networks and some of those strategies (text messages, postcards, etc.). Who should be targeted to surve outside, regional organizations, etc. Use oral history methods. * * * * * * * * W HAT P ARTICIPANTS G AINED FROM THE M EETING

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 12 Below are comm ents made by participants towards the end of the meeting. There is something about rights and legal interface that is really important The connections between activists, scholars, and artists. t usually get talked about. n awareness of the challenges of the logistical difficulty of organizing in the activists in the diaspora, to tell them that the work they are afraid to do is already happeni ng in the Caribbean. to be reminded of t a place where Caribbean people were taking charge of their own agenda. Here we have a direction and give ourselves the charge to speak on these issues. We have to break our own silences and energize and network. Because among other people who are inte you heard a united voice that bought out the need for history, place, togetherness. We have begun and we * * * * * * * * H OW THE IRN CAN B E U SEFUL The suggestions below are from the meeting and from the IRN panel that took place earlier in the week during the Caribbean Studies Ass ociation conference. An online magazine with a blog, activist reports, scholarly and creative work A collaborative blog with contributions from various activists and writers, as well as existing bloggers A Caribbean Studies Association caucus An archive of Caribbean lgbt historical documents Gender and Development Studies (and maybe also the University of Guyana and the Universit des Antilles) Work with Caribbean NGOs (non governme ntal organizations) to get them

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 13 computers and internet access so they can view and contribute to the IRN Influencing curricula at different levels of education Support campus organizing by queer students in the region (maybe via a discussion board on the w ebsite or through the CSA caucus) Create an interactive interface that makes connections clear between online work that is already happening. Use ning or something similar; not just a list of links. Use an interface that will contact people based on their interests rather than requiring people to check the website. Use the website as a clearinghouse for information (e.g. for getting information on transfriendly doctors, counselors, lawyers etc.) Have a calendar or list of events Reconsider political strate gies & communication; consider emerging A list of media contacts (people who are willing to speak to the media about sexual minority issue s) for the media. Perhaps also a list of journalists who are friendly and interested in sexual minority issues. An anchoring event physical or virtual e.g. Caribbean glbtq history month * * * * * * * * N EXT S TEPS Following the collaborative model the Caribbean IRN is using, its of the board and staff. If an idea below interests you, email caribbeanirn@gmail.com to help make it happen! Next Step Recommendations by Break out Topics The recommendations below are based on the notes received from break out groups, and from the oral reports given during the working meeting. Histories encourage people to email scanned images of newsletters, organization documents, ephemera, etc., to caribbea nirn@gmail.com This group should also brainstorm some guidelines relating to submissions to try to ensure, as much as possible, that those submitting have ownership and/or rights to the material, or have obtained permission to publicize it. While the C aribbean IRN cannot at this time accommodate receiving physical items, we will do our best to help those with documents or ephemera locate a local site where they can scan in the work. Another project this group can pursue is the creation and publicizing of a Caribbean Sexual Minorities or a Caribbean LGBT month. This event would be publicized online and to local press (who could also be pointed to the digital archives and to individuals willing to speak to the press), to encourage positive visibility.

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 14 A llies & Families Upload the chart visualizing the intersections and divergences of allies and strategies for supporting and generating allies, which includes inviting allies to regular WFW meetings and creating separate meetings where allies can share their thoughts and feelings. Collect other strategies for working with allies from other Caribbean organizations and individuals. Art, Performance, & Social Justice In the int erest of developing spaces for creative production, discover whether there is any interest for an open, but screened and secure (non public) online workshop for sexual minority writers and/or artists. This could be for anyone in the region, or groups for particular countries or age groups (e.g. youth, adult, elder) could be created. If the group identifies interested participants and a workshop leader, Caribbean IRN staff can assist with setting up a closed e group. Transgender This group had a very spe cific goal to start with: to create a list of trans friendly (and perhaps also sexual minority friendly) service providers. Practitioners could be in any field, but the initial list may focus on the medical, counseling, and legal professions. An upcoming meeting of trans Caribbean individuals in Curacao will serve as an initial place to solicit such information. Group members must ascertain whether those recommended to this list are willing to have their names publicized in connection with it. The list will be posted to the website. Theorizing Homophobia Solicit best practices for how Caribbean sexual minority organizations can engage religious leaders. This list will be posted to the website. luding creating experiences in the Caribbean. Surveying & Documenting Caribbean Organizing Create a brief guide for using chat rooms or social networking to engage sexual minori ties in or steer them towards activism, support groups, and/or community documentation. Board & Staff Next Steps Caribbean IRN board and staff will continue to oversee the project as a whole and to liaise with the CLAGS board and staff. In addition, board members have committed to following up on structural issues, such as formalizing connections to the University of the West Indies Gender Studies Programs [correct name] and the University of Guyana [name/program?]; formalizing a connection to the CSA ; and finding an institution to host a digital archive (and perhaps a physical one as well). The board will also ensure that brief instructions on how to conduct oral histories is

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 15 placed on the site soon. Caribbean IRN staff will organize the technical a spects, including continuing to update the site within its current and 2.0 platforms and spearheading a magazine to be written by members and other interested parties.

