CAISO taking LGBTQI firings, evictions to EOC

The numbers of gays who have been thrown out of their parents’ homes and evicted from apartments have increased to eight in the last week. Two LGBTQI members were also reportedly fired in the wake of last Thursday’s major victory in the High Court after Justice Devindra Rampersad declared two clauses of the buggery legislation unconstitutional.

In light of this, Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) board member Angelique Nixon says they will be taking these complaints to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) to ensure the LGBTQI community is protected.

“We are taking our complaints to the EOC. We want to go forward with the EOC campaign to amend its act to include protection for housing and employment against those who have been discriminated,” Nixon told the T&T Guardian.

While she could not say when they will go to the EOC, Nixon said the Equal Opportunities Act does not include sexual orientation and the EOC’s hands may been tied.

“We want the Government to step up because they have not said anything positive yet. So far, we’ve had eight complaints by people who were thrown out of their homes by their parents or guardians in the last week. There have also been a number of cases where people have been kicked out of their apartments by their landlords. There were also two complaints with regards to employment. These two individuals were faced with either trouble in the workplace or being fired.”

So far, Friends for Life (FFL), which is one of six LGBTQI groups under the coalition Alliance for Justice and Diversity (ADJ), has assisted the eight LGBTQI members who were evicted.

“Reports are still coming in. We have a number of people who have volunteered their homes, a couch and even annexes. We have a good network system in place to help.”

These homes were offered as a temporary measure, Nixon said, adding FFL has been pushing the Government to create specific housing for LGBTQI members in communities. The FFL has also started a fund-raising drive to help those who were evicted.

“We are pulling our resources and doing our best to assist,” Nixon said.

While the complaints have been mounting in the last week, Nixon said the issue was not new.

“We regularly receive complaints anywhere from one to three people a month facing homelessness due to issues with their parents or by their landlords.”

But as a member of the LGBT community, she expressed concern over the growing number of complaints.

“I am already open and public. But I am concerned about my friends and partner,” Nixon said.

Attorney Leah Thompson, who represents AJD, said the group will also be asking the EOC and Parliament for “HIV status, sexual orientation and aged individuals to be added to that legislation of the Equal Opportunities Act so that when these things happen LGBT people are given full protection.”

Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Shaliza Hassanali)

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