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March 23, 2019

March 1st marked the start of Endometriosis Awareness Raising month and for the first time in the 20+ years that I have been diagnosed with this disease, I finally came to fully understand my illness and realize I was not alone. For those who may be asking, “Endo-what?” because although this is a disease that afflicts 1 in 10 girls, women and trans men worldwide, Endometriosis is a largely “invisible” disease since it is internal and felt, rather than external and seen. Endometriosis is a chronic and painful disease that affects our hormones, our immune system, and the digestive tract. It occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus, or endometrium, migrates outside of the womb, and results in inflammation, as th...

March 13, 2019

This commentary of a number of NGOs [1] working on gender-based violence is prepared as a
follow up to the Commentary presented on 5 February, 2019 at the first sitting of the Senate on
the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill of 2019, which seeks to establish a National Sexual
Offenders Registry.


Preamble:


With past amendments to sexual offences legislation, key reforms were achieved – removal of
corroboration warning; restrictions on examination of the sexual history of the complainant;
criminalization of rape within marriage; mandatory reporting of suspected sexual offences
against children; and the establishment of a sexual offence register. Yet these improvements do
not seem to have translated sufficiently into a well-fun...

October 10, 2018

When I was a child, I remember one occasion where I was at the pool playing with some other children who were much better swimmers than I was. I started out playing in the shallow end where I could stand and slowly ventured further and further away from the safety of the pool walls. I kept going until I suddenly realised that I was too far out and I was being overwhelmed by the water. This story and my journey with my mental health have many similarities.Throughout my life, what I considered to be my “normal” was really just me in the shallow end of my conditions until I suddenly realised that I was being overwhelmed by the weight of the water. Until a few months ago, I had never considered myself as a person who suffered...

September 23, 2018

When asked to write about my journey as a bisexual person, I was pretty stumped. My first thought was, ‘What journey? I don’t have a journey.’ I don’t. I “came out” (in the loosest definition of what coming out is) post 2016 and it went something like this:


Me: “By the way, I like women as well as men. Like, at the same time.”

Person: “Oh. Word.”

That’s it! I didn't have a spirit journey or a tearful coming out story. I was able to casually mention it in passing to people and get little reaction. I realized, when I thought about it a little, that this was because of the people I surrounded myself with. One of the biggest perks of having friends and family that are “woke”, as the kids say, is that I get to have my sexuality n...

November 16, 2016

14 Spanish speaking countries have crossed the language divide to offer their solidarity and advocate for the protection of girls against child marriage in Trinidad and Tobago at the XIII Regional Conference on Women. Latin America and Caribbean civil society organizations recently gathered at the Feminist Organizations Forum in Montevideo, Uruguay, with 37 women's right groups answering the call to action  and signing onto The Coalition to End Child Marriage in T&T's CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT ON RATIONALIZING THE AGE OF CONSENT: Four Specific Criteria for Corrective Legislation

...

November 14, 2016

It is quite surprising that, even today, religious beliefs are widely accepted as cultural norms and solutions for natural human err, even at times when these beliefs deny us our basic human rights. Nothing has highlighted this more than the ongoing debate on child marriages in Trinidad & Tobago. When government announced that there would be a review of the legal age of marriage earlier this year, several officials from the IRO went into an uproar. Things got as far as one of these officials unapologetically stating that “government should stay out of the bedroom affairs of families.” The debate continues today, with many NGO’s and concerned citizens calling for an end to child marriages, vis-à-vis the dogmatic stance of s...

November 1, 2016

If you haven’t yet heard, there has been a movement this year (2016) to amend the Marriage Act of TnT. Why?

Because it is legal in 2016 in Trinidad and Tobago, under the Muslim Marriage Act, for a girl child of 12yrs to be married with parental consent .

It is not only the Muslim Marriage Act that may make you question what year it is, there are three other Acts that allow parents to give consent for their children under 18yrs to be married. YES in 2016. YES in sweet TnT. While the Muslim Marriage Act takes the cake with the lowest minimum age for girls at 12yrs and boys at 16yrs, it is not alone. The Hindu Marriage Act allows girls at 14yrs and boys at  18yrs to be married, the Orisha Marriage Act allows girls at 16yrs and...

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