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 16 APPENDICES D ISCUSSION G ROUP R EPORTS In addition to the oral reports summarized in the preceding report, each discussion group was asked to create a written report. The reports that were turned in are below. They represent the Allies & Families group and the Surveying & Documenting Caribbean Organizing group. Reporting Sheet after Grou p Work IRN Caribbean Workshop Strategic area being addressed by group : Allies and Families 1. What are the primary concerns? What brings change, positive change that will last, e.g. California law not working.. 2. How can this approach/strategy impro ve the lives of Caribbean sexual minorities? (look at example of PFLAG) lessen homophobic crime rates creates emotional space/outlets allowed to be seen as full people (In Jamaica, if you have family support, it is easier, and people always ask, who are yo ur people?) remove the over defined and over examined focus on the bed family as allies In terms of strategising understanding that how we come out (personally or through a stranger?) recession is serious, nobody is wanting to risk it 3. Who or what need specific.) Law needs to follow hearts and mind, type or silence are two extremes, room needed for sharing of informa tion Concerns : nationalism vs being white, British sodomy laws, church, evangelicals strategies with public (and cautious allies) Sharing of information on history, i.e. history of colonization sodomy laws no sin greater than other sins.

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 17 Strategies id entify culture of country, community and family look at patriarchy and concepts of femininity and masculinity Understanding Bible & Law we have a problem we cancelled white man's law but clinging to sodomy laws 4 ork? Who is doing this work? PFLAG youth coming out we need to find out who is doing what work, some organisations embrace not only LGBT people, but critically family and friends recognizing fear by parents that it is not just choice of sexuality, but m isunderstood as a choice to receive violence. Telling them and linking them to another ally Working allies and family members is a best practice people are not in a position to speak to themselves, but allies can there is a cost but less Elders give kids support, status of history, past, and present Youth give elders sense of future (which is not lost because they are gay) Allies living abroad living on one of the islands to live away, People from Overseas often a child comes to them first, influence of offshore aunties and uncles It could go both ways but watch out for the 'foreign making you gay'. Best practice every third gro child, husband, best friend or mother 5, Dream! Anything else these questions did not address.

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 18 This diagram shows that in between the two extremes is an important space to work with Name of group leade r /note taker/presenter: {in records} Names of persons who participated, visited the group :

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 19 Reporting Sheet after Group Work IRN Caribbean Workshop Strategic area being addressed by group :.Surveying and Documenting Caribbean Organising 1. What are the primary concerns? How do we define organising? Developing contacts (activists/social support) in country through formal and informal LGBT groups and HIV/AIDS networks. Engaging who knows what, who has this history and where are they located (locale, diaspora). Oral history (including of dismantled groups) vs Documented history 2. How can this approach/strategy improve the lives of Caribbean sexual minorities? Provide inspiration and knowledge sharing of best practices (successes/failures) and to teach specific.) Activist in country, mature LGBT regional organisations to provide cont acts (CVC, CARIFLAGs) Community networks (social/online networks of local and diaspora LGBT) Parties.. 5. Dream! Anything else these questions did not address. How to make it happen ? Name of group leader /note taker/presenter: Names of persons who participated, visited the group :

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 20 APPENDICES E VALUATION C OMMENTS While the group discussed what people learned from the meeting, all participants were also asked to evaluat e the meeting, its organization, facilitation, etc. on an anonymous written form. These written comments are represented below. IRN Caribbean Workshop 3 June, 2009 Kingston Jamaica Summary of Evaluation Responses 1. What were the key learning p oints for you from today? much to document debate issues on a more scholarly, theoretical level so all of the topics were thought countries, k nowing that all around the world we are all one way or another scholarship and 2. What did you like about the workshop?

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 21 thoughts/actions/knowled inclusive workshop (small/big islands, trans, age, etc) 3. What do you think should have been different about the workshop? e of Open Space technology translated into our ways of doing a meeting that has all voices and in fruitful otherwise good so that the "getting to know you" and informational stuff would take up less portion of the workshop and instead sharing of ideas/knowledge/planning and coming up with possible projects etc woul d have taken up a greater share of the time spent an entire day needed to be spent on sharing ideas etc and maybe half a day doing the "getting to know you" and uld have 4. What do you think about the facilitation of the workshop? been very useful too, along with increased participation from the non Anglo parts of

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 22 t seemed hindered by shared facilitation mode. it would have been nice to have the facilitation shared a little bit more between Vidya and others. the former is a bit of a strong personality and takes up a lot of space/can be masculinist in approach, which makes certain forms of participation hard. ctive in my opinion is always more effective as persons communicate better and open up more when they 5. How would you rate the logistics and arrangements ? my name being present on the e mail list and not being sure of who was in the room. We all carry different levels of risk and no one can tell by looking at anyone else really what that risk is. Perhaps the write up of the regional reports and then a brief presentation by reps wou 6. Do you have any other comments to make about the workshop? decide the "success" of IRN given that people are far flung and realities are very different in different locations and for different individuals and organizations I think understanding better what is already out there what is already going on as well as having a means by which people can collaborate on existing as well as create that the amount of ti me was too little. Working lunch would probably have been a

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 23 than Martinique) Maybe a more comprehensive written resource list as opposed to



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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 1 REPORT OF THE FIRST MEETING OF THE CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL RESOURCE NETWORK SUMMARY & TABLE OF CONTENTS In other organizing there was not a place where Caribbean people were taking charge of their own agenda. Here we have a direction and give ourselve s the charge to speak on these issues. We have to break our own silences and energize and network. Because among other people who are interested in Comment by a workshop participant The first meeting of the Caribbean Region of the International Resource Network was an undeniable success. The more than thirty people present came from or have relationships with over a dozen Caribbean countries and territories using all four major languages of the region. They are activists, scholars, politicians, and artists and many occupy more than one of these roles at once. In addition to individual introductions, an important element of the meeting was brief reports of the major issues faced by sexual minorities in dif ferent Caribbean countries and territories. This enabled participants to have a better idea of the historical and contemporary situations in places with which they were less familiar. For more than five hours, we discussed the major issues facing Caribbea n sexual minorities both in individual countries and across the region and ways to address these concerns generally, and specifically through the IRN website. The discussion topics chosen by participants were: theorizing and contesting homophobia re gional and national queer history, including indigenous perspectives allies and families art, performance and social justice transgender lives in the Caribbean scholarship as activism surveying and documenting organizing in the region and action researc h. It is significant and was remarked upon by those present that HIV/AIDS was not chosen by the group as a discussion topic. Since many of those present are actively engaged in HIV/AIDS work, this does not indicate a sense that this is not an importan t topic in the region. Rather, its absence may reflect the reality that resources related to sexual minority issues in the Caribbean are directed overwhelmingly to HIV/AIDS, with almost nothing left for other topics or work. The s raise the question: if sexual minorities in the Caribbean could ourselves choose to direct resources to any type of work, would they continue to direct them almost exclusively to HIV/AIDS? This question is spoken to by the quote at the beginning of this document. During the rigorous and refreshing discussions, participants also addressed how the IRN can contribute to the work going on in the region and its diaspora.

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 2 They addressed every aspect of the website, from its construction to its content and capa of the directives are in the process of being implemented to make the IRN a functioning, productive website that can support work towards documenting, improving, and analyzi ng the lives of Caribbean sexual minorities. All interested parties are encouraged to browse the website at www.irnweb.org and to participate by registering and uploading materials. For more information or to communi cate with the Caribbean IRN, email caribbeanirn@gmail.com Contents of this Report Summary & Table of Contents Background & Context Welcome & Introductions (including summaries of country reports) Topics Discu ssed What Participants Gained from the Meeting How the IRN can Be Useful Next Steps Appendices Discussion Group Reports Evaluation Comments Report from Caribbean IRN Panel at the Caribbean Studies Association * * * * * * * * B ACKGROUND & C ONTEXT At the time of its first meeting in May 2009, the Caribbean Region of the International Resource Network (IRN) was well under a year old. The larger IRN, which includes a Middle Eastern, Eu ropean, Asian, African, and U.S/Canada regions, as well as a Latin American and Caribbean Region, was officially launched in 2006. The International Resource Network (IRN) was created to connect researchers from both academic and community bases in areas related to diverse sexualities and genders. It was conceived of as a website where people interested in approaching sexual rights and human rights from the perspective of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer studies or in surveying the research on p articular LGBTQ issues around the globe have had no central directory listing. It is a project organized by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS), which is housed at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Primary funding is provi ded by the Ford Foundation. People conducting research on LGBTQ themes and subjects have no central place to put out queries for documentary materials, make contact with others engaged in similar work, or find opportunities to develop comparative or collab orative projects. CLAGS hopes that irnweb.org will be a central international clearinghouse with contact information, summaries of holdings and work, web links to regional projects, archival information, and mechanisms for collaborative

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 3 opportunities on a large, systematic scale and to foster international exchange. The Caribbean Region of the IRN is in the beginning stages, focusing on planning, strategy, and development. As more scholarship and activism in and outside of the region focus on sexual m inorities in the Caribbean, there is an increasing need for a clearinghouse to access information/research/resources and connect individuals from around the world. The Caribbean Region of the IRN plans to be such a clearinghouse and resource for people an d organizations inside and outside the region. We hope that the Caribbean IRN will promote activism and creative work, as well as different kinds of engaged scholarship meaning scholarship that both serves activism and can itself be considered activism. We hope that this project will support projects, organizations, and collaborative opportunities within the Caribbean region. Personnel Caribbean IRN Staff: Vidyaratha Kissoon, Caribbean IRN Coordination Consultant (VK) Caribbean IRN Board: Natalie Benn ett, Thomas Glave, Rosamond S. King (RK), Angelique Nixon (AN) Though no names of participants are provided, details regarding our backgrounds and work is provided below. * * * * * * * * W ELCOMES & I NTRODUCTIONS A welcome was provided by VK, followed by an introduction of Caribbean IRN (Caribbean IRN) board and staff by RK. Board member AN provided a reminder of The Gat AN, Quote from Audre Lorde. Caribbean IRN to connect scholars and activists. Brief introductions. Those present included: Individuals from (or with deep connections to) : Anguilla, Bahamas, Canada, Curaao Guadelo upe, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Trinidad & Tobago, and the USA Activists who work on of those who have experienced discrimination based on their HIV status; advocacy and social support for the LGBT community; feminist issues; WSW issues; corrective rape; people living with HIV/AIDS; gay rights; native language activism (Queer Renaissance m ultimedia movement; Queer Black Mobile Homecoming Project (intergenerational); Curaao Vulnerable Communities; CFLAC access?; Caribbean HIV/AIDS Partnership (CHAP); Women for Women; Pride in Action; JFLAG Jamaica Forum for Lesbians,

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 4 All Sexuals, and Gays; Jamaica AIDS Support (JAS)); policy & program development work; TT Anti Violence Project, Audre Lorde Project; Sunshine Community; Broken Beautiful Press) Graduate students and oth er scholars who work on: queer Caribbean literature; postcolonial studies; gender and sexuality in the South Asian diaspora; clinical psychology; black lesbian literature; transgender studies; linguistics; lesbian and working class Jamaican sexualities; h omophobia in JA; medicine; social science & media; black feminism; nationality as it relates to religion and sexuality. Those present were affiliated with a number of universities in and outside of the region. Artists, including : fiction writers, filmmake rs, poets, dancers, musicians, multimedia artist As well as: theologians, current and former government officials from various countries. Safe Space/Ground Rules (VK & AN) Brief History of the IRN (RK) The Caribbean IRN bo ard asked funded participants and local Jamaican activists to provide very brief oral reports about the status of sexual minorities and existing activism in their countries. Below is a summary of these reports. St. Lucia ] social network. People have always had private parties. It is not OK to admit to anybody that this is the life you live, but it is ok once you do it in the privacy of your home. However in 1993 94 a group of young people decided that their life was th eirs regardless of what society felt. They But not until 2004 was an organization created it is the AIDS Alliance and Brainstorm to fight AIDS and HIV. In 2006 it chang ed from an MSM and HIV/AIDS focus to include women and a broader focus. United & Strong has since been striving, although until 2009 it was an underground organization with a face. St. Lucia is currently in the process of constitution reform and a present ation was given to the government representing the sexual minority community. Verbal harassment violence [against sexual minorities] are not raging or overpowering, but we do have here have been three murders in the last four years. Martinique Martinique functions under French law, so it permits civil unions and homosexuality is not criminalized. There is religious pressure that makes life difficult for young people w ho are sexual minorities. Many people want to go to France or elsewhere because they feel they cannot live their lives in the island. The speaker, an anonymous blogger, explained that the purpose of the blog is to show that people can live as gay people in Martinique. There are three active organizations that serve sexual minorities on the island. Grenada homosexual or not) with up to 10 years in prison. CHAP (The Caribbean HIV/AIDS

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 5 Partn ership) is a regional organization, and GRenCHAP is the Grenada chapter. The organization mainly works with MSM (men who sleep with men) and sex workers. It began with a focus on HIV/AIDS work and prevention through community building. In the last 5 yea rs progress in community development among sexual minorities has been made: almost 100 people recently attended a public party. GrenCHAP maintains a yahoo group online and successfully gets people from party lists into their group to provide them with inf ormation and make them into advocates. current head of state is a practicing minister who campai to issues relating to sexual minorities or HIV/AIDS. physical violence issues [for sexual minorities] are housing discrimination, difficulty of people getting jobs, and people getting fired because of the suspicion Guyana Guyanese laws are based on British colonial laws including those against homosexuality, which are not generally not enforced except for cases of rape. Attempts to make the language of rape laws gender neutral are being opposed by they know or by clients [of sex workers]. There are no prosecutions of the murders r hand, transvestism is vigorously prosecuted SASOD (The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination) form ed in 2003 and also does HIV/AIDS prevention. SASOD has received government support, has advocated through letter writing to newspapers, and conducts arts advocacy through its film festival (five years old in 2009). The Guyana Rainbow Foundation (Guybow) credibility as an organization you find more resistance and an increase in homosexuality, but the Hind u and Moslem populations are not as vocal on the issue. Trinidad & Tobago 1980s sexual offences legislative reform criminalized everything that was not heterosexual [though] sodomy laws are rarel sexual minorities], but it has produced very little organizing and activism because the largest municipality. Bohemia, 20 years old, has provided a party venue, meeting Governmental Organizations). There is rty every weekend and a carnival economy that is very queer

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 6 the 90s new groups, including Gay Empowerment Activists of T&T were created. At that time there were two main registered NGOS Friends for Life created in 1997, focused mostly HIV, but also operated one drop in space for gay men in Trinida d and one in Tobago. It faced the challenges of too quick growth and loss of funding. MSM No Political Agenda was founded in 2000 and now distributes three times yearly the magazine Free Forum, which includes both North American and TT content. is smaller and more conservative [than Trinidad] and has higher rates of HIV and its own gay party circuit. Lesbian organizing has been less visible [to the speaker]; there was an effort at a chat room in the 2000s and a lot of activism focuses on intern et based and social activity. There is an underground co gender group and a private facebook group. There is also a huge trans performance culture resources. Some trans and gay a nd lesbian people are visible, including Peter related violence, a lot associated with Adam for Adam website. This is against a backdrop of a number of home. Murderers claim the Jamaica mu often gets off with a lighter sentence if they say the victim made a pass at them. [Jamaica is currently debating the Sexual Offences Bill; the religious right wants to ensu now if you are cohabiting with or often in the company of prostitutes you can also be charged. The r eligious right Christian Lawyers Fellowship (which has a lot of monetary support from the USA and Canada) visible, espec ially transmen. So sexual minority organizations are trying to get them to come forward and work with them more. shot and lost her kidney; while in the last 2 months, 4 women were abducted and s more vulnerable and now walk with weapons to protect themselves. When the rapes nothing ha s happened yet. The group Women for Women one of the most active tries to empower women; they work with young people who are high school dropouts through an education and skills program. They also created a young women

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 7 conducts various workshops. Curaao FOKO (Fundashon Orguyo K started 15 years ago to recognize the difference between Holland, a very liberal country, and Curaao, which does not adopt Dutch laws. Pentecostalism is increasing and there is a corresponding decline in the acceptanc Bishop, representing 80% of the Curaao faith based people, but the present bishop up or non rights [besides gay marriage] such as anti * * * * * * * * T OPICS D ISCUSSED Those present decided on topics to be discussed. (This process, and the option for discussants to periodically go to different groups, is based on the Open Source[name] method. See attachment after th is document). The brainstormed topics were: theorizing and contesting homophobia (beyond physical violence), queer images and representation in media, religious fundamentalism & sexuality, regional and national queer history, indigenous perspectives, allies and families, art, performance and social justice (including histories and contemporary), transgender lives in the Caribbean, scholarship as activism, surveying and documenting organizing in the region; action research, strategies for politic al and legal change (geographic [including countries with continental affiliations] vs issue based strategies), resources for organizing (e.g. technology and access and dissemination), and coalition building. The final groups chosen based on combining s ome topics and on the interest of those present, were: theorizing and contesting homophobia (beyond physical violence and including queer images and representation in media and religious

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 8 fundamentalism & sexuality) regional and national queer history, incl uding indigenous perspectives allies and families art, performance and social justice (including histories and contemporary) transgender lives in the Caribbean scholarship as activism surveying and documenting organizing in the region; action research G roups were asked, and later reminded, to include in consideration of issues related to and the inclusion of lesbians and gay women, trans people, youth, elders, the diaspora, language, and other forms of diversity in their discussions. The size of the gro ups were roughly equal except allies & families, trans people, and surveying & documenting, which had just a few people. Discussions were extremely lively. GROUP REPORTS Following discussion, each group reported back to the larger group. LGBTQ Histori es This group began by explaining the importance of their topic. Why is it important to do this research on history? Because there is not a lot of recorded data and nontraditional data (such as collecting ephemera and oral histories) needs to be recorde d. In addition, this information needs to be widely available to scholars outside of the global north, and to those who are not scholars. Publicized histories can: o Empower youth and others, and can be an instrument of self growth o Force the recognition t hat lgbtq people do have a history in the Caribbean Who will do this? WE need to people in our own communities, since traditional archives may or may not be helpful. HOW will we do this?: The project should be both historical and contemporary; from ind igenous Caribbean people to today. Identify areas traditional and otherwise (from fashion to folklore) where lgbtq people and traditions and approaches have made an impact everyday lives as well as filmmakers, anthropologists, etc. where did people meet? What did they do? History of laws, queers and sex work, queer language in creole languages or creolized languages, in literature, etc. Create a collection of a nd historical analyses of love letters Use irnweb to post and publicize the material also research other websites that focus on archival information. Figure out how to process physical and digital material Allies & Families

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 9 as: What brings positive change that lasts? They also asked: How can looking at allies, families, and the one on one improve Caribbean sexual minority lives?: It can: o lessen crime rates, o create emotional spaces and outlets for queer people and our alli es, allowing us to be seen as real people; o remove the focus from the bedroom; o let us be whole, o answer in a different, broader way the question of who our people are. Strategies: o Legal strategies: Argue that laws should follow hearts and minds. There is a need for those in different countries to share information about their laws and how they are fighting them. Address sodomy laws. Reveal the contradiction that governments often do not want when they relate to sexuality. o Religious strategies: work with churches and other religious institutions. o Strategic thinking: address the concept of identity on the levels of country, community, and family and not only the individual or sexuality. o Address patriarchy, as well as the concepts of femininity and masculinity. Other thoughts & strategies: Consider PFLAG as a model. and connect their family members with other a llies. Note that allies can speak for people who cannot publicly speak for themselves. Elders can give support through providing history. recognizing that many Caribbean sexual min orities have children. Allies who are abroad can influence local potential allies. Diagram 1 displayed how to move people in the middle between allies and enemies more to one side (allies) than the other. Diagram 2 visualized a way of thinking about who allies are at different reminds us that life is a progression. Emphasis on one on one interactions, and recognize that they entail risk but also joy. The Woman to Woman group in occasionally come and gain support from each other, and where allies can

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 10 meet with lgbtq people. The politics of a small place that sometim es those spaces can be safer. Issues of strategy within the lgbtq movement. Look at other historical strategies for developing allies. Art, Performance, & Social Justice This group focused on primary concerns and asking questions: There is a need for s afe spaces for creating lgbtq art. Presentation venues (such as galleries and theatres) are for completed art by those who consider themselves artists as opposed to spaces for people to create and to use art as a tool for transformation. Who has acces s to technology? How might that technology be used? Who has access to art spaces and social justice spaces? There are issues of comfort, visibility, generations, and class, among others. How do political issues limit or silence the possibilities of art ? How is art or how can art be a transformative process for life itself? Can we create a collective of performance artists, graffiti artists, visual artists, writers, etc.? Is it possible to create a queer artists network across the region? There is a need for money to actually create art. How does one sustain the life of a queer artist in the Caribbean in terms of safety, time, mentorship, access to materials, workshop spaces, peer spaces, visibility? How can this be made more possible? How can we encoura ge queer artistic remittances? How can we enhance intergenerational mentoring? Trans Issues This group began their report by acknowledging that trans issues are fairly new to the region. Needs identified were: The need to provide information about what t rans is and means which is important for others and for trans people themselves. Access to treatment, surgery, and hormones, which helps people feel comfortable in their own skins. The need to add consideration of gender minorities to sexual minorities i n activist work. One target group is the medical establishment, which needs training so that going to the doctor for simple things is not traumatic. The need for a list of counselors, therapists, etc. who know about trans issues l crazy. Another target group is the LGB community, which also needs training and information; this can be done through workshops with the goal of transforming leadership. A need to put class and race at the forefront of all conversations. Other needs: ho using and employment, a CariCom (Caribbean Community) job fair, pan Caribbean resource sharing, and lists of practical information.

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 11 Theorizing and Contesting Homophobia Rethinking the way homophobia is used to explain the way lgbtq peo ple in the Caribbean live their lives: o The language of homophobia disguises other forms of oppression and difference that shape lives (e.g. that homophobia and violence are the same or always linked). o Understanding the variety of ways in which homophobia i s expressed for instance that physical violence is just one form of violence (others include verbal, emotional, etc.) How same sex desiring people understand their lives in relationship to cultural or national antipathies how can we create different ki nds of conversations within our own communities re who our enemies are and what are our sources of struggle? Better clarity regarding effective ways to engage political and media foes and allies? Take charge of the language that is used against us. Specif ically, consider the might be locally or regionally specific that is more accurate and effective. Make explicit the intersections between social and economic class, gender identities and sexualities in terms of violence and rejection people experience. conversations about homophobia and build alliances. Engage religious leaders. Change the way people think ab out same sex desire within and outside of lgbtq communities. Surveying & Documenting Caribbean Organizing This group focused on asking questions: How do we define organizing? How do we find the people who are doing organizing? One strategy is to go thr ough formal and informal groups lgbtq groups and HIV/AIDS networks are places to start. Who has all of this history and where are they located? How can this strategy help Caribbean sexual minorities? It can provide inspiration and prove that other social spaces and organizations exist now and existed before. Best practices: It is easier to bring people to parties than to meetings; we should use those networks and some of those strategies (text messages, postcards, etc.). Who should be targeted to surve outside, regional organizations, etc. Use oral history methods. * * * * * * * * W HAT P ARTICIPANTS G AINED FROM THE M EETING

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 12 Below are comm ents made by participants towards the end of the meeting. There is something about rights and legal interface that is really important The connections between activists, scholars, and artists. t usually get talked about. n awareness of the challenges of the logistical difficulty of organizing in the activists in the diaspora, to tell them that the work they are afraid to do is already happeni ng in the Caribbean. to be reminded of t a place where Caribbean people were taking charge of their own agenda. Here we have a direction and give ourselves the charge to speak on these issues. We have to break our own silences and energize and network. Because among other people who are inte you heard a united voice that bought out the need for history, place, togetherness. We have begun and we * * * * * * * * H OW THE IRN CAN B E U SEFUL The suggestions below are from the meeting and from the IRN panel that took place earlier in the week during the Caribbean Studies Ass ociation conference. An online magazine with a blog, activist reports, scholarly and creative work A collaborative blog with contributions from various activists and writers, as well as existing bloggers A Caribbean Studies Association caucus An archive of Caribbean lgbt historical documents Gender and Development Studies (and maybe also the University of Guyana and the Universit des Antilles) Work with Caribbean NGOs (non governme ntal organizations) to get them

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 13 computers and internet access so they can view and contribute to the IRN Influencing curricula at different levels of education Support campus organizing by queer students in the region (maybe via a discussion board on the w ebsite or through the CSA caucus) Create an interactive interface that makes connections clear between online work that is already happening. Use ning or something similar; not just a list of links. Use an interface that will contact people based on their interests rather than requiring people to check the website. Use the website as a clearinghouse for information (e.g. for getting information on transfriendly doctors, counselors, lawyers etc.) Have a calendar or list of events Reconsider political strate gies & communication; consider emerging A list of media contacts (people who are willing to speak to the media about sexual minority issue s) for the media. Perhaps also a list of journalists who are friendly and interested in sexual minority issues. An anchoring event physical or virtual e.g. Caribbean glbtq history month * * * * * * * * N EXT S TEPS Following the collaborative model the Caribbean IRN is using, its of the board and staff. If an idea below interests you, email caribbeanirn@gmail.com to help make it happen! Next Step Recommendations by Break out Topics The recommendations below are based on the notes received from break out groups, and from the oral reports given during the working meeting. Histories encourage people to email scanned images of newsletters, organization documents, ephemera, etc., to caribbea nirn@gmail.com This group should also brainstorm some guidelines relating to submissions to try to ensure, as much as possible, that those submitting have ownership and/or rights to the material, or have obtained permission to publicize it. While the C aribbean IRN cannot at this time accommodate receiving physical items, we will do our best to help those with documents or ephemera locate a local site where they can scan in the work. Another project this group can pursue is the creation and publicizing of a Caribbean Sexual Minorities or a Caribbean LGBT month. This event would be publicized online and to local press (who could also be pointed to the digital archives and to individuals willing to speak to the press), to encourage positive visibility.

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 14 A llies & Families Upload the chart visualizing the intersections and divergences of allies and strategies for supporting and generating allies, which includes inviting allies to regular WFW meetings and creating separate meetings where allies can share their thoughts and feelings. Collect other strategies for working with allies from other Caribbean organizations and individuals. Art, Performance, & Social Justice In the int erest of developing spaces for creative production, discover whether there is any interest for an open, but screened and secure (non public) online workshop for sexual minority writers and/or artists. This could be for anyone in the region, or groups for particular countries or age groups (e.g. youth, adult, elder) could be created. If the group identifies interested participants and a workshop leader, Caribbean IRN staff can assist with setting up a closed e group. Transgender This group had a very spe cific goal to start with: to create a list of trans friendly (and perhaps also sexual minority friendly) service providers. Practitioners could be in any field, but the initial list may focus on the medical, counseling, and legal professions. An upcoming meeting of trans Caribbean individuals in Curacao will serve as an initial place to solicit such information. Group members must ascertain whether those recommended to this list are willing to have their names publicized in connection with it. The list will be posted to the website. Theorizing Homophobia Solicit best practices for how Caribbean sexual minority organizations can engage religious leaders. This list will be posted to the website. luding creating experiences in the Caribbean. Surveying & Documenting Caribbean Organizing Create a brief guide for using chat rooms or social networking to engage sexual minori ties in or steer them towards activism, support groups, and/or community documentation. Board & Staff Next Steps Caribbean IRN board and staff will continue to oversee the project as a whole and to liaise with the CLAGS board and staff. In addition, board members have committed to following up on structural issues, such as formalizing connections to the University of the West Indies Gender Studies Programs [correct name] and the University of Guyana [name/program?]; formalizing a connection to the CSA ; and finding an institution to host a digital archive (and perhaps a physical one as well). The board will also ensure that brief instructions on how to conduct oral histories is

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 15 placed on the site soon. Caribbean IRN staff will organize the technical a spects, including continuing to update the site within its current and 2.0 platforms and spearheading a magazine to be written by members and other interested parties.

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 16 APPENDICES D ISCUSSION G ROUP R EPORTS In addition to the oral reports summarized in the preceding report, each discussion group was asked to create a written report. The reports that were turned in are below. They represent the Allies & Families group and the Surveying & Documenting Caribbean Organizing group. Reporting Sheet after Grou p Work IRN Caribbean Workshop Strategic area being addressed by group : Allies and Families 1. What are the primary concerns? What brings change, positive change that will last, e.g. California law not working.. 2. How can this approach/strategy impro ve the lives of Caribbean sexual minorities? (look at example of PFLAG) lessen homophobic crime rates creates emotional space/outlets allowed to be seen as full people (In Jamaica, if you have family support, it is easier, and people always ask, who are yo ur people?) remove the over defined and over examined focus on the bed family as allies In terms of strategising understanding that how we come out (personally or through a stranger?) recession is serious, nobody is wanting to risk it 3. Who or what need s to be targeted to address these concerns? (The law? both general and specific.) Law needs to follow hearts and mind, type or silence are two extremes, room needed for sharing of informa tion Concerns : nationalism vs being white, British sodomy laws, church, evangelicals strategies with public (and cautious allies)

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 17 Sharing of information on history, i.e. history of colonization sodomy laws no sin greater than other sins. Strategies id entify culture of country, community and family look at patriarchy and concepts of femininity and masculinity Understanding Bible & Law we have a problem we cancelled white man's law but clinging to sodomy laws 4 ork? Who is doing this work? PFLAG youth coming out we need to find out who is doing what work, some organisations embrace not only LGBT people, but critically family and friends recognizing fear by parents that it is not just choice of sexuality, but m isunderstood as a choice to receive violence. Telling them and linking them to another ally Working allies and family members is a best practice people are not in a position to speak to themselves, but allies can there is a cost but less t and I do not Elders give kids support, status of history, past, and present Youth give elders sense of future (which is not lost because they are gay) Allies living abroad living on one of the islands has People from Overseas often a child comes to them first, influence of offshore aunties and uncles It could go both ways but watch out for the 'foreign making you gay'. Best practice every third gro up meeting of Women to Women, someone 5, Dream! Anything else these questions did not address.

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 18 This diagram shows that in between the two extremes is an important space to work with Name of group leade r /note taker/presenter: {in records} Names of persons who participated, visited the group :

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 19 Reporting Sheet after Group Work IRN Caribbean Workshop Strategic area being addressed by group :.Surveying and Documenting Caribbean Organising 1. What are the primary concerns? How do we define organising? Developing contacts (activists/social support) in country through formal and informal LGBT groups and HIV/AIDS networks. Engaging who knows what, who has this history and where are they located (locale, diaspora). Oral history (including of dismantled groups) vs Documented history 2. How can this approach/strategy improve the lives of Caribbean sexual minorities? Provide inspiration and knowledge sharing of best practices (successes/failures) and to teach 3. Who or what needs to be targeted to address these concerns? (The law? both general and specific.) Activist in country, mature LGBT regional organisations to provide cont acts (CVC, CARIFLAGs) Community networks (social/online networks of local and diaspora LGBT) Parties.. 5. Dream! Anything else these questions did not address. How to make it happen ? Name of group leader /note taker/presenter: Names of persons who participated, visited the group :

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 20

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 21 APPENDICES E VALUATION C OMMENTS While the group discussed what people learned from the meeting, all participants were also asked to evaluat e the meeting, its organization, facilitation, etc. on an anonymous written form. These written comments are represented below. IRN Caribbean Workshop 3 June, 2009 Kingston Jamaica Summary of Evaluation Responses 1. What were the key learning p oints for you from today? much to document debate issues on a more scholarly, theoretical level so all of the topics were thought countries, k nowing that all around the world we are all one way or another scholarship and 2. What did you like about the workshop?

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 22 thoughts/actions/knowled inclusive workshop (small/big islands, trans, age, etc) 3. What do you think should have been different about the workshop? e of Open Space technology translated into our ways of doing a meeting that has all voices and in fruitful otherwise good so that the "getting to know you" and informational stuff would take up less portion of the workshop and instead sharing of ideas/knowledge/planning and coming up with possible projects etc woul d have taken up a greater share of the time spent an entire day needed to be spent on sharing ideas etc and maybe half a day doing the "getting to know you" and uld have 4. What do you think about the facilitation of the workshop? been very useful too, along with increased participation from the non Anglo parts of

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 23 t seemed hindered by shared facilitation mode. it would have been nice to have the facilitation shared a little bit more between Vidya and others. the former is a bit of a strong personality and takes up a lot of space/can be masculinist in approach, which makes certain forms of participation hard. ctive in my opinion is always more effective as persons communicate better and open up more when they 5. How would you rate the logistics and arrangements ? my name being present on the e mail list and not being sure of who was in the room. We all carry different levels of risk and no one can tell by looking at anyone else really what that risk is. Perhaps the write up of the regional reports and then a brief presentation by reps wou 6. Do you have any other comments to make about the workshop? decide the "success" of IRN given that people are far flung and realities are very different in different locations and for different individuals and organizations I think understanding better what is already out there what is already going on as well as having a means by which people can collaborate on existing as well as create that the amount of ti me was too little. Working lunch would probably have been a

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Caribbean IRN 2009 Meeting Report 24 than Martinique) Maybe a more comprehensive written resource list as opposed to



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Mariner,Matthew C M a r i n e r M a t t h e w C | ZW M a r i n e r